DS9: “Through the Looking Glass”

Date: July 7, 2020

Season 3, Episode 19

Musical Accompaniment: Magical Celtic music

Interstellar News: Work was insanely busy today but at least I got to eat one of my favorite sandwiches for lunch.

Favorite Quote:

Mirror Kira: He always has to make things difficult.

Mirror Garak: It’s one of his least endearing qualities.

Things in the Mirror Universe are always interesting.

So what had happened was…: Odo and Sisko accuse Quark of staging vole fights when O’Brien kidnaps Sisko and takes him to the Mirror Universe. It’s been a year since the events of “Crossover” but Mirror Sisko has died during an important mission, getting Professor Jennifer Sisko on the rebellion’s side.

Mirror Jennifer with Sisko
“Why don’t you start by telling me what happened to my husband?”

Mirror Kira is still her usual flirtatious self but this time we get to meet Mirror Bashir (who is not a doctor and super scraggly looking), Mirror Rom (who is pissed that Quark is dead and also later revealed to be a spy), and Mirror Dax (who has an affair with Sisko). O’Brien and Sisko are captured by The Alliance but it’s a ploy to break Jennifer out and Sisko shows us his balls-of-steel when he sets the station to self-destruct, but it allows the rebels to escape with Jennifer (who is super smart and figured out he was not her Sisko).

“I still hate you.”: Apparently each time we go to the Mirror Universe a Ferengi dies, is that some weird “an angel gets its wings” adage? I didn’t like this episode as much as I did “Crossover” but it was still fun to watch the crew play slightly different versions of themselves. Sisko gets to have sexy fun time with THREE different women, well maybe two-and-a-half, because apparently Mirror Sisko ain’t nothing but a hound dog. O’Brien and Rom have found their confidence but that means Mirror O’Brien is not different than ours so much and Rom is totally different. Having Dax be flirty as well seems like a cop out to me as both the female leads seem reduced to sex kittens in tight outfits. The thing that confused me the most, however, was Bashir. Last time our Bashir went through to the other side and absolutely no one batted an eye at who he was and all of a sudden he magically appears? For that matter, what the hell is Dax doing involved with a Terran rebellion? I get that a Vulcan was there because it was Spock’s fault last time and it makes sense for Vulcans to be treated just as poorly as Terrans, but what’s it to the Trill?

Mirror Dax lies on the bed
“I’m really glad you’re alive. And I’m going to make you glad you’re alive, too.”

I also want to know how O’Brien figured out how to mess with the transporter… oh wait it’s O’Brien, mystery solved. I truly loved Mirror Sisko’s performance last time and this time, although it was perfectly played, it just wasn’t as fun. I did enjoy the ending and love that Sisko is so technically minded. I hate that Mirror Quark and Odo are dead, that Garak doesn’t have as much bite to him, and that we haven’t seen Mirror Dukat. Hopefully the next trip to the MU will be much better. I rate this episode 6 ducks, and none of them are in a row.

TA Out!

DS9: “Visionary” and “Distant Voices”

Date: July 6, 2020

Season 3, Episodes 17 and 18

Musical Accompaniment: A collection of DC Comics movie soundtracks

Interstellar News: Today was hard, much harder than I thought it would be. There was also hail. In Trek news, today’s episodes are “O’Brien must suffer” followed by “Bashir must suffer”.

Favorite Quote from “Visionary”:

Sisko: Do you have any evidence besides the fact that Klingons hate Romulans?

Odo: Not yet. But don’t worry, I plan on investigating the Klingons, the Bajorans, Quark, the visiting Terrelians.

Sisko: You think Quark had something to do with this?

Odo: I always investigate Quark.

Sisko asking a good question and Odo giving a very honest answer.

So what had happened in “Visionary” was…: Bashir helps O’Brien to his feet after a plasma conduit blew, but he’s got a mild case of radiation poisoning so Bashir prescribes rest after the medicine kicks in. A Romulan delegation arrives to exchange information about the GQ, as does a Klingon ship that needs repairs. The Romulans ask a bunch of questions and Kira storms out on them. O’Brien bullies Quark into installing a dart board at the bar when he has an out of body experience and then passes out.

