Deep Space Nine - Review of Season 3

Overview


After two seasons of bobbling around, uncertain of where it was going, if anywhere, Deep Space Nine begins to coalesce.

I use the term 'begins' for the writers were not fully aware of the story line, (if there was one)but had some prescience that epis should somehow connect.

Not that every episode brings the story forward, nor that every diversion is entertaining, but there is some thread, maybe no more than a 'throw away' line, to connect one episode with another.

Episodes one and two

Taking up where Season 2 ends, the bits are pulled together; The Defiant, a new warship with a cloaking device, (courtesy of the Romulans) becomes an integral part of DS9.

The cast, travels to the Gamma Quadrant to locate the 'Founders' of the Dominion for the purpose of peace negotiations.

Quark is brought along as the Ferangi have a trade agreement with a species in the Gamma Quadrant, Odo, relieved of station duty, replaced by Mr. Eddington, is invited by Kira. He soon experiences a compulsion to visit a particular nebulae.

As the writers hadn't a clue what the relationship was among the Changelings, Vorta and Jem'Hadar there is some discordance.

The first two epis are imperfect. It is obvious that they ought have been written a little differently.

On reflection, it seems the writers, each seeing something different, and none having the strongest voice allowed the confusion. Because of this, the transitions are awkward, the lead-ins choppy and confusing.

Episode 3, 4, 5

The third episode is 'House of Quark', opens with references to the expected invasion/ attack of the Dominion. The school closes because Bajorans leave the station in fear. Quark's business falls off, even Morn leaves the Bar.

That's when we see a drunken Klingon, demanding more blood wine.

The Klingon goes to kill Quark, falls on his own dagger. Quark, seeing the profit of creating a drama, (which neither Bashir nor Odo believe) puts himself into the mix when the brother and then widow of the deceased arrive at the Station.

It seems the producers realised the audience liked Quark, wanted to see him and his antics.

As Klingons, the warriors, were already popular, the Ferangi, capitalists had always been disdained. However, Quark was cleverly written, and got the views eye.

Mixing the two divergent groups in a sensible manner was appreciated.

It was a 'cute' epi, seeing Quark married to a Klingon woman, and the various events which follow. This was not a complete 'one off'' as certain characters and references will reoccur in later episodes.

This is followed by 'Equilibrium' which as "Invasive Procedures" aired in a previous season
are unnecessary. Exploring an unknown host of the Dax symbiont...Why?

We got the Trill basics from Star Trek; the Next Generation.

The Next epi, Second Skin turns Kira into a Cardassian.

It is a diversion with little value, almost a repeat of a previous epi where she befriends a Cardassian.

These two are missable.

Episodes 6 - 10

The Abandoned is important in explaining the Jem'Hadar

Civil Defense revealed the nature of Cardassians, the dangers of the station.

In an attempt to delete a particular program on the Station computer
causes an automatic system created by Gul Dukat to go into operation.

"Meridan" is totally unnecessary. It is another Dax centric. She falls in love with someone at minute 4 heartbroken by minute 44..

Meridian is followed by Defiant.

Kira sees Commander Riker, gives him a tour of the Defiant, Riker zaps her, takes control flies the ship into the Wormhole.

This Riker is 'Thomas ' a member of the Maquis. Sisko wastes no time informing Gul Dukat so that they can have a 'joint command' between the Cardassian and Federation.

Although on the surface the story is about the Maquis attack on Cardassia, the interplay between Sisko and Gul Dukat is what you need to watch and 'get' . An important clue in this epi is the military build up by the Obsidian Order.

This is followed by Fascination.

Lwuxana Troi arrives to plague Odo and the rest of the station.
This episode can be missed as it seems merely a 'filler'.

Double Episode 11/12

Past Tense is a double epi; with Sisko, Bashir and Dax beamed into 2024. It's an interesting concept, and the usual Star Trek moral tale of the future/past.

Sisko takes on the Identity of 'Gabriel Bell' a well known Terran hero who was killed in Part One.

It is an excellent 'mini-movie' but as usual in the Star Trek franchise, it disappears into the void.

If one took that double epi and showed it to people who had never watched
Star Trek the audience would considered it a fine drama, complete in itself.

If a viewer missed this double epi, there was no loss, nothing in it effected DS9 or brought the story foward.

Episodes 13 - 15

'Life Support' has Vedic Barell
travelling with Kai Winn.

Whether sabotage or not,
Barell dies, but is revived.

As there are important
negotiations with the
Cardassians he refuses
to go nto statis.

Kai Winn, never trustworthy, unable to conduct negotiations on her own, has Barell turned into a form of Android, then he is allowed to die.

The Next Epi is Heart of Stone; here's Kira, chirpy as ever. The man she loved just died, and she's already moved on. Not a single epi in which there's even a smidgen of mourning.

However, the key feature here, which will be repeated during this season and into the subsequent is the ability of Changelings to impersonate any humanoid they desire so
well as to be basically undetectable.

Back on the station, Nog pays Sisko for an apprentiship. He wants to be the first Ferangi in Star Fleet. This is the important aspect of the epi.

This is followed by" Destiny" a good Cardassian/Bajorian/Star Fleet segment, which sets more of the story line.

Cardassian scientists are coming aboard the Station. A Vedic reveals a prophesy to Sisko and as time passes, various aspects come true.

The importance of this particular segment is that Kira admits she sees Sisko as the Emissary, and he is beginning to believe it himself.

