#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 21, “The Muse”

February 16, 2015 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

DS9: "The Muse"

That look, whatever it is–I like it. DS9, Season 4, ep 21, “The Muse”

Writers–the ones that believe in their bones that they were made to write–are very driven people, given to not only burning the midnight oil, but the morning and afternoon oil as well. Like all artists, there’s the potential for obsession, sometimes foisted upon us by outside influences. George Orwell, one of my favorite authors, was basically killed by the demands of his publisher; as a consequence Nineteen Eighty Four became his last work.

“The Muse” asks a question: is an artist’s legacy worth the cost of losing everything else? Of risking their very life? One of the characters present in this episode seems to think so, but their nefarious deeds wind up having less impact on us than the other half of this tale.

We’re presented with two plots in “The Muse”, as is the wont of Trek since the earliest days of the Berman-helmed shows, at least by my recollection. The first finds Jake Sisko abandoning a vacation with his father in the name of working on a story. What’s really happened is that Jake has been captivated by the offer of a female alien to help him with his novel. There’s clear sexual interest on Jake’s part toward the woman, named Onaya, and the episode dances carefully around the subdued eroticism of Onaya’s candlelit quarters. This is a coming of age tale, of sorts, both for Jake as a writer and as a young man, and like any good coming of age story, Jake finds himself in over his head. It’s a little uncomfortable for us, as it is for him. Read the rest of this entry →

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 20, “Shattered Mirror”

January 28, 2015 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Once again we descend into the mirror universe in “Shattered Mirror”, a place where–as my wife puts it–“everyone becomes a worse actor”.

I don’t know if I completely agree with that, though this might be because I always focus my ire on the logical issues inherent in mirror universe episodes. Lest you think I’m being unfair, let me tell you that I believe in an old adage about fiction: “Everybody gets one pass”. The problem with “Shattered Mirror”, and other mirror universe episodes, is that they’ve by definition already been given a pass. Namely, you have to believe there exists a place where nearly every prime universe character has a counterpart, despite the mirror universe’s millennia of radically different factions, wars, and historical events. You have to imagine that, somehow, most people had the same parents, and their parents had the same parents, all the way back to prehistory.

“Shattered Mirror” starts off with a premise so ridiculous I have a hard time writing about it without reverting back to the expletive-throwing days of my youth. Mirror Jennifer Sisko has apparently booked a tourist visa to the prime universe and comes across for a casual visit. Nervous smiles from both Sisko men follow.

This all makes perfect sense! See, you can cross over whenever you want, clearly. Sisko must have hopped over to grab Jennifer, or she beamed over onto the promenade for a visit, and everyone’s completely cool with this, because an organization like Starfleet, which has a freakin’ temporal protocol clearly has nothing to say about interfering with the affairs of another dimension. And hey, since that mirror universe is so great, clearly the prime universe wouldn’t see an influx of refugees, or anything like that, because it’s not like crossing over is so simple that mirror universe characters can do it in the name of having dinner. Read the rest of this entry →

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 11, “Homefront”

December 21, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Joseph Sisko and son, from Season Four, Ep 11, "Homefront"

Joseph Sisko and son, from Season Four, Ep 11, “Homefront”

Well, that didn’t take long. Just when I’d started complaining about this season spending too much time away from the core Dominion plot arc, we’re thrown into a terrorist attack taking place on Earth itself in “Homefront”. This gives us a strong episode, and one that resonates with a post-9/11 audience even more than it must have back in the late 90’s. More on that in a moment.

The episode opens to Dax and Sisko observing the wormhole’s odd activity–it’s been opening and closing like a revolving door at a busy downtown office, but there’s no sign of any ships leaving it. That should have screamed “get a perimeter around it, and start scanning”, but it’s basically shrugged off by Sisko, while the Bajorans on board see it as a possible sign from the prophets. Read the rest of this entry →

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 4, “Hippocratic Oath”

September 5, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Season 4, Ep 4, "Hippocratic Oath"

Season 4, Ep 4, “Hippocratic Oath”

If I was in Starfleet, I’d get very nervous if ordered to fly off in a runabout to perform a planetary survey, or some other banal task. I’d definitely bring a phaser rifle or eight, and I’d also make sure the vessel sent constant updates from my galactic positioning system. These trips never end well.

I’d have to be on my toes, too, because runabout missions have rules, a la Scream. One of these is the danger of idle chatter. Don’t ever get into conversations about nothing, because if you do, something is going to show up.

Bashir and O’Brien are returning from just such a survey–and having just such a conversation–when they run into an odd sensor signal on a nearby planet, indicating a downed starship. Before they can gather more information, the runabout is lanced with a plasma field, causing it to crash land onto the planet’s surface, in what is a fairly solid effects sequence. Predictably, Bashir and O’Brien are fine, though both vow never to discuss Keiko O’Brien again. Read the rest of this entry →

#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 3, “The Visitor”

August 28, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Egad, am I stepping into it this time. I knew after I finished “The Visitor” that I was going to find myself in trouble.

See, I’ve some guidelines I stick to so that each review in this series is truly a virgin experience. One of these is that I make a point not to check out Memory Alpha, or Trek Core, or anywhere else for anyone’s opinions on an episode ahead of my viewing. I don’t want to know about the public’s derision or acclaim, because that small bit of dye dropped into the waters can color my perception.

I failed that guideline with this episode, because of a slip-up that happened well prior to my decision to even make this review series. Sometime back–maybe a few years ago–I googled the most popular Trek episodes of all time, and wound up staring down a list of the best Deep Space Nine episodes. And there was an image of Sisko, holding some old guy’s shoulders–that’s all I knew–and since the episode’s title was simple to remember, it stuck in my head.

Many regard “The Visitor” as the best episode in DS9’s entire run, and–checking Wikipedia after I watched–I saw quite a few viewers believe it is the best episode across the entire Trek universe. Wow. That’s overwhelming.

Overwhelming, too, was the pressure I think I placed on the episode before I watched it. I was ready to slingshot around the sun over this one. How could I not be impressed? So many people loved it, after all.

And yet, I’m left with a somewhat-contrarian review to write. Here comes the shuttle crash. Holofilm at eleven. Read the rest of this entry →