Season 2, Ep13: Armageddon Game

Synopsis: We open with a Bashir voiceover. Oh, boyHe and Irishy are on a T’lani (teh-LAN-ee) cruiser because two warring alien races we’ve never heard of want to get rid of their nukes, blah-blah-blah. The T’Lani and the Kelleruns have been fighting each other for centuries with something called “Harvesters,” which are deadly gene-disrupting weapons, but now they’re not fighting anymore and they want Irishy and Bashir to throw them into the sun like they’re Superman in The Quest for Peace.

On board the T’Lani ship, the T’Lani’s primary alien feature seems to be crazy mohawks, like they all saw a sorority girl in a corvette with the top down and went, “our hair should do THAT, like, all the time! Best idea ever!” We’re doing something sciencey with tubes of liquid, and Bashir is impatient that the Outer Space Nukes aren’t being deactivated more quickly, even though he’s only been working on deactivating them for a week. Bashir is waxing rhapsodic about what a difficult problem this is.

Look, two people who are clearly from two completely different races. It’s like looking at a cat standing next to a horse, I tell ya.

So, anyway, the Outer Space Nuke Tube has changed color now, so it worked and they’re deactivated. Irishy is pumped, because he knows when to accept victory and go home, Bashir looks like he needs a nap. Then the Head Kellerun Dude, distinguishable because he has different stupid hair, comes in and gives a speech about a bright new future free of war, and thanks Bashir and Irishy for their help. He’s very specific about them also destroying all the institutional knowledge about how the Harvesters are made and how they work, which seems like a solid plan that couldn’t possibly backfire at all. Irishy concurs that they’ve deleted all of the blueprints or whatever, and the Head Kellerun Dude gives this really melodramatic speech about not resting until all the Space Nukes are destroyed. Call me crazy, but I am about 120% sure he’s up to something, a suspicion that is bolstered by the extremely suspicious music we got goin’ on going into the opening credits. Continue reading

DS9 Season 2, Ep11: “Rivals”

Synopsis: We open on what appears to be an elderly alien lady doing shots.

I love this show.

Apparently her husband is dead and she has shitloads of lefotover mad money just lying around. She’s talking to a young man who, I’m just gonna call it, is a gold digger. Although maybe I’m just prejudiced because he’s Prince Humperdink. The Elderly Alien wants to make an investment – presumably in a time-share.

Across the bar, Odo glowers, listening to the conversation with the super dog-ears he apparently has. It seems the Elderly Alien is going to engage in some prospecting-related insider trading (snore) and she’s telling Space Humperdink all about it because she’s so enthralled by his sexy bouncy ’80s hair. And also she’s drunk.

Prince Humperdink pulls some great acting, you can see the manipulation flit across his face as he suggests that they could enter into some sort of partnership, although he doesn’t play the displaced royalty card at all, which, Michael Caine could tell him, is a rookie mistake. At that point, Odo calmly moves in to take him off to the slammer. “We were just talking!” the woman protests, to which Odo responds, “you were talking, madam, he was listening.” I sort of love Odo’s devotion to customer service in this moment. He really needs some sort of cap he could doff at people on the promenade.

As they walk to jail, Odo and Prince Humperdink engage in some expository banter that reveals that Prince Humperdink is a flimflam man who gets people’s pin numbers and “helps” them invest all their money in his dummy companies, and Odo has been eyeballing him since he arrived on the station. He locks him up but good.

After credits, we see Irishy casually walking through the halls swinging a racquetball racquet. I guess he’s on his way to the gym, but I prefer to think this is something he just does, like those high-powered business executives who putt golf balls into cups in their offices (or so television has led me to believe).

When Irishy gets to the holodeck, he finds Bashir sitting on the floor in the completely ridiculous meditative warm-up position, and Irishy is clearly not happy to see him. He programmed the holodeck racquetball court himself, apparently, because he missed playing it so much that he’s having tryouts for a station racquetball league. He did not think Bashir would be the only person at tryouts, but Bashir bouncily assures him that he was the captain of the racquetball team at med school, and led them to the championship his last year. Of course. Of course.

