Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Ship

"They chose a life in Starfleet. They knew the risks and they died fighting for something they believed in."

When the command crew of Deep Space Nine head to Torga IV in hunt of the valuable mineral cormaline, they find themselves in time to welcome a ship - full of dead Jem'Hadar, and a mystery.

I sometimes want to have a meeting and examine the decisions of Starfleet.

In the previous episode, our high ranking station command staff were co-opted for a political spy mission. This makes sense; Sisko and Worf have high level knowledge of the Klingons and Federation making them appropriate. The outcome also adds cause: this could impact the galaxy.

In this episode Sisko, Dax, O'Brien and Worf, plus Ensign Muniz,  are sent out to... survey a planet for mining.

Not even to make sure the mining process goes. For the survey. To see if mining was possible. Don't they have drones for that?

I guess it's just lucky for Starfleet a ship crashlanded and they needed people at that level for this experience. But when they need help after finding a mysteriously abandoned ship full of dead people, who do they send?

A very pregnant Major Kira. But even with all the power of pregnancy behind her, the Defiant can only arrive in two and a half days. Which proves critical when Muniz is shot by a second ship of Dominion warriors who destroy the DS9 runabout and leave them without medical care and support. Oddly, the crew won't simply destroy the Deep Space Nine crew or the salvaged Dominion ship. The rest of this episode is a combination of Sisko and the crew Scooby-Ganging their way through this mystery, and learning much about the Jem'Hadar as they do so. The way the mystery grows is well-plotted. Jem'Hadar beam on the ship, but don't attack the crew. They leave devices there, but they already know who's on the ship and Kilana, the Vorta in charge of the attacking Jem'Hadar ship, seems to know all about Sisko and his team.

There's also a good thirty minutes of slowly watching Muniz die, with a good side of M*A*S*H-style army banter. There's apparently an anticoagulant in Dominion weapons which makes it hard to heal from a Dominion attack. O'Brien and the rest of the team do their best to work both problems. When Muniz dies, however, hope seems lost... until they find a Founder on the ship, unable to hold its shape, who quickly dies. And the Founder's death leads to the death of the Jem'Hadar team.

In the end this is an episode about two Captains, Sisko and Kilana, each trying to save their crew, but each guided by different values. Kilana’s goal is to save the Founder; the crew’s life is secondary. Sisko remains focused on the goal - but his goal includes saving as many as he can, not merely gathering chunks of cormaline. That’s the Sisko that can talk down warriors and ignite scientists.

On the Datapadd

It was interesting watching the fight between Worf and O'Brien - and how easily the cultural difference between the humans and Klingons come to the fore. Dax jumped in, throwing out a fast one - and Sisko came right down on her too. This is why Sisko's my favorite Captain - he knows how to manage people. Picard kind of had it easy.

Goldbricking was a term I learned from this episode - means to pretend to be sick or unable to work.

Quique means 'Home Ruler' - a reference perhaps to the time Muniz took over the Engineering time in "Hard Time."

Fatal Prophecies

Muniz: After all, you're the mountain man... an old mountain man,
O'Brien: You know something, Muniz? You're due for a transfer.

Overall

This episode is okay on first viewing, but better for me on second and third viewing. On the first viewing, it seems full of schmaltz; on the second and third, it becomes more about big-picture set up for the rest of the series, and Muniz becomes an early casualty in a long war. Three out of five mysterious ships.

4 comments:

CoramDeo said...

This one doesn't do for me what it does for a lot of people. Although I love many parts of it.

JRS said...

Maybe I'm not alone in questioning the decisions of Starfleet.

I also as a Puerto Rican feel weird about cutesy Spanish language moments with Latino characters. It never comes across right.

Juan said...

One of the good ones of this season, and with the seeds for a great pay off for the next one.

I never understood why the founder died? For exhaustion? Thats horrible.

Excellent review JRS, thank you. Sisko is my favourite Captain as well. He really had it rough during the war. And he was also a religious leader on top of a military leader, with been the Bajoran Jesus and all.

By the way, Quique is a short form or apocopation for Enrique, his name, like Bob or Dick are for Robert o Richard.

magritte said...

Juan, is that also true of Kike, a name I encountered in South Texas? That spelling makes much more sense in Spanish, as well as not looking like an anti-jewish slur which made billboards for a politician named Kike Garza a bit strange to my eyes when I first arrived.