Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: What You Leave Behind   Rewatch 
December 26, 2016 11:13 AM - Season 7, Episode 25 - Subscribe

(Series Finale - Part 9 of 9) "To the best crew any captain ever had. This may be the last time we're all together... but no matter what the future holds, no matter how far we travel a part of us... a very important part--will always remain here... on Deep Space Nine." -- Benjamin Lafayette Sisko.

I'm going to abandon the usual format for this post to get a little personal. (There is, of course, a ton of information in the Memory Alpha article, including that you can see a lot of the showrunners in the party at Vic's.) Also, before I get too far into it, I'd like to mention the MA page, suggested by CheesesOfBrazil, that lists unproduced ideas for DS9 episodes, some of which did get reworked into episodes that were produced.

I'm very sad that this is over, but as a well-known (non-Trek) doctor once said, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." This rewatch increased my appreciation for what was already my favorite Trek series--even more so than TOS, even though I'm old enough to remember watching it when it was originally broadcast--in no small part because this time around, I was sober when I watched them. And it did so even with a more critical eye turned toward some of the episodes and elements that haven't aged well. So, big props (and apologies in advance if I happen to leave anyone out) for the people who have made this happen: Solomon, zarq, Slothrop, and of course CheesesOfBrazil. It's been tons of fun, even--or especially--when I've disagreed with people. It's been a joy and a much-needed distraction during a particularly brutal year. I'll end with Ira Steven Behr's words during the shooting of the party, which was the last scene of the series for most of the actors:
"As the captain said, this is the best crew ever. This may be the last time we're all together, but no matter what the future holds, no matter how far we travel, a part of us, a very important part, will always remain here – on Deep Space 9. Okay. Back to work."
The final words of various characters in the series:

Damar: "Keep..."
Weyoun: "What's left of it."
Garak: "I'd like to think so. But one can never say. We live in uncertain times."
Female changeling: "It's up to you now, Odo."
Admiral Ross: "Commander, how would you feel about being named Federation Ambassador to Kronos?"
Martok: "Excellent. An ambassador who will go targ hunting with me. Well... perhaps being Chancellor won't be so bad after all."
O'Brien: "See? It's going to be great."
Vic Fontaine: "Some day, when I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight."
Kai Winn: "Emissary, the book!"
Gul Dukat: "Farewell, Adami."
Worf: "Colonel Kira and Chief O'Brien have completed another scan of the planet. As far as they can tell, he is not there."
Sisko: "It's hard to say. Maybe a year... maybe... yesterday. But I will be back."
Jake: "Kas, can you hear me? You seemed pretty far away for a second."
Kasidy Yates: "I was talking to your father."
Odo: "Goodbye, Nerys."
Nog: "I'll get right on it."
Bashir: "What about tonight?"
Ezri Dax: "Tonight, we defend the pass."
Kira: "Better be."
Quark: "It's like I said--the more things change, the more they stay the same."
Morn: "..."
posted by Halloween Jack (30 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Semi-sorted thoughts:

LOOK HOW BIG MOLLY IS. I MEAN, SHIT.

I feel like no other Trek finale, and possibly even no other Trek movie, has the same sense of portent as this one. It's probably because there's multiple huge things going on here: the end of a war we've followed for its entire duration (which also didn't happen elsewhere in Trek), the spiritual battle for Bajor and the wormhole, the fate of Sisko and his family, and of course the close of an ambitious and successful seven-year series.

It's so great that the writers gave Winn a moment of triumph, only to cruelly take it away from her.

Ross and Sisko should've looked at each other and then poured out their bloodwine at the same time. As it is, it makes Ross look like an awkward doof.

Garak's goodbye to Bashir is so brilliantly inscrutable. He may be being genuine. But given the circumstances, he may be saying "I am telling you to fuck right off, and the fact that I am telling you so in this fashion means that I don't think you're smart enough to perceive it."

I've always liked that song. ^_^

From MA: "The producers also toyed with the idea of ending the series with a shot of Benny Russell sitting outside a television sound stage holding a script for "Deep Space Nine" – essentially making the series, and possibly the whole of Star Trek, either a dream or a prophecy from the Bajoran Prophets – but this idea was ultimately rejected." SO GLAD they didn't do that. Oh my god.

Yesterday I was playing Star Trek Online, which is set a little over thirty years after this episode. I happened to find myself in Ops on DS9, and what do you know…the baseball is still on the desk.

