“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 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.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 12-14)

Episode 12: The Alternate

[Dr. Mora is talking about the time he discovered Odo]

Dax: When did you realize you were dealing with a sentient life form?

Odo: He didn’t. I had to teach him that myself.

Odo (Rene Auberjonois) gets a visit from Dr. Mora Pol (James Sloyan), the scientist who researched him in a laboratory on Bajor. Mora seems to be unhappy w/ Odo’s decision to leave Bajor for DS9; Odo resents the way the scientist treated him. Mora tells of a science probe that recently scanned a planet (in the Gamma Quadrant) and found DNA patterns looking like his own! Sisko agrees to let Odo, Mora, Dax (Terry Farrell) and Dr. Weld take a runabout. On the planet, they find a mysterious pillar and Dr. Weld finds the lifeform (obviously a clump of iron filings in a Petri dish w/ a magnet underneath to make it move).

Dr. Mora was originally to be played by Auberjonois himself, much as Data’s creator, Dr. Noonian Soong, was played by Brent Spiner. This plan was scrapped, as it would take too much time each day to get Auberjonois out of one type of make-up and into another. The teleplay was written by Morgan Gendel, who also wrote on TNG, as well as many TV series. The natural conflicts arising in the father-son relationship are explored, but w/ a twist (as Dr. Mora isn’t Odo’s biological father). The two actors did a fine job portraying their conflicting ideas and emotions; I think teens and younger people will esp. relate. There is also a mystery element, as the lifeform grows and transforms.

Episode 13: The Armageddon Game

Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and O’Brien (Colm Meaney) are in a lab in orbit of T’Lani III; they are helping the T’Lani and Kellerun to destroy dangerous bio weapons (harvesters). These were used by both races in a long/brutal war. Bashir and O’Brien manage to neutralize one of the harvesters and both sides are very happy; they invite them to a celebration that night. When the last harvester is about to be destroyed, two armed Kellerun enter the lab and start shooting! Bashir and O’Brien are the only ones able to escape down to the planet. O’Brien starts repairing a transmitter; he feels cold and gets sick. Meanwhile, the T’Lani and Kellerun ambassadors travel to DS9, bringing news that Bashir and O’Brien died in an accident.

Chief O’Brien: Listen to me, Julian! You’re the one who’s always talking about adventure. Huh… adventure… Oh… marriage is the greatest adventure of them all. It’s filled with pitfalls and setbacks and mistakes and… But it’s a journey worth taking… ’cause you take it together.

This ep (also written by Gendel) is generally seen as the beginning of the O’Brien/Bashir friendship which would become important over the seasons. Bashir helps O’Brien w/ the transmitter, as he took some Engineering classed in the Academy. They get into talking about some personal stuff; we learn that Bashir chose Starfleet over love (a ballerina he met while in med school). This was a very good ep which kept my interest; the convo between O’Brien and Keiko (Rosalind Chao) is the best part (last scene)!

Episode 14: Whispers

O’Brien is on his way to the planet Parada to warn them about something and is chased by the crew of DS9 through the wormhole. In his log, he tells what happened. DS9 was supposed to host peace talks between the Paradans and a rebel faction; O’Brien was supposed to make sure the security was taken care of. He noticed something strange when Keiko and Molly didn’t seem to be themselves. He found out another engineer was ordered by Sisko (Avery Brooks) to work on the security measures. Sisko told him to concentrate on the repair of the upper pylons and ordered him to undergo a medical exam.

[Dr. Bashir is carrying out a physical check-up on O’Brien]

O’Brien: Are you nearly finished? I believe you’ve poked into every orifice in my body – and created a few new ones!

This ep (written by Paul Robert Coyle) may remind some viewers of the 1982 movie Blade Runner; we even hear the term “replicant.” It also has many similarities to Philip K. Dick’s 1953 story Impostor. There are a few funny moments w/ O’Brien and Bashir. The sense of paranoia is created by the directing style, as well as the acting and music.

Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” (1942) starring Priscilla Lane & Robert Cummings

[Philip, a blind man, explains to Patricia why he believes Barry is innocent]

Phillip: Don’t you know I can see a great deal farther than you can? I can see intangible things. For example, innocence.

A young L.A. aircraft worker, Barry Kane (Robert Cummings- who later co-starred in Dial M for Murder) evades arrest after he is unfairly accused of sabotage. Following leads, he travels cross-country and ends up in NYC, trying to clear his name by exposing fascists hiding behind money/respectability. Along the way, he meets a young model, Pat Martin (Priscilla Lane), as well as some quirky/colorful characters. There are brief appearances by Sir Alfred Hitchcock (in front of drugstore) and Robert Mitchum (on stairs in the factory).

Pat: If it had been any other sort of crime, if a man had stolen because he was starving, even if a man had committed murder to defend himself, maybe I wouldn’t tell the police. But there’s only one reason why men commit sabotage, and that’s worse than murder.

Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper or Joel McCrea for the lead; Cooper wasn’t interested in a thriller and McCrea was busy. The director thought that Cummings was “a competent performer,” but found his performance, and the movie, suffered because he “belongs to the light-comedy class of actors” and had “an amusing face, so that even when he’s in desperate straits, his features don’t convey any anguish.” Hitch thought Lane “simply wasn’t the right type” for his picture; he preferred Margaret Sullavan or Barbara Stanwyck. Hitch was esp. upset re: not getting the villain he wanted. To convey the sense of the homegrown fascists being regular people, the ones you’d least likely suspect, he wanted former silent movie actor/Western star- Harry Carey. Although the script was originally written w/ Germans in mind as the villains, he decided not to mention “Germans” at all.

Charles Tobin: When you think about it, Mr. Kane, the competence of totalitarian nations is much higher than ours. They get things done.

Saboteur is one of Hitch’s “wrong man” films, where the protagonist is falsely accused of a crime. It’s similar to one of his earlier British films, The 39 Steps (1935), as many viewers have noted. We find Hitchcock feeling his way around America (literally); there are elaborate sets in this film. The ranch house of Charles Tobin (Otto Kruger) was later used as the home of the Brenner’s on The Birds (1963). The special effects crew took pics of the Statue of Liberty’s raised hand, her torch, and the ledge beneath it; these were re-created to scale on a Universal soundstage.

[1] The opening fire is filmed in a very stylish manner with black smoke slowly engulfing the screen; the set-piece with the circus troupe is quirky with memorable characters… there’s also a great sequence in a cinema… but best of all is the final set-piece atop the Statue of Liberty, it’s exciting stuff with excellent set design too.

[2] The darker elements of the narrative and the sharp wit of literary maven Dorothy Parker (during her brief stint in Hollywood…) who co-authored the script were a perfect match for Hitchcock’s sensibilities.

[3] I like Priscilla Lane because her character is a more involved in the action than Madeline Carroll in “The 39 Steps” and Ruth Roman in “Strangers on a Train.” …Otto Kruger steals the show as the villain.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews