478. [DS9] The Die is Cast

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Bashir has lunch with O’Brien but finds him focused more on stuffing his face than discussing the decline of theater as an artform in the 24th centure. Aww, Julian, do you miss your Garak-chan? Well, no worries, he’s passing by in a massive fleet of decloaking Romulan and Cardassian ships heading for the wormhole. Sisko puts on his red shirt and his brown pants and alerts Starfleet Command immediately.

On the Romulan ship, Garak considers all the enemies he could have eliminated once he’s restored to a position of power on Cardassia, including one Gul Dukat. However, just because he’s shown up doesn’t mean he’s instantly in the inner circle again. Colonel Lovok, the captain of the Romulan vessel, doesn’t trust Garak one iota and says he’s not to be on the bridge unescorted. And Tain has a task for Garak to perform: interrogate Odo and get more information out of him about the Founders.

Sisko is ordered to take the Defiant in orbit of Bajor to protect it in the event that the Dominion launch a retaliatory strike through the wormhole, although Starfleet hopes that the joint Cardassian-Romulan assault is successful, as it will eliminate the Dominion as a threat. Sisko disagrees with being ordered to stay put, however, as Odo is held captive and he’s not about to sit idly by. He tells anyone who wants to assist him that it’s a volunteer mission as they will likely face a general court martial for disobeying orders. The only one who makes a protest is Eddington, the Federation security head on the station, but even he opts to go on the mission.

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477. [DS9] Improbable Cause

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Garak’s shop explodes with him in it. Fortunately for the show, he’s only mildly injured, but the ruptured plasma conduit running behind his shop couldn’t have just exploded on accident right by the only Cardassian on the station, so Odo gets to work attempting to find evidence of foul play. O’Brien finds a proximity detonator keyed to Cardassian physiology, suggesting a Flaxian assassin. There’s a Flaxian on board, so Odo interrogates him, but lets him go when he realizes he’s got nothing concrete to hold on him, despite him carrying perfumes that when mixed create a lethal neurotoxin.

They do place a tracer on his ship before letting him go, though, and Odo takes a runabout to follow him. Garak talks his way onto the runabout (well, he sets up shop before Odo even gets there, and refuses to leave), and as they pursue the Flaxian vessel, it explodes before it can go to warp. Reviewing scans of the events leading up to the ship’s destruction points to Romulan sabotage. Sisko and Odo contact the Tal Shiar, who confirm that they killed the Flaxian as he was a fugitive, but claim to know nothing about Garak’s attempted assassination. They’re obviously lying, but good luck squeezing water out of that rock.

Odo calls up a Cardassian informant to find out why the Romulans would want Garak dead, and learns it’s bigger than just a plain simple tailor on a Bajoran space station. Five former Obsidian Order operatives were killed the same day as the attempt on Garak’s life, and there’s been a lot of increased Romulan activity on the Cardassian border. Odo takes this information to Garak, who admits to knowing all the deceased, but plays his typical “oh well I don’t really know anything I’m just a plain simple tailor” shtick that Bashir might play along with.

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476. [VOY] Heroes and Demons

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Janeway and Torres are beaming aboard energy specimens from a protostar. Janeway wants to get Harry Kim to assist, but he doesn’t respond to hails and the ship cannot locate him. His last-known location was on the holodeck. Chakotay and Tuvok investigate the still-running program (they can’t shut it down and safety protocols are disengaged) and find that Kim was running a Beowulf program. Talking to the local characters, they learn that Kim had posed as Beowulf but was, as they claim, slain by the Grendel because he vanished when facing it.

Tuvok and Chakotay decide to hang around the hall waiting for Grendel to show up again, but when it arrives, they too vanish. It’s clear that any crew member who goes into the holodeck risks disappearance and possible death. Maybe it’s time to fight holograms with holograms. The Doctor is approached for his first away mission. He’ll need to bone up on his ancient Earth literature, and gets a pep-talk from Kes when she notices his anxiety at the mission. She suggests before he goes, he choose a name, so that he can feel more like a Starfleet officer on the mission. He picks the name Schweitzer.