So yeah. This was I think the fifth time I've been through the series, but the first time I've been able to watch this episode and not actually cry. I got misty, though, for sure. The usual triggers are either Bashir and O'Brien parting, Odo and Kira parting, the montage shot of Jake in "Emissary" (LOOK HOW SMALL HE IS. I MEAN, SHIT), or Jake staring out the window (dammit, eyes watering even now). The first time I saw the finale, I remember being struck by just how bold it is, especially w/r/t Jake and Ben.

I'm going to ramble a bit now about this series' place in the franchise. As has been pointed out, the general perception is that DS9 is the "red-headed stepchild" of Trek; I will go out on a limb and say that people who've seen DS9, and who actually understand Trek, do not think that. Having recently rewatched TOS and all of the TOS movies, I can say that, from the beginning, this franchise has made a genuine effort at consistency and continuity. Even to the point of integrating the failed pilot into a first-season TOS episode! (Yes, they did it for expediency, but still: they didn't have to do it that way.) That this has been a focus from the beginning is significant; we could definitely have expected slavish adherence to All That Came Before following Trek's ascension into cult status in the '70s, but that TOS itself was as consistent as it is? That's worthy of note.

So then TNG comes along and provides a certain overarcing structure, not just in terms of events in a timeline, but philosophically. This is also worthy of note: I'd argue that there was really only one serious misstep in that process, and that was the season one episode "Conspiracy", where you really feel like they're so desperate not to get cancelled that they're willing to go all Cronenberg on us out of left field, and not even try to paper it over with a Roddenberryian message. Everywhere else, though, the universe continues to grow deeper thanks to the talents of all involved at TNG.

BUT—and yes, I am approaching a point here—we're still confined to an Enterprise. We have to wait until Deep Space Nine for that universe to grow wider. And that could have been enough…but the writers wisely elected to challenge various Roddenberryisms and thereby went deeper still. Voyager didn't do that; Enterprise sort of tried to in a couple of cases. (J.J. Trek attains a venal, legalistic sort of continuity but dashes Trek's philosophy against its gleaming, lens-flaring, particle-scattering hull.)

So no, DS9 is not the red-headed stepchild of the franchise. It could be called the axis around which the rest of the franchise orbits. And that's why some of the best Trek spinoff novels depend on DS9 (e.g. the one Garak himself wrote, A Stitch in Time), and why all of my best Star Trek RPG gamemastering has been inspired by DS9, and why all my STO characters wear this uniform.

MA quotes Ron Moore as saying "I think Deep Space was the show that really took Star Trek as far as you could take it." Well, we'll see if he was right when Discovery begins in May.

And, in case anybody missed it, here's our FanFare Talk discussion about what Trek to cover next. To paraphrase Damar, "Keep…discussing Star Trek, you guys!"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:03 PM on December 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


It bothered me that only with-the-Prophets-Sisko only communicated to Kassidy. Though I don't think we've ever seen a shared vision-with-the-Prophets scene, Jake was sitting right there next to her. The idea that Benjamin would reassure her but not Jake, after so many seasons of establishing what a great father he is? From the Memory-Alpha quotes, it seems like the writers thought it made that final shot more poignant, but, it made it too sad for me. I'm glad Avery Brooks talked them out of making Sisko permanently gone, but since we never actually get to see him reunited with Jake, Kassidy, and the baby-on-the-way, even if it's canon that he does via tie-in novels, it's a bummer ending on the Sisko family front.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:37 PM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, and from the AV Club recap comments: The Annotated Rappin' Jake Sisko
posted by oh yeah! at 2:39 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


The scene where the Female Changeling orders the genocide of the Cardassians always chilled me to the bone. Not the least because of Weyouns casual pragmatism.

FC: I want the Cardassians eliminated.
Weyoun: Which ones?
FC: All of them. The entire population.
Weyoun: That will...take some time.
FC: Well, you better get started.


Great scene.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 4:26 PM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


It bothered me that only with-the-Prophets-Sisko only communicated to Kassidy.

I get the feeling that Sisko only had a brief window to communicate to anybody, and he chose his distraught wife (and the mother of his newborn child) rather than his grown son. It's heartbreaking for everybody, but if he could only choose one person I think he made the right choice. If it had been just a few years earlier, he definitely would have chosen Jake.

