Category Archives: Klingon

“Star Trek Into Darkness”

I want Harrison found. Even if we have to build some sort of half-man, half-robot cop to bring him in... dead or alive. We'll call it a Coporobot or a Robocop...
“I want Harrison found. Even if we have to build some sort of half-man, half-robot cop to bring him in … dead or alive. We’ll call it a Coporobot …”

Kirk’s being all Kirk and violating the Prime Directive (some things are constant, despite reboots). Starfleet gets pissed and demotes him to commander and gives the Enterprise back to Pike. At about the same time, a Starfleet installation in London is bombed, thanks to a shady-looking character who seems well-suited to solving 19th-century mysteries (Benedict Cumberbatch). Turns out the bombing was a ploy (or something) to get all of Starfleet’s top dogs in one place so the shady-looking character (identified as Commander John Harrison) can attack the meeting room. Pike and others are killed, Kirk eventually thwarts the attack but Harrison escapes. Harrison apparently used Scotty’s transwarp beaming technique (seen in the previous movie) to get to the Klingon homeworld. Kirk convinces Starfleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) to give him back the Enterprise to pursue Harrison, and Marcus gives Kirk some super-duper torpedoes to attack Harrison’s position on Kronos. Spock objects to the out-and-out assassination, and Kirk eventually decides to try to apprehend Harrison instead. After a short battle with some Klingons, in which Harrison kicks some major ass, he learns about the number of torpedoes the Enterprise is carrying and surrenders.

Soylent Torpedos... are people!!!
Soylent torpedoes … are people!!!

Turns out, Harrison is actually Khan Noonien Singh (shocking no one) and, after Marcus discovered him (presumably on his sleeper ship) he helped Marcus design the torpedoes and stashed his 72 genetically engineered buddies inside them. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is having engine problems and is unable to leave Klingon space. Marcus shows up in what amounts to a Starfleet warship — apparently, developed in secret by Marcus with Khan’s help — and demands Kirk turn over Khan. Kirk, realizing that Marcus is operating without authorization, refuses and sets course for Earth to put Khan on trial. Marcus attacks, pulling the Enterprise out of warp, and Kirk and Khan board Marcus’ ship (with stowaway Scotty’s help) to prevent further attacks.

Chekov told me that if you put a Tribble on the wall in the first act it must bring the captain back to life by the third act.
“Chekov told me that if you put a Tribble on the wall in the first act it must bring the captain back to life by the third act.”

They stop Marcus (Khan kills him) but Khan takes control of Marcus’ ship, demanding that Spock turn over the torpedoes. He does so, but arms them — after removing Khan’s people — and Marcus’ ship crash lands on Earth. Meanwhile, Kirk sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise from burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. An enraged Spock (hmmm) pursues Khan and eventually stops him with Uhura’s help — and McCoy uses a blood transfusion from Khan to save Kirk (hmmm, again). Khan is put into stasis with the rest of his people and Kirk and Co. embark on a 5-year mission … to explore strange new worlds.

Why it’s important

Well, Kirk and Co. stave off a Starfleet takeover by Marcus (one that stems from his paranoia following the destruction of Vulcan) and stop Khan from doing … whatever he would have done had he freed his genetically engineered posse. Of course, Kirk goes from goat to hero again — echoing a theme from the previous movie — and his heroism eventually leads to the Enterprise being sent on the first of Starfleet’s 5-year missions.

Tonight's movie... Godfather Part III
“Tonight’s movie … ‘Godfather Part III’.”

What doesn’t hold up

Get comfortable.

In our review of the previous film, we noted that its biggest flaws stemmed from bad logic and action-movie cliches. Still, the 2009 movie was a good one, in our eyes.

The opposite is true for this movie. The action-movie cliches and bad logic overwhelm the good.

The first quarter of the movie is mostly OK. The fact that a “cold fusion device” freezes a volcano in the movie’s opening scene is kinda dumb, but whatever. The stuff with Kirk and Pike — further establishing their relationship in one of the highlights of the reboot — was good. Chris Pine and Bruce Greenwood bring their A games (though Kirk is cavalier even for Kirk considering he falsified reports). The problems start around the time Kirk gets the Enterprise back to hunt for Harrison/Khan.