After leaving the infirmary he relives the moment, this time from the other side of the Promenade. This keeps happening but now O’Brien sees his death, twice, though on the second one Bashir tells him how to prevent it. Odo figures out the Klingons are spies and O’Brien travels back purposefully this time to see the Romulans attack DS9 and the wormhole. Our O’Brien dies but 5-hour-older O’Brien heads back, alerts the rest of the senior staff, and confront the Romulans who leave without damaging anything else.

O'Brien and Bashir playing darts in Quark's
“Well, who am I to argue with me?”

“I hate temporal mechanics.”: This was a fun episode but poor O’Brien. From the moment we begin the episode everything that happens belongs and it’s a fun mystery. The dialogue is excellent in all the right places. Bashir being snarky about not arguing with himself, Odo reminding Sisko just how awesome he is, Kira claiming that she’s always diplomatic and then blowing up at the Romulans, and Odo being mock outraged when Kira tells him what the Romulans said. O’Brien, not in good health, keeps shifting through time but he’s a problem solver at heart and he needs to know what the hell is going on, though the rest of the team helps piece things together as well. His best lines are near the end when he meets himself for the last time and when he fucks with Quark.

Two O'briens sitting on a bed
“Oh no, not you again. What is it now?”

For all the good lines, the plot leaves a bit to be desired. The fact that the Federation was just like “oh yeah come on in Romulan friends, we’re totally on the same side now” is terribly naive of them and I don’t buy that Dax or the sensors would miss a cloaked ship. I will admit that I didn’t see it coming but as I look back I see where the cracks are. Where the story is different than other time travel stories, though, is that O’Brien knows what to do every time and he doesn’t have to worry about changing history or creating an alternate time line because he’s always trying to make things better and have more people live. I rate this episode 7 sugar cookies with cognac-soaked cherries.

Favorite Quote from “Distant Voices”:

Kira: I’ve had enough of this. I am not some figment of your imagination.

Bashir: But don’t you see? That is why you’re all behaving so strangely.

O’Brien: I’m not behaving strangely. Am I?

Bashir: You all are.

O’Brien really delivers this line perfectly.

So what had happened in “Distant Voices” was…: It’s a few days before Bashir’s 30th birthday and he’s eating lunch with Garak when Quark comes over with Altovar, a Lethean, who wants a controlled substance. Bashir heads back to the infirmary which has been ransacked by Altovar and then Bashir is attacked. When he comes to the station is empty except for Quark who is petrified and later Garak who is in security. Bashir’s hair starts turning gray and he keeps noticeably aging but he eventually finds the rest of the senior staff and figures out he’s in a telepathic coma. Everyone in his mind plays a different part of his personality with Garak being the ultimate villain. Bashir heads to Ops to try to fix the computer but realizes he should have done it from the Infirmary all along, which he does and wakes up a young man again and he’s not stuck in Oz or dead.

Garak and a woman holding up an age Bashir in a birthday hat
Happy birthday Mr. President… wait.

“My tennis balls…”: A lot of this episode reminded me of a cross between The Wizard of Oz and Inside Out. If you haven’t watched either yet, you should. I also am reminded of dream analysis that I learned about in graduate school and am very impressed by Bashir’s self-analysis, though you are totally not supposed to analyze yourself ever. It was nice to see everyone playing a slightly different part than they usually do and a good use of supporting characters for a Bashir-focused episode. So often I have no idea how old people are, I would suck at those carnival games where you have to guess someone’s age, but as someone who is over 30 I realize just how young Bashir is and just how much he has accomplished at such a young age. It’s a good vehicle for getting to know more about him and also to see his adorable relationship with Garak from where they were in Season 1. This wasn’t as compelling as the episode before it, but was not the worst thing I’ve seen either. I’m rating this episode 6 slices of salty Italian meat with some Asiago cheese on the side.

TA Out!

DS9: “Destiny” and “Prophet Motive”

Date: July 5, 2020

Season 3, Episodes 15 and 16

Musical Accompaniment: Paul Simon, Graceland: The African Concert.

Interstellar News: I think everyone should try Manhattan Special at least once in their lives. You have not lived until you’ve drunk coffee soda.

