Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Storyteller

The Bajoran villagers squeal in terror.
O'Brien: "The village shall not be destroyed!"

Some of this episode was great. The rest was worse than really awkward oo-mox.

I will, however, give it points for comedy. So, a doctor and an engineer go down to a really well-known modern planet which has all this technology and a wormhole to provide help during a "medical emergency" reported by a magistrate, and inexplicably discover an unknown society with strange mental powers under attack by a creature called a Dal'Rok, a smoke monster which looks suspiciously like many other smoke monsters. Smokey has been attacking the village long enough for them to have a tradition about it; the assistant has studied for nine years, apparently (some emergency!) One of these people leads the villagers, who are helplessly terrified, in repelling the Dal'Rok, but soon he dies after he tells O'Brien he, too, has mental powers. Bad comes. O'Brien first repels, then fails to repel. Actual man from society does it. Mental powers repel inexplicable evil. O'Brien and Bashir, who has been smiling with mystical appreciation of O'Brien's sudden, then disappearing, powers, hightail it out of there to their... perpetual orbit nearby Bajor. AND NOBODY SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?!?!!? Can Kira do this? Can they repel the Borg?

The Bajoran villagers use what can only be described as Care Bear powers to repel the enemy.
While I quite like the pairing of Colm Meaney with Siddig el Fadil, I don't like the treatment of O'Brien's character here. He's so... stock and uninteresting. Meanwhile, back on the ship, a secondary, and slightly more likable plot has a young visiting ruler, Varis, from a Bajoran society seeking meditation through the Federation on DS9 for a conflict with another such group. She winds up bonding instead with Jake and Nog, which allows her to learn more about Sisko and the Federation; although Jake's feelings about his dad are slightly soppy, he's turning out far more human and likable than Wesley ever was. The things he and Nog do to get the attention of Varis escalate until Sisko himself has to intervene–but they do give Varis insight into the essential nature of life, until finally she unbends enough to trust Sisko and try something new.

The boys tell Varis about the sights on DS9.
Bits and pieces

This episode is great for hokey. Amongst the fun:

-The beginning shows Julian being cardboard annoying and O'Brien being cardboard stoic in response. Schtick-ey, but they do almost pull it off.

-The Bajoran villagers. Major Kira needs to visit this part of Bajor, which apparently escaped the Bajoran occupation (maybe the Dal-Rok SAVED them? Huh? HUH?) Something is wrong with these people, whose strange Dal-Rok Repelling Powers clearly make them sort of feeble and easily responsive to even the least convincing forms of entertainment. O'Brien certainly wouldn't inspire ME…

-The smoke monster. This unnamed actor first appeared on The Neverending Story, then had a role in Trek before it joined the cast of Lost.

-The oatmeal scene! It almost made up for the costumes.

Jake realizes he'll never have to wear this lime green jumpsuit again.

O'Brien: "I didn't say it made sense."

Crowd: "The Dal'Rok. The Dal'Rok."
Sirah: "But we are ready. In the shadow of the night, he hungers. With a hatred of the ancients, he rages. From the twisted pit of chaos, he approaches."
Bashir: "Is it alive?"
O'Brien: "The tricorder's still not picking up anything."
Bashir: "Could it be some kind of holographic image?"
O'Brien: "No, I'm not picking up any power source."
Sirah: "The Dal'Rok's anger is like a wave crashing down on the village. The weight of its fury threatens to crush us all. The Dal'Rok thinks the village is powerless to defend itself."
Scary lightning. SMOKE MONSTER a-coming.
Sirah: "But the Dal'Rok is mistaken. The village is strong, much stronger than the Dal'Rok can ever imagine."
Crowd: "We can do it. The village is strong. The village is strong."
At this point, beams of happy light come from confident villagers. SMOKE MONSTER is defeated by Care Bears.


Not even humor can save this episode. One out of Four Stereotypical Angry Smoke Monsters.


Billie Doux said...

Joseph, I loved the Care Bears reference as well as the Smoke Monster history. :)

JRS said...

Smoke Monster, in one of his earlier appearances:

He's even made an appearance on Game of Thrones:

Patrick said...

The planetside storyline in this episode was definitely lame, but I enjoyed both aspects of the station storyline quite a bit. The running plot arc about Bajor trying to rebuild politically & culturally after the occupation was a fascinating part of the show and played a large role in setting it apart from other Trek shows. Yes, they could have done a similar story on TNG with some random civilization that the Enterprise visited. But even small stories like this have more impact when they involve cultures that are central to the show and Our Heroes can't just fly off into the sunset to escape the consequences of their decisions. As the episodes went by, I became more and more invested in the Bajoran people & Sisko's relationship with them, because of stories like this one. I also really liked the stuff with Jake & Nog. It was really refreshing when this show started to see Jake behaving like a normal boy his age, and his friendship with Nog was quite fun.