DS9 Season 2, Ep4: “Invasive Procedures”

Synopsis: We open with a Sisko voice-over explaining that they had to evacuate the station again because of violent plasma discharges in space, forcing them to keep things going with a skeleton crew. It must have seriously been a pain in the ass to evacuate everybody when they just got them back from being evacuated last week. Let’s hope Jake and Nog got to go to the same place this time.

In Ops, hell freezes over as Kira tells Sisko that she has to commend the Cardassians on their station design, as the plasma discharges aren’t effecting them very much. Jadzia says she has some escape vehicles ready to go just in case. Irishy and Odo are elsewhere on the station securing the airlocks when they find Quark sitting in the docking ring, apparently meditating. Odo is exasperated, because Quark is only still on the station because he refused to evacuate without his vast supply of latinum, and he was supposed to be confined to the bar.

Quark says that he’s here because he was saying goodbye to Rom, and Odo points out that Rom’s shuttle left three hours ago, and he somehow doubts that Quark was sitting out here pining away for his idiot brother. Quark protests that brothers have a very special relationship, asking Irishy if he has any brothers that he ever had to say goodbye to. Apparently Irishy has two, and he had to bid them so long when he joined Starfleet. Quark is all, “and didn’t that make you CRY and CRY?” and Irishy is all, “I guess?” and Quark is all, “I rest my case,” and they all leave the docking ring sighing at each other. As the door to the docking ring shuts, the camera zooms in on a mysterious blinking something that is almost definitely the real reason Quark was in there.

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Analysis of “The Homecoming,” “The Circle,” and “The Siege”

Meredith’s Analysis: This is DS9’s three-parter, and it’s a great out-of-the gate opening for the second season. We get the most important development on Bajor yet – it really is like the wild west, full of competing factions and corruption, everyone scrambling for power in the vacuum left by Kai Opaka last season. These are the first episodes that raise, for me, a question that is ongoing throughout the series: maybe Bajor is in such disarray because everyone there spends so much time scheming and having intrigue rather than actually, you know, running Bajor? Like, when was the last time anyone on that planet filed any paperwork?

They are also the first episodes that actually show us the chaos on Bajor and make it feel real. In the first season, all of the Bajoran “unrest” consisted of groups of Bajorans on the station shuffling around and yelling, and it was kind of hard to imagine that there was a whole planet of people with an actual society experiencing actual unrest. In these episodes, the danger seems very real, and we spend the most time we’ve ever spent on Bajor. We also get some good development on the Bajoran ministers, who play an important role in the political intrigue of Bajor.

These episodes also do a great job of further developing characters (Jadzia’s weird girliness aside). Sisko is way more badass than he ever was in season 1, and you can tell Avery Brooks has found and committed to the character. Kira is much more nuanced than she’s ever been (“Duet” excepted), and the hilarious little character flourish of Irishy loving army rations is great.

I think the only real weakness here is Li Nalas, who ultimately serves his function (dying nobly and being a martyr), but who never really lives up to the hype that the rest of the characters build around him. I guess that’s sort of a point in and of itself, since he was always supposed to be a man who stumbled into legend status by accident.

Tim’s Analysis: Kai Opaka’s departure may have left a power vacuum on Bajor, but it’s not as though she was filling the space very well herself. In these episodes we learn that the power structures of Bajor are anything but settled following the departure of the Cardassians. Some hints were previously dropped along these lines and let’s face it, it’s no surprise. Bajor was under Cardassian occupation for 50 years. Functional government is not exactly something that crops up overnight. Characters talk about “unrest”, but this episode shows us that Bajor is a beehive full of civil war. Remember that Bajor has to be peaceful for a while before they can join the Federation. They’re not exactly working on that very diligently.

These episodes have some really fun parts, but my favorite is absolutely the scene in Kira’s quarters where everyone shows up at once. Intended as an homage to A Night at the Opera, it was actually filmed as one uninterrupted take, but was later broken up in editing. The timing is flawless and it’s a very light moment in an otherwise very serious story arc.

The arc itself really shows off what DS9 can do. TOS and TNG both never show us any follow up. The Enterprises get into some shenanigans, win the day and zip off on another adventure while some admiral assures the captain that it’ll be sorted out thanks to him. In this case, Sisko is told that it’ll be sorted out and that he should leave and he chooses not to.

