Games I’ve been playing this week, and more.

Games

  • Pokemon GO (Android)
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (Switch)
  • Super Mario 3D World (Switch)
  • Bowser’s Fury (Switch) Finished!
  • Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo: Gunbird (Switch)
  • Untitled Goose Game (Switch)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
  • Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Switch)

Comic Books

  • The Cosmic Warrior #3 by Jon Del Arroz 

Books

  • Muramasa Blood Drinker by David Stewart

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 19 – In the Hands of the Prophets

I’m going to be honest on this one, folks. It isn’t very good. It was so not-good that I didn’t really pay it a lot of attention, and I went and did dishes while I watched it. This review is going to be short.

Primary Plot

The plot this time around revolves around campaigning on who is going to be the next Kai, the Bajoran Pope. This becomes an issue because one of the high-up muckety-mucks in the Bajoran religion had discovered that kids in the DS9 school were not being taught the Bajoran faith as it pertained to the wormhole, the non-orbs, and the prophets.

I’m sure this is going to be one of those long-term political threads that runs throughout the show, and we get a bunch of fake drama over made-up religions and made-up politics that frankly makes the disputes over trade policy in the Republic in The Phantom Menace sound thrilling.

What we do get here, however, is a lot of tripe about how all cultures are equal, but some are more equal than others. We get a lot of hot air about how all are welcome on DS9, and how tolerance is such a lovely virtue. And, of course, we get a lot of rhetoric about how religion is backwards and dumb and science is god.

Other Thoughts

The writers couldn’t quite grasp some of the logical inconsistencies in their writing here. Based on their earlier work on DS9, this is not surprising. I had no real desire to sit through a lot of cultural Marxism and proto-SJW tripe, so I didn’t.

One thing I would like to point out: Tolerance is not a virtue. Tolerance is forced upon someone.

A virtue is chosen freely, and acted upon freely. A virtue consists of moral righteousness and moral excellence Only literal God-forsaken idiots think tolerance is a virtue. They are getting it confused with patience, an actual virtue, and one might see how midwits and those of even lower IQs could get the two confused.

Tolerance is the noun form of the verb tolerate. To tolerate is to endure without repugnance; to put up with. One tolerates that which is not chosen, but must be born. One tolerates an evil or an oppression or an annoyance that cannot be eliminated. One does not choose to tolerate anything. One is forced to tolerate.

It is not virtuous to deal with an evil, to make an accord with evil, nor to put up with an evil. You can only tolerate that which is an evil and that you refuse to give into or make an accommodation with. It is the demonic that attempt to spread the concept of tolerance as a virtue, and they do so in direct opposition to and mockery of true virtues such as patience, humility, prudence, etc.

If you currently believe that tolerance is a virtue, I encourage you to get your soul right with God and let Him grant you wisdom and understanding.

Final Grade:  F-

I get the feeling that the ideas and concepts pushed in this episode are more or less endemic to Trek. I’m really not terribly surprised, as I also get the idea that Trek seems to idolize and idealize Marx and Marxism to a large extent. That’s really too bad for a variety of reasons, but it is understandable coming from atheists. Atheists are so incredibly dumb, and so incredibly historically ignorant, that they think that science can exist outside of Christianity. Science was philosophically conceived of, invented by, and developed by Christians. Science is completely impossible without the Christian framework to underpin all of it.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Atheists, those who supposedly worship science, are currently destroying science because they don’t like what it says, what it might say, and even more importantly what those fathers of science did say and believe.

Evolution and survival of the fittest selects for superior genetic adaptation and results in superior species. This, of course, is racist:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9558737/Sheffield-University-tells-staff-Charles-Darwin-racist.html

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 18 – In the Hands of the Prophets

Starting out with some light couple interaction between O’Brien and Keiko. Then to Keiko’s class, a Bajoran religious personage (Vedek Wynn) comes in and states that what Keiko is teaching is blasphemy, and she cannot permit it to continue. Hmm, I think I remember this episode was kinda dumb. I don’t think I’m going to enjoy it.

So O’Brien is working with the new hire Bajoran “wonder girl” technician, and an important security screwdriver has gone missing.

