Season 2, Ep10: “Sanctuary”

Synopsis: We open with Kira in trouuuuuuuble because she still doesn’t have the duty rosters for next week done, despite promising Sisko they’d be on his desk this morning. Apparently she’s going through a lot of shit with some of the Bajoran Ministers about irrigation – Bajorans can yell at each other about agricultural issues for hours – which Sisko knows about because, unsurprisingly, Kira can’t keep her voice down. “I thought I was keeping it down to an angry whisper,” she tells Sisko abashedly.

She explains that Ministers are extremely frustrating with all their red tape and intrigue, and Sisko kindly tells her, guidance-councilor-style, that she can yell at them all she wants as long as she keeps doing her job on the station. She leaves his office with a renewed sense of purpose, only to hear from Irishy that Quark has been looking for her in regards to an urgent matter.

In the bar, everyone is enchanted by a very meta gentleman playing a variation of the show’s theme song on some sort of Space Woodwind. Rom is too engaged with the music to serve drinks, even ever-present alcoholic Morn is crying. Only Quark remains untransfixed, pacing angrily around the bar. When Kira comes in, Quark complains that the Space Woodwind player, who just started his gig yesterday, is driving down drink, food, and gambling profits, which Quark knows because he monitors his income on an hourly basis. It sounds like I’m making that up, but I’m not.

Kira tells Quark to get ahold of himself, because soon people will hear about this guy’s amazing woodwinding and will be coming from miles around to hear him. Quark cynically asks if this is her “Bajoran intuition” at work, and I have to say I share his skepticism. I’m pretty sure Kenny G. is the exception, and not the rule, when it comes to packed houses for solo clairinet acts.

It turns out that Quark agreed to try the Woodwinder out for a month at Kira’s urging, which is why he blames her for his unprecedented drop in profits. He wonders if the Woodwinder could play something with a little more “bounce” to it, so I guess Quark really doesn’t know anything about Kenny G.

Kira goes over to talk to the Woodwinder, who speaks like he’s Laurence Olivier, and apparently he’s some famous displaced Bajoran concert performer or something, and Kira  politely asks him if he could be, as he puts it, “a little less exhibition hall and a little more music hall.” He agrees, and asks Kira if she’s talked to any of the Ministers about his brilliant idea to rebuild this one concert hall, because apparently her getting him this job is not enough of a favor.

He starts lecturing her about how important it is for Bajorans to reclaim their artistic heritage – dude, chill, she’s under enough pressure trying to keep your whiny-ass planet fed. Kira says she can’t promise anything, and he looks at her all judgily. God, what a dick.

Kira returns to Ops and expresses her desire to throw Quark out of an airlock and see how far he flies, when Irishy announces that a ship is coming through the wormhole. The ship is in distress, with overheating whosiwhatsists and barely functioning life support, so Sisko orders them beamed over. They are, and when they get there they are pretty clearly escapees from some sort of Space Polygamous Cult Compound.

They’ve probably been flying around space for years looking for Kolob. BOOM, American Religious History majors put ya hands up!

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DS9 Season 2, Ep6: “Melora”

Sometimes you’re watching Star Trek and everything is going really well. You’re like, “hell yeah, I love Star Trek! Keep it coming! This is the best!” And then out of nowhere an episode appears to punch you square in the face with its awfulness. This is one of those episodes. It is so bad that, when I’m making lists of bad DS9 episodes, I frequently forget to include it because my brain is blocking out the memory to protect itself. This episode feels like the worst missteps of NexGen, and it’s unfortunately a momentum-killing blemish on what is otherwise an extremely strong season. But the internet is in some ways like God, and content providers are in many ways like Abraham: the internet will call to you from on high to personally destroy something you really really love, like your favorite kid or your favorite Star Trek series, and you will obey, because, internet – and everybody gets a good story to tell later.

Synopsis: We start the episode with a voiceover, and right away we can tell things are going to go badly because it’s a Bashir voiceover. That’s Sisko’s job, and the change-up can only mean that we’re going to spend the whole forty-five minutes on Bashir, and he seriously cannot sustain an episode by himself at this point in his development.

Bashir explains that he and Irishy have been working overtime to make the station ADA compliant for a visiting cartographer named Melora, who is the first Elaysian (eee-LAY-shun) person in Starfleet, and needs everything rigged up real special for her alien needs. Elaysisan people, you see, live on a low-gravity planet, and when they leave and go other places they can’t move or walk around easily.

It’s never a good sign when Star Trek brings on some random person as “the first (random alien) in Starfleet,” it almost always means that they wrote a Very Special Episode so gut-wrenchingly appalling that they had to create a whole new race of people to foist it upon.

On the station, Bashir is riding a HoverRound in circles as Jadzia watches him, amused. Apparently she has not seen a wheelchair in more than three hundred years, so I guess that means we eradicate all lower-body and spinal injuries in the future, good job team. Also I guess it means that none of the Trills who hosted the Dax symbiont ever ran into Captain Pike, who was kind of famously in a wheelchair less than a century earlier. Bashir says that the specifications for the thing weren’t even in the replicator, which I assume means he built it with his own hands at three o’clock in the morning.

Apparently Melora usually travels around with some sort of anti-gravity device that won’t work with Cardassian technology, which is why they had to rig this up. Kira comm badges in to let them know that Melora has docked, and as Bashir and Jadzia walk over, he lectures her incessantly about how it must feel for this woman to suddenly have so much more gravity around than she’s used to, blah-blah-blah. Irishy comes up to let Bashir know that he did his best with the ramps, but Cardassians obviously hate the disabled and there are still a lot of places on the station she won’t have access to. Jadzia asks if they could use the transporter to beam her around to different places on the station, and Irishy says that would be a great idea – if Melora hadn’t already sent word that that was “unacceptable.”

Jadzia is all like, “wait, what?” and Bashir admiringly says that Melora was the exact same way at the Academy, refusing any assistance beyond her basic needs, and she’s extraordinary. Bashir says this in a really creepy, admiring way, which leads me to wonder a couple of things:

1) How much “research” has Bashir done on this woman, exactly? Did he create a hologram version of her to talk to while he futzed around with her wheelchair?

2) Why are we supposed to admire this woman for refusing to let them transport her around the station? All I see here is a woman who forced two men to spend several weeks constructing ramps, calibrating wheelchairs, and basically turning their station upside down when she could have just transported from place to place with already present technology. Transporting her isn’t just not a problem, it’s actually less trouble than what she asked them to actually do. I bet it isn’t a convenience thing at all, I bet she just has some philosophical hippie objection to transporters, like she thinks they give people autism or something. I bet she’s like the Jenny McCarthy of transporter technology.

Bashir goes on to say that he knows she’s extraordinary because he pulled all her personnel and medical files to prepare. Could he be any more Geordi LaForge right now?

In the docking bay, Melora, whose whole body is encased in Forrest-Gump-style braces, is breathing heavy and staggering around like she’s that one kid from The Secret Garden. You know, the one you wanted to punch. She introduces herself to Jadzia and Bashir, and notes that she and Bashir spoke on skype earlier. Bashir is all like, “nice to finally meet you in person,” and pulls this smile that he obviously thinks is really slick. God, ew.

Jadzia offers to help her into her chair, and Transporter Jenny McCarthy is all like, “I’M FINE,” and staggers over like Frankenstein’s Monster to do it herself. She comments that Bashir has modified the chair, and Bashir obviously thinks he’s about to get a compliment, because he proudly says that he wanted to give her as much mobility as possible. She passive-agressively says that she’s been practicing on the model she requested at home, but it’s fine, really, she’ll just adapt, she guesses.  Continue reading

DS9, Season 1, Ep20: “In the Hands of the Prophets”

Synopsis: We open on Irishy O’Brien trying to buy his wife a variety of Space Popsicle that looks like a gelatinous cow tongue, but she doesn’t want one because it’s “too early in the day.” Do Space Popsicles have bourbon in them? I think it’s more likely that Keiko O’Brien just hates fun, and the only way she can experience joy is to thwart her husband’s every attempt at happiness.

My hatred of Keiko may have crossed the line into “unhealthy.”

Kieko says Space Popsicles, or “Jumja sticks,” are too sweet, but Irishy says it’s OK because their sweetness is naturally derived from the sap of the Bajoran Jumja tree, and now I really feel like we’re in a popsicle ad (“Jumpy Moms Choose Jumja!”). Things snap back into DS9 mode when Irishy mentions that he aquired his Jumja-knowledge from Neela, his Bajoran Lady Sidekick, and Keiko is all, “I SEE,” catching the scent of an opportunity to make Irishy unhappy like some sort of unhappiness-sniffing bloodhound.

She asks if Neela is working out better than his previous Bajoran Lady Sidekick, and Irishy says yes as noncommittally as he can, to which she nastily responds “I’m glad to see her knowledge isn’t limited to Jumja Sticks.” That was a pretty good passive-aggressive dig, but I think I would’ve gone with “as long as she isn’t servicing your Jumja Stick after hours.”

Irishy suddenly realizes what’s happening, and goes “hey, hold on!” and Keiko gives him a smile that would melt the paint off a tractor and says “just keeping you on your toes, O’Brien.”

