Archive for the ‘Deep Space 9’ Category

“Duet” DS9, Season 1, Episode 18

This is quite possibly the single best stand-alone episode I have yet seen in a Star Trek series.  I was completely unprepared for the superb quality of this episode when I casually sat down to watch part of it over lunch.  Part of it turned into, there is no way I’m turning this off until I see the end.  I have a special place in my heart for the one-hour TV episodic drama, but there have been few times when I have been so very riveted.  

I started watching DS9 about two months ago and I absolutely love it.  I mean really love it.  Voyager level love here.  The series started off well and has only gotten better as season 1 moves along.  I am really looking forward to what this series has to offer over the long haul.  That being said, I did not like all of the characters at the outset.  Major Kira primarily.  She’s loud, aggressive, quick-tempered, and bit too much of a victim for my taste.  At least that’s what I previously thought.  Really she is quite a compelling character.  Sure she has some irritating traits (more attributable to her Bajoran race than to the actress), but she is wonderfully layered and complex.

The reason I bring her up is because “Duet” is a Kira centric episode.  We get to see, essentially for the first time, the profound impact the Cardassian occupation had on her.  Further, what that occupation involved.  We learn that the Cardassian occupation of Bajor was similar in many respects to the Holocaust.  Extermination and genoicde were used to describe the scenario.  Kira witnessed the effects of this genocide as it was happening.  In “Duet” we really see her scars (and in many cases open wounds) laid bare.  Here’s her description of the events at Gallitep (the labor camp at issue in the episode) to Sisko:

“Commander, if you’d been there twelve years ago when we liberated that camp, if you’d seen the things I saw… All those Bajoran bodies, starved, brutalized… Do you know what the Cardassian policy was?! And I’m not even talking about the murder, murder was just the end of the fun for them! First came the humiliation. Mothers, raped in front of their children, husbands beaten until their wives couldn’t recognise them, old people buried alive because they couldn’t work anymore….!!”

Kira spends the entire episode delving into the life of a man she believes she knows she hates.  A man who identifies himself as Marritza (later as Gul Darhe’el, and eventually confirms he really is Marritza) who worked at one of the Bajoran labor camps Kira fought to liberate.  The plot twists in this episode were dizzying but extremely well timed and effective.  By the end of the episode Kira has completely changed her opinion of Marritza.  The two characters connected when Marritza finally admitted his guilt in the labor camp atrocity yet he also showed showed an emotion Kira did not expect, profound remorse.  It was through his repentance that Kira was able to finally see past Marritza as a Cardassian (a people she hates), to a person she could connect with as they both feel immense grief over the genocide at the labor camp.  

Marritza was an incredible character that came in for a brief moment and did the impossible: he managed to change Kira’s opinion of Cardassians.  I’m very glad her perspective has changed.  I think she will now be a far more complex and interesting character as she will, inevitably, have to be a leader among Bajoran’s as they work to shift from hating their former oppressors, to eventually tolerating them.

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The Ultimate Question: Where to begin?

An avid fan of science fiction from the moment I saw Agent Mulder’s “The Truth is Out There” poster in high school, it was really only a matter of time before I started watching Star Trek.  Couple this inevitable occurrence with the easily available DVD TV series and I ran out of excuses.  Star Trek is a huge empire though.  Where in this galaxy was I supposed to begin?

Some folks urged me to start at the beginning.  That sounded reasonable to me.  Captain Kirk.  Mr. Spok.  Scottie.  I mean these are all of the Star Trek characters of legend.  I wasn’t feeling it though.  I find older shows a bit difficult to watch sometimes if I am not really interested in the story line.  So, the original series was out for my beginning point.

In my youth I had watched a few episodes of The Next Generation and enjoyed it very much.  In fact, I’ve seen all of the TNG feature films.  Still wasn’t there for me though…

Enterprise…  Eh, I really didn’t want to start with Scott Bakula.  I think that would have ruined it for me.   Star Trek fan sites also seemed to rank it at the bottom so I felt confident in checking that one off the list fairly quickly.  I think I’ll probably watch it last.

My best friend from law school last year is a big Deep Space Nine fan.  Usually agreeing with her in taste, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it.  Sadly, the opportunity to watch a DS9 episode never happened upon me.  In effect, it’s going to have to settle for 2nd place in my series viewing.

That leaves only one, Star Trek Voyager.  I LOVE IT!  Last week I was flipping through the channels in my afternoon break before class and I caught the beginning of Voyager.  It was great.  I DVR’d that episode (“The 37’s,” episode 1 of season 2) and I haven’t missed an episode yet.  I plan on Netflix(ing) the first season in the near future so I am all caught up.

Why Voyager?  The answer is simple, Janeway.

janeway

I have an absolute weakness for powerful female leads on television.  Xena.  Scully.  Buffy.  Colonel Carter.  I think they are all wonderful, and Janeway is an excellent addition to the list.  Perhaps I like them because I, as a woman, aspire to have similar strength, courage, and wisdom.  Or, perhaps (and probably more correctly) I like those qualities in all people.  I just think it’s cool when the women kick butt!

Anyway, I am beginning my Star Trek endeavor stranded in the Delta Quadrant with the crew of the Starship Voyager somewhere in the middle of their second year.