When this show ended, I had a reaction I've never had to any other series finale. I remember I put my girlfriend to bed for the night and went out to the living room, and then I was surprised to find myself kind of grieving. Not crying, but more upset than I expected to be. These days seven seasons can pass in a blink, but I was younger then and time moved differently. It seemed like DS9 had been on forever, and I'd gotten so invested in it all.

As much as I loved TNG and Buffy and other shows, I think the reason the ending of DS9 hit me so hard was because the show felt so real and lived in, and watching it end was like moving away from a place and knowing I could never go back and visit. I had a vaguely similar pang when Angel ended, and in hindsight it wasn't so much because I was saying goodbye to that show itself (though I'd grown to love it) but that I knew I was probably saying goodbye to the whole Buffyverse. It was effectively the end of that world. DS9 was a part of Trek, but in many ways it was a world of its own and it was wrenching to know I could never go back. At that point the TNG movies were still going, but I knew I'd never see a DS9 movie or TV reunion or anything. It's even called What You Leave Behind. That final zoom-out was it.

DS9 ended in a way that felt like this show was very much over for us, but the story definitely wasn't over for its characters. Their lives go on, even if we're not watching them. That bittersweet final shot is so true to the heart of the show. Our time at DS9 may be over, but life there struggles on.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:20 PM on December 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


I was young enough at the time that it wasn't obvious to me that there would never be a DS9 movie, and I was always a little miffed about that.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:31 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm clearly not going to have time to actually watch this any time soon - holidays are extra busy this year.

Some stuff I remember vividly from many watchings though:
* The end of the war was beautiful.
DS9 was the series that bucked Roddenberry's sterile, clean utopian vision the most, but at the same time, I feel like it was the series that most believed in that vision. At the end of the Dominion War, we have Cardassia in ashes. Garak sounded nearly suicidal to me. The Federation won in part with the threat of genocide. Nobody's hands were clean, and it was clear it wasn't a happy ending for anybody but professional warriors like Martok. (That also highlighted that even honorable Klingons are necessarily assholes - even when the culture is lived up to, it's not pretty.)

At the same time, they understood that the Founders couldn't be beaten forever by threats or extinction. This is how wars end: one side decides not to fight on. Plus, genocide was depicted as wrong, even though the Founders are a genuinely alien antagonist - normally fair game in military SF. At the end of the day, Odo gave up his relationship with Kira to go back and help them understand solids, to give them a chance to see them the way he did so that maybe one day they could be allies instead of paranoia fuel.

It's hopeful. It focuses on diplomacy and hard emotional labor over death rays. It is deeply respectful of Roddenberry's vision of a better future IMO, trying to turn enemies into friends in the long term. (The only thing that comes close to hitting this note for me in earlier material is Star Trek VI - peace with the Klingons was another moment that deeply represented what Star Trek means to me. This was better because this story had so much more time to breathe, IMO.)

* I felt the same way as Ursula Hitler is describing about how this series made me feel that life went on. It reminded me of the B5 finale that way - some people staying, some leaving. The world was still spinning, we just couldn't stay.

* The stuff with Sisko disappointed me all around.
The Prophets used to be a nonlinear weird kind of Vonnegut thing. They don't understand us! They don't understand avarice or angst! I liked those Prophets. They were, again, very Trek - beings that lived in some interdimensional vortex with a very odd view of causality are a cool notion worth playing with a bit.

The series slowly Flanderized them into generic magic good guy gods. I remember being so disappointed when I heard the behind the scenes stuff about The Reckoning in the associated Fanfare thread, and that lazy space fantasy stuff comes to a disappointing head here: Gul Dukat vs. Benjamin Sisko in a CG good vs. evil battle that felt to me like it wandered in from some B-movie.

I was also very disappointed that Sisko didn't have anything for Jake in that ending scene. The whole point of the Prophets was that they were outside time, and suddenly he's in too big of a hurry for his son? After The Visitor, that came across as absolutely cruel. We know what happens when space magic zaps Sisko away: Jake can't let go. We saw it before. That's just not right.

So I hated more or less everything about that. When I have a couple free hours, I'll go back and see if still bothers me this much, but this really bothered me at the time.

So yeah. I feel like this finale showcased what I loved and what disappointed me in DS9 very well. It's sort of an ideal encapsulation of the whole package, so it was hard not to love even though I was angry about the bit I mentioned.
posted by mordax at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


The part of the finale that always kills me (oh is it dusty in here) is the musical cue around O'Brien. The minstrel boy melody, which is a call back to a TNG episode that was the heart of his character building.