Keiko is talking with Sisko about the incident at school, and Sisko says how difficult it will be to find the common ground needed to bring Bejor into the Federation. Spoiler, you can’t, at least not in real life. Back then I was probably naive enough to think you could. Well, I like Kira’s approach so far. I’m remembering this wasn’t great but it touched on a few interesting concepts. Eh, it was 30 years ago I should stop trying to remember or speculate on what I think I remember and just watch the show. Anyway, I think this is like some sort of Scopes monkey trial thing going on here. Sisko goes to talk with Vedek Wynn… Hmm, there is wisdom in what Vedek Wynn says.

O’Brien and “wonder girl” find the “interlock” (security screwdriver) melted in a plasma conduit. Ensign Akino apparently was trying to repair something with it and got melted.

Keiko and O’Brien have an encounter with Vedek Wynn, they really go out of their way to slam religion as some backwards, anti-enlightenment thing. Keiko takes to teaching about Galileo for the few kids who remain in school, using his example of “persecution” to illustrate her own situation, never mind the fact the Galileo got in trouble more for being an ass than for teaching “forbidden knowledge.” Jake complains to his dad about how “dumb” this religion is, and Sisko at least understands its value. Why can’t the aliens in the wormhole be prophets? Of course they can, and none of it is at odds with the “science” either.

Sisko goes down to Bajor for something and meets Vedek Bareil. Heh, I like the ear grabbing thing. Ah, I see, Vedek Bareil is the new “liberal” Vedek and has the inside track to become elected the new Kai, so Sisko was trying to get him to tell her to butt out or something, but he gets no where.

Kira reports to Sisko that 3 Bajorans have reported sick, like a “blue flu.” He rightly doesn’t take kindly to that and tell her to get them back on duty or they’ll be discharged.

Dr. Bashir reports that Ensign Akino was killed by a phaser before being placed in the energy conduit, presumably to hide the evidence after he was murdered. Sigh, I’m being quite bored by this.

O’Brien and “wonder girl” have an awkward conversation while they are looking for forensic information about the murder.

Here comes Quark, among a gaggle of Bajorans. He’s kind of right with his Dabo girl remarks. Odo is asking about the murder, of which Quark knows nothing, but Odo says “keep your ears open.” Which is a hilarious thing to say to a Ferengi, and we get to learn another rule of acquisition, #7, YAY! That’s pretty much the only thing this episode has going for it. O’Brien and Odo do some more sleuthing when the school blows up. Sisko has some rhetoric with Vedek Wynne. It’s very difficult for me to unpack, as I’d have had a different attitude about it back then than I do now, and even now I have ambivalent opinions on it. this is basically not a fun episode, and I think the problem was more Vedek Wynne’s politics than her religion. So we find out that “wonder girl” is behind this with Vedek Wynne, and we get treated to an encryption breaking sequence. Vedek Bareil arrives on the station. Hero O’Brien lets Sisko know that something is up so he can come to dramatic rescue.

Final Grade F+

This is snoozefest episode with annoying conversations missing the point. It only gets the plus because some of the bits were kind of OK, but mostly because we got another rule of acquisition.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 18 – Duet

Ah, we’ve finally arrived. I didn’t know we were journeying to this destination in season one of DS9, but none-the-less, we find ourselves here. It turns out the journey was worth the wait.

Primary Plot

I’m sensing a trend here. The best episodes of DS9 so far seem to be the bottle episodes.

The plot of Duet is simple. The plot of Duet is complicated. The plot of Duet takes place entirely via exposition disclosed during conversation. It is the least “Star Trek-y” of plots that has occurred so far this season, but it has the biggest impact on me.

A Cardassian is on a ship that just happens to be passing through, and he has some extremely rare disease and has suspiciously forgotten his medication. The ship stops at DS9 for medical assistance.

It turns out the disease was only ever contracted by those in a particular place at a particular time. The place was a prison/labor camp run by the Cardassians where they kept Bajoran dissidents and political prisoners. The particular time was at the end of the camp. There was some kind of event and those there were exposed to and contracted this MacGuffin disease.

Kira the Defiant is, but this time possibly not needlessly. She really is showing growth. Her emotions, however, are off the charts and nearly incontrollable. She believes this Cardassian to be an evil villain, and she aims to see justice done upon him.

