Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Blaze of Glory   Rewatch 
June 20, 2016 8:00 PM - Season 5, Episode 23 - Subscribe

Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of the people Who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums There is a life about to start When tomorrow comes.

Will you join in Memory Alpha's crusade?

- Ira Steven Behr decided to end the Michael Eddington/Maquis story arc because he felt that there were too many open threads leading into the sixth season, and he wanted to get some closure on at least one of them. Behr explains, "We were just desperate to finish something off. We had to finish a thread. It was necessary. We just had so many things. So I told them, 'We are going to end something and then not hear about it again'!" Indeed, Behr wanted to officially kill off every single member of the Maquis, but Rick Berman wouldn't allow him to do this in case Voyager wanted to use them at some stage in the future. As far as the Deep Space Nine writers were concerned however, the Maquis story arc was over.

- he establishing shot of the starbase where Eddington is being held is re-used stock footage of the Regula I space station from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The holding cell where Sisko visits Eddington is a re-dress of the USS Voyager brig set, moving the cell from a point to frame right of the door to directly across from it. This version of the set would be seen again in the episode "Waltz", this time with a stretch of USS Defiant corridor erected outside to serve as the interior of the USS Honshu, and again in "The Magnificent Ferengi" as the brig of an unnamed Regula-type starbase.

- After this episode aired, and the Eddington story arc officially ended, many fans found the character of Eddington a little difficult to pin down, some loved him, some hated him, many others were a little unsure of him. This sense of uncertainty is shared by Ira Steven Behr himself, "I still haven't figured him out. Do we like him? Do you not like him? Was he good? Bad? A pain in the ass? I'm not sure." Even Sisko appears to have trouble reaching a conclusion as regards the essence of Eddington's character. The final scene in the episode, between himself and Dax as he tried to come to terms with who Eddington was and what he stood for, was written precisely to try to get to the core of Eddington's raison d'ĂȘtre, not just for Sisko, but for the audience and the writers as well. According to Behr, "I felt it was very important to try to make sense of the man Eddington was. We owed it to Sisko to give him some kind of closure, some kind of understanding. On top of everything else, he let the guy die, basically."

"Witnesses say you were talking to him [Morn] right up to the second he went berserk."
"Of course I was talking to him. That's what bartenders are supposed to do. Talk to their customers."
"And what exactly was it that you were talking to him about?"
"All I said was that the military personnel on this station were starting to look a little nervous. And when they get nervous, I get nervous."
"That's all you said?"
"Basically... I might've done a little harmless theorizing."
"About what?"
"Oh... something like... it was only a matter of time before the Dominion launched a full-scale assault on the Federation and that when that happened the station would undoubtedly be their first target... and I might've idly suggested that there wasn't a hope in hell of any of us getting out of here alive."
"And that's when he hit you with the barstool and ran out onto the Promenade screaming 'We're all doomed'."
"Some people just don't react well to stress."

- Odo, Kira Nerys, Julian Bashir, and Quark

"Seems like a perfect time for a song. Wish I could think of one. Does anyone know a good song? Something rousing? Too bad."

- Eddington
posted by Halloween Jack (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd have to vote on the side of "pain in the ass." You could definitely see where he was coming from, in large part due to this episode (and it helped that they put in a callback to that long-ago Cal Hudson two-parter). But, partly since the show never really invested very much time in the Maquis stuff, he comes off as a smug traitor overall, IMO. That said, I find I warm to the Eddington character a little bit more with each rewatch.

Now here's a puzzler: which show handled the Maquis better-- DS9 or Voyager?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:22 AM on June 21, 2016

Yeah, he was still a pain in the ass. His tricking Sisko into helping him rescue the surviving Maquis was supposed to be some sort of brilliant gambit, but the likelihood was that, if he'd simply told the truth to begin with, the Federation would have agreed to help them anyway, and they might have gotten to the colony faster and saved more lives. He was patently hypocritical regarding the replicators, when his big kiss-off to the Federation involved stealing industrial replicators. He kept needling Sisko, probably on the basis of a psychological profile that he had access to back when he still had his Starfleet clearance, but he totally didn't get the Cardassians:
This wasn't supposed to happen. We were winning. The Cardassian Empire was falling into chaos. The Maquis colonies were going to declare themselves an independent nation.
Sure, Mike. What could possibly be the downside of putting stress on the already-shaky new civilian government of a formerly-highly-militarized society? And they really didn't get the Dominion.

