DS9 Review Break

Phil and I are getting a little bit burnt out on doing the reviews and will be taking a break this week (last week of April 2021). We’ll be back next week with the next 2 new episodes. I plan on using the time to work on some site stuff in the background. There should not be any noticeable changes, though. I’ll post when there is anything to report.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 15 – If Wishes Were Horses

This is a “let your hair down” episode of DS9. Something light, frivolous, meaningless, but fun. I guess the writers got tired of working so hard the last few episodes with all that character development and decided what we really needed was some pin-ups!

Well, that’s OK.  Fun and frivolity can make decent TV too, and this episode is pretty imaginative, if not particularly  meaningful.

Primary Plot

The crew discovers they can summon things by thinking about it. Their imaginations plop out into the real world, sort of like Ray when he tried to empty his mind, but something just popped in there. He tried to think of the most harmless thing, and could only think of roasting marshmellows back at camp Waconda…

Yes, DS9 faces the StayPuft Marshmallow Man, except in the form of a Rumplestiltskin, a baseball player, an extremely horny Dax, some snow, and space pin-up girls straight from Quark’s imagination. 

The plot on this one is pretty low. Some aliens show up and decide to mess with the DS9 crew as part of a social experiment.  You know, to learn about them.  ‘Cause that is what enlightened aliens do…

Anyway, it really is an excuse for some cleverness, and lots and lots of screengrabs.

Hero O’Brien ends up summoning Rumplestiltskin by reading a bedtime story to his daughter.

Creepy Rumplestiltskin

We get lusty Dax…

Lusty, playful Dax just can’t keep her hands off of Doctor Bashir.

And we get seductively amused Dax.

Slight smirk? Check. Looking up through eyelashes? Check. Yep, the real one wants you too, Doctor.

We even get 2.5 inches (6 cm, according to Odo) of snow on the main concourse.

But most importantly, we get space pin-ups!

Look at that grin on Quark’s face…
Look at the expression on Odo’s.

Once again, Quark and Odo in one scene, in one quick shot, do more storytelling with their faces, while wearing immovable masks, than most of the rest of the cast does in the entire episode. These two deserve gold stars on every outing. If they didn’t receive awards for their talents and abilities, then they were surely robbed.

Other Thoughts

The plot was pretty terrible in this one.  It was a lot of fake drama, mixed with a lot of creativity.  I didn’t hate it. Nor did I really think it was very good. It was more fun than the no-good and no-fun stodgy episodes from earlier in the season, so it has that going for it.

Final Grade:  C+

C+ for space pin-ups!

Three cheers for Space Pin-ups! At long last, the Space Boobs update has returned!

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 14 – Progress

I apologize for my lateness, friends.  I’ve been dealing with a health issue that has both consumed a lot of time, and also sapped some of my ability to keep up with everything I want to get accomplished.  Better late than never, though.  Still, I’m going to be trying to catch up a bit here, and I will be forgoing screenshots in this one.

Primary Plot

Nog (and Jake) are trying to break into profit. His father has made an ill-advised purchase and is stuck with product that Quark doesn’t want and can’t sell. Nog has taken it upon himself to make deals and trade it away to DS9 cargo freighters, hoping to score gold-pressed latinum. He is not finding any takers.

The boys keep trading and swapping, never knowing the relative value of any product they barter for.

Meanwhile, a stubborn resident, and his servants, of a Bajoran outpost has refused mandatory evacuation orders as an attempt is made to drill into the core of the moon to tap it for energy. He doesn’t want to leave his lifetime home, preferring to perish than leave.

There are alternative options for the moon energy project, including a different methodology that would take a year to yield energy results but would not require the removal of the populace. Major Kira even compares the forced removal to Cardassian attempts to deal with Bajorans during the war.

Bajorans attempt to remove the stragglers by force and the old man resident is shot. Kira-the-possibly-still-Needlessly-Defiant defies the attempt to remove the hardcases, requesting the doctor and making sure they aren’t removed by medical staff during treatment.  She then stays with the old, cantankerous fellow, staying close by him and acting as his nurse, caring for him through the night. She even helps him continue to build his little kiln in his garden as he adamantly swears he’ll never leave.

