“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 22-25)

Episode 22: The Wire

Garak (Andrew Robinson) and Bashir (Alexander Siddig) are waiting in line at the mess hall, when suddenly, Garak gets an intense headache. An exam reveals an implant in his brain, which was put there years ago to prevent him from giving away secrets while being interrogated. Garak’s time may be running out; Bashir looks for a way to save his friend’s life.

Garak: Has it ever occurred to you that I might be getting exactly what I deserve?

Bashir: No one deserves this.

Garak: Oh, please, Doctor. I’m suffering enough without having to listen to your smug Federation sympathy. And you think that because we have lunch together once a week you know me? You couldn’t even begin to fathom what I’m capable of.

Bashir: I am a doctor. You’re my patient. That’s all I need to know.

The teleplay was written/edited by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who came over from TNG. It’s the first DS9 ep to be directed by a woman (Kim Friedman); producers brought her back for several crucial eps. This is the first time that Cardassia Prime is mentioned and also the first mention of the secretive group- the Obsidian Order. Garak admits that he was involved with the Order then explains how he came to be exiled. Each story is different.

Garak can be likeable and sympathetic, yet also pathetic and even aggressive (when suffering from withdrawal). When Bashir goes to see the former head of the Order, Enabran Tain (veteran actor Paul Dooley), he hears yet another story. Tain was grooming Garak to be his successor, but Garak was banished from Cardassian society for not murdering Bajoran children! Bashir gets the info that will save Garak, but only b/c Tain wants him to live long… and suffer.

Bashir: What I want to know is, out of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren’t?

Garak: My dear Doctor, they’re all true.

Bashir: Even the lies?

Elim Garak: Especially the lies.

Episode 23: Crossover

Kira (Nana Visitor) and Bashir are returning from the opening of a hospital on New Bajor (the first Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant). Just as they to enter the wormhole, a sudden problem arises. Kira is able to solve it, but when they arrive in the Alpha Quadrant, things have changed. DS9 is now orbiting Bajor and the runabout is entered by Klingons, who apologize when they see Kira. This is an alternate universe! In the opening teaser, the wormhole opens upside down. Klingons, Cardassians and Bajorans have formed an alliance against Earth; humans (“Terrans”) are forced to process ore. The station is led by Intendant Kira; she speaks of Kirk who traveled from the other side years ago. While Bashir is sent to labor away, Intendant Kira wants to know her other self.

Intendant Kira: You don’t trust me.

Major Kira: I’m… a little afraid of you.

Intendant Kira: Then you fear yourself. I don’t want your fear; I want your love. If you can’t love me, who can?

The teleplay was written by veterans of TNG (Wolfe; Peter Allan Fields), as well as Piller (EP). Wolfe wrote the fall of the Terran Empire as an analogy for the fall of the Roman Empire to barbarians and the Chinese Dynasty to the Mongols. He wanted to illustrate that if an Empire is as brutal as the Terran Empire was in TOS (Mirror, Mirror), there were probably reasons why it was so brutal. Wolfe wanted to convey that one cannot change things overnight, and even the actions of Capt. Kirk can have serious consequences. This episode is listed as being one of the “Ten Essential Episodes” of DS9 in Star Trek 101 by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block.

Sisko: What do you care about Terrans’ freedom?

Kira: I care about freedom! What I don’t understand is why you *don’t* care. Why the only one on this station I have met who seemed to give a damn was a Ferengi toad named Quark!

Sisko: You’re looking in the wrong place for a hero, ma’am. I’ve made the best of a bad life for my crew. That’s my contribution.

Kira: Yes – you charmed your way out of the mines. But you and I both know, you’re no less a victim than anyone else here.

Much has been said by critics/fans of the tight/leather outfit Intendent Kira wears. One podcast host called it “a G-rated version of what a dominatrix would wear” – LOL! Blackman (costume designer on various ST shows) credited the outfit for giving Visitor a more alluring image. For the milk bath scene, the crew made sure that the bath was nice and hot for Visitor; they put a few drops of orange oil on it, so the water had a nice smell and would soften her skin. During rehearsals, she felt the cones hiding her nudity started to pop off! When she asked her makeup artist what takes the glue off, it turned out to be the orange oil.

Smiley O’Brien: [referring to Bashir] This man… this man… is a doctor where he comes from. And there’s an O’Brien there just like me. Except he’s some kind of… high up Chief of Operations. And they’re Terrans. Can you believe that? Maybe it’s a fairy tale he made up, but… it started me thinking, how… how each of us might’ve turned out, if history had been just a little different.