The first issue, and probably the film’s worst, is how the Enterprise is hanging in Klingon space for the better part of a day without any sort of response. True, the Klingons attack Kirk’s party on the planet, but the fact that the Enterprise (and, then, Marcus’ ship) are there and we see nothing from the Klingons is just, well, laughable. For all the talk of hostilities with the Klingons gearing up, this is just a ridiculous oversight. Even if the Enterprise and Marcus’ ship hid effectively — there’s no dialogue indicating that they took special measures — wouldn’t the fact that humans clearly attacked the Klingon homeworld get the Klingons to declare war?

“It’s going to take a few seconds to get the coordinates from Mr. Sulu. Going to warp isn’t like dusting crops, boy …”

There’s also the matter of how warp is different in the rebooted films. Throughout prime Star Trek, warp was something that allowed ships to move fast, but not cross vast distances in mere moments. This was sort of an issue in the previous movie, but it really seems off here, when getting from Kronos to Earth seemingly takes minutes. Of all the creative choices in the reboots, this is my least favorite. It makes Trek more like Star Wars, and it’s not a choice that strengthens the films.

There’s also the issue of Khan’s people being in the torpedoes Marcus gives Kirk to use on Khan. Simply put, this doesn’t make any sense — unless Marcus was unaware, and it seems like he knew. Why not provide the Enterprise with the heavy-duty torpedoes without Khan’s people inside them? Without their presence, Khan likely wouldn’t have (temporarily) helped Kirk and foiled Marcus’ plan.

The script writer failed the Bechdel test 3 times before he reprogrammed the simulators to get this character into her underwear... sigh.
The script writer failed the Bechdel test three times before he reprogrammed the simulators to get this character into her underwear … sigh.

There’s also the matter of Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) a Starfleet officer (breaking from the previous timeline) and the admiral’s daughter who boards the Enterprise to (I guess?) stop the use of the torpedoes before they leave Earth. But, how would she even know about them — or about what her father was doing at that particular time? And how easy is it for just anyone (even an extremely attractive anyone) to get onto Starfleet’s most advanced ship without orders? Frankly, Carol Marcus’ presence seems needless and an excuse to have a hot blond in Kirk’s orbit who is also a callback to the original movies. The underwear scene, really, was completely unnecessary.

There are also some weird lines of dialog between Kirk and McCoy about Kirk apparently having health problems. This happens right after Pike’s death, so it at first seems that McCoy is checking out how his friend is dealing with the tragedy. But McCoy says that Kirk’s “vitals are all over the place” right after they board the Enterprise. Was something cut from the film? Was that foreshadowing for the next movie?

Also, the whole matter with Spock beaming to Earth to stop Khan makes very little sense. Even putting aside Spock’s over-the-top emotions, why wouldn’t he bring a security squad along? The day is saved when Uhura beams down and helps bring Khan in … but why didn’t Spock take more people to begin with?

There’s also the ridiculous lack of security allowing Scotty to infiltrate Marcus’ ship. Even if we figure Scotty is an engineering genius, there’s just no way that a secure installation (in the Terran System) would not notice his shuttle. Hell, how did Scotty get a shuttle in the first place?

Oh, and where the hell is the rest of Starfleet as Marcus’ ship attacks the Enterprise? This is an ongoing problem in Star Trek (as we’ve discussed) but it really stands out here. Even if you figure that Marcus has fooled or is controlling Starfleet, two massive ships attacking each other couldn’t go unnoticed. Granted, this isn’t just a problem with the rebooted movies, but it’s still a problem that could have been solved if the battle occurred in a more remote location before the two ships raced to Earth.

Finally, the bit about Khan’s blood having magical healing powers was just dumb — and if the powers were the result of his genetic enhancements, why didn’t McCoy just take a transfusion from one of the 72 other genetically enhanced people on the Enterprise?