He is challenged by Freya, daughter of Hrothgar, while wandering the woods near Hrothgar’s fort. She wants to know whether he be friend or foe, and he responds by recognizing her character and mentioning many of the battles she has fought. Impressed that her legend has spread to other lands, she hastily takes him to her father. He welcomes him to the hall but is somber and resigned to his fate.

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475. [DS9] Through the Looking Glass

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Quark and Odo have a squabble in Sisko’s office to make sure they get some screentime before Mirror O’Brien steals him away to the other universe, since they died last time we had one of these episodes. “Smiley” O’Brien explains that he’s kidnapped Sisko because the Terran Rebellion against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance hasn’t been going too well. In fact, their own Sisko just got killed. Our Sisko doesn’t want to interfere with their universe, but O’Brien asks him to at least hear out why he took him.

The Alliance has tasked a Terran scientist with developing a scanning array that, when complete, will let them instantly locate the Terran Rebellion’s bases and wipe them out. Sisko is in a unique position to convince the scientist to reconsider because she’s his wife. She’s Jennifer Sisko. In this universe, Ben and Jennifer got married too, but they’ve been separated for many years. Smiley tells Sisko that unless they can get Jennifer on their side, they’ll be forced to assassinate her. Sisko hasn’t seen his wife in 5 years. He isn’t about to let her die again.

Sisko wastes no time at all getting into character in the Rebellion, shocking everyone by turning out to not be dead, punching out Bashir for talking smack about his wife, and having sex with his mistress, Dax. Mirror Tuvok also shows up here, only a few episodes after Human Tuvok showed in in Generations. I’m beginning to think Tim Russ is one of the archetypes seeded by the ancient humanoids. Him and Jeffrey Combs and Vaughn Armstrong. He pretty much only shows up so the writers can be like “sup guys we got Tuvok on our side up in this mirror universe.” However, there was a great missed opportunity: as only the second Vulcan we see in the mirror universe, why wasn’t he sporting a rockin’ goatee?

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474. [VOY] State of Flux

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

A food gathering mission is cut short by a hidden Kazon ship in orbit, As they gather the away teams to beam up and get out of dodge, Ensign Seska isn’t responding to hails, so Chakotay goes looking for her in the nearby caves. He finds patrolling Kazon who open fire on him, and Seska (who had been looking for mushrooms) returns fire on the two Kazon and gets Chakotay to safety.

To help him recover from the laser beam to the chest, she makes his favorite mushroom soup, but when Chakotay learns she raided the food pantry without Neelix’s permission, he’s furious and revokes her replicator rations for two days. She tries to make up for it by putting on the sexy moves, but Chakotay implies that whatever relationship they once had, they agreed it couldn’t work.

The same Kazon ship that Voyager fled from is broadcasting a distress signal. Neelix warns it may be a trap; the Kazon-Nistrim is the most brutal sect of Kazons, but scans show that they may be telling the truth about having ship problems, so Janeway sets a course to help. Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to help and make a new friend?

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476. [MOV] Generations

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

It’s the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701B, the first ship of her name in a long time not to have Kirk in the chair, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to invite the living legend aboard to see her off. Even though they’ve just left Earth Spacedock, they receive a distress call three light years away from a couple transport ships, and they’re the only ship in range! Again, apparently Earth never keeps any starships around unless it’s the Enterprise and there’s a movie.

They find the two transports caught in a space ribbon, and Captain Harriman just can’t get over the fact that he destroyed his dad’s Ferrari back in high school and has to turn to Kirk to save the day. He runs down to deflector control to reroute a thing to another thing. 47 people are beamed aboard, safely, but the ribbon of energy causes a massive hull breach… in Kirk’s section. Scotty and Chekov, the B team who they could get to agree to be in the movie, look on in sadness as James T. Kirk appears to have died.

Fast-forwarding to the present-day future, Worf is being promoted to Lieutenant Commander in a naval ceremony on the holodeck. When he’s made to walk the plank and jump like ten feet to grab his hat (c’mon, not even a Klingon can jump that high), Riker has a bit of fun and makes the plank vanish right from under his feet, plunging him into the ocean. Data forgets everything he’s ever learned about comedy and asks Dr. Crusher for advice, and when she explains it’s about being spontaneous and unpredictable, he pushes her out of the boat, quite pleased with himself. And so am I! Fuck everyone who thought that wasn’t hilarious.

