We've learned a lot about him since he first agreed to take command of Deep Space Nine, but in many ways Commander Benjamin Sisko still comes off enigmatic to me, a little too good to be believed. In this he, at least in part, echoes Picard in the history of Starship captains and commanders. From Sisko's being chosen to be the Emissary, to his sometimes unorthodox relationship with the rules of Starfleet, we are presented with a man with impressive range, but we have yet I think to see his heart. Instead we see him as a player of chess. Here and there he moves other players, and those movements earn him the results he wants. I’m impressed with him, but I still feel he’s very far away from us. Episodes like "If Wishes Were Horses" tell us things about the man, but don't quite give us the heart of the man; I sometimes think he's still grieving for his wife. The one completely transparent part of his character is his sincere love for Jake.
Odo and Quark perhaps were our third strongest presences on the station this season. They tie for me. Odo’s story - the lost shapeshifter seeking his own race - has some elements of originality in what was largely a clichéd season. Armin Shimerman’s portrayal of Quark gives the case a truly nuanced not-quite-good guy… and turns the Ferengi, for me, from a joke into something halfway serious. Every time these two intersect, it's comedy gold–only enhanced by their ability to share very genuine moments.
The rest of our characters… O’Brien had some great moments as he grew into the weird Cardassian computer system and became part of the Deep Space Nine command crew. So did his wife, Keiko, and her figuring large in the season ending helped re-emphasize the importance this show places on the smaller actors on the DS9 stage. Dax, to me, was largely forgettable this season - she had one or two moments, but the rest of her lines were spent delivering technobabble. Ditto for Bashir; people tell me he improves after Season One, and all I can say is: I hope so!
But then–if we’d spent more time on those characters, how much would we have had for Nerys and Odo and Sisko? A large opera like this, with many characters, can take more than a season to unfold their meaning and relationships to and with each other.
BEST EPISODES OF SEASON ONE:
"In The Hands of the Prophets." Our introduction to Vedek Winn sets the stage for what I hope are some in-depth political developments in Season 2. Plus: Keiko O’Brien as a fighting teacher.
"Progress." When Kira Nerys removed her uniform and helps refugees on a moon of Bajor rebuild their lives, Deep Space Nine won my heart.
"Duet." Kira Nerys shone again in an episode-long tortured argument with a Cardassian that’ll have you gripping your seats.
HAT TIP TO:
"The Nagus." This episode brought the Ferengi to life - and strengthened Jake and Nog’s friendship.
The senseless "Move Along Home." This episode also featured some of the worst costuming ever.
OVERALL SEASON ONE RATING:
I'll probably revise this after seeing all seasons, but for now, I give it a cautious 2.5/4. Lots of promise, and not a little anticipation.
I WANNA SEE MORE OF YOU IN SEASON TWO:
Odo, Odo, and more Odo. I’m an Odophile. His relationship with Quark, his friendship with Kira, above and beyond his intimate identification with the station itself. And, of course, the mysterious shapeshifter background.
Dax. There’s got to be a ton more to Jadzia than we’ve seen so far. It’s not just her dualistic or pluralistic nature as a Trill, it’s also the ambitious, knowledgable woman we know her to be, especially after “Dax.” The promise of that episode, however, was never followed up on.
What were your favorite moments from Season One?