Man. Every time.
posted by French Fry at 10:02 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


I tend to think that a DS9 movie would have been a bit of a demotion, as they finished up the series with the last engagement of a years-long interstellar war. What would the series have gained from a movie? Better space battles? A wide shot of nukes going off across Cardassia as the Jem'Hadar enacted the Founder's scorched-earth policy? A "Force"-battle between Sisko and Dukat that raged for half-an-hour and wove in and out of time and space? And setting it after "What You Leave Behind" would have been problematic, as you'd have to come up with something big enough to Get The Band Back Together. (There was a good trilogy novel--Millenium--by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, that had a suitably epic story, although it ended up with a very complicated time travel story that wouldn't have translated well to the screen.) For that matter, looking at the TNG movies, DS9 may have done better simply by giving an end; First Contact was pretty good, but Insurrection was basically a jumped-up episode and Nemesis a mediocre rehash of TWOK that made poor use of Tom Hardy and Ron Perlman (not to mention the character of Worf; IIRC, we never find out why he's back in uniform after becoming ambassador to Kronos). Similarly, I haven't been inspired by the DS9 reboot novels to keep up with them after the first few, although A Stitch in Time is a precious gem. (It's based on a monologue that Andrew Robinson had done at conventions.)

Also good about this ending are Sisko and Ross refusing to toast the destruction of Cardassia, and Martok's going ahead with it anyway. (One thing that I'd missed previously is that there's a Cardassian corpse in the foreground of the scene.) Plus, the final scene with Garak and Bashir, in which the former is both phenomenally bitter (even for him) and yet still appreciative of their friendship. And, of course, that final zoom out, which, I'm informed, is the only time in the series in which the station is CGI instead of a physical model.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:01 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


We know what happens when space magic zaps Sisko away: Jake can't let go. We saw it before. That's just not right.

But the situation is a bit different. In The Visitor Jake lost his dad really young, and Sisko was trapped and frozen in some weird nothing. Also, Jake had this frustrating sense that his father could be saved. With this, Jake is older and he knows his father is safe at least. He also has Sisko's word that he WILL be back at some point. The situation definitely echoes The Visitor and it's a terrible loss for Jake, but it's more ambiguous and less cruel. Sisko definitely didn't ask to be with the Prophets, but who knows what he's getting out of the experience? Maybe his time with them will turn out to be wonderful for everybody. (Although it does make me sad that we'll never see a season of post-Prophets Sisko. I think he'd have to come back changed in a major way, maybe even with godlike powers of his own.)

As for why Sisko's final visit with Kassidy seemed so rushed... it's a puzzler. I get the feeling the Prophets didn't even want to give him that much, so maybe he was using whatever powers he had to make an appearance in our reality and he knew he couldn't hold on for long. It's hard to picture the Prophets saying, "Fine, but you only have ONE MINUTE."

I don't think the Prophets are "good" alien gods exactly, they're mostly beyond our concepts of morality although they seem to have a vague tilt toward what we would consider goodness. The Pah Wraiths are totally evil, but it may be that even if they were totally good the Prophets would still oppose them for being too ambitious and active in the affairs of our universe. Maybe, if the Pah Wraiths had just wanted to save Bajor from the occupation, the Prophets would have stepped in and slapped them down. For all we know stuff like that may have been how the whole conflict started, and over time the Pah Wraiths just got more frustrated and twisted as their ambitions were thwarted. But I wouldn't call their conflict good vs. evil, it's more like detached vs. evil.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:32 PM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I look at the Prophet stuff like this: Yes, it's a bit of a get-out-of-jail-free card for the writers to use Godlike Aliens Who Say All Kinds of Stuff that Never Quite Gets Explained as the series-premiere concept-instigators and the series-finale bookends. But people didn't seem to mind when TNG did it.

So, since we can rationalize away any number of logical discontinuities, what matters more in my view is whether the wrap-up of the Prophet stuff has the proper emotional and dramatic resonance. Did they do the very best that they could have in that regard? Perhaps not; I definitely have always felt that the final Sisko-Dukat showdown would have seemed silly and, yes, B-movie-esque to me were it not for the long history built up by the show. (Like, even the Kira/Jake battle in "The Reckoning" was less corny, in a way.) And it definitely did introduce emotional/dramatic awkwardness w/r/t Sisko leaving the physical plane in the last episode.

