The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"A Time To Stand"

by David E. Sluss

28 October 1997

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Starfleet finds itself getting its butt kicked by the Dominion. Meanwhile, on Terok Nor, life goes on. A strong episode, when viewed in microcosm, but it's hurt by a significant disconnect with last season's finale.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 8.0 (B-)

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: The much-discussed three-month gap between "Call To Arms" and this episode. While this show is a powerful one, and this six-week arc that it kicks off has the potential to be terrific, in many ways, this episode isn't good as a followup to "Call To Arms," due largely to the time gap. Last season's finale left us with a rather novel type of cliffhanger, in which the "villains" are faltering while the protagonists seem to have the upper hand, with a mammoth fleet of ships coming to spill Dominion blood. "A Time To Stand" opens by showing that impressive armada reduced to a "ragtag fugitive fleet." Especially when viewed back to back with "Call To Arms," a lot seems disconnected. Dolly the Vorta (a.k.a. Weyoun-Beta) fretted that the Dominion was vulnerable until the minefield could be brought down; it doesn't seem to have hurt them. Rom is on the station spying for Starfleet; he's nowhere to be found. Worf and Dax had a tearful farewell, perhaps for the last time; now they're reunited, none the worse for wear, with dialogue indicating they've seen each other repeatedly over the preceding three months. Jake's been writing news accounts for three months; he's only now finding out that Dolly has been round-filing them? Jem'Hadar goons have been visiting Quark's for three months; he's only now figuring out that they don't eat, drink, or masturbate? On and on. I suspect that the writers would like for this arc to have been even longer, but that the suits vetoed it. A longer arc might have allowed us to see how and why Starfleet wound up in this losing position. If suit interference is to blame, I sympathize, but I've got to judge what's on the screen, and it's very jarring to be dropped into this arc in medias res.

SPATIAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: The Starfleet attack force is so far away that it will take hours for a message from them to get to the starbase, but Sisko can talk to Pop in real time (during wartime yet)? I suppose the starbase could be in Earth orbit...

OVERKILL OF THE WEEK: A hundred-odd starships wiped out? How many ships does Starfleet have? I mean, just a few years ago, the forty ships lost at Wolf 359 was considered a huge loss. Now, that seems like a bloody nose.

CHANGELING WATCH OF THE WEEK: Well, someone has to be a Changeling, right? This week's candidates are Joseph Sisko, who may have escaped detection in "Paradise Lost," and Admiral Wooden (not to be confused with General Wooden from Babylon 5's "Endgame"), although he is so expressionless that he almost has to be a red herring. On the other hand, even a fish can't act that poorly...

SUCKER OF THE WEEK: Dolly the Vorta, for believing Dukat's BS story that they're doing everything they can to bring down the minefield. [At the time, I believed that Dukat was loafing on the minefield, hoping to get rid of the Dominion after taking power; after seeing "Behind the Lines," I'm not so sure.]

CHUMP OF THE WEEK: Jake Sisko. "What about freedom of the press?" I have to go with Dolly on this one. How could he be that naive?

BELATED CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: "The Ship." Many speculated that DS9 (the station) did so well in battle in "Call to Arms" because of information that Starfleet had gleaned from that captured vessel. Only now do we see evidence that The Ship was even studied.

PLOT CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Starfleet's been studying The Ship for a year, but there is no one who knows how to fly it, and they must take an extra two weeks training Sisko, et al? Hello, McFly!

PLOT CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: The Dominion keeps all (or most) of the Ketrecel White in one place? Hello, McFly!

UNEXPECTED CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: Bashir's brazen use of his genetically- enhanced skills. All the naysayers who claimed that the revelations of "Dr. Bashir, I Presume" would never be mentioned again are eating their hats. Would you like some salsa with that?

UNEXPLAINED MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: So, why did that bomb go off early?

STAR WARS HOMAGE OF THE WEEK: The enemy fails to recognize the Shuttle Tyderium as a stolen vessel, and allows it to go through the energy shield.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Is it The Ship's new View-Master headsets, which, for no explained reason, look completely different than before? No; it's the time-delay reset button evidently being used during this arc. It reminds one of those old ads for Contac time-release capsules.
   

Next: "Rocks and Shoals" NEXT WEEK: "Rocks and Shoals"

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This review is copyright 1997 David E. Sluss
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