Friday, 5 September 2014

The Siege written by Michael Piller and directed by Winrich Kolbe

What’s it about: Bajoran forces are coming to claim the station and Kira needs to get the evidence that the Cardassians are supplying the weapons to the Circle…

Single Father: Whereas Janeway left herself open to a whole world of hurt in The 37s by setting up her ‘those who want to stay behind’ numbers in the cargo bay, Sisko gets straight down to business in Ops by giving anybody the opportunity to get out while they can (and telling them all that he wouldn’t blame any one of them for doing so). Whilst his is almost shaming them into staying the net result is far more effective because you get a sense of solidarity in seeing these people agree to stay behind and together which wasn’t there when Janeway walked into an empty room. Sisko writes a letter to Jake just in case they don’t succeed so he knows this might be a fruitless effort to hold onto the Station. 

Young Sisko: Poor Jake, just when he has found a new home and new friend it always seems like he’s got to leave. The little hug between Jake and Nog is lovely. More of these two please.

Tasty Terrorist: It’s nice to see the sort of conditions Kira used to live in when she was fighting the Cardassians and the ships she used to have to fly (‘I’ve been in a lot worse!’). Witnessing Kira taking on the two Bajoran assault craft shows her terrorist instincts in the way that Chakotay’s Marquis training didn’t in Manuveres. As usual Kira is the one who suffers the most with a god-awful burn to her shoulder that melts through her uniform. 

Unknown Sample: Odo really is an effective weapon during wartime being able to slide out of walls and turn into ropes to trip people up. I would definitely want him on my side.

Nine Lives: Finally we have some decent screen time between Dax and Kira and they have a very relaxed, sisterly chemistry between them that is a joy to watch. Terry Farrell really seems to have come alive this season and is having a lot of fun with the role. Her scream as the giant spiders scuttle away from her made me titter (‘Is that a spider or a dog?’). Dax is far to used to Starfleet gadgets and gizmos that she has lost her natural instinct for survival and Kira takes it upon herself to show her some good old seat of the pants technology. Dax is disguised as a Bajoran and is thinking of keeping her wrinkly nose.

GE Doctor: Is it my imagination or is Dr Bashir a lot more tolerable this year? I know we haven’t seen a great deal of him but from the few scenes he gets in this episode he seems to have settled down a tad and matured a heck of a lot. Maybe they didn't quite get everybody right in season one, then.

The O’Briens: Keiko does have a very good point that O’Brien should put his family before his principles but it has been so long since we have seen her smile that I’m not surprised that he wants to risk death rather than evacuate with her. Harsh but true. 

Community Leader: Trust Quark to try and exploit the situation of having too many people to evacuate and not enough ships – only our favourite Ferengi would try and exploit peoples fear of dying for personal profit! Imagine if Neelix was this nefarious on Voyager? He would be so much more tolerable. I love how Odo and Quark can never quite be nice to each other and say that they’ll miss each other by laying down insults. After causing so much trouble it is brilliant that Rom sells Quark out and leaves him stranded whilst he runs off with a Dabo girl. It is always the quiet ones that you have to watch. 

Sparkling Dialogue: ‘The most strategic position in the entire sector. At the mouth of the Wormhole. Had I been a Federation Commander I wouldn’t have abandoned it so easily.’
‘Dead he’s a martyr, alive he seals our victory.’
‘Can you see any openings where we can put down?’ ‘Six kilometres ahead at two o’clock!’ ‘Anything a little closer?’ ‘How much closer? ‘How about…right here!’
‘Never make fun of a Ferengi’s mother!’ 

The Good: Morn is just the best character ever – he needs his own section so I’m going to give him one to highlight his appearances. Li Nalas makes his impassioned speech about not running away and staying and fighting the Bajoran military and Morn is in the background looking like he is deeply touched by all this and then jumps onto the evacuation craft as soon as possible anyway. God love him! I love how Winrich Kolbe sells the danger of the approaching Bajoran military in such an exciting way; a camera zooms around the station as the ships dock and we cut to armed men pouring out of the airlock and then some truly impressive low angle shots as the troops march onto the eerily vacant Promenade. Look at Winn’s face when Jaro holds her shoulders and promises her the position of Kai; she is practically licking her lips with hunger at the though of the role. Could you imagine anything worse than this woman becoming Kai? The irony of her actually getting the position despite her involvement in this coup is not lost on me (which of course she has to get in order for the events of the last episode of the series to bear fruit – but that’s a long way away yet). That rickety, vibrating old garbage can that Kira and Dax bring to life sure has a lot of character. The pay off to Kira’s orb experience comes (that feels like ages ago when in reality it was just the last episode – shows how much ground they have covered) when Dax is disguised as a Bajoran and Kira’s surrounded by arguing ministers. Winn’s little smile to Jaro as he walks off defeated, is beautiful. Watch this one, she might be gracing you with the nicest smile but her fingers are bleeding behind her back because she clutching a knife so tightly. 

The Bad: The puppet Polaku’s are hilariously bad but thankfully on screen for only a second. After the impressive take over of the station the pace of the episode slows until the primary sensor array is sabotaged when it probably would have made more sense to hit with immediate action. The gunfight on the Promenade is pretty but it doesn’t feel hectic or pacy enough to suggest real danger. Fancy fooling for that holosuite trick? No wonder this army were subdued by the Cardassians. Quark dragging his latinum along is needless padding. What a shame that we never saw Minister Jaro again – he was such a worthy foe. Li Nalas has become something of a spare part so there is nothing else that can be done with him but kill him off which makes me wonder what the point of the character was. Besides those ‘dive in front of a bullet’ scenes get on my nerves (although his parting line is wonderful). 

Moment to Watch Out For: Whoever decided to take the ship into orbit is a genius because it gives the episode a unique look and I love how the sunlight streams through the window as Kira dodges phaser blasts.

Only DS9: I realise this is cheating a bit but if you ever wanted to see what makes DS9 great go and watch the ‘previously on’ montage of clips at the beginning of this episode. It's fantastic.

Result: A very nice ensemble piece and a respectable, if not as spectacular as I hoped conclusion to the most ambitious of opening season storylines we have seen yet in Trek. Try saying that three times fast. My only real complaint is that the action that we get on the station doesn’t quite live up to its build up but that is more than compensated for by the awesome scenes of Kira and Dax having a cat fight in orbit of Bajor in the shuttle that time forgot. As usual there are a wealth of great character moments (Quark finally gets his comeuppance, Kira & Dax share some wonderful chemistry and it is worth watching just to see delicious backstabber Winn turn on her co-conspirator when the game is up) and direction convinces that this story is being told on a massive scale. Li Nalas’ story rather gets lost in all of the great stuff happening and his abrupt death ruins what could have been a nice recurring character. What triumphs from this three part epic is that DS9 has emerged as a Trek show that isn’t afraid to take risks and tell a story on a grand, prolonged scale and that it can successfully juggle up many genres and characters whilst pitching an intelligent and thoroughly entertaining story. More please: 8/10

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