Sunday, 10 August 2014

Move Along Home written by Frederick Rappaport, Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci (three writers – really?) and directed by David Carson

What’s it about: A new species from the Gamma Quadrant visits the Station and they have a little game they want to play…

Single Father: Sisko is the first person who has ever looked pretty damn hot in his dress uniform – forgive me but Picard always rather alarmingly used to look like he was wearing a dress. There are some more wonderful moments between Sisko and Jake here and they share the inevitable moment in every parents life when they have to discuss sex. To Sisko's dismay Nog got there first. If there is one thing Avery Brooks always acts passionately about in the first couple of years it is the father/son scenes, both he and Cirroc Lofton nail this relationship and they have a very natural chemistry. I am perfectly convinced that they have had father/son relationship off screen as well.

Community Leader: The look in Quark’s eyes when he realises he can exploit the first new race through the Gamma Quadrant is priceless. Armin Shimmerman reveals how good his comic timing is as Quark looks distinctly unimpressed by the sticks and almost spits out the alpha currant nectar as wagers for a game of Dabo. Quark is forced into the very uncomfortable position of having to choose one of the players to be sacrificed which Shimmerman has no choice but to overact because the scene is written so over the top. He's still hlarious though, it and it isn't the most OTT we would see the character (that is reserved for season six's Profit & Lace).

Tasty Terrorist: Has somebody told Nana Visitor that her ass looks big in her costume or something because Kira is far more argumentative and fiery than usual in Move Along Home. I do love the scene where she tells Sisko that she didn’t sign up for Federation adventures of exploration – a bit like Neelix’s complaints in season one of Voyager but more convincing because with Kira you get the impression that if you piss her off she will bite your nose of. Neelix would probably just poison the leola root stew. As they start working their way through the Shaps you can tell that Kira is getting a taste of an explorers life. She has a major (geddit) strop during the laughter sequence, pretty much as hysterically angry as we will ever see her. 

GE Doctor: Bashir really is an annoying squirt in the first season isn’t he? Siddig is clearly still settling into the role and his mincing scream attack against the wall is another head in hands moment for the audience. ‘Madam this is no laughing matter!’ – they are still trying to write Bashir as an upper class British toff. How camp does Bashir look when he flattens himself against the wall as the spheres consume him? It's like they don't want us to like him.

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘One mans priceless is another mans worthless!’
‘Dad I’m fourteen!’ ‘I’m glad we agree on something.’
‘Oh is that Starfleet policy?’ ‘That’s right!’ ‘Well I’m not in Starfleet!’ – I love Odo!
‘That’s not what you said when you were grovelling on the floor…’ ‘Oh that’s right you were there for the grovelling.’ 

The Good: The Wadi might be another humanoid species with only a tattoo on the forehead to distinguish them from any standard race in the Alpha Quadrant but at least their game offers something uniquely alien an imaginative. I was pretty much sold on the idea of the game because of the incredible pull back of Sisko on the geometrically patterned floor – it’s a hypnotically well executed scene. Nice to see the Doctor Who method of walking down the same corridor and using the same room redressed is still in place in television. Actually to give director David Carson his credit he does manage to convince through some careful camerawork that the corridors are a maze. I love the spheres that attack, the episode should have had far more surprises of this nature. There’s a nice slow motion shot of Sisko, Dax and Kira falling from a cliff edge. 

The Bad: Primmon once again is about as appealing as genital warts. Imagine, if you will, that you first tuned into DS9 during the Allermaraine sequence that sees four of the senior officers dancing and saluting across the screen. The smoking room test is trying a bit too hard to be weird and none of the actors manage a coughing fit very convincingly.

Moment to Watch Out For: The look on Avery Brooks’ face when he has to perform the ‘Allermaraine’ rhyme and hopscotch dance! It might be Nana Visitor who says this is not what I signed up for but the feeling behind that sentiment is exemplified in Brooks’ pained expression. 

Only DS9: I cannot imagine a character in any other Trek show daring to try and bribe an alien species with some nookie: ‘Do you know what a holosuite is? Do you have sex on your world?’ 

Myth Building: The first formal reception for a species from the Gamma Quadrant.

Result: Move Along Home doesn’t quite come off but it exemplifies DS9’s willingness to experiment with some pretty quirky episodes. Visually the story is quite distinctive but none of the tests that the crew are put through would test a five year old so the risk that is suggested is never really felt. Once again the alien characters on this show impress with Odo and Quark providing some great moments and Avery Brooks continues to lighten up as Sisko. The last act descends into a mundanely shot trek through some standard cave sets but you have to admire the sheer cheek of the ‘its only a game’ punchline that proves that nobody was ever in any danger in the first place. It’s a really odd piece, sporadically very good, occasionally risible and incomparable with anything else this series has delivered. Again this is precisely the sort of thing they dropped when the series expanded its mythology: 6/10

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