Category Archives: Star Trek

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 8 – Necessary Evil

I didn’t remember this episode being so early in the season. In fact, can distinctly remember seeing some other early episodes, I must have missed this one and caught it later on a rerun. See, this is the episode that pissed me off, and I didn’t care about the show anymore because of it. I totally went all in for Babylon 5 after watching this one. I apologize for the wall of text format this one is.

Live watch / plot
Hmm, maybe this is not the episode I’m thinking of. So we have Quark and a Bajoran woman plotting some sort of heist. He used to smuggle goods to her during the occupation. She was apparently prime suspect in her husband’s murder some years back, but Odo wasn’t able to convict her. Once Quark leaves, a suspicious guy comes out of the shadows, then we have the intro.

After the break, we have Odo doing the stardate and log, apparently we’re getting a day in the life of security. Now Quark and Rom got into action on the heist, in which we learn the Rom has learned to unlock Quark’s security door to his storeroom in 10 seconds. And his vault! They obtain whatever it was they were looking for, and take it back to Quark’s place. Inside a case, there is a piece of paper with Bajoran names on it. Quark asks Rom to get him an imager, meanwhile the suspicious guy comes in. This is in the middle of the night and the bar is closed, so I guess he broke in. He takes the paper and shoots Quark, apparently killed as Rom states so when he finds him. Bashir is called in and rushes Quark off to the infirmary. He’s not completely dead yet, but may be dying. Odo immediately suspects Rom, quoting Rule of Acquisition #139: Wives serve, brothers inherit. I wouldn’t have expected Odo to be quoting the rules, but it’s not surprising that he knows them. LOL, Odo says Rom isn’t as stupid as he looks. This has been a strange recharacterization of Rom in this episode. Normally I’d have said it was a ploy by Odo, but Rom was good at the breaking in.
Under Odo’s pressure, Rom reveals that the intruder stole a list of Bajoran names, they they found in the storeroom that was put there back when it was the chemist’s shop when the Cardassians ran the place. Odo opens the door and we flash back to around that time when the murder occurred, and presumably the list, that presumably has some connection to the murder, was hidden.

He enters and inside is Gul Dukat. The station is lit with drab bluish lighting, probably both as a symbol of this being Odo’s memory and to give an oppressive feel to the Cardassians who are running the place. Gul Dukat first met Odo when Odo was basically used as a circus freak to entertain with his “Cardassian neck trick.” Gul Dukat tasks Odo to solve a murder. This does seem like the episode I’m thinking of. We find out the Odo doesn’t use chemicals, when the shopkeeper’s wife asks if he’s been there before. She is the Bajoran that Quark was getting the list for, and the murder Odo was tasked to solve was that of her husband, the incident referenced at the beginning of the episode. The shopkeeper’s wife was oddly not crying when she heard about his death, and reveals that he was having an affair, and suspects the other woman was the murderer. She doesn’t know the name, but can point her out. The shopkeeper, Vatrick, and his wife don’t live in the community quarters, but have a private room. The unspoken implication is that they are of some extra value to the Cardassians to get the better treatment. I wouldn’t have caught that the first time I saw it, but remembering the episode as I think I do, I picked up on that detail. She then points out Kira as the suspect, and we flash back to “present” day where Kira approaches Odo and wonders if the list had something to do with Vatrick. In the voice over to get us back up to speed, Odo mentions that the murder was 5 years ago, and he’s still dedicated to solving the murder. Quark is still alive, clinging to life and Rom is trying to remember the names on the list. He remembers something like “Chesso.” Odo asks Kira about it, but she doesn’t remember the name, Odo explains that he knew she was innocent of the crime. Back to 5 years ago. Odo interviews Kira. Some intersting but unelicdating things are revealed. Back to “present” day. Odo is interviewing Vatrick’s widow. She states that she doesn’t know anything about the list, but it is revealed that she has come into some money recently to pay the power bill. Quark is still unconscious, and hopefully recovering. Kira seems to have found Chesso for Odo, but Chesso just died the night before. Odo is treating it as a homicide and they’re stationing security to protect Quark. Odo still suspects the Vatrick woman. Back to 5 years ago. Odo and Quark have their first meeting, and Odo learns that Kira paid Quark for an alibi. This episode is well scripted and acted. Odo talks to Sisko and Dax, revealing that he’s found the list, by the fact that the Vatrick woman’s communication logs showing calls to a set of people she hadn’t contacted until two days ago, and they all deposited 100,000 Bajoran Litas into her bank account in the last 26 hours. She’s blackmailing them. The suspicion is that they were working with the Cardassians, hence them having that much money, and something to be blackmailed over. Suspicious guy apparently overhears this. Odo says he’s always known the “justice” trick, but is beginning to have doubts. Back to 5 years ago. Kira says she needed an alibi because she sabotaged some mining equipment, but I’m a bit confused as to how the space station is a mine. Back in the “present” day, suspicious guy attempts to finish the job of killing Quark, and Rom inadvertently saves his brother’s life. It’s a funny moment when he realizes it and freaks out because that means he’s not getting the bar. They arrest suspicious guy and the Vatrick woman, who says that Odo will never be able to prove she killed her husband, because she didn’t, to which Odo replies, “I know.” The show has given us clues that he now suspects Kira, or perhaps he’s known for some time. Kira follows him into his office to ask when he figured it out. And he just fucking lets her go. What a shitty ending.

Final Grade B+
As entertainment in and of itself, this episode is pretty good by itself, however it destroyed the character of Odo for me, who was absolutely my favorite character due to his commitment to justice, and I swore off the show after watching it, as I couldn’t excuse nor trust Odo ever again. I definitely saw some other episodes before this one, so I must have caught it later in a rerun. I’ll just have to excise this episode from my head canon to continue on and see how things play out.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 7 – Rules of Acquisition

We’d better get at least two new Rules of Acquisition in this episode, considering the title!