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Well, one more thing. The first movie’s reboot takes care a lot of the inconsistencies. But Khan, who was in power about 250 years before Nero’s ship destroyed the Kelvin, was not a British dude. He was Indian and had a very different personality than what we see here. Of course, Carol Marcus has become British in the J.J. verse, too …

I haven't been, and never will be... your friend.
“I haven’t been, and never will be … your friend.”

Final thoughts

If you couldn’t tell, I didn’t care much for this movie. Looking past the logical/goofiness problems above the fan service is just too much. Spock yelling “Khaaaaan!” in a nod toward “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is the best example, because a more subtle recreation of Spock’s death in that movie (with Kirk dying this time) could have been done well. Instead, it’s heavy-handed and dumb.

There are some overly obvious moments, too, like Kirk just happening to notice McCoy injecting Khan’s blood into a dead Tribble (as a way to set up what happens later).

And there are weird timing and editing issues. Kirk tells Chekov to “put on a red shirt” and take over for a relieved-of-duty Scotty — apparently there are no other engineers on board — and within a minute or two, Chekov is in engineering in a red shirt. There’s also an odd scene where Spock asks Kirk to accompany him to Kronos only to have Kirk TELL Spock he wants him along a few minutes later.

Granted, there’s a LOT of plot in this movie, so some things needed to be cut. Of course with all the unnecessary running by main characters — seriously, can’t someone grab a communicator instead of sprinting to the bridge? — the pacing already felt rushed. And with scenes created almost specifically to be used in video games (Kirk and Khan’s spacesuit trip to Marcus’ ship, Spock’s pursuit of Khan on floating thingys on Earth) the action-movie nature of “Into Darkness” supersedes it’s good parts.

Coming next time …

That dude from “The Wire” shows up as Trek returns to theaters.

“Affliction”/ “Divergence”

Are you sure you meant to capture me? Captain Archer is the normally the one held captive!
“Are you sure you meant to capture me? Captain Archer is normally the one held captive!”

Affliction: The Klingons kidnap Phlox after their experiment to make Klingon augments (using some embryos recovered from the Augments trilogy) creates a nasty plague on one of their colonies. As he investigates what happened, Reed is contacted by his former boss, a shadowy character named Harris (Eric Pierpoint) who dresses an awful lot like those weird Section 31 guys from DS9’s last couple seasons. Turns out Reed used to work for that “section” before joining the Enterprise and still must follow Harris’ orders — and Harris actually helped the Klingons kidnap Phlox to cure the plague and maintain a “stable Klingon Empire.” Archer finds out that Reed is interfering with Enterprise’s mission and throws him in the brig. Then, some weird, flat-foreheaded aliens board the ship and embed a computer virus. One of them is captured, and Archer learns he’s a Klingon who’s been infected with augment DNA. About this time, the computer virus starts forcing the ship to keep increasing speed or explode, and the episode ends with Enterprise accelerating the dangerous speed of warp 5.2.

Divergence: Enterprise meets up with sister ship Columbia — which just left space dock thanks to new chief engineer Trip Tucker, who requested a transfer in “The Aenar” — to try a risky plan get rid of the Klingon computer virus. It involves Tucker, on a tether(!) and in a spacesuit, going aboard Enterprise (with Reed’s help) to merge the two ship’s warp fields long enough to cold start Enterprise’s engines and purge the virus. It works, naturally, and then the two ships head to the Klingon colony where Phlox is being held. Phlox has made progress on the disease, but the Klingon leaders want their own augments, and not a cure. Phlox and Klingon Dr. Antaak (reliable voice John Schuck) work secretly to find a cure, which they eventually develop despite some battles in space with Klingon ships. The day is saved, Reed is brought back into the fold — with a final rebuke to Harris — but the next few generations of Klingons will (ahem) likely have flat foreheads. Or something.

You're telling me Section 31's been buying these same uniforms for hundreds of years?!
You’re telling me Section 31’s been buying these same uniforms for hundreds of years?!

