489. [DS9] The Adversary

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Commander Sisko is no more. In a ceremony in the wardroom, Jake pins another pip on Sisko’s collar. He is now Captain Sisko. And his first mission as Captain is to take the Defiant near Tzenkethi space. The Tzenkethi are a race that the Federation had a war with some years back, and there’s been a coup on their homeworld. Ambassador Krajensky wants the Defiant to patrol the border of Tzenkethi space in case they decide to get uppity. Taking a warship to fly the flag ought to dissuade them from taking their conflict beyond their own borders. Krajensky will be joining the mission as an observer.

It’s not long before problems start piling up on the Defiant after it leaves port. O’Brien identifies a source of sabotage in one of the Jeffries tubes, and he and Dax come up with a way to determine who planted it, by scanning for its specific radiation signature on the crew. They begin with the bridge crew, and get a hit on Ambassador Krajensky, who reveals himself to be a changeling before vanishing through an air duct.

The entire ship is on lockdown as they work to hunt down the rogue changeling. The sabotage devices are spread throughout the ship, locking them out of ship control, and the Defiant is on a course into Tzenkethi space, ready to start a conflict. If they can’t stop the changeling before they cross into Tzenkethi space, Sisko will be forced to destroy the Defiant. They start by confining all non-essential personnel to quarters, and then pair off in teams of two to sweep the ship. Each team is supposed to keep each other in sight at all times to prevent the changeling from impersonating one of them.

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488. [DS9] Facets

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Jadzia has gathered all her friends, and Quark, to ask them to take on the minds of her previous hosts. It’s called the zhian’tara, something every joined Trill goes through, as a way of getting to know herself better. A Guardian comes aboard DS9 and says some magic words with a cauldron thingy and personalities are zapped right out of the Dax symbiont into completely different alien species. It’s fun to see the DS9 cast play different characters, even if for most of them it’s a very brief thing.

Kira takes on Lela, Dax’s first host, a legislator who has the same habit of folding her hands behind her back, and learns it was a conscious decision on Lela’s part because she used to use emphatic hand gestures that would become a source of mockery. O’Brien takes on Tobin, who’s nervous, overly apologetic and a bit of a nail-biter (which Jadzia berates him for, saying Chief O’Brien wouldn’t appreciate it). Leeta, who we’ve only seen once before flirting with Julian at Quark’s, is said to be a close friend of Jadzia’s now, presumably because they needed someone extra to fill in all of Jadzia’s hosts. She becomes Emony, the gymnast, and talks about how the joining gave her a focus in her athleticism that improved her skill, much like how Jadzia took up Klingon martial arts after being joined. Quark becomes Audrid, a warm and motherly person, and Quark has to come back up to protest being assigned a “feeeemale.” Bashir becomes Torias, and starts eating way too many nuts, messing up Bashir’s diet, claiming that life is too short to miss out on simple pleasures. Understandable—he did die only a year after being joined.

Sisko volunteers to take on the most troubling host, Joran, the musician turned murderer. Because of the risks involved in bringing out a psychopath, Sisko is placed in a holding cell. Avery Brooks channels a very creepy Joran, whose even speech and over-enunciation evoke that “creepy loner” vibe all too well, especially when he calls Jadzia a “pretty girl.” When Jadzia refuses to lower the force field like he asks, he begins bashing his head against it, causing harm to Sisko. Jadzia tells Sisko to regain control, and lowers the force field, but Joran was merely pretending to be Sisko, and uses the opportunity to strangle her. Jadzia uses some of that Klingon martial arts to kick Joran’s ass, and Sisko’s able to actually come back, grateful she didn’t break any bones.

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487. [VOY] Projections

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Remember when Riker was not sure whether he was XO of the Enterprise, or a mental patient? It’s that episode again, but with the Doctor. The computer activates him and informs him that an emergency has caused the ship to be abandoned. No life signs are present anywhere. Yet, someone’s trying to break through the door. The Doctor readies a hypospray to defend himself, but finds that it’s Torres opening the door.