Mirror Odo’s uniform has a belt, which Rene Auberjonois liked so much that he began using it in for his regular Odo uniform in S3. Odo doesn’t like weapons, but Mirror Odo carries a Bajoran phaser pistol. O’Brien isn’t a family man in this world; also Jake doesn’t appear. In the mirror universe, Quark tells Garak he is “a simple bartender” when accused of illegal acts; this is a joke based on Garak’s common saying that he’s only “a simple tailor.” Quark is not as flamboyant or confident in the mirror universe.

Viewers have pointed out that Kira plays an evil commander of Terok Nor, which is the same role that Gul Dukat had. Also, the mirror Kira’s personality is the same as Dukat, as she blames those under her for being too harsh. She tries to seduce others to get what she wants and plays political games to get an advantage, just as Dukat did in the series.

[1] This was a fun episode… Nana Visitor did a good job as the two very different versions of Kira however I think Avery Brooks is much better as the serious Commander Sisko than here where he seemed rather hammy laughing…

[2] Too often the Trek shows are extremely nice and astoundingly perfect–often TOO perfect. With episodes like this one and the Maquis, you finally see a different sort of future–a dark, twisted and darkly funny one. Well worth seeing, though the original episode is a touch better.

[3] …the Klingons have not changed in the Mirror universe at all. In relation to character they remain essentially the same as Klingons have throughout the franchise.

Although Garak acts ruthless in contrast to his normal character on DS9, the Cardassians have not changed in the Mirror universe as one can detect… their use of torture during prisoner interrogations has been well documented in multiple episodes.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Episode 24: The Collaborator

The election day for Kai (main spiritual leader of Bajor) is approaching and both Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim) and Vedek Winn (Louise Fletcher) are on DS9. Bareil is esp. interested in Kira’s vote, but Winn has a different agenda. She’s awaiting the arrival of secretary Kubus Oak, who was liaison between the Cardassians and the Bajoran government during the occupation. Kubus fled to Cardassia afterwards. Kira and Odo want to make sure he gets a proper trial; Winn wants to leave the station w/ him. There was a Prylar Bek (another Bajoran collaborator) who hanged himself after allegedly giving up the location of a rebel base. Winn claims that Kubus gave her the name of the person really responsible for the massacre: Bareil!

This was the final ep of DS9 to air during the run of TNG. This ep was written by Behr, Wolfe, and (regular staff writer) Gary Holland. It turned out that Holland was surprised by how Odo reacted to finding out that Kira was in love w/ Bareil (as he hadn’t written the scene that way)! It’s a subtle reaction which some viewers may’ve missed. The (obvious) tension between Winn and the crew of DS9 harkens back to Winn’s attempt to stop Keiko teaching secular science. Winn coerced a young engineer to try to kill Bareil. However, there was no evidence to prove her involvement. According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, there are Watergate parallels here: Quark helps Kira bypass the security lockouts and the Prylar Bek character (based on John Dean).

Episode 25: Tribunal

O’Brien (Colm Meaney) is preparing for a vacation w/ Keiko (Rosalind Chao), but has a hard time leaving work to others. As he is leaving DS9, runs into an old friend, Raymond Boone, who he served w/ on the Rutledge. Boone left Starfleet 8 yrs ago and moved to a colony on the Cardassian side of the Demilitarized Zone. O’Brien leaves with his wife in a runabout; a ship suddenly approaches and he is arrested by the Cardassians! They refuse to tell him what crime he is accused of and transport him to undergo a trial. After he is processed, a Juror (judge)- Archon Makbar- makes it clear his guilt is already established and the trial is a formality. Odo (an officer of the court) gets himself on O’Brien’s defense team as Nestor (representative). The crew on the station do their best to come up w/ info to free O’Brien.

Kovat: Once again, justice will be done. Our lives will be reaffirmed, safe and secure. Here on Cardassia, all crimes are solved, all criminals are punished, all endings are happy. Even the poorest of our subjects can walk the streets in the dead of night in perfect safety. You’re only one man; but your conviction will be a salutary experience for millions.

This ep was written by Bill Dial, who also wrote S2 E12: The Alternate; it was directed by Brooks (the first cast member to direct). Production designer Herman F. Zimmerman took inspiration in the set design from George Orwell’s 1948 book Nineteen Eighty-Four. Zimmerman explains: “Spartan, uncompromising and merciless are all adjectives that you could use to describe Cardassia.” Robert Stromberg of Illusion Arts, Inc. created the matte painting of the city on Cardassia Prime; he went on to win Oscars for art direction on Avatar (2009) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). If you watch Law & Order (or other courtroom shows) and don’t mind dark humor, then you’ll like this story.