Meanwhile, the Bajorans are ready to remove everyone by force, and are prepared to do so immediately. Sisko asks (really flat-out orders) Dr. Bashir to request a stay and an exception for Kira and the old man on medically necessary and humanitarian grounds, even though the doctor says there is no reason and would like the man moved to DS9 immediately for treatment even if that is against the old man’s will.  Still, Dr. Bashir acquiesces, buying Kira some time.

The two boys, Jake and Nog, have bartered their original product of sauce through several trades into land. Nog was strongly against this last trade, upset to own only dirt with no value, but it turns out this land is the last holdout to allow Bajorans to implement their mining. They now have leverage, and can turn it into hard profit, turning it over to Quark to conduct the negotiations.

Kira remains with the old man until he is healthy enough to be up and about again. They finish the kiln and light a fire in it. The man says as long as his house remains, here is where he’ll stay. Kira then destroys the kiln with her phaser. She takes the long stick (torch? It looks like a hammer, maybe) that is lit with flame and uses it to set the old man’s house ablaze in several areas. She tells him it is time to go, and he tells her that if she’s really his friend, she’ll use her phaser on him. She doesn’t, of course. He says if he leaves, he’ll die. She says he won’t, and together they beam out.

Other Thoughts

The ending was a bit abrupt, but I really liked it.  It didn’t feel like everything needed to be wrapped up.  Kira got a lot of much-needed character development. The episode felt very comfy to me. I thought the plot with the kids was a bit tacked on, but even it wasn’t bad. Nog and Jake needed some help with their characters too.

Final Grade:  B

It might surprise you, but I liked this episode.  I guess it was a bit of a bottle episode. Very few effects, very simple, probably very low budget.  Still, I enjoyed it.  It is rare when I like an episode more than Drake, but this one did it for me.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 15 – If Wishes Were Horses

It starts out with a typical philosophical discussion between Quark and Odo. Then branches out into family programming, some baseball simulation software that Quark has obtained due to Sisko’s interest in baseball. Then we move offer to Dax and Bashir’s conversation at a table in the Bar. Juilan is striking out again with Dax, to continue the baseball metaphor. Dax goes to command, and is asked to look at an unusual energy reading. Then we see O’Brien reading Rumplestiltskin to his daughter. It may be this scene where we termed her miracle-gro baby because she’s like 3-4 when her age should be 1.

Oh, Rumplestiltskin shows up in her room! I remember having watched this one, too. So, a baseball player followed Jake home the the holo-suite. And copy of Dax that likes Dr. Bashir shows up as well. So here’s something interesting the baseball player has been dead for 200 years, but he played in the ’42 world series. This is the 24th century so 2300s, late 2300s in fact. That would mean he died in the late 2100s. I guess he could have been really really old when he died and he played in 2042. I think baseball died out around that time according to an episode from the first season of Next Gen. Oh, Data said the TV didn’t last much beyond 2040, not baseball. Although it’s hard to imagine professional baseball still being a thing without some form of broadcasting it, it’s still possible. So he could have played in 2042 or 2142, we’re not entirely sure.

Then Dax2 disappears, when Bashir[1] says he doesn’t have time for it. Odo reports that it’s snowing on the promenade, and Sisko declares yellow alert on their imaginations. They figure out this unusual energy reading is some sort of subspace disruption and send a (class IV) probe to investigate. The snow disappears but there’s a goomgee jackdoor, which in reality is just an emu. Oh yeah, everyone starts winning at the casino! Heh. “Ladies and gentlemen, and all androgynous creatures, your attention, please!” shouts Odo, who then asks them all to refrain from using their imaginations. I remember that line, very funny.

The wormhole is amplifying the rupture. And Dax2 comes back to call Dax1 a cold fish, and I literally laugh out loud. I remember that. The computer finds a record of a similar rupture in the previous century in the Hunoli system, not to be confused with the Canoli system. When the rupture expanded the system was destroyed. Dun dun dun!

