Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Season 2a)

"Hands" - Season 2b

Season Two of “Deep Space Nine” continues the objectives of the first season. It is as socially minded, and idealistic as its predecessors, but with a more realistic attitudes towards human weaknesses and sin nature. It still is heavy-handed and preachy like season one, but it is not quite as noticeable. The story quality has picked up a bit:

Episodes 1-3 “The Homecoming” “The Circle” “The Siege” 

This is something unseen before in Trek, a drawn out political story with intrigue and deception covering three connected episodes. From all indications, it is a foretaste of things to come as the series appears to build an elaborate and overarching political, religious and martial epic. Roddenberry’s vision of the future had humanity (or the galactic community) getting past all of that, but most storytellers know that (a) that is boring because it doesn’t really teach anything about reality and (b) human nature—sin nature—makes it unlikely that we will ever be past that.

In this particular story both sides of the conflict have backing from branches of the bajoran religion. The more mystical branch are the “good guys” and that is no accident. The terrorist, isolationist rebels are backed by a more institutional form of the religion interested in political power. That is about as deep as it gets here, but it promises interesting storylines going forward.

Episode 4 “Invasive Procedures”

After the impressively epic scaled opener, we get a pretty forgettable story that tries to expand our understanding of Jadzia Dax but takes things in a confusing and erroneous direction.

Episode 5 “Cardassians”

Here we get the first of many thinly disguised social commentary episodes playing into the unique setting of Deep Space Nine. An orphaned Cardassian raised by Bajorans provides the writers with all sorts of material. The plot itself is a bit thin, but it does bring an intriguing minor character from the first season back, Elim Garak. One hopes for more and more of this sympathetic Cardasian.

Episode 6 “Melora”

Another social commentary episode that starts out clichéd but quickly goes in more interesting directions.

Episode 7 “Rules of Acquisition”

Ferengi lore is expanded as we get to meet the Ferengi version of Yentl.

Episode 8 “Necessary Evil”

A great, dark, flashback episode that delves into the days of the Cardasian occupation and a good detective story to boot. More please.

Episode 9 “Second Site”

This is a weaker attempt at a quiet character piece about Sisko. It is reminiscent of “Lessons” which had aired on TNG seven months earlier, only that episode was far superior.

Episode 10 “Sanctuary”

Another social commentary story about immigration.

Episode 11 “Rivals”

This is a slightly humorous episode about fortune. Not as good as the standard for this sort of story: Twilight Zone’s “Nick of Time.” Now THAT was a great episode.

Episode 12 “The Alternate”

Another Odo-centric episode, which is a good thing. However, it is another one of those episodes where no one seems to have asked the question, “What is the story we are telling here?” They didn’t get past the concept phase. We get teased with finding out more about Odo’s origins but it is just a tease. The hope for this episode from this first time viewer’s point of view is that they might bring some of the unanswered questions from this episode back later. We’ll see…

Episode 13 “Armageddon Game”

This is a good episode all around. Good story. Good mystery. Good emotion and humor. It raises the question, how noble is the pursuit of the greater good? Or in this case, how far can you go to eradicate evil without becoming evil?

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