The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Siege of AR-558"

by David E. Sluss

23 November 1998

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Say, that was pretty good. There were problems, natch, but it was a decent outing for DS9, and more importantly, gentle reader, you won't have to hear me hollering: "Why don't we see the war!" Well, this week, anyway...

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 8.3 (B)

FILLER OF THE WEEK: The teaser scene with Rom auditioning for Vic the Holosap, of course. It's bad enough to have time sucked away from "important" episodes by Vic the Holosap musical numbers (c.f. "Fear for the Profits," "Image in the Sand"), but this scene was beyond the pale, an unfunny "comedy relief" scene in an episode in which it didn't fit at all. And while I'm on the subject of Vic the Holosap and his music, while the song playing while Our Heroes were waiting for the Jem'Hadar attack made for a nice scene stylistically, I have to wonder why those Marines, so intent on hearing the enemy approach, didn't gut Bashir for playing music.

STOCK CHARACTERS OF THE WEEK: Well those Starfleet Marines seemed to have walked right out of central casting, didn't they? And they might as well have had "I will die" or "I will survive" stamped onto their foreheads, as it was pretty obvious who would live and who wouldn't. Oh, well, at least you could have fun coming up with the isomorphism between these characters and your favorite "Aliens" marines.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: I fully expected to have Avery Brooks going nuts this week, given the subject matter, but he was fairly reserved and effective during the siege scenes. If anything, he may have underplayed it.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Ezri was both useful and unannoying this week. But the writers still seem to be writing for Jadzia; why else would they be using her as an engineer, when these Marines seemed to need counseling, Ezri's specialty, as much as anything?

MESSAGE OF THE WEEK: Did everyone get the moral of the story, that War Is Bad, and Real People Get Hurt? I sure hope so, because the "framing sequence" regarding Sisko's reading of the casualty reports is about as subtle as a two-by-four to the groin.

STARFLEET UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: Considering how important the Dominion communication gizmo was billed to be, Starfleet doesn't seem to be adequately defending AR-558. You'd think having a Starship in orbit would be warranted, so that the Jem'Hadar can't just fly in and beam troops down with impunity. And you'd think Starfleet would have better weaponry. Whatever happened to those classic Original Series phasers anyway? Back in the good old days, even a pissant palm phaser could disintegrate a humanoid, and could stun an entire group on a wide dispersal setting. That sure would have put an end to this episode in a hurry.

DOMINION UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: The Jem'Hadar's mindless frontal assault. Has it ever been explained why the Jem'Hadar become visible before attacking? Even if the phasers don't work when they are "cloaked" for whatever technobabble reason, an invisible Jem'Hadar with a good knife could wreak havoc in the Starfleet ranks. They're not exactly the brains of the Dominion operation, but you'd think they could come up with a better tactic.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE WEEK: I certainly hope that Nog's injury is addressed at some point (i.e. I hope that a new bionic leg won't instantaneously and totally reset it). Otherwise, it's hard to see the long-term impact of this episode, unless something comes of Starfleet's possession of the communications array.
  

Previous: "Once More
Unto the Breach
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Next: "Covenant"
NEXT WEEK: Welcome to Dukat-town; have some Kanar!

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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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