The SmarK DVD Rant for Star Trek Deep Space Nine – Season Three
– Well, after another long break, it’s the next chapter in the Deep Space Nine saga, as I did the first half of the box set, went on vacation, and then took a longer time than I thought I would getting around to the second half. I haven’t even bought 6 & 7 yet, so hopefully season 5 takes me a while to work through, too.
Things get even more dark and tense, far surpassing TNG in terms of suspense and menace, taking many of the characters in new and weird directions, which is again something that the relatively static Next Gen never did.
When we last left our intrepid space-station heroes, Sisko had just been promoted to captain, but the Dominion left a dire warning for the Federation: Changelings were EVERYWHERE and you could never know who to trust from then on. While that didn’t really come into effect early in the season, by the end it had a LARGE effect on the storyline, indeed.
– The Way of the Warrior, part 1. The shit goes DOWN right off the bat for the fourth season, as it’s a two-parter to kick things off. Klingons are hanging out in the station and starting fights, professing their help in fighting in the Dominion menace. One problem â€” no one ASKED for their help. Sisko, bald and naturally suspicious of all these people with long hair, has newly-promoted Lieutenant Commander Worf transferred over from the Enterprise to help investigate, albeit reluctantly, since things are a lot different on the station than they were on Enterprise. Worf starts snooping and discovers what’s really going on â€” the Klingon Empire is getting bored with playing nice with the Federation and wants to swoop in and wipe out the Cardassian Empire. Cardassia has recently fallen victim to a revolution leaving a civilian government in charge, and the Klingons blame the Dominion, hoping to use it as an excuse to invade. The Federation of course opposes this, because they’re WUSSES, and Worf is declared a traitor by Gowron and his house stripped of its honor. Ouch.
– The Way of the Warrior, part 2. With the Federation siding with Cardassia and a grumpy Worf helping to command the Defiant, Sisko escorts Cardassian council members off the planet, but they get into a BIGASS fire-fight with the Klingon fleet, despite proof that none of them are Changelings. Even worse, the Klingons invade DS9 itself and run rampant, until Sisko is able to convince Gowron that the Dominion wants exactly that. Gowron backs off, but continues the invasion of Cardassia and warns the Federation not to f*ck with him. And Worf stays on as the new strategic operations officer, switching to command red in the process. AWESOME opener, filled with twists, a new major character, and another threat to the Federation that would be paid off in the season finale. Plus it has the best space battles seen thus far.
– The Visitor. A pretty famous “prestige” episode, as we meet reclusive author Jake Sisko 20 years or so into the future (played by Tony Todd, better known as Worf’s brother Kurn), and discover that he’s given up writing long ago because his father, Captain Sisko, died in a fluke accident in what would be the present day. However, months after the accident, Ben Sisko’s apparent ghost starting appearing to Jake, leading him to think that he wasn’t dead after all, just in limbo. So Jake abandoned his writing and took up subspace mechanics, throwing away his life and family in order to find a way to bring his father back again. The story is told in flashback form, jumping ahead 10 years or so at a time, until he meets up again with his old friends from DS9, who help him to recreate the accident a second time and try to pull his father back. It fails, however, and as he meets up with his father one last time, he realizes that it’s his own failure to let go that’s keeping Ben in limbo, and he commits suicide, snapping his father back into the present, where he avoids the accident and sets the timeline right again. Just a very inventive and powerful take on the standard time-travel story that once again emphasizes the relationship between Jake and his father. That’s why I like Jake’s character over, say, Wesley Crusher â€” instead of being presented as a cartoonish wunderkind who saves the station, he’s just a cool guy who loves his father and is never presented as anything more than that. Probably the best-acted episode of the series overall to this point, and one of my favorites, easily.
