Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Rocks and Shoals   Rewatch 
July 7, 2016 5:40 AM - Season 6, Episode 2 - Subscribe

You think YOUR relationship with your neighbors is awkward? Try being Sisko marooned on an alien world alongside half-crazed Jem'Hadar. Or how about being Kira working alongside Dominion occupiers on Terok Nor Deep Space Nine Terok Nor?

We cite Memory Alpha below the cut. It is the order of things.

- The original idea for this episode came from the 1965 Frank Sinatra film, None But the Brave, a film about the interactions of the crew of a downed American plane and the Japanese army patrol who find them.

- Nana Visitor sees the "station-story" in this episode as extremely important in the development of Kira Nerys: "Kira's maturity had to kick in, because she couldn't just react the way the younger Kira would. There was too much at stake. there was too much to lose. So even though it wasn't as much fun to play, I found it was an important growth point." Ronald D. Moore also saw this episode as important, saying he wanted her "to face that she was becoming a collaborator without realizing it, and how easily that can happen to somebody in that position. She's got Jake asking her very pointed, very legitimate questions about what they're doing, and her getting furious about it, but at the same time allowing things to happen on the station. I knew it would take a fairly dramatic moment to kind of wake her up about what she was doing" – hence [spoiler redacted - o.p.].

- Of his portrayal of Remata'Klan, Phil Morris says, "I likened him to a samurai warrior who is loyal only to his feudal lord, and that's how I played him. His willingness to die, despite Sisko's offer of an alternative is his most honorable moment." Morris also commented: "...Jem'Hadar makeup is great. Once you have all that on, if you can't act like a Jem'Hadar, my man, you might as well get out of acting". Morris appeared in TOS: "Miri", Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, two DS9 episodes, and VOY: "One Small Step".

- Sisko's remarks to Remata'Klan about previous cooperation with the Jem'Hadar and their treacherous Vorta are a reference to the events of "To the Death".

- This is the only episode in the "Dominion Invasion" arc in which Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat) and Casey Biggs (Damar) do not appear.

"Until we re-establish communications, we will hold this world for the Dominion."
"And if we cannot re-establish communications?"
"Then we will hold this world for the Dominion...until we die."

- Remata'Klan and Limara'Son

"I'm going to order the Jem'Hadar to attack your position tomorrow... regardless of whether you agree to my terms or not. So you can either kill them... or they'll kill you. Either way, they're coming."

- Keevan, to Sisko

"In case you've forgotten, we're in a war."
"There are rules, Garak, even in a war!"
"Correction. Humans have rules in war. Rules that make victory a little harder to achieve, in my opinion."

- Garak and Miles O'Brien, about ambushing the Jem'Hadar

"Evil must be opposed!"

- Vedek Yassim
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Seeing Nog swimming, all I could think was how tough that must have been for the actor and the makeup. But then I read this bit from Memory Alpha, and, ye gods!: During the shoot for "Rocks and Shoals", [the temperature] went even higher; 128 °F/53 °C. It was the hottest period in that part of the country in over ten years; so hot that the makeup was melting on-camera and the rubber soles on Steve Oster's hiking boots melted in the heat. The production team did a weather check on Friday as they were scheduled to start shooting on Monday, and it was 80 °F/28 °C, with a light breeze. They were told it would stay basically the same for a week. On Saturday, it went up to 95 °F/35 °C and on Sunday, it reached 105 °F/40 °C. It then peaked at 128 °F/53 °C on Monday. As Ira Steven Behr acknowledges, if you look at the episode closely, you can see the eyes of the Jem'Hadar are quite red, due to the makeup dripping into the actors' eyes as it ran off their foreheads.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:00 PM on July 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's really too bad that this is sandwiched in a bigger arc, because this is a great episode in and of itself. The situation of the marooned crew reminds me a bit of "The Ship", the episode where they got the Jem'Hadar attack ship in the first place, but with an equally desperate situation for their Dominion counterparts. Third Remata'Klan had that fatalistic dignity, and Keevan... man, no Vorta beats Weyoun for sheer deviousness, but Keevan's absolute chill as he sets up everyone for his plan is kind of breathtaking. And the rest of the crew is on point as well: Dax putting on a brave face, Bashir using his best bedside manner as he's treating that little monster, Nog and Garak's interactions referring back to "Empok Nor", Sisko's desperate attempts to negotiate with the Third (and similarly referring back to "To the Death"), the discussion before the last fight. Great stuff, even though this is one tiny little skirmish in a much larger war.

And I was similarly blown away by Kira's bits aboard the station. Just the way she looks at herself, and everyone else, the morning after the vedek's suicide. Sometimes her character can seem almost a little one-note in the way that she remains that scrappy little resistance fighter at heart years after the first occupation ended, but the flip side of that is that she has a hard time forgiving herself for lightening up, even just a tiny bit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:17 PM on July 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

The performances in this one were outstanding, all round, but I always think of Morris first and foremost when I watch this episode.

