“Star Trek: Voyager” (Season 1)

Introduction

The best thing was simply the privilege and the challenge of being able to take a shot at the first female captain, transcending stereotypes that I was very familiar with. I was able to do that in front of millions of viewers. That was a remarkable experience—and it continues to resonate.

-Kate Mulgrew

Star Trek: Voyager (VOY) is a sci-fi TV series created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor (who all worked on TNG). It originally aired from JAN 1995 to MAY 2001 on the newly est. United Paramount Network (UPN), lasting for 172 episodes over 7 seasons. Paramount Pictures commissioned the series following the end of TNG to accompany the ongoing DS9. Berman served as head executive producer (EP) in charge of the overall production, assisted by a series of EPs: Piller, Taylor, Brannon Braga (who started as an intern on TNG), and Kenneth Biller. Some of Braga’s teleplays, as well as his decisions as showrunner (in this series), were considered controversial. More on that later (if I continue to review the show)…

VOY is set in the 24th century, and follows the adventures of the USS Voyager (an Intrepid class starship) as it tries to return home (Earth) after being stranded in the Delta Quadrant (the other side of the galaxy). It was the first of the franchise w/ a female captain as lead character, Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). Racial diversity was built-in from the start, as the studio wanted; the ensemble cast was made-up of Latinos (Robert Beltran; Roxann Dawson), a Black actor as a Vulcan (Tim Russ- the runner-up for LaForge on TNG), and a Chinese-American newcomer to acting (Garrett Wang). I learned that Dawson grew up w/ Shatner’s daughters; she was formerly married to actor Casey Biggs (best known as Damar on DS9). The conflicted relationship between Starfleet and former Federation colonists living along the Demilitarized Zone (the Maquis) is explored. Viewers see new alien species as recurring characters, but some familiar adversaries also show up. Being so far from the Federation (75 yrs), Voyager is truly going where no one has gone before!

I will take full responsibility for any flawed or downright bad storytelling or creative decisions that hurt the franchise.Brannon Braga (2010)

The show was shot on the stages TNG had used. Costume designer Robert Blackman decided that the uniforms of crew would be the same as those on DS9. Jerry Goldsmith composed and conducted a new main theme (which is OK, but not as cool as the one for DS9). This was the first ST series to use CGI, rather than models, for exterior space shots.

Season One Premiere (Caretaker, Parts I & II)

In the pilot ep, USS Voyager departs the DS9 space station on a mission into the Badlands. They’re searching for a missing ship piloted by a team of Maquis; Voyager‘s security officer, Lt. Tuvok (Russ), is on board gathering intelligence. While in the Badlands, Voyager is enveloped by a powerful energy wave that kills several crew members, damages the ship, and strands it in the Delta Quadrant. The wave was not a natural phenomenon; it was used by an alien entity (the Caretaker). This entity is responsible for the continued care of the Ocampa (a race of aliens native to the Delta Quadrant) and has been abducting other species from in an effort to find a successor.

The Maquis ship was also pulled into the Delta Quadrant; eventually, the two crews join forces after the Caretaker’s space array is destroyed in a battle w/ a local alien species (the Kazon). Chakotay (Beltran), the leader of this Maquis group who left Starfeet to protect his home colony, becomes first officer. B’Elanna Torres (Biggs-Dawson), a half-human/half-Klingon who dropped out of Starfleet Academy, is assigned engineering. Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeil), a pilot released from a Federation prison, is the helm officer. Harry Kim (Wang) is the young ensign on his first mission. The Doctor (Robert Picardo), an emergency medical hologram (EMH) meant for short-term use, is employed as the ship’s F/T chief medical officer. Also, two Delta Quadrant aliens are on board- Neelix (Ethan Phillips), a Talaxian scavenger- and Kes (Jennifer Lien), a young Ocampa.

Capt. Janeway: We’re alone – in an uncharted part of the galaxy. We’ve already made some friends here… and some enemies. We have no idea of the dangers we’re going to face. But one thing is clear: both crews are going to have to work together if we’re to survive. That’s why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew – a Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant, we’ll continue to follow our directive: to seek out new worlds and explore space. But our primary goal is clear. Even at maximum speeds, it would take 75 years to reach the Federation. But I’m not willing to settle for that. There’s another entity like the Caretaker out there somewhere who has the ability to get us there a lot faster. We’ll be looking for her. And we’ll be looking for wormholes, spatial rifts, or new technologies to help us. Somewhere, along this journey, we’ll find a way back.

