Thursday, January 24, 2008

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.


mwbworld 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.