Monday, June 30, 2014

What You Leave Behind---Mixed Review

 "What You Leave Behind" is the last episode of  Deep Space 9 and was written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler.

Cardassian civilians have learned that Damar had survived the latest battle and they are encouraged and revved up to fight against the Dominon. This does not sit well with the Founder who decides to destroy Cardassia rather than trust any one Cardassian, including the loyal yes-man ass-kisser Legate Broca.


Meanwhile, on Cardassia, Kira, Garak, and Damar plan to infiltrate Dominion headquarters after an onslaught on Cardassia that leveled a city. They are hiding out in Garak's old homestead but no for long.


A troop of Jem'Hadar show up and kill Garak's beloved housekeeper. If you want to know a good way to piss off a Cardassian tailer, this is it. The bad news, the trio are outnumbered. The good news---accompanying the Jem'Hadar are a couple of Cardassian soldiers who turn the tables on the Jem'Hadar and eliminate them. Now, the four Cardassians and Kira head for Dominion headquarters.


Back on Bajor, our two ill fated love birds are conjuring up the Pagh Wraiths to unleash their power on an unsuspecting Bajoran population. What Dukat doesn't know is that the evil spirits require a sacrifice. They share a cup of celebration, well, almost share. Winn dumps hers as a stunned and choking Dukat utters "Why?"


At Dominion headquarters, Garak and Kira have busted through the armed fortress. What helped was Weyoun's decision to send reinforcements to the front lines, leaving headquarters more vulnerable. Garak, still pissed off and not taking any shit, zaps Weyoun out of existence.

Founder: You shouldn't have done that. That was Weyoun's last clone.
Garak:   I was hoping you'd say that.

Upon hearing the good news, Odo asks Sisko to beam to the headquarters to talk to his fellow shapeshifter in hopes of getting her to surrender.


Odo links with her, to the objections of Garak, to not only convince her to surrender, but cure the sickness created by Section 31 and carried by Odo. (In a previous episode, Odo learns he was infected at Starfleet Medical and unsuspectingly spread the virus to the great link).

The plan works. Outmaneuvered and outnumbered, the changeling surrenders after being cured by Odo. She signs a surrender pact to stand trial on behalf of her people.


Odo tells Kira that he will join the great link to cure his people. He decides it's time to live among his people as well. Kira takes him to the changeling planet to join the link.


Back on DS9, the crew celebrates the end of the war. It is also time for good-byes. Miles, under pressure from Keiko, leaves for earth to take a teaching position at the Academy. He and Julian share an embrace before his departure.



Captain Sisko receives another vision. He must go to the fire caves on Bajor where Kia Winn is firing up the demons. Lo and behold, she is now double-crossed by the Pagh Wraiths! Dukat is brought back to life and restored to his former evil Cardassian self. Winn is destroyed in a swirling fire and Dukat and Sisko do a dance off the cliff. Dukat is consumed by the fire and Sisko survives in the realm of the prophets and will stay, but for how long and for what purpose isn't made clear.

Kasidy and Jake must go on with their lives without him. Nog gets a promotion and Worf reluctantly accepts an ambassadorship to Kronos. In an earlier episode, "Tacking to the Wind," Worf had challenged Gowron's wisdom in leadership. This lead to a fight in which Gowron was killed. General Martok is made the new Chancellor and he talks Worf into taking the ambassadorship position because Worf had talked him into accepting that position. At least now he'll have someone to go targ hunting with on Kronos, he tells Worf.

Julian and Ezri form a new romance and Quark quips that the more things change, the more they stay the same when Kira forbids betting on the station.

In the previous episode "Dogs of War," Rom is made the new Grand Nagus of Fereginar.


The series closes with a scene of the wormhole opening while an anticipating Jake Sisko looks on.

REVIEW

For the most part, I liked this episode. It was intense, engaging, and at times even funny. The battle FX were spectacular for television of it's time. The separate storylines all came together at the end. Each character had a chance to contemplate or face their future with certainty and remembrance of the past.

One thing I found rather odd was how Worf looked back on his time at DS9 with memories featuring the newly arrived Trill Ezri instead of his late wife Jadzia. I mean, WTF? Jadzia was a six year presence on the station and the wife of Worf for at least one!

And I didn't like Sisko's future with the prophets, who at one time were considered wormhole aliens. Are we dealing with science fiction here or mythology?