Live watch / Plot
Open to Morn sleeping on the promenade, leading into Quarks bar, closed, with an in progress Ferengi poker-type game called Tongo.

Oh, game in a TV show I should probably note. I love the round cards they have (they may actually be oval). I think they had cards like that in the old Battlestar Galactica. Dax is playing as well, and she’s winning. We find out the the Ferengi tend to like their women naked and submissive (and breed-able?). So, this new Ferengi waiter has a clever profit generating idea he shares with quark, where we learn the 59th Rule of Acquisition: Free advice is seldom cheap, and that the 22nd rule says a wise man can hear profit in the wind, and that there are 285 rules! Rule of Acquisition 33: It never hurts to suck up to the boss! Then the Grand Nagus calls and designates Quark as his Chief Negotiator! Intro.

So, I definitely remember this one. Spoiler: The Ferengi waiter is actually female, but passing as male. It’s basically a gender-swapped Tootsie situation, and I’m expect there will be some women’s lib “morals” thrown in, which at the time wouldn’t have fazed me. Let’s see if the “all cultures are equal, and this is an internal affair” stuff they just talked about when they wanted to leave Bajor to the Bajorans comes into play.

The Nagus has arrived on the station to host a business conference. He has a very amusing negotiation with Sisko. Later, he talks to Quark about is plans for the Gamma Quadrant. The next day, the new waiter, Pel, overhears Quark daydreaming about it and reminds him of the 48th rule of Acquisition: The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife. “He” explains that the reason Quark was invited was to be the fall guy in case the negotiations failed. Quark decides to ask Pel to assist him as consultant, to the chagrin of Rom, but Rom is an idiot, so it was a good decision by Quark. We follow Pel to “his” quarters, where it is revealed that “he” is actually a woman!

We are introduced to the Dosi by the first one being through through the airlock door due to a “minor” disagreement. They have red faces and big muscles, which makes them look like Oompa-Loompahs on steroids.

The negotiations go… aggressively.

Later Dax and Kira have a conversation about their opinions on the Ferengi, and I fall in line with Dax’s observation that the Ferengi are fun, because you always know where you stand with them. Interestingly, Kira uses the word “misogynistic” which I didn’t know the meaning of at the time, and I don’t recall it being used. The first time I remember hearing the word was at least a decade later. On to the Tongo game, where Pel demonstrates a show of loyalty to Quark. The next day, Dax discusses it with Pel, where she reveals to Dax that she’s a woman, and that she’s in love with Quark. Quark comes in and rushes her off to the negotiations, which don’t go so well, and the Dosi leave the station. Pel convinces the Nagus to let them borrow his ship to follow the Dosi to the Gamma Quadrant. On the way, Pel and Quark have a Feregni style heart-to-heart, where we learn the 21st rule of Acquisition: Never place friendship above profit.

Rom is having a terrible time running Quark’s bar, where through a conversation with Odo, we learn of Rom’s jealousy toward Pel. Odo perhaps eggs him on a bit and Rom ransacks Pel’s quarters, discovering her secret.

On the Dosi world, we learn that the Dosi, like the Ferengi, are very serious when it comes to profit. It’s a farcical scene where people are punching and shooting each other in a saloon-like venue. Quark persuades the Dosi to a deal of 10,000 vats of tula berry wine, but Quark must insist on 100,000 after the Nagus upped the demand for reasons unkown. They stay on the planet and don’t retire to the ship, which makes Pel nervous, since there’s only one bed. We learn a part of rule 103: Sleep can interfere with…[something], and 62: The riskier the road, the greater the profit. Pel kisses Quark but then the female Dosi from earlier walks in on them. She explains that he can’t sell them 100,000 vats because, as I suspected, there aren’t that many on the planet. She says that she knows someone who CAN sell them that many, if they are serious. The Karama, someone who is an important power in the Dominion, the big player in the Gamma Quadrant. This is the first mention of The Dominion, which plays a huge role later in he series. Quark and Pel go back to the ship, where Quark is ecstatic about what they have found out. It wasn’t about the tula berries, it was about the Dominion all along! Pel want to talk about the kiss, but Quark doesn’t. Back on the station, Quark discusses with the Nagus the situation with the Dominion and gives him the name of the Karama, probably a little too eagerly, although he did say he was going to give Quark a cut of all Ferengi business in the Gamma Quadrant. Rom along with Pel, reveals the secret to Quark, whereby Quark promptly passes out. Quark has a talk with Pel, where he explains that he wants a more traditional wife. He wants her to go, but he gives her some latinum for her troubles. Later she barges in on Quarks meeting to say goodbye to the Nagus, and reveals the truth to him. Quark gets out of the situation but loses his Gamma Quadrant profits. We have a couple more interesting denouement scenes to end it off.

Final Grade B+
All in all, I really like this episode, despite the somewhat preachy bits. I almost always enjoy a Ferengi episode, and this one had a lot of good Ferengi information in it. Also that first mention of the Dominion is important. This one is is a non-skippable episode.

Need to sum up my final thoughts here…

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 6 – Melora

Oh, I’ve been looking forward to this one because there’s something I’ve been waiting to point out.

Live watch / Plot
Bashir does the intro. He and O’Brien have been working overtime to prepare for a new cartographer, Melora. She’s the first Aloran to join Starfleet, and requires special accommodations. She needs a wheelchair, so they basically have to make the station wheelchair accessible.

This is because she is from a low gravity planet. She’s quite determined to be independent, which I generally approve of, but it is bound to spark some contention or it will be a pretty boring episode. Intro.