There have been hints that the Jem'Hadar have more depth than their engineering and even though they ultimately die for their code the way they interact with each other is more personal then we usually get to see. The interaction between Remata'Klan and Sisko's shows the Jem'Hadar's awareness and intelligence but also their nature, which is often the nature of soldiers in general, used to kill and be killed by their superiors who really don't give a shit about them.

In addition to the call backs already mentioned, I feel there is a call back to Necessary Evil (S2/E8) during the initial Cardassian occupation of Bajor (but set of course on Terok Nor) where Kira is involved in attempting to acquire a list of collaborators. There is also a call back to Things Past (S5/E8) where innocent Bajorans are executed on the Promenade and of course illustrates that like Kira, Odo got his hands dirty as well. Then of course, rather obviously, there's The Collaborator (S2/E24), where Prylar Beck hangs himself on the Promenade, during the initial occupation and Kira discovers that Kai Ocampa was a collaborator by some measure. I also love how this episode looks forward to Odo deciding he must go to his people knowing Kira will understand why just as he does when Kira makes her decision about what she's going to do going forward, "This is about me... Yasim was right. I have to do something. I have to start to fight back... Odo I don't want to end up fighting you too, but if I have to, I will." They're not lovers yet at this point but his support, just like her support, of other is a mature love we seldom see in the other Treks. Certainly not in the new Trek films and in Enterprise (I know, not usually well regarded but I have a soft spot for it, particularly the characters, and the potential that was sadly wasted) had an opportunity with T'Pol and Tucker but turned it into standard sitcom dynamic.

One of the reasons (and there are many more) DS9 is my absolute favourite Trek is it, more than the others, managed to maintain continuity at a higher level and reference and foreshadow itself very well. I'm not one for top 10 lists but this episode deserves it's place as one of the best regarded episodes for reaching forward and back. The grandeur space operaness of the show which has been building and building really takes off this season but the show manages to also remain focused, often astoundling so, on the characters themselves as well.
posted by juiceCake at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Heh, I noticed the red eyes of some of the Jem'Hadar and almost commented how great a job the costume department did on subtly showing the effects of White withdrawal.
posted by 2ht at 4:18 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I'd argue that (A) Morris is the best Jem'Hadar ever, and that's a title with some definite competition, and (B) this episode, if not necessarily one of DS9's top ~five, is certainly in the top ~five of episodes that convinced me that DS9 was truly special. "Rocks and Shoals" just has so much resonance—back to previously-established stuff as discussed above, but also, on rewatch, lots of great foreshadowing and set-up, too. Keevan's gratifying and well-deserved ultimate fate, for instance (I won't elaborate b/c spoilers). And of course the impending Odo stuff.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:44 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Aka the episode where you feel sorry for the Jem'Hadar..

This is a fascinating episode, I love how it went from the big story arc to this, with the big story arc stuff as the B-story here. The whole dynamic of Kira and Odo and then Jake coming along and asking awkward questions is superbly done, as are the discussions between Kira and Vedek Yassim where both sides are played out for the viewer and although it serves as an awakening for Kira they don't bash the audience over the head with it and say "this is right, and only this." There are nuances to the situation and we are drawn into it and made to think about them.

The plot on the planet it great, the way the whole thing works, the crash, the capture, the prisoner swap, the nasty Vorta (who I am sure we have seen before) who sells the Jem'Hadar out, and the lack of white - it all works so well. Up until now we have seen the Vorta as governing the Jem'Hadar but doing so in a way that works for the all. Here we see how the Vorta is prepared to sell the Jem'Hadar down the river for their own survival. He is as slimy as Dukat!

And at the end, it is truly amazing, as you actually feel sorry for the Jem'Hadar, and the talk between Sisko and Remata'Klan sets up the ending perfectly.
posted by marienbad at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Probably in my Top 5 of any Trek episodes, from any franchise, ever. The 'A' plot is masterful, but the 'B' plot, despite taking very little screen time, has just as much--if not more--emotional resonance. And of course, the discussions between Odo, Kira, Jake, and Yassim about the ways we come to accept without question the slow erosion of our freedom and dignity... well, let's just say this is an episode for our times.

Vedek Yassim's death is one of the most shocking and powerful moments in the entire Trek universe IMO.
posted by duffell at 5:15 AM on January 15, 2019

Oh, and although I've said it on FanFare before, it bears repeating: as great as the entire DS9 cast is, Nana Visitor is the best damned actor on this show; once they started giving her material that let her show her range, she really ran with it.
posted by duffell at 5:19 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Aren’t there 84 vials of White sitting at the bottom of that lake?
posted by schmod at 10:08 AM on February 9, 2022

Aren’t there 84 vials of White sitting at the bottom of that lake?

Maybe, but I doubt very much that they're intact. Victory is life, after all, and engineering that ketracel white container that the Vorta carry to withstand a starship crash would be tantamount to letting the Jem'Hadar live after they've lost.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:15 PM on August 20, 2023

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