– Hippocratic Oath. From that back to reality again, as Bashir & O’Brien are cruising the Gamma Quadrant and get sucked into a Jem’Hadar planet by a fake distress signal. Their lives are spared because the leader needs Bashir’s doctoring skills, however â€” it seems that he’s developed the ability to go on living without the drug Ketracel White, and he wants to know how to duplicate that for the other members of his group. It seems that they’re stranded on the planet because of the Jem’Hadar’s “win or be abandoned to die” policy, and they’re running out of the drug. Well, Bashir is always up for a challenge like that, so he immediately goes to work on the cure for White addiction while O’Brien disgustedly bemoans his helping the enemy and works on a way to escape. He finally does, but Bashir continues working on the cure, finally finding one as O’Brien is hauled back again by the Jem’Hadar captors. However, the Chief destroys all of Bashir’s work rather than allow the Jem’Hadar to escape their addiction, and they are released with regrets by the leader, who would rather send his team to die with honor than have him waste away from lack of White. Bashir’s arrogance would come back to bite him in the ass later in the season, interestingly enough.
– Indiscretion. Kira gets a message about the possible discovery of a ship of Bajoran prisoners, which had gone missing years previous, and is surprised to learn that the Cardassians also wish to send a representative on her trip to investigate â€” Gul Dukat. The reason for his desire to come along becomes apparent when they find the wreckage of the ship and Dukat breaks into tears at the site of one of the graves â€” that of his former Bajoran mistress. This of course is a major social faux pas among Cardassian society, and it gets worse when Dukat reveals that he not only knocked boots with the enemy, but had a daughter with her, and that she’s probably still alive on that planet somewhere. They locate the Cardassian work camp where the prisoners have been holed up for the past decade, and Dukat is all guns blazing to kill his daughter before his shameful secret comes out, but in the end he’s a big softie and takes her back with him to Cardassia, no matter what the consequences.
– Rejoined. The bit of social taboo touched on by the original Trill episode in TNG is expanded here dramatically, as the question is asked: Does it matter what sexes the hosts are if the symbionts have feelings for each other? In this case, one of Dax’s former host’s former wives (and you thought royal relationships were complicated ) returns to her life in the form of a visiting scientist, but they obviously still want each other. This, however, is a MAJOR no-no among the Trill, as you have to throw away the former life of your host when you switch bodies. However, the women begin working together hesitantly, and soon you can hear the heavy breathing of Trek fanboys everywhere as sparks fly while they desperately deny the attraction to anyone who will listen. Given the choice of hot girl-on-girl action (with exile from Trill society as punishment) or living life apart, they choose the more fanfic-friendly way. However, Lenara gets cold feet after a brush with death, and Dax is left alone again. Who cares what the episode is about, though, this one is all about Terry Farrell getting it on with a chick.
– Starship Down. Back to the action again, as the Defiant is escorting a trade representative to the Gamma Quadrant (James Cromwell in yet another of his endless alien appearances) but gets into a scuffle with a Jem’Hadar ship that leaves them crippled and floating in the atmosphere of the planet and ready to crash. Dax and Bashir are trapped below-decks trying to repair weapons, Sisko is knocked into a near-coma and left to talk with Kira as a way of staying awake and alive, and a torpedo lodges itself in the mess hall, leaving Quark to disarm it! However, they have one shot to destroy the Jem’Hadar, and pull it together long enough to do so, finally escaping back to DS9 in one piece, more or less. A good little action-packed, but ultimately forgettable, episode.
– Little Green Men. A hilarious look at Trek’s take on Area 51 sees Quark, Nog and Rom go flying off to Earth to do a little smuggling on the way to dropping Nog off at the Academy, but they have technobabble-related problems and the ship ends up hurtling back in time to Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Nyuk nyuk. They are of course captured by the military, and with the universal translators messed up by the crash communication is rather difficult. The paranoid army choose to interpret their presence as an extraterrestrial invasion force, and once Rom gets the translators working again, Quark tries to play off that to make a profit. He quickly talks himself into an interrogation session, however, leaving some quick double-talk from Nog and the timely intervention of Odo (who was hiding onboard the whole time) to save their bacon and get everyone back to the present with a minimum of havoc wreaked on the timeline. Fun stuff all around.