Woah, I just saw that the guest star, Melora is played by Daphne Ashbrook, and I was trying to remember where I knew that name from. She was in the TV movie of Doctor Who starring Paul McGann as The Doctor!

Quarks is in the middle of a business transaction when someone he knows from his past enters the bar, and states that he’s come to kill Quark. He has a freaky proboscis that connects to his chin.

Well, she’s certainly trying to be strong, independent, handicapped woman, and Bashir seems to be melting her with his charms. So far, so good. Meanwhile, Quark is wining and dining his would-be killer, in an attempt to appease him. Bashir and Melora go to a Klingon restaurant, where she talks back to the Klingon proprietor, proving how tough she really is in that wheelchair. It’s a rather fun scene, though.

The next day when Dax goes to Meet Melora for their mission, she finds that she had a little oopsie in a supply room.

You see, Cardassians didn’t design the station with wheelchairs in mind, because they are evil Nazis that don’t care about cripples! Except, wait, no. This is an absolutely ridiculous design for non-wheelchair bound persons, let alone wheelchair access. Seriously, why would you design tripping hazards all over the station like this? It’s insane!

So her mission was delayed a day, and that evening Bashir visits Melora and he discovers 53 more things to do in near-zero gee.

Dax and Melora are now on the mission.
Heh, Vulcan music, and the thought of a logical species having the need for such creativity. I like the piece, and the fact that even Vulcans need music is perhaps ironically suggestive of the existence of God. Melora is asking Dax about the feasibility of relationships in Starfleet, clearly interested in something serious with Bashir.

Quark seeks Odo for assistance in not getting killed, and when Odo hears that Quark was threatened to be killed, He give us this:

A lovely smile. This is hilarious, because you have to remember that Odo *never* smiles. Odo does commit to doing his job, to his own dismay, which again reveals his high moral standards.

Dr. Bashir reveals to Melora that he can “fix” her “condition” so that she doesn’t need the wheelchair or servo motors to help her move, and she seems excited by that possibility.

Proboscis guy shows up in Odo’s office. I guess Odo wanted to dissuade him from killing Quark since he can’t arrest him for anything yet.

Bashir does the procedure on Melora and it seems to be working.

Proboscis guy shows up in Quarks quarters, attempts to kill Quark, but Quark convinces him not to do so immediately, by buying him off.

Melora starts to have second thoughts on the procedure, as it’s a one-way ticket. She can’t go back to her home again with the low gravity once she’s adjusted to earth normal gravity. Dax likens the situation to The Little Mermaid, which did NOT have a happy ending.

Quark is finishing off his business transaction from earlier to get the latinum to pay off his killer, when the killer turns a gun on them and demands the merchandise, too. Then we learn Rule of Acquisition #16: A deal is a deal. The other alien gets shot by the killer, who then takes money and the merchandise, Quark hostage and later Dax and Melora when they run into the pair as they are boarding from their runabout. They all take off in the runabout, the Orinoco, at gunpoint. The runabout is in a tractor beam, but he shoots Melora so they release the beam. Sisko, Bashir, and O’Brien pursue them through the wormhole with the Rio Grande runabout. Melora ends up saving them by turning off the gravity. She elects not to go through with the procedure, and discusses it with Bashir in the Klingon restaurant while they are somewhat humorously serenaded by the proprietor.

Final Grade: B-
This was an interesting episode with some decent action at the end. The issue of handicaps is interesting, and they didn’t really ram an opinion one way or another down our throats. However, in the fictional universe her decision not to go through with it does make a little more sense than in our world.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 5 – Cardassians

I think I remember this one. It has to be better than the previous 4, right? Right?
Live watch / Plot
Oh yay, Garek is back! This should be good! Whew (fingers crossed)! LOL, what the heck is that doofy hat!?

Those are some weird hats behind Bashir there. I like it for it’s weirdness, though.

What? A Cardassian youth? Garek walks over to him and gets his hand bit for his troubles. I do remember that. Intro.

Oh, Keiko is in this one, and Gul Dukat.

So, the Cardassian boy is a war orphan adopted by Bajorans. Yeah, this is already way better than the first 4 episodes. The Bajoran adoptive father states that they see the boy as a Bajoran, but the other alien who was present says they were abusive to the boy. There’s more going on than they realize. Interesting. The writing is so much better with this episode.

Heh, Cardassian boy is laying Tetris or something. Theses days we’d see it as texting or something on his phone.

Yeah, this is good, and I’m having trouble adjusting to the review work. A very good dinner scene between Keiko, O’Brien and the Cardassian boy transpires here. Later, he and O’Brien have a heart to heart talk of sorts, and wow, do this boy’s experiences remind me of how whites are treated today.

Garek wakes Bashir up in the middle of the night to go to Bajor. They find the orphanage and fix the computer to download all the records. Curiously, they find sever other Cardassian children there too, one looks like Wednesday Addams from the 1991 movie.

They find that the boy, Rugal, is related to a high-ranking Cardassian politician. The politician comes to see his son, and through a conversation with O’Brien, we find that O’Brien’s daughter Molly is 4, which does match her current apparent age, so hopefully no more miracle-gro baby. OK, that wasn’t that important of a part of the conversation, but it was to me due to the miracle-gro incident.

This is good, causing me difficulty in taking notes, as I want to keep watching it. So the boy doesn’t want to go home with his natural father, and they have Sisko arbitrate over the custody battle. Garek and Bashir scour the files to find whatever it is they are looking for, when they realize that the information has been wiped. They found the woman who was at the orphanage when Rugal was brought in.

I’m not following where the line of questioning is going, and I should be putting the pieces together by now, but I love this smile of Garek’s as he watches Gul Dukat being cross-examined by Bashir.

So, I guess the story is that Gul Dukat intentionally had the child taken to the relocation canter even though it was known that he wasn’t an orphan. He didn’t get along with the politician whose son it was.

