Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Progress   Rewatch 
June 10, 2015 11:07 AM - Season 1, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Kira must convince an old Bajoran farmer to leave a moon becoming uninhabitable due to mining operations. Jake and Nog try to trade off Cardassian yamok sauce.

Quotes
Kira: "When I was very small, I remember there was this tree right outside my window. It was the ugliest, most gnarled and battered old tree I'd ever seen. Even the birds stayed away from it."
Mullibok: "But you loved it, huh?"
Kira: "I hated it! Because it had grown so huge, its branches blocked out the sun for kellipates, and its roots buried themselves so deep in the soil, nothing else could grow there. Oh, it was a... big, selfish, annoying..."
Mullibok: "...nasty..."
Kira:" ...nasty... nasty old tree."
Mullibok: "Hmmm... Sounds to me like it had a lot of character."
Kira: "A lot."
--
Sisko: "Look, I understand you're used to sympathizing with the underdog. You spent your life fighting to overcome impossible odds, just like he's doing. But you have to realize something, Major: you're on the other side now. Pretty uncomfortable, isn't it?"
Kira: "It's awful."
posted by zarq (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is probably one of my favorite season one episodes. It creates a situation that is almost uniquely DS9-like (I supposed it would have been possible for something similar in TNG, but without the shared life experience between the potential evictee and Kira). The solution Kira arrives at isn't necessarily the right one.
posted by drezdn at 11:42 AM on June 10, 2015


Also, the first mention of self-sealing stem-bolts.
posted by drezdn at 11:42 AM on June 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


The 47 reference jumped out at me. :)
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love this episode.

Nana Visitor is an amazing actress, but she really shines when she has someone to play off against. See also (in this season): Duet.

I (as I generally do) have mixed feelings about the forced evacuation of Mullibok. Do the needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few? Especially as there was, in this instance, an alternative. I guess that sometimes, might makes right.
posted by Solomon at 12:26 PM on June 10, 2015


I love this episode too, mostly for the Kira/Mullibok plot which is easily one of my favorites of the first season.
posted by cjelli at 12:39 PM on June 10, 2015


"See also (in this season): Duet."

By the same writer, Peter Allan Fields.

This was a very good episode. Brian Keith was excellent in this role and Visitor was good throughout -- but that "it's awful" line was perfect.

It's crazy that they would do that to that moon -- ruin a habitable environment. The Federation would never have made any of those choices -- not generating the energy that way, nor the forced evacuation of the residents. But it does make sense for the Bajorans, who are eager to be their own masters and self-sufficient, to develop their own economy on their own terms. They totally would see this in terms of the greater good outweighing the other considerations.

In that context, Kira made the only good decision available to her. Sisko was right that sometimes you have to make those sorts of decisions, it's your job. She couldn't actually do anything productive to slow the project down. She could only get Mullibok off the moon alive.

I kind of miss Brian Keith. I'm just barely old enough to remember Family Affair when it was on the air (went off the air when I was seven). The writing in those scenes between Mullibok and Kira was quite good, but they wouldn't have worked if both actors hadn't given very good performances. The writing needed the kind of subtle acting that sells the subtext of their interaction.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:23 PM on June 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have nothing to say about Kira in this episode that hasn't been said already.

But one thing that stood out to me is this exchange:

BASHIR: She didn't offer a word of explanation, sir. She simply removed her uniform tunic and started building.
SISKO: Well Doctor, right now she stands a pretty good chance of being out of uniform permanently. I'm going to tell Minister Toran that she's remained temporarily on Jeraddo at your request.
BASHIR: But sir, that isn't true.
SISKO: Make it true, Doctor. Now, please.
BASHIR: Commander, I'd advise that Major Kira remain on Jeraddo for humanitarian reasons. How long?
SISKO: The next day or two.
BASHIR: For the next day or two, sir.
SISKO: Thank you, Doctor. I'll consider that request. Dismissed.

It's Sisko in a nutshell. He's stern, but also willing to bend the rules for the people he cares about, and he can be funny as hell while he's doing it.
posted by creepygirl at 7:46 PM on June 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, Peter Allan Fields is an interesting case. He wrote some of the greatest DS9 episodes, episodes so good you can show them to non-Trekkies and impress the heck out of them. I mean Duet just kicks ass. But he came to the show with a history of writing for forgettable stuff like The Six Million Dollar Man, and it seems like he pretty much retired after DS9. I don't know if he was a late bloomer or if this show just gave him a chance to finally show off the talents that had been there all along, but in any case Fields and DS9 were a great match.

Apparently Fields wanted Keith to be a total bastard, and was disappointed with the episode because Keith was too lovable. But I think it works like this. It makes Kira's choice harder. If Keith was more of a jerk, Kira wouldn't be so torn up about forcing him to leave his home.

The subplot with Jake and Nog and the self-sealing stembolts thing is another example of this show making stuff work that TNG could never quite manage. I do think TNG was a great show in its own way, but DS9 was just funkier and more gritty and their comedy stuff tended to feel more lived-in and less cute.

They always seemed to take a perverse delight in taking the stuff TNG just couldn't handle, and making it work. The Ferengi were a notorious botch job on TNG, and they became a central and beloved part of DS9. TNG almost always fumbled stories about kids (oy, poor Wesley and Alexander) but Jake and Nog felt like real kids somehow, their friendship was kind of spiky and you felt like you were watching them really grow up. Hell, DS9 even made Luxanna Troi a welcome presence, and nobody would've seen that coming after TNG! (Remember the thing where she takes off her wig to make Odo feel less ashamed about melting into a puddle? In that moment the character became like 300% more real and endearing than she'd been in the entire run of TNG!)