O’Brien: I’ve been in service to the Federation – Starfleet – all my adult life. No one has ever questioned my loyalty. No one in my entire life has ever had cause to ask “Miles O’Brien, are you a criminal?” I took an oath to defend the Federation, and what it stands for…

[1] Good keeps getting better; evil stays the same. Any era, any generation can appreciate the truth in this episode. Fantastic exploration of authoritarianism, justice, and the human journey. Season 2 really ratcheted up the writing and direction of the actors.

[2] This episode has a couple nice guest stars. The best is Fritz Weaver as a defender. With defense attorneys like him, you cannot help but laugh… He is hilariously inept, cowardly and worthless- and funny, In fact, I think he’s the best thing about this show! Additionally, John Beck (Moonpie from the original “Rollerball”) is on hand as a secret agent working for the cause of injustice. Well worth seeing, as well as dark and foreboding.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

“3:10 to Yuma” (1957) starring Glenn Ford & Van Heflin

Alice: It seems terrible that something bad can happen and all anybody can do is stand by and watch.

Dan Evans: Lots of things happen where all you can do is stand by and watch.

After a stagecoach robbery/shootout, notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) is captured in a small town by a sheriff and few locals. One of them is a struggling rancher/family man, Dan Evans (Van Heflin), who volunteers to escort Wade to the nearest town w/ a railway station. Dan desperately needs the $200 which the stagecoach company’s owner offered as a reward. Once the two men are holed up in the hotel to await the 3:10 to Yuma, a battle of wills ensues. All the while, Ben’s gang is gathering to break him out.

Emmy: Funny, some men you see every day for ten years and you never notice; some men you see once and they’re with you for the rest of your life.

Even if you’re not a big fan of Westerns, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in this must-see film! The screenplay (which includes sly moments of humor) was adapted from a story by Elmore Leonard. There are gorgeous shots of the desert, intimate close-ups, music, exciting action sequences w/ horses and guns. Although most Westerns by this time were being produced in color, director (Delmer Daves) and cinematographer (Charles Lawton Jr.) chose to shoot in black and white.

I thought all the actors (including the supporting ones and two boys) hit the right notes. Ford was originally offered the role of Dan Evans; he refused and suggested himself for the role of Ben Wade. This is one of Ford’s (rare) bad guy roles; he’s still charming and likable. Heflin (who worked on many Westerns) and Ford play off each other very well. Ford has sparkling chemistry w/ Felicia Farr (the beautiful/lonely barmaid, Emmy). There are touching scenes between Heflin and Leora Dana (his devoted/refined wife, Alice).

Ben Wade: I mean, I don’t go around just shootin’ people down… I work quiet, like you.

Dan Evans: All right, so you’re quiet like me. Well then, shut up like me.

The scenes of Contention City were shot in Old Tucson, which is not far from where I grew up. Some critics/viewers consider this a film of a man reclaiming his masculinity. I also see it as a community struggling to do the right thing, though under enormous threat. This film, along w/ High Noon (1952), was a deciding factor in Howard Hawks deciding to make Rio Bravo (1959), a return to more optimistic Westerns. This is one of Patton Oswalt’s favorite movies; he introduced it on TCM several years ago.

 

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” (1956) starring Dana Andrews & Joan Fontaine

Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) is a reporter on leave from his newspaper to write his second book. Since he has writer’s block, his publisher/friend, Austin Spencer (Sidney Blackmer), suggests an idea for a non-fiction book on capital punishment. Austin thinks the local DA, Roy Thompson (Philip Bourneuf), is using the death penalty in the hopes of getting into the governor’s mansion. Tom and Austin decide to frame Tom for a murder he didn’t commit, in the hopes of showing how easily a man could be found guilty (w/ only circumstantial evidence). They decide to keep Tom’s fiancee/Austin’s daughter, Susan (Joan Fontaine), out of the loop.

Austin: You get engaged to my daughter, and all you can think about is capital punishment?

This was the last American film made by Fritz Lang (an iconic noir director) before returning to his native Germany; he fled in 1934 b/c of the rise of the Nazis (being Jewish). Lang chafed against the Hollywood studio system when producers wanted to impose their ideas on his vision. This film (shot in only 20 days- wow) is a legal drama and noir rolled into one. Instead of a cop, we follow a journalist (which was common for the noir genre). Though it’s not in Lang’s usual style, I thought it was riveting from the start. Some viewers said the movie looked more like a TV show; TV was on the verge of becoming big in the mid-1950s. The dialogue is smart, pacing well-done, and the acting is good (down to the small roles).