In the end, they decide to return the boy to his father, which is the right decision.

Final Grade: B
This episode was a breath of fresh air after the last 4 kinda stinky ones. It was pretty good. I don’t have much more to say about it, so that’s it for this one.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 4 – Invasive Procedures

Live watch / Plot
The station has been evacuated due to a violent plasma disruption. They are maintaining it with a skeleton crew. Oh good, Dax has the Orinoco ready to “sail away” just in case they need to evacuate the skeleton crew. XD

Odo and O’Brien find Quark in an airlock doing something he presumably shouldn’t. He’s attached a device to the bulkhead. Intro.

A ship reports that it is caught in the storm, and the crew wants to come aboard, but when they do, it’s a couple of Klingons, a trill and another alien who attack. They force Odo into a container. They go to the med bay and force Bashir to put the container into a stasis chamber. they make there was to the command center and force everyone into the center of the room. Oh, some nice cello or bass notes there. Quark is rounded up as well, and we find that he’s come to steal Jadzea’s symbiont, Dax. I do kinda remember this one from back in the day.

So they transfer Dax into Verod. Sisko tries to work on Verod Dax to get him to return Dax to Jadzea. Quark and the Doctor overpower one of the Klingons and release Odo. Sisko works on Verod’s “girlfriend”. Odo and Kira overpower the other Klingon, and Verod and Sisko have a showdown, resulting in Verod being stunned and Dax is returned to Jadzea.

Final Grade: C
This episode was also just OK. I was rating these too highly, I think I was subconsciously going with an A, B, C scale instead of A though F scale. I’d basically rate them all at 3/5 which should be a C. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Bashir grows a spine in this episode, so that’s a good thing.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 3 – The Siege Part 3

Live watch / Plot
Recap. Sisko announces the evacuation of Kabul DS9. Intro! I’m skipping it this time because I just want to get into it.

Heh, Amazon has the title misspelled as “The Seige” in their listing. Oh, Keiko is in this episode. So, Quark is scheming to sell his and Rom’s seats on the evacuation ship, and strangely, Quark says that he wouldn’t sell his brother’s life unless for a lot of money. This somewhat contradicts his statement from The Nagus episode, but I suppose one could chalk it up to greed.

Jake and Nog have a goodbye conversation as they discover they are each going their separate ways. O’Brien and Keiko have a teary and slightly argumentative farewell. Sisko and crew make plans to get the evidence to the Chamber of Ministers that Cardassians are supplying the arms to the Circle.

Heh, Quark was overbooking the flights. Who would actually think that Quark had seats to sell, is he still a deputy? Haha, Rom sold Quark’s seat, good for him!

A slightly humorous scene with Kira and Dax firing up an old transport ship on an abandoned moon base.

I like seeing Jaro and Winn together. They really creeped me out back in the day. This scheming feels more like what we should have gotten in the Star Wars prequels, and I was in the middle of the Thrawn trilogy at the time.

Heh, O’Brien loving the rations, I kinda remember that.
Sneaking around the station and capturing Bajorans.
Kira and Dax trying to get to Bajor.

P l o t  m o v e m e n t.

Would be nice.

Some shooting on the station. Heh, Odo makes himself into a tripwire. I remember that. Dax and Kira crash land. Interesting exchange between Sisko and the Bajorans. Dax and Kira get rescued by monks at the monastery. A nice call back to Kira’s encounter with the 3rd Orb.

Rule of Acquisition #31: Never make fun of a Ferengi’s mother.

Sisko seems to have retaken the station.
Kira presents the evidence.
The General give the station back to Sisko, but the Colonel tries to shoot Sisko who is saved by Li Nalis who dies in the act of saving him.

Final Grade: C
This episode was okay. I was giving it more than I should with a B, so have re-evaluated it to a C after watching episode 4. The first 3 episodes were mediocre at best. These 3 are middling Cs at best, but possibly could have been solid Bs if combined into two episodes instead of 3. There were some interesting things touched upon in these episodes, but not enough for me to really delve into. I have to say that it really has cemented my feeling of Bajor being most like Afghanistan. I recall that when I first watched this, the coup brought back memories of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 2 – The Circle Part 2

Live watch / Plot
Recap of previous episode.
Sisko and Jaro square off about the post reassignments. Sisko is unhappy about them. Jake calls Sisko to their quarters to observe more Circle graffiti. Dun dun dun!!!! Enjoying intro again.

Odo confronts Kira about her leaving the station. He’s angry because she’s not following her personal code over all others. Which one would think is something honorable, but it really amounts to “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Back in the day, I didn’t realize that.

What ensues is a sort of goodbye gathering. Kira is invited to stay at the monastery by Vedek Bariel.[1] Kira experiences the 3rd Orb st the monastery.

Quark and Odo discuss the arms that these Circle people are getting and start an investigation. Quark gets deputized. A coup is in the works, and I feel bored. I’m pretty sure this was more exciting back in the day. Lots of dialogue going on that is not as interesting as last episode. Vedek Winn shows up at the monastery and is her usual creepy conniving self replete with veiled threats.

Sisko goes down to Bajor to talk to the general in charge of defending the city, wherein the building has some designs that look Cardassian. I suppose some Cardassian construction would be the result of their occupation. Sisko gives the general the info about the arms suppliers and asks for Kira back, but it is out of the general’s control.

O’Brien smuggles Odo on board the Kressari ship, the ones who are doing the arms supplying. They didn’t find anything, so smuggling Odo is possibly plan B.

Sisko visits Kira at the monastery. This is a very slow moving episode. Kira is then kidnapped by the Circle.

Odo observers a transaction between a Cardassian and the Kressari.