The Cardassian is played by this man, Harris Yulin:

He’s in just gobs of stuff. It is rare that he has a major role, but if you know who he is you’ll see him all over the place. He’s the judge during the courtroom scene in Ghostbusters 2 during Louis Tully’s “short, but pointless” speech. He plays Cutter in Clear and Present Danger. He’s the mafia guy who fixes tickets in Frasier. He’s in so many shows and movies that it is hard not to recognize him, but you’ll usually have a difficult time placing him. That is a shame, because he’s a damn fine actor, and he shows it here.

DS9 plays all their trope cards on this one. The Cardassian is clearly the Nazi, and he’s dressed appropriately for the role. He denies, denies, denies to Kira’s interrogation, insisting that it is all one big misunderstanding, that Kira has been lied to and deceived by both her memory and the political propaganda of her own side. He gaslights her for all he’s worth, and he’s absolutely believable for every minute of it. He says he was just the clerk at the camp, and there were no screams, no murders. Deaths, yes, but labor camps are hard and brutal, and people do die there, but no, the Cardassians didn’t kill anyone.

Until Kira catches him in a lie. Then he not only admits, but he revels, revels, and revels some more in his evil doings. He taunts Kira. He exhibits no remorse, he makes himself out to be a monster, and then he laughs and says it doesn’t concern him at all. He makes it clear that the Bajorans are not people. Who cares if they die? Again, he plays the part perfectly. He is absolutely believable in this new role as well, and you marvel at the deception he has portrayed earlier. He was the camp commandant, and he reveled in the screams and the deaths.

And still the plot unfolds, with additional twists, turns, and discoveries. Kira confronts him three or four times, and each time he’s a different character. He isn’t the camp commandant after all. That Cardassian has been dead for years, with a very public State funeral. He’s had surgery to look like the guy he’s impersonating, but why? He denies all of that still, says the funeral was a fake. Do they have evidence of who was truly buried? He is playing for a public show trial on Bajora, to be convicted and sentenced and executed in a very public manner.

Kira continues to push him, coming back for confrontation after confrontation, doubting herself, putting herself through an emotional wringer. We discover that he was at the camp. He does have the disease. He was the clerk, and he did hear the screams, and he is tortured even now. He longs for death. He longs for justice. He could do nothing for the Bajorans who were tortured and killed, but he didn’t even try. He is a self-declared coward who desires to be executed for what he has done, and what he has failed to do. This is suicide not by cop, but by firing squad.

Kira and Sisko let him go! He’s distraught. He knows not what he will do. He desired to force the Cardassian empire to face their crimes through his public show trial and death, and now nothing will come of it.

Before anyone can determine his fate, before he can decide what to do next, he’s stabbed in the back by a Bajoran looking to kill him because he’s a Cardassian. The Bajoran doesn’t know who he is, what he’s done, or what he is guilty of. He’s a Cardassian, and therefore fit to die, and die he does.

His death, long wished for, is now an unfulfilled tragedy, lacking in all meaning.

Other Thoughts

There are no side plots in this one. Just one fantastic story told with expertise from the writing, the direction, and certainly the acting. This one episode rises further than I thought DS9 could achieve, and it does it with someone I consider one of the weaker characters in Kira.

This episode explores so many things. Guilt, innocence, forgiveness, sins of omission, damaged and broken psyches, self-hatred, racism, propaganda, temperance… it is ALL here.

Watching Mr. Yulin act under the Cardassian makeup was pure joy. He really is a great actor, and he exhibits it here. He’s never over-the-top, but he is very intense when he wants to be and needs to be. He plays the maniacal villain; the innocent victim; the fragile, misunderstood young man; the lost soul; the idealogue; the hero; and someone looking for a friend—and he does it all nearly at the same time, moving effortlessly between these aspects of his character when the scenes and the plot needs it.

It is an amazing performance, and you shouldn’t miss it. If you are reading this, and haven’t seen this episode of DS9, go watch it at your earliest option. You don’t need any background on the setting, and even non-Trek-fans can appreciate and enjoy what is done here. I have no complaints, no critiques.

Final Grade:  A

Drake wanted to know if I was going to give this one an A+. It was close. This is one of the best Star Trek episodes I’ve seen, rivaling some of the best TNG and Enterprise episodes. It is truly a great episode of TV regardless of the series or genre, and it works so well partly because it isn’t tied to the genre.

