Deep Space Nine (DS9) Season 4 Guest Reviews

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The Visitor

Synopsis

Stardate not given: An aged Jake Sisko tells the young aspiring writer Melanie the story of his life. When Jake was 18 years old, his father, Ben Sisko, apparently died in an accident on the Defiant when he was hit by a light bolt from the warp core during an experiment. But time and again the captain rematerialized in the following years. Jake, who had become a successful author in the meantime, his principal work being the novel Anslem, decided to start over and study subspace mechanics. But the attempt to to exactly reproduce the experiment to retrieve his father from subspace failed. Ben was just able to tell his son to finally let go. Old Jake expects Ben to appear one last time, and he takes a poison to die in the very moment when his father is with him. Now that the cord between the two is broken, Ben is hurled back to the moment of the accident. He ducks when the lightning bolt strikes, gaining a second chance to live with his son.

Commentary

This episode starts off slow, and if I didn't already know that they were going to show the future (which I've always loved) I probably would have skipped it. This slow start is almost forgotten, however, once old Jake stops talking and we go back to the present, when the accident that took Ben Sisko away actually happens.

Jake's situation is a very odd one, and I don't know how I would cope in his shoes. It is hard to simply go on with your life if your father appears every ten years, acting like it's only been a minute. What happens after he dies? He might be caught in this eternal flux for the rest of eternity! What kind of a son would simply let his father go on like that? Given that, I can understand Jake's situation perfectly. All in all, it's a very depressing episode. The scene near the end with old old Jake and normal Ben is touching, and when Ben hugs Jake and Jake's all "Yo what, dad?" my mother started crying and hugging me. I didn't feel like crying, but it was a very good episode.

Although I would have liked to have seen a different Dax. I have nothing against Terry Farrell, but how long can she live? Having Nicole de Boer would have been great, and a good insight into what would come later (although the producers didn't know at the time, so I guess it's not their fault).

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Hon. David Kulessa)

 

The Visitor

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Commentary

I had an interesting argument with a friend about this episode and that person was winning - until I delivered the punch line that sealed it. Said thing will now be explained.

I have read Bernd's review, and the details at Memory Alpha, I have heard all the praise and the love for this. The reference of how good the acting is, the heartstrings it pulls, the emotions it made, the reference to love is stronger than death (if only!), and that it has significance.

I will admit I was a tad moved by it all. AT the time.

However, there is one thing that ruins the episode - THE ENDING! Its a re-do. The way its done is irrelevant compared to the way in effect it took the piss with our emotions. I can see where Bernd made references to TOS: "The Tholian Web" and hell even possible references to TNG: "Gambit", and "The Next Phase", but those worked because they did not basically return to the beginning of the story and prevented what happened. The heroes were there and they were saved.

Here, we are dragged through the emotional roller coaster of this episode, the leaded journey of a suffering Jake as he realises that he can see his dad every 28 years because of some stupid once again unique subspace anomaly; the pain of loss; the emotional torment; the suffering, and I was genuinely moved, I was in tears at one point - then Jake kills himself and then at the last minute - BOOM! Problem solved, problem prevented, problem erased, making me feel like a F***ing idiot, having my emotions played with in such a manner.

Some numbskull will say this is science fiction, hell even science fantasy and should not be taken seriously.

I strongly disagree - science fiction when done right is more than a genre of drama: it's a place where important thoughts and ideas can influence our society - things like global warming, the environment, technology and its impact are very significant - especially today in this uncertain time. It is also a great genre for all sorts of ideas, but still retaining basic emotions - stirring stuff, romantic thought, powerful pride, grief and horror.

Science fiction at its best makes us think, makes us understand, and explore possibility. Hell it can even change minds. What other drama genre can do that?

Bad science fiction however mocks this - it makes great ideas descend into stupid stories at best, and pantomime at worse. Things like alternate realities, time travel and such, are great ideas - but when it's done wrong (take a look at Gene's other sci-fi thing - Andromeda) its made laughable, silly, and gives the impression to those who do not like sci-fi, that those who do - are idiots.

In addition, this consistent redo technique is an insulting trait within Star Trek under Berman, Braga, and all their friends - this stupid idea is also used in VOY: "Timeless", "Year of Hell I/II", "Time and Again", "Non Sequitur", "Shattered", "Relativity", "Endgame", DS9: "Visionary", ENT: "Twilight"; stories that dare cross the line in loss of main characters and the failure of our heroes on a major scale - only then to bottle out of it with a convenient reset switch.