Irishy is all, “oh, so it was like, a college championship?” and Bashir is all, “no, it was like, the championships of the whole galaxy,” and Irishy seems super intimidated, so I guess that tells us that they’re really going to over-correct in the FUTURE when they fix the NCAA (“EVERYBODY PLAY EVERYBODY!”). Continue reading

DS9 Season 2, Ep5: “Cardassians”

Synopsis: This episode re-introduces one of our favorite characters from season 1, Garak, Cardassian Tailor/possible spy and Dr. Bashir’s best lunch buddy, who will thankfully begin getting his due as an amazing character this season. Are you ready for Garak, internet? I don’t think you are.

We open with Bashir in the station’s Holiday Inn Express Breakfast Buffet, where he suddenly notices Garak at a nearby table and makes a face all like, “oh, right! My friend no one’s seen in a year despite the fact that we both live on the same space station!”

He goes over to say hi and plays detective by correctly guessing what Garak’s drinking. I would suggest he parlay this skill into some sort of interstellar-neo-vaudeville act, but when Garak asks how he knew, he responds, “the odor is unmistakable,” in a way that is frankly really creepy and I do not think that would get him a lot of tips.

Pictured: losing the standard 15-20% gratuity for drink-guessing

But Garak says his gross drink soothes his nerves, and today he had a particularly rough morning at his shop (tailory?) because there’s this one Bajoran engineer who keeps coming in with the sole purpose of ruining his life, which sounds hyperbolic unless you’ve ever worked in a customer service industry.

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Analysis of “The Homecoming,” “The Circle,” and “The Siege”

Meredith’s Analysis: This is DS9’s three-parter, and it’s a great out-of-the gate opening for the second season. We get the most important development on Bajor yet – it really is like the wild west, full of competing factions and corruption, everyone scrambling for power in the vacuum left by Kai Opaka last season. These are the first episodes that raise, for me, a question that is ongoing throughout the series: maybe Bajor is in such disarray because everyone there spends so much time scheming and having intrigue rather than actually, you know, running Bajor? Like, when was the last time anyone on that planet filed any paperwork?

They are also the first episodes that actually show us the chaos on Bajor and make it feel real. In the first season, all of the Bajoran “unrest” consisted of groups of Bajorans on the station shuffling around and yelling, and it was kind of hard to imagine that there was a whole planet of people with an actual society experiencing actual unrest. In these episodes, the danger seems very real, and we spend the most time we’ve ever spent on Bajor. We also get some good development on the Bajoran ministers, who play an important role in the political intrigue of Bajor.

These episodes also do a great job of further developing characters (Jadzia’s weird girliness aside). Sisko is way more badass than he ever was in season 1, and you can tell Avery Brooks has found and committed to the character. Kira is much more nuanced than she’s ever been (“Duet” excepted), and the hilarious little character flourish of Irishy loving army rations is great.

I think the only real weakness here is Li Nalas, who ultimately serves his function (dying nobly and being a martyr), but who never really lives up to the hype that the rest of the characters build around him. I guess that’s sort of a point in and of itself, since he was always supposed to be a man who stumbled into legend status by accident.

Tim’s Analysis: Kai Opaka’s departure may have left a power vacuum on Bajor, but it’s not as though she was filling the space very well herself. In these episodes we learn that the power structures of Bajor are anything but settled following the departure of the Cardassians. Some hints were previously dropped along these lines and let’s face it, it’s no surprise. Bajor was under Cardassian occupation for 50 years. Functional government is not exactly something that crops up overnight. Characters talk about “unrest”, but this episode shows us that Bajor is a beehive full of civil war. Remember that Bajor has to be peaceful for a while before they can join the Federation. They’re not exactly working on that very diligently.

These episodes have some really fun parts, but my favorite is absolutely the scene in Kira’s quarters where everyone shows up at once. Intended as an homage to A Night at the Opera, it was actually filmed as one uninterrupted take, but was later broken up in editing. The timing is flawless and it’s a very light moment in an otherwise very serious story arc.

The arc itself really shows off what DS9 can do. TOS and TNG both never show us any follow up. The Enterprises get into some shenanigans, win the day and zip off on another adventure while some admiral assures the captain that it’ll be sorted out thanks to him. In this case, Sisko is told that it’ll be sorted out and that he should leave and he chooses not to.