Dolly: This guy’s got a lot of class.

Terry: Yeah? If he’s got so much class, what’s he doin’ with you?

Andrews and Fontaine make an elegant couple; they’re also fine actors who understand subtlety. Fontaine gets some classy outfits to wear, too. I think she looked more interesting in her 30s and somewhat baby-faced in her 20s. I wish she had more to do. One of the burlesque dancers, Dolly Moore (Barbara Nichols), brings some humor to the story. Moore looks/acts like a taller a and more streetwise version of Marilyn Monroe; she was in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) opposite Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster.


[1] The main strengths of this movie… its lively pace, its wonderfully bizarre plot and the unexpected twists which make it so intriguing and enjoyable to watch.

[2] Andrews and Fontaine are not a bad pair—both are matched in calm and sophistication, and beauty, even, though Fontaine seems like an accessory until the very end. Andrews rules the plot, which makes him out to be a writer desperate for a new story.

[3] This is perhaps Lang’s best assault on the American justice system; he has created a story that is interesting and very plausible and it works a treat in that it gets you thinking about the fact that with this kind of law; someone really could be killed for something they didn’t do.

It is efficient story telling at it’s best and this is one of the highlights of the film noir era.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Spoiler-Free Reviews of Trending Movies (OCT 2020): “Borat 2,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” & “Rebecca”

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon Prime)

Yes, Rudy is in this mock documentary (and doesn’t come off as so innocent)! Of course, y’all can see and judge if you’re curious. This is NOT the type of humor for sensitive viewers, as some of it is quite gross, vulgar, and cringe-y. This time, Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is joined by his wide-eyed teen daughter, Tutar (24 y.o. Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova), who may be interested in becoming a journo also. Bakalova may be the breakout star here, as she can go toe-to-toe w/ the British comedian/filmmaker! Look out for a touching scene involving Borat and two elderly Jewish women. There is also a Black woman (babysitter) who gives Tutar some good advice. If you’re already a left-of-center (liberal) individual, you may be LOL-ing at the politically-charged stuff. I almost couldn’t believe that Cohen snuck into CPAC (which took place in FEB 2020 in DC)!

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

In Chicago 1968, the Democratic convention was met w/ protests from activists like the moderate Students for a Democratic Society led by Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and the militant Yippies led by Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong from Succession), which led to violent confrontations w/ police. Seven of the accused ringleaders are arraigned on charges like conspiracy by the hostile Nixon administration, incl. Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II- a rising star in Hollywood) of the Black Panthers (who wasn’t involved in the incident). What follows is an unfair trial presided by Judge Hoffman (veteran actor Frank Langella) and prosecuted by a reluctant, but duty-bound Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Two of the defense lawyers are William Kunstler (Mark Rylance- a British theater star) from the ACLU and Leonard Weinglass (character actor Ben Shenkman), an expert on constitutional law.

I saw this last week; I’m a big fan of Aaron Sorkin’s writing (though haven’t seen all of his shows). Sorkin was approached by Spielberg several years ago re: writing this film- WOW! If you’re into US history, costumes, legal drama, and politics- you’ll enjoy the movie. Otherwise, it could come off as a bit boring; the directing style Sorkin uses is simple/straightforward. I liked the humor (which was mainly provided by Baron Cohen and Strong) and I learned some new things, too. I enjoyed seeing the subtle acting from Gordon-Levitt (now almost 40- whoa), Rylance, and Shenkman (who you may know from Angels in America).

Rebecca (Netflix)

Here was the (short) review I shared via Twitter last FRI night: Not sexy, not suspenseful, not one bit scary- just cliched, colorful, & clueless! Fans on my Alfred Hitchcock Facebook group were (mostly) reluctant to watch this version, though it’s not a remake. This is an adaptation of the novel (which I didn’t read); I suspect it’s not totally faithful. Though it delves into class issues, there is very little age gap between the leads. Viewers looking for the LGBTQ element to be explored further (w/ Mrs. Danvers) will be disappointed. The director (Ben Wheatley) doesn’t do much w/ light and shadow- a missed opportunity!

