Star Trek 345: Past Tense, Part II

345. Past Tense, Part II

FORMULA: The City on the Edge of Forever + The High Ground

WHY WE LIKE IT: Sisko's righteousness.

WHY WE DON'T: The comedy interludes.

REVIEW: Past Tense has a strong, relevant story, and a suspenseful time travel dilemma (impersonating someone fated to die), so it was probably a mistake to pad it out with various homages to the Original Series. I understand the compulsion: The District is played by the Paramount back lot which played some many roles on TOS, and the plot owes a lot to The City on the Edge of Forever, right down to which three characters are sent into the past (the commander, science officer and doctor). Throwing in Clint Howard, the actor who played Balok on The Corbomite Maneuver as a "dim" who stole Dax's combadge is something of a waste of time, and not as funny as you want it to be. The same goes for Kira and O'Brien's forays into the past. The first trip, which must be around the same time Kirk and Spock are there if we go by the boxing poster (yet another homage), has a good broken nose gag, but the hippies in the love van... Let's just say I wouldn't think stoner humor appropriate for Star Trek even if I thought stoner humor was funny in the first place.

But none of this is too distracting, and with the exposition over and done with, Past Tense becomes very effective drama. The hostage situation is tense, and Sisko is excellent, trying to keep the two sides from blowing everything up. Not easy, especially with the meddling security guard. The episode does a good job of putting a sympathetic face on everyone, from the civilians, to the guards, to the police, to the media, and even on B.C. the ghost as he resigns himself to his fate and gives away his hat.

Seems like a short review, but I managed to hit a number of points in Part I, so refer to that one if you have questions.

LESSON: One day, You-Tube will save the world.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Aside from the asides, Part II is a tense, occasionally powerful piece. Definitely justified in taking a break from the station to make its points.


Anonymous said...

There are those who think this episode was too heavy-handed, but in reality, there's a lot wrong with the American economy, and sooner or later something's got to give. People are getting by on debt more than ever, and the minimum wage isn't a living wage if you want luxuries such as electricity and food. If DS9 wants to speculate on hard times ahead, they're more than welcome to.

LiamKav said...

Reply to anonymous from ten years later:

Things have gotten worse.


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