#DS91sttime: Season 3, Episode 17, “Visionary”

May 22, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

O'Brien, meet O'Brien.  Season 3, Ep 17: "Visionary"

O’Brien, meet O’Brien. Season 3, Ep 17: “Visionary”

The incredibly likable Miles O’Brien has gone a few episodes without threat of imprisonment, disease or misplaced adulation, so “Visionary” remedies that by inflicting him with involuntary leaps forward in time.

Goody. Another time travel episode.

Only, not really: here the jumps aren’t setting up a dystopian episode or establishing a comedy of errors, but instead a mystery. And with each time shift, the stakes progress for O’Brien. The first shows an almost bemusing future conversation; the last has me wondering why O’Brien didn’t come out of these events with a Federation medal, if not a
major promotion.

O’Brien keeps a cool head under pressure, but between the writing and Colm Meaney’s acting, believable amounts of the character’s strain show. Meaney is better at portraying tension and duress, I think, than Avery Brooks, or even most of what really is a solid ensemble cast.

All these events are kicked off by the arrival of the Romulans, who paid-out a lease on Federation intelligence pertaining to the Dominion–which really needs to invade, already.

Sure, we’re getting great intrigue in this episode–one imagines its revelations do no good for Romulan/Federation relations–but we’re still dancing around embers at this point. Give us the forest fire. I’m watching this show to see how this motley crew maneuvers once the Dominion comes plowing through the wormhole. I want to see how each of them will be stressed and strained once that event breaks.

The Romulans mention during this episode that the Dominion is the greatest threat the Alpha Quadrant faces, and we’re shown, later on, just how far they’re willing to go to prevent an offensive by this power. But that’s really stretching what we know about the Founders and their lackeys, and what the Romulans should know about them, by extension.

Guess what, guys? We don't know much, either.

Guess what, guys? We don’t know much, either.

Think about it–what do we have to work with? The wiping of a few colonies, the blathering of some toadies over in the Gamma Quadrant, and a few nigh-suicidal attacks by Jem’Hadar which–while certainly ferocious–tell us little about the Dominion’s true strength. For all we’ve been shown, this power might be confined to just a few systems. I realize everyone has assumed the threat is far greater, and the show certainly wants us as viewers to draw the same conclusion. But the Dominion has been primarily the stuff of shadows and subversion. How would anyone really know, at this point, what they’re capable of? Maybe it took their entire fleet to destroy those colonies and outposts–and we can assume there wouldn’t be much to destroy, since we wouldn’t have had much of an Alpha-side presence in so newly-discovered an area.

It’s the kind of situation where you really want an expeditionary force dispatched, with broad recon elements in place. This doesn’t have to be a fleet of heavy warships–you could assemble this force from a squadron of birds of prey, or even a wing of runabouts.

Or, you can just hang back at Deep Space Nine, and assume the worst, while oddly accepting the lack of more reinforcements. I mean, seriously–if the Dominion is this bad, why hasn’t a major fleet been stationed at Deep Space Nine, especially since the facility sits right where invaders would want to establish a beachhead? Why isn’t Sisko on the horn yelling at those ever-meddling Admirals at this point? This is all making him and the Federation look criminally negligent. And one can’t rely on the viewer to understand that it’s budgetary issues preventing the arrival of more ships.

Hopefully, these loose ends and hanging questions will finally get some time over the next few episodes. I’ve had enough of character back-stories and bottle shows. Bring on the war.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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