But given what they'd established about the Pah-Wraiths, I really see only two ways that the arc could have ended: the Mordor approach that they chose, or something potentially even cheesier where Sisko somehow redeems Dukat and restores light and purity to the Pah-Wraiths in some sort of The Fountain-esque explosion of holy power, and even the Prophets learn a Valuable Lesson from Mere Mortals about True Morality, and the Pah-Wraiths are welcomed back to the Celestial Temple and Bajor rejoices and the Ewoks dance or something. Given the overall tone of DS9, I'm not sure that could have fit; moreover, it'd likely have been Happy Ending overkill considering that the Female Changeling was also rapidly (albeit very plausibly IMO) won over. It may even have been a conscious choice on the writers' part to stick with the notion of truly evil, irredeemable ex-wormhole-aliens.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:05 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Pah Wraiths are totally evil, but it may be that even if they were totally good the Prophets would still oppose them for being too ambitious and active in the affairs of our universe. Maybe, if the Pah Wraiths had just wanted to save Bajor from the occupation, the Prophets would have stepped in and slapped them down. For all we know stuff like that may have been how the whole conflict started, and over time the Pah Wraiths just got more frustrated and twisted as their ambitions were thwarted. But I wouldn't call their conflict good vs. evil, it's more like detached vs. evil.

That would've been more interesting - Stargate SG-1 plays with that for quite awhile, in ways I find a lot more compelling. (IMO, SG-1 is the real spiritual successor to ST:TOS, despite not occurring in the same universe, which is a nerd fight I wish there was space to have around here.)

At any rate, it lacked subtlety, nuance or motivation. The Pah-Wraiths are just not good antagonists on any level. We don't know who they are, we don't know what they want, we don't know what set them on the path of villainy. We don't know what they'll do if they win, really. We don't know what their limits or capabilities are. Drama needs proper stakes, and they're not offering any. In The Reckoning thread, we found out via Memory Alpha that the writers specifically wanted a horror movie episode: good vs. evil in an epic battle which is saved largely by Kai Winn's lack of faith. (Louise Fletcher is a treasure.) This is all pretty trite and unsatisfying.

Contrast this with The Dominion: we know who they are. We know what they can do. We know what they'll do if they win. We know what they won't do in the pursuit of victory. Individual members of the Dominion are humanized so we sympathize with them even though they're definitely the bad guys. We understand them, so their stories can have heft.

These guys? Not really, no. Not ever, despite them being around about as long. And by dragging the Prophets into this overall plotline, that not-goodness rubs off on them too - the Prophets are suddenly interacting with linear time in ways they explicitly didn't understand in the pilot. They possessed Sarah. Now, it's possible this is a retcon actually driven by their power - it's possible Sisko wasn't the Emissary, wasn't connected to them in that way until he met them, and they reached back in time to change his backstory... but that's never explored at all. Like, I don't expect the Prophets to explain themselves, but it seems like something Sisko himself, being a thoughtful man with experience with time travel, might plausibly at least speculate about to get the audience in on it.

At any rate, it was dissatisfying. This right here is something like what I was thinking:

So, since we can rationalize away any number of logical discontinuities, what matters more in my view is whether the wrap-up of the Prophet stuff has the proper emotional and dramatic resonance. Did they do the very best that they could have in that regard?

My answer's 'nope.' And this isn't meant to slam the show - as I said above, DS9 is the best of Trek in my view. Nothing else is even really close, except during its finest moments.

As far as I'm concerned, they should've left the Prophets unresolved. The logic is this: if we can't know anything about the Pah-Wraith vs. Celestial Temple conflict because it exists on a scope barely comprehensible to mortals (or whatever the rationale is), it didn't need a resolution either. We don't need a tidy bow around a conflict that should exist somewhat out of time anyway. The conflict between Sisko and Dukat needed a resolution, but it should've been more personal: Dukat tries to blow up DS9 or Bajor or whatever it is Space Hitlers do in the end. Sisko still could've poofed away to the Temple after. But this whole thing, Pah-Wraiths vs. Prophets didn't need this because it simultaneously kills the mystery about them without telling us anything meaningful. We're left to fanwank what's actually going on either way, but in this version, I'm irritated.

*shrugs*

Man, I'm gonna miss these threads. Heh.
posted by mordax at 9:18 AM on December 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, they should've left the Prophets unresolved. The logic is this: if we can't know anything about the Pah-Wraith vs. Celestial Temple conflict because it exists on a scope barely comprehensible to mortals (or whatever the rationale is), it didn't need a resolution either. We don't need a tidy bow around a conflict that should exist somewhat out of time anyway. ... Sisko still could've poofed away to the Temple after.

