Star Trek 193: The Wounded

193. The Wounded

FORMULA: Heart of Glory + The Undiscovered Country

WHY WE LIKE IT: The seminal O'Brien episode. The Cardassians arrive on the scene.

WHY WE DON'T: Those Cardassian uniforms.

REVIEW: The Wounded is all about prejudice born out of war, and in that sense is just as much about Iraq as it is about Vietnam, Korea or WWII. Can we let go of our hate for the other side? Can we forgive individuals for what their people or government have done in the past? There seems to be something fortuitous in the casting of Rosalind Chao in the role of Keiko, since she had previously played Soon-Lee on M*A*S*H, and plays a Korean character here. Since her first appearance was just an episode ago, I can't help but think the creators didn't give O'Brien an Asian bride as a way of linking The Wounded with similar situations from our recent past.

If Data's Day didn't convince you O'Brien had truly joined the cast, you have to admit it by now. This is his story. We learn more about the character here than in all his other appearances combined. Not only do we check in with the culture shock happening in his marriage (quite fun by itself), but we meet his former captain, and hear about his time fighting in a war with the Cardassians. His prejudice is shockingly honest, but is also rooted in the trauma of the first time he killed a man. Powerful stuff, and it certainly doesn't mince words, setting up, as we can now realize it does, the moral ambiguities in Deep Space 9.

Benjamin Maxwell is another of the "wounded", and though well played, the character is a little broader. We care for him through O'Brien, but it's always hard to relate to characters who've gone off the deep end. I do miss seeing other crewmembers from the Phoenix, since it makes it seem like Maxwell is acting alone. Still, we do feel for him, and as it turns out, he's probably right.

As for the Cardassians, their first appearance holds enough history to warrant their reuse later, and though these early uniforms are almost laughable (especially in hindsight), the basic Egyptian/scarab design is already there. Marc Alaimo plays on the script's ambiguities, defining the race as devious. This is the model for all to come: Outwardly nice and polite, but hiding dangerous secret agendas. For example, it's hard to tell if his Glinn was ordered to ferret around the lower decks only to be publicly chastised for it. Picard gets the final word at the end, calling Macet on everything. "We'll be watching." Yes, Picard, so will we, as this is a most intriguing race. They have a style similar to the Romulans, but less historical baggage.

LESSON: Sometimes you gotta forgive, and sometimes you just gotta forget.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A marvelous O'Brien episode, and certainly important for any fan of Deep Space 9. Beyond that, it's an insightful human story with some interesting design.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe Keiko is Japanese in show. Her first and last names are Japanese; her wedding dress looked like a futuristic take on the traditional Japanese bridal garb; and the wedding setting definitely suggested Japanese culture over Koreean.

Anonymous said...

*Korean

 

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