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472. [DS9] Distant Voices

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Bashir’s about to turn 30 and is a bit grumpy about the prospect, which perplexes Garak, as aging brings respect and prestige on Cardassia. Bashir’s just not pleased about the idea of passing 30 and no longer being considered “young.” As they argue about the merits of Cardassian mystery novels, Quark introduces Bashir to an alien who’s seeking biomemetic gel, a controlled substance in the Federation. Bashir shoots him down and tells him that even asking for it is a felony, and suggests he leave immediately.

But he goes straight for the infirmary, looking for it. When Bashir finds him, he calls for security but gets a lightning shock to the temples when the alien attacks him, and he’s out. He comes to, but the station computer is nonfunctional, the lights are flickering, and the station itself appears empty. Exploring the Promenade, he finds Quark at his bar, cowering under a table. Sounds of breaking are heard in the bar, and as Bashir tries to get Quark to tell him what’s happened, a table goes flying across the bar and Quark flees.

Bashir wanders the Promenade, as information screens show nothing but static. One can also notice a touch of grey in his hair. As he enters Odo’s office, he runs into Garak, who barely knows more than Quark. He offers a few suggestions as to what has happened: perhaps it’s a virus. Or maybe a space anomaly (those seem to affect a stationary target so often in this series). Or perhaps the Dominion has finally made their move. They decide to split up to search the station and agree to meet back in an hour.

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471. [VOY] Prime Factors

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Voyager receives a distress call, because word has gotten out about a ship lost far from home and in distress. The Sikarians invite Voyager to their homeworld for a respite, and Neelix says the species is well-known for their generous hospitality, plus they’ve got a wide variety of plantlife that they could harvest seeds of for the hydroponics bay. What the hell, Janeway says, they could all use a little shoreleave, so a course is set.

As everyone enjoys the hedonistic society on TOS-quality soundstages, Harry Kim makes an astonishing discovery as he’s about to get his mack on with a local girl. She takes him on a transport journey to a forest that has narcotic pollens or something, giving a sense of euphoria in the dawn of the… twin suns? But Sikaria isn’t a binary system! He finds that not only has he transported to another planet, but he’s in another star system altogether. When he asks how far they’ve traveled, the answer is an astonishing 40,000 light years.

This technology could send them halfway home, so obviously everyone is very excited about it, and Janeway asks if it’s possible for them to share that technology. Gath, one of the planet’s magistrates who has taken a liking to Janeway, says that they cannot share technology with outsiders, as it would violate their own Prime Directive.

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470. [VOY] Emanations

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

What happens after death? Do we cease to be, and simply rot in the ground? Is there an afterlife awaiting us? How many times will Harry Kim experience it? What if our reality is the afterlife of another species? All these questions and more are crammed into a surprisingly good episode of Voyager that still manages to bog itself down in unimportant treknobabble.

Investigating what appears to be natural stable occurrences of element 247 in a planetary ring system, the Voyager away team discovers that the asteroids in the ring are actually full of dead bodies covered in prop-shop cobwebbing. Chakotey suggests they leave what is obviously an alien burial site alone, but Harry Kim asks that they remain to perform an anthropological study. But soon a swirling portal thingy appears, and in an emergency beamout, only Chakotay and Torres are brought over. Instead of Kim, a fresh dead body appears on the transporter pad.

The Doctor discovers that she’s revivable, that she died from a brain stem tumor, and he can remove it and replicate replacement tissue. She awakens on the biobed in a panic, believing she’s entered the Next Emanation, her people’s afterlife, but it’s nothing like what she thought it would be. None of her family are here. She has gained no knowledge of the universe. Her eyes are the same eyes she had in her previous life. She begins suffering an existential crisis as she realizes that the afterlife she expected was a lie.