TNG‘s "Yesterday's Enterprise" worked because there was no convenient technology, no one was wise to the changes (even Guinan was vague), no one from the future corrected it all or anything that overly ambitious. In addition, they knew they were not suppose to be there and had to go back but to face death to save everyone, and allow the time line to be not change it to suit their selfish desires; and the best thing was it made sense.

This redo tactic was tried in Dallas with the famous 'Bobby Ewing Shower' sequence to get Bob back into the series because the fans were upset that he was dead and he was missed so as a result came up with the most stupid idea afloat to get resurrect him - making out the last series was a dream sequence. Needless to say the reaction to Bob's return was fierce. Here they are doing the same thing only getting away with this sort of atrocity because it's "science fiction".

So why bother doing this if one has not the balls to follow it through? What is the point of doing a dramatic story ONLY to reboot/redo/reset everything back to the way it was at the beginning? No one else in sci-fi land does this - and with good reason. 0/10

Rating: 0 (Chris S)

 

The Sword of Kahless

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Commentary

Star Trek meets Lord of the Rings! Or, at least that's the most rational explanation for this episode. The Bat'leth seems to have basically the same powers as the One Ring - it makes people invincible or very powerful, but in exchange corrupts the minds and forces people against each other. The biggest difference is that it was found, and not taken from a fallen enemy (which would be a more Klingon way to do it, actually). And in the end, the Ring is thrown into the sea - ahem, I mean, the Bat'leth is transported into space.

However, it seems that the creators had an Indiana Jones movie in mind here (none of which I have ever seen, though), and the Bat'leth was supposed to not have any real powers. But that is simply silly. It wouldn't cause such a huge change in both Kor and Worf. Especially Worf changed - in fact, while he is normally Lawful Good, here he is quite clearly Lawful Evil. Kor also changed, but not as drastically. So that would mean that they act way out of character. Moreover, how would they defeat so many enemies at once, if the sword didn't do anything special? Unless all the enemies went into the Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy or the protagonists were incredibly lucky.

Another thing I didn't like was Jadzia, or rather her lack of action. She was the voice of reason here, but that's pretty much it. Even the phaser shots came way too late - she should have done it a few scenes earlier and in cold blood, since those two were quite definitely not the Kor and Worf we know.

Oh, and how did the enemy Klingons get out of the place? It didn't seem that they had any means of creating a reverse polarity field, and there was no other way out of there. If the Vulcan expedition didn't find a way in, then they wouldn't have found a way out either. Never mind finding, pursuing and reaching the three characters.

But that aside, I enjoyed the episode. The continuity was excellent indeed, something I always like in Star Trek. There was enough action and enough epic speeches throughout the whole episode. Everything about the situation of the Klingon Empire also made a lot of sense, and even reminded me about past events I had forgotten. The parallel with LOTR was also very interesting, since I am a LOTR fan as well. So overall despite a few flaws, this came out quite enjoyable.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (GreatEmerald)

 

Homefront / Paradise Lost

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Commentary

This double episode is not a remarkable affair, especially in hindsight. To the Trek core it must have seen as manna from heaven, that Star Trek can be dark. Long as that dark is not too dark - or dark-lite.

In a nutshell it's another mad Admiral trying to take control of Star Fleet and the Federation, and only Benny Sisko can save the day with trusty Odo on his side. Cue numerous pompous displays of "command", authority, the 'I relieve you of command' quote to our hero who defies all above him to win YET expects all below to obey him without question, and the so-called adversary to pop up to show "tension".

It reminds me of TNG episode "Conspiracy" and numerous cold war US thrillers and hell even Dr Strangelove with the coup at the air base. I can see the relevance to 9/11, well emphasised by the way the Changelings can get into Star Fleet, and being hard to detect - like actual terrorists, contrary to NCIS and CSI: Whatever.

What I do not like about this episode is that it is poorly acted, most of which coming from Avery Brooks - he OVERACTS his lines, he jabbers his words, he pronounces SO, SO MUCH, it puts me off. Also its a haven of clichés; the single mad Admiral who would be king, Benny throwing his weight around WITH no resistance, Leyton's allies losing their bottle - hypocritical moral drama, and knowing the good guys will win, not might - will.

Like with other opportunities in the series they are dropped or never pursued, like with the Changelings on Earth - especially the meeting with the Changeling O'Brien with Benny sets up a great scenario - no longer do anything more after this. I feel the writers got cold feet, that is by making an enemy TOO Smart they could defeat Star Fleet.

It's not a bad scenario, but its not bravely pushed. Its like being given a peak to what appears to be a great film but its only the trailer. This and a whole load of other tasteless factors listed below. Shame. 4/10

Annotations

Rating: 4 (Chris S)

 


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