I disagree with Meredith that Li Nalas is weak. I think he’s actually great. He represents the regular Joes on Bajor that are being jerked around by the political machinery. His legend is used to further a political agenda and in the end, he sticks around to help take it back, even without a real obligation to do so, and ends up dying bravely, only cementing the legend or confirming that he was that hero all along, maybe just not quite in the same way.

Overall, this arc is good, but it starts to drag in the middle. It probably could have been squeezed into 2 episodes if they had tried.

DS9 Season 2, Ep3: “The Siege”

Previously on Meredith and Tim Watch Star Trek: Kira rescued a Bajoan resistance leader named Li Nalas from a secret Cardassian labor camp using only her own sexiness as a weapon (and also a phaser), only to have Bajoran Minister “Richard Nixon” Jaro give Li Nalas her job when they got back. Then she was kidnapped by militant Bajoran terrorists/graffiti artists The Circle, where she learned that Minister Richard Nixon was running The Circle in order to advance his own political power. Odo learned that The Circle was being secretly supplied by the Cardassians in the hopes that they’d run off the Federation, which turned out to be a solid plan considering that a Starfleet Admiral explicitly ordered Sisko to evacuate, an order which he blew off almost completely. Meanwhile, though our heroes don’t know it yet, Minister Richard Nixon has a pact with the ever-charming Vedek Winn where he’ll make her the new Kai in exchange for her support.

Synopsis: We open about two hours after the closing of the last episode, where Sisko is in Ops discussing the planned evacuation with both main characters and extras. He says that it may be easy for the Federation to order an evacuation, but for them, the people actually there, it’s a lot harder: for example, one extra is engaged to a Bajoran dude, and another has tutored some Bajoran kids in science, and all of them have Bajoran buddies. Sisko says that everyone there has come to care about the Bajoran people, and so has he, and that is why he is not leaving the station.

The whole crowd is all, “rabble rabble rabble,” and Sisko is all, “just to oversee the evacuation of the station, for serious, guys,” and Irishy jumps in saying he needs to stay to do inventory control, and Bashir notes that packing up his medical stuff could take forever. Sisko looks around the room with a barely-concealed smile and warns everybody that they shouldn’t volunteer too quickly: he says they’ll try to delay the station takeover for as long as they can, hopefully until the Cardassians are exposed as the real force behind the unrest, and that’s going to be really hard because Bajor at large is getting the message that the Federation is a terrible enemy.

I kind of love how fast this conversation transitioned from coded to brazen, and I wonder if any of the extras are confused by it (“wait a minute, I thought I was only going to stay to help you guys bubble-wrap the glassware! What’s all this ‘hold off a takeover’ nonsense?”).

Sisko continues, saying that Minister Richard Nixon and the Circle would love to kill all of them, and he wouldn’t blame anyone for leaving while still in one piece, and that anyone who wants to evacuate now is dismissed.

Not one person leaves. Possibly because Irishy is staring them down like he he would love nothing better than to chase down and tackle anyone who tries it.

Sisko says that non-Bajorans aren’t safe on the station anymore, so everybody’s non-Starfleet personnel families will have to be evacuated, and the pro-Federation Bajorans would probably do well to do the same. He closes by reminding everyone that the assault vessels will be to the station in less than five hours.

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DS9 Season 1 Ep8: “Dax”

Synopsis: We open on Sisko voicing-over that Irishy O’Brien had to take his shrewish wife back to earth to celebrate her mom’s 100th birthday, which I’m sure is going to be all kinds of wacky, but we’ll never know, because we’re staying on the station. We cut then to the station’s Holiday Inn Express Buffet, where Bashir stares at Jadzia longingly as she reviews The Federation Gal’s Guide to Antique Space Station Restoration: Cardassian Imperialist Edition over a raktajino.

Naw, I hear you baby, but can coffee
look at you with THESE EYES?

Everything is breaking now that Irishy is gone (typical), and, because she’s apparently the only science officer on the station, it’s Jadzia’s job to get everything spiffy again. She is more interested in her tech specs than in Bashir’s clumsy pickup attempts, and seems a million miles away, even when he says “I can think of better ways of keeping you up [at night], and they’d be more fun than Klingon coffee.” That is an actual thing that he actually said.

Meanwhile, a group of super-creepy-looking dudes are hanging out inside the walls, peeping at Jadzia through the grating. This is what long-time Trekkers like to call “a bad sign.” They look at each other all meaningfully, and confirm with one another that she’s Dax – they seem reeeeeeaaaally intent on making sure.