And this silly story arc involving Sisko's real mother--a prophet sent to earth in human form to create "The Sisko?" So, is Sisko the new Jesus? Gimme a break! I could have done without the ancient biblical myths repackaged in science fiction.

This is the one thing that spoiled the series for me. It became Deep Space 9:  How The Sisko Saves Humanity. I liked the series when it dealt with science anomalies, interstellar and personal conflicts. I didn't even care that the Bajorans believed in their prophets. It's much like that on earth with humans believing in theirs despite no evidence for supernatural intervention. It's what gives many humans hope.

But when you blend science with the spirit world, a world of angels and demons, it only adds credibility and power to superstition.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quark is Upset with the Social and Economic Reforms on Ferenginar

video

In "Dogs of War," Quark, believing he is going to be the next Grand Nagus, vows to undo the reforms that Zek and Mookie have done on Ferenginar including social programs to help the needy and taxes on revenue. Quark would make an excellent candidate for the Tea Party Republicans.

video

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Best of Star Trek: DS9---Strange Bedfellows

"Strange Bedfellows" is the 19th episode of the 7th season and was written by Ronald D. Moore.

The final dozen episodes of the last season have a continuing theme that deal with the Dominion's stranglehold on the Alpha Quadrant, which is only strengthened by a newly formed treaty with the Breen. The leader of the Cardassian alliance, Damar, is having serious second thoughts as he drinks away his guilt and hates looking at his own reflection. Being occupied by allies like the insufferable founders and the creepy Vorta doesn't sit too well with him.



He changes course after Ezri and Worf are captured after a crash landing in a runabout rescue and offered to the female Founder as a gift by the Breen. Damar aids in their escape and tells them to inform Captain Sisko that he's now on their side.

The most fascinating story line here however is the relationship between Kia Winn and Gul Dukat. Dukat has surgically altered his appearance to become Bajoran after encountering the evil version of the wormhole aliens called the Pagh Wraiths in the episode "Tears of the Prophets," which was also the last appearance of Jadzia Dax. Dax is killed by Dukat after he secretively enters the station and encounters Dax about to open the orb of contemplation. Dukat then opens it and his Pagh energy is released and all the orbs go dark.


Now disguised as a Bajoran farmer named Anjohl Tennan, he seeks out the Kia to play to her ambitions and get her to open the book of the Pagh Wraiths in order to release them and bring about the "restoration."

In her own vision, Winn first thinks that the prophets have spoken to her about a farmer restoring the land. When Tennan introduces himself, she believes he is the guide to help her with the restoration. Ultimately, they become more than just spiritual buddies. They become bed buddies as well.

In her second vision, the prophets reveal to her their true identity and she freaks, demanding Tennan (Dukat) get her the orb of prophesy. Too bad for her, they are in no mood to talk to the power hungry egomaniac.



Desperate, she consults Kira Nerys for advice. Kira explains to Kai that her troubles began when she took power. If she wants the prophets forgiveness, she must step down as Kai, give up her political power and walk the path of the prophets.

Kai Winn is having none of it. "Bajor needs me" she asserts. Later, after Tennan reminds her she will continue to walk in Sisko's shadow, she decides to seek out the Pagh Wraiths. Afterall, what have those other prophets given her?

"I'm a patient woman, but I have run out of patience. I will not serve gods who give me nothing in return."


I reserve some judgement here, as I can see her point. The wormhole aliens, AKA prophets, were useless in helping the Bajorans during the occupation of the Cardassians.

I've enjoyed the way the last episodes are breaking up the story lines. We go from the Dominion ship with Damar and Weyoun, to the trials of a newly formed friendship between Worf and Ezri (who is carrying Jadzia's former symbiot),  Captain Sisko and his conflict between walking with the prophets and his new marriage to Kasidy, and best of all, the return of Gul Dukat and his relationship with the equally deranged Kia Winn.



Star Trek DS9---Fan Art Slide Show

A video I made featuring art depicting characters from DS9 by various artists.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Best of Star Trek: Deep Space 9---Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

This is the 16th episode of season 7 and was written by Ronald D. Moore.

 Dr. Bashir plans to attend a conference on Romulus to give a symposium about "the Blight" (the infection first introduced in the episode "The Quickening," for which Bashir developed a vaccine.