Why it’s important

This, of course, was the creators’ way of addressing one of the biggest inconsistencies comparing TOS with the rest of Star Trek. Beginning in “Errand of Mercy”, the Klingons we see are essentially humans with facial hair, big eyebrows and (sometimes) dark face makeup. That changed in “Star Trek — The Motion Picture”, where the Klingons suddenly got facial ridges. More on this below …

Also, we see the launch of Starfleet’s second warp 5 ship, Columbia, in this two-parter. It’s the last we see of that ship or Captain Hernandez (Ada Maris), which is too bad, as Starfleet having more of a presence in deep space was interesting — and Hernandez was a strong character in the limited times we saw her (she first appeared in “Home”).

What doesn’t hold up

This is where the season of fan service went off the rails for Enterprise.

Did the creators REALLY need to address the Klingon forehead point? Sure, it probably had been the source of more fan fiction than any other inconsistency, but I’ve got to believe the creators could have used what were two of Enterprise’s final hours on something more interesting. Anyway, the explanation doesn’t even truly hold up, as it doesn’t explain why Klingons Kor, Kang and Koloth appeared in TOS without bumpy foreheads and showed up in DS9 with them. It also doesn’t explain why DS9’s Bashir — medical genius and product of genetic engineering himself — wouldn’t know about what happens in this incident (he shows that he doesn’t in “Trials and Tribble-ations”). I suppose you could say on the second point that what happened here was classified?

I’m also highly doubtful that Columbia could have caught up with Enterprise in time to make a bit of difference. Keep in mind that, in part one, Columbia hasn’t been able to leave space dock, in orbit of Earth. It goes to warp at the end of part one and, then, very suddenly, is close enough to Klingon territory to meet up with Enterprise. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. Keep in mind that in “Broken Bow” getting to Kronos was going to take several days and the events on Columbia in part one appear to be happening concurrently with the events on Enterprise. Even if they weren’t, it’s sure lucky that Columbia just happened to set a course that made catching up with Enterprise easy.

Then there’s the business of transferring Tucker to Enterprise from Columbia while both ships are at warp. While it was a somewhat interesting concept, it wasn’t as cool as the creators hoped it would be. And I have a hard time buying that Tucker is SUCH a good engineer that no one else could have cold-started the Enterprise in a minute.

When's the episode that explains why they all got haircuts and started wearing gold sashes?
When’s the episode that explains why they all got haircuts and started wearing gold sashes?

Final thoughts

Aren’t Archer’s actions rather cavalier in this episode? After he learns that Phlox has been kidnapped by the Klingons, he has no problem violating their territory. While it’s great that Archer is loyal to his people, his actions could have started a war — something he was dead set on avoiding the last time we dealt with genetically engineered individuals. Without being too blunt, was Phlox’s life really worth it? Keep in mind that Archer sets out to save Phlox BEFORE he knows about the plague.

And, of course, there’s the whole matter of Tucker leaving Enterprise. While some of it’s handled well, I’ve always felt the creators missed an opportunity to have a better parting moment between Archer and Tucker. Keep in mind that these guys are best friends and all Archer says about Tucker’s departure is that he was “one helluva chief engineer” in a log entry. Weird.

More to come on Tucker’s rather goofy transfer …

“They are Klingons! And it is a long story!”

Coming next week …

It’s apparently green to be easy.


“Broken Bow”

“We don’t take too kindly to bumpy-headed Klingons in this century.”

A Klingon is running through a cornfield. He’s pursued by some weird aliens with apparent shape-shifting abilities. After the the Klingon kills the aliens, a human farmer shoots him with some sort of gun. Turns out this all happened more than 200 years since last we saw Trek (when Voyager was last seen being illogical and goofy) and more than a century before Kirk was knocking boots with hot alien females. There’s no Federation yet, but Starfleet is close to launching its first deep-space mission on the starship Enterprise (NX-01), captained by Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Archer is called to a meeting where Starfleet brass and their Vulcan advisers are discussing the the injured Klingon. Archer uses the opportunity to return the Klingon, Klaang (Tommy Lister) to his homeworld to launch Enterprise ahead of schedule, despite the Vulcans’ objections. In exchange for some Vulcan star charts, Archer takes on Vulcan T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) as his science officer. En route, the ship is boarded by more of the weird aliens (the Suliban, we learn) and Klaang is captured. Unwilling to give up, Archer takes some information passed on from Klaang (pre-capture) and heads to Rigel X. There, he learns that the Suliban, Klaang and others are part of a “temporal cold war,” and that the Suliban are trying to destabilize the Klingon Empire. Eventually, using information from Rigel, the Enterprise finds where the Suliban are keeping Klaang, rescue him and — after a short battle — take him to Kronos. With its first mission accomplished, Starfleet tells Archer that the Enterprise should keep going and begin its historic mission.