The MacGuffin is the MacGuffin, but it doesn’t matter. You know there’s a MacGuffin, here’s the actors, and go. The rest could be a scene from a WW2 movie, or a courtroom drama, or nearly anywhere else in history. Nothing in this episode requires it to be a Star Trek episode to work, and because of that it breaks out of the Star Trek mold and becomes primal and timeless.

It is great TV. Is the one of the best TV episodes you’ll ever see?  Well…

I don’t know. I’m not sure of that. Maybe, but I kinda doubt it. A+ episodes need to marinate a bit in memory. They need to really stick with you and be remembered, and even influence you, long into the future.  I’ve seen this episode exactly one time.

Was I impressed by it?  Heck yes, I was. I would recommend this episode to anyone.

But the best of the best of TV?  Too early to say.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 18 – Duet

Phil let it slip that he really liked this one, and after looking at the blurb, I do seem to recall it was a good one.

A freighter arrives with a passenger that has a rare medical “condition called Kalla-Nohra, it’s apparently chronic but he doesn’t have his medication.”[1] Kira reports that this medical condition was the result of a mining accident at a forced labor camp that she helped liberate. She naturally wants to see the patient, who turns out to be Cardassian. The obvious implication being that he was one of the people running the camp, and not one of the laborers. Kira calls for security and we cut to the title sequence. The music is firing on all cylinders here. It’s literally hitting all the right notes.

The Cardassian is played by special guest star Harris Yulin. the name does not ring a bell, but the voice sounds familiar; regardless, the performance is commanding.[2]

Here I must illustrate something:

While Kira is going off on how this Cardassian is bad just because he was at the camp. Odo is shown in this observant glance. It’s well played, but the point is that it had to have been planned in advance for what is about a second-long shot. And it’s absolutely brilliant. The fact that I know this had to have been done on purpose just makes it better. It’s a detail I probably would have missed the first time I saw it. If I can get a video clip of it to illustrate it better later, I will update this post.

The the plot then centers on whether this Cardassian, known as Marritza was at the labor camp or not. Sisko wisely puts Odo in charge of the investigation, someone who will hopefully be more impartial than a Bajoran like Kira, but Kira cons Sisko into letting her do it, playing the sympathy angle.

She goes to interrogate Marritza, and a most wonderful dialogue ensues. He plays her emotions beautifully and it illustrates how perceptions are very different on either side of a conflict, and how it is difficult to be sure of the truth.

Sisko then goes through a delicate diplomatic dance with a Cardassian representative.

I think that strange bird-like shape behind the Cardassian is the symbol of the Cardassian government, but it looks odd being so large.

Kira does some soul searching with the assistance of Dax.

The crew finds a record of the Marritza at the labor camp,[3] and discover that he was not the file clerk as he has claimed, but the head administrator, Gul Darhe’el.

Kira goes back to him for another wonderful dialog. He let’s slip that he knows Kira was with a Bajoran resistance force, a fact that Odo recognizes as out of place for a labor camp administrator to have known.

This is truly art. The music, the writing, the direction, and the costuming all coming together. The colors of the outfits and the makeup creating the proper contrasts. They knew this was good and they pulled out all the stops to make it.

And here we see some survivors from the labor camp in question:

I guess the Cardassians made sure that each Bajoran “race” got fair representation in the labor camp, and for some reason they have skin color variations similar to humans.

Heh, an appropriate joke told through Quark.

Odo is investigating the fact that Gul Darhe’el knew Kira was in that resistance group. He finds that someone requested information on Kira, and has tracked it down to the Marritza. I guess the station is in the habit of giving away confidential information as per episode 5, Captive Pursuit. Odo takes a call from Gul Dukat, the Cardassian who used to run the station, and who has been seen on Next Generation, if I recall correctly, and will make recurring appearances. Odo shows his disdain for the Gul’s cheating in a game they played, as a part of the setup of the conversation. Odo negotiates limited access to some Cardassian files in an attempt to ascertain the truth.

Kira continues having fascinating conversation with the Marritza/Gul Darhe’el, when Odo pulls her aside to tell her that the man in the cell wanted to be caught. A simply brilliant scene ensues which I will not spoil.