Also, I think that DS9 did the Maquis much better, in no small part because Voyager deliberately threw away a lot of what they could have done with them. I've long been a critic of the UPN shows, and what seems to have been some choices by UPN to ignore or discard some potentially great character and show arcs; in particular, I think that most of the Maquis should have stayed in their old outfits--the anti-Federation rebels putting on Starfleet uniforms made about as much sense as the Provisional IRA putting on British Army uniforms. With a few exceptions (Seska turning out to be a Cardassian infiltrator, for example), VOY seemed to limit mentions of the Maquis to an annual "We used to be Maquis" episode, when that could have been a recurring theme. Some of the Maquis may have ended up joining Starfleet, but the opposite could have happened as well, with some of the Starfleet officers deciding, after spending some time with the Maquis crew, that maybe they have a point; in particular, that could have been a good character arc for Harry Kim, the lowest-ranking member of the bridge crew and probably the most idealistic. They also could have set up a plot thread about what they would do if/when the crew discovered the faster-than-warp-drive technology that they spent most of the series looking for; would the former Maquis attempt to revive their movement using the tech as a type of leverage, or simply try to make sure that the Federation didn't have a monopoly on it? Lots of possibilities there, and none of them were picked up.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:34 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

Those would have been interesting Voyager possibilities, HJ, but I was happy with the Voyager we got. Despite the conflicts they all banded together and became a real crew in the face of this enormous challenge they were facing. That's a very Star Trek-y idea, and that sort of idealism is part of why I love the franchise. DS9 would have gone in a much darker direction with it, but there's a lot to be said for the more Roddenberry-esque approach where everybody puts aide their differences for a larger goal. They still had their disagreements on Voyager and sometimes old resentments and suspicions flared up, but Janeway was determined to make it all work and she did.

It's weird sometimes to think about how all this Trek was going on at once, with two TV shows airing and movies coming out, and little crossover stuff between them all. I kind of thought it'd never stop, and that was fine by me. I didn't feel any burn out until Enterprise, and that was mostly because the people making it were all too clearly tired.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

UH, I don't mean to say that VOY needed to be just like DS9--there wouldn't be much point in having the show if that were the case--and there are quite a few individual episodes of the show that I like very much, and rank among the best "real" SF stories of the franchise; I'm also quite fond of the EMH's character arc, and almost as fond of Seven's. It's what could have been that still kills me, especially with regards to the characters. It's worth comparing their character arcs, or the lack thereof, with Michael Eddington's. Eddington was on DS9 for a bit less than three seasons, with a grand total of nine appearances (two of which were a two-part episode), and he had a better character arc than Harry Kim, who was in every episode of VOY. How does that happen?

It happens because you've got a new network that is depending on the show to bring in viewers, and wants to be able to show episodes as often as they can get away with, in whatever order they want, without worrying about whether possible new viewers will get confused as to why the ship looks like it's been through, say, a Year of Hell one episode and pristine the next. Which is exactly counter to the premise of the show, which is all about the ship going from Point A to Point B, without handy Federation starbases along the way to buff out the scratches and put on a new coat of paint. TNG would have been suitable to that kind of treatment, since they never strayed that far from the Federation, with rare examples; DS9 could have (although thankfully they didn't) because they never went anywhere, except when they went to the Gamma Quadrant. Voyager should have come back to the Alpha Quadrant with weird alien nacelles to replace the old ones that got blown off by the Hirogen and Borg ductwork over half the hull and at least half the crew aren't even in uniform and some of them are Klingons and some of them have Borg-type implants mostly for cosmetic reasons and kids are running around everywhere and the command staff rolls D20s to see who's in charge this week and the EMH is in the middle of running what he calls "the gender experiment", where half the time he looks an awful lot like Janeane Garofalo. And they make the call to Starfleet Command, and SC just looks at them with their mouths hanging open and Acting Captain Torres looks back at them and goes, "Damn, I forgot what a bunch of squares you all are. We going back, Kate?" Cut to Janeway, in a Regency outfit--it's all she wears these days--saying, "Yeah, why not." And the ship reverses course.

Or not, and they go home and have the fireworks, but at least the Federation (and maybe everyone else in the Alpha Quadrant) gets transwarp drive of one sort or another, and they've at least changed up the status quo a little. That would work, too. Here's an old interview with Ron Moore in which he goes on at much greater length and with considerable passion about his disappointment with VOY; you can see the genesis of his BSG reboot (although it's not even mentioned) in his comments.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:49 PM on June 21, 2016 [10 favorites]

Oh, I didn't assume you were saying Voyager needed to be as gritty as DS9. I was just contrasting the approaches of the two shows and saying I saw virtues in both. Even if Voyager didn't go nearly as dark as they could have with that premise, they went pretty damn dark at times. And while the developments you describe could have been great, the show we got threw us twists like a Borg crew member and Brad Dourif as the recurring serial killer Maquis, and explored its characters in more depth than it gets credit for. Harry Kim was never as interesting as anybody on DS9, but he did arguably have more depth than we ever saw in Beverly Crusher, or Uhura. Voyager had plenty of continuity, even if they weren't as serialized as a lot of modern shows. In terms of darkness and continuity they kind of split the difference between DS9 and TNG, and while that mix frustrated a lot of fans to me it was like Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate and peanut butter!