Season One: Selected Episodes

Episode 2: Parallax

Repairs are underway and it’s time to pick personnel for senior crew positions. Tensions are high as the (disciplined) Starfleet crew absorbs the (go your own way) Maquis members. Neelix finds his place as chef and Kes builds the airponics bay. Paris is the Conn Officer and also trains as a field medic w/ the EMH. Chakotay recommends Torres for Chief Engineer, but Janeway isn’t convinced (b/c of the woman’s hot temper). All must put opinions aside when they mount a rescue of a ship caught in a quantum singularity, only to find the ship in distress is Voyager itself.

Cmdr. Chakotay: You’re right, Captain, I do consider these my people, because nobody else on this ship will look out for them like I will. And I’m telling you: you’re gonna have to give them more authority if you want their loyalty.

Capt. Janeway: Theirs? Or yours, Commander?

The ep starts (cold open) w/ a man in the yellow Starfleet uniform exclaiming in Sick Bay that “she broke my nose!” No, it’s not the captain, it’s Torres- she has a hard time controlling her temper. It turns out that she’s a gifted engineer also; in one meeting scene, Torres and Janeway get very excited re: science. Now, this isn’t the kind of scene you see everyday on TV! Later on, Janeway and Torres go out on a shuttlecraft to gather more info; we learn that some of the teachers at the Academy saw potential in Torres (though she didn’t realize it).

Episode 5: Phage

With dilithium reserves running low, Janeway follows Neelix’s advice and proceeds to the nearest supply. When they arrive in orbit, scans reveal a massive supply. When the away team transports down to the planet, there is none there. Cmdr. Chakotay orders the away team back to Voyager but before they return, Neelix is attacked by an alien (Vidiian) who removes his lungs! The Vidiians are potentially quite scary villains w/ advanced tech. The EMH then comes up with a solution – holographic lungs, but this means that Neelix has to stay in a restraint. Capt. Janeway along with Cmdr. Tuvok and a security attachment return to the planet to find the alien. They make a gruesome discovery- a lab full of alien organs!

Capt. Janeway: Take a message to your people: if I ever encounter your kind again, I will do whatever is necessary to protect my people from this… harvesting of yours. Any aggressive actions against this ship or its crew will be met by the deadliest force. Is that clear?

Episode 6: Eye of the Needle

[Telek R’Mor has admitted to not having seen his family for over a year]

Capt. Janeway: You must miss your family very much.

Telek R’Mor: I knew, when I accepted this assignment, that there would be a price to pay. Perhaps I didn’t realize how high that price would be.

The crew detects a wormhole and immediately changes course w/ hopes it will provide a faster passage home. Upon reaching the opening, the find it to be too small for the ship, but large enough to establish contact w/ a ship in the Alpha Quadrant. This is the first appearance of veteran ST guest actor Vaughn Armstrong in this series. He is playing the Romulan captain/scientist; he played Klingons and Cardassians in TNG and DS9.

This is the best ep of the (lackluster) S1 of the series. Like most new shows, the first few eps are a bit unclear, w/ characters still coming into their own and the writing lacking depth. Some critics/fans commented that these problems are esp. true of genre shows; the first seasons of TNG and DS9 weren’t impressive. Janeway’s talk at night (in a pink nightgown) w/ the Romulan is esp. well done; she gets the chance to talk to a peer and has some hope for the future.

The captain of the Romulan science vessel is named Telek (played by Vaughn Armstrong) in one of the most sympathetic portrayals of a Romulan in recent memory. Telek isn’t your typical villain personality, he’s a real person. Initially, he’s not forthcoming with assistance. He’s suspicious, and severely doubts Janeway’s claims that Voyager is transmitting from the Delta Quadrant. He wonders what a Federation ship could possibly gain from pretending to be in the Delta Quadrant.

-Excerpt from Jammer’s Reviews

Janeway is the most sympathetic and sincere captain that we have been presented with throughout all the series, and I feel that in her talk to the Romulan about the crew wanting to make contact with their families.

The best Star Trek makes you feel some emotion and this one succeeds in that regard.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 10: Prime Factors

Voyager makes friends with the Sikarians, a hospitable/pleasure-seeking alien race who value stories. When Janeway realizes they have the ability to “fold” space (instantly transporting people 40,000 light years), she is desperate for the technology. The Sikarians’ leaders, Gath, explains that their law forbids sharing their tech. Several Maquis on refuse to give up on this chance to get over halfway home and try to make a trade. There are a few scenes where Gath (who comes off as too forward and a a bit creepy) is trying to get close to Janeway; some fans commented that the casting was off.

