A first contact episode! Sisko is in dress uniform, getting ready for the first formal first contact thing. But what will the aliens be? Lizard people? Fish people? Cat people? Humanoids with some sort of plasticine facial addition and quirky jewellery?
They’ve come all this way to play games at Quark’s, and keep winning, until they stop winning and catch Quark cheating by fixing the table.
The Mullet people make Quark play a new game, where the pieces are Sisko, Kira, Bashir and Dax. Obviously. Missing a random redshirt for extra fun, but you can’t have anything. Bashir is found screaming, and asks if no-one else has ever had to wake themselves up screaming from a nightmare, which leads you to wonder if the poor man has regularly hellish lucid nightmares.
ONTO THE GAME
So Quark is controlling the game, while our senior four have to overcome various puzzles. It’s Star Trek: The Crystal Maze! Also, Bashir is fabulous in this episode. Look at him trying to hide in a bare corridor.
Julian gets a lock-in, the remaining three suffer some mild peril involving polystyrene rocks, and the only person keeping count of crystals is Quark. Who knows how long they’ll get in the dome!
Oh, there’s no dome because it’s not actually the Crystal Maze. Quark loses – but everyone is returned to his bar and the day is saved by.. Quark? The Mullet people? This episode really needs Richard O’Brien and some crystals. And the Crystal Maze theme tune.
Incidentally, O’Brien and Keiko have been missing for the past few episodes, and it’s been mentioned in every episode that they are away “on earth”. Is this actually some sort of code, like when I was at school and people’s dads were away “on the rigs” i.e. in prison? Just interesting that it’s been prominently mentioned each time. HMMMMM.
As always, please leave a comment! I’d love to know what you thought of this episode. The same goes for all of these posts!
Like the author of the brilliant Larp Trek, I always wish there were episodes where the universal translator was messed up, but there never is. Instead, it’s an engineered virus making everyone talk gibberish. It’s quite a simple and middling episode, the best bit probably the opening, which spends some time showing how over-worked and stressed Miles O’Grumpyface is, which is probably why he looks so moody all the time.
The thing that gets me: He’s not getting paid for this! Money doesn’t exist in the Federation! Poor bastard.
Anyway, Dr Bashir, until he gets sick, then a Bajoran doctor kidnapped by Major Shouty, save the day. Quark has some good lines in this too.
A ship shows up from the other side of the wormhole, damaged, and O’Brien’s natural charm builds up a good rappor with the emotionless, cold blooded lizard. “You’re the most natural straight man I’ve met in ages”. Presumably the last one was Data, but there is a lot of emotionless aliens in the galaxy who can’t take a joke.
Tosk, the lizard, refuses to elaborate on anything, and is eventually caught by Odo (disguised as a hideous painting) trying to nick some weapons. he gets banged up, and still refuses to elaborate, so is held until someone comes looking for him.
Which they do! It’s some Doctor Who villains!
Turns out they were hunting Tosk for the lols, which is an honourable and noble thing to do in their culture. Fortunately, O’Brien works out that he can save Tosk by helping the hunt continue, which he does by removing his Starfleet Combadger (always a sign fun things are about to happen), punch out some baddies, have a chase through the station, fight some more, and get Tosk back to his ship with the biggest smile on his little face.
Woo O’Brien, what a great couple of episodes to set down his character after years on the Enterprise staring glumly at a transporter control panel, wishing he were in transporter room 3.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne has strong links with Norway, particularly Bergen, Newcastle’s twin city. The Geordie dialect is full of Scandinavian words, and we recognise as family the hard-drinking Scandinavians impervious to the cold. Local Legend Metro FM DJ Alan Robson regularly broadcasts from Hell, Norway, and the King of Norway presents Newcastle with our Christmas Tree (and then we usually set fire to it for a laugh). A ferry link between Newcastle and Scandinavia has existed in one form or another for centuries – that is, until DFDS scrapped the last one in 2008.