Trakor’s Third Prophecy from “Destiny”:

When the river wakes, stirred once more to Janir’s side, three vipers will return to their nest in the sky.

When the vipers try to peer through the temple gates, a sword of stars will appear in the heavens, the temple will burn and the gates will be cast open.

Prophecy via the Orb of Change

So what had happened in “Destiny” was…: Two Cardassian scientists are set to help establish communication to the GQ but a vedek arrives with a warning about a prophecy. The prophecy begins to manifest as a third scientist joins the group, though it’s clear she’s not friends with the other two. Odo explains to Sisko that the vedek lost his title soon after protesting the peace treaty and Kira comes to terms with balancing her religious beliefs at work. The team heads through the wormhole and spy a comet that resembles the next part of the prophecy. During a test the wormhole opens and changes the trajectory of the comet. O’Brien and Gilora are adversarial in engineering but then realize they’ve had a huge cultural misunderstanding and are able to work together. Dejar, however, is from the Obsidian Order so she sabotages O’Brien’s fix and now the comet is in three pieces. Kira and Sisko grab a shuttle to help guide the fragments while the Defiant heads back to the AQ. The communications test comes through because the prophecy did come true, but not in the way the vedek believed.

Harry Potter staring at a prophecy orb
The Dark Lord…” Oh wait, this is the not the prophecy you’re looking for.

“It’s hard to work for someone who’s a religious icon.”: This episode was pretty meh but I did like a few parts. Ulani and Gilora were very likable Cardassians and I think that led to why O’Brien was so much better around them, well that and they were women. Watching O’Brien stammer and get klutzy was fantastic. It was nice to see a Cardassian who wasn’t really a part of the military and they just wanted to do cool things FOR SCIENCE rather than for the glory of their planet. I also liked how Sisko does his best to respect Kira’s beliefs and Kira does her best to work within Starfleet parameters. Despite all those interesting exchanges, I knew something was up with Dejar by the way the others said the word “colleague” and that she traveled separately. This wasn’t a very gripping episode, so it only gets 5 chocolate croissants.

Favorite Quote from “Prophet Motive”:

Bashir: There must be some mistake. As far as I know, my name wasn’t even up for consideration.

Dax: Oh, it was up for consideration. I submitted it myself through an old friend of Curzon’s.

Kira: You deserve the nomination, Doctor. Your work on biomolecular replication was both audacious and groundbreaking. According to Dax, anyway. She’s the only one who understands it.

Kira has such a way with words.

So what had happened in “Prophet Motive” was…: Bashir has been nominated for a prestigious award but he thinks he’s too young and doesn’t stand a chance. Bashir and O’Brien play darts and they push each other’s buttons as do Odo, Dax, and even Quark later on. Despite originally believing he shouldn’t have even been nominated, he works on an acceptance speech and gets his hopes up just a little. Bashir is disappointed when he doesn’t win, but he handles it well – at least outwardly.

Bashir giving a sassy look in front of the dartboard
“So, how much longer is Keiko going to be on Bajor?”

Elsewhere on the station Grand Nagus Zek is back and is acting strangely, including having revised the Rules of Acquisition to be more like the parts of the Bible that tell you to be kind to one another. Quark and Rom are super confused and Quark believes something is wrong with Zek. After Bashir clears Zek medically, Quark is shown that Zek came into possession of an Orb and intends to gift it to the Bajorans. They travel through the wormhole and Quark encounters the aliens that live there who share they’ve reverted Zek back to a time where Ferengi weren’t so interested in profit. The aliens, who are all played by the senior staff, and Quark come to an agreement. Zek is restored and Rom made off with a lot of Zek’s money, which makes Quark proud.

“I have a friend at Starfleet Intelligence and she has a friend who has a cousin who’s married to the assistant of one of the members of the Federation Medical Council.”: I fail to see what Bashir’s plot line had to do with the Ferengi plot and it seems like it was just in there for some filler. I also don’t understand why Bashir gave any serious thought to the fact that he might win when he was so adamant that he hadn’t done much yet and it’s supposed to be something akin to a lifetime achievement in medicine award. While Bashir has done some amazing things he certainly doesn’t have the experience or the ability to specialize that usually qualifies you for awards like that. I did very much enjoy the exchange between Odo and Bashir, as well as the dart game, but otherwise there was no substance to that story.