We guess it’s nighttime (?) because Bashir offers to escort Jadzia back to her quarters, presumably after running back to his place to get his walking stick and old-timey stick-on mustache. Actually, since it’s Bashir, he’d probably just figure out a way to stimulate the hair follicles on his upper lip, and while they grew super-fast he’d shape his mustache like a bonzai tree. He could package the method and market it as Dr. Julian’s Miraculous Ten-Minute Mustache: Being a Potent Unguent for the Smooth-Faced Gentleman Who Seeks Lavish Whiskers Without Stain or Injury to Skin In Order That He Might Favoraby Impress Members of the Fairer Sex, Be They Born of God’s Earth or of a Distant Star: Be The Envy of Every Rapscallion Upon Your New Worlde or Star Shippe! (Patent Pending)

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DS9 Season 1 Ep4: “A Man Alone”

Meredith’s Synopsis: We open on Jadzia like, I don’t know, meditating? With a fancy floating transparent beach ball in a holosuite. Bashir comes in, and she says “Hello, Julian,” without opening her eyes or turning around. He’s surprised she knew it was him, and she says, “there are lots of ways to recognize people,” which I take to mean that she detected the odor of arrogance and romantic frustration that hangs around his person.

He’s all, “you are remarkable, sexy lady,” and she’s all like, “uh huh, we need to talk about this you being so into me business,” and he misses the point and invites her out to a champagne dinner. You know, for a liberal-progressive military organization in space, Starfleet sure seems to have a lax workplace sexual harassment policy. Sometimes I wonder if they even have a training video.

Jadzia explains that she’s trying to solve this puzzle with the beach ball, which, now that I see it up close, looks a lot more like a very large soap bubble. Bashir, eager to prove his Boy Genius status and impress her, is all, “I LOVE PUZZLES, I CAN HAZ PUZZLE HOT STUFF?”

Jadzia sighs and lets him take over, telling him it responds to brain waves. She tosses out that she’s been trying to figure the damn thing out for about 140 years – so Bashir should have it down in like, twenty minutes, right guys? Oh, it would be humorous if this scene ended in literally any other way!

Jadzia puts her hands on Bashir’s head to release the puzzle to him, and Bashir is all, “your hands are so cold, cold hands, warm heart, amirite?” (for the record, that was not a paraphrase. The only thing I added to his line was the “amirite.” He is that bad at macking on chicks)

Young men of the internet take note: if you are making this face, you're doing something wrong

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DS9 Season 1 Ep1: “Emissary”

Meredith’s Synopsis:

We open with some NexGen backstory, giving us a brief rundown on the Battle of Wolf 359 (the Pearl Harbor of the Star Trek universe) from the Best of Both Worlds two-parter. In case you didn’t know, this was an unprovoked attack by evil bio/robot hybrids the Borg, in a star system that was basically on Earth’s doorstep (Wolf 359 is a real-life star you can actually see, FYI, it’s about 7.8 lightyears away from us). Dapper Captain Jean-Luc Picard was assimilated by the Borg and mind controlled to lead the attack, and the Federation lost the shit out of the battle – the Borg eventually made it into Earth’s orbit, only one ship survived. Ultimately, even though it was forty Federation ships versus one Borg Cube, eleven thousand people were killed or assimilated by the Borg. Seriously, it was effing heavy shit.

This feels like a lot of background, I know, but you have to understand that the target audience had a PTSD seizure when they heard the name “Wolf 359.”

Now that we’ve established our setting, we find ourselves on board a ship where the orders are being given by an African-American First Officer so poised and well-spoken that he makes Morgan Freeman look like Marlon Wayans. The Commander does his best, but the whole audience knows he’s screwed, and as his ship starts to blow up, he makes sure his crew is getting to the escape pods, and then runs through the wreckage in search of his wife. He finds his motionless wife and son pinned under some beams, and while the boy is OK, his wife is dead. A crewman gets the Commander’s son, Jake, to safety, and then literally has to drag the Commander away from his wife’s body as he screams, “we can’t just leave her here!”

But they do, and, on the escape pod, the Commander holds his son’s hand and looks out the window at the exploding ship with the look of a man who is about to become a Batman.

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become an Admiral

We are going to have some allegiance to justice and righting of wrongs up in this bitch for sure.

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