Some men find baldness, and genetic enhancement, sexy.
“Some men find baldness, and genetic enhancement, sexy.”

Why it’s important

Well, as this is humanity’s first step toward what we would see in the previous series and movies, it’s a huge, huge part of the Tapestry. It largely explains how humanity got from its first use of warp technology and encounter with the Vulcans in “Star Trek: First Contact” to its first step toward a new frontier (to quote another Trek captain).

It’s interesting, too, that we see humanity’s first dealings with Klingons (which will have huge, huge consequences) and the introduction of the Suliban, the main bad guy for this series over its first two seasons (notably Silik and his weird shadowy overseer, too). Plus, we see the strained relationship between humans and Vulcans, which is one of the major underpinnings of this series.

What doesn’t hold up

Enterprise did a nice job of trying to appear less technologically advanced than TOS while not forcing viewers to look at 1960s-era sets and effects. That said, there were obvious items where the creators were too lax — notably that Kirk and Spock were so puzzled by cloaking technology in “Balance of Terror” when Archer and Co. see it here and throughout the series.

Beyond that, it’s a little surprising just how close Kronos apparently is to Earth. Archer says it’s a four-day journey at maximum warp, which, at this point in time, is warp 5. So, in other words, a Klingon ship traveling at high warp could get to Earth in LESS than four days, possibly much less? Somehow, that seems off.

And, of course, there’s the big-picture question as to why we’ve never heard of this Enterprise before, or Archer, or the Suliban, etc. I sort of hate head cannon, but I always thought the easiest explanation was that some time travel in previous Trek (the events of “Star Trek: First Contact”, perhaps?) changed what would have been the history as it stood in TOS and after — and a similar method was used in J.J. Abrams reboot. Of course, the real answer is a lot easier: The idea for the prequel wasn’t around before 2000-01, so writing a mention of Archer et. al into any Trek filmed BEFORE then was impossible.

Such prequel. Much continuity questions.
Such prequel. Much continuity questions.

Final thoughts

This is a pretty solid pilot with some nice nods toward continuity (despite the conceit mentioned above). It’s interesting to see humans who are less refined and not the galactic leaders that they would be in other series.

It’s worth noting that Enterprise, as a prequel could be arguably the most Tapestry-worthy series of them all. With respect to not reviewing every episode or every other episode, we’ll be extremely strict about our criteria and review episodes in bunches where appropriate (especially in the more serialized seasons three and four).

Coming next week …

Archer can’t get “My Blue Heaven” out of his head.

“What You Leave Behind”

Hope you like CGI ships getting blowed up!
Hope you like CGI ships getting blowed up!

The DS9 crew, aboard the new Defiant, sets out for Cardassia as part of a huge allied fleet set on ending the war.  Back on Bajor, Dukat (still appearing as a Bajoran) has his sight back and returns to Kai Winn, who has discovered how to release the pah-wraiths from the fire caves — and was waiting for his return to do it. Meanwhile, the Dominion learns Damar is alive on the streets of Cardassia Prime, fomenting rebellion. After Damar’s forces cut power to Dominion headquarters, the female Changeling goes bonkers and starts killing Cardassians indiscriminately. This prompts Damar, Kira and Garak to mount an assault on Dominion HQ. By this point, the Federation and its allies have pushed the Dominion and Breen fleet back into the Cardassian system — as the Cardassian ships have switched sides. As Damar’s party gets into Dominion HQ, Damar is killed — but Kira and Garak capture the female Changeling and Garak kills Weyoun. The female Changeling refuses to surrender, telling Kira that the Jem’Hadar and the Breen will fight to the last man. Kira sends a message to the Defiant, and Odo beams down to talk to the female Changeling. He links with her, she surrenders, and he cures her of the disease and promises to take the cure to the Great Link (as she is likely facing jail time for war crimes). Odo also tells Kira that he’ll be joining the Link for good.