Kira is taken to see minister Jaro, who is the head of The Circle, and just as I said in the review of the last episode, he’s not happy that a war hero could capture the attention of the people. His arguments against the Provisional Government aren’t wrong, though. It’s very interesting how my opinions towards this character have changed since I first watched it. This scene gives me a lot to think about that I can’t put into words very well, but this episode is finally getting interesting. Some of the politics don’t quite add up, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Quark finds out where the Circle’s head quarters are, so they can mount a rescue operation for Kira.

Jaro and Winn have their scheming meeting.

Admiral Chekote[2]. orders Sisko to evacuate DS9 and leave it to the Bajorans. This seems the right choice to me, to butt out, but I’d have expected the Federation to want to defend its occupation of the station. They kind of leave the personnel to fend for themselves, ouch! To be continued…

Final Grade C
This was was solid C territory but it got kind of interesting at the end. There’s really not a lot to say about this episode, it’s not great, but it’s a bit less skippable than the previous one.

1. It’s spelled Bariel in the opening credits, despite being listed as Bareil online.

2. An odd reference to Voyager?

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 2, Episode 1 – The Homecoming Part 1

After a hiatus much longer than either of us anticipated, we are back writing reviews of Deep Space 9.

Live watch / Plot
We open with a nice shot of Quarks Bar from the upper level. Odo is looking for Quark. These guys really are the best part of the show. 76th rule of Acquisition: “Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.” An interesting business / pleasure meeting for Quark. He is given a Bajoran earring that came from a Cardassian.

Kira meditating…. Quark gives her the earring. I’m just going to say that this feels really good to be back watching the show. Watching the intro now. The world has really changed. I miss the old days, but don’t dwell on it too long.

A scene with Jake and Sisko. Oh, Gul Dukat is in this episode, cool. Jake is having his first date, heh. Kira comes in, somewhat defiantly, as per her usual, and demands to speak with Sisko. They go to Quark’s bar as it’s like, the only place on the station. The Chunky Mug makes its appearance. Kira wants to borrow a runabout to rescue a Bajoran prisoner of war form Cardassia IV, Li Nalas. She describes the current state of Bajoran politics, which is mildly interesting. She wants to rescue Li, a war hero, to help unify her people.

O’Brien interrupts over the communicator to call Sisko to another location on the station. And we find graffiti placed there by “The Circle” an “extremist faction who believe in Bajor for the Bajorans. All other species are inferior and should be expelled from the planet.” Well, I’m all for Bajor for the Bajorans, but the graffiti and being complete isolationists seems a little dumb. I’m sure these guys are meant to be the bad guys, though.

Sisko consents to the use of the runabout, and insists that O’Brien got on the mission with Kira. I’m sure the Federation would be upset if things go awry. One irritating thing is that Kira objects to O’Brien’s presence before acquiescing, stating that it’s a Bajoran issue, but she made it a Federation issue by asking for their runabout.

So Kira and O’Brien head to Cardassia IV to rescue the Li, and it turns out there’s a whole labor camp with several Bajorans there. This is contrary to what the Cardassians had said when they said they had released all their Bajoran prisoners. They have to land to try to rescue all the prisoners they can. The rescue the guy they came for, but they don’t get everybody out.

When they get back, they get Li to immediate medical attention, as he got hit pretty bad. Kira finds Sisko on the phone with Gul Dukat, who says that they are sorry, the High Command was unaware of the prisoners there, and they have released all the rest of the prisoners.

So this guy Li is walking around the station with Kira and Sisko. While they wait for a diplomat to arrive, Minister Jaro, played by Frank Langella, but strangely not credited. Ooh, someone looks to be drinking Gatorade from a jar.

Jaro explains how dangerous Kira’s mission was, and if she ever disobeys the military like that again it will be the end of her career. I bet there are those that would not like to see this war hero back, as it could weaken their power on Bajor.

Li Nalis has attracted a crowd, being a famous war hero.[1] He is attention weary, though. Jaro comes up to him and takes the opportunity to address the crowd. Then Li Nalis retires to his room and has a little conversation with Sisko. General set-up info, it sounds like.

Quark and Rom having payday. Quark gets assaulted and branded by the Circle.

Jake gets dumped because he’s not Bajoran, heh. With what I know now about diverse peoples, let alone completely alien ones, that’s not a bad reason, actually. Of course Star Trek treats totally alien species as completely compatible, though. Still, there’s no reason they couldn’t be friends.

Li Nalis tries to stow away on a ship leaving for the Gamma quadrant, when he’s returned to Sisko, explains that his “leadership” is basically a tall tale. So he’ll go on to be the reluctant hero, it seems. Kira gets recalled to Bajor and Li Nalis gets assigned her post. To be continued…

Final grade C
This is a set-up episode so the plot is very thin and straightforward, and the expository dialogue is stretched to give this a full-length running time. It’s just good enough to give that a pass. It would have been more interesting to see Kira fail and the Federation come down on Sisko for giving her the runabout. That would have made a good self contained episode. After watching the first 4 episdes of this season, I felt I was being generous with a B even though going on a gut feeling of how not-bored I was watching the episode, so I’ve changed it to a C. The guy who played Li Nalis was good, and I vaguely remember him. I don’t actually remember this episode very much – making it a very skippable episode.

1. I get a mild kick out of seeing the all black and Asian Bajorans, as I don’t remember any back in the day.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1 Summary

Phil: How long has it been since you last watched DS9 (prior to this walkthrough)?

Drake: I haven’t watched it since it was in first run, so depending on the episode anywhere from 23-28 years or so. I quit watching the show regularly at one point in favor of Babylon 5, so there are many many episodes I’ve never seen.

Phil: Does the show hold up?  How has temporal distance changed your perceptions, likes, and dislikes of the show?

