Saturday, November 15, 2014

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Season 7b)

"Once More Unto the Breach"--Season 7c

Overall the episodes in the last season of DS9 are not getting the higher ratings I was giving to episodes in the 5th and 6th seasons, but some of the topics being addressed are as if not more interesting. The religious and political intrigue and the conflict on a galactic scale are definitely all things outside of the original, Secular Humanistic, utopian vision that Roddenberry had for Trek, but they are far more compelling and honest stories.

Episode 8 “The Siege of AR-558” 

This portion of the season is book-ended with two stories dealing with the darker (as if there was a lighter) side of war. Here we see a troop who have been trapped on an assignment far longer than regulations allow, but then again this is war and things rarely proceed according to rule. Sisko has been struggling with command—namely that his decisions cost individual lives—and decides that he will help this unit get the job done. In the end many more die, and Nog loses a leg, but Sisko’s is more in tune with his feelings, so…

Episode 9“Covenant” 

This is a pretty good telling of the cult tragedy story. Our big, bad enemy that we all love to hate descends to even lower lows. But the real meat in this episode is the questions it raises and the truths it reveals about faith, both the negative and the positive. This story exposes the danger of believing in untruth without going so far as to say all faith is naïve. A conversation at the beginning between Kira, Odo, and a few others actually has a lot of insight. Faith proceeds seeing, and when that faith rests on truth it can truly change the world.

Episode 10 “It’s Only a Paper Moon” 

Nog deals with his injuries by escaping into the holosuite. Or maybe he “deals” by not dealing with things. And eventually maybe it is just time that he needs, but he does require a push to get back to the real world.

Episode 11 “Prodigal Daughter” 

A minor story about parenting and the affect we have on our kids.

Episode 12 “The Emperor’s New Cloak” 

Back to the parallel universe for more exercises in things being different. As fascinating as it can be to examine “what ifs?” these tyoes of stories tend towards the baser alternatives. At least here we combine things with the seasonal Ferengi humor story.

Episode 13 “Field of Fire” 

I don’t understand why the Dax episodes always fall so short in my opinion, but apparently it is not the actress. A serial killer story that manages to bore because of all the pseudo psychology.

Episode 14 “Chimera” 

The thing that makes the Founders so fascinating is their true alien-ness. This story explores the unique bond that this otherness must provoke, while also demonstrating the difficulty that changing culture demands. Odo is drawn to another of his kind, but his worldview is not so easily overcome. And—note to those who see homosexual subtext in this episode—you are missing the point entirely. Or, more precisely, you are too small-minded to grasp the larger issue being explored.

Episode 15 “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang” 

Apparently, the message of this story is: every once in a while we need to invest our life into the entertainments we love so dearly. In today’s world of technology and blurred lines between reality and simulation, this story is more plausible. But the message still rings false.

Episode 16 “Inter Arma Erim Silent Leges” 

The book-end closes with more questionable/questioned sacrifices. In this case we get the fascinating Section 31. Section 31 is one of those organizations willing to make any sacrifice to protect their culture—including the sacrifice of the very values that build that culture. And, as always, they fail to see that their approach to preserving the culture kills it.

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