Capt. Janeway: It’s the first time we’ve been on the other side of the fence.

Lt. Tom Paris: What fence?

Capt. Janeway: The one that’s made of binding principles. We have our own set of rules, which includes the Prime Directive. How many times have we been in the position of refusing to interfere when some kind of disaster threatened an alien culture? It’s all very well to say we do it on the basis of an enlightened principle. But how does that feel to the aliens? I’m sure many of them think the Prime Directive is a lousy idea.

This ep’s writing was nominated for a Sci-Fi Universe Award. David R. George III and Eric A. Stillwell (freelancers) wrote an original story where the crew encountered the race that had dispatched Gary Seven in TOS: Assignment: Earth; they’d boasted transporter technology that could transport people over thousands of light-years. The events of this ep represent the second time (besides the premiere) that Voyager’s crew encounters the possibility of returning home.

[1] A very philosophical episode and one wonders if the Captain would still have been disappointed if the device had worked. But then when do the ends justify the means? Tough call.

[2] The crew really becomes human for this episode, almost sacrificing their personal bill of rights.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Episode 11: State of Flux

Voyager answers a distress call from a Kazon-Nistrim ship, finding all but one of the crew dead in an explosion. Investigation reveals that the Kazon were experimenting w/ Federation tech (perhaps acquired from a traitor on the ship)! While discussing if Seska could be a Cardassian agent, Tuvok mentions that Starfleet has documented several cases of Cardassians using cosmetic alterations for the purposes of infiltrating an enemy (shown repeatedly in DS9). In this ep, we learn that Seska (Martha Hackett) and Chakotay are former lovers; she wishes to rekindle the romance (but he doesn’t).

Cmdr. Chakotay: The one thing I still can’t understand is… why?

Seska: I did it for you. I did it for this crew. We are alone here, at the mercy of any number of hostile aliens, because of the incomprehensible decision of a Federation captain – a Federation captain who destroyed our only chance to get home. Federation rules. Federation nobility. Federation compassion? Do you understand, if this had been a Cardassian ship, we would be home now! We must begin to forge alliances. To survive, we must have powerful friends. The Kazon-Nistrim were willing to be our protectors, in return for some minor technology.

It’s very unusual to see a villain in a Starfleet uniform, but this is a new world! Torres also feels betrayed by Seska- they were friends. Some viewers commented that (in a way) Seska could be right; Federation ways may not work in this area. Why wasn’t she put in the brig after they learned the truth? She just beamed out of sick bay so easily!

The exterior scenes of the cold open were filmed at Bronson Caves in Bronson Canyon. The leola root that was collected on the planet was made from a painted ginger root (as I assumed) w/ some additions to make it look more alien. The headdress that First Maje Cullah (Anthony De Longis) wore was mostly made out of sponges and dog chew toys- LOL! Torres’ line re: not exaggerating is a call-back to Scotty’s habit of exaggeration (which led to his becoming known as a miracle worker on TOS).

Beyond the Seska reveal we do get some good character development scenes. An early scene with Chakotay being a stickler about honesty in regards to the theft of the mushroom soup. Captain Janeway being a bad ass with the following quote directed at the Kazon, “I don’t like bullies, I don’t like threats and I don’t like you…” We get more Tuvok development as a dogged investigator who plans out a clever trap with the help of Chakotay.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 13: Faces

Lts. Paris, Torres, and Durst are imprisoned by the Vidiians. In an attempt to develop a cure for the phage, a Vidiian doctor splits Torres into two people (one Klingon and one Human) b/c he believes Klingons are immune to the Phage. The two escape the prison, but the Klingon Torres is fatally injured protecting the Human while she cracks the computer to escape. Before her death, the Klingon Torres tells her Human half that showing courage makes her death honorable. The Doctor tells the Human Torres that she will not survive unless he re-integrates her Klingon DNA.

Cmdr. Chakotay: I’d have to say that you two made quite a team down there.

Human B’Elanna Torres: I know. I came to admire a lot of things about her. Her strength – her bravery… I guess, I just have to accept the fact that I’ll spend the rest of my life fighting with her.