I think their relationship may have crossed the line into “unhealthy.” Continue reading

DS9 Season 1 Ep13: “Battle Lines”

Synopsis: We open in Sisko’s office, where Irishy and Jadzia are showing Sisko some old files they found lurking in the computer. They appear to be of a Cardassian Intelligence nature, dossiers on Bajoran terrorists and the like. Jadzia notes that the encryption on the files was almost comically easy to crack, almost like the Cardassians wanted them found. I agree that it’s pretty suspicious – when I think “Cardassian” pretty much the last thing that comes to mind is “shoddy information security.”

The main concern at the moment is that there’s a whole file on Kira in there, and nobody wants to be the one to tell her about it. “You might want to warn Kira before she sees her file…” Irishy is saying, and right at that moment Kira walks in and says “warn me about what?”

Jadzia, Irishy, and Sisko all get these priceless “oh, shit,” looks on their faces, but Sisko knows his duty, and he’s the Commander of this station, so he tries to tell Kira all casually that there’s a Cardassian intelligence folder about her that she can just read any time she wants. I’m not actually sure what he’s afraid of: if she’ll trample him in excitement or anger.

She manages to avoid either, in part because everybody beats a hasty retreat to let her look at the files in private  (that’s right, Sisko flees his own office rather than hang out with Kira while she’s working through Cardassian feelings).

Bashir comm badges into Ops to request Sisko’s assistance in one of the airlocks, where Kai Opaka, whom we have not seen since the first episode, has arrived unexpectedly, hopefully with cake. We think one of the great faults of this episode is that it does not show us the scene that must have occurred between Kai Opaka and Bashir in which she showed him pictures of all her cats and gave him some of her cake, and he told her all about medical school and how he was the best one in the class, and she squeezed his ear like she does and was super proud of him and told him to write her once a week. Even not having seen this, we think it’s safe to assume that she and Bashir were chatting and having tea for a good hour and a half before Bashir bothered to call Sisko.

Sisko seems really excited (he must think she has cake too), because he frigging loves Kai Opaka, and he’s rarin’ to give her a tour of the station. Kira comes out of his office trembling with indignation because the Cardassians refused to recognize her brilliance as a terrorist and labeled her a “minor operative.” Poor Kira. Now I’m imagining her terrorist days as some sort of farcical delusion of grandeur, in which she believed herself to be one of the Boondock Saints and everybody else knew that one of the protagonists in Big Trouble. Also, the Cardassian file specifically says that she was limited to “running errands” for terrorist leaders, so now I’m picturing her picking up dry cleaning and making runs to Bajoran Starbucks.

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DS9 Season 1 Ep12: “Vortex”

Synopsis: We open on Odo pacing around the bar at Quark’s like the caged tiger he absolutely refuses to turn into no matter how much it would please me. He and Quark are trading pointed barbs about a ship that just docked, apparently it belongs to a group of shady characters, the Miradorn Raiders, which refers to a race of people who conduct raids and not an 80s new-wave band as you may have initially assumed.

Odo believes Quark is doing some under-the-table dealing with the Miradorn, his primary evidence being that Quark’s usual flunkies were not present to ply the Miradorn with fliers and coupons for the bar when they docked. Apparently, this is something Quark always does, which I think is kind of awesome and amazing. Quark knows what he’s doing: I’m sure when the tired poor huddled masses of the Gamma Quadrant show up on the station Quark will be there to personally warm them with soup in exchange for their loyalty.

“You may or may not know, Odo, that every day I go down to the waterfront with hot soup for the Irish as they come ashore, and I say, ‘come to Quark’s Quark’s is fun, come to Quark’s don’t walk run.'”

But today, Quark demures, saying he doesn’t want to go near the Miradorn because they’re known as a “quarrelsome people,” and he doesn’t want them in his place.

Odo, bored with this line of questioning (as am I) changes the subject to point out to the audience that the Klingons have also brought aboard a Gamma Quadrant visitor, and he doesn’t seem like he’s much good at eye contact, which of course makes Odo immediately suspicious. Jeez, Odo, not everybody likes cops. Maybe he’s the Rodney King of his home world, you don’t know.

Quark says the guy is harmless, which also arouses Odo’s suspicions. Quark says that the guy was scared by all the Federation attention when he boarded. I bet that’s right – after the disastrous Wadi first contact, Sisko was probably pretty serious business about making sure this one went according to textbook. Maybe they interrogated him about his hobbies to make sure the senior staff don’t get crocheted into a scarf or something (“Well, I’m sure there’s nothing unusual about this yarn where you come from, but we have regulations on this station and I’m afraid we’ll have to quarantine it in sick bay until we’re sure it won’t turn our science officers into fingerweight Space Alpaca.”)