 While he lay in bed sleeping, Julian gets a visit from Mr. Sloan (played brilliantly by William Sadler), a secret agent in the mysterious "Section 31," who first made an appearance in "Inquisition." Sloan has a job for Bashir--gather intelligence information about candidates to the Romulan Senate, particularly one named Koval, who introduces himself to Bashir in a funny exchange at the conference.

Bashir: It's a pleasure to meet you.
Koval:  Why? 

A stumped Bashir is even more intrigued when Koval wants to know if Bashir has the know-how to introduced the Blight on an unsuspecting population. Sloan reveals to Bashir that he suspects Koval has Tuvan Syndrome, a fatal disease with no cure. He asks Bashir how they could quicken the illness to prevent Koval from getting a seat on the committee.

 Not wanting to be part of a murder plot, the good doctor asks the advice of Admiral Ross. Ross tells him that Sloan may have an accomplice on the Romulan Senate and to sit tight and see what else he can figure out. However, the next morning Bashir learns that the admiral has taken ill from an aneurysm and he suspects Sloan.

 Feeling nowhere else to turn, he enlists the aid of Federation alliance supporter Cretak, another Romulan Senate candidate. He tells her about Section 31 and the plot to kill Koval. He asks Cretak for classified information about Tal Shiar members.

 Too bad for Cretak. She is found out and arrested for treason. Dr. Bashir is tortured with a Romulan mind probe for more information. Bruised and bloodied, he is brought before the Senate with Cretak and an even more bloodied Sloan. The Senate believes Bashir and he is allowed to leave on his ship. Cretak will be sentenced later and before they can take Sloan back to be further interrogated, he disarms a guard and is about to shoot when he is vaporized.

 Later, Bashir confronts a now recovered Admiral Ross about his role in the plot. He knew Sloan, a man who can easily slip by sensors without being detected, would not be caught so easily at a conference surrounded by Romulans. Bashir believes Sloan to still be alive. Ross reveals that he and Sloan were part of a plot to get Cretak off the candidate's list because her profile showed her to be a true patriot who may turn against the Federation and the alliance and that would put the alliance at risk.



 I found this episode intriguing, suspenseful, and full of interesting turns. It also highlights the moral conscientious nature of Julian Bashir, a man dedicated to saving lives first over saving a federation, particularly one ready to blur the lines between duty to one's fellow men and duty to preserving the Federation at any cost.

 The episode's title comes from an exchange between Bashir and Admiral Ross in which Ross quotes a line from "Cicero." It's translation: "In Times of War, the Law Falls Silent."

Worst of Star Trek DS9---The Emperor's New Cloak

Another mirror universe episode, this one from the last season (and hopefully last of its kind). It was directed by the very talented LeVar Burton and dedicated to the memory of Jerome Bixby, the author of the original mirror episode featuring Kirk, Uhura, Dr. McCoy, and Scotty as the hapless crew accidentally sent to a savage alternate universe.

 This time the silly Grand Nagus has gone to the mirror universe (he found a blueprint of Rom's highlighting the multidimensional transporter and used the technology)to look for profit opportunities there. But the head of the alliance, the annoying and insufferable Kira, decides to kidnap the Nagus and let him go in exchange for a cloaking device from our universe. So who does Nagus suggest would be the ideal pawns in this scheme?

 Quark and Rom manage to get the cloaking device from the one of General Martok's ships. They escape with it just in time with the help of the mirror Ezri (who we learn is a profitier and partner to the mirror Brunt and a lover of mirror Kira's.) Rom is forced by the Regent, the mirror Worf, (who is more like a less intelligent and angry Worf than a mirror)to install the cloaking device in time for battle with the rebel ship (manned by the mirror Miles (Smiley) and Julian).

 But everyone aboard the ship underestimates Rom at their expense. He sabotages the device and once again, with the help of mirror Ezri (who is upset at Kira killing Brunt for disobedience), Rom, Quark and Zek the Grand Nagus escape to a shuttle just before the Regent is forced to surrender to the rebels.



I never liked the mirror episodes of DS9. I find the characters cartoonish and overplayed, particularly by Nana Visitor, who is superb as our universe Kira. It's too bad her talents are wasted in these ridiculous shows.