– The Sword of Kahless. This time the victim of the writers’ borrowing is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, as Worf and Dax meet up with legendary Klingon warrior Kor, who appears to know the secret location of the Sword of Kahless, the weapon he used to kill thousands of his enemies and stuff like that. Just imagine what they could get on Ebay for it! Anyway, this naturally intrigues the Klingon-loving Dax and Worf, and they set off with the crazy old geezer to find it. They’re not very subtle about their influences on this one, trust me. Those who have seen the movie can probably guess what happens next, but if you haven’t, the temptation of having the sacred artifact begins to drive them all a bit nuts, leading to the big Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade moment at the end where they have to choose between their friendship and the sword. I’m sure you can guess for yourself which it is. Some fun stuff with the increasingly heelish Worf and the crazy old Klingon, but not a real high point of the season.
– Our Man Bashir. Man, I LOVED this one. It’s a “Holodeck Gone Crazy” episode, but one of the best ones Star Trek has done. In this case, Bashir and Garak are indulging in their most obvious pastime â€” a James Bond-like holodeck simulation with Bashir as a super-suave agent â€” when things go a bit strange. You see, the rest of the crew is in a big transporter accident and can’t be reassembled, so the computer stores them in the holodeck’s memory, and they begin appearing in the program one by one, giving everyone the chance to overact to ridiculous levels (Avery Brooks’ brilliant turn as the evil mastermind Dr. Noah is a thing of beauty, and Terry Farrell as brilliant supermodel / scientist wouldn’t seem so funny once “The World is Not Enough” came out). There’s enough ham here to feed Christmas dinner to all of Wisconsin, and Bashir’s solution to the world-conquering scheme of Dr. Noah is decidedly unlike that of James Bond. Hilarious stuff, and apparently they go back to the world of Bashir’s secret agent later in the series, which is okay by me.
– Homefront. This is kind of a scary one, because it’s as much of a political allegory as it is a sci-fi episode. A bomb goes off on Earth, killing 27 people, and it’s apparent that a Changeling did the deed. The government naturally freaks out and calls Sisko back to Earth to act as head of security until they figure out who did it. This gives Ben a chance to visit with his scrappy Cajun chef father, Joe Sisko, but their time together is increasingly cut short by Ben’s paranoia about Changelings requires all family members of Starfleet personnel to be tested for possibly being Changelings. This leads to stubborn Joe refusing to be tested, and then a powerful moment as he accidentally cuts his finger while chopping vegetables, and Ben can’t help but to check and see if the blood turns into Changeling goo. However, the power in San Francisco is soon cut, and Ben is forced to mobilize Starfleet’s homefront into possible war with the Dominion on Earth.
– Paradise Lost. The second part sees Earth turning into a DMZ, with soldiers walking the streets and people afraid to leave their homes because of the threat of Dominion invasion. However, things get trickier as Sisko begins to suspect that the whole thing is just an elaborate cover for Admiral Leyton, his immediate superior on Earth, to overthrow the government with a campaign of fear and hate. He gathers the evidence and confronts him, but gets double-crossed and framed as a Changeling with a faked blood test, leaving him in a holding cell with the situation deteriorating. The Defiant comes in to assist, but gets into a firefight with a ship under the control of Leyton’s faction, and things threaten to break into civil war until both sides finally back down and realize that it was a setup all along, and that it was exactly the kind of fearfully instinctive reaction that the Dominion was hoping for all along. Good, powerful political intrigue here, foreshadowing the later chaos of the Dominion War.
– Crossfire. Anyone who’s lived through adolescence can probably relate to this one â€” Odo is growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to tell Kira his feelings for her, but just as he decides to take the plunge, he chickens out and Kira gets involved with First Minister Shakaar (which leads to some funny lines from Gul Dukat in a later episode about her need for powerful boyfriends). Even worse for Odo, Shakaar uses him as a go-between like a couple of junior-high kids, and Odo is forced to step aside gracefully so as not to look like a jerk. However, he’s so distracted by his high-school crush that he forgets a vital security protocol and nearly falls victim to an attempt on Shakaar’s life, which means it’s time to harden and heart and swallow his tears and go back to kicking ass again, love be damned. That, by the way, is classic stoicism. You have to be a really heartless jerk not to feel for Odo in this one, which shows how good the writing was at that point.