Half the people have of DS9 have now reported manifestations of their imagiganations (as opposed to figamentations). I like how this panel is ergonomically curved.

Rumplestiltskin is fascinated how O’Brien’s imagination gives him a power that terrifies O’Brien. and they find out the the hole is getting larger, like Leon from Airplane. Sisko and the baseball player talk some baseball, and they did kill the game, cutting his career short, because people didn’t have time for it anymore. They share a touching moment. We then find out that Rumplestiltskin, Dax2, and the ball player are some sort of group trying to find information out on the station dwellers. Curious.

The subspace anomaly continues to expand, while the station crew discuses trying to seal it with the same kind of torpedo that cause the previous one to destroy the Hunoli system, but today’s technology is better and cannot possibly fail, or the rupture will destroy Bajor anyway if they don’t do anything. Kira imagines some explosion and a screaming flaming man, but it goes away. We’re all fine here now.

“Imagination, heh!” says Odo, who then imagines Quark locked in his cell. Baseball will probably save them all, but the rift expands 27%,[2]. All must stare at the pretty rift while they plan to blow it up.

Ka-bewm! Looks like everybody is doing to die, but aha! they imagined the rift all along. However, it was the aliens doing it all along as an experiment to figure out what imagination is, and in the end they were saved by baseball, I think.

Final Grade: B

This was a very enjoyable episode, a bit weird and technobabbley, but fun. I’d like to do a better analysis, rather than what is basically summary of the plot with a few comments. Eh, hopefully I’m doing well enough at these. Thank you for reading.

1. I guess this is as good a place as any for this anecdote. Around this time (1993) we were playing Lemmings, and they have a “basher” power. When playing the game, we’d point our where to bash and say, “bash here.” or “Dr. Bash Here.

2. 27! Weird Al Yankovic’s favorite number.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 14 – Progress

Jake and Nog playing cards in the back(?) of Quark’s bar after hours(?) while Quark and Rom enter while Quark is giving Rom a dressing down. Nog gets an idea for making some profit from what he overhears Quark say. A nicely worked scene despite those setting oddities.

Stardate 46844.3: Bajor is about to tap the molten core of its 5th moon Jerido. There’s a Bajoran bureaucrat overseeing things. Dax and Kira are on a runabout going on their next inspection, but it isn’t clear if they’re inspecting the moon or the planet. Wait, Morn asked Dax out? Hmm. They find people there that were supposed to be evacuated, and Kira beams down to find herself at pitchfork point. The apparent leader of this village is played by Brian Keith.

Jake and Nog make a deal for some self-sealing stem bolts in exchange for Quark’s Yammuk sauce that he didn’t want Rom to buy.

More dealings on the farm, which turns out is on the moon. The family refuses to leave and will die when they tap the core in 7 days.

Nog gets the Yammuk sauce from Quark after begin chastised for providing a free drink for a gambler who had spilled it.

We hear more of the Pioneer’s story, with tankards:

My dad got a tankard like that around the time this aired, I think.

Back to Nog and Jake’s Barter Emporium, where they try to find out what self-sealing stem bolts are. Nog cleverly supposes that they could sell the stem bolts to the Bajoran who ordered them, but couldn’t pay full price.

Kira’s back on the station explaining to Sisko and the Bajoran bureaucrat how the remaining 3 Bajorans are not going to leave the moon. Kira is ordered to evacuate them, and it doesn’t go well. The Pioneer gets phasered, and the security guys get stabbed by farm implements.

The “Nog and Jake Consortium” contact the Bajoran who ordered the stem bolts, and barter a deal for some land. Nog has a strange concept of profit, in that it only constitutes having latinum. “Land is just dirt.” Granted, land might not be as valuable in the future, as they are able to find more of it, but it’s not worthless, and could theoretically be worth more to them than the Yammuk sauce or stem bolts. Whoever wrote this appears to have no concept of what profit actually is. Even granting that Nog is a teenager, he should understand the concept of profit.

