Star Trek 412: Rocks and Shoals

412. Rocks and Shoals

FORMULA: The Ship + To the Death + Hippocratic Oath

WHY WE LIKE IT: Kira's new routine. Remata'Klan.

WHY WE DON'T: Garak says "there's hope for you yet" once too many times.

REVIEW: After narrowly escaping a shipwreck in Children of Time, the crew finally goes down on a quarry planet (which nonetheless has a lot of scope thanks to real and digital bodies of water), but the Defiant is thankfully not sacrificed. Dax is injured and O'Brien's ripped his pants (a great moment). That would be bad enough, but there are Jem'Hadar there too. It's a classic Pacific Theater confrontation while both sides await rescue.

The Jem'Hadar are the honorable kind and Third Remata'Klan is a sympathetic and wise character. But doomed. All his scenes with his men and with Sisko are excellent and create the emotional context for our heroes regrettably butchering the Jem'Hadar at the end. Keevan is a true Vorta, devious to the last, but by default not as interesting. Note that Nog probably sheds his "first blood" in this episode, and that he and Garak get a good moment that says the events of Empok Nor have not been forgotten (which so often happens in episodic television like this).

The main plot is a strong war story, but the station sequences are equally powerful. More so even. Kira's mirror is used to reflect her sins back at her, and though she tries to smile, she's obviously dying inside. They're sins of indolence. In trying to save lives, she's become a collaborator, but she can't quite see it. It takes a vedek hanging herself on the Promenade for the lights to turn back on in her soul in a shocking sequence that reminds one of Vietnam's burning monks. Chillingly directed.

LESSON: It's a small galaxy, full of small planets.

REWATCHABILITY - High: At its core a horror story, both threads force or cajole our heroes into betraying their ethics. And it looks good too.


Anonymous said...

One of the strengths of ST:DS9 is that events are forgotten less than the rest of the shows of the franchise.

Garek's remark is a good example. When they are missed, it's rarely as glaring as in the other shows.

How many times are fully lifelike androids encountered in ST:TOS but forgotten about? Let alone the fact after all the ones in that series that Data should be so rare in ST:TNG.

Oh, well. Just sit back and relax and remember it is just a show.

Siskoid said...

TOS was very much made so that every episode was independent from every other. There are rarely if ever any references to past "continuity". A sign of the times, I guess.

The movies made extensive use of continuity, so by the 70s and 80s, we were living in a different entertainment reality.

Matthew Turnage said...

This is one of my all-time favorites. Phil Morris is greate as Remata'Klan.

Siskoid said...

Probably my favorite Jem'Hadar of all time.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

One of my favorite episodes of DS9- at least the Jem'hadar half. The station part really annoys me- it feels like the Bajorans were so scarred by the Occupation that they see EVERYTHING as the Occupation. They treated the Federation that way, and now here's Kira calling herself a collaborator. But she is 'collaborating' (per orders and treaty) with a power her people has made peace with, that works with her and gives the Bajorans equality.

Maybe the Cardassian Occupation started that way, too- but this situation feels VERY different, and the idea of a 'resistance' against an allied power... well, it makes the Bajorans feel like that crazy guy in the woods stockpiling guns and muttering to himself "Can't trust those Rusky SOBs, they're gonna turn on us- gotta start hitting 'em where ti counts" because he's stuck on the Cold War. (Though with current sentiments toward Russia, perhaps that's a bad example. :-) )

It just seems like the Bajorans can't tell the difference between a hostile force enslaving them, and an allied (if unloved) power with whom they have a treaty SPECIFICALLY to avoid violence or reprisals. I dunno; I suppose the French Resistance operated under similar conditions? Either way, it feels like they have really short memories about why they're NOT fighting the Dominion, and trying to find a way to fight them anyway- which rather invites the true, hostile occupation that they seem to fear.


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