Star Trek Deep Space Nine: ...Nor the Battle to the Strong

"His first day?"
"Yeah."
"Pass the salt."

Jake convinces Bashir to take him into an active war zone, hoping that it'll make for an interesting first article, and gets a lot more emotional trauma than he bargained for.

The goal of this episode was very clear: to rid Jake of his naivety of war, soldiers, and how soldiers act in war. It accomplished this goal. But the way that it accomplished it left me feeling very cold. Something in the construction of the episode just felt off. It was like Jake simply stumbled from one place to the next, conveniently finding just the thing that he needed to continue his journey of self-discovery. Characters, like Bashir, are practically teleported places with only the smallest of hand waves as to how they managed to stumble back to the hospital hurt and dragging a generator.

It felt more like a series of discrete scenes than a completely coherent and continuous episode, and it kept me from getting as properly invested into things as I probably should have been. After all, there should have been some powerful stuff in this episode. The contrast between the ensign who shot himself, and Chief Burke, whom Jake watched die in a surprisingly brutal way, was actually well done. These two men were on opposite ends of the Courage/Cowardice spectrum, but they both suffered greatly for their actions.

I actually spent most of the episode more interested in Kirby and the other orderlies than in anything that was happening with Jake. I really enjoyed the dark humor and casual camaraderie that they had with each other. I wish that the episode could have dug deeper into them and what made them tick, how they coped with what was happening around them. That's honestly where I thought the episode was going before Jake and Bashir made the run for the generator.

There was a very minor B-plot with Sisko that made me wish that this episode had been scheduled last week for Father's Day. Parents never stop worrying about their children, no matter what age they are, and especially when they are in danger somewhere that the parents can't easily get to. A simple, thematically relevant plot point. Unfortunately, these scenes felt off to me too. I'm not sure if it was the dialogue or the acting, but something wasn't quite clicking.

I'll end this review with one of my favorite things about the episode. For as much as the Klingons were mentioned and how they hovered over the entire episode, we essentially never saw them. There was the quick shot of a Klingon body and the two at the end, and that was it. We didn't need to see them any more than that.

Random Thoughts

I don't love Jake's voiceovers, but they were used to decent humorous effect during the opening scene.

There were some interesting things about what Jake was wearing when. He was in medical scrubs and part of the group in the beginning, but then switched back to his normal clothes and outsider status following the trip to the runabout.

The image of Jake seeing the morgue for the first time was powerful. I'll give them that.

Bashir: You're too young to die, Jake.
Jake: I'm 18!

Chief Burke: And now you think bringing me back is going to make everything alright? Sorry, kid. Life doesn't work like that.

Jake: The battle of Ajilon Prime will probably be remembered as a pointless skirmish, but I'll always remember it as something more – as the place I learned that the line between courage and cowardice is a lot thinner than most people believe.

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

1 comment:

CoramDeo said...

This is actually one of my favorites. It does for me what I think 'The Ship' does for a lot of people. Although 'The Siege of AR-558' probably does it better than either of them.