– Return to Grace. Dukat, since bringing his daughter back home from the prison camp, has become an outcast and lost his job as advisor to the civilian government, leaving him captain of a freighter out in the middle of nowhere. Kira hitches a ride on it, sent by the Bajoran government to help the Cardassians against the Klingons, but when they get to the outpost, it’s been wiped out by the Klingons. Even worse, the offending ship is still there, but even after firing on them the freighter is considered not even enough of a threat to bother destroying. Well, sticking up for the trodden underdog, in this case Dukat, is exactly the kind of thing that Kira can sink her teeth into, so she tells him to grow a new set of balls and goes about getting his ship refitted with spare weapons from the destroyed outpost. Dukat is so energized by the action that he decides to become a renegade Klingon-hunter and invites Kira to come along, but she declines and in fact takes his daughter back to DS9 so as not to endanger her life. Amazingly, they actually make Dukat into a pretty cool guy with this one.
– Sons of Mogh. The angst continues, as Tony Todd returns as Kurn, Worf’s brother, but now he’s been tossed off the Council and stripped of his honor because of Worf’s actions in the season premiere, and he’s a bit upset about it. In fact, so upset that he’s suicidal and looking for Worf’s help in it. Worf is only too happy to oblige with a knife through the chest, but Dax catches onto what’s going on and makes the save in time to get Kurn to Bashir for treatment, which only pisses him off even more. Kurn gets a job as a security officer to hopefully ease his ennui, but he starts deliberately getting himself into situations where he could be killed, thus making him useless in Odo’s eyes (and ripping off Lethal Weapon, to boot). After one last try at finding him a new purpose in life by infiltrating a Klingon ship that appears to be prepping for war, the only solution becomes erasing his memory completely and letting him lead a new life on a new ship, leaving Worf an only child once again. Poor guy. I wonder if Dr. Phil is still around in the 24th century
– Bar Association. A great episode if only because it allows me to ogle Chase Masterson for an hour. Anyway, Quark’s inhumane treatment of his staff finally drives Rom over the edge, and after a talk with Bashir, he decides to take action unheard of among Ferengis unionizing! Soon, all the employees are behind him on it, and it’s turning into an embarrassing debacle for Quark, leaving Bashir & O’Brien to take bets on who sides with management and who sides with labor. Sisko is just tired of the whole thing and orders Quark to settle, but soon there’s a bigger problem â€” Brunt, FCA (the always fascinating Jeffrey Combs), is back in town and threatens to bring Quark up on charges if he doesn’t get his union problems under control. Quark warns Rom of the bodily harm that might come to him via Brunt and his goons, but Brunt decides to put Quark in the hospital instead, just to keep him on his toes. This is enough to convince Rom to secretly settle, but his point made, he quits the bar and joins DS9’s tech crew instead. Harmless fun that does impact the relationship between Rom and Quark, showing that Rom can actually show backbone once in a while if need be.
– Accession. Benjamin’s religious woes appear to be over, when the wormhole opens up to reveal a 300-year old Bajoran who was thrown forward in time and now claims to be the Emissary. He sounds legitimate enough and the people accept him in the role, so Ben steps aside and lets someone else deal with the headaches. However, once in power, the new guy decides to re-enact the caste system of 300 years previous, which is just a tad discriminatory and out of date, and it appears to be threatening Bajor’s Federation bid if the people continue following his lead. Even worse, Sisko now starts having pangs of regret for giving up the job, and Kai Opaka starts visiting him in his dreams and laying a major guilt trip on him about it. So in the end, there’s nothing else to do but travel back into the wormhole with the new Emissary and ask the Prophets themselves what’s the deal, yo? And the deal is that Sisko was the one all along, and back to the past goes the pretender. They don’t really deal with Sisko’s status as religious icon too much, and it was nice to see them touch on it for once and give Avery Brooks something to work with.