Dr. Bashir is tending to the Pioneer, and Kira decides to stay and build the kiln for him and tend to him. I like the design of the homestead set. The cottage has a pretty style and the door is interesting with a hexagonal design that hangs vertically when open.

Sisko comes down to give som sort of pep talk to Kira, and then leaves.

Jake and Nog are playing cards again. Odo is trying to find the NoJay Consortium as the government wants to buy the land and they are looking for that party. Nog offers to cut Quark in on the deal for 5 bars of latinum.

Kira and the Pioneer finish the kiln. Kira then destroys the kiln and burns down his cottage to force him to leave, and then they beam up. The end.

Final grade: Difficult to C.

Whew lads, there was a lot going on here but not a lot of story. The Jake and Nog Barter Emporium was the fun sub-plot which made the main plot bearable to watch, well that, and Brian Keith’s superb acting. He was known for his roles in the Parent Trap and A Family Affair. One of the nice things about reviewing a TV show is that there will be opportunities to highlight actors like this. The main plot was very depressing, kicking an old man out of his home for the “greater” good. I don’t really know what the point or moral of the story was supposed to be. Life sucks, but the government knows best, maybe. That’s some real BS there.

Addendum: Parts of the episode I loved like A, and parts I really kinda hated, like F. In the end it left me confused so I graded it a C. When I originally saw it I felt similarly, but probably about different parts.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 13 – The Storyteller

I’m not sure I remember this episode. But as I’m late due to playing hookie reading Fables, let’s dive in.

Stardate 46729.1 OK, this does sound familiar, there’s a land dispute between two Bajoran factions, the Paku and the Navat or something. Chief O’Brien is heading to Bajor with Dr. Bashir for some medical emergency that could wipe out a village. And the leader of the Paku is a young girl who looks about 14. I think I did see this one before, but I don’t remember much about it.

Heading down to the planet with Bashir and O’Brien, the latter who has some undisclosed aversion to this mission. Julian tries to make friends with O’Brien who is uncomfortable. The arrive on site at the village, and there’s a sick old man who will cause the whole village to die if he dies for some as yet undisclosed, but no doubt sci-fi reason.

Back to the station, where the conference is ongoing. And Quark comes in with refreshments, highlighting the fact that the Paku girl is very young and female, for which she throws her drink in his face. She’s been over the top on the strong woman bit, the pressure of being a young female being thrust into power is apparent. She walks off in a huff, just like a cool-headed leader wouldn’t.

Now Jake and Nog are sitting on the upper level of an atrium. Jake wants to play baseball, but Nog doesn’t because it’s “slow and boring,” though Jake surmises it’s because Nog can’t hit Jake’s curveball. Odo comes by and chastises them for “dangling.” Then Nog sees the Paku leader walk buy and takes an immediate shine to her (she is quite pretty, I totally would have back in the day).

Back to sick old man. Old man says that O’Brien was sent by the prophets. So, there’s a Dalrok that comes to destroy the village and the old man is the only one strong enough to defeat it, but the danger lies in the fact that he’s in the process of dying of old age. Maybe O’Brien can fight it off. This is feeling familiar, though only very vaguely.

Nog and Jake go to meet the aforementioned Paku princess, Vera Sul. Typical teenage chatting occurs and they decode to go somewhere to watch the wormhole.

O’Brien and Old Man prepare to fight the Dalrok, which is a weird clod thing that doesn’t register on the tricorder, but causes wind and throws bit rocks at the village. The villagers seem to be able to ward it off by thinking they are strong, but the old man keels over and they appear to be doomed, so this is probably a good time for a commercial. Old Man says that O’Brien is his successor, and must cheerlead against the Dalrok, which appears to be feeding off their feelings of strength, hey it was sci-fi reason. Old Man dies and now O’Brien is positioned to take his place. Not like O’Brien was planning on moving here, though. Perhaps he can take an annual cheerleading vacation? This Dalrok shows up for 5 nights a year.

