Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Seige   Rewatch 
July 9, 2015 5:50 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

As a Circle-led Bajoran military tries to occupy the station, a skeleton crew led by Sisko fight to reveal the political faction's big secret before they are forced to evacuate themselves. Meanwhile, Kira and Dax lead a mission to reveal the truth about The Circle on Bajor.

Quark: "Hey, Odo! You'll miss me. You know you will, say it."
Odo: "I'll miss you, Quark."
Quark: [stunned] "You said it!"
Odo: "I'll miss the aggravation... the petty theft... the bad manners...."
Quark: "Odo, take care of yourself."

* Rule of Acquisition #31: "Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother."
* The palukoo spider model was a favorite of the now deceased propmaster for DS9, Joe Longo: "The effects guy found that. He was going by a garage sale and got it for about two bucks. It wasn't hairy at the time. It was a plastic spider and mechanical, and it wasn't scary or ugly, just big. But it was exactly what I needed, so I got it from him. I took it out to the special effects shop and had them the motor in it with a remote, then over to Michael Westmore and had him put all the hair on it and put in its teeth. The funny thing was, as I remember, that when we brought it up to Mr. Berman, he looked at it and he liked it. I showed him how it moved with the remote, but it was real slow. He said he'd like to see it move much faster, so I sent it back out to the shop and had them put a heavier motor in it I brought it back up for him to look at it again. When I got there, I had the secretary open the door for me and I had the spider run in the room on its own. They all did double takes and really liked it. You only see it real quickly in the show, because if you spend any amount of time on it you can tell exactly what it is".
* Producer Peter Allan Fields disagreed with the killing of the character Li Nalas, and he felt that it trivialized the events of the "The Homecoming"; "It seemed to me that killing him would just send us back to square one. Why spend three episodes with this guy, and then let him die? You're back as if he'd never been around. We could have written the whole thing without him." Writer Ira Steven Behr counters this by saying there were two primary reasons for killing the character: 1) to complete his arc there had to be a moment of true sacrifice and heroism ("I just felt that this was a man who was living a lie, and at the end there needed to be a form of redemption, one that involved some self-sacrifice."), and 2) the producers didn't want to make Li a recurring character because they weren't sure if they would be able to afford to bring back actor Richard Beymer in the future. As a result of this, the character of Shakaar was introduced in the third season to perform a similar function as that performed by Li in the Circle Trilogy.
posted by zarq (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't have an issue with killing off Li, but Steven Weber's character was such a pat "misguided true believer" bad guy that it made Li's death scene seem telegraphed and lame. Plus, really, Li was acting like a coward. It sounds brave and principled for him stay on the station with the Starfleet officers, but what he actually should have been doing was addressing the Council of Ministers with Kira. It was kind of a lame resolution to an otherwise solid multi-episode arc.
posted by dry white toast at 7:16 AM on July 9, 2015

I'm with Peter Allan Fields on this one; I didn't find Li's death-as-redemption story to be particularly compelling (I think Sisko was right that living for Bajor was the harder choice), and I think they could have told the Bajor story without Li, so I didn't really see the point of bringing him back and then killing him off. Also Shakaar appeared in all of three episodes, so clearly the writers found ways to write the show without having the leader of Bajor on-screen much.

On a completely different subject, I love Kira and Dax in this episode:

KIRA: You Starfleet types are too dependant on gadgets and gizmos. You lose your natural instincts for survival.

DAX: My natural instincts for survival told me not to climb aboard this thing. I'd say they were functioning pretty well.
posted by creepygirl at 6:10 PM on July 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure what I think of Steven Weber's character, I was too distracted by the sight of Steven Weber. It's not that I dislike his acting - I watched Wings back when it ran and enjoyed it, I saw Jeffrey in the theater and his kiss with Michael T. Weiss was one of my all-time-favorites, and I even liked the 1997 tv-version of The Shining. But seeing him in Bajoran make-up just totally threw me. Was he a big Trek fan, I wonder? Wings ran from 1990-97, and this episode was in 93, so, it wouldn't have been like doing a movie/tv-movie in the summer hiatus, he would have had to get the network to sign off on letting him do a guest spot on another show mid-run.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:07 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

What I really liked is that Gen. Krim was a much smarter opponent than we normally get with Trek. Usually, when an enemy takes control of Enterprise, the crew (or captain by himself) take the ship back by outsmarting the hijackers. But Krim suspected something as soon as he took command, countered Starfleet's moves, and ceded control back to Sisko voluntarily. Someone who lasted that long in the Bajoran militia won't be easy to beat.
posted by riruro at 7:14 AM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