The Ferengi story is actually quite interesting because it not only shows us the power of the prophets/wormhole aliens but it also shows Quark’s problem solving abilities as well as his ability to exaggerate. It was also fun to see how forlorn Maihar’du was, crying in the background and drinking his troubles away, but he also go to “speak” when one of the wormhole aliens took on his form. I found it interesting that at one point in the Ferengi history they were more benevolent but that wasn’t their final form and their evolution took them to focusing on profit. Not sure what it means but it was certainly interesting. The opening sequence where Quark is getting an ear massage is a little funny because Rom ruins it for his brother and later Zek ruins any chance Quark had with the girl. The closing sequence where Quark is surprised at his brother’s stealing tendencies, for reasons unknown given how much stuff from the bar was in Rom’s room, was a cute moment between brothers. 4 drinks for Maihar’du and Hom, Bluto can come along too.

TA Out!

DS9: “Life Support” and “Heart of Stone”

Date: July 4, 2020

Season 3, Episodes 13 and 14

Musical Accompaniment: Tchaikovsky via Alena Baeve on violin

Interstellar News: I celebrated Independence Day by eating Italian food and watching a Canadian television show, ‘Murica… am I right?

Favorite Quote from “Life Support”:

Nog: What could be more important than dom-jot?

Jake: I have a date.

Nog: Oh. Well, that’s different.

Nog asking a good question and then realizing females were involved… giggidy.

So what had happened in “Life Support” was…: Jake runs into Leanne who asks him to dinner but that means breaking plans with Nog. Nog instead suggests a double date so Leanne brings Riska, but the date is a disaster and the boys fight. Sisko encourages Jake to make up with Nog, so Jake asks Odo to arrest them both. Nog sees right through it, though and the boys make up and agree to no more double dates.

Jake and Nog sitting in lockup
“You forgot? To most people, the lobes are a dead giveaway.”

Meanwhile there’s an emergency on Kai Winn’s ship and Vedek Bareil is severely injured. At first Bashir can’t save him but then something happens and Bashir is able to revive Bareil. Winn has had Bareil negotiate with a Cardassian Legate for the past five months and this was to be their first in person meeting to discuss a treaty and peace. Bareil refuses to be knocked out and Winn insists on getting Bareil’s input, which Bashir is not happy about. An experimental drug helps a bit but then starts shutting down his organs and part of his brain. Bashir does all he can but soon after the treaty is signed Bareil lapses into a coma and dies, with Kira by his side.

“Please feel free to submit a complaint to the management.”: I think the decision to embed Jake and Nog’s dating woes and test of friendship during an episode where a main character’s partner dies is in bad taste. I understand something else has to be going on but show more of the negotiations or have O’Brien and Dax review if it was sabotage, I mean there are so many other things you can do. For that part of the story I thought it was an opportunity for them to share about each other’s cultures but instead they were typical teenage boys who decided to ignore of the issue and never speak of it again.

Vedek Bareil in the infirmary surrounded by Kai Winn, Bashir, and Kira.
” I’m beginning to dislike seeing that look on your face, Doctor.”

For the main story at first it appeared as if Winn was really turning a new leaf and she really was trying her best but her facade crumbled as soon as she had the conversation with Bashir. Winn really is a bastard and I’m not sure there’s anything she can do to redeem herself. I find it terribly interesting that even in the 24th century they still don’t know enough about the brain and I suspect there’s so much we will never know. To Bashir’s credit he proves again he’s a force to be reckoned with when it’s his patient, he has the same zeal Dr. Crusher had on TNG even if it wasn’t going to help the most people. Bashir didn’t care that he was talking to the equivalent of the Bajoran pope, he only cared about Bareil and made that clear to both Winn and Kira to various degrees of success. I am glad that Kira got a chance to say goodbye but it was also a tough episode for me because I know what it is like to lose someone you are romantically involved with. There were ways they could have done this better but it wasn’t terrible so it earns itself 5 raviolis in vodka sauce.

