Monday, May 19, 2014

Jake Warns Nog About the Soon to Be Dead Squad

In "Valiant," Jake can see the forest beyond the trees. The young captain of The Valiant is ambitious, egotistical, and thinks himself and the "Red Squad" as invisible. Of course it helps when you take pills to heighten the delusion. Jake tries to warn his cadet friend Nog that the plan their captain is about to embark upon is akin to a suicide mission,  but it falls on huge Ferengi deaf ears.

Worst of Star Trek DS9---His Way

Did the writers and producers temporarily run out of good ideas?

So we the audience are treated to endless elevator music in a holosuite program in which Odo accesses without Dr. Bashir's knowledge (it was Julian's program to start).

Major Kira is visiting Bajor for a few days to meet up with her old flame Shakar. Odo's going out of his mind with disappointment. Quark sneaks the program to Odo in hopes the charming lounge singer Vic Fontaine will give some advice to Odo on how to win over the love of his life.

Wouldn't a better premise have been a disaster involving the Dominion war, a severe malfunction of the station's life supports, or another trauma involving Odo's bio-functions to bring them together? Maybe the threat of loss to bring them closer instead of a night club fantasy featuring a 20th century lounge singer?

But I suppose the passionate kiss at the end made up for the previous 45 minutes that could have been better spent.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Best of Star Trek: Deep Space 9---In the Pale Moonlight

"In the Pale Moonlight" is the 19th episode of season 6 and was written by Michael Taylor.

One of Captain Sisko's weekly routines is posting the casualty list from the Federation/Dominion war. Dax  is upset that a friend of hers was killed in Romulan space by a convoy of Jem'Hadar. They know that to get the Romulans on their side they would need evidence that the Dominion is plotting an attack on them---evidence that probably doesn't exist. If it did, it would be in the central command station on Cardassia Prime.

Sisko enlists the help of former Obsidian Order spy Garak to find such evidence. Garak makes contact with operatives who owe him favors. Unfortunately, they are all killed by Jem'Hadar when their communications are intercepted.

So, on to Plan B. Garak knows someone being held in a Klingon prison who can fake realistic hologram scenarios in data rods. Why not just invent the evidence?

Starfleet approves the plan, especially after word gets out that Betazed has been invaded, but the ways and means Sisko goes about faking the evidence is left undocumented because of its devious nature.

While the released prisoner works on creating the fake evidence, Sisko and Garak plan for the arrival of a Romulan Senator. As Sisko and the Romulan are in discussions, Garak is quietly executing Plan C---planting a bomb on the dignitary's ship and planting evidence to suggest sabotage by the Dominion, all without Sisko's consent or knowledge.

Things come to a head when Sisko learns of the Senator's death and confronts Garak with a sock to the jaw. There's little he can do however, seeing the operation was covert and it did get the Romulans involved in the war against the Dominion.

This episode expands Sisko's character into a multidimensional and complex man, one who is willing to bend the rules and do whatever it takes to keep the Alpha Quadrant from falling to an enemy that seems unstoppable. Making up shit to win would have seemed unthinkable to him at one time. But with mounting casualties and the possibility of  being ruled by an authoritarian regime, he decides it's worth the risk.

As he explains in his personal log:
 I lied. I cheated. I bribed a man to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all, I think I can live with it.

Worst of Star Trek DS9---Change of Heart

Or a more appropriate title would be "Change in Characterization."

Worf and Dax are assigned to take a runabout on a mission to meet up with a Cardassian operative who has information about the Dominion's tactical strategy and the whereabouts of hundreds of Changling spies. He informs Worf and Dax via subspace transmission that Vorta commanders are becoming suspicious and they agree to meet a rendezvous point on a nearby planet.

Once they land, several hundred meters from the meeting place to avoid detection, they head out on foot. But they are spotted by Jem'Hadar soldiers. One of them critically injures Dax with an anti-coagulant. After a while, Worf is forced to leave Dax behind because she's too weak to continue and their journey only furthers her bleeding.

He arrives at the meetup spot to await the arrival of the operative, only to go back and get Dax to the space station for treatment. He saves her life. But at great cost to the operative who is killed by the Dominion, taking with him all the vital information that could have helped the Federation.

The episodes redeeming feature is the side story involving O'Brien's new found obsession with defeating Quark at the Tongo wheel. He enlists the help of the genius doctor Bashir. However, both men underestimated Quark's talent for distraction.

The banter between Worf and Dax is amusing as well, but doesn't really save the episode from the dramatic left turn Worf takes in his duty to Star Fleet. In the past (TNG) Worf wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice a major player to preserve the survival of the Federation, let alone the Enterprise. Failure of a mission, particularly one of such magnate, would have brought about disgrace to the proud Klingon. Would saving one individual, even a mate and putting ones personal feelings above the call of duty, be an acceptable alternative to a Klingon--a species who prides itself in knowing that the highest achievement is to die in battle?

I'm calling BS on this one.