The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Penumbra"

by David E. Sluss

13 April 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: An episode consisting mainly of set-up, too much so, perhaps, with the sound of chess pieces being moved around becoming perceptible at times, and marred in a couple of places by dreadful acting, this show still manages to whet the appetite for what is to come. Let's hope it's worth it.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

BAD ACTING OF THE WEEK: As if to take the pressure off Avery Brooks, two guest stars turned in teeth-grinding performances this week: the "actress" portraying the Bajoran girl who wants to be in Sisko's wedding, and Deborah Lacey as Sarah. The former is just a kid, and I guess I can cut her some slack, but Lacey really blew it. In trying to sound enigmatic, she wound up coming across like a stroke victim reading cue cards.

OLD HAT OF THE WEEK: Dax and Worf yell at each other, then get in a Big Clinch and do the pole dance. Yawn... To say nothing about Yet Another Ezri-heavy Show (and another lingering Ezri-in-lingerie shot). Tick, tock, tick tock, aren't there more worthwhile things that could be done with these final ten hours?

CHEMISTRY OF THE WEEK: None that I can find, either in the Ezri/Worf tryst, or the Sisko/Yates engagement. The latter relationship has never really worked, in my opinion, largely due to acting on the part of both Brooks and Johnson, and although this episode was better than many in this regard, it still doesn't play. Just look at that kiss; they act like they can't stand each other!

DUB OF THE WEEK: Am I the only one to notice the doctored Runabout dialogue? Ezri's Runabout is called the Ganda. However, watch Ezri's lips, or read the closed-captioning, when she replies to Sisko's hail, and you'll see her call it "Ganges." Now, long-time viewers will recall that the Ganges was one of DS9's first Runabouts. Presumably, it was destroyed years ago, and someone caught the error very late in the production of this episode. Good catch, though a rather trivial one, I suppose...

DISHONOR OF THE WEEK: Is this the first mention of "escape pods" on Klingon ships? Doesn't that strike anyone as strange? It seems to me that Klingons would go down with the ship rather than try to escape in a "cowardly" fashion. "Klingon honor," I guess, is whatever a given episode's writer wants it to be, and ranges anywhere from "It's okay to stab helpless prisoners in the back" (c.f. Star Trek III: The Search for Plot) to "Don't jag off the in-laws" (c.f. last year's "You Are Hopefully Inebriated")

CROSS-PROMOTION OF THE WEEK: The mention of the So'na; I guess the video release date of Insurrection must be soon...

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: Star Trek's Powers That Be sure get a lot of mileage out of that "Badlands bonfire" F/X, don't they? It seems like any time there's a ship lost, or people to find, they are "somewhere in the badlands."

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: What the hell did they make that Breen ship out of? It looks like an old toilet seat encrusted in aluminum foil...
  

Previous: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
Next: "'Til Death Us Do Part"
NEXT WEEK (and every subsequent week, undoubtedly): The Fate of the Entire Alpha Quadrant Is in Sisko's Hands!

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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