Viewing posts tagged Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Everyone talking about hard rain”: Necessary Evil

“Necessary Evil” exists in two distinct places within my memory, and they map alongside the two phases of my experience with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The first time I was exposed to this story was in 1993 or 1994, naturally, as part of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine. Like “Rules of Acquisition” before it and “Second Sight” after it, this is a story I vividly remember from the episode synopsis printed in issue 7. At the time, I immediately recognised it as a modern classic in the making; a wonderfully dramatic noir mystery that fleshes out the backstory of Odo and Kira during the occupation and adds a touching nuance to their relationship in the present day.

It was not, however, an episode I watched on television at the time (or if I did I don't consciously remember it...The imagery certainly feels familiar). The first time I actually got to see the finished product itself must have been somewhere around 1999 or 2000. I'm not sure if Enterprise had been announced or the TNN Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns had started up yet, but either ...

“The one I love”: Rules of Acquisition

Along with “The Homecoming” /“The Circle”/“The Siege”, “Rules of Acquisition” is probably the first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine story that became genuinely iconic to me.

As I've mentioned before, though I was familiar with the show before this run of episodes, my familiarity basically consisted of dissociated images-The water bath clone scene from “A Man Alone”. Some promotional art of a runabout. The offhand conversation in the shadows under a staircase somewhere. That elusive scene of Dax on the parallel bars that I'm half convinced I completely imagined. Vivid as it was, my memory of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in its first season was fragmented, consisting only of brief flashes of lucidity. This is very much a consequence of the way I watched the show at that point: I could only ever catch the odd glimpse of it while flipping through the channels, because my local affiliates stupidly ran Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine opposite one another, and I wasn't going to chance missing my favourite show to take a gamble on its younger sibling.

(This was not an uncommon ...

“Love is Zero G”: Melora

Both this episode and its titular character are concepts that hail from the early days of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pre-production. Melora Pazlar was originally going to be Deep Space 9's permanent science officer, but she was replaced by Jadzia Dax in part, ironically, for the very reason she has a tough time adjusting to the station in this story: The low-gravity environments she was adapted to proved too time-consuming and expensive to convey on a regular basis. The station, in a very real sense, could not accommodate her; a theme that underwrites this entire episode.

As an episode of television exploring the topical message it takes on, “Melora” is very good. It was put in the best possible hands: Writer Evan Carlos Somers, who served as a Guild intern during Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's first season before getting a shot at pitching his own stories in the second, was a wheelchair user himself and pushed for the chance to build a story around a the abandoned concept of a Starfleet officer from a low-gravity planet who had to use a wheelchair to navigate Earth-like environments. Somers ...

“Set course for home”: Cardassians

The imaginatively titled “Cardassians” is a solid story about innocent bystanders whose lives are upended by political gerrymandering. There are the Cardassian War Orphans, most notably the young Rugal, who are ripped away from the lives and families they know on Bajor in order to cover up a potential scandal involving a number of military higher-ups. But there is also the crew of Deep Space 9, namely Commander Sisko, who end up tasked with the unpleasant duty of uprooting these children from their homes as part of their jobs in order to avoid a diplomatic incident.

Like last season's “Progress”, “Cardassians” examines the repercussions of life for administrators and local officials trying to do their best to represent their people, but who are ultimately at the whims of powerful governments and other systems of centralized authority who wish to consolidate power regardless of whether or not it serves the best interests of those who live under them. There's no way to argue that being forcibly relocated to Cardassia, a planetary society he fears, distrusts and doesn't even know, is going to be a net benefit for Rugal, so I ...

“Who are You?” Invasive Procedures

You don't want to disappoint Commander Sisko, do you?

Wait, you thought I was going to let Star Trek: Deep Space Nine off the hook for being the younger show? Whyever would you think that?

I have held a grudge against “Invasive Procedures” since 1993. Everything about this episode, from top to bottom, from conception to execution, repelled me at every turn from the beginning. At the time, I was only just starting to become a serious fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, that is, becoming actually invested in the setting and the characters as opposed to just watching the general aesthetics unfold from a distance with cautious optimism. And though it was still fairly early, I already knew that Jadzia Dax was going to be my favourite character from this cast. I liked Major Kira a lot too and she was the other early standout for me (in fact extremely early on I got the two of them confused) but it was Jadzia's cool competence and poise that won me over the strongest, So how do you think I felt when the *very first* episode I was cognizant ...

Legacy: The Siege

In the previous episode, “The Circle”, Major Kira undergoes an Orb experience and receives visions from the Prophets of the events of “The Siege”.

The Prophets' connection to nonlinear time has already been well documented, but what I find interesting about their reappearance here (for the first time since “Emissary”, it may be worth noting) is the way this is conveyed: Images, experience and snapshots of memory, repurposed and rearranged. It's a dream meant to convey a message through coded symbols built out of memory. My first exposure to “The Homecoming”/“The Circle” /“The Siege” was all in one piece as part of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine sometime in either late 1993 or early 1994. So when I watch Kira's Orb vision in “The Circle”, I don't see portents of events to come, but a distorted reiteration of events I already have a recollection of.

“The Siege” itself operates on the level of images. Namely, iconic memorable setpieces. The battle in Bajor's atmosphere between The Circle and the transport runner piloted ...

“Leadership”: The Circle

There are two Circles that give their name to the title of this episode. One is, naturally, the xenophobic nativist fascist terrorists we were introduced to last week and who execute their master plan in this episode. But the other is the circle of friends on board Deep Space 9: A major theme in this story arc is demonstrating how close knit and fiercely loyal to one another this team has grown in just the short period of time they've been together: Last time there was Commander Sisko's breezy interactions with Jake, Kira and Dax, O'Brien's dedication to Kira's cause, and Dax's gentle but firm support and guidance.

We also saw another example of the more congenial side of Odo and Quark's relationship in a way we haven't really seen since “Babel”: Yes, they're still trying to outplay one another, but there's a familiarity and respect there. And this carries through to this episode as well-Although the “deputy” subplot is largely played for laughs, Quark still comes to Odo willingly because he's concerned about the Deep Space 9 community being put ...

“Legend”: The Homecoming

“The Homecoming” opens on one of the more triumphant notes Star Trek: The Next Generation/Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has done in recent memory. There's a slow pan across the new set for the Promenade upper level into Quark's, where the man himself in engaged in one of his classic verbal sparring matches with Odo. The energy carries through to the scene where Quark visits a brooding Kira in her quarters to deliver Li Nalas' earring. Finally, we get a jovial and upbeat Ben Sisko having a charismatic father/son moment with Jake, followed by a friendly and breezy lunch date with Kira. Well, up until she springs the news she wants to take a Runabout to Cardassia 4 to spring a jailbreak.

The sense we get is of a show that's on top of the world, elated by its recent success. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is *back*, refreshed and energized to continue the creative high it came off the previous season on. And it has every reason to be comfortable and pleased with itself: Late 1993 into early 1994 was the critical, creative and commercial high ...

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