The episode's one saving grace was that it featured Rom, played by Max Grodenchick. His character is sweet, honest, and delightful. He is not only underestimated, but capable of making astute observations. For example, he's confused by the "mirror's" in that they aren't all that direct opposite. At one point, he says "The alternate universe...it just doesn't make any sense!"

I couldn't agree more, Rom.







Sunday, June 22, 2014

Best of Star Trek: Deep Space 9---The Siege of AR-558

This is the 8th episode of the 7th season and was written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler.

This was a dark episode and reminded me of 5th season's "Nor the Battle to the Strong." In fact, in one point in the episode, Quark (who is with the crew on a fact-finding mission from Grand Nagus) and Captain Sisko have a heated argument about Nog going on the front lines to be a look out (and listen for) the Jem'Hadar. Quark tells Sisko he wouldn't send Jake into such a dangerous position and Sisko replies that Jake is not a Starfleet officer. Jake was the one under fire in "Battle" while on a trip with Dr. Bashir to offer aide at the frontlines.

Here, a Starfleet team had been sent to a planet where the Dominion keeps a communications relay. They have seized it and held it while fighting off teams of Jem'Hadar. There are only a few dozen left of the over 100 original crew members that had been sent. They are battle fatigued from being on the same duty for five months, going against Starfleet's protocol of replacing crews every 90 days. Some crew members are suffering from post-traumatic stress and Bashir wants to get them off the duty and replaced.

Unfortunately this isn't possible at the moment because of the area of space, which is fortified with Jem'Hadar. All the Defiant crew can do is leave them supplies but, after another surprise attack, find themselves fortifying the base with reconfigured weapons and hoping to avoid "Houdini" mines---mines that appear out of subspace at any given location.

Nog loses a leg during a watch after Jem'Hadar sneak up and kill the crew's senior commander. In another chilling moment, an injured crewman refuses to allow Dr. Bashir to replace a bandage that a former crewman had placed. The soldier tells Bashir that the guy who bandaged him was a talker and never shut up. He couldn't stand him. The only time he shut up was when he was struck in the back by a phaser blast and lay there dead---and quiet.

The episode highlighted the realities of war and how those that fight on the front lines are often neglected and forgotten and the psychological effects that this neglect causes.

When the casualty list is posted at the end, Kira tells him it's over 1,700 "names." They're more than just names and we need to remember that" he tells Kira.

Quark notices the effects of battle on war fatigued "hew-mons" and has an interesting exchange with his nephew about it.











What does Nog take away from this? "I almost feel sorry for the Jem'Hadar."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What's the Difference Between Your God and Weyouns?

In "Tears of the Prophets," Weyoun finds the idea of Gul Dukat being possessed by gods from the wormhole ridiculous.






Worst of Star Trek DS9---Profit and Lace

"Profit and Lace" is the 23rd episode of the 6th season and was directed by Alexander Siddig.

It begins with Quark threatening a Dabu Girl with firing if she doesn't provide him oomox. His piggish behavior is interrupted by Rom who is panicked that he can't reach anyone on their homeworld. Fortunately about this time, the Grand Nagus shows up on a shuttle with their Mookie.

Nagus reveals his new plans which involves allowing their females to wear clothes and contribute to the economy. Nagus explains when he revealed this on Ferenginar, the whole commerce authority had a meltdown, leading to the disrupted communications. To make matters worse, Brunt is made acting Nagus.

What begins as a comedy sketch soon erupts into a long-winded silly amateurish play complete with Quark dressing in drag, acting as another close confidant of Nagus after he and Mookie get into a heated argument, which caused her to collapse from a heart attack.

After Dr. Bashir saves Mookie's life and orders her to bed rest, he helps Quark with gender change. A commissioner who comes to the station to discuss the situation with the idea of Nagus's new partner convincing him why females can be an asset to the Ferenginar economy. What happens is something that's been seen in thousands of previous comedy shows---the commissioner has ideas of his own about the female Quark, chasing him/her around the dinner table.



The sex change was a success. The commissioner agrees to Nagus's new terms.

This ridiculous episode highlights female stereotypes about raging hormones and emotional instability in the form of Lumba (Quark). Lumba learns how to sit and walk like a female. The episode makes light of the serious topic of stalking and chasing females who say NO. Even the Dabu girl at the end agrees to give in to Quark's sexual demands. The only saving grace the episode has is Quark getting insight to his despicable behavior during the transformation of returning to his old male self and telling her to forget about it.