Tackling the ep was one of the first duties assigned to Kenneth Biller after he joined the writing staff. This ep was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series. Dawson dealt with the separation of her character’s personality, not only in her own mind, but also with copies of the episode’s script. She said, “I had two scripts, one labeled ‘The Klingon’ and the other labeled ‘The Human’. I went through each script, treated both as two totally separate people.”

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 3 (Episodes 1 & 2: “The Search, Parts I & 11”)

Part I

Dax: …he could never see a set of admiral’s stars on your collar. He thought that just making the decisions would never satisfy you. You had to implement them, see the results, face the consequences. Curzon always thought you were the kind of man who had to be in the thick of things – not behind some desk at Headquarters.

Sisko: He was a smart old man, wasn’t he?

The crew of DS9 is preparing for an expected attack by the Jem’Hadar, but it’s not looking good. In every scenario they’ve run, w/in 2 hrs, the station will be taken over my these new baddies. Suddenly, a ship is detected very close to the station- yikes! But no worries- they’re being hailed by Sisko (Avery Brooks)- back after 2 mos. on Earth at Starfleet HQ. We see the Defiant (a prototype of a new class of starships originally designed to fight the Borg) that has a cloaking device (borrowed from the Romulans)! Starfleet and Sisko’s idea is not to wait for the Jem’Hadar to attack, but to go into Dominion’s territory in order to locate the Founders. The time for diplomacy is (probably) over, so the Federation needs to try new tactics.

[A male from a new alien race- the Karemma- comes on board the Defiant]

Ornithar: Our only contact with the Dominion has been through the Vorta. I have no idea who they report to; all I know is that the Vorta say to do something, and you do it.

Sisko: Why?

Ornithar: Because if you do not, they will send in the Jem’Hadar. And then you die.

This is the first time that we hear Sisko talk of his love for Bajor; he and Jake (Cirroc Lofton) now think of DS9 as home. It’s also the first appearance of the Wardroom- where the senior officers meet. Ron Moore (who joined the writing team in S3) explained that the character of Michael Eddington (Ken Marshall) was created to fill in when Colm Meaney was away doing a film. Over the course of S3, the writers decided to expand the character. The Romulans obviously consider the Dominion to be a greater threat than the Federation; on the later seasons of TNG, the Federation had improved relationships w/ their old enemies. T’Rul (Martha Hackett)- the no-nonsense Romulan female- was created to be a recurring character. Producers realized that the character wouldn’t offer enough story material to warrant keeping her around (after these 2 eps); Hackett went on to play a key role on Star Trek: Voyager.

Moore joins the writing team (he started on TNG) and Behr (co-executive producer) has more freedom to innovate (moving away from usual tropes of TOS and TNG). This ep was written by Moore; it was directed by Kim Friedman. Jonathan West came on as Director of Photography (DP); he also went on to direct some eps. The studio model of the Defiant was designed by James Martin and constructed by Tony Meininger, who thought the initial design was a bit too chunky; he took inspiration from Ferraris to streamline the model, giving it a sleeker look in later eps.

Part II

Quark: I have a dream – a dream that one day all people, Human, Jem’Hadar, Ferengi, Cardassians will stand together in peace… around my dabo tables!

Odo (Rene Auberjonois) has finally found his home- a planet in the Omarion nebula. A female shapeshifter (Salome Jens) explains that they were once a race of explorers and were rejected and hunted down by “solids” (humanoids). She encourages him to learn about their ways, so he’ll be ready for their way of bonding (the Great Link). Kira (Nana Visitor) tries to send a message to Sisko, but finds out all outgoing frequencies are blocked by a subterranean device. Of course, she quietly investigates further.

Forced to abandon the Defiant during the Jem’Hadar attack a few days ago, Sisko and Bashir (Alexander Siddig) are on a runabout when they’re rescued by Dax (Terry Farrell) and O’Brien (Colm Meaney). They appear to have made contact w/ the Founders and convinced them of their peaceful intentions. In no time, a peace conference is already scheduled and one of the Founders is on DS9. Did that make anyone suspicious (on first viewing)? Sisko starts having doubts when he finds out the Romulans (who we know are a highly advanced/powerful alien race) are excluded from negotiations. Also, Jem’Hadar are given leeway to do whatever they want on the station; they fight w/ Bashir and O’Brien in Quark’s bar.

Odo: Then teach me what I need to know.

Female Shapeshifter: I’ll do what I can. But in the end, this is another journey you’ll have to make on your own. And when it is over, you’ll be ready to take your place in the Great Link.

This ep was written by Behr (who went on to become showrunner) and directed by Jonathan Frakes (who I consider Number One in my heart from TNG). Natalija Nogulich plays Admiral Nechayev for the final time; she appeared on several eps of TNG. Molly Hagan (Eris) wasn’t available to reprise her role of Eris from the S2 finale, so the character of Borath was created. Originally, the Vorta were written to be the god-like Founders of the Dominion; this changed between the S2 finale and S3 (where we see that the Changelings are the Founders. This explains why Eris never acknowledged Odo as a Founder when she came to DS9.

A viewer wrote that the Dominion was like a mirror (evil) version of the Federation; the Jem’Hadar are warriors like Klingons, the Vorta are diplomats like Vulcans, and Changelings stay a step ahead like Romulans. The sudden realization that the wormhole hasn’t been destroyed and that none of the events Sisko and the others experienced really happened is a deus ex machina ending. However, rather than a quick resolution, the writers claimed that the point was “it was all a dream” ending. The writers wished to show how powerful the Dominion was- so far advanced in tech that they could play w/ the Federation. Also, they showed that the real story was Odo’s personal journey.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episode 26: “The Jem’Hadar”)

Quark: Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. [Rule of Acquisition #102]

Sisko wants to spend more time w/ Jake; he encourages his son to think of a challenging science project. They decide to make a trip to a planet (in the Gamma Quadrant) which is like Earth was in its early stage of development. Jake wants to bring Nog along; his friend needs to better his grade. When Quark hears Nog is coming, he wants to come along also- (LOL). Quark thinks he can change Sisko’s mind re: using the station’s screens for advertising. After some research of the planet’s soil and dinner by the campfire, Jake and Nog go off for a while. Suddenly, an alien woman approaches Sisko and Quark. She shoots Sisko w/ a telepathic weapon and says she’s running from the Jem’Hadar (soldiers of the Dominion). She tells Sisko and Quark to run, but all three are captured!

Nog: I’m telling you, Jake, something’s happened to them. Maybe they were attacked by a wild animal.

Jake Sisko: You heard my dad, there aren’t any wild animals, just insects and plants.

Nog: Maybe they were attacked by a vicious tree.

The alien woman, Eris (Molly Hagan), has a collar which prevents her using her telepathic powers to deactivate the containment field they are held in. Third Talak’talan (leader of the Jem’Hadar group) informs Sisko that the Dominion will no longer tolerate the presence of ships from the other side of the wormhole. He reveals knowledge of the Alpha Quadrant, but refuses to allow Sisko to speak with the Founders (leaders of the Dominion). Eris then claims the Founders are a myth. After some hours, Sisko makes some progress on removing Eris’ collar and gets Quark to pick the lock.

Many viewers have commented on the resemblance of the Jem’Hadar to the Tosk (S1 E5). The original script for this ep notes that the Tosk were created as a gift to the Hunters (as a reward for loyalty to the Dominion). So, the Hunters and Tosk were Dominion members; Robert Hewitt Wolfe confirmed the connection.

Quark: The way I see it, Humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We’re a constant reminder of a part of your past you’d like to forget.

Sisko: Quark, we don’t have time for this.

Quark: You’re overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi: slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We’re nothing like you… we’re better.

It’s up to Jake and Nog to get help and rescue the grown-ups, so they return to the runabout. They aren’t able to beam the captives off the planet or bypass the ship’s autopilot to break orbit. When they finally gain control of the ship, they realize that w/o the autopilot, they’ll have to learn to fly it themselves!

On DS9, a ship quickly flies through the wormhole; Talak’talan materializes in Ops, even though shields are raised. He informs the crew that Sisko is being detained by the Dominion, then transports away. Capt. Keogh (Alan Oppenheimer) and the Federation starship Odyssey arrive to assess the situation and mount a rescue mission. He allows the station’s two remaining runabouts, crewed by Kira, O’Brien, Dax, Odo, and Bashir, to accompany the Odyssey.

Third Talak’talan: A Ferengi, and a human. I was hoping the first race I’d meet from the other side of the anomaly would be the Klingons.

