Star Trek 441: Chrysalis

441. Chrysalis

FORMULA: Statistical Probabilities + Melora

WHY WE LIKE IT: The musical number.

WHY WE DON'T: Bashir never learns.

REVIEW: Bashir miraculously saves a patient from a severe handicap and falls for here, but she is fated to leave him with a broken heart. Where have I heard that one before? Yes, it's really just Melora with autism, but Chrysalis is a much better episode by virtue of 1) Sarina being a sympathetic character, 2) 6 years of added development to Bashir's character have made us care about his loneliness, and 3) the musical number.

I've seen music used as the soundtrack of a character's heart before, and it is very well used here as Bashir's. When the mutants improvise a song based on musical scales, it not only helps us fall for Sarina ourselves, but is beautiful and cleverly done regardless of context. Honestly, I've often fast-forwarded to that moment just for the song. Uplifting and even moving. So even of the rest of the story relentlessly moves towards its inevitable ending, and the mutants essentially become a background against which Sarina's new self must be contrasted (their frenetic quest to prevent the universe from collapsing in 60 trillion years is a fun moment however), that single moment of musical purity makes Chrysalis worthy of note.

Not that the performances aren't well-judged. Sarina really does seem like a different character once she's "awakened", and the classic switch moments when her condition appears to have been reversed aren't cheesily played as cliffhangers. There's very real pathos here as the poor girl commits to Bashir out of gratitude and couldn't possibly have the maturity to understand what love actually is. Out of the very loneliness she sees in him, Julian somehow decides they should be together and forgets to ask her permission. And he learns that he must respect the freedom he's just given her. It's a fact of life O'Brien already knows, no DNA-enhanced intellect required.

LESSON: Bending the laws of the universe should be entirely possible once you've kicked Heinsenberg and Einstein's faces in.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium (with one High scene): Brilliant musical interlude aside, this is still a strong, but fairly predictable, episode.

10 comments:

Jayunderscorezero said...

Bizarrely, this is probably one of my favourite episodes. "Someone to Watch Over Me" is a guilty pleasure of mine too. I guess I'm just a huge sucker for 'Doctor troubled by unrequited love' storylines for some inexplicable reason.

Siskoid said...

There is, after all, a whole subgenre or romance called "Doctors in Love", so you can't be the only one.

Anonymous said...

wait, seriously?

this episode undoes the idea that muscial numbers have a place in ST that Vic Fontaine gave us, and thankfully gives us back (with a little of sisko's help) in a few epsodes. It's just that big of a train wreck, and a train wreck that never seems to end at that.

the only saving grace of the episode is that it becomes so bad that it's painfully entertaining to watch(ala the Ghost Rider movie)

thankfully it's still better then at least half of Enterprise, but that's not really praise.

Probably the first time i've entirely disagreed with one of your reviews so i thought i'd offer a different saner(kidding!) opinion.

Siskoid said...

While I stand by everything I've said, I really can't fault you for your opinion, Judas. That musical scene for me "works" and casts the rest of the episode in a positive light.

If it doesn't work for you, I agree there's not much there to sustain your interest.

Jayunderscorezero said...

When it comes to Star Trek in particular, I've always maintained that each episode has the potential to be someone's favourite and someone else's least favourite; largely due to a fanbase who can come to the show looking for/expecting greatly divergent things. The same goes for the various series.

My point is, I'm honestly surprised that you don't get "dissenters" like cardboardjudas with every episode.

Siskoid said...

Now if only you can find me someone who likes Shades of Gray or The Lights of Zetar to prove that hypothesis ;).

Jayunderscorezero said...

Well, I'm not entirely sure if they're being totally serious or not, but there are some "Shades of Grey" defenders who've posted their reviews on the imdb:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708772/

De said...

Two words why I like "The Lights of Zetar": Mira Romaine.

ROWRR! :-)

Siskoid said...

Mira Romaine making those creepy mouth movements...

GAG!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Yeah, you knew what was happening and where it was going to end up - but still I did kind of enjoy the journey.

 

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