– Rules of Engagement. This one was looking like a clip show for a few minutes, but then I realized that Worf hadn’t been on the show long enough to warrant one. Anyway, Worf is arrested for destroying a civilian Klingon transport while in the throes of battle, and it basically ends up as Matlock in Space, with a cagey old Klingon lawyer (and you don’t get much more evil than THAT) trying to get Worf extradited to the Empire, where presumably he’d be punished by making him sleep on a soft mattress every night or something. Anyway, the trial revolves around trying to prove that Worf intended to kill Klingons when he went into battle and thus lost control and blew up innocent people, but Sisko does some last-minute digging and discovers that the Klingons are, as usual this season, full of shit. Not before Worf shows his true colors on the stand, however, and gets a good dressing down from Sisko to end the episode. Meh, didn’t really tell us anything about Worf we didn’t know from before.
– Hard Time. Oh man, this is some intense shit, dudes. Chief O’Brien appears to be 20 years older and in prison on alien planet, but it turns out that they just plants the MEMORY of imprisonment in their criminals’ minds, to save time and space. Kinda like Total Recall gone horribly wrong. Anyway, the Chief was pretty much innocent, but since it only takes 3 hours to implant the memories, the DS9 folks couldn’t pull him out in time and returning to the station was like returning to home after 20 years in the slammer. And he doesn’t re-adjust well, as he forgets much of his basic social graces and technical know-how and gets into several arguments with crew members over petty things. Even worse, he has hallucinations of an alien from the prison, who we learn more and more about via flashbacks, until finally Miles is left desperately aiming a phaser at his own head in a cargo bay to make the pain go away. No miracle cure here â€” the only solution ends up being long and grueling therapy to work through the guilt of what he did to his cellmate in the dream and what the experience did to him. It also poses an interesting philosophical question â€” if a dream is so real that you can’t tell it from reality, do your actions in it reflect on you in the real world? Great episode, with Colm Meaney just acting up a storm the whole time.
– Shattered Mirror. Ah yes, back to the Evil Goatee Universe we go. Things are getting a bit silly at this point, as Evil Jennifer (well, she’s good, but from the Evil Universe) literally just drops by the Good Universe to say hi and chat with Jake. However, her motives are suddenly in question when she takes Jake back to the Mirror Universe with her unannounced and leaves Sisko a transporter device for his own trip there. He joins her to find his son, and once again gets roped into fighting for the rebels, who have by this point driven the Alliance off the station but now face the threat of a gigantic Klingon warship, led by (who else) Evil Worf, in a gloriously malevolent performance. Even more glorious is the performance of Garak, who is retained by Worf as a toady, and kisses ass like an absolute professional. Meanwhile on the station, Sisko decides to build the Defiant for them (nice going-away present) and leads them on a strike against the Klingon fleet, but sadly Evil Kira (a prisoner of the rebels) manages to escape, and kills Jennifer Sisko all over again. Nothing more annoying than meeting your dead ex-wife in an alternate universe and then having to bury her all over again. Well, I guess that’s a uniquely Star Trek problem, but still, think of the funeral costs!
– The Muse. Lwaxana Troi makes her annual appearance on the station, this time running from her new husband while pregnant, since the laws of his planet dictate that the husband raises the male babies. Odo, ever the gentlemen, finds a loophole that allows someone else to marry her and annul the original marriage, thus preventing the husband from getting the baby. Unfortunately for him, he decides that it might as well be him, only to discover that there’s another loophole that allows the whole thing to be tossed out if he can’t convince the original husband that he truly loves Lwaxana. This leads to Odo pouring his heart out at a wedding ceremony, as he realizes he might love Troi after all, but Lwaxana knows that he’s still in love with Kira and just wants someone to take care of. Meanwhile, Jake gets involved with an older woman who stimulates his writing (and probably more than that) but is actually an energy vampire who feeds off creative juices and then kills her victim. Yeah. One of these subplots is better than the other, and I’ll leave you to judge which one.