Final Grade A+
I remember this as being a great episode, and upon this re-watching of it, that memory holds true. It’s not perfect, nothing ever is, but ite kind of stuck with me and got absorbed into my subconscious, not just in my perceptions of the show but possibly of things I encountered later in life. The similarity of Bajorans to Jews is quite strong here, and I expect this is where I got that impression. I also took from it a sense of how war biases can affect people. There’s a lot to digest in this episode, and I can’t discuss the subjects involved without being too spoilery.

1. This was a few years after “medicine” became “medication,” but that’s a rant for a different time. Also, why does he not have his “medication” with him?

2. I looked it up, and he’s been in quite a few things, but I’ve only seen a couple, and would probably have only recognized him from Ghostbusters 2, or this role.

3. They just can’t resist doing the “enhance” trick, even though you can’t just “enhance” a picture like that.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Phil) – Season 1, Episode 17 – Dramatis Personae

At this point in its run, DS9 is still very much a “monster of the week” show.  Sure, it may not be a monster that they’re fighting or dealing with, but there is some kind of weekly MacGuffin.  They spend the whole episode dealing with it, there are a few little side notes for flavor, and the whole thing is wrapped up by the end of the hour, minus commercial time. At the end of each episode, the environment the show “exists” in will largely return to the status quo that the episode started with.

This is neither a good thing or a bad thing. It is merely the type of show that it is/was, and like all things, there are pros and cons to it. There are many shows that have this format, and a fair number of those shows have been wildly successful.

The strengths of this type of show tend to be longevity and audience forgiveness. If any portion of your audience misses an episode, for example, it doesn’t matter too much. They can be right back in the swing of things next week when they catch the next one and won’t feel like they have lost the plot. And because things stay more or less in stasis, you can enjoy your favorite characters in your favorite setting more-or-less forever.  The show is always in the same emotional space, the same physical space, etc. The kids are always in school (probably even the same grades), the bridge officers on the Enterprise are all the same folks, etc.

There are minor little plot arcs that occur and do affect things from one show to another, but they are always background details. They may color the plot, they may add flavor, but they never drive the plot. Red may have lost his job at the plant, another red-shirt may have died on an away-mission, a popular guest-star may return for a few episodes for a small arc like when Bruce Willis was on a few episodes of Friends and became an oppositional figure for Ross.

But in the end, things stay more or less the same.

These shows can work, and work well. They can have extremely devoted fan bases who tune in for every episode, and remain loyal for many, many seasons. These kinds of shows aren’t seen that much anymore, as everyone binge-watches everything these days. Even if they don’t subscribe to a streaming service, they are still going to have a DVR or other provided device/utility to time shift viewing. Missing an episode isn’t a thing anymore, and more interesting, more detailed plots can develop and affect things from episode to episode. A TV show became less of a series of self-contained mini-movies just starring the same characters, and instead became extended, massive, uber-movies with plots stretching through dozens of hours.

Still, at this point in the DS9 run, it mainly exists with the universe reset at the end of every episode, starting more-or-less in the same place at the beginning of each one.

In order to make those meaningful connections with the audience, the primary attachment has to be with the characters. If the plot gets reset at the end of every episode, then it is the characters themselves that must provide the primary source of meaning in the show. The audience attachment is greatest with the characters. They can love the plot, they can appreciate a well-written episode, but they tune in for the characters.

Are there exceptions? Of course. But even in those exception shows, the greatest emotional investment of the audience still tends to be with the characters, and it doesn’t particularly matter if the show is a drama or a comedy.

So, in this kind of recurring, resetting, MacGuffin-of-the-week show, what is the one thing you cannot do in your show? You cannot make all of your characters’ actions arbitrary. You cannot break the emotional attachment with the audience by having everything your characters do be undone at the end of the show. The exploration of the characters, their character development, their behavior in plot situations, their hopes and dreams from the future, their past that colors their present, these are the most vital resources a serialized show has. They cannot be dismissed, handled poorly, or casually thrown away without destroying a large portion of what makes the show work.

Primary Plot

Some kind of alien being, ephemeral in nature, and telepathic in execution, invades all of the DS9 crew (except Odo—we’ll get to that) after a MacGuffin mishap with a Klingon ship that doesn’t matter. This alien being turns all of the crew against each other, leading to conflict, hostility, and an attempted mutiny.

Except none of it matters. At the end of the episode, the alien being is ejected out of the airlock and the situation is resolved. Sisko wonders why he made some weird art. That’s it.