Ship systems are out including internal sensors and most of the crew did evacuate in an attack by the Kazon, but there’s a handful still on the ship, and Torres needs the Doctor to get to the bridge and see the situation there. She explains that over the past few weeks they’ve been installing holographic projection systems in vital areas of the ship so the Doctor can make house calls, but they hadn’t told him yet because they were untested and they didn’t want to get his hopes up.

The transfer works, and the Doctor finds the bridge in a bit of disrepair, with Janeway caught under a bulkhead. He’s able to pull her free and she seems not to have suffered any serious injury, but before he can assist her with repairs on the bridge, Neelix calls in a request for assistance. The Doctor goes to the mess hall and finds Neelix in a standoff with a Kazon soldier. Neelix keeps throwing food and pots and other such things at the Kazon, who’s built up a pile of tables and chairs to use as cover. The Doctor is able to sneak behind the Kazon and grab him so Neelix can whack him over the head with a pan, but the Doctor sustains an injury in the process and is bleeding from the back of his head.

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486. [VOY] Season 1 Review

SCORE: image (3.75/5 stars)

Wow, have I already gone through the first season of Voyager? I guess it’s to be expected when it’s only 16 episodes in length. What’s equally as surprising is how good this first season actually is. My memory had always painted the early years of Voyager as lackluster, but aside from a couple misses, the show does a really good job of building a brand new crew for us to connect with.

Let’s start with the bad. Kes is basically unused, and when she is used as anything more than the Doctor’s assistant, her performances are unconvincing and her “wisdom beyond her years” is unrealistic and annoying. Couple that with the fact that she and Neelix have zero on-screen chemistry and never even show physical affection to each other (the only way we know they’re dating is because they say they are), and you have a wholly uninteresting character. She feels squandered.

Harry Kim, likewise, is a nobody. It may not surprise you to know that Kim was originally planned to be killed off at the end of season 3 to make room for Seven of Nine before they changed their mind and wrote Kes off the show instead. Both of them are given no good attention by the writers, and Kim is unfortunately saddled with the task of spouting treknobabble if B’Elanna is otherwise preoccupied that episode.

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485. [VOY] Learning Curve

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

Voyager is sick. It’s caught a bacteria virus infection thingy, which normally one would think is not something a spaceship can get, but since Voyager runs on bio-neural gelpacks for many of its functions, they can be susceptible to certain biological flaws, and they start failing all over the ship. They only have 47 in backstock to replace the ones that are going bad, and at the rate of failure they’ll need to come up with a solution soon.

After having a few hostile run-ins with Crewman Delby, Tuvok brings Maquis crew behavior to the attention of Janeway and Chakotay, and is given the assignment of putting his 16 years of experience as an Academy instructor to use in getting the Maquis crew up to speed on how things work in a Starfleet crew. There’s Delby, the angry one; Henley, the interrupty headband wearing one; Gerron, the shy Bajoran one; and Chell, the Portal protagonist one, strangely recast as an overly talkative blue Bolian man. Things don’t go well and they all walk out. When Delby tells Chakotay he’d rather just do things the Maquis way, the first officer reminds him what that way is by punching him in the face really hard.

It’s a fairly forgettable episode as Tuvok learns the lesson that every Vulcan ever in Star Trek history learns: rigid “logical” methods don’t work on irrational beings, and his strict authoritarian boot-camp style initiation is showing that he’s too rigid and inflexible to teach them properly. But when the Doctor figures out that giving the ship a “fever” will kill the infection (which was caused by Neelix making cheese of all things) and the temperature on the ship starts running into the 100s, Tuvok’s class finds themselves trapped in a cargo hold with gas leaks and other standard disaster effects that can be done with a fog machine. Tuvok risks his own life to save one of the injured classmates, despite calling it an unacceptable risk. Dalby gets over the chip on his shoulder because of this single act on Tuvok’s part, and Tuvok finaly reeched theese keeds.

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484. [DS9] Shakaar

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

The First Minister of Bajor has died of heart failure, and Kai Winn has been appointed to replace him. It’s good old-fashioned Middle Ages papacy with all the political power wielded. Man, the Middle Ages were certainly a great time for loving religion and peaceful governments, I can’t wait to see the return! Kira and Sisko certainly must have no objections to this political appointment. What could possibly be wrong with a backstabbing political opportunist who once planted a bomb on DS9 being the head of government?

