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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Empok Nor

"That's not the face of a tailor."
"I'm not a tailor. Not for the moment, anyway."

Star Trek does its version of a horror movie.

I absolutely love horror movies. They're my favorite genre. They're what I watch when I want to relax and unwind. Yeah, that's weird. I know. Needless to say, I was very excited when we wound up trapped in a dark, abandoned space station filmed with Dutch angles.

The first half of this episode was very effective. Even though they obviously used all of the same sets, it definitely looked and felt like a completely different, hostile location. I really need to applaud both the set design and the lighting for that. Every dark shadow looked like it could hold something sinister. And it often did.

In horror movies, it can be very, very difficult to build and maintain tension. But this episode, again for the first half of it at least, made me sit up and creep towards the edge of my seat. You knew that the four non-main cast members were marked for death the moment they stepped on the station. The question and tension came from how they would die. When. I found the scene with the turbolift to be particularly effective.

Unfortunately, Garak's descent into madness and murder wasn't as effective. It wasn't terrible in the beginning. I liked the subtle neck scratches and his desire to hunt down their enemies. But he lost me once he went full on monologuing. All tension simply evaporated. And yes, part of that is due to the fact that we know that Nog, O'Brien, and Garak are all going to survive this adventure with no meaningful consequences. (I mean, do we really think that the inquest is going to do anything?) But part of it was a drop in the quality if dialogue and events.

There was no reason for Nog to survive beyond Plot Armor. Again, not unexpected, but it did feel like a break in the logic. They also simultaneously over-explained and under-explained the Cardassian military experiment. They played the role of our silent monster. We didn't necessarily need to know why they were here or that the experiment went wrong. Explaining it felt awkward and unnecessary. They needed it to then be expanded, not tossed aside in favor of Garak turning evil.

I like the basic idea of Garak and O'Brien verbally sparring over O'Brien's past and their shared experiences of now living a life that is different than their past. That's something that can be incredibly interesting to delve into. I don't like how it was handled here. It felt very heavy-handed and like Garak's dialogue was a sledgehammer hitting us over the head rather than his usual delicate incisions.

Still, this was a lovely, creepy little episode that was enjoyable enough with a small, tight cast and wonderful lighting design.

Random Thoughts

For once, I don't think any of the cannon fodder wore red.

It was the blue goo that infected Garak, right?

Nog was pretty enjoyable in this episode. Even if he did keep calling O'Brien "sir" instead of "Chief."

~~~~
An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner. She also apologizes for the lateness of this review!

1 comment:

Victoria Grossack said...

It's one of the scariest episodes, so much so that I sometimes skip it on a re-watch. One thing I like about it is how they took our familiar DS9 set and made it creepier.