#DS91sttime: Season 3, Episode 13, “Life Support”

May 1, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Twitter hastag: #DS91sttimeAs I’ve said before, Deep Space Nine does a great job with its villains, making them so much more than one-dimensional. The way this show employs its baddies is a credit to the writing. When it comes to other supporting characters, though, it’s sometimes a mixed bag.

“Life Support” displays both of these tendencies. Here, in Season 3, the writers are doing some housecleaning, and unfortunately it looks like poor Vedek Bareil is going to get the axe. The cause? Supposedly, a nasty accident up in the docking ring that severely wounds him on the eve of key negotiations with the Cardassians.

Really, though, Bariel’s true killer is going to be Kai Winn, played by Louise Fletcher, who once again demonstrates unflinching, utilitarian evil. It can be said, accurately, that history’s truest tyrants are those that believed in breaking eggs to make omelets, and Bariel is the one that gets thrown in the frying pan just to provide Kai Winn an easier time at the talks.

Kai Winn in Season 3, Ep 13: "Life Support"

Kai Winn in Season 3, Ep 13: “Life Support”

That’s really the most effective aspect of this episode: watching Winn, who should have never been Kai, kill off the man who should have, just to save her own skin. To Fletcher’s credit as an actress, she portrays the Kai’s utter selfishness while still showing vulnerability. And this kind of stuff shouldn’t happen in the Trek universe, which is why it’s so great when it does.

Bashir’s hard stands are effective, too. The wedged-in scenes with Nog and Jake? Less.

Ultimately, what derailed the episode for me is I’ve become bored with the Bariel character, and even more bored watching him play robot in this episode. I couldn’t put my finger on why I’ve lost interest in Bariel–there was just nothing about the character in this season that compelled me to stay glued to the screen whenever he was on.

Even so, he deserved a little better than this send-off. Done a different way, this loss might have been shocking, even gripping, but it’s still a tall order for a character I’m done with. I’m left having enjoyed the Kai’s presence, and little else. And I don’t think that was the goal.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars.