The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


by David E. Sluss

17 October 1998

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"Get out of here, before I say something unkind...."

THE BOTTOM LINE: Standard fare. The soap-operaish elements are largely kept in check, thankfully. But this episode manages the nearly impossible: making Garak almost totally uninteresting.


TREK THEME OF THE WEEK: Phobias. Namely Neelix's "nihilophobia" in Voyager's "Night" and Garak's claustrophobia here. I guess Star trek really is cannibalizing itself.

SUDS OF THE WEEK: Well the Ezri/Worf story was a lot less unpleasant than I figured it would be (high praise from the Cynic). The conversation between Ezri and Worf was surprisingly mature and effective. Kudos for not whitewashing things with the "We'll be friends again" button.

DUDS OF THE WEEK: Ezri and Garak. Ezri was not as annoying as she was last week, but I am not sold on this character at all, and I am not finding Nicole deBoer's work to be very convincing. Now I have not seen any of deBoer's other work, but as near as I can tell, she is trying to emulate Terry Farrell's portrayal as Dax which is a bad thing for at least three reasons: 1) She isn't pulling it off; 2) It isn't necessary, because Ezri can and should be different from Jadzia; 3) Terry Farrell is not the best choice for an actor to emulate. I'm going to give deBoer a couple more weeks before making my final judgment, but frankly in this episode she made Avery Brooks look pretty good, and that's alarming to say the least. On the Garak front, there's nothing wrong with Andrew Robinson, but the material he was given was not very strong. Garak going nuts has been done before (and done better) in "The Wire," and this claustrophobia by way of guilt over treason is indeed "insipid psychobabble." But of course Garak is Just Fine by episode's end, so I guess it doesn't really matter.

CRIMINAL ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: I am getting tired of Worf's bullshit. Here he is assaulting and threatening a fellow officer, namely Bashir. It is way past time to put this career criminal in the stockade for good. Oh, and one other thing about our favorite felon...

CLICHE OF THE WEEK: I got a cynical smile out of a bit that has become something of a "canned scene" for Trek, namely Worf turning his back to his listener and assuming the "Worf is about to share his True Feelings" pose at the beginning of his little talk with Ezri, something which has been used repeatedly since its debut in The Next Generation ("The Emissary," "Family," etc.)

BAD OMEN OF THE WEEK: I don't like the looks of the continuing loserfest with Julian and Quark pining over Jadzia, and now competing for Ezri. That's a poor excuse for character development. At least they didn't call up the Vic Fontaine hologram.

ARC TEST OF THE WEEK: I'll be shocked if Starfleet's Callandra campaign is ever brought up again. I guess we'll see whether the writers have learned anything about arc storytelling since the mistakes of last season. Of course the arc concept (and the "videonovel" myth that some are championing) looks to be sorely tested in the very near future...

Previous: "Shadows and Symbols"
Next: "Take Me Out
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NEXT WEEK: Sure there's a war on, but there's always time for baseball! I'll be sure to bring my bat.



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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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