To Quark’s bar… Kira walks in and orders a double strong drink. The negotiations are not going well. The Princess is usurping Kira’s role of being needlessly defiant! The Princess visits Sisko to get a side negotiation of some kind, he thinks she’s being unreasonable. He does shake her confidence that her people are as willing to die for the land as she is.

Nog and Jake are searching for the Princess. They find her and she says she has something people want and Nog say this might be an opportunity for her to get something she wants from them – great idea Nog! Jake and Nog both say that they ask their dad’s for help, but Jake’s dad is helpful, while Rom is an idiot, and her dad is dead. Odo comes by with a warning tone in his voice, and they skedaddle, to which Odo smiles, and I crack up because the smile looks funny.

Man, I’m only halfway through this episode, what a slog. I’m pretty sure I did see this only once nearly 30 years ago and it is very forgettable. Bashir and O’Brien are now discussing his new position in life. O’Brien resolves to uses SCIENCE to remedy the situation.

Back on the station, negotiations continue nowhere, and the Princess is depressed. Nog and Jake come over, which gives Nog an opportunity to teach her more about the power of Ferengi negotiation, and us about the 9th rule of acquisition: Opportunity + Instinct = Profit. [1] Which has now made this episode worthwhile. Nog decides to celebrate by stealing Odo’s bucket. Ha! A heist mission ensues. Nog grabs a fancy bucket, presumably Odo’s, and spills it on Jake which is obviously oatmeal and not Odo, a “hilarious” practical joke! Okay, it was funny, but not hilarious. Then Odo walks in, of course, and they all get caught, Princess and all. Sisko sees it, too.

Down on the plant, O’Brien is finding neutrinos and blessing children, and being generally bothered by petitioners. He freaks out, and murders the whole village. No wait, that’s Attack of the Clones. Just testing if you were still awake. I am, but barely. So the real successor tried to murder O’Brien out of some kind of jealousy or something. Dun dun dun!

So they control the Dalrok with an orb fragment as a way of frighting the villagers into cooperating over a common enemy, like in Watchmen. So, the leader, the Sirrah, gets to wear these robes that look like a snazzy smoking jacket.

The obvious plot here is to get the “real” successor to take the job, which they probably will do by having O’Brien fail and he’ll take the reins. Also the negotiations, which clearly the Princess will be trading something for the land. Whew, we’re going to make it through this episode after all! Boring-ish though not insignificant scene between Princess and Sicko ensues. She really should give up that land, though, if Kaskaskia, IL is anything to go by.

Chief O’Brien fails so that successor can save the day, just as I predicted / half-remembered.

On the station, we complete the negotiations with resounding success, and Nog gets a kiss from the Princess before Odo whisks him and Jake off to clean his office they messed up with oatmeal. The end!

Final grade: D
Oof, this was a tough one to get through, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood, but it still wasn’t a really a good episode. “Slow and boring” describes it pretty well.
1. For those counting, this is the second Rule of Acquisition we have learned in DS9 to date.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) — Season 1, Episode 13 – The Storyteller

Happy Friday, everyone! We’re back with another DS9 WatchParty review, as Drake and I continue to pour through these old episodes of Star Trek. We’re having a lot of fun doing these, and we have talked about potentially expanding the scope to include not just DS9, but also at least Enterprise.

It will be a while before we’re able to get to that, however, and will likely not happen until after the completion of our DS9 watch-through.

Primary Plot

There are three plots to this particular episode, and the writers and directors did a good job of interleaving them. There are lots of cuts back and forth to prevent things from bogging down and getting too boring. This is extremely important, as none of these plots really held my interest. By cutting back and forth between them, the episode kept me more engaged than I otherwise would have.

The primary plot is about Hero O’Brien accidentally stepping into a savior role for a small village hounded by an angry monster, who comes once a year to destroy the village. The savior must confront the monster for five consecutive nights, the villagers are rallied and united together, and they all chant the monster away. The monster itself is a boiling cloud formation that appears in the sky.