Drake: Surprisingly, it does hold up, in that I was expecting to hate it, relatively speaking, and I find that I enjoy it more or less the same as I did before. Occasionally, a few things I find I like a lot less, but then I find something I like more in a different episode so it balances out more than I expected.  Q-Less was probably the biggest disappointment compared to my memory.  Progess was very interesting, in that I appreciated different aspects of it this time around.

Phil: Excluding Quark and Odo, who I think it is safe to say we both really like and appreciate, which characters do you like on the show?

Drake: To answer the question you didn’t ask: Odo, then Quark. That’s kind of important as something they did with Odo is what turned me off the show back then.

Naturally, O’Brien is my next favorite. Being an engineer by nature myself, you can see the obvious appeal. I liked him a lot on Next Generation, it was a wise decision to bring him over from the other show, which was still going on at the time. Later, when Next Generation ended, they brought Worf in, so that will be interesting.

So far, maybe Nog is my next favorite character, though. The other characters have potential, but are still somewhat rough or bland as this is first season and things haven’t gelled yet.

I remember Dax looking a lot prettier when I was 18, heh. Kira is needlessly defiant as you pointed out. I remember thinking that back in the day, but not so eloquently. I remember kind of liking Bashir back in the day. Sisko is very bland so far. Jake is typical teen, played appropriately. Rom is an idiot, but possibly more interesting than the rest.

Phil: If a friend were interested in watching DS9, and had never seen it before, are you more or less likely to recommend it now than, say, a year ago?

Drake: I’d say about the same. Basically the same reaction I gave you. I liked it back in the day, but never finished it due to a hang up I had, and all the stuff where it “got good” happened after that. I could neither encourage nor dissuade someone. I’m really glad you suggested this project, though.

Phil: Which, if any, episodes would you recommend a newcomer skip if they are trying to get into DS9 for the first time? Which episodes should they definitely watch?

Drake: Best episodes: Duet, Vortex, and Babel. In that order.

Worst episodes: Move Along Home, Dramatis Personae, and In the Hands of the Prophets, also in that order, but the order is less well-defined.

Episodes that should be watched for important plot/character development, in show order:

Emmisary, Past Prologue, Dax, The Nagus, Vortex, Battle Lines, Progress, The Forsaken, Duet, and In the Hands of the Prophets.

Most skippable: Move Along Home, Dramatis Personae, and The Storyteller, in that order.

I could give a full yea or nay rundown on each episode with reasons, if you like.

Phil: What are your top three Trek series, in order of preference?  Where does DS9 rank after this first season?

Drake: Next Generation, Original, and Enterprise, probably. DS9, then Voyager.

Some other random thoughts. I like how the Bajorans aren’t straightforward good guys. This may be some of the “grittieness” that is plagueing media today, but back then it was kind of new and fresh, plus we still had the Federation as the good guys.

Odo’s mouth looks way worse than I remember. I think that’s the extra clarity coming from a digital copy even in standard definition.

I could write a book on all the topics touched on the last episode, but it was so un fun to watch, that I hardly want to. There are some important moral issues I’m glossing over, but at the end of the day I want entertainment from this and not morality issues. I will add that the specific points Vedic Wynn raised on the teachings were stupid because the two positions didn’t actually contradict each other.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1 Summary

Phil’s Season 1 Summary

So, we’ve finally completed season one of Deep Space Nine.  Was it worth it?Maybe.  The show to this point has been very up-and-down, with a lot more downs than ups.  I’m told that it does get better in season two, but that it doesn’t really start to shine until season three. 

We had nineteen episodes in season one, which is an odd number for a show. In the nineties it was pretty common to have between 22 and 24 episodes per season, and generally leaning hard towards 24, so I wonder what happened there with DS9.  Of course, I don’t wonder enough to try to go look it up.  Maybe Drake knows or remembers.

I have a spreadsheet where I have kept track of the ratings I’ve given each episode, and based upon that the entire season averages out to a “C-.”  A very low “C-” at that.  I think that matches my subjective opinion as well.  While there were some good highpoints and even an episode I gave an “A” to, as a whole the first season was very, very skippable.  For me it was at the lower end, and sometimes below, the threshold of “barely watchable.”

That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, however.  I did enjoy it.  I think I enjoyed it a lot more because of this project of reviewing the episodes.  It gave more motivation to finish each one, and to keep watching them.  Without that, I am certain I would not have made it through the first season.  It was also really nice to be able to read and react and talk about things with Drake as we went through it together.  It added a lot to the experience and tempered my emotions (mostly negative) about the show and kept me going through it. 

And I am really glad I went through it.  There was some really good TV in there, sprinkled among some of the not-so-good.  I understand the tone of the series is going to change over time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that evolves.  I really have no idea what to expect.  It is rare that one can come into a franchise decades later and be almost completely ignorant of what to expect.  I really wonder what I would think of some classic movies now if I watched them for the first time at this point.  Stuff like Star Wars, or Indiana Jones, or Ghostbusters.  Would I like them as much as I did when I first saw them?  Would I like them as much as I do now?  Would I pick them apart and find flaws?


Questions Drake wants to ask Phil:

Drake: What gave you the idea to do this project and why’d you come to me? (I’m very glad you did)
Phil: It just kinda happened. DS9 had been recommended to me several times by various folks, and there was a discussion occurring with Jon Del Arroz and others. You mentioned that you were going to watch it, and I knew you had a blog and were interested in getting more active with it. I took a flyer and said that if you were ever interested in watching it in a book-club-style setting, I’d be interested in participating. It all just came together at the right time. 

I’m not a big Trek fan. I’m a more casual fan with no specific knowledge or attachments to the lore, setting, characters, etc. I actually liked the Abrams Trek reboot a lot more than I had any other iteration, plot holes and ridiculous astrophysics/astrodynamics notwithstanding. 