Odo, who would have gotten that whole situation with the Maltese Falcon worked out in twenty minutes, presumes that Gamma Quadrant Guy’s discomfort means has something to hide, and wonders aloud what it is. As if in answer, two dudes we’ve never seen before come in, and they look like they’re wearing S&M Halloween costumes they made themselves. Also: are they twins or are we racist?

The game show sensation that’s sweeping the nation!

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DS9 Season 1 Ep7: “Q-Less”

"You never hear me brag about how I wasn't valedictorian."

Synopsis: The episode begins with Bashir animatedly telling one of his Ripping Yarns to a pretty lady over what appears to be breakfast at the station’s Holiday Inn Express, as Irishy eavesdrops in a corner, rolling his eyes so much that he can barely finish his bowl of gruel. The story is about Bashir’s final exam in medical school, and how he missed being valedictorian by thaaaaaaat much. Just as he’s about to seal the deal, he and Irishy get called to Ops on their comm badges, and Bashir swaggers off all like, “medical school exam stories work fifty percent of the time, every time.”

Crisis! The Ganges, one of the station’s runabouts (one of the small shuttles that they use to travel on official business) has docked at the station to disembark, but a sudden power drain has caused the hatch to become stuck, and the passengers are trapped.

Sisko, Irishy, and Bashir finally get the hatch pried open and rush into the people, of whom there are either two or three (there were only supposed to be two, but Bashir said his tricorder read three life signs). The people are all woozy and messed up, and one of them is Jadzia, who insists that she’s OK and Bashir should tend to the other passenger, Lady-Anthropologist Vash, who was a recurring character on NexGen. If Vash wrote a personals ad, it would read “SWF seeks powerful man with classical acting training for swashbuckling, adventure, and larceny. No fatties.” After toying with John-Luc Picard’s affections on and off, she eventually ran off with Q, the playfully douchey omnipotent being who plagued JLP’s existence.

Irishy (who, if you remember, originated on NexGen) is all, “what are you doing here?” and Jadzia explains that they found Vash in the Gamma Quadrant, where she’d been for about two years. Irishy wants to know how she got there, and she obliquely says that a “friend dropped her off.” We know it was Q, though, because we are a well-informed audience and also this episode title has a Q in it. Continue reading

DS9 Season 1 Ep6: “Captive Pursuit”

This is one of those philosophical episodes about ethics and crap. We skipped it for our usual reasons: there’s no advancement of ongoing arcs, and not a lot of character growth.

Long story short: A never-before-seen type of alien shows up on the station via the wormhole in a super-banged up ship. He’s the first alien to visit from the Gamma Quadrant, so everyone is super pumped. His name and/or species is Tosk (he doesn’t specify), and although he and Irishy become fast friends, Tosk is pretty dang suspicious – he only has to sleep for 17 minutes a night, he can turn invisible, and he doesn’t have to eat anything because he stores nutrients in his cells like a food camel. Oh, also, he’s inordinately interested in the station’s weapons supply, and he refuses to discuss the weapons-fire damage to his ship.

Odo eventually arrests him for trying to hack a weapons console, and he goes quietly, reminding everyone that he’s Tosk (as though that explains everything) and asking Irishy to let him die with honor.

Eventually, three super-scary aliens show up from the Gamma Quadrant, initiate a firefight, and confront Tosk. They identify themselves as “Hunters”, and Tosk as their specifically bred prey (which is why he can do so much crazy genetic stuff). They plan to to bring him home alive, which is apparently humiliating for him because not dying is considered a failure among his people (this is a more common Star Trek theme than you might think).

After a brief debate about the morality of hunting sentient beings, the main Hunter tells Sisko that he and his buddies will consider the Alpha Quadrant off-limits in the future, and Sisko says they can take Tosk with them unless Tosk asks for asylum. Tosk, much to Irishy’s dismay, seems to feel that staying alive would go against the meaning of his life, so he refuses.

Irishy, though, gets all sneaky and helps Tosk escape, and Sisko conveniently doesn’t stop him, he just smiles his trademark “I Just Ignored Federation Rules In Order To Satisfy My Own Sense Of Ethics” smirk.

This episode raises some important themes about destiny, choice, culture, and how they can all create and enforce one another. It also gives us a sneak peek into how the denizens of the Gamma quadrant roll, which will become increasingly relevant as the series continues.

And that’s what you missed on: that episode we didn’t particularly want to watch.

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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