386. The Ship
WHY WE LIKE IT: The tense atmosphere.
WHY WE DON'T: Sisko's unnecessary guilt trip.
REVIEW: The show now heads into fairly uncharted territory (for Trek, that is) with "war is hell"-type material. And if you thought Muniz was safe by virtue of this being his third sympathetic appearance, think again. His lingering death is actually pretty harrowing, for O'Brien more than anyone. Though it's been said that the events of Hard Time were never referenced again, I think there may be an acknowledgment of sorts in O'Brien's tendency towards violence here and later in the season. He does take a shot at Worf in this episode, and that's not really his style, is it?
The Ship is really an exercise in anxiety, and everything is meant to unsettle the characters and the audience. You've got an upside down set, odd angles, constant bombardment, frayed nerves, tense firefights, and Muniz' delirium. It's no wonder Sisko has to put everyone in their place (including smartass Dax). It does tend to go on, but that's part of the atmosphere.
We meet our first Vorta since Weyoun, and Kilana is his worthy successor, exhibiting the same kind of false humility. She has some good scenes with Sisko, though we should be a little surprised that the Dominion doesn't mind giving their ship away once the hidden Founder is dead. The questions pile up and never get answered and one gets the impression that the episode was ending and things just needed to be resolved. I mean, if the Jem'Hadar kill themselves, how does Kilana get home, etc.?
Thing is, they could have had the time if they'd taken out the coda. I don't so much mind Muniz' wake, but Sisko's guilt over the deaths of his crew is suspect. In a way, it's a necessary scene that shows Sisko's responsibility to the people under his command, especially as we go into the Dominion War arc. Many more will die, and we can't have a scene like this each time. Get it out of the way now, so to speak. And it's nice to hear personal details about the lost crew. However, can Sisko really consider himself responsible for their deaths? The Jem'Hadar came out of nowhere, destroyed the runabout and Muniz got shot in the first attack. No one actually died as a result of Sisko's pigheadedness over keeping the ship. (Muniz would not have survived without medical treatment, which wouldn't have been forthcoming anyway.) Still, the sentiment was appreciated.
LESSON: Redshirts are people too.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: More atmosphere than substance, it nevertheless is impactful, with strong performances and good suspense.