I don’t love or hate Lily James, but I don’t think this role suited her. The same goes for Armie Hammer (tall/conventionally handsome); he acts wooden, lacks mystery, and has no romantic chemistry w/ James. His accent is way off- it’s more Mid-Atlantic than British. I haven’t seen much of his acting, but I thought he’d be a LOT better than this! I did enjoy seeing Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale) and the (still gorgeous) Kristin Scott Thomas. What we have is a movie where the costumes and scenery overtake the people in the story. The supporting actors did well w/ what they were given, esp. the prosecutor (in the third act). The ending scene looks like it belongs in a different movie- MANY viewers were confused!

Hitchcock on the Law: “The Paradine Case” (1947) starring Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn, Louis Jourdan, & Alida Valli

Sir Simon Flaquer: [about Mrs. Paradine] You’ll find her a strange woman with an almost mystical charm.

London police charge a young woman, Maddalena Paradine (Italian actress Alida Valli), w/ the murder of her older/blind/British husband, retired Col. Richard Paradine. She’s a woman w/ a past, but became wealthy/glamorous b/c of her marriage. Her solicitor, Sir Simon Flaquer (Charles Coburn), refers the case to his friend/colleague, Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck). While spending time building her defense, Tony becomes infatuated w/ Mrs. Paradine, threatening his long/happy marriage to Gay (Ann Todd). Tony goes to the country estate where the Paradines previously lived; he sees the grand house and meets the valet, Andre Latour (French actor Louis Jourdan).

Mrs. Paradine: It won’t shock you, I assume, to learn that I am a woman, what would you say, a woman who has seen a great deal of life.

I’m sure there some readers who don’t want to take sleeping pills, so maybe this movie will do the trick (LOL)! How can such a great cast (incl. theater veterans) be wasted? While Sir Alfred Hitchcock (personally) liked the actors, he felt that Peck (w/ white streaked hair to age him up), Valli (one-note and lacking charm), and Jourdan (handsome/intense) were unsuited for their roles. Producer David O. Selznick insisted that the director use them. Judge Horfield’s (Charles Laughton) nervous/bullied wife, Sophie (Ethel Barrymore), had several scenes cut; this will be obvious to astute viewers.

Gay Keane [joking w/ Tony]: I wouldn’t like a woman to be hanged, any woman, just because my husband had a rendezvous with her. In jail.

This movie (part melodrama/part courtroom drama) was nearly as expensive as Gone with the Wind (1939)! Selznick constantly interfered w/ Hitch’s production, incl. having him do many re-shoots. Selznick supervised editing (the movie feels long) and the (over-the-top) musical score from Franz Waxman. This was Hitch’s last movie in his contract w/ Selznick; it’s not very suspenseful (though the trial was somewhat interesting). I liked some of the dialogue; the domestic scenes between Peck (only 30) and Todd (10 yrs. older than her leading man) were done very well.

Judy Flaquer: Men are such horrible beasts. I wish I were married to Anthony Keane for just one hour. I’d make him jump through hoops.

Sir Simon: I wish you were married to someone. Perhaps he could put up with your clap-clap better than I can!

Though The Paradine Case was a box-office failure, critics praised two performances. Time Magazine (January 12, 1948) wrote: “The only characters who come sharply to life are the barrister’s wife (Ann Todd) and her confidante (Joan Tetzel).” Also, Variety wrote: “Ann Todd delights as his wife, giving the assignment a grace and understanding that tug at the emotions.” Judy (Tetzel) could be thought of as the precursor to Barbara Morton (played by Hitch’s daughter- Patricia) in Strangers on a Train (1951); they’re both single, intelligent, and fascinated w/ crime (which could be considered “unfeminine”).

[1] Many viewers feel let down by the film because it lacks the energy and excitement found in most of Hitchcock’s films, and because the courtroom setting creates expectations that are not quite filled.

Many Hitchcock fans will not particularly enjoy this one…

[2] I like Peck normally, but in this film, he’s too young and never convincingly English, despite his accent. Even without the accent, he doesn’t suggest someone who is passionately and irrationally swept away, as the role calls for.

[3] THE PARADINE CASE is generally conceded as among Hitchcock’s lesser films. It’s most interesting parts of the performances of the leads (except for Alida Valli, who is quite dull), and the famous sequence of the portrait of Valli whose eyes seem to follow the camera (standing in for Gregory Peck/Anthony Keane) as it passes from one room to the next.

[4] It is not typical Hitchcock, and fails to fascinate the audience. The high point is the verbal clashes between Laughton and Peck (sometimes assisted by Leo G. Carroll as the prosecutor), Jourdan’s collapse in the witness box when Keane attacks him for secretly betraying his master with the defendant, and Valli’s final condemnation of Keane in court.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews