Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sanctuary   Rewatch 
August 2, 2015 3:47 PM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

A new species is looking for a new home.
posted by Solomon (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Trek-related trivia: Walter Koenig's son Andrew plays the Skrreean woman's hotheaded son Tumak, and William Schallert, who was an uptight bureaucrat in the original Trouble with Tribbles, plays a Bajoran musician. Kitty Swink, who plays a Bajoran politician, is Armin Shimerman's wife.

I enjoyed the portrayal of a fully matriarchal society in which men are excluded from serious decision-making because they're regarded as too emotional. And I liked the unresolved ending: maybe Haneek was right, maybe Bajor would have benefited if it had welcomed the Skrreeans.
posted by zadcat at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I liked this better than the previous episode. Maybe I just went into it with very low expectations based on zarq's comment in the previous thread that we were getting three clunkers in a row.

I think the matriarchal-society portrayal was done well, mainly because it was secondary to the main plot and not the focus of the episode. It was there to give Kira more screen-time with Haneek so that their last scene had more meaning, and to give a motive for the Skrreean young men to be so hot-headed.

I loved Quark breaking up the fight between the Skrreean boys & Rom. So far, in most physical confrontations Quark has been outmatched and relied on his wits; I don't know if there's a Rule of Acquisition that covers it, but it seems like there's no shame for Ferengi in appearing cowardly if it saves your skin. The 'he who laughs last laughs best' principle of combat. But he was legitimately menacing in this scene. (And Rom's little angry hisses were adorable.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:21 PM on August 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is one of those very special '90s episodes where the attempt to portray an encounter with a "radically different alien species and society" turns into an encounter with a "vaguely matriarchal society that also seems to have a high incidence of intellectual disability and a skin condition."

There were several different aspects of Skrreean-Federation relations they could have explored in greater detail- the language problem at the beginning might have become another "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra," for instance. Or they could have addressed the question of relatively egalitarian societies engaging with one that still practices pretty extreme gender disparity. Instead, they went with "Haneek is shitty to Kira for no real reason."

Even in a context closer to our own, this episode might have asked some interesting questions about issues of migration from extremely impoverished societies to wealthy ones. However, this doesn't work especially well in the scenario described in the episode, as there is absolutely no colonial relationship between the Federation and the Skrreeans, not to mention that the Federation was ready to give them a whole frickin' planet.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:24 PM on August 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

I remember thinking this one worked, but it wasn't anything too special. Kind of a solid B+. They did some work to make the issues morally complex, so there were no easy answers. The flaking skin was a good fit for this, because it's a part of their race and they can't help it and it's a minor thing, but at the same time it's gross. You'd hate it, but you'd probably feel kind of guilty about hating it. Everything about these poor people is just weird and complicated and annoying and sad, they just don't fit anywhere.

I don't know if there's a Rule of Acquisition that covers it, but it seems like there's no shame for Ferengi in appearing cowardly if it saves your skin.

You know, now that you mention it that does seem to be their attitude. They can be bullies (ala Brunt, or the way Quark treats Rom) and they can sometimes even be dangerous, hissing little rodent men (mostly in the early days of TNG) but when they know they're about to get their asses kicked they all seem perfectly willing to cringe and beg, without shame. I can't even imagine one Ferengi giving another grief about it. "Where was your pride?" That wouldn't happen.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:54 PM on August 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Rule 109: "Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack."

Rule 125: "You can't make a deal if you're dead."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:26 AM on August 3, 2015 [7 favorites]

Maybe I just went into it with very low expectations based on zarq's comment in the previous thread that we were getting three clunkers in a row.

Sorry. Didn't mean to poison the well there. I did not like these episodes and am glad we're done with 'em.
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on August 7, 2015

No apology necessary, better to have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised than to go in with high expectations and be disappointed, no?

(Also, I overstated when I said I thought they did the matriarchal thing well, I just meant I agreed with the AV Club recap in that making it a minor point of the episode kept them from going over the top into TNG Angel One territory)
posted by oh yeah! at 12:25 PM on August 7, 2015

I would have liked to see more done with the Skreeans. The races we seem to spend the most time with are the ones that are most similar to former human civilizations. Klingon and Ferengi culture seem depressingly similar to some of those on Earth today or in the recent past. I'd love to see more Star Trek races that flipped that dynamic, at the very least, and let things be sexist in the favor of female characters.

Sisko is so awesome. When he realizes that these people are only interested in talking to Kira, he defers to her easily and without any kind of irritation.
posted by chaiminda at 2:48 AM on August 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Another not so good episode. One of the funnier bits is when Haneek is talking and one of the words is in English, and, after Odo points this out, Sisko says, "Keep Talking" which Haneek wouldn't even understand.
posted by marienbad at 3:54 PM on October 18, 2015

One of the things I really like about this otherwise kinda middling episode is the scene where Tumok steals the ship, how there are no real villains there and it just becomes a tragic clusterfuck, but you can trace Tumok's actions back to being teed up by Nog, who himself was just doing Bart-Simpsonish boyish pranks, but targeting the Skrreans because Quark and Rom had been talking shit about them, and so the "smaller" prejudices have outwardly rippling effects as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:12 PM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Re: the universal translator--I really like how Adam on The Greatest Generation said that the awkward period without translation should be happening *every time* we meet a new species. Like, how the fuck does the translator instantly know how to translate a language that's never been encountered before, let alone fluently. Of course it needs awhile to be trained! Then again when we see it being worked out in real time, it's pretty silly. The translator gradually figures out the difference between a thousand and a million, but based on what?

I think there were a lot of good elements in here, but as usual, the root of the problem is that they have to introduce a complex problem and then after 40 minutes stamp it "done". Like, why are the Skrreeans so convinced that Bajor is their perfect planet? Because Haneek is so infatuated with Kira? Because she loves the flute music? Because Bajor is in turmoil and the Skrreeans need adversity? It's never clear, but I think to present a really convincing explanation would have needed more time.
posted by polecat at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

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