The current savior is old and dying. Doctor Bashir is unable to save him, as he’s just dying of old age. Even in Star Trek, they can’t cure or prevent death. O’Brien gets roped into “assisting” the old man in leading the village to unite their wills and common purpose to thwart the monster and is thrust into the role.

Of course, the whole thing is rigged. It is a scam. A psyop. It is manipulation at the hands of the savior/priest to keep the village united and prevent fights, fragmentation, etc. The scam is revealed by the apprentice who tries to murder Hero O’Brien in order to take his place. He’s stopped by the combined efforts of Doctor Bashir and O’Brien. The two DS9 officers immediately hold no ill will against him, find out from him that it is all a scam, and Hero O’Brien immediately just wants to give up the role to the apprentice who tried to murder him so that he can continue manipulating the superstitious, ignorant, and gullible villagers.

The villagers prevent the role switch from happening, and O’Brien has to instead go be a terrible savior and allow the apprentice to save the day, uniting everyone to once more thwart the evil sky-god monster by their ties of unity. The only thing they didn’t do was chant “diversity is our strength.”

Secondary Plots

One of the other two plots going on in this episode is a land dispute between two Bajoran factions on the planet. They appear to be small stakeholders, maybe something at a county level, and the dispute involves the movement of a common border. The marker of the border has always been a river, but the river has changed its course and one side has lost a little bit of territory while their “enemy” has gained.

A diplomatic pow-wow is held on DS9 to sort things out, and one side is represented by a teenage girl. She’s been left in charge of one faction by the death of her father. She’s a hardliner and ready to go to war to prevent the loss of the territory. Her position seems to be that it isn’t her fault the river moved, the river is the border, and tough cookies to anyone who doesn’t like it. Sisko tries to convince her that peaceful compromise is the proper way forward by letting her know her people may not be as eager to die over the land as she is.

The other plot involves Jake and Nog. They like to check out the Promenade by sitting at the railing and dangling their feet off the balcony, much to Odo’s annoyance. Nog sees the teenage girl in the negotiations and is instantly infatuated, dragging Jake along to try to woo her.

We see the two act like idiots, Nog literally, while Jake is more of a pompous ass. However, they show her around and eventually make friends.

Other Thoughts

All is well that ends well, I suppose. Nothing much of consequence happens in this episode. The technical aspects of the episode are pretty good. It moves well due to the good editing, but there just isn’t much to work with here. No one really seemed to care or have any interest or urgency in the outcomes of anything, even Hero O’Brien.

Overall, it seemed like a placeholder episode where they were able to throw in some shade against religion as a mind-control device for controlling sheep, so that the evil elites can fleece the flock for themselves, and yet still keep the villagers aligned to their “own best interest.” 

The episode may be a bit more revealing about elites running things than they may have wanted to be. Certainly, it has the ring of truth to it.

Final Grade:  D

Unfortunately, the episode just falls flat for me. I was uninterested in most of it. It was executed well as far as technical production. The editing was good, they did well with pacing, etc. It just didn’t mean anything to me or move me. I was unpersuaded and rather bored throughout.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 12 – Battle Lines

Welcome to this week’s DS9 WatchParty. We are watching the episode wherein Kira-the-Needlessly-Defiant gets needlessly defiant about someone else’s failure to perceive her as sufficiently defiant.  She is then defiant some more, and ultimately is forced to confront her tendency to be needlessly defiant, but not before she gets a little more defiance in. 

I’m wondering if there will need to be a change in nicknames for her. I guess this will depend on how future episodes go.

Primary Plot

The DS9 crew find intel files kept on all station personnel and sundry by the previous owner/occupants, the Cardassians. Shockingly, they don’t think very highly of the people who stuck around and are now living and working on DS9. This is what Kira-the-Needlessly-Defiant gets upset about. They seemed to think she was a messenger girl at best, a mook, a minion, a flunky. She’s quite indignant about this, but as the case with most of these opening scenes, this goes nowhere. It is just a fun little cookie to throw out and provide a sense of depth and other events taking place on DS9.