Interesting. I can definitely see how that might have had more resonance, or at least more of a mythic feel. But I could also see the writers being gun-shy about leaving the audience hanging on TWO major fronts-- the "is Sisko really gone?" question and the "what the hell was up with the Prophets anyway?" question. I could see maybe a "middle ground," where they tried to explain/resolve less than they did but more than nothing. That'd come close, I think, to how TNG handled the Q Continuum (leaving aside the debate of whether Voyager's expansion upon it was an improvement or not).

Man, I'm gonna miss these threads. Heh.

I for one really hope that whichever Trek we do next proves to be just as rich for quibbling over minutiae. It's what MeFites do best! But yes, this has been damn good stuff. I really want to express my appreciation to all of you, and special thanks to the other threadposters. I barely touched FanFare until I started following these threads!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:17 PM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


I could see maybe a "middle ground," where they tried to explain/resolve less than they did but more than nothing. That'd come close, I think, to how TNG handled the Q Continuum (leaving aside the debate of whether Voyager's expansion upon it was an improvement or not).

The comparison with the Q is interesting, and is another angle on why this frustrated me.

We see a lot of godlike aliens in Trek: it was a huge cliche in TOS, and TNG cleaned it up a bit, focusing primarily on the Q with fewer one-off random space gods just waiting to cause a problem. That all rarely frustrated me as much as what happened here though, because those stories mostly retained basic consistency about who the Q are: they have a certain power set, a certain emotional framework, they engage with linear time in a manner visibly consistent with humans, etc. The big exception is the disconnect between Deja Q and Death Wish, but Death Wish is a good enough story I was willing to let one retcon go.

Basically, seen one Q story, the rest make sense.

Not so with the Prophets. When we meet them, they're a rare occasion where alien gods feel genuinely alien. They're not linear. They made a big deal out of that. They appear human because of the 'form you understand' trope, rather than because they're slumming like Q. Most importantly, it's clear that they are so weird that even if they really wanted humans to understand them, they might not be able to fully bridge that gap even with all their power because they're that far out from our experience.

That was neat, and then it was gone. Like... they already explained the Prophets as much as I feel anybody needed right in the pilot. There wasn't anything to resolve until they started cheating and changing how the Prophets worked in order to shoehorn in horror movie stuff.

I for one really hope that whichever Trek we do next proves to be just as rich for quibbling over minutiae. It's what MeFites do best! But yes, this has been damn good stuff. I really want to express my appreciation to all of you, and special thanks to the other threadposters.

Must second this. I was so excited when Fanfare was rolled out, and things like this are exactly why. You guys are great, and I wanted to talk pop culture with you all for ages before this came out.
posted by mordax at 12:31 AM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to add my thanks to Halloween Jack and Cheeses of Brazil. I haven't been taking part in this rewatch but the posts about the 9 part finale motivated me to watch those episodes over again over Xmas and I enjoyed them more than I had when I originally saw them (which I think was not in one continuous block).
posted by biffa at 6:59 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm behind y'all in my rewatch and slowly catching up, but I just realized something game changing:

Once you notice that Armin Shimerman's facial expressions as Quark are uncannily close to Jeffrey Donovan's as Dodd Gerhardt you will never unsee it.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:55 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oops, could a mod delete my previous comment? I had pasted the urls in from my favorites playlist instead of the standalone links. So, take two - here's a favorite silly fan-vid I found a few months ago: Star Trek DS9 - Last Friday Night, and also the TOS version.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:24 AM on December 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


No Jadzia in the retrospective is bullshit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:58 PM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


No Jadzia in the retrospective is bullshit.

From the Ira Steven Behr quote in Memory Alpha, it seems like Farrell's management was gambling on the Trek negotiators to blink first. Or maybe Farrell was in no mood to do any favors for Berman after his mistreatment of her, and thought the clip rights negotiation was just more of the same and had instructed her management to play hardball.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:31 PM on January 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


Like others I wasn't too pleased with the resolution of the Prophets/Pah Wraiths and the Celestial Temple. Throughout the series I welcomed that aspect of the show but I usually just skip over the Dukat/Winn bits of the last season.