As in this lovely Guardian Article from back then, I grew up with the ferries from the Tyne Port, and although I didn’t appreciate it when I was small, I do remember the DFDS buses lined up outside Central Station waiting to take travellers to the port. We took family holidays to Denmark and Germany, the brass band playing God Save The Queen as you enter the Elbe a million miles better than any easyjet flight touchdown at some nasty little airport far away from anywhere. I remember the excitement of a night on a ship, cheesy bands playing in the bar, the cinema on board, playing Sega arcade games, getting seasick, trying to see whales from the side of the ship.
So it’s really wonderful to see the return of these ships – and yes, I will take one as soon as I can. The idea of travelling by train and by boat from Edinburgh to the Arctic Circle is massively appealing!
Yes another one. There’s 7 series with 26 episodes each, apart from the first series, which has 20, and yes, I am going to watch them all then tell you about it. You love it really. So – a quick summary today of episode 4 – A Man Alone.
Keiko decides to open a school because there’s nothing to do on DS9, even though Miles has suggested getting her onto a runabout so she can explore the plant life of the Gamma Quadrant, on the other side of the wormhole. A unique opportunity for any Alpha-quadrant scientist! But Keiko doesn’t want to do this. I’m sorry, what botanical scientist wouldn’t give their right arm to fly to the other side of the galaxy and investigate new plant life? She’s a rubbish botanist.
So she decides to open a school instead, which leads to a whole other load of questions. Is education not compulsory in the Federation? How do children learn stuffs? Are they born with in-built knowledge? Have we found a better way of educating them than school? If so, what is the point of school now?
Oh, and there’s another plot where Odo gets framed for murder. And Bashir tries to chat up Dax again. Awww, bless him.
So the school opens, and O’Brien gets Keiko a gift. “Just a little something I replicated on the way over!” Oh Miles, you romantic. Why Keiko said she was sick of living with you on DS9 we’ll never know.
Back to the main boring murder framing whodunnit plot. An angry Bajoran mob are throwing a massive strop outside Odo’s door, blaming him for the murder, but just in the nick of time Dax and Bashir have Teched some Science and worked out that – SPOILERS
Only joking. This episode was first shown twenty years ago, so you need to calm down about spoilers. The murder victim was a clone, as worked out by Bashir getting to grow a clone in a jar as proof. No-one is too concerned about the ethics of this – except for Odo, briefly, who is told the clone will be able to “start a new life”. And that’s it. What about the clone though? Is people growing clones such a common occurrence that no-one bats an eyelid? Are there clone schools throughout the galaxy to help them integrate into Federation life? Yet more questions..
At least we got to find out how many Bajorans you can fit in a lift.
So, Kira’s ex-boyfriend shows up (“We fought together in the underground”). He’s a terrorist/freedom fighter.. or is he? Has he changed to the new, post the equivalent of the Bajoran Good Friday Agreement? The Cardassians, who enjoy torture, (There.. Are.. Four.. Lights!) want him to pay for some unspecified crimes.
So does Siskko turn him over to the Cardassians? Kira shouts at him a bit, and O’Brien makes a remark worthy of any battle-weary soldier. “You’ve never fought the Cardassians, have you, sir?” Straight out of a Sharpe novel, except for the bit about Cardassians.
Meanwhile, back over at Lassiters The Promenade, the arrival of those Klingon boob windows can only mean one thing – it’s the Duras Sisters!
Odo briefly pines for the fjords authoritarian Cardassian law where he could incarcerate people for whatever reason he liked, or hand them over to be brutally tortured without any pretence of a trial. He’d make a great Starfleet Officer. But what are the Duras Sisters up to? And what about the Bajoran Freedom Fighter/Terrorist? I can’t wait to see what slightly rubbish inanimate object Odo shapeshifts into in order to find out. (he turns into a rat! that’s not rubbish enough.)
Bashir and Garak have a second date; there follows intrigue and double-crossing I can’t be bothered going into, but Odo and Kira have a genuinely touching heart-to-heart as she struggles to work out what the correct thing to do is. At one point, Odo says something like he “struggles with pretext, it’s as difficult as one of your noses” pointing to the fact that Bajoran noses are fiddly for a shape-shifter to imitate. YET I THINK A RAT’S PAW IS PRETTY DAMN FIDDLY BUT HE HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THAT EARLIER. Just saying.