Sisko: I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Quark removes Eris’ collar, allowing her to disengage the force field, and they all escape. O’Brien beams aboard Jake and Nog’s runabout and assumes command, then beams aboard Sisko, Quark, and Eris. The starship arrives at the planet and the Jem’Hadar attack mercilessly. Even when the badly-damaged Odyssey turns to retreat, a Jem’Hadar ship rams the ship and blows it up! This was one of the most surprising moments in ST history. Back at the station, Quark discovers Eris’ collar is a fake; she is a spy for the Dominion! Eris beams out to parts unknown, leaving them w/ a warning of what’s yet to come.

Kira: She’ll be back. The question is who she’ll bring with her.

Sisko: If the Dominion comes through the Wormhole, the first battle will be fought here. And I intend to be ready for them.

This exciting ep is the S2 finale of DS9 and features the first appearance of two new alien races (the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta). The new villains are scary, arrogant, powerful, and have contempt for the Federation. Most of all- they don’t play fair. The Odyssey is a Galaxy-class ship (so it looks exactly like The Enterprise); to a regular viewer of TNG, seeing it destroyed could be very shocking! The “kids” (Ira Stephen Behr; Ronald D. Moore) have freedom from the “parents” (Rick Berman; Michael Piller) now. This is the start of the producers’ strategy of leaving the audience in suspense and building on events in previous seasons. This led DS9 to take on a serial-like feel, unlike the episodic feel of TOS and TNG.

“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

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 20 & 21)

Episode 20: The Maquis, Part I

As the Cardassian transport ship Bok’nor prepares for departure from DS9, a man in a Starfleet uniform makes adjustments to some equipment. Moments after departing, this ship explodes, killing everyone on board! It doesn’t look like an accident; The Federation and Bajor expect retaliation by the Cardassians. Cmdr. Calvin Hudson (Bernie Casey- who went from the NFL to acting) arrives to discuss a tense situation; he is the attache to the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone. He is also an old pal of Sisko (Avery Brooks) since their Starfleet Academy days; he has no kids and is a widower. Hudson tells Sisko that the Federation’s decision to give away territory to the Cardassians was a bad idea. However, Sisko believes the treaty made after the Federation’s war w/ the Cardassians is reasonable.

Hudson: [of Dax] That woman knows more about me than any woman ever has. More than my wife even.

Sisko: Tell me about it.

When he returns to his quarters, Sisko is surprised to find Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo), who says that Federation citizens were responsible for the attack of the Bok’Nor. Dukat and wants to show Sisko something in the Demilitarized Zone. On the way in a runabout, they receive a distress call from a Federation merchant vessel under attack by Cardassians. The attackers ignore Dukat’s orders to stand down, but before the runabout can intervene, an unidentified Federation vessel appears and destroys the Cardassian ships!

Dukat: Now do you begin to see, Commander? That without any help from either one of us they’ve managed to start their own little war out here.

A beautiful Vulcan woman (associated w/ the saboteur), Sakonna (Bertila Damas), approaches Quark to talk business. He plans a fancy dinner for her that night, trying to “melt her cold heart.” After he toasts the Vulcan people as “a very noble race,” Sakonna explains that she wants to buy weapons! Quark almost can’t believe it. Somewhere on the station, the saboteur is abducted.

Quark: Rule of Acquisition number 214: Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.

Sisko and Dukat arrive at a colony in the Demilitarized Zone to find Hudson and several others in a heated debate w/ Gul Evek (Richard Poe), Hudson’s Cardassian counterpart. Evek shows them the video confession from the alleged saboteur, William Samuels, then brings in his corpse (claiming it was suicide). This outrages the colonists; Amaros (Tony Plana) leaps across a table to attack Evek. Hudson calms everyone down; he later tells Sisko that Samuels may have been guilty, but these colonists “have a right to defend themselves.” He warns Sisko about the Cardassians, saying they’ve been smuggling weapons to their colonies. On the way back to DS9, Dukat denies that the Bok’Nor was transporting weapons.

Dukat: Of all the Humans I’ve met, you strike me as the most joyless and the least vulnerable.

Sisko: I am when I’m with you.

O’Brien confirms that the device that destroyed the Bok’Nor was of Federation origin. Sisko has Dukat’s quarters secured, but Sakonna and several colonists kidnap him. A group called “The Maquis” claims responsibility. Sisko, Kira, and Bashir track the kidnappers to a planet in an area known as “The Badlands.” They beam down and are captured by armed Maquis members; Hudson (now out of uniform) is their leader!