I disagree with Meredith that Li Nalas is weak. I think he’s actually great. He represents the regular Joes on Bajor that are being jerked around by the political machinery. His legend is used to further a political agenda and in the end, he sticks around to help take it back, even without a real obligation to do so, and ends up dying bravely, only cementing the legend or confirming that he was that hero all along, maybe just not quite in the same way.

Overall, this arc is good, but it starts to drag in the middle. It probably could have been squeezed into 2 episodes if they had tried.

DS9 Season 2, Ep3: “The Siege”

Previously on Meredith and Tim Watch Star Trek: Kira rescued a Bajoan resistance leader named Li Nalas from a secret Cardassian labor camp using only her own sexiness as a weapon (and also a phaser), only to have Bajoran Minister “Richard Nixon” Jaro give Li Nalas her job when they got back. Then she was kidnapped by militant Bajoran terrorists/graffiti artists The Circle, where she learned that Minister Richard Nixon was running The Circle in order to advance his own political power. Odo learned that The Circle was being secretly supplied by the Cardassians in the hopes that they’d run off the Federation, which turned out to be a solid plan considering that a Starfleet Admiral explicitly ordered Sisko to evacuate, an order which he blew off almost completely. Meanwhile, though our heroes don’t know it yet, Minister Richard Nixon has a pact with the ever-charming Vedek Winn where he’ll make her the new Kai in exchange for her support.

Synopsis: We open about two hours after the closing of the last episode, where Sisko is in Ops discussing the planned evacuation with both main characters and extras. He says that it may be easy for the Federation to order an evacuation, but for them, the people actually there, it’s a lot harder: for example, one extra is engaged to a Bajoran dude, and another has tutored some Bajoran kids in science, and all of them have Bajoran buddies. Sisko says that everyone there has come to care about the Bajoran people, and so has he, and that is why he is not leaving the station.

The whole crowd is all, “rabble rabble rabble,” and Sisko is all, “just to oversee the evacuation of the station, for serious, guys,” and Irishy jumps in saying he needs to stay to do inventory control, and Bashir notes that packing up his medical stuff could take forever. Sisko looks around the room with a barely-concealed smile and warns everybody that they shouldn’t volunteer too quickly: he says they’ll try to delay the station takeover for as long as they can, hopefully until the Cardassians are exposed as the real force behind the unrest, and that’s going to be really hard because Bajor at large is getting the message that the Federation is a terrible enemy.

I kind of love how fast this conversation transitioned from coded to brazen, and I wonder if any of the extras are confused by it (“wait a minute, I thought I was only going to stay to help you guys bubble-wrap the glassware! What’s all this ‘hold off a takeover’ nonsense?”).

Sisko continues, saying that Minister Richard Nixon and the Circle would love to kill all of them, and he wouldn’t blame anyone for leaving while still in one piece, and that anyone who wants to evacuate now is dismissed.

Not one person leaves. Possibly because Irishy is staring them down like he he would love nothing better than to chase down and tackle anyone who tries it.

Sisko says that non-Bajorans aren’t safe on the station anymore, so everybody’s non-Starfleet personnel families will have to be evacuated, and the pro-Federation Bajorans would probably do well to do the same. He closes by reminding everyone that the assault vessels will be to the station in less than five hours.

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DS9, Season 1, Ep20: “In the Hands of the Prophets”

Synopsis: We open on Irishy O’Brien trying to buy his wife a variety of Space Popsicle that looks like a gelatinous cow tongue, but she doesn’t want one because it’s “too early in the day.” Do Space Popsicles have bourbon in them? I think it’s more likely that Keiko O’Brien just hates fun, and the only way she can experience joy is to thwart her husband’s every attempt at happiness.

My hatred of Keiko may have crossed the line into “unhealthy.”

Kieko says Space Popsicles, or “Jumja sticks,” are too sweet, but Irishy says it’s OK because their sweetness is naturally derived from the sap of the Bajoran Jumja tree, and now I really feel like we’re in a popsicle ad (“Jumpy Moms Choose Jumja!”). Things snap back into DS9 mode when Irishy mentions that he aquired his Jumja-knowledge from Neela, his Bajoran Lady Sidekick, and Keiko is all, “I SEE,” catching the scent of an opportunity to make Irishy unhappy like some sort of unhappiness-sniffing bloodhound.

