I’m gonna try a new thing this month, schedule-wise: two episodes a week! One post will be on Tuesday, one on Thursday. I’m hoping that will make it a bit easier for me to find a good rhythm for myself, and stay engaged. Or maybe I immediately get overwhelmed and we’re back to once a week! It’ll be a fun adventure for all of us.
Apparently this is generally considered the worst episode of the series, which seems a little harsh? I’ll grant that it’s not one of the best, but nothing jumps out at me as egregiously bad, either. Like last week, it’s just kind of…aggressively okay.
It’s a pretty standard Weird Alien Thing Of The Week outing, which, granted, isn’t really where Deep Space Nine‘s strengths lie. It’s also still in the front half of the first season, before there’s been much in the way of character development, so we don’t get any of the subplots and interpersonal stuff that makes later episodes more fun. Again, though, I don’t see any of that as much different from some of the other episodes in the first season, when they’re still getting established and not straying far from previous series’ paths.
To be honest, since neither Quark nor Bashir gets horniness all over Dax or any other woman nearby, I’d rank it above some of the recent episodes, personally.
Can’t believe I waited this long to drop this link
Having rewatched a lot of the show over the past couple of years as friends have gotten into Star Trek and I’ve enabled them, one of my overwhelming feelings in the first season is “OH MY GOSH JAKE IS SUCH A BABY!!!!” He’s so young, oof. And he and Ben have such a great relationship — I wish we’d had a bit more payoff from their interaction in the opening later in the episode. This is also a good time for me to link this lovely essay by one of my favorite critics, Angelica Jade Bastién, “Deep Space Nine Is TV’s Most Revolutionary Depiction of Black Fatherhood“. She says it better than me:
In its first season, it was uneven, still getting a hold on the characterization and ideas it would continue to explore. But one aspect of its story immediately felt lived-in and real: the tender relationship between Commander (and later Captain) Benjamin Sisko (a magnetic, theatrical Avery Brooks) and his young son, Jake (Cirroc Lofton). […] No series before or since has a portrayed a black father with such complexity, crafting him as a widow, a powerful authority figure, a religious icon, a man whose morals are formed in shades of gray and whose love of his son remained his guiding principle.
Also, on a far less profound note, Jake’s reaction the moment Sisko has his brilliant idea of doing his “First Contact as first date” comparison is absolute teen perfection.
Where did the pajamas go?
I realize looking for much sense in the Weird Space Stuff Of The Week is a fool’s errand, but this is bugging me nonetheless: why is everyone in their regular uniforms when they end up in the game? It was the middle of the night and they were all asleep when they were pulled into it, right? They were in their pajamas. And before that, the Wadi had only seen Sisko and Dax in their dress uniforms, which they’re not wearing in the game. The Wadi appear to have some pretty wild transporter tech, but they…actually changed people’s clothes in the process of transporting them? And gave them tricorders? They’re still in their uniforms when the game ends and they appear back in Quark’s, so it’s presumably not just a function of the game. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.
Speaking of the Wadi, let me just say that a whole planet of gamers sounds terrible. Leave them where you found them, IMO. I do appreciate how shiny everything they wear is, though.
- Sisko’s face when he realizes the Wadi were just trolling them is amazing. I am all about Sisko’s moments of barely-contained rage in general TBH. I introduced an old friend to Star Trek: Discovery a couple of years ago, and less than three episodes in, she said that Michael Burnham was definitely made from the mold of all my faves, because “she’s very repressed”, and I felt called out in that way where you’re completely blindsided by the brutal truth of something, and you look back at all your faves and realize that you never even noticed that this was a pattern, and it’s hilarious and a little bit devastating. Just thought of that for some reason.
- “If all else fails, just yell again, Doctor. We’ll find you.” LMAO Sisko’s moments of bitchiness are so perfect. Also, judging by his sheepish smile as he watches Sisko go after that, I am not the only person who enjoys Sisko’s moments of bitchiness. All I’m saying is that, given Garak, Bashir seems to be into dudes who are sarcastic, urbane daddy types who are carefully controlling their own emotions except for occasional explosions of ruthless competence.
- ODO YOU CAN’T JUST BUST PEOPLE’S DOORS DOWN, AT LEAST GET A DAMN WARRANT. Primmin is largely forgettable, but he’s not wrong on this.
- Quark’s Polite Customer Service Mien when Sisko is drinking at the bar and talking about First Contact is #relatable.
- Also #relatable: that Bashir apparently didn’t bother to look for his dress uniform and realize he’d lost it in time to get a new one.
- I like that Quark is the one to figure out what’s going on, and that he does so immediately after being told four officers are missing. Quark isn’t stupid, he’s just a jerk, which is part of what makes him such a great foil for other characters.
- “If you were hurt, I’d leave you behind.” LMAO sure, Dax. I like that Sisko takes this about as seriously as I do.
Almost no one? It’s mostly just vague hints, with the exception of Quark, who manages to be fairly horny without being gross at women, channeling it all into gambling, not to mention trolling Odo even in the midst of crisis by making him blow on his dice. Perhaps the lack of general horniness is the true reason why this is considered the worst episode.