Thursday, 11 September 2014

Melora written by Evan Carols Somers, Steven Baum, Michael Piller & James Crocker (anyone else?) and directed by Winrich Kolbe

What’s it about: Bashir falls in love with his latest patient…

GE Doctor: Bashir can’t resist a damsel in distress, even one who would be insulted if she thought that was how she was considered. I really admired Bashir for heading to Melora’s quarters and showing her how she insults everybody to keep them at bay. Sometimes you have to face things head on and tell people they are being a right arse. This is the first time we hear the story of why Bashir became a Doctor but he spins a different tale in Armageddon Game and then another one in The Quickening which would seem very remiss of the writers until they reveal in Dr Bashir, I Presume why his story keeps changing and what he was hiding. As far as Trek romances go, this isn't too vomt inducing and Bashir proves to be quite a gentle romantic lead. 

Community Leader: To be fair to Quark he does try every avenue to appease Fallit, throwing exquisite cuisine, free gambling and sex at the guy. Odo’s smile when Quark tells him Fallit has threatened to kill him is lovely. Poor Quark, he’s just about to broker his most lucrative deal of the year (and its all legal too!) and along comes his a shadow from his past to snatch it away.

The Little Mermaid: Daphne Ashbrook gives a full bloodied performance in what must have been quite a demanding role – as written Melora is quite a difficult character but she manages to bring a great deal of humanity to the character. Melora is such a believable character but I don’t know if she is much of a likable one. On the one hand I love the way she is determined to adapt to new environments once her basic requirements are met (my mother belongs to a disability social group and trust me the demands that people make are extraordinary, expecting rather than requesting) but on the other hand she takes things far too personally as though every conversation regarding her disability is an insult. She objects to being treated as though she is ill but that isn’t what is happening and Sisko gives her a good touch of cold water to the face to remind her that what she perceives as people walking on eggshells around her is just a normal personnel conversation. She dreamed of exploring the stars when she was young and she wasn’t going to allow a handicap to stop her. She is her own worst enemy, heading off into areas where she clearly cannot cope. 

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘Then afterwards we’ll go dancing’ ‘Oooh red alert!’
‘You people sell pieces of yourself after you die, don’t you?’ ‘Yes’ ‘I’ll buy one.’

Dreadful Dialogue: ‘My heart is pounding’ ‘I would like to think that has more to do with me…’ – oh vomit.

The Good: Who wouldn’t want to be able to experience the low gravity quarters? The Klingon restaurant owner is a brilliant touch of madness. I love how he tosses the food over his shoulder so violently when told it is half dead and then bites the money that Bashir gives him to prove it is authentic. He even sings! A shame he wasn’t around more. 

The Bad: Whilst it is nice to be introduced to some of Quark’s nefarious past I’m not sure if this is the best way to go about it. Peter Crombie fails to convince in any way as an ex con that has returned to kill Quark after selling him out, being too softly spoken and delicate to make an impact. The approach to this b plot is far too light and if you were going to have fun with Quark dodging death they could have been far more in-yer-face about it (go and watch Body Parts for a good example ‘ ‘Garak? If you’re in here...I’m not going to be surprised!’). How does Fallit’s stupid nose and mouth work anyway? It’s the daftest piece of design since the big furry monster in The Dauphin. Melora does have a very good point – what kind of architect does design a raised rim at every door? The conversation between Melora and Dax in the runabout belongs in a daytime soap (it’s the sort of trashy nonsense they usually give Troi and Dr Bev to talk about whilst exercising together) and coining long distance relationships as ‘love across light years’ made me wince. The writers don’t trust us to get the illusion and so there is a handy reminder by Dax that this is a riff on The Little Mermaid. There is absolutely no reason for Fallit to kill the guy and steal the money unless he happens to like being on the run…or the episode needed a dull jeopardy plot because it didn’t trust itself to be interesting enough on the strength of its ideas. Melora being shot fails on two levels; one the execution isn’t gripping enough to make an impact and two the get out clause is highly implausible. Surely this episode wasn’t written just to justify the awkwardly realised Melora-flies-through-the-runabout conclusion? 

Moment to Watch Out For: The sequence where Bashir and Melora glide about her quarters is very well done although I almost went blind when Bashir’s crotch came flying towards the camera. Imagine being how to snog and fly like that? It would be the ultimate sensory experience.

Result: No where near as bad as I remembered but still a step down from the quality of the opening episodes, Melora raises some interesting issues about being disabled in the future but confined to one episode they don’t really make much of an impact. It would have been far more effective if Melora had remained aboard DS9 for some time to see this intriguing angle flourish. It’s not as agonising as you would imagine watching Bashir getting all moon eyed over her and they actually share a number of nice scenes together, although even DS9 cannot resist a fair amount of pukey romantic dialogue. Letting the episode down terribly is the abysmal Quark subplot which comes from nowhere, fails to gain any impetus and crashes into the main plot with embarrassing clumsiness. For the first 20 minutes this chugs along nicely enough but by the end the whole exercise feels very tiresome: 5/10

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