Very nearly the entire episode is a complete waste of everyone’s time. None of the drama matters. None of the character actions matter. Nothing matters at all.

Well, almost nothing.

There is one scene, just one, that has any worth in this episode. Blink, and you’ll miss it. But this one scene is a true diamond in the rough, and once again it is brought to you by the only characters on this show that are actually worth the investment in watching:  Quark and Odo.

Yes, those two again. The two characters with the fewest possible facial expressions that always seem to give the camera the perfect glance, the meaningful (and natural) pause, the statement loaded with meaning. The two that overact when the character requires it, but never when it doesn’t.

If you want to enjoy this very enjoyable scene yourself and skip all of the detritus and excrement that make up the rest of this episode, I can help with that. The scene starts at about 7:55 into the episode, and Odo is confronting Quark in his bar about his interactions with Klingons. Quark catches on that Odo is looking to make a point and he pushes back, trying to turn the situation to one of profit for him.

These two are masters of their craft. Body language is perfect. The flow of the conversation is perfect. The intonation is perfect. For whatever reason, these two actors simply embody their characters on DS9 better than anyone else, and they have amazing chemistry when working together.

Anyway, Odo is attacked by the being that is taking over everyone else. Somehow it doesn’t work. In fact, Odo is the only one who is unaffected by this thing, and he spends the rest of the episode trying to navigate the pointless minefields of intrigue and plotting that everyone else is doing. It is an interesting puzzle that he must overcome, if you don’t care about the puzzle and just throw it out once you’ve partially put it together. Actually, that’s not perfectly true. It is also a puzzle made of meaningless technobabble, that you throw out. If it were something interesting, like a whodunit murder mystery, perhaps, you’d at least have the fun of figuring things out. Instead, well, you get this.

I’m getting off subject. Odo is attacked. He resists it due to his naturally obscure and un-humanoid anatomy/physiology. However, the attack does a number on him, briefly turning his head inside out and causing him to collapse on the floor.

Quark reacts with immediate concern. “Odo,” he says, a quaver in his voice. Then he rushes over to the man who is constantly a thorn in his side, checking to see if he might possible be alright. Finding he isn’t, he takes off running, screaming for medical assistance for his adversary, his nemesis, his friend.

It last for all of two-and-a-half minutes. Just five-and-a-half percent of this 45.5-minute episode. But it makes this whole episode worth watching.

Final Grade:  D

This one scene took the episode from a straight F from me to a flat D. That’s up two notches, rising past D- on the strength of this one scene, and this one scene really is worth the time and effort to watch it alone. There’s no easy way to watch it. You’ll have to queue up the episode and fast forward on Amazon Prime (a flaky option at best) or sit through more of the show than you may care to. 

I’ve said before that any episode that is worth watching is worth at least a C on the grading scale. This may be the exception. Hopefully it proves the rule. The rest of the episode isn’t horrible. It starts off not very good, you think it might be going somewhere (that Odo/Quark scene really gets you sucked in and invested) only to throw it all away later, having wasted your time.

But man… that scene. If you’re at all familiar with the two characters and their history of interactions, that scene is worth the price of admission. It will grab you and make you pay attention.

Deep Space 9 WatchParty (Drake) – Season 1, Episode 17 – Dramatis Personae

Kira the needlessly defiant is being defiant again, though it is unknown as of yet if she is needlessly so. She’s objecting to Valarians docking with the station because they ran “dolomide”[1] to the Cardassians. Chief O’Brien’s wife has taken her class to Bajor on a field trip. Kira asks Odo to spy -err, keep an eye on the Valarians. What’s this!? something’s coming through the wormhole! It looks like an old Klingon vessel. Sure enough, it was a Klingon vessel, one which wasn’t due back yet. It blows up and a Klingon beams over says, “Victory!” and promptly dies. Whew! A LOT went on there in the cold opening. Exciting!