The Bajoran Pope-ette (I can’t remember the name now) comes aboard DS9 for diplomatic nicety. She spends some time looking out the viewport towards the wormhole, which is not visibly present, as there is no traffic today. She makes a wistful comment that she’s never seen it, so Kira and Sisko make it a point to put her in a Runabout with them and take her out to see it. Of course, this means they are going through the wormhole. They have the doctor tag along for good measure.

While on the other side, somewhere in the gamma quadrant, they pick up a strange signal. That never happens on Star Trek! Sisko, keeping in mind his passenger, decides to send a probe in to check it out. They can follow up on it later. But the Pope-ette convinces them to not change their normal procedures on her account, so they go in closer to take a look.

Effects have gotten a lot better since even the original TNG run.

The Roundabout gets shot down by a satellite system, and they crash on the planet. The Pope-ette is killed during the crash, and Kira-the-Needlessly-Defiant is, of course, defiant towards death in her overly dramatic scene. It is unintentionally amusing in what should be a moment of high drama.

Kira, less needlessly, but still defiant over death.

The party encounters a group of humanoids who behave aggressively towards them. They’ve been marooned on the planet as criminals and have no way off. There is another band also marooned on the planet, and they fight a meaningless war against each other.

The leader of this new band is played by Mike Erhmantraut from Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad (actor Jonathan Banks). I LOVE this guy. He’s one of my favorites. He plays the same character here that he always does, same vocal intonations and speaking patterns, but all Star Trekked up with long hair and such.

The Pope-ette gets resurrected, and Kira-the-Needlessly-Defiant loses her shit again for the third time this episode, letting Mike have it for not setting sentries, utilizing scouts, and fighting the war appropriately.

The Kira we all know and love!

Mike points out that when you lose your fear of death, there’s not much point to a lot of caution or other survival tomfoolery, and we find out that they’ve been marooned here for a long, long time. They’ve fought an endless war with their rivals, nothing ever changes, and this is basically a living hell.

Sisko decides to try to help and offers them refugee status when they get rescued. Mike takes the band to meet with their rivals, letting them know they can have peace and will be settled on different worlds, if they can work together to get rescued now. The rivals think it is all a trick, things escalate quickly violence ensues, and everyone dies except for the DS9 crew thanks to some fast intervention by the doctor. He’s determined that there is a bacterium that patches everyone up after they die, but if anyone who has died and been resurrected by the bacteria they become completely dependent upon it. If they leave the planet, they’ll die, as the bacterium can’t survive or work there magic anywhere else, for reasons.

Hero O’Brien engineers his way around the satellite defense system and comes to rescue everyone. The Pope-ette decides to honor prophecy and stay behind, ministering and teaching and helping these people. That’s lucky, ‘cause she couldn’t leave anyway.

Kira is forced to confront her needlessly defiant behavior and has a confession of sorts with the Pope-ette.  The doctor breaks the bad news to Mike about their status and offers to try to find a way to reprogram the bacteria to help out. Mike wants to use that to deprogram the bacteria in his enemies and finally win the war, and everyone just bails.

It is an interesting, albeit probably unintended, illustration that those mired in sin will remain in sin and need a savior. Those in Hell find themselves in Hell because of their choices, and once in Hell cannot choose to leave it. They remain chained and enslaved to their sin, having lost all charity and grace.

Other Thoughts

The best thing Star Trek ever did was coming up with their standard User Interface that they started in TNG and used in everything else since. It is attractive, unobtrusive, elegant, and most importantly, it prevents the effects team from having to make something up and produce it every time they want to show something on a monitor or panel. Consistency is great for both the audience and the design/execution.

The effects team just has to plug in whatever doodad or gizmo effect or overlay they want to show, and then move on.  It looks nice enough and everyone can pretend in the same manner that they’re manipulating the same sorts of things.

Final Grade:  B-

This was a fairly good episode, even though it was mired and chained by some writing and execution issues. It was thoughtful and provoking, and Kira got some good character development. Things seem like they are really starting to look up for DS9.