Favorite Quote from “Heart of Stone”:

Quark: You said it might overload the system. Might.

Nog: He tried to warn you, Uncle Quark. You should’ve listened to him.

Rom: No. It’s my fault. I should have explained it better.

Quark: Of course it’s your fault. Everything that goes wrong here is your fault. It says so in your contract.

Of course Quark has that in Rom’s contract, sigh.

So what had happened in “Heart of Stone” was…: Nog has the Ferengi equivalent of a bar mitzvah and now needs an apprenticeship with a role model, so he chooses Sisko because he wants to join Starfleet. Nog is very serious but won’t tell anyone why, so Sisko decides to test Nog by asking him to inventory an entire cargo bay by himself and unsupervised at that. Dax reports that Nog completed the whole thing in five hours and nothing is missing. Nog finally explains that he doesn’t want to be like his dad, neither of them have the lobes for profit but they’re both technically minded. Sisko agrees to write the letter of recommendation and Rom is super proud of Nog, despite Quark’s complaining.

Dax and Nog look at each other i the cargo bay
“Starfleet isn’t just about diplomacy, exploration. A lot of the time, it’s just hard work.”

Kira and Odo are on a runabout heading back for the station when a Maquis ship comes across their path and they follow it down to a moon. The moon is super unstable but the two separate in order to find the fugitive. Kira gets stuck in some sort of crystal and it begins to spread. They try everything: shooting it with a phaser, using the transporter, and a makeshift generator but it’s no use. Odo shares a bit with Kira regarding him and O’Brien kayaking in the holosuite but when she orders him to leave he won’t and tells her he loves her. She replies back in kind but then Odo’s bullshit meter goes off and he starts to put together the clues because he’s super observant. Turns out it was the female changeling and she wanted to know why Odo stayed with the solids. Odo saves the real Kira and they get out of there.

“Just a slip of the tongue. Nothing important.”: I’m going to start off with the most intriguing thing about this episode, when there’s a dude who is pregnant. Sisko and Bashir are absolutely adorable and it’s ridiculous that I don’t know more about Ensign Vilix’pran because I am fascinated. I mean O’Brien is throwing a baby shower and Bashir had the presence of mind to get Garak to work on baby clothes… how fucking cute is that? Okay so maybe it’s not the most intriguing thing but it was such a natural work conversation and I want more of that please! Seriously though, both parts of the story line were awesome. Nog is very cognizant of his abilities and he has a mission in mind. DS9 continues to be littered with amazing fathers, like Rom, who not only allowed his kid to be educated by a human female but also is super supportive of Nog’s choice to join Starfleet.

Odo working on the generator and Kira stuck in crystal
“When we get back to the station, I’m going to start reading those Criminal Activity Reports.”

The big story is not-really-Kira and Odo because the female changeling is suuuuuuuuuuper good at changing her shape. I love hearing the story of how Odo got his name, how grumpy he is with Kira about making decisions about dinner even though he doesn’t eat, how damn adorable it is that he’s a bit embarrassed about going on a bro-date with O’Brien, and how he finally shares his feelings with Kira… even though it’s not really her. There are a lot of feels in this episode and it’s nice to see Odo finally opening up while also not losing his tenacity for detail and for things to make sense. Odo is amazing and I think I would love to see a show with him, Data, and Spock getting together to solve crime or some such. I really enjoyed this episode on so many levels, so it earns 8 slices of homemade garlic bread.

TA Out!

DS9: “Past Tense: Parts 1 & 2”

Date: July 3, 2020

Season 3, Episodes 11 and 12

Musical Accompaniment: A violin suite by Marc Coppey playing Bach

Interstellar News: I watched Hamilton for the first time tonight and it was wonderful.

Favorite Quotes:

Chris: Don’t worry, your friends are fine. That’s the whole point of the Sanctuary. To give people in trouble food and a place to stay.

Dax: If that’s all it’s for, then why is there a wall around it?

Dax making a damn fine point and Chris giving the eye twitch of the century

Snarky Sisko: “You get on my nerves and I don’t like your hat.”

Doctor’s Orders: “How could they have let things get so bad?”

Bashir: It’s not your fault that things are the way they are.

Lee: Everybody tells themselves that, and nothing ever changes.