I really enjoyed the grandiose, space operaness nature of the series that at the same time continually developed a lot of the characters. Whole episodes devoted to recurring characters such as Nog and Garak marked another difference from other Trek shows and television's formula in general at the time. One could go on about Kira, Garak, Dax, Sisko, Quark, Worf (he really came alive in this series), Damar, etc. You looked forward to seeing what would happen to them next and how they would deal with events in their lives. So many of the characters, male or female, were well developed and continually evolving. I would have loved to see more of them.

The finale is difficult to take because it was the end of the best Trek series and it really has aged well for the most part.

DS9 was the series that bucked Roddenberry's sterile, clean utopian vision the most, but at the same time, I feel like it was the series that most believed in that vision.

Agreed. As I wrote in the Pale Moonlight thread:

I get what people mean by DS9 largely being antithetical to Roddenberry's vision of Trek but I feel DS9 is the most Trekian of all the series we've had. It shows disparate people, with disparate cultures and former enemies and friends finding a way to work together, not always easily, and not always in a timely fashion, but nonetheless successfully in a manner that we've only achieved here and there in the real world. It's a more nuanced and mature version of Roddenberry's vision and one that as writer and dramatist Roddenberry seemed incapable of realizing.

One small example I think back to is one of my favourite episodes, Rapture, where Kira accepts Jake's decision to have Bashir operate on Sisko despite her own belief, backed by religious conviction no less, that the surgery not take place. These sort of things happen often on DS9.


I haven't commented much during the rewatch mostly because DS9 was a great personal comfort to me in very difficult, down times. I can still remember staying up until 2:00am in a haze of depression just to watch repeats. Episodes like It's Only a Paper Moon and Rapture are particularly personal and I relate to so many of the characters, or aspects of them, Odo in particular.

I believe I'll be watching this series from time to time for the rest of my life.
posted by juiceCake at 2:25 PM on January 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


Apologies for popping in so late, but thanks to the threadrunners and participants here. As I noted during the threadrun, I more or less missed the show on broadcast but was aware that it has a special place in some Trek fans' hearts and I enjoyed the opportunity to watch it more-or-less with you. I'm still not trading my Picard hoodie for a grey-shouldered v-neck, but I am very happy to have had the experience and to have seen, for the first time, the unquestionable high points of the series - for me, roughly ordered, "The Visitor," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "Past Tense."

I also very much appreciate the other folks who have posted their critiques and analyses of the ways in which the show failed to live up to its' own goals and potential with regard to the inclusion of religious themes and plot drivers such as the Prophets and Pah Wraiths. As I have noted, on initial broadcast, these themes were in and of themselves contributory to my determination not to watch the show, but that antipathy was not based on the quality of the show's work with them, it was based on a personal antipathy to religion and spirituality per se. A more important reason for skipping the show was the increasing importance of serialization in plotting - there was no way I was going to be able to catch even a third of the shows and when I did I had no idea what was going on.

In this watchthough, I was able to look back at my younger self's resistance to the inclusion of these themes and look at the show while consciously trying to consider other genre works that have incorporated similar themes which did not cause me to sprain my eyeballs from rolling them too hard - Dune, Zelazny, Stranger in a Strange Land, hell, even Star Wars - and try to, er, grok, what was aggravating to me about the themes being explored, first, in Star Trek and second, in DS9.

The two things are distinct, but related. I didn't want religion in my Trek! Really, I still don't. But after thinking about it for a while I realized that there was no good reason for Trek to sideline or exclude it and I understood more successfully that the attempt to incorporate it into Trek via DS9 was ambitious and worthy. I still feel that overall the treatment of the Prophets and the Pah Wraiths is pretty lackluster and I have written about that here previously. Mordax spends some time on that subject with regard to this episode in particular and does a fine job sharing that perspective. So maybe in the fullness of time we'll see it integrated into another incarnation with greater subtlety and sensibility, and of course my critical perspective on this is just that, mine, and not one that seems to be dominant in the community of DS9 fans.

I have, to be clear, very much appreciated the writings of others here who have expressed cirques of that aspect of the show, none of who appear to have been writing from my initial perspective of "get those Gods out of my Trek" and all of who appear to have been writing from a critical perspective interested in understanding how it could have been made better, in, if you will, the spirit of infinite diversity.

Thanks again for your companionship and words.
posted by mwhybark at 8:11 PM on January 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


The two things are distinct, but related. I didn't want religion in my Trek! Really, I still don't. But after thinking about it for a while I realized that there was no good reason for Trek to sideline or exclude it and I understood more successfully that the attempt to incorporate it into Trek via DS9 was ambitious and worthy.