– For the Cause. Swerves and shocks abound here, as Eddington and Odo come to Sisko with disturbing news: Kasidy Yates may be a traitor who’s running cargo for the Maquis. Well, anyone who’s seen 24 wouldn’t be shocked by that, but Ben is. Despite their growing relationship, he starts sneaking around in the Defiant to follow her and asking her tough questions about her routes, and yes indeedy, it turns out that she’s been delivering stuff to the Maquis in the Badlands, and nearly shits herself when the Defiant and Sisko appear on the viewscreen. However, her contact doesn’t arrive, and Sisko suspects that someone was using Kasidy to lure him off the station which leads to the second shock of the show, as we discover that Commander Eddington has been a bad guy all along and was just waiting for the right moment. He gives Sisko a great little heel turn speech before disappearing into the Badlands himself, and Yates is hauled off to Federation jail as poor Ben has to go back to cosmic porn again. Oh, there’s also a subplot with Garak trying to score with Dukat’s daughter that’s kinda dull.
– To The Death. Now there’s an episode title that you just know involves the Jem’Hadar. And in this case, a Jem’Hadar ship attacks the station, and the crew hops on the Defiant and chases them into the Gamma Quadrant, where they’re surprised to instead find another Jem’Hadar ship, this one crippled by the same attackers. They meet the crew, led by a Vorta named Weyoun (played by the multitalented Jeffrey Combs), and forge a VERY uneasy alliance in order to track down the renegade Jem’Hadar. Ah, but it gets worse â€” Weyoun confides to Sisko that the renegade team is in fact looking for one of the gates left by the Iconians (who we dealt with in TNG), which would enable the Jem’Hadar to jump around anywhere in the universe and wreak havoc, thus getting themselves out from the thumb of the Founders. So the two groups agree to work together â€” despite the increasing threat of a fight between Worf and the Jem’Hadar lieutenant (and who WOULDN’T want to see that?) â€” and engage in a very violent raid on the Iconian temple that was apparently edited down for TV quite heavily. The plan works, but Weyoun is vaporized by his own Jem’Hadar captain for questioning his loyalty. They don’t f*ck around, do they? I know I’ve seen Weyoun in later episodes, though, so I assume he comes back somehow, which is good because it’s another great role for Combs. At this point I’m dying to see a knock-down drag-out slugfest between the Jem’Hadar and Klingons.
– The Quickening. Thankfully it has nothing to do with Christopher Lambert. Here’s where Bashir’s rather obnoxious (at times) smug sense of superiority comes back to bite him in the ass, as I mentioned earlier. Bashir and Dax are cruising around the Gamma Quadrant (as seems to be the setup for so many episodes) and get a distress signal from a jerkwater planet they’ve never heard of before. Upon checking it out, they discover that the signal was from an automated beacon left decades earlier, and in fact the inhabitants are infected from birth with a disease called the Blight, as a warning from the Founders to anyone else who dares mess with them, and their version of medicine is a fast-acting poison that ends the victim’s suffering once the disease accelerates (called the Quickening by the natives, perhaps because it causes excruciating agony and inflamed lesions on the body, just like watching Highlander 2). Well, with Bashir in the area, you just KNOW he’s not gonna stand around and let someone else get the last word in a situation like that, so he decides to cure the disease, since he’s got a few days to spare and all. So he rounds up the malcontents who don’t want to die, does some tests, formulates a vaccine, and then promptly kills them all due to a fatal reaction with the radiation given off by his instruments. Whoops. Dax then gives him a vicious ego-stripping talking-down, as she tells him that the only thing more arrogant than presuming that he can find a cure in a week is presuming that there’s NO cure just because he couldn’t find one. Game, set, match â€” Dax. Bashir decides to stay on the planet, however, and with one last guinea pig left willing to cooperate â€” a pregnant woman who he’d probably do on the side if she wasn’t covered in lesions â€” he finally discovers not a cure, but a vaccine, by absorbing the drug into the placenta and thus curing the next generation. This was a really good one to build up Bashir, because Dax absolutely verbally disemboweled him, and yet he still got back up and found the answer.
