Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Apocalypse Rising

"Glory to you... and your House."

By nature I love brevity: An exciting, solid premiere with some good character bits and big moments for the overall plot of the series.

The whole quadrant is at stake in this episode. A small mission to expose a Changeling at the heart of the Klingon Empire could change everything. The space winds of change are a-blowing.

And at the center of it all sits Odo, staring at a glass of alcohol and listening to the bubbles. Odo, abandoned by his people, still an outcast in the world he inhabits. His pain runs deep, and it's affecting even his job performance. It is here that 'Apocalypse Rising' finds its emotional core, as Captain Sisko goes into the heart of Klingon territory to get back his Security Officer.

There's a reason that Sisko is my favorite Captain. When an officer under his command has lost their way, Captain Picard makes a speech to them. It's usually a good speech. But Captain Sisko goes on a dangerous mission with them into enemy territory. In many ways, the mission to Ty'Gokor is really about Odo's journey out of the fog of his own self-doubt. Odo has lost more than just his ability to shape-shift. He has lost his identity. It only manifests itself in the loss of his abilities.

Odo has always struggled with his inability to identify with a group. First he was a lab experiment, then he was an alien, completely different from everyone else around him. And then he was a member of a species that went against everything he held dear. Now even they have abandoned him. At the end of this episode, I don't think he has really resolved that. His allegiance lies with the solids, but his heart lies with the Changelings. For now, Odo will serve alongside his friends, but he will always long for the true identity he feels called to accept.

There's some other character stuff baked into 'Apocalypse Rising'. Two other characters serve as interesting parallels to Odo's identity crisis. Worf has also been abandoned by his own people. He is no longer recognized as a member of any of the Klingon houses. But unlike Odo, Worf completely owns his cultural identity. He is a Klingon through and through, even if the other Klingons do not accept him. The other parallel is with Dukat. He, too, is an outcast. He has decided to reject the people that rejected him. He acts as his own agent, never committing to any one side for too long. He even bails halfway through a mission he agreed to. His ship is a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and he survives by disguising his identity to the Klingons using a hologram. Dukat has taken his rejection and run with it. But Odo cannot take either approach, and seeing them clash with each other here only confuses him.

The other bit here is just a reminder that Kira (and Nana Visitor) is still pregnant. I loved the moment where she threw Chief O'Brien under the bus just to confuse Dukat.

The mission itself is quite fun. Sisko has a ton of fun with the Klingon personality, and Gowron is always interesting. That moment where he gives Sisko the medal and opens his eyes wide will forever be etched into my memory. It is the primary reason I remember this episode. The reveal of Martok is skillfully done, but I have to give full disclosure. I first saw this episode at a very young age, so every reveal was jaw-droppingly shocking at that time. And every time I've seen it since then, I have of course known what was really going on. So I don't actually know if the reveal is sneaky or obvious. Regardless, the Changeling Martok is now dead, and Chancellor Gowron is trying to convince the Klingon High Council to negotiate a cease-fire. It's time something was done about the Dominion, and both the Federation and the Klingons are starting to move in that direction.

Strange New Worlds:

The mission was to Ty'Gokor, a highly defended planet deep in Klingon territory. Gowron has relocated the Klingon military HQ from Q'onoS to Ty'Gokor.

New Life and New Civilizations:

No new species of alien here. But Sisko, Odo, and O'Brien were made up like Klingons.

Pensees:

-Kira and Worf nearly came to blows at the beginning of the episode. It's interesting to have a Star Trek crew that isn't always happy with each other.

-The dialogue about the fake teeth apparently came about because the actors were actually having a lot of difficulty speaking through the prosthetics. You can hear it especially in the first scene aboard Dukat's Bird-of-Prey.

-I quite liked the short scene between Jake and Bashir on the Promenade. It worked Jake into the episode in a way that made sense, which a lot of episodes failed to do, and it also injected a little bit of realism and danger into the Ty'Gokor mission.

-Because he was serving on the Enterprise-D at the time, which did intervene in the Mempa conflict on Gowron's behalf, Miles O'Brien technically did serve alongside Martok at Mempa.

-The beef between Gowron and Worf continues. Gowron said 'You should have killed me, Worf. You will never get the chance again.'

Quotes:

Quark: "Captain! You're just in time for happy hour!"
Sisko: "Do I look happy, Quark?"

Odo: "What you need is someone who can turn into Gowron's pet targ. I can't do that anymore."
Sisko: "What I need is my Chief of Security."

O'Brien: "I hate prototypes."

Bashir: "You're positively glowing!"
Kira: "Oh, really?"
Bashir: "I think so, but then I suppose my opinion doesn't really count."
Kira: "Oh, it counts. But don't forget, this is still your fault."
It literally was his fault, considering Nana Visitor was actually pregnant, and Alexander Siddig was the father.

Gowron: "They severely underestimated Odo here!"

Sisko: "I could do without the ridges, but I kind of miss the fangs."
The funny thing is, Avery Brooks initially declined to audition for DS9 because he assumed he'd be under lots of prosthetics.

4 out of 6 barrels of bloodwine.

--
CoramDeo walks slow... cause he thinks slow. Slow but sure. Mafioso.

3 comments:

Patrick said...

Sisko is the best Captain on any of the Trek shows, I will die on that hill :)

Seriously though, I get why people might choose one of the others, but just like Matt Smith is My Doctor, Benjamin Sisko is My Captain. He had me from that interrogation scene with Quark in Odo in the very first episode that ends with Odo saying "You know at first, I didn't think I was going to like him." And watching him pretend to be a Klingon only reinforce my choice.

Victoria Grossack said...

Love your analysis of Odo! Perfect. And yes, Sisko doesn't stop with platitudes and exhortations.

JRS said...

Great review! I love this episode also.