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469. [VOY] Ex Post Facto

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Tom’s in big trouble now. He allegedly did the do with a married woman and then, according to the eyewitness testimony of the guy he stabbed to death, stabbed a guy to death. Now in accordance with the laws of the planet, he’s been sentenced to relive a recording of the victim’s dying moments as Tom stabs him through the heart. There’s just one problem: Tom insists that he never did it.

Harry takes the shuttle and returns to Voyager to let them know about Tom’s arrest, trial and sentencing, and while they had hoped to avoid taking Voyager to the planet because it’s in a war zone, Janeway wants to make sure the flag is flown to show these people that they mean business and you can’t just go messing with Tom’s brain like that. It has to be preserved and perfect for when he turns into a lizard and makes lizard babies with her, dammit!

Tuvok begins investigating the case himself (one wonders why the government goes along with the investigation of a case that’s already been tried and convicted with the actual eyewitness testimony of the victim) and gets the story in noir exposition from several witnesses, including Harry, Tom, and the wife he was allegedly shtupping. It goes as follows:

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468. [DS9] Visionary

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

O’Brien conveniently suffers radiation poisoning at the beginning of the episode so that the treknobabble thing that happens to him can be activated. As a Romulan delegation arrives at DS9 for a briefing on Federation intel on the Dominion, a Klingon ship comes by needing repairs. And O’Brien finds himself making brief time jumps to 5 hours in the future, where he can watch his future self do something. Sounds like this has all the makings of a bad day.

His first time jump, he sees himself on the Promenade while Quark is telling him to fix the holosuites. It’s written off as a hallucination brought on by either the radiation poisoning or the treatment he’s receiving, but 5 hours later when he finds himself on the Promenade with Quark demanding he fix the holosuites, his deja vu causes him to look over… and see himself watching across the mezzanine. Dax is able to confirm via time travelly scans that O’Brien’s shift was legit, and gets to work figuring out why that happened when O’Brien has another shift and finds himself in a bar brawl between Klingons and Romulans and his future self, who he saves from a Klingon with a dagger.

While O’brien and security work to get Quark’s bar Klingon-free so as not to get that bar brawl started (Blaming the Klingons? That’s racist!) Sisko and Kira have to deal with the Romulan Inquisition. According to the treaty stipulations allowing them to have a cloaking device installed on the Defiant, they are required to provide any and all information they have on the Dominion, but what Sisko and Kira offer them isn’t to their satisfaction and they begin demanding more and more information, including personal logs and inquiries as to the nature of people’s relationships with Odo, who they believe to be a Founder.

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467. [VOY] Eye of the Needle

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

While searching for spacial anomalies that could help quicken their journey home, Harry Kim discovers what he believes to be a wormhole. Changing course to approach it, they’re a little disappointed to discover it’s less than a foot across. Still, if it leads anywhere near the Alpha Quadrant, they would have a chance to contact the Federation and let them know what’s happened, so they send a microprobe to collect telemetry. It gets caught before it can return, but fortunately, they’re able to use it as a beacon through which to communicate to the other side.

There just so happens to be a ship on the other side of the wormhole, which Tuvok determines does in fact lead to the Alpha Quadrant. The ship’s captain responds to their signal, but terminates communication after hearing that they’re a Federation starship in the Delta Quadrant. It must clearly be trickery. Tuvok determines that the wormhole exits in Romulan space, and the captain (likely on an science vessel) probably suspects them of being Federation spies for that reason.

While this is going on, Kes has been training under the Doctor, learning first aid and anatomy. She’s a very quick learner and has an eidetic memory (not surprising, considering Ocampa live only 9 years yet manage to have a sapient civilization, they’d have to be quick learners). As she assists him in sickbay, she finds that the crew treat him with severe disrespect, talking about him as though he’s not in the room, treating him like he’s nothing more than a tool.

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466. [DS9] Prophet Motive

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

The Grand Nagus has returned to Deep Space 9, but something’s off about him. And by something, I mean everything. After kicking Quark out of his own quarters for an evening, he reveals to Quark and Rom that he’s rewritten the Rules of Acquisition. Ecstatic about the possibility of being the first to read the new Rules, Quark and Rom go through them… only to find it’s essentially a philanthropist guidebook now. Worse (for the Ferengi, that is), Zek is making DS9 his base of operations for the Ferengi Benevolent Association.