As her first act as First Minister, she pays Kira a visit and asks her to talk to her old resistance cell leader, Shakaar. He and some other members of the cell have been using soil reclamators to purify the land that the Cardassians destroyed in hopes of being able to farm again, but Winn wants the reclamators repurposed to another province that’s going to produce valuable export crops to improve Bajor’s economic standing in the region. Kira agrees to talk to Shakaar, because even though she hates Winn’s guts and blames her for the death of her boyfriend, she still recognizes the benefit of generating valuable exports, and hey, she’d love to see her old friend again.

She catches up on old times with Shakaar and a few other friends from the old days. They’ve only had the reclamators for two months and were originally promised to have them for another six. Shakaar won’t hand them back, but he is willing to meet with Kai Winn and see if negotiation will bear fruit. Winn tells Kira that she’ll agree to meet with him, but instead sends police to arrest Shakaar for refusing to hand over the reclamators. Kira’s all “Oh hell no, you don’t doublecross me, Kai Winn!” and they kick some police ass before going on the run.

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483. [VOY] Jetrel

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Imagine your family was wiped out at Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and you’d seen the aftermath firsthand. Then some years later, you were sought out by none other than J. Robert Oppenheimer himself, the man who invented the A-bomb. You would probably not have kind words for this man. You certainly would not want him on your ship. You might even turn it into a reprise of DS9’s “Duet.”

So when a man named Jetrel hails Voyager seeking Neelix, you can start to understand his hateful reaction. Fifteen years ago, the Talaxians were at war with the Haakonians, and the war was decisively ended when the Haakonians used a weapon of mass destruction, the Metreon Cascade, on the Talaxian moon of Rinax. Neelix’s entire family was wiped out along with 300,000 other people, and his memories of returning to the moon to look for survivors still haunts him to this day.

Jetrel claims that Neelix may have been exposed to post-cascade radiation like other rescue workers who have been suffering a fatal illness called metremia. At first, Neelix wants nothing to do with Jetrel and has no desire to be poked and prodded by a mass murderer, but Kes and Janeway get uncomfortably close to him in a scene so they can all fit in a medium angle shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and this convinces him to at least hear Jetrel out.

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482. [DS9] Family Business

SCORE: image (3/5 stars)

Quark’s forced to shut down the bar as he must attend to immediate family matters. Liquidator Brunt, Ferengi Commerce Authority (played by the fan-favorite Jeffrey Combs) has shown up to let him know he needs to get his ass back to Ferenginar and put his house in order. Ishka, Quark’s mother, is accused of earning profit. As we all know in Ferengi society, feeeemales are banned from earning profit, and if Quark doesn’t get his moogie to confess and repay the profit earned in 3 days, it’ll go public and Quark’s reputation will be ruined.

Meanwhile, Kassidy Yates is on board the station loading her freighter. She’s the one that Jake told his dad about, and is trying to get Ben to talk to her and maybe invite her for dinner. Everyone on the station seems to know about the hookup as they all happen to make comments about it even before Sisko’s laid eyes on her. Eventually, he gets around to the cargo bay she’s docked at and makes plans to grab coffee later.

On Ferenginar, Quark’s aghast to find his mother wearing clothing, talking to strangers, and being rather unapologetic about earning profit, though she won’t provide her imprint on a confession. Rom’s just happy to be home with his moogie, but Quark is frustrated that he had to return to a home he’s avoided for 20 years and deal with his stubborn mother who’s violating all the rules he as an upstanding Ferengi stands for. As he starts investigating the extent of Ishka’s profit-earning, he discovers she’s earned a LOT more than the 3 bars she claims. In fact, she’s earned more than his entire net worth and then some. Moogie’s got the lobes for business.

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481. [VOY] Faces

SCORE: image (2/5 stars)

Paris, Torres and Fred Durst are captured by the Vidiians while performing a mineral survey. Sulan, the Chief Surgeon of the Vidiian Sodality, has identified potential in the Klingon genome for resistance to the Phage that’s been eating them alive for centuries, and uses his magical medical technology to split B’Elanna into two halves: her human half, which is dumped into the prisoner cells along with Paris and Durst, and her Klingon half, which he infects with the Phage to study her resistance to it.

