One more batch of DS9 quick early recaps. I’ll add some ratings this time.
S1E7, “Q-Less”, writer: Hannah Louise Shearer. 3 out of 5.
Couple of fanservice TNG cameos from Vash (the archaeologist who once had a little something going on with Picard), and more troublesome, Q. Vash is trying to rid herself of Q after a few years roaming the galaxy with him for fun and profit. (I forgot that’s what ended up happening to her after her TNG episode but the internet reminded me.) He still wants to keep the partnership going but she’s got Quark auctioning off a bunch of alien artifacts, and just wants to get some fresh cash and get back to Earth.
This one was fine. Quark’s unreserved greed is already fun. And I can get behind a few cameos since Trek watching is a long-term thing and it’s a big universe out there, so a familiar face can be welcome. There’s some tacked-on arbitrary drama when one of the artifacts ends up being a toxic explosive, but at least that keeps the crew busy.
As for Q, my reaction to him has settled into a pattern:
First scene: Aha! Q! Hijinks are bound to ensue!
Second scene: Oh yeah, Q is an obnoxious bully.
But it’s a 45 minute show so while he’s sorta funny, you mark off the time you’ll have to put up with him, and you do for a while, then he inevitably gets bored toying with everyone and goes away.
S1E8, “Dax”, Writer: Peter Allan Fields. 4 out of 5.
We haven’t done a Dax episode yet, better get on that. Title suggestion: “Dax”. Perfect! Let’s go with it! Let’s also introduce the creepy “Dr. Bashir is going to be harassing her” angle and hope it doesn’t continue. (It will.)
How else to intro the Trill concept but a good old fashioned murder? Turns out Dax might have killed someone in her previous life and the theme of the episode is a debate about whether a Trill in a new host is a different person (and, therefore, whether the new host is responsible for what the last one did). It’s an interesting question, and the short answer is “sorta”, which I found satisfyingly complex, like messy reality. The eventual innocent verdict is also satisfying, it’s a solidly well-done courtroom drama of an episode.
Fun bit–and my cue to make a note of episode writers now that I’m getting a feel for the show–D.C. Fontana, story editor for TOS (until its lousy third season), co-wrote the teleplay.
S1E9, “The Passenger”, Writer: Morgan Gendel. 4 out of 5.
Lets do more murders! Kira and Bashir are returning from a medical mission (in which she’s praising his fine work, but he accepts so arrogantly she is about to lay into him–so does *anyone* like Julian at this point?) when they get a distress call and from a disabled transport ship that is on fire. They pick up a passenger, Kajada, who says there’s no one else aboard, but actually there is, she just wanted to leave him behind, explaining he’s a serial murderer who started the fire and is probably mostly dead anyway. He does die, but only after giving Bashir a quick choke to establish that he’s a bad guy. Back on DS9 he’s officially deceased but only maybe he didn’t die because while they are really super sure he’s dead, Kajada insists this is a 1980s horror movie and he’s somehow actually not dead. But he is, says Bashir. But what if he isn’t, she retorts. And so it goes.
Because it’s TV, a bunch of stuff happens that makes it seem like he’s alive, and the episode gets filed under Trek crime mystery as the crew pieces things together. Pretty good one, too, lots of red herrings, and leans on some fun sci-fi elements to make it work.
This episode also introduces Lieutenant Primmin, a security officer assigned to by Starfleet to work DS9 with Odo. He seems like he’s only there to annoy Odo, though one could argue his character is not unlike a standard crime TV trope of an FBI agent getting in the way of a local investigation. Especially since I’m viewing a few episodes ahead of my writing, and know that he’ll disappear as suddenly as he showed up. But the disappointingly practical answer is: Colm Meaney was away from the show for a bit to film a TNG movie and they just needed a fill-in.
S1E10, “Move Along Home”, Writer: Michael Piller. 2 out of 5.
DS9 hosts a first contact meeting with the Wadi, who just want to go to the local saloon and gamble. Enter: Quark. He assumes they’re easy marks so immediately sets about cheating them, but they aren’t, so they immediately figure out what he’s doing. In retaliation, they set up their own game, which somehow tricks several crew into thinking they are trapped in a weird sci-fi maze they have to escape from.
I dunno, sure. Effective if not terribly memorable. It reminded me of a million TOS episodes where Kirk et al get trapped in some bizarre alien arena and have to fight/logic/whatever Scotty does/etc. their way out. Good chance for the show to get creative or have puzzles or creatures or effects I guess but they tend to be a little boring to me. Maybe they just don’t have much in the way of stakes, like, what’s going to happen really? The rules are sorta arbitrary, then after the designated 40 minutes or so they get out. Memory Alpha has a quote from Piller saying he was inspired by an episode of The Prisoner, which sounds about right. Although “Move Along Home” is missing that element of pure “what the hell?” kinda moments where you don’t know if he’s escaped, still trapped, will ever escape, or what.
I did like Quark’s perspective from the outside. He believes the crew might be in real danger, and it’s his fault for getting them into the game, so at one point he’s reduced to truly pathetic begging for their lives. The show seems to enjoy forcing Quark into admitting he actually likes anyone else, and I’m for it.