Episode 16 - 19

Prophet Motive is Ferangi-centric. Zek has been changed by the Prophets, and the Rules of Acquisition rewritten. Dr. Bashir is nominated for the Carrington Prize which he is sure he is not going to win, and doesn't.

By now, most viewers know the Rules of Acquisition and are as immersed in Ferangi culture as they are in Klingon. Who'd of thought it?

The interesting thing is that Quark talks to the prophets. Nothing is made of this.

The Next epi, Visionary is O'Brien heavy. Having radiation poisoning being put on light duty, he suffers 'temporal displacement' due to an anomaly. What he experiences ties into the story arc, though not a part one/part two, they follow.

This is followed by Distant Voices; Bashir-centric. It is a horror epi, as Bashir ages, having experienced a telepathic attack. Somewhat entertaining, generally, unnecessary.

Through the Looking Glass is another 'alternate universe epi '. It begins rather stupidly as 'the other ' O'Brien on the Bridge, with a phaser at Sisko, and no one takes him down or activates any form of security precaution.

The Parallel Universe fascinates the writers. Not so much the viewers. Yeah, sure, Kira's character is totally disgusting, sexually omnivorous, Bashir is revolutionary and Sisko unregimentated and wild. It was not a bad epi, It just ought have opened differently.

Episode 20 - 21

 Improbable Cause  is the first of an important two parter, with the Cardassian Obsidian Order aligned with the Romulan Tal Shi'ar, going against the Dominion.

Various bits tie in here, i.e. the data Tom Riker got about the Obsidian Order's build up, the Romulan Government's desire to close the wormhole contra it's secret spy network which wants to go to war.

The Cardassians and Romulans send a fleet though the wormhole. Sisko notifies Star Fleet, then, against orders, enters the Wormhole.

The brilliance of the epi is the ability of the Founders.  

Unlike Odo's sloppy humanoid form, the other Changelings can so perfectly adopt an appearance that they can fool anyone.   This was done in 'Heart of Stone' when the female represented Kira, and is done again here, where the Romulan leader is actually a changeling who has provoked a coalition between the 'secret police' of  Romulan and Cardasia.

This leads to the total destruction of both fleets, significantly weakening the factors in the Alpha Quadrant.

This double episode was crucial to the Story Arc; the approaching conflict between the Dominion of the Gamma Quadrant and the Federation.

Episodes 22 - 26

The next episode is Explorers.

Sisko builds a solar powered ship, based on schematics of an ancient Bajorian vessel. There is a legend that Bajor actually reached Cardasia first.

Jake joins his father on this adventure. The importance of this epi is the bonding between father and son.

Jake admits his desire to become a writer and attend a prestigious school.

Writing, and being a writer is reflected in subsequent episodes.

This is also the epi in which Leeta is introduced. 

Family Business, is another Ferangi-centric episode, which introduce Brunt from the Ferangi Trade Commission.

Sisko finally  meets Kassidy Yates, who will play a recurrent role.
.
In Shaaka we have Kira mourning for Barell. (Finally).  Kai Winn, who ought never have been Kai is now appointed First Minister...not pretty. Fortunately, one of the heroes of the Resistance, Shaaka is able to replace her.

It is a good Bajoran epi. It makes sense, it means something.

Facets is another Dax and her Symbionts thing; this time, 7 people on the station have to take the memories of each of her hosts and let her interact with them.

The high point was seeing Curzon in the body of Odo.

The Final Episode in the Third Season, Adversary, has Sisko promoted to Captain.

The Defiant is to go on a Mission, a Federation Ambassador along to observe.

The Ambassador is a Changeling. He sabotages many systems on board in hopes of starting a war. How the crew deals with this is the essence of DS9.

"We are Everywhere" says the Changeling to Odo before he dies; meaning that the Dominion has already infiltrated the Federation.

This can come as no shock as we have already seen the 'Female' take on Kira, another Changeling perfectly represent a Romulan.

The Same Gaffes

What always annoys intelligent viewers is the Captain/Commander, leaving
his/her post to mix it up elsewhere.
In RL this doesn't happen.
There are 'away teams' for that, even First Officers. Not the Captain/Commander.

Sensibly, leave either Sisko or Kira on the Station to discharge their appointed
tasks, or change their ranks so as to make them the proper people to go on the
various adventures.

What Odo was doing on the Defiant in the last episode (along with Eddington
who was supposed to have replaced him as Station security) proves that the
writers have no sense of 'reality'.

To make Science Fiction 'real' one keeps to the mundane rules and regulations.
This makes Scifi realer. Breaking every rule and regulation of every military
organisation on Earth so as to have all the leads packed into a Ship flying to
wherever to do whatever leaving Deep Space Nine to be run by whom?
Rom?

The episodes tend to open sensibly on the Station, (for the most part) then
are followed by illogical events which lead into the plot which is usually charged
with various levels of cogency.



Observations

The actors who play Ben and Jake Sisco actually have a similar relationship in real life. This translates well on camera.   In sharp contrast are the O'Brians.  It seems evident that the actors don't like each other.  Almost every scene between Miles and Keiko is strained, uncomfortable to watch.  

Dr. Bashir and Major Kira have very few scenes together, scarcely seem to know each other, yet in real life the actors had an affair, a child, and briefly married.

The Odo / Quark dynamic is a cornerstone of the show.  Despite the fact the actors are under pounds of makeup they are extremely expressive.

As a peculiar aside, Garick and Gul Dukat are more attractive as Cardassians then they are in real life.   And Nog, though a perfect teen ager was actually played by an actor over forty.


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