The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"What You Leave Behind"

by David E. Sluss

5 June 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: I'd hoped it wouldn't happen this way, but feared that it would; this episode is a mess, reflecting all of the time wasted earlier this season.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.0

POOR PLANNING OF THE WEEK: Or of the season. Or of the series, even. All through DS9's closing arc, it looked as though the Dominion and Bajor stories were linked together in some way. And that was certainly hinted at in previous episodes over the years, such "Sacrifice of Angels," "Tears of the Prophets," and, most significantly, "Rapture," in which it was explicitly stated that (paraphrasing) "Bajor, the Orbs, the coming war with the Dominion," etc. were all inter-related. But in the end, the final episode reveals that these events have nothing to do with each other whatsoever. It leaves the impression that this episode was a hodge-podge of unrelated loose ends that the writers were desperately trying to wrap up in their last two hours of airtime. It's frankly insulting to think that the writers spent half of this season on irrelevant storylines about baseball, Las Vegas holograms, Ezri's personal problems, children with incurable diseases, and lost puppies, only to blunder through a rushed and disjointed finale. Ideally, the Dominion War should have been over two or three weeks ago, with the remaining episodes devoted to aftermath and the Bajor story, including little details like admitting Bajor into the Federation, which was DS9's stated mission in the first place. Instead the stories are crammed together into Star Trek's A-B story format, doing a disservice to both of them.

COWARDICE OF THE WEEK: The recurring characters were dropping like flies here, but, not surprisingly, all of the regulars managed to survive. Come on, Powers That Be, wake up: there ain't gonna be any movies...

LETDOWN OF THE WEEK: After weeks (years, even) of build-up on the Pah-Wraith front, it turns out all Sisko needs to do is torch a dusty old book to make it All Better. Open questions abound. For instance, if the Fire Caves are a prison for the Pah-Wraiths, and the book is the key, why was there a key in the first place, and who made it? Did the Prophets intend to let the Pah-Wraiths out on parole after a certain amount of time (not that they understand time, of course)? Did the imprisoned Pah-Wraiths mind-control some starving writer into writing the book? If so, there's no reason why it couldn't happen again. And how does any of the Pah-Wraith business square with last season's "The Reckoning," in which an event billed as the Final Battle between Good Glowing-Eye Possessed Bodies and Evil Glowing-Eye Possessed Bodies was short-circuited? I don't recall the Book of the Kostawhatsit being of any importance then.

LETDOWN OF THE WEEK FIRST RUNNER-UP: Aside from the episode as a whole, the lack of Federation membership for Bajor, and the previous paragraph, I'd have to say it's the Breen, who, apparently, really are just schmucks with helmets, as I wrote weeks ago ("'Til Death Do Us Part"). The various suggestions that the Breen were Not What They Seem, such as Weyoun's comments in "The Changing Face of Evil," amounted to bupkis. A dropped thread, or a deliberate jag-off by the writers? You decide.

LETDOWN OF THE WEEK SECOND RUNNER-UP: A couple of the deaths weren't particularly well-handled. Given the amount of build-up Damar has gotten over the last several weeks, his death was shrugged off rather cavalierly by nearly everyone. Weyoun's death seemed a little odd for at least a couple of reasons. First, for all of Garak's talk about revenge, it didn't seem right for him to kill Weyoun with a clean, painless phaser blast. Second, it was practically played for laughs ("I wish you hadn't done that"), although I guess it is kind of laughable that four Weyouns have died just this season. Oh, and what's this about Weyoun 8 being the last clone? Wouldn't his genetic material still be in stock in the Gamma Quadrant, where his first through fourth or fifth incarnations were presumably spawned?

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE OF THE WEEK: Let me take a break from the unrelenting negativity here, and praise one thing which I though was handled particularly well, namely the various "bunker" scenes on Cardassia Prime. You can just see Weyoun and the Female Changeling losing it more and more with each scene, as new reverses are dealt them and their world collapses around them. This is brought home particularly well when the Female Changeling uncharacteristically resorts to physical violence and attacks Broca, the Cardassian puppet leader. Now, back to our regularly scheduled hatchet-job...