I had enjoyed TNG in my youth, but it was not a frequent thing. I had seen only a handful of episodes of DS9 and couldn’t tell you a thing about it. I had watched at least part of a season of Enterprise, but it didn’t air on any TV I had access to when it was being broadcast, and I just never got into it. 
Based on previous conversations with friends who were Trek fans, and their opinions that DS9 is the best Trek but takes a while to get good, I believed that I would have a hard time getting into the series. Doing this as a writing project kept me plowing through it. Without that, I’m certain I would have given up long before I completed season one.

Drake: What’s your overall opinion of the season and the series so far? 
Phil: It is pretty rough. I tried to get my wife to watch it with me, and she quit very quickly. Instead, she went and started watching TNG without me. I have definitely seen more of TNG, but not a lot. She used to watch that with her dad, though, when he was still alive.  He came to live near us towards the end of his life, staying in a nursing home that was very nearby. I bought the first season of TNG on DVD at the time, and we went over together to his place to watch an episode every week.  I think we finished the first season, but did not have a chance to even purchase the second season before he died.

Needless to say, my wife has a strong emotional attachment to TNG. She’s currently getting her Master’s degree, and she likes to put it on in the background while she works on her schoolwork, or while she grades papers and the like for her 5th grade class.  She tore through TNG, and periodically would stop and come let me know about how good it was. It wasn’t her direct intent to make me jealous, but it sure worked.

I watched a couple of episodes of TNG during the middle of DS9 season one, and it was kind of a bad idea. TNG is just so much better. It isn’t even close. Don’t get me wrong. TNG has issues, and their first season was pretty rough too. But TNG gets going, most of the issues tend to be of scale and budget. The shuttle bay, for instance, is just a big, square warehouse with some bad CGI props. But it is forgivable, because we know the constraints the show was under, and the writing is just so gosh darn good.

DS9, on the other hand, struggles across the board. The only thing that really works well on the show (in my opinion) during the first season are Quark and Odo. I don’t know if that is because of the acting talent, the writing, or something else, maybe a combination. But Quark and Odo have the best chemistry in the first season, and they do such a good job of conveying thought an emotion as well as really getting each other’s goat and playing off each other as actors. They are phenomenal. Everyone else seems rather forgettable at best in comparison.

Drake: Are you enjoying the project more or less than you expected so far? What aspects are different than you expected?
Phil: Both more and less. That doesn’t really make sense, but I thought this would be a bit of a slog before we started. I wanted to do it as a project like this to help me get through it, and also to experience it with someone who knows Trek better than I do. I wanted someone to help explain things to me and answer questions when I needed it, and to talk me off the proverbial ledge. I figured there would be a few times I would just want to throw in the towel and want to quit because it was so bad, and someone who could coach me through it was something I knew I needed. That has worked out splendidly.

There have been some nice surprises in season one. We had a really, really great episode in Duet. After the rest of the season, that was a really splendid surprise. I did not expect, nor did I think the creative team for DS9 had it in them, to see such a great episode after all the stinkers that we’ve had. There is some truly terrible TV in season one. 

Comparing it to the tar monster of sin in season one of TNG, though… Well, I’m not sure what I’d grade that one as I haven’t seen it in a long time. But it would be a low score for sure.

To put it another way, I’m enjoying it enough that I want to keep going, and I want to do other series as well. It’d be nice if Drake and I had unlimited time and we could do all of the Trek series and movies, popping out at least one a day. But there’s no way that’s going to happen. We may decrease our output, not step it up.

We are agreed that we will definitely do Enterprise at some point. That’s good. I’d really like to watch that one too.

Drake: Excluding Quark and Odo, who I think it is safe to say we both really like and appreciate, which characters do you like on the show?
Phil: I like O’Brien, but he’s been a bit of a disappointment. He’s gotten a few episodes where he’s had more screen time, but he’s only really had one where he got to really have any character development. He’s a comforting presence on the show, providing some continuity and an emotional anchor point from TNG, but he hasn’t really stood out yet. He’s the stereotypical competent technician who doesn’t get along well with others. He needs some fleshing out.

I also like Kira, up to a point. Her character doesn’t have a ton of depth or range, or so it appears to me at this time. But what she has she sticks to consistently, and she plays it up loud and frequently. If you find yourself playing the hand you’ve been dealt in life, who can really blame you?

Sisko is just kinda there for me. He seems like a nice guy, a decent fellow. He’s a bit of a calming presence, and I guess that’s his role. He reminds me just a little of the principal from Boston Public, if you’ve ever seen that show. Of course, I think the guy in Boston Public pulled that role off better than what Sisko has. Sisko just isn’t anyone to write home about. I don’t particularly care for the way he’s handled a few things, but that seems really nitpicky in a Trek show where the writers are the real problem there. I don’t know… Sisko is just basically background noise to me at this point.

Dax is too. She had that one episode where she was on trial, that I really didn’t care for all that much. I don’t like the concept of the Trill, and outside of that, she’s just a bit of a foil for others to react to.

I actively dislike Doctor Bashir. I don’t know why. I don’t care for his demeanor, I guess. He tries to be a bit of a womanizer, but he’s not likeable when he does it. Most womanizers aren’t likeable, but an example of someone who was likeable is Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. He’s an unforgiveable ass, but he’s so much fun to watch as he does it, and his character just oozes and drips charisma all over. It is easy to see why all the women fall for it in the show. Doctor Bashir is just the ass without the charisma. He also really hasn’t had an episode where he was allowed to shine and really come into his own yet. I hope that happens and we get some good character growth from him.