She asks if Neela is working out better than his previous Bajoran Lady Sidekick, and Irishy says yes as noncommittally as he can, to which she nastily responds “I’m glad to see her knowledge isn’t limited to Jumja Sticks.” That was a pretty good passive-aggressive dig, but I think I would’ve gone with “as long as she isn’t servicing your Jumja Stick after hours.”

Irishy suddenly realizes what’s happening, and goes “hey, hold on!” and Keiko gives him a smile that would melt the paint off a tractor and says “just keeping you on your toes, O’Brien.”

I think their relationship may have crossed the line into “unhealthy.” Continue reading

DS9 Season 1 Ep16: “If Wishes Were Horses”

Those of you who use Netflix on the Xbox 360 are doubtless aware of the Netflix app’s upsetting new feature: sit on any title too long, and, unbidden, the poster is replaced with a random still from somewhere in the middle of the feature. Thus begins the story of today’s synopsis: as I navigated to our episode for today, I was confused to see the DS9 cover art replaced with a terrifying gnome-man refugee from Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre. Remember that, internet? Maybe in your nightmares. 

I’m not sure why my mother considered this
toddler-appropriate. Oh, wait, yes I am:
it was the early ’90s.

I sat there, perplexed for a moment, and then I moaned “oh, dear God, this one.” 

Yes. That is the sort of episode we’re dealing with today. I would say to buckle your seat belts because it’s going to be a bumpy night, but I don’t need another excuse to skip this recap and watch All About Eve instead.

Synopsis: We open in Quark’s, where Quark is scolding Odo for monitoring his bar even on a slow day like this one. He offers to set Odo up with a holosuite program, but Odo says he has no time for fantasies, and people should pay attention to what’s actually going on in their actual lives. Silly. Quark offers that he could set Odo up with a sexy virtual shape-shifter lady, a suggestion that makes Odo take umbridge – even more so when he sees Jake coming down from the holosuite floor.

“You’re not allowing young Mr. Sisko in your holosuites, I hope,” Odo says icily to Quark, as though the holosuite can be used for porn purposes only. This leads me to imagine what other porn-capable devices they have in the future, and makes me wonder if Odo approves of young men using any technology at all.

“You’re not letting young Mr. Sisko
use your calculator, I hope.”

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DS9 Season 1 Ep4: “A Man Alone”

Meredith’s Synopsis: We open on Jadzia like, I don’t know, meditating? With a fancy floating transparent beach ball in a holosuite. Bashir comes in, and she says “Hello, Julian,” without opening her eyes or turning around. He’s surprised she knew it was him, and she says, “there are lots of ways to recognize people,” which I take to mean that she detected the odor of arrogance and romantic frustration that hangs around his person.

He’s all, “you are remarkable, sexy lady,” and she’s all like, “uh huh, we need to talk about this you being so into me business,” and he misses the point and invites her out to a champagne dinner. You know, for a liberal-progressive military organization in space, Starfleet sure seems to have a lax workplace sexual harassment policy. Sometimes I wonder if they even have a training video.

Jadzia explains that she’s trying to solve this puzzle with the beach ball, which, now that I see it up close, looks a lot more like a very large soap bubble. Bashir, eager to prove his Boy Genius status and impress her, is all, “I LOVE PUZZLES, I CAN HAZ PUZZLE HOT STUFF?”

Jadzia sighs and lets him take over, telling him it responds to brain waves. She tosses out that she’s been trying to figure the damn thing out for about 140 years – so Bashir should have it down in like, twenty minutes, right guys? Oh, it would be humorous if this scene ended in literally any other way!

Jadzia puts her hands on Bashir’s head to release the puzzle to him, and Bashir is all, “your hands are so cold, cold hands, warm heart, amirite?” (for the record, that was not a paraphrase. The only thing I added to his line was the “amirite.” He is that bad at macking on chicks)

Young men of the internet take note: if you are making this face, you're doing something wrong

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