BSG was very clearly Moore's reaction to Voyager. But while I loved BSG, I'd say it was at least as flawed as Voyager. BSG was more daring, but also much more uneven. When it wasn't excellent, it was kind of a mess. BSG showed us good people pushed to the limit, and often doing ghastly things. That's worthwhile TV. Voyager showed us good people pushed to the limit, and (mostly) sticking to their ideals and staying good. That's worthwhile too, just in a different way.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:50 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

It happens because you've got a new network that is depending on the show to bring in viewers, and wants to be able to show episodes as often as they can get away with, in whatever order they want, without worrying about whether possible new viewers will get confused as to why the ship looks like it's been through, say, a Year of Hell one episode and pristine the next. Which is exactly counter to the premise of the show, which is all about the ship going from Point A to Point B, without handy Federation starbases along the way to buff out the scratches and put on a new coat of paint.

Here's hoping New Web Trek doesn't make the same mistake of devising a show concept that's incompatible with its delivery system and the needs thereof.

BSG showed us good people pushed to the limit, and often doing ghastly things. That's worthwhile TV. Voyager showed us good people pushed to the limit, and (mostly) sticking to their ideals and staying good. That's worthwhile too, just in a different way.

I agree, and that's why I don't HATE Voyager as much as some do—but I also think that BSG did a far more convincing job of pushing those people to the limit. Had Voyager felt as desperate as we were meant to believe, then the overall effect would have been far more inspiring, IMO. (But I think I'm probably retreading old ground now!)

On the topic of desperate people: this ties in a bit to what I feel is really the failure of both shows, DS9 and Voyager, to fully exploit the Maquis concept. I've made this point before, about the lack of a real Maquis-immersion episode, but now that we bring Voyager into it, it could've worked there, too…maybe as a Chakotay or Torres flashback episode.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:31 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't have a strong opinion of Eddington, as he wasn't in that many episodes. I feel like I got to learn more about Dumar and Weyoun than him. Though I suppose I'm happy for him in that he obviously preferred dying for the Maquis to living in a Starfleet prison.

Something related to the Maquis I would have liked to see is what the debate on Earth looks like. Because there is very little support for the Maquis among Starfleet, but I would think civilian opinion would be more mixed. Were I a Federation citizen, I would be very concerned that the Maquis situation shows that when push comes to shove, the Feds and Starfleet won't be willing to protect me. It's why Eddington and Hudson and other Starfleet officers defected.

Finally, I have a morbid thought. So the Jemhadar destroyed all the Maquis colonies. That has to include the American Indian colony from TNG's "Journey's End". So, are Indians basically extinct in the 24th century?
posted by riruro at 8:56 AM on June 23, 2016

Man I hate Eddington, it's probably the smug way he goes about everything. When Sisko first goes to see him I was half expecting him to start all that Javert crap again. The whole plot of this episode seemed daft, and contrary. All the stuff in the runabout with Sisko seeing if Eddington wanted to die, and all along Eddington had it planned so he could rescue his wife (wife? What wife? We never heard about her before, and yet for most other characters we know whether they are married or not, yet suddenly Eddington turns out to be married as a plot device.)

So as you can see this episode is not one of my favourites. I don't like Eddington, I don't like the plot, and I think the way it progresses is stupid, and the B-story with Nog and Jake is really weak in this episode, almost like it was tacked on as an afterthought. The only good thing about it all was that Eddington died at the end. I can appreciate that they wanted to give the traitor the blaze of glory death as it is more morally ambiguous and fits with DS9's ethos, but stuff that, good riddence to him!

The only good things here are Sisko, who is brilliantly portrayed here, and the way the thing is shot.
posted by marienbad at 4:28 AM on June 25, 2016

re: Voyager: I can remember watching it back in the day when it was on over here, and I really liked it, although there were highs and lows, and it seemed like when it was bad it was terrible. I tried watching it recently and couldn't get into it, I found Torres and Janeway's voices grated on my ears a bit, and it just felt, I don't know, like not worth the effort. Maybe I have read too much negative stuff about it and it colours my judgement, and so maybe I feel it will be a let down.

From what I remember, there were some cool ideas in there, and also some daft ideas.

I have never seen BSG, so can't comment on it. (Well, not the new one, I remember watching the original series and I liked it but I was only young, so it was a different experience.)
posted by marienbad at 4:32 AM on June 25, 2016

I was sad to see the Maquis just wiped out so effortlessly. I'm definitely a supporter of the cause. The treaty always sounded like a bunch of bullshit, especially once it was obvious the Cardassians were arming colonists in the DMZ. Picard even covered up the discovery of a Cardassian weapons deal, just to keep the peace! What the hell, man? Sisko was unusually unsympathetic, simply because he hated to see someone "betray" the ideals of Starfleet. Except the Maquis existed BEFORE Starfleet officers started to defect, so what's your real excuse for being such a dick to defenseless colonists, Ben (and then you married one of them?!)? Would have liked to see the Maquis retreat to Klingon space, as the Klingons were supporting them. Imagine former Federation citizens trusting the Klingons more than the squeaky-clean Federation!
posted by Brocktoon at 4:12 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

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