Star Trek 388: ...Nor the Battle to the Strong

388. ...Nor the Battle to the Strong

FORMULA: The Ship + Apocalypse Now + The Quickening

WHY WE LIKE IT: Unashamedly bleak.

WHY WE DON'T: Sisko's repetitious worrying.

REVIEW: Jake becomes a journalist, something that will carry him to the end of the series, and the episode is told as an article he's writing. A bit too conversational for that, perhaps, as it sometimes seems like we're simply hearing his thoughts, but by the end, his essay is raw and poignant. And yet it all started as a comedy piece with egotist Bashir all wrapped up in his profile and spouting enough technobabble to last us to the end of the season. Then it becomes a story about war, and that's because Jake forces the doctor to get involved. It's really a story driven by guilt.

DS9 does MASH could be its tagline. Well, one of MASH's more dramatic episodes, though there are examples of gallows humor. This is the first time we really see Starfleet's ground troops, and the episode has a real "war is hell" edge to it, with plenty of body bags, hardened soldiers dying painfully before Jake's eyes, more blood than ever before, and Starfleet personnel acting rather unheroically. There's a kid who shot himself in the foot to get off the battlefield, and Jake only later realizes why though he becomes a hero despite himself, accidentally saving the day while crouching under a table. His story starts as simple musings and ends as a confession.

To balance the bleakness, there is some comedy, in particular surrounding "Quarktajino" and Ferengi considering pregnancies "rentals", but most of the scenes occurring on the station or Defiant feature Sisko as a worry wart. Too much so. It's a foregone conclusion that Sisko would be worried for his son anyway, so we're not learning anything new. Especially after the third worry scene. The ending is also a bit too happy and saccharine, especially given the tone of the rest of the show.

LESSON: No news, make news.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A courageous look at war that outdoes anything similar Star Trek might have done to date, though any scene not on Ajilon Prime seems like a bit of padding.

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