– Body Parts. A weird blend of dark and light comedy here, as it follows two plot threads, both a pun on the title. In the first one, Quark is falsely diagnosed with a fatal disease and does the only logical thing â€” puts his desiccated remains up for auction on the intergalactic version of Ebay. He only gets one buyer, but it’s for such an obscenely high amount of money that it can be only be Grand Nagus Zek, right? Wrong â€” In fact it’s Brunt (FCA), who wants to purchase his remains and then use them for increasingly obscene ways to trod on Quark’s memory. And he’s not shy about saying so. Of course, Quark isn’t actually going to die now, but that’s of little concern to Brunt, who offers a simple choice: Either commit suicide or forfeit all your money and possessions for breaking a Ferengi contract. This leads to an absolutely drop-dead (pardon the pun) hilarious sequence where Quark hires Garak to kill him, but can’t find a satisfactory way to die, frustrating Garak to no end. The payoff when Quark makes his choice is unexpected, and kind of touching. In the other plot thread, Keiko & Kira are traveling back from Bajor together, but an accident leaves them both in bad condition, and even worse, leaves the pregnant Keiko unable to carry the baby to term. So since it’s sci-fi (and Nana Visitor was carrying Alexander Siddig’s baby in real life) the fetus was transferred over to Kira by the miracle of modern medicine, and she was suddenly pregnant. However, this immediately complicates her relationship with the O’Briens, before they all reach the obvious conclusion as to how to solve it. Fun stuff throughout, and an interesting way to write the pregnancy into the show.
– Broken Link. In a more subdued season finale than season 3’s, Odo finds himself having problems maintaining human form, and in fact it becomes quite embarrassing, as he starts turning to liquid in public. Maybe he just needs a giant alien maxi-pad. Anyway, the only solution is unfortunately taking him to meet his Founder brethren, but unfortunately no one knows where the new homeworld is, so they come up with the less-than-elegant solution of flying around in the Gamma Quadrant until they bump into some Jem’Hadar who hopefully decide not to kill them long enough so that they can explain the situation. Well, that plan actually works, and the mysterious female Changeling beams onboard the ship and takes over the ship, promising to bring them to the new homeworld in good faith. However, once they’re there, Odo is to be judged by the Great Link for killing another Changeling and sentenced. Odo is remarkably calm about the whole thing, since deep down he wants to join the Link. However, after a long judgment period, he’s spit back out having been turned into a human! Nasty punishment indeed. They fly back to the station, Odo feeling thoroughly crappy about himself, but while watching the latest bluster from Gowron on the galactic news, he has a memory from the Link that Gowron is a Changeling! And that’s the season, folks.
I think that overall this was the strongest season to date, with no real big clunkers and some absolute killer eps, along with major changes for all the characters and some great intrigue with the Klingons and the change of heart for the Cardassians. Great stuff, and even better than TNG, which is my favorite of the Treks, so that’s pretty high praise from me.
Pretty much on par with the last couple of seasons of TNG, this is pretty much as good as the Trek universe is going to look outside of the feature films. Colors are spectacular and contrasts are strong. There’s some serious compression artifacting during black portions and scene transitions, however, and I could make out matte lines in a lot of the SFX shots in space at times, but that was getting better with more of a shift to digital effects by that point. I don’t know if it was just my player, but there were also a lot of episodes where the video stuttered during space scenes.
To be honest, I’m starting to get disappointed in the 5.1 mixes presented by the DS9 sets. I find the audio a lot more quiet than the TNG ones, and everything seems to be coming from the center channel except for brief forays into space where you get the occasional “whoosh” of the ship (except there’s no air in space, but that’s another argument ). I really hope things get more aggressive when the Dominion War picks up.
As with the TNG releases, you get about 90 minutes worth of featurettes and documentaries. I’ve heard of major spoilers in them for the later seasons, so I’m going to avoid watching them until I’ve seen the entire series on DVD and then go back and do them later, because I’d like to experience things blind. I’ll assume it’s the same rating as the TNG releases.
The Film: *****
The Video: ***1/2
The Audio: ***1/2
The Extras: ****