Hudson: I’m glad to see you had no trouble finding us, Ben. It seems that one disaster after another keeps bringing us back together again.

The teleplay for Pt. I was written by James Crocker. This ep marks the first appearance of the Maquis, whose origins are shown in TNG: Journey’s End (1994). The Maquis are named after the French Resistance against Nazi occupation (1940-1944), but their situation is more similar to French citizens in Algeria during that country’s war w/ France in the 1950s. The Maquis usually wear bright colored outfits, including vests and unique accessories. At the suggestion of the director (David Livingston), costume designer Robert Blackman made a revealing outfit for Sakonna. When Berman saw it, he told Blackman to tone it down; the form-fitting gown is a different look for a Vulcan.

Now if you’ve only seen TOS and TNG, then seeing a suicide mission on a ST show could be shocking! If you are re-watching the series, then you know that the Maquis aren’t the only group who resort to such (extreme) tactics. Another bold move was having members of the Maquis in Starfleet uniforms; a few had previously been in this organization. Starting w/ TNG, the writers wanted to introduce people different from Starfleet, while creating an opportunity to do cross-overs and enhance the franchise.

Episode 21: The Maquis, Part II

Sisko demands to see Dukat; Hudson accuses Sisko of siding w/ the Cardassians over him. Hudson claims the Maquis want only peace, while Sisko says they want revenge. The two officers try to convince each other, but when Sisko refuses to join the cause, Hudson stuns all three of them w/ phasers!

Admiral Nechayev refers to the Maquis as “a bunch of irresponsible hotheads” and instructs Sisko to talk w/ them (unaware of the gravity of the situation). The Cardassian legate (a very high official), Parn (John Schuck- a veteran of ST movies/series), arrives w/ a message that Central Command won’t tolerate the smuggling of weapons to Cardassian colonies, which is what was done by Dukat. Sisko and Kira don’t believe it; Sisko realizes that Hudson was telling the truth. Meanwhile, Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Sisko interrogate Quark in a holding cell. He admits he arranged for Sakonna to acquire weapons, unaware then of the Maquis; he believes an attack will come very soon.

Sisko: …It’s easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the demilitarized zone all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints, just people-angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not.

At an unknown location, Sakonna attempts a Vulcan mind meld w/ Dukat, which doesn’t work (as he can block his thoughts). Sisko, Bashir, and Odo arrive and try to resolve the situation peacefully, but Dukat gets impatient, causing a fight. The Maquis are captured, but Sisko lets Amaros go to deliver a message to Hudson. They bring Dukat back to the station, where he learns of Parn’s accusations. Then, w/ Dukat’s help, they catch a Xepolite trader transporting weapons on behalf of Central Command.

Quark: Look, I know the Cardassians can’t be trusted. I know the Central Command would like nothing better than to wipe out all the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone.

Sakonna: Then you agree with our position.

Quark: Not for a second. Because your position is illogical.

Sakonna: Do you propose to lecture *me* on logic?

Quark: I don’t want to, but you leave me no choice.

Quark talks Sakonna into revealing to Sisko that the Maquis are planning to destroy a Cardassian weapons depot in the next 52 hours; she doesn’t know the location. Dukat promises to find out the location. Sisko visits Hudson again, asking him to reconsider abandoning his career. Hudson declines, symbolically destroying his Starfleet uniform.

The DS9 crew is waiting in three runabouts when the two Maquis ships arrive at the weapons depot. They attempt to disable one another; finally, only Sisko’s runabout and Hudson’s raider remain, with Sisko’s engines and Hudson’s weapons offline. Sisko allows Hudson to escape, much to Dukat’s dismay. Sisko wonders if he has prevented a war or merely delayed it.

The teleplay for Pt. II was written by (future showrunner) Behr; he’s very proud of this ep and considers it to be one of the most important early eps in establishing the darker ideology for which the show would become famous. It’s not all topsy-turvy, but ST is getting more complicated; Dukat and Sisko (former enemies) team up, a Vulcan (from peace-loving race) buys weapons, and a farmer/family man becomes a saboteur. The admirals in Starfleet can’t relate to problems faced by those living a different reality than theirs back on Earth, as Sisko comments to Kira. It’s true that every problem can’t be solved w/ a treaty (as Hudson says). His jaded view of Starfleet hints at what he eventually becomes- an outlaw. Behr intended to have Hudson die at the end, but Piller opposed it; Piller later commented to Behr that he was right.