RECYCLING OF THE WEEK: Sisko can feel that there's some misaligned doohickey in the New Defiant. That's straight out of Star Trek: Insert Erection, and was pointless filler to boot.

BUDGET-CUTTING OF THE WEEK: Aside from the use of tacky clip-show footage, which as characterization goes is about as subtle as a two-by-four to the head, I'll go with the various "Celestial Temple" scenes, all of which featured the white background. I guess they couldn't afford that orange Saran Wrap that is usually placed over the camera for Prophet visions...

OLD ACQUAINTANCE FORGOTTEN OF THE WEEK (TIE): Gee, Worf must have gotten the "Kurn treatment" so that he could forget all about being married to Jadzia Dax. Otherwise how could he not have encountered her during his walk down Clip-show Lane? I know, I know, then they'd have to pay residuals to Terry Farrell. But come on: Worf was married and widowed on DS9; either drop the flashbacks entirely or cough up some dough for Farrell, but don't whitewash the marriage. Instead of Jadzia, we see a clip from "Our Man Bashir" of Worf smoking a cigar. One problem: in that scene, "Worf" was a holo-character that had merely taken on Worf's appearance; the real Worf would have no memory of it!

OLD ACQUAINTANCE FORGOTTEN OF THE WEEK (TIE): You'd think Sisko could take the (non-linear) time to say goodbye to his son, and not just Kasidy. This is especially true considering the obvious attempt to play up the "Visitor" angle here, including Dennis McCarthy's use of music from "The Visitor" during Sisko's final chat with Kasidy and the closing scene of Kira watching over Jake.

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: Rosalind Chao, who turns up for the only time this season to deliver two lines. The sub-subplot of O'Brien leaving doesn't work without a token appearance by his family, and so Chao must have had the Powers That Be by the Short and Curlies during contract discussions...

DOMINION UNINTELLIGENCE OF THE WEEK: Some people disagreed with my statement regarding last week's "The Dogs of War": "Apparently Dolly the Vorta and the Dominion really believed that Dumb-Ar and his companions were dead." This week, I'm proven correct. Nya-Nya!

POOR PRIORITIZATION OF THE WEEK: Starfleet Academy offers O'Brien a position which he will begin "after the war." Right. And I suppose West Point was headhunting among troops in Europe in 1944...

GOOD FORTUNE OF THE WEEK: A Jem-Hadar bomb blows up practically in Garak's face. When we see him in custody a short time later, he doesn't have a scratch on him, and his clothes are in perfect condition. Sure, he's a tailor, but still...

FORGETFULNESS OF THE WEEK: Why does Odo need to talk the Female Changeling into ordering her ships to stand down? He could impersonate her perfectly, as he did in "Tacking into the Wind," and make the phone call himself.

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Jem'Hadar goons haul Broca out of the Bunker. Time passes, apparently hours. The Jem'Hadar finally get him to the exit and toss him out of the building just as Damar and company are waiting, behind conveniently placed barrels. It would have been better if Garak's bomb had simply worked, and it would have spared us that truly bizarre scene of Damar, Kira, and Garak laughing hysterically.

MUSICAL SELECTION OF THE WEEK: I admit I can't think of an alternative (and that I would have preferred not to have the scene in the first place), but I really didn't think "The Way You Look Tonight" was appropriate for Vic's au revior to the crew. Except for the "wrinkle your nose" line aimed at Kira, it really doesn't seem to fit.

THREE STRIKES AND YOUR OUT OF THE WEEK: Worf suggests Minsk as a place for O'Brien to live three times. Hey, Behr, it wasn't funny the first time; why would it by funny the third?
  

Previous: "The Dogs of War"
FAREWELL OF THE WEEK: Except for the seventh season summary, this is the end of the Cynics Corner as far as DS9 is concerned. It's been a pleasure serving you.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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