“If you can’t have victory, sometimes, you just have to settle for revenge.”
-- Michael Eddington
In the old days, it was an unspoken rule that television series lasted seven years. Oh sure, there were outliers. Gunsmoke lasted from the invention of the television until the eventual heat death of the universe. But for the most part, there were two milestones. The first was 100 episodes, which was the syndication barrier, ensuring that any show that made it would continue to be a cash cow long after its cancellation. The second was that seventh season, when a beloved institution would take its graceful bow and exit the stage.
“Tomorrow, we will see the sun rise again. But no one here will see it set.”
I do my best not to be overly political in these reviews. It’s tough, because these days nearly anything you say can be interpreted in a political light. Liking the trailer of a movie, for example. Or, if you’re LGBT, existing. Star Trek, from its earliest inception, has told political stories through the lens of science fiction. Incidentally, this is a large part of what science fiction is for. So, avoiding politics in an in-depth review of Star Trek is not only impossible, it’s inimical to the purpose of the show. It’s like trying to review an episode of Cake Boss without mentioning cakes or bosses. Is that what that show’s about? I’ve never seen it.
“Today would be a bad day to die, Son of Mogh.”
Whenever Paramount starts making noise about a new Star Trek series, I have a specific idea in mind. It’s not something I’m ever going to see, and I know this, but that doesn’t stop the nerdy kid in me from getting his chubby, little hopes up. The show I want, more than anything, is Star Trek: Klingon. Imagine your standard Star Trek show, something close to TOS or TNG, except set on a Klingon Bird of Prey (hands down the coolest ship design the franchise ever produced). Imagine a crew of Klingons dealing with reversing tachyon fields, temporal anomalies, first contact, and obnoxious Romulan diplomats. Maybe there’s one Federation liaison on the ship to give the audience a PoV character, but everybody else? Klingons. There’s no word for how amazing that would be.
“Females and finances don’t mix.”
-- Rule of Acquisition #94
What is the purpose of the Ferengi? When you’re creating a work of fiction, entire alien races become tools of the types of stories you’re trying to tell. Aliens will take on monolithic forms of some aspect of human culture the writer wants to talk about, whether to critique, lampoon, or throw a little light on it. In early development, aliens tend to have a single, defining trait, known in writers’ circles as their hat (mostly because we as writers are unfamiliar with what hats do). So, Klingons wear the warrior hat, Vulcans wear the emotionless logical hat, Romulans wear the sneaky treacherous hat, and so on. Like I said, writers really don’t get headgear.
“Patience is for the young.”
-- Tekeny Ghemor
In fiction, “family” has an awfully elastic definition. Tons of shows and movies are about groups of misfits banding together and calling themselves family. This never quite sat well with me. After all, “friend” is a far better compliment than “brother” ever will be. You choose friends. You’re stuck with brothers.
“Look out there. Millions and millions of stars. Millions upon millions of worlds. And right now, half of them are fanatically dedicated to destroying the other half. Now, do you think, if one of those twinkling little lights suddenly went out, anybody would notice? Suppose I offered you ten million bars of gold-pressed latinum to help turn out one of those lights. Would you tell me to keep my money?”
“You can’t go through life trying to avoid getting a broken heart. If you do, it’ll break from loneliness anyway.”
-- Dr. Julian Bashir
“There’s no stigma attached to success.”
-- Dr. Julian Bashir
I’m guessing about 90% of people reading this know what retcon is, but since the remaining 10% don’t and are my mother, I’ll go ahead and explain. Retcon is an adorable abbreviation of Retroactive Continuity, which is a phenomenon found in long-form fiction and most prevalent in comic books. Essentially, something is revealed about a character or situation, and whatever this change is, has been true all along. For example, when Magneto was introduced, he wasn’t a Holocaust survivor, but later writers have made him such and it’s now an indelible element of his character.
“Five years ago, no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine and now all our hopes rest here.”
-- Chancellor Gowron
Occasionally, the writers will not have the same opinion of an episode I do. They were slightly disappointed in this two-parter, which I have said, is my favorite episode(s) of Season 5. Their problem was the pacing which arguably is the “problem” with the two-parter in Season 3 this is something of an unofficial sequel to. The first part is much slower, setting up the dominoes, while the second part moves like a giant rock trying to turn Indiana Jones into a handsome pancake.
“Sentiment is the greatest weakness of all.”
-- Elim Garak
From the writers’ perspective, the story of the fifth season has been getting DS9 back on track. The fourth season was designed to bring in new viewers, and it did that by becoming more like other Trek installments, pushing the Dominion into the background in favor of the more recognizable Klingons. At this point, the brass was well and truly concentrating on Voyager, either pleased with the increased viewership of their odd stationary offspring, or resigned to the modest audience they already had. When I watched DS9 for the first time, week-to-week, I could not have been more happy that we were back to the good stuff. Especially because they decided to kick off the Dominion War in a two-parter, that a) prominently featured my favorite character and b) was a direct sequel to my favorite episode(s) of season 3.