Janeway and the rest of the Voyager crew spend the episode attempting to locate where the away team was captured and taken to, but aside from the gallant rescue at the end, they don’t really have a role to play in this episode, which is almost entirely a B’Elanna vehicle to explore, sloppily, her inner conflict between her Klingon and human halves.

As Klingon B’Elanna meters out dialogue in a stifled Klingon accent, aided by a mouthful of sharp teeth, she lies strapped to a table as Sulan performs his work studying her genome and her reactions to the Phage. It appears as though Klingons are genetically resistant to the plague after all, and with a lot of work and genetic splicing, he might be able to extrapolate a cure that would restore his race to its former appearance. She tries several methods to get herself released, from outright violent threats to sexual come-ons.

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480. [DS9] Explorers

SCORE: image (5/5 stars)

Sisko, freshly goatee’d in inspiration from his trip to the mirror universe a few weeks ago, has found blueprints for an 800-year old Bajoran spaceship that used solar sails for propulsion. Rumor has it that they managed to get these ships all the way to Cardassia, though how a sublight vessel could reach another star system in anything less than thousands of years seems a bit of a stretch. Still, he’s decided to take on the challenge and build one himself to do a test run from DS9 to the Denorias belt and back to prove it was spaceworthy, and he’s invited Jake along as a fun family adventure.

Bashir gets interrupted from getting his mack on with Leeta, a Bajoran dabo girl, by Dax, who channels her inner “Elliot Reid, Moment Killer” to let him know an old class rival will be coming aboard. Elizabeth Lense is Chief Medical Officer on the Lexington, and was Bashir’s class valedictorian (Bashir himself was salutatorian, due to that whole pre-ganglionic/post-ganglionic mixup). The Lexington was the prime assignment, everyone in the graduating class was gunning for it except Bashir. She had her pick and chose the Lexington, but it’s eaten at Bashir over the years that she could have chosen DS9 instead.

As Sisko builds the spaceship, everyone has their two cents. O’Brien doesn’t think it can fly. Kira holds it as a symbol of national pride and is positive that it will work. Jake thinks it’s cool, but he’s at that age of being a teenager who wants to do his own thing and not hang out around dad so much. Dukat expresses concern to Sisko over flying an unproven design. Surely that’s his real worry, not that Sisko might prove the Cardassian deniers wrong in his spaceflight.

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479. [VOY] Cathexis

SCORE: image (4/5 stars)

Janeway’s Jane Austen holonovel is interrupted by Tuvok and Chakotay’s shuttle being found badly damaged. Tuvok is injured but will recover; Chakotay, on the other hand, has had all “brain energy” sucked out of his head. For all intents and purposes, he’s brain dead. While such a prognosis would be, you think, a death sentence, the Doctor thinks his brain energy could be restored if they found what stole it. Tuvok explains that they encountered a dark matter nebula and were attacked by a vessel that emerged from it. Janeway sets a course for the nebula to find the ship.

Meanwhile, Torres honors Chakotay’s wishes by setting up a medicine wheel in Sickbay, using magnetic stones to set up “guideposts” so Chakotay’s soul can find its way back to his body. The Doctor (in what I can only hope is a sarcastic gesture) corrects her placement of the stones as knowledge of alternative medical treatments is part of his program. However, despite the “woo” of the medicine wheel, there may actually be something to it this time. Kes senses a presence on the ship.

As Voyager approaches the dark matter nebula, they can’t sense any ships (or much of anything, due to nebula interference). Janeway wants to venture closer to penetrate the cloud with a probe, but the ship has unexpectedly changed course. Kim says the order came from Tom’s console, but Tom insists that he had made no such course change. Janeway transfers control to Kim’s console and has Tom go take a look at the systems to see if he can find the problem. As Tom’s gone, a course change happens again. Something or someone does not want them going near that nebula. Kim’s console is locked and he can’t control ship functions.

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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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