I've always wanted to try Hesperat. I have a feeling they taste like space burritos.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:16 PM on June 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


"The subplot with Jake and Nog and the self-sealing stembolts thing is another example of this show making stuff work that TNG could never quite manage."

I decided to participate in this rewatch last week and so only rewatched the previous episode. It's been years and years since I last watched DS9 -- I think I watched the whole series again about eight years ago -- and it's been long enough that I'm a little surprised at how good I think it is, even though I've long been in the camp that thinks it's the best Trek by a good margin (I exempt TOS from the argument because I even watched a few shows when it was on the air and then its rise in syndication was basically my childhood -- I still have a Starfleet Technical Manual I got when I was about twelve in 1976).

Anyway, even when DS9 is going through the Berman-Piller Trek-by-numbers formula, they manage to do so with aplomb and, most importantly, a higher level of consistency than TNG managed. The formula has always sort of bothered me, even though I know it's an essential part of the charm of B&P Trek, but where TNG often annoyed me with it, and VOY would sometimes actively make me angry doing it, DS9 wears it very comfortably. And then the show does so many other things so much better than the other Treks ever did.

I'm really impressed with all the acting. I sort of feel stupid for saying so, as if I previously didn't think these were good actors. Of course I've thought these were good actors, because they self-evidently are. But what I'm really noticing now is that they take this formula stuff and because pretty much every one of them are talented and skilled (even the ones that, by contrast, don't seem to be so great), they deliver these performances in ways that create a lot of subtle depth and, well, realism. A lot of this stuff is very unreal and contrived, but the show sells it because the actors make us believe it because they relate to it in ways that are authentic. And not so much in showy ways, but in the smaller things.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:35 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Berman-Piller Trek-by-numbers formula

That's a good one.

I like this episode: Kira's pain at being on the other side, Nog's (semi)postscarcity disdain for dirt.

How do the Starfleet people pay for drinks, meals, and holosuite time at Quark's?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:00 PM on June 10, 2015


How do the Starfleet people pay for drinks, meals, and holosuite time at Quark's?

Best not to ask. People have been arguing about that one about as long as message boards have been a thing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:39 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Starfleet pays for everything that's replicated, which should equal out since they're fuelling the replicators in the first instance, and then anything that's fresh is paid for in latinum. Stuff seems to be free for everyone at the Replimat, so I can't imagine Quark being able to charge much for replicated drinks.
posted by Solomon at 2:37 AM on June 11, 2015


I'm going to go with the theory that Starfleet officers get a per diem when they're not stationed on a Starfleet vessel/facility.

Visitor just totally kills it in this episode. I'm honestly not sure there's ever been a Trek character with as much depth and shading.

I remember finding Jake and Nog's adventures tedious and distracting the first time through (mostly because I was still in a "all Trek should be this" mindset), but man they're fun.
posted by dry white toast at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2015


I kind of wonder if land would actually be more valuable in a post-scarcity situation like Star Trek. After all, it would be the one thing in limited amount (unless they can terra-form everything). It could even explain the willingness of so many people to sign up for starfleet. Don't have land? Why not ship out?
posted by drezdn at 8:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The various series have been kind of inconsistent about money. In general, we know money isn't a thing. They can replicate stuff, they have society all worked out so nobody is starving and everybody has a place to live. (It's a very, very optimistic picture of our future... but of course, we only had to go through a nuclear holocaust to get there!) Still, there are very occasional references to pay and credits. I have the feeling Starfleet people in Kirk's time still got some sort of pay, but that seems to die out by the Picard era.

I kind of wonder if land would actually be more valuable in a post-scarcity situation like Star Trek.

I don't think post-Kirk Starfleet offers any incentive to cadets but glory. People are exploring space purely because they want to be. That being said, it's true that land is a finite resource, and that's one of those things they never dealt with on the various series IIRC. I don't know how it works, if, say, an essential resource is discovered on land that's belonged to a particular family for generations. I don't know if Starfleet could just rip up the Picard family vineyards and start drilling despite the family's protests, or what the heck.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:11 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


BASHIR: She didn't offer a word of explanation, sir. She simply removed her uniform tunic and started building.
SISKO: Well Doctor, right now she stands a pretty good chance of being out of uniform permanently. I'm going to tell Minister Toran that she's remained temporarily on Jeraddo at your request.
BASHIR: But sir, that isn't true.
SISKO: Make it true, Doctor. Now, please.


Thought this was funny in light of some of their last scenes together in Bashir's season seven episodes about Section 31. Bashir's character was written pretty unevenly but I think they did a good job of making him grow from naive as all get-out to being quite cynical. With friends like Garak and O'Brien I think anyone would become more of a cynic!
posted by chaiminda at 6:54 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wait. Wait! That was TOTALLY Odo's voice on the communicator thing, and he and Quark were TOTALLY trying to do a thing to fool the boys and teach them a lesson. Are we to believe that they actually played that whole subplot completely straight?!
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:18 AM on January 30, 2017


When the boys are trying to find out what a self-sealing stembolt is, I was struck that they didn't just look it up on the computer. It showed its age a bit there. Not an uncommon thing in pre-internet SF in general, but trek was far enough ahead of its time that it mostly skates by on computer-adjacent stuff.
posted by joeyh at 5:34 PM on March 5


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