Star Trek 365: Starship Down

365. Starship Down

FORMULA: Disaster + The Wrath of Khan

WHY WE LIKE IT: Worf on command. Kira on the Emissary.

WHY WE DON'T: The laughaton over the torpedo. Hahaha indeed.

REVIEW: Deep Space 9's version of Disaster is, as most DS9 episodes are, a character driven story, an excuse, if you will, to advance certain characters' relationships. Most important among these is Sisko and Kira's, which is particularly well done considering that Sisko is on the verge of passing out through most of it. Starship Down addresses the idea that Kira actually reveres Sisko as the Emissary, and that may be why he keeps her at arm's length. When he is severely injured, she has to keep him awake in a very sweet sequence in which both actors give touching performances. Gone are the days when these two would go at it from opposite sides of a table. A great bond has grown between them.

Since the situation is dire and only a desperate plan can save the ship, Worf gets to take command of the crew and learn a thing or two. O'Brien's softer touch is contrasted with Worf's demanding exactitude in scenes that are sometimes funny, though it makes it seem like Worf never had crew under him as Chief of Security on the Enterprise. Maybe engineers are just cut from a different cloth. Speaking of which, note the first appearance of Muniz here, a sympathetic crewman who'll appear again in a larger role. It's nice to see some "little people" get some strong roles when some of the main crew get taken out.

Dax and Bashir get some closure on Season 1's flirtations, which shows how their relationship has grown and reveals what each one was thinking at the time, but there's little time fo them. Quark gets the actual other third of the show, and since he co-stars with the great James Cromwell (as the Karemma trader), we can't argue. Quark's tried to fleece the Karemma and now it's all about protecting his own hide and his lucrative contracts. More than anything, that's what's got Quark worried here. He does get to show off his skill with rhetoric, his charms, and a certain measure of courage.

The disaster itself isn't badly staged, though the final solution is slightly lacking tension for some reason. Strange given that there's plenty of tension through the whole thing, thanks in part to a creeky submarine-like atmosphere. Some of the dangers are limited by technology and budget, as well as dramatic convenience, such as the fluorine gases swamping the ship, but not turning down corridors, or the rubbish torpedo embedded in the mess hall wall. Seems like anything that could puncture the hull this way would cause a lot more damage.

LESSON: Part of being a leader is knowing when to let your guard down.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Some of the dangers are patently ridiculous, but they take a back seat to well-written character drama.