He’s creating a giant charity operating out of Quark’s quarters, and appoints Rom the senior administrator. Not only that, but he starts undermining Quark’s business opportunities by informing people of better deals and fairer trades. All in all, he’s being… nice. Generous. Charitable. Zek was never any of these things before. Quark tries to convince himself that Zek has some master plan, that there’s some brilliant play he’s got and he’s pulling all this to obfuscate his end game.

When Zek reveals he’s got a lost Bajoran orb, Quark thinks he’s found the answer, that Zek is setting himself up as this really nice guy so it won’t look so bad when he sells the orb back to Bajor. But Zek’s not selling it… he’s giving it to them as a gift. Quark now knows there’s something seriously wrong. Those orbs are worth a fortune. They’re straight from the Prophets and there are only 9 in existence. Confronting Maihar’du doesn’t get him anywhere, because he’s taken a vow only to speak to Zek, so instead he consults the orb itself.

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465. [VOY] The Cloud

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Cloud to Butt users: you might want to disable your addon for this review. Or don’t, it’ll be funnier!

Janeway just wants a cup of coffee. But they don’t have coffee grounds. Neelix offers to give her a “better than coffee” substitute, but she’d rather use her replicator rations to get some… which Neelix chides her for, saying she ought to set an example for the rest of the crew. He’s just about to pour her some goopy (very clearly chocolate syrup) substitute, when she’s thankfully been given an out when Chakotay calls her to the bridge. They’ve found a space cloud full of gas that they could harvest as fuel! “Set a new course,” she says. “There’s coffee in that cloud!”

Unfortunately they find the cloud is more than they bargained for, and penetrating the cloud is met with some resistance. Fortunately, Paris is an expert at this kind of thing, and he’s able to ram it through an opening. Once inside, they find floating things that start sticking to the hull and draining ship power, quite the opposite of what they were going for. They’re forced to retreat through the opening they made, but it’s closed. Janeway is hesitant to use a torpedo as they’ve only got 38 with no way to replace them (that is, until the writers don’t give a shit about that rule anymore) but the barrier at the edge of the nebula doesn’t give them much choice, so they ram a torpedo through the cloud.

So much for powering their ship with cloud particles. Everyone goes back to coping with their fates in various offensive ways. Paris brings Kim to a holodeck recreation of Sandrine’s, a bar he frequented in Marseilles. Sandrine’s makes several appearances, one presumes in an attempt to give Voyager a Ten Forward-type lounge that is separate from its galley. Paris designed the program, so naturally it’s full of pool sharks, gigolos, and women who all want Tom to stick it in their cloud.

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464. [DS9] Destiny

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

As the Bajoran/Cardassian peace treaty has gone through, the first joint scientific mission between the Bajorans, Cardassians and Federation is underway to establish a permanent communications relay into the wormhole. But Bajoran Vedek Erick Avari shows up proclaiming a rather vague prophecy is about to be fulfilled by the arrival of the Cardassian scientists, one which the Vedek believes foretells of the destruction of the Celestial Temple. It reads as follows:

When the river wakes, stirred once more to Janir’s side, three vipers will return to their nest in the sky. When the vipers try to peer through the temple gates, a sword of stars will appear in the heavens. The temple will burn, and its gates shall be cast open.

The Vedek believes the Cardassians to be the three vipers, but there’s only two of them coming to the station. The river waking and stirring to Janir’s side refers to a dam project that will redirect water to the Bajoran city of Janir. The sword of stars has yet to reveal itself, but the temple is fairly obvious. Still, Sisko dismisses it; after all, he’s never been comfortable being a religious figurehead, especially when he doesn’t believe in the aforementioned religion. Kira is skeptical too, until the very pleasant Cardassian scientists inform Sisko that there will be a third scientist joining them shortly. Three vipers. Kira then finds herself for the first time in conflict between her two relationships to Sisko: his first officer, and her religious icon.

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