That's a fascinating viewpoint that I'd never really considered. Thanks for bringing it up. :)

I actually do feel like religion being pushed out of most Trek was a very Roddenberry thing - when we look at religion in any other area of Trek, it's all false gods and they're usually antagonistic. Not every time - Metrons, Organians, etc. - but they're all meddlesome super aliens or computers or something. I get the feeling that part of his clean, sterile utopian vision really was 'PS everybody's secular humanists in the good future' (or whatever the term was at the time). Like, if I had to cite what I thought most of Trek was about here, I'd immediately go to Kirk defeating the Apollo, or maybe Picard and Q going at it about the final potential of humanity.

In most of Trek, religion is depicted as an obstacle or a distraction, rather than a legitimate viewpoint, IMO. So, like, your initial gut reaction to it being presented in a more sympathetic way here was supported by the text as far as I'm concerned.

I also think that Roddenberry's vision was fine in stories that focused on a purely Starfleet perspective - it's a military organization, and it's reasonable for those to have a lot of conformists in a single culture. When I thought about it as a younger person, I just figured religious people didn't fit in well or get promoted, the same as it would be hard to be a member of a minority faith in many real military organizations.

Once we got a show set with a ton of civilians, I think it would've hurt my willing suspension of disbelief to do nothing with it though. Speaking as an apatheistic agnostic, (read: I think atheists waste too much time thinking about the existence of gods), I find the lack of it in a fully realized fictional world jarring. Religion has always been with us, and no matter how I personally feel about it, I think it always will be. Including the Bajoran faith just made the place feel more lived-in to me at first. Like, 'of course this planet would have a religion, and of course it would pose issues for the crew.'

Later, I really enjoyed the way that they showcased the discomfort and conflict that Bajorans felt dealing with the hard reality of the wormhole versus their faith. Like... the way the gods were portrayed was dumb in the end, but the way *believers* got portrayed was usually pretty good. Kira Nerys and Kai Winn are particularly good in any related story, offering great tension between belief and evidence and need and duty. As I've often mentioned, Kai Winn single-handedly saves The Reckoning for me by reacting to supernatural craziness like a real person, and every time Kira talks about the tension between 'Sisko as The Emissary' versus 'Sisko as that boss she sometimes angrily disagrees with,' I felt for her. It made the place feel a lot more real to me.

Plus, the show itself was pretty sensitive about it: religious people weren't dupes or stupid, they were just regular folks, and the arguments in favor of worshiping the Prophets weren't silly. I would not have been persuaded, but the wormhole aliens were immortal, reality warping and cared about Bajor. The show made sure both interpretations: 'they're super aliens' and 'they're actual gods' were perspectives smart, sane people could reasonably hold. At the same time, they made it clear which side the Federation was on: they always treated the Bajoran faith as a soft obstacle to membership, which was exactly in line with the rest of Trek.

Plus, I liked the chilling authoritarian state religion of the Dominion - it reminded me a lot of Dune, calling back to your references. Like, the Founders were operating out of a similar playbook to the Missionaria Protectiva, they were just heavier on the offense due to a stronger hand than the Bene Gesserit.

So... hm. Like, I think your perspective had a lot of support in the text, but at the same time, I think it was good DS9 went there, and it did so in a respectful way for the bulk of its run even if they got all caught up in trite B-movie nonsense in the home stretch.

Mordax spends some time on that subject with regard to this episode in particular and does a fine job sharing that perspective.

(Thank you!)

I have, to be clear, very much appreciated the writings of others here who have expressed cirques of that aspect of the show, none of who appear to have been writing from my initial perspective of "get those Gods out of my Trek" and all of who appear to have been writing from a critical perspective interested in understanding how it could have been made better, in, if you will, the spirit of infinite diversity.

Seriously, same goes for you bringing this stuff up. It's okay to just watch a show and like or hate it, but it's a lot more fun to pick at the bones and try to figure *why* something was good or bad or whatever it was, tease out what was going on beneath the surface. Having a lot of disparate perspectives can really help with that, I think.
posted by mordax at 9:48 PM on January 3, 2017 [5 favorites]


Imma chust leave dis 'ere
posted by mwhybark at 12:19 AM on January 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I saw that, but didn't really think Trump and Dukat were a good match. Dukat