Drake: I think The Forsaken was the episode we disagreed on by the most. I know you really hated it, but I didn’t get a good sense of what you didn’t like about it. What was it that was so bad?
Phil: It was a little bit of everything. I dislike Lwaxana Troi as a character, which doesn’t help. I especially dislike that this is more-or-less a repeat of the episode in TNG where the same thing happens—she falls for Captain Picard and follows him like a lost puppy dog while also trying to seduce him. It was annoying the first time, but to do it again is lazy and stupid.

The entire side plot that was almost a second main plot with the other ambassadors I thought felt really tacked on and meaningless, and it didn’t really go anywhere. They got on Doctor Bashir’s case for no real reason, and it just seemed a massive waste of time for me.

The main plot with Odo and Lwaxana in the turbolift I thought was super cringy. I did not care for it at all. They tried to have an intimate, vulnerable scene, and instead it came off really poorly. It was painful and unpleasant to watch, and it was a little comical for all the wrong reasons. It also doesn’t help that they had “plot setting,” which is a lot like “plot armor.” They have had a tendency to show a fair amount of turbolifts in DS9 season one, and they are all the same. They are slow, they are open air, with minimal guard rails, no safety equipment, no walls, etc. But of course, Odo and Lwaxana get stuck in one that is built like an earth-elevator, because otherwise they wouldn’t be trapped at all and that whole cringe scene couldn’t happen.

Then there was the bizarre probe/malware explanation and O’Brien tricking the code into a software cage and keeping it as a pet…

It was an episode full of some of the worst writing, the most pointless writing, the cringiest writing, and the laziest writing that we’ve seen on the show yet this season. I don’t think I can point to a single redeeming or worthwhile moment in that episode. I just felt the entire thing was garbage and not worth my time, nor anyone else’s.

Drake: Which, if any, episodes would you recommend a newcomer skip if they are trying to get into DS9 for the first time? Which episodes should they definitely watch?
Phil: I think I would recommend anyone new to DS9, and with no or little experience with Trek in general, to skip quite a lot of season one. I think you can safely skip all of these episodes:
1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 16, 17, and 19.

That’s half of the first season. There are a few more to bypass if you really only want to watch the good stuff, but that is a pretty safe list of marginal (or worse) TV that I don’t recall has any major plot info that will make it hard to pick up what is going on later. The only exception to that last was the pilot, but that was a two-hour episode that I felt really only had about 10 minutes of good content in it. The rest was pretty rough, and a 30-second session on a wiki somewhere can probably get you what you need to know.

Episodes that I think should definitely be watched, and really set the tone, are the following:

· Episode 4, Babel: A mysterious virus plagues the station, causing speech distortions and eventually death. A good, but slightly irritating episode. Good drama, good scene setting, but lacking in execution. Still, it helps get a feel for DS9.

· Episode 5, Captive Pursuit: O’Brien befriends an alien from the Gamma Quadrant who is being hunted. This one has a lot of bad Trek along with some good Trek, but it is a great episode for O’Brien and definitely worth a watch.

· Episode 6, Q-Less: Q and Vash arrive on Deep Space Nine. However, Vash has realized the annoyance of Q and wants him to leave her alone. Pretty much any episode that has Q in it should be required viewing.

· Episode 11, Vortex: Odo discovers he may not be the only one of his kind when a visitor from the Gamma Quadrant claims he can contact Odo’s people. This one is extremely important, maybe even vital, for Odo’s character and understanding him.

· Episode 12, Battle Lines: The spiritual leader of Bajor, Kai Opaka, travels with Sisko on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant but is stranded with him on a world where the dead are resurrected. I suspect that the death of Opaka will have larger ramifications throughout the series, making this one more important to watch. If that isn’t the case, and there aren’t significant down-timeline effects, then this would be borderline and not must-see.

· Episode 14, Progress: Kira has to deal with a stubborn farmer who refuses to leave his home even though it is slated for destruction. This is a really important episode for Kira, and I thought one of the better episodes this season. I wouldn’t skip it.

· Episode 18, Duet: A visiting Cardassian, Marritza, may in fact be the notorious war criminal Gul Darhe’el, butcher of Gallitep Labor camp, and Kira is determined to bring him down. By far easily the best episode this season, and just a great episode in general. It should not be missed.

Drake: Could you give some predictions on where you think the show is headed? What would you like to see explored further and what would you like to see dropped?
Phil: From bits and pieces of other conversations, I believe that a war will become the primary plot driver of future DS9 episodes. However, I think that may not happen until season 3 or so, and I’m not sure that I can see DS9 actually becoming all that militarized. 

I also believe, from other sources I can’t recall, that the show starts to leave behind the “status quo reset” at the end of each episode, and starts to tell more stories with plot lines that span episodes. I hope that does happen, but I guess we’ll see. I don’t have a lot of foreknowledge or expectation. 

As far as things I’d like explored: More of the station. I’m confused, actually, by the size of DS9. At various places they both act like the thing is huge (and it seems to be, based on shots of the Enterprise D docked there in episode one), and like it is a tiny, humble, intimate gathering. I think at one point it was stated there are only three hundred people living on it. That seems like a ridiculously small number, but it does explain why we don’t run into a lot of other cast members, why Quark’s bar/casino is the only hangout, etc. I believe the TNG Enterprise had a full complement of over one thousand, so the DS9 population seems really small.

Anyway, if it were a big station, I think it could be fun to have Jake exploring the bowels of the station, running around, getting lost, sneaking into other bars or something, etc. It would probably take a lot of money for their limited sets, though, so I’m not too optimistic. Having Odo have somewhere else to chase people other than to Quark’s would be a good thing, too.

I think I would like to see the station retrofit up to Federation or Bajoran standards. The Cardassians made an ugly station, and I keep wanting to comment about their terrible monitor bevels. Every time Dax is working on something, she has this tiny screen surrounded by feet of blank, empty space doing nothing.  And for the love of all, fix those turbo lifts into something safe!