There is... another... Weyou... No there's not!
There is… another… Weyou… No there’s not!

With 800 million more Cardassians killed, the war is over, and the papers are signed back on DS9. Worf becomes Martok’s Federation ambassador, Odo will go back to the Great Link, the O’Briens get ready to head to Earth so Miles can be an instructor at Starfleet Academy and Sisko and the gang have one last night out at Vic’s. On the dance floor with pregnant Kasidy, Sisko realizes he must head to the fire caves and stop Dukat and Winn. An empowered Dukat nearly defeats Sisko, but with a dying Winn’s help, he’s able to grab Dukat and fling both of them into the flames. The pah-wraiths are forever trapped and the Prophets save Sisko — but he must stay with them for an unknown amount of time. When the crew can’t find Sisko, he returns briefly and tells Kasidy he has to leave, but that he will return, “in a year … or, maybe, yesterday.” Worf and O’Brien leave and Kira returns from taking Odo to the Gamma Quadrant. Back on the station, Kira’s left in command, with Quark still at his bar, Nog a newly minted lieutenant and Bashir and Ezri a happy couple. The series ends as Kira hugs a mournful Jake while he looks out a window on the Promenade toward the wormhole.

Why it’s important

As the final episode of Trek’s most serial show, a lot of things happen. The war ends, Cardassia lies in ruins, peace returns, the pah-wraiths are banished, Dukat, Damar, Weyoun and Winn all die, Odo returns to the Great Link, Worf heads to the Klingon homeworld, Garak returns to Cardassia, O’Brien leaves for Earth and Sisko essentially becomes a god.

In other words, a lot of ground was covered here. Say one thing for DS9, it didn’t pull punches and closed NEARLY every open question in a whirlwind of a final two hours — and a final eight episodes.

“This one’s for my homies trying to reconcile the timing of all these events.”

What doesn’t hold up

The absolute most disappointing thing that the creators botched would have been a character moment. It’s simply inconceivable that Sisko wouldn’t say goodbye to Jake. It was a poor decision not to have a final moment with Kasidy AND Jake. The bond between the Siskos was one of the things that series got right from day one, and to not do it justice in the final episode was simply terrible. Remember that “The Visitor” — in which Jake must deal with Sisko’s sort of death —  is widely considered to be DS9’s best episode.

There are some other odd things about this episode — some of which seem like they might have been editing issues. Some of them have to do with the timing of events — particularly in concurrence with “Star Trek: Insurrection”.

As the episode begins, Sisko and the fleet head to Cardassia. If you figure the amount of time it would take to get to Cardassia Prime amid all the battles,  get the female Changeling to surrender, and get back to DS9, at LEAST a week has gone by. That’s probably overly conservative, but it’s a nice, easy number to remember and it serves our purposes. Now, keep in mind that Dukat and Winn leave for the fire caves around the time Sisko’s fleet leaves. And they’re in the caves during the battle. Stay with me on why that’s important …

After the war is over, negotiations commence and the female Changeling signs the treaty. Then, Sisko gets wind of the fire caves thing that’s happening and heads to Bajor — where Winn and Dukat are just wrapping things up. I’ve got to ask — how long were Winn and Dukat in the fire caves? Based simply on the events of this episode, it had to be at least a couple weeks. That seems just impossible. And other events in Trek make this botched sequence EVEN WORSE.

We didn’t review “Star Trek: Insurrection” as it’s a pretty inconsequential movie based on our site guidelines. But Worf’s presence on the Enterprise-E in that film is sort of explained by hinting that the Dominion and the Federation are negotiating a peace treaty while Worf’s away.

So, in other words, Dukat and Winn are in the fire caves as the Federation fleet gets to Cardassia, battles the Dominion forces, gets the female Changeling to surrender and returns to the station — and while Worf has a zorch and a fun adventure with the Enterprise-E crew. Worf is present for the treaty signing and he heads off with Martok afterward. So, it’s really not a stretch to think that Dukat and Winn were in the fire caves for like a month!