Dax was oddly daydreaming when they were dismissed from the meeting to take a runabout to find the ship’s recorder. Odo is tasked with finding out about the ship’s mission, a bio-survey. The Valrians are asking to dock and Kira observes that their route so far has matched the one used by the dolomide runners. Heh, the next stop would be the purification plant at Ultima Thule[2]

Odo probes Quark for information about the Klingons. Quark tries to bargain a price for the information, but Odo uses his government powers to strong-arm him into giving the information for free.
They said that they would return “with something that would make the enemies of the Klingon Empire, tremble.” Odo then has some sort of medical “attack,” and Quark runs to get Dr. Bashir. Dr. Bashir has no idea what’s going on with Odo, since his biology is so different from anything we know, but Odo says he feels fine now. Bashir then strangely warns Odo that there’s going to be some trouble between Kira and Sisko.

Kira says that the Valerian ship was at the Ultima Thule station a week ago and thus has been running dolomide. Sisko and Kira seems to be at odds about the situation.

Dax and O’Brien are looking for the recorder, and O’Brien exhibits some strange, aggressive-sounding behavior regarding Kira and the Bajorans.

Kira then tries to get Odo to go behind Sisko’s back to spy on the Valarians. I do remember this episode, but it obvious that there is some “contamination” that is pitting the station crew against each other, as must have happened on the Klingon ship. This reminds me of a Tomorrow People story, The Blue and the Green. I was familiar with it back then too, so I would have had a similar realization at the time. At this point I can say that I’m getting a bit bored of the episode, since I’ve seen this story before in something else. It may surprise me, but I’m tired of the whole “conflict is an external force, and getting along is our natural tendency” messaging.

O’Brien and Dax have recovered the damaged log, and everyone at the meeting is acting uncharacteristically. Odo notices.

Quark is found in his bar mixing a drink.

Dax is the recipient of the drink and Kira comes over to try to “recruit” Dax to her “cause.” Oh, a good shot of the earring thing, which I just now notice curiously resembles a menorah.

Dax is stuck in reminiscing mode, almost like she’s going senile. Kira says she’s getting rid of Sisko, Quark drops something, as if in shock to something he overheard, and Kira takes violent exception to it. Quark shows up in Odo’s office with a neck brace asking to file charges against Kira. He’s of course trying to sue her for money, but Odo clues in on the odd behavior of the station crew and is more immediately concerned about that. He goes to find Sisko, and instead finds O’Brien in Sisko’s office. The recording from the Klingon vessel is playing, and it is clear there was a power struggle on board, and something about the energy spheres they were looking for. Odo then goes to Sisko’s quarters to talk to him. Oh and there’s a 3d chess set!

Sisko’s just acting weird. Almost like he’s high. He tells Odo to go talk to O’Brien. Now this seems like some sort of program that infects people to have them act out Shakespeare.

Odo goes back to his office where he finds Kira has made herself at home. She is going on about her agenda to get rid of Sisko and O’Brien, and mentions the important character trait that Odo cannot be corrupted. Kira leaves and Odo tries to contact Starfleet and Bajor, contact to Starfleet was prohibited by Kira and contact to Bajor was prohibited by O’Brien. The journal has been reconstructed and Odo finds an entry describing these power spheres, which contain some telepathic archive of a power struggle.

So, what is that green thing behind Odo?

I realize it’s just set dressing, and there’s more of the green in other parts of the station but the one in his office has that weird octagonal window frame with what looks like air jet nozzles attached. What’s it supposed to be? I also like the design on the computer panel behind him. I’ve watched enough DS9 that seeing the panel feels a little like home.

Sisko and O’Brien discuss their plans to escape the Bajorans, and then Odo goes to get the autopsy results from Bashir, who is apparently on the Bajorans’ side. Odo uses clever subterfuge to get the info from Bashir, and get him to solve the problem. Fighting then ensues in the command center. Chase scenes ensue with subterfuge. Excitement builds. Odo gets them all into cargo bay 4 and then activates he program to drive out the telepathic influence, and the sounds effect sounds really neat in my headphones. By really neat, I mean it just creeps me out enough to get the point across. The telepathic influences are driven out and then Odo blows them out the airlock.

Final grade C

Okay, that ended up being pretty exciting and wasn’t the take from the Blue and the Green – which wasn’t bad in its own right, but I generally hate seeing the same story elsewhere, unless they put a new take on it, or it’s really really good and deserves a retelling. It was more like the Shakespeare idea. It had a lot of cringey moments though. It can’t be that great of an episode if I’m staring at the backdrop.

1. Not to be confused with dolomite CaMg(CO3)2

2. Not this Ultima Thule, is it?