Bashir trying to comfort Lee, but she knows the truth.

Part 1, “The name is Bell. Gabriel Bell.”: The team is headed to Earth to give a report on the GQ situation. Dax, Sisko, and Bashir beam down but are transported to 2024 and separated. They arrive during a bad spot in American history before the Bell riots, but it’s a pivotal time that eventually gets Earth to where it is as we know it in the 24th century.

Dax and Chris at the party
“Well, at least we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing here.”

Dax is saved by a kind stranger and we can see why she’s so good at gambling because she has an excellent poker face and would make a very good improv artist. She passes off her spots as a Japanese tattoo and cons her way into an ID, some credits, and a place to stay. At a party she finds out that those without IDs get sent to a Sanctuary District and figures that’s where the others wound up. Sisko and Bashir are, in fact, sent to a Sanctuary District and asked to fill out forms. The social worked explains they are “gimmes”, people who actually want to work, but she can’t really help them because of the economy so they just have to fend for themselves. Conditions in the district are appalling and the boys spend the night on the streets but are able to exchange clothes and make some friends. Unfortunately they run into trouble and a man gets killed. The man was Gabriel Bell who was the inspiration for the riots, so Sisko assumes his identity as the riots begin.

Bashir, Webb, and Sisko on the streets of the district.
“Well the only way that’s going to happen is if we get organized and let people on the outside know what’s going on in here.”

Back on the Defiant O’Brien figures out what happened through a shit-ton of technobabble which means he and Kira have to time travel. He figures out how to do it but they lose contact with Starfleet because history has been changed. Dun dun dun.

Part 2, “I can be as eloquent as the next guy.”: Inside the building BC has taken six hostages but Webb and Sisko embed themselves and have some other “gimmies” help out because BC only is out for himself while the other two want to help everyone get back on their feet. Webb and a detective begin to negotiate. Dax and Chris watch on the net and she wants to help so she breaks into the district and is reunited with the boys. She asks Chris to help the district members tell their side of the story and she sets up her combadge to send a distress signal.

Kira and O'Brien in the past, the 1970s to be exact.
“I broke my nose.” “Groovy.”

O’Brien and Kira travel back in time to the 1920’s, 1970’s, and a few others until the return to the Defiant only knowing it’s sometime before 2050 which narrows it down to three choices. They have one shot so O’Brien picks at random and, because it’s television, they find Dax. Bashir and Sisko are holding things down but the national guard is called in and Sisko is shot. The cops are disgusted by the violence and allow the boys to leave, swapping out their IDs with two of the dead and the timeline is restored as everyone returns.

My Thoughts and Impressions: I guess the Grand Nagus is going to have to wait for his favor. I was warned that this was a social commentary episode and was kind of thrown at the subject matter given it’s a very real problem we are still facing today 25 years later. Sisko and Dax were clearly meant for undercover work but they also have the most experience, poor Bashir is not cut out for a life on the streets. He is the one who wanted to work in “frontier” medicine, however… so I guess he really got his wish. O’Brien has to use so much technobabble I really can’t imagine how many takes it took to get the language down, but I do love that Kira is like anyone who listens to a doctor and then goes “so what does that mean?”. Jargon can certainly be great for relaying a lot of information in a short amount of time, but if those who you are talking to doesn’t understand what you are saying, you have to repeat yourself using other words… sigh. I enjoyed how much this episode highlighted how important it is to have experience and know your history before time traveling, then again Bashir didn’t have any advanced warning so there is that. I will admit this episode was a bit of a downer but knowing that those riots led to some serious change give me just a little bit of hope for the actual future. The year 2020 has not been kind and so much has happened in the first half of the year that I can only hope people start taking things seriously. We’re in a global pandemic, American citizens of color are being marginalized, and we keep taking money away from education and other things that could help our society in favor of more violence. Overall these two episodes were quite solid and are applicable today just as they were when I was but a wee lass, so they get 8 slices of chocolate cake with yummy buttercream frosting.

I’m going to end this post with a phrase I’ve taken from several of my favorite movies: “Be excellent to one another, party on dudes, live long and prosper, and may the Force be with us all.”

TA Out!