There are easy ways this could have been fixed, BTW. Winn, after sort of banishing Dukat, could have decided to go to the fire caves AFTER the Federation won the war — possibly because she thought she’d never have another chance to undermine Sisko. The pah-wraiths could have had something to do with the timing, too. Or, even better, Worf could have joined the Enterprise-E crew after leaving DS9 but before officially taking over as Martok’s ambassador.

But, as it stands, the only conclusion one can draw is that Dukat and Winn were in the fire caves for at least two weeks, probably much longer. And that is just implausible.

Last minor gripe: The creators also seemed to forget one of the original points of DS9 — getting Bajor ready for Federation membership. This could have been EASILY covered by a line of dialog in the finale’s final moments about Kira getting ready for a ceremony about Federation admission. The scene with Nog and Kira in Sisko’s old office would have been perfect. Instead, that matter is left entirely unaddressed. Weird.

I've been in these clothes for like a month!!
“I’ve been in these clothes for like a month!!”

Final thoughts

OK, so the timing issue clearly bothers me a lot. I think it’s because “What You Leave Behind” was ALMOST so freaking good — and where it was bad, it was bad in places that were SO easily fixable. There’s one other item that I’d put on the list of decisions that I disagree with — though it’s more of a weird choice than a bad one: It’s too bad that the creators didn’t let Damar live and become Cardassia’s new leader. Given everything he went through in the seventh season, it would have been a nice moment to see Damar thanking Sisko, Kira, et. al and telling them Cardassians everywhere owe the Federation and its allies their thanks. Showing a somewhat dystopian Cardassia Prime was an interesting choice — but it’s not the one I would have made.

That said, the finale had some really great moments. Odo’s goodbye to Kira was incredibly well done and O’Brien and Bashir’s goodbye was nicely handled. I also liked Ezri waving goodbye to Worf, in a scene that was an obvious callback to Jadzia waving goodbye to him in “Tears of the Prophets”. (Of course, the lack of Jadzia in any of the flashback montage was pretty ridiculous. The creators probably should have spiked the idea if the best they could do for Worf’s memories was a shot of him smoking a cigar — which he shouldn’t have even remembered — in “Our Man Bashir”.)

Flawed finale and all, DS9 still gets major points for its ambition, its acting and its continuity. While it’s not the most popular Trek series and is even considered a black sheep by some, it was the only Trek show other than TOS that could be considered ahead of its time. Comparing DS9 with “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire” is not a stretch — though the latter two series are, obviously, superior. Compare Voyager with either of those series, and, well, your back might give out like mine just did.

DS9 wasn’t perfect. It had too much Ferengi crap, it was very hit-or-miss until late in the second season and it often bit off WAY more than it could chew. But, it’ll always hold a special place in this Trekkie’s heart.

Coming next week …

A final look at DS9, before we get into Voyager country.

“Extreme Measures” and “The Dogs of War”

Should we, you know, enter his mind. No I just want to do that 'sitting in a chair when you wake up thing' to him first.
“Should we, you know, enter his mind?” “No I just want to do that ‘sitting in a chair when you wake up thing’ to him first.”

Part one: Odo’s back on DS9, and he’s not doing well. Bashir and O’Brien, acting on their plan from “Tacking into the Wind”, lure Sloan (William Sadler) from Section 31. Once they capture him, he triggers a suicide implant, so Bashir and O’Brien use Romulan mind probes to enter his dying mind — which, conveniently, looks like DS9 — to see if they can find the cure to the Changeling disease (bah). The plan generally works, through a bunch of Voyager-style nonsense. But Bashir has to choose between getting all the secrets of Section 31 from Sloan’s mind or escaping in time to save Odo. Or something. What a mess of an episode.