Some mildly entertaining stuff happens; Kira ends up in a fist fight with the terrorist/freedom fighter on a runabout in the Wormhole (obviously). In the end, Sisko saves the day and they all live happily ever after. To be fair – after years of re-watching TNG I’m really impressed with Kira character, very well rounded (so far?) naivety with being a strong, shouty woman.
Only two episodes in and we’ve nearly forgiven them for the Sub Rosa TNG episode (Or THAT scene, which I found by searching “troi crusher terrible yoga” and got as the top result. You know the one I mean.)
So, following various star trek tumblrs (eg Star Trek Gifs, Not in Front of the Klingons) has made me want to watch Deep Space 9 from start to finish. I think originally, I only watched bits of the first series, unlike The Next Generation, which I watched religiously every evening after school at 6pm on Sky 1. A couple of years back, I sat and watched the entirety of TNG from start to finish; a few months later, I watched if again. It’s amazing! I love Star Trek! So yes, now I want to watch DS9 from start to finish, and I have the episodes.
BUT, thanks to the amazing Fashion It So, I want to blog about it too! So let’s go on a crazy wild ride to Bajoran space and see what’s going down at Deep Space 9 (DS9).
Episode summary: Ben Sisko has a strop at Captain Picard, meets a Bajoran Dawn French and goes on a trip, blackmails a Ferengi, energy beings, Picard again, Cardassians. There’s some amazing beachwear in this episode.
Daft sexist tropes exist in the 23rd century (is it the 24th? I forget), but it’s from the eternally long-suffering O’Brien, who always looks like he should be chain-smoking outside a pub somewhere on a Tuesday afternoon. “Have you ever worked with Bajoran women, sir?” He says to Sisko. As we will remember from the Bajoran episodes of the later seasons TNG, Bajoran women are massively stroppy and the men are a bunch of wet blankets. Indeed, Sisko meets Major Kira, who is busy having a strop at the Bajoran government. She then has a strop at Sisko. THEN Sisko goes to meet the Bajoran Religious leader, who looks like Dawn French in a kimono, who sends him on a trip (but doesn’t have a strop), and tells him to find some orbs in a celestial temple in order to re-align his chakras. Or something. It seems I zone out when even Star Trek religion is mentioned.
BACK ON DS9 Odo does some shape-shifting, Quark is a Ferengi, Dax and Bashir turn up (I’d forgotten about Dax!), hilarity ensues, Major Kira has a strop at Bashir, oh the gang’s all here. Also it turns out “The Promenade” always makes me think of Lassiter’s (whoooo), for some reason.
O’Brien says goodbye to the Enterprise, where we find out this Fun Fact: O’Brien has a favourite transporter room. “Number 3!” Good to know it wasn’t just Geordi being a hopeless geek on the Enterprise.
A bit later, possibly we’re in episode 2 now, the Cardassian Gul Dukat comes in with some thinly veiled threats and tries to get one of the orbs from Sisko. Dax, meanwhile, works out where the celestial temple might be, but to sneak past the Cardassians, Odo has to blow the special effects budget for this episode and shape shift into a bag. Also, O’Brien kicks something to make it work. Amazing.
In fact, just when you thought you’d seen the power of mid-1990s computing special effects, WORMHOLE, in which Sisko gets trapped. Back on DS9, Dax Techs some Tech with Science, and with O’Brien work out if they lower the weight of the station they can move it next to the wormhole entrance. WHAT.
In the wormhole, Sisko is explaining concepts such as time, baseball and linear procreation to some energy beings, who have taken the form of his dead wife to communicate with him, and also mess with his brain.
Cardassians attack DS9, O’Brien Techs amazingly without ever looking like anything other than someone who’s got home from work late and realised the offies all shut 10 minutes ago. “Bloody Cardassians! I just fixed the damn thing!”
Anyway, Sisko returns in the nick of time and saves the day. Hurrah!
Slightly disappointed we still haven’t seen any Cardassian facial hair, it really is special, and I’ve only seen in it in the incredible TNG Series 6 Episode, Chain of Command Part Two. you know the one. There.. Are.. Four.. Lights! I think it was that episode, anyway. Cardassian beards are subtle, but marvelous.