The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Valiant"

by David E. Sluss

10 May 1998

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: "Valiant" is one of the least-memorable DS9 episodes this season. Most of this year's shows have been memorable, either for good, or, more commonly, unfortunately, for ill, but this episode went right through me.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.0 (D-)

TRIAL BALLOON OF THE WEEK: Rumors continue to fly that the next Star Trek Series will be "Starfleet Acadamy." Could this episode be a pilot of sorts for that concept? If so, I sure hope the developers aren't too attached to their characters, all but one of whom are as dead as Julius Caesar.

DEMOTION OF THE WEEK: Dax, who, a couple of weeks ago, was demoted to Lieutenant. This week, she's demoted to Chief Petty Officer. By the time she exits the show, she'll be outranked by Cadet Collins (Moongirl).

ABSENTEE B-STORY OF THE WEEK: I was pretty terrified that we would be "treated" to one of DS9's less than impressive B-stories, this time about Quark's unrequited love for Dax. Special commendation to DS9's writers, and a couple of extra CC points, for avoiding that disgusting trap.

COSTUMING ERROR OF THE WEEK: I noticed that "Lt. Cmdr" Nog wore only two pips. I guess that Dead Squad is so green that they don't know Starfleet's rank insignia system.

COSTUMING ERROR OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: The Defiant dressed up as the Valiant, but didn't quite pull it off. In a couple of "beauty passes," the Defiant's NX registry can be seen on the Valiant's warp nacelles.

ALL-DAY SUCKER OF THE WEEK: It's hard to believe that Nog would fall hook, line, and sinker for Captain Koresh and his cult, especially when Jake, the most naive person in the Quadrant, could see right through them. I know that Nog has been shown to respect Dead Squad, in the "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" two-parter, but he also, in that story, assisted Sisko in an investigation which revealed Dead Squad's complicity in Admiral Evil's attempted coup. I just don't see Nog being so enamored with Dead Squad that he would become such a blindly loyal stooge. And while I'm on the subject of Nog, it occurs to me that he abandoned his DS9 post to join the Valiant crew. I'm sure he'll be punished. After all, Worf always gets busted for his illegal actions...

PLAGIARISM OF THE WEEK: How about that Dominion Death Star, whose introduction was accompanied by dialogue seemingly lifted verbatim from "Star Wars" and/or "Return of the Jedi." The MSTers are going to have a field day with this one. And, of course, the Dominion Death Star has a Fatal Flaw (you'd think eventually these Evil Empires would learn to build things without fatal flaws...), and we get a Close Fly-by so that First Officer Wooden can use the Force to hit the Fatally-Flawed Target. I'll tell you, though, while the looks on Dead Squad's faces as they saw the Death Star emerge unharmed from the explosion and saw their impending doom were priceless, there is something about that sequence which is as phony as a three-dollar bill. Two torpedos hit the Fatally-Flawed Target; the Valiant flies under the hull of the Death Star as a series of huge explosions seem to tear out the bottom of the mammoth ship; the Death Star is completely enveloped by flame; but it emerges completely undamaged? So what the hell was exploding? Another thing about the Death Star is that despite its size and fearsome profile, it didn't seem to be any more powerful than your run of the mill Dominion fighter. It still took 20 or 30 torpedo hits to destroy the Valiant.

AVOIDED TECHNOBABBLE OF THE WEEK: Extra points for First Officer Wooden's non-explanation of the failure of their plan: "It just -- it didn't work." Thankfully, Dead Squad was killed before the fact that the <tech> supports had been reinforced with <tech> particles to protect them from <tech> radiation could be revealed.

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: I noted the presence of several Vulcans in the Valiant crew. I guess Koresh's suicide mission didn't seem illogical to them, nor did the "Dead Squad Chant" which they participated in vigorously.

ENVIRONMENTAL INCORRECTNESS OF THE WEEK: The guest-stars featured more cardboard than a UPS transit station. Captain Koresh fared the best, though not terrifically, as the pill-popping egomaniac. The rest of the crew included:

  • Shepard: The Goon
  • Wooden: The Hard-bitten Leader-type (trying to be Shelby)
  • Collins: The Homesick Heart-of-Gold Type

I didn't find the characterization or acting of the Dead Squad crew to be very compelling, and I certainly wasn't upset to see them slaugtered wholesale.

BAD LUCK OF THE WEEK: Near the end, all systems on the Valiant are disabled -- except for Jake's force-field.

GOOD LUCK OF THE WEEK: The Dominion is targeting life-pods now, which is pretty cold, and they got all but one, the one that contains Our Heroes. That's pushing it a little.
   

Previous: "The Reckoning"
Next: "Profit and Lace"
NEXT WEEK: What a drag indeed....

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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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