DS9 Rewatch: Season 1, Episodes 7-10

Well, Dax is off to a strong start with another round of “Julian, take a fucking hint.” Extra annoying is Julian basically tells himself “well, she didn’t say no, so it still could be yes!” and follows Dax, so he’s there to at least see her being kidnapped. Dax, why so many creepers?

I love that there’s a “unilateral extradition” treaty with these people, because that ensures a dramatic kidnapping attempt. But I like the way this sets up to examine some of the strangeness of the Trill as a people, like the question of who Dax really is, and if Dax becomes a different person when the host changes–and the existence of the host as an entity who still has a life with meaning despite joining. And there’s some great moments of politics, about who is allied with who and why the Bajorans don’t have a treaty so they can say no extradition because it’s their station. The maneuvering is lovely, as is Odo playing hardball with Quark using the threat of building code violations; this kind of thing is Star Trek playing bureaucracy at its best.

Also, special love for Anne Haney as the arbiter who is Done With Everything Before The Trial Even Starts. As Trek trial episodes go, it’s not The Measure of a Man (if for no other reason than it lacks the special drama of Picard versus Riker); it leans more toward being a mystery episode, solving a thirty year old crime that goes full Long Black Veil, which cuts into the major ethical debate that’s rolled up in the question of who Dax is. But it’s solid, and fun watch.

Another episode, another setup with Julian being fucking insufferable, but this time he’s not creeping on any lady people so I’ll allow it. You know, I remember really liking him at some point, and I’m not sure if it’s because he gets some good character development in later seasons, or if I just gravitated toward him on my first watch because he was the youngest guy on the crew and he is as objectively cute as he is smug. The Passenger starts out with Julian getting lightly choked by a dangerous prisoner who then promptly dies, so my money was instantly on him getting possessed by the prisoner in some way.

I feel like episodes are taking turns with who is hitting grossly on Jadzia. Last episode was Julian. This one, it’s Quark’s turn.

Security Lieutenant: …if you want my opinion…

Sisko: Actually, I don’t.

This is why I love Sisko. And DS9 is working to make him such a distinct sort of command presence from the captains we knew before.

Instead we get a shipment of a MacGuffin going to a planet to help stop the people there from dying, on a collission course with a very bad man who is supposedly dead and was obsessed with immortality. Probably because I called it at the very beginning of the episode, so none of the “ooh, suspense! mystery!” stuff worked for me, this ended up feeling like the worst episode of what had been a fairly solid run. (And all love to Alexander Siddig, but him [over]acting as the criminal walking around in his Julian suit is just… not great.)

Move Along Home starts with the terrible revelation for Sisko that Jake’s gotten all his relationship advice from Nog. Y I K E S. And the first ever aliens coming in formally from the Gamma Quadrant are gamers. OH NOES. (Oh god they actually look like they got scraped up from the TTRPG tables at a fantasy convention and slapped in some horrible, cheap-looking costumes, which I feel terrible for even having written.)

Honestly what appalls me even more than the wigs in this episode is that the Ferengi are just so bad and obvious at cheating. And the bad, obvious cheating leads the main crew members to get trapped inside the game that Quark is playing as an apology, which is just… not a great concept, and especially not as executed, plastic 3D board and all. My face met my palm when the Head Gamer Alien showed up to cackle maniacally and shout his first cryptic message.

I mean, that’s basically the entire episode. Dude in a bad wig saying cryptic things while the command staff wander around in a maze and get given basic “puzzles,” salted liberally with some of the worst acting so far this season. Even Odo’s exasperated “Is it against Star Fleet policy to push a few buttons?” comes across flat. Quark’s decisions have the potential to be interesting; I mean, as Corina said while we were watching, if you’re going to pick one guy off the station to play a random game with lives at stake, it probably would be Quark. I’m not sure how, but this episode even makes the life or death choice uninteresting; Quark goes into a screaming begging fit and the exasperated Head Gamer Alien says they’ll just choose someone at random. Which leads to an interminable cave sequence. And in the end, it’s all dismissed as “only a game.”

(Also “a tectonic shift of two ground masses”??? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT EVEN SUPPOSED TO MEAN?)

Apparently this one is considered to be one of the ten worst Star Trek episodes ever. Can’t say I disagree.

In fact, Move Along Home was so fucking awful, instead of going to bed I decided to watch another episode just so it wasn’t going to be the last thing in my brain before sleep.

Which puts us at The Nagus. And this episode, I do vaguely remember, mostly because the Grand Nagus is played by Wallace Shawn (you know… “Never trust a Sicilian when death is on the line!”) and he’s still an absolute delight even under seventy pounds of makeup.

I think the more important part of the episode is the expansion of Nog and Jake’s friendship, the tensions where you can tell that their respective parents would really rather prefer to tear them apart. It’s a great foundation for their later character development. And poor Nog getting told yet again that he can’t go to school when it’s something he actually wants to do, and that makes him get in a fight with his best friend. This poor kid in his unsupportive home environment. And then there’s Jake, who I love with all my heart, sad because he’s losing his best friend–and when his dad tells him that “these things happen sometimes” you can just hear him thinking this is bullshit. It’s a really great depiction of friendship between young men that I don’t feel like even gets a lot of play today.

That scene of Jake helping Nog read. My fucking heart.

Okay, yeah, there’s some other stuff going on too. Quark getting to play Mob Boss for a Day has its really fun moments, particularly if you can turn off the part of your brain that’s screaming about the horrible, racist stereotype they’re based on. There’s some spoofy nods to The Godfather and watching Quark go mad with power followed by paranoia definitely has its moments. The Grand Nagus popping back up from his faked death is pretty dang fun.

Definitely a worthy apology for the two episodes that preceded it.

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