And over here is where I had my Gul Lesset Interrogation Action Playset(tm)
“And over here is where I had my Gul Lesset Interrogation Action Playset(tm)”

Part two: Kira, Damar and Garak take their stolen Jem’Hadar ship to Cardassia Prime for a meeting with some Cardies who say they want to join the rebellion, but it’s a trap, the Jem’Hadar ship is destroyed and the trio must hide in Garak’s childhood home, which had belonged to our old buddy Enabaran Tain. Shortly thereafter, they learn that the Dominion has destroyed all of Damar’s bases. With few other options, Kira, Damar and Garak take the rebellion to the streets. Back on the station, Odo’s cured and is informed that Section 31 infected him way back when to infect the other Changelings — and that the Federation Council is unwilling to share the cure with the Dominion. Oh, and Sisko gets a new Defiant-class ship, which is renamed to honor the ship destroyed earlier in the arc (and allowing existing sets and optics to be used!). At the same time, Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn, whom we first met in “The Nagus” but who has showed up in numerous Ferengi nonsense episodes) contacts Quark, through a garbled transmission, and tells him he will be the new Ferengi leader. Zek then shows up on the station and tells Quark he actually wants Rom to be the new Nagus (see the garbled transmission above). With Ferengi culture becoming more human, Quark pledges to keep his bar a staple of Ferengi tradition (meh). The episode ends as Sisko, Ross and Martok discuss strategy now that the Dominion and the Breen are pulling back as the Federation can now defend against the Breen weapon. The Federation alliance decides to go on the offensive, in hopes of finally ending the war.

"Busboy, Resistance Leader, Grand Nagus: The life and times of Rom"
“Busboy, Resistance Leader, Grand Nagus: The life and times of Rom.”

Why it’s important

As DS9 draws closer to the end, the plot summaries sort of explain the significance of the episodes. The Dominion pullback is the biggest domino here, as that emboldens the Federation and its allies to try to stick a fork in the fighting.

But getting the cure to the Changeling disease is actually a huge domino, as we’ll see in our next review. Without the efforts of Bashir and O’Brien, it’s likely the war would have lasted a lot longer — as we’ll see.

We also see the end of the Ferengi storylines (mercifully). While the Ferengi characters would often be well used in places (like Quark and Rom’s role in and around “Sacrifice of Angels”), one of DS9’s biggest failings was the thinking that at least two episodes a year had to be Ferengi-dominant, resulting in some of the worst showings the series produced. So, while it’s pretty laughable that the Nagus would have enough power — and enough desire — to change the entire Ferengi culture, apparently based on his experiences in the past seven years, it’s also sort of appropriate.

And it’s a big deal. In the span of about four episodes, DS9 will change the ruler of three major Alpha Quadrant entities — the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union and the Ferengi Alliance.

What doesn’t hold up

“Extreme Measures” is just a terrible, terrible episode. Colm Meaney and Alexander Siddig do what they can, as usual. But the premise and the execution are just awful. Sloan’s mind looks just like DS9? Please. Sloan has the exact formula for the cure to the disease affecting the Founders memorized? Ridiculous. Bashir and O’Brien do all of this unsanctioned (aside from some limited notification of Sisko)? Stupid. It’s too bad, because the Bashir/O’Brien friendship was a real strength of DS9, so it’s hard to figure what the creators were thinking on this one. It frankly comes across as low-rent and trite — a combination of TOS budget limitations and Voyager nonsense.

“The Dogs of War” is a better episode, but so much happens in it that it’s kind of a blur — and it doesn’t even get into the Dukat/Winn stuff. Frankly, the creators’ decision again to shoehorn the Ferengi into stories hurts things. It’s also unfortunate that the creators decided that the Ferengi should evolve to be more like humans (and in a ridiculously fast way). I remember watching this episode in 1999 and thinking that somehow, Rom would bring a bunch of Ferengi ships to help the Federation in the series finale — which would have made what happened here a stronger story. But, of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, it’s just more bad-comedy drivel — even if Max Grodenchik puts in a nice performance in his last outing as Rom.

Final thoughts

These two episodes are probably the weakest in the final arc so far, though “The Dogs of War” isn’t really awful. The finale, of course, has some issues — but we’ll get to that later this week.

Coming later this week …

The finale. Duh. I just said that.