So, where did all of the Bajorans who didn't fit into the shuttles go? Were they hiding from the militia in crawlspaces too? It felt weird to go from Li Nalas' big 'what are you running from?' speech to the militia entering and seeing zero people. Shouldn't they have been there going about their business, or with their bags packed and ready to get a ride back home to Bajor from the militia?
posted by oh yeah! at 8:10 PM on July 10, 2015

I remember getting a little restless with this trilogy of episodes when it was new, but liking it a lot better in reruns. I think the kind of grim, political/religious/Bajoran/serial elements were new enough to Trek that a lot of fans started getting grouchy around this era. I remember reading something in the LA Weekly at the time, where they said something about the show's "interminable holocaust allegory". People were starting to realize that we really were going to hang out on Bajor and keep going back to this one planet over and over, and that was a big shift. Now that I've seen the whole series I can look back at stuff like this and get into it; I can put it in context a little better. But at this point I think a lot of Trek fans were kind of expecting more Next Generation-style adventure and high-concept sci-fi stuff with time distortions and pocket universes and so on, and then DS9 came along and it had some of that stuff but at heart it was a very different kind of Trek. TNG could get dark and morally complicated sometimes, but that stuff was kind of DS9's bread and butter. DS9 didn't have that optimism people associated with Trek. If good things happened to you on DS9, you had to really earn it... and it probably didn't last.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:59 AM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kira and Dax in the shuttle is one of my favourite scenes of the two of them. It's followed closely by the scene in Ops in Blood Oath.
posted by Solomon at 2:09 PM on July 12, 2015

Ah great, another "...but not really" episode. Unless this plays into future Bajoran politics, I'm not impressed; a lot of set up for not much pay-off. Killing a character who, until recently, had been assumed dead, and who wanted to go back to being officially dead/missing, isn't much of a loss. Winn continues to be a nasty snake, no surprise there. Obvious Bad Guy is Obvious. Kira's Weird Sex Dream (from a previous episode) felt forced.

But... seeing guerilla ops as performed by Starfleet was a hoot.

I agree with Solomon and creepygirl: seeing Kira and Dax together was fun. Plus Dax asking after her prosthetic Bajoran nose ("Oh--oh! It's flattering." "I'm thinking of keeping it.")
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:40 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

To me, this arc really shows what a weird place DS9 was in w/r/t television history. Its narrative structure - a mix of multi-episode arcs and standalone episodes, but with enough touchstones and long-term consequences and callbacks to keep everything in a satisfying order - feels more comparable to The West Wing and Buffy the Vampire Slayer than to anything else, probably because the background of the show is so political in nature. But DS9 was having to experiment with that structure because it wasn't really there yet in the TV consciousness (and it was scary to network execs with their eyes on syndication viability.) In that way, the show feels like it maybe should have started up five or six years later than it did.

But it also has the production values and directing style of TNG, for the most part. By the time we get to Enterprise we can see a major shift in that regard, and Voyager does a lot to bridge that gap, but DS9 had to look kind of like a relic even in its own time, which is a bit unfortunate. So it's a show both ahead of its time (in terms of plotting and the risks it was willing to take) and behind it (in terms of look and style.) I don't know how much credit it can be given for blazing a path for the kinds of shows that would be networks' bread and butter from roughly 1997-2017ish (The X-Files was surely far more influential in this regard) but it certainly had some impact. The 2000's Battlestar Galactica is obviously the most direct successor, coming from Ronald D. Moore getting to go off the leash with all the stuff he had to battle about wanting to do here. It's not a stretch to imagine that it also laid some runway for Buffy to be the way it was, though, and that series is monumental in genre tv, so...

What bugs me is that I feel like we're now past the point where this kind of series would be viable. Discovery and Picard both live in the modern sensibility of the Netflix era where series need much more serialization than DS9 gives us. Neither of those series allow for the sense of "hang out' (or what Adam and Ben of The Greatest Generation would call the "Star Trek is a place" sensibility.) When you tighten things into 8-13 episode seasons, the fat you have to cut is the type of episode where great Star Trek really works its way into your heart and mind.

This has been long-winded, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I ever had a chance to try to helm a new Star Trek series, DS9 would be the benchmark I'd be aiming for, but where once the fights with higher-ups would be about arcs like this one, now the fights would be over individual episodes that aren't like this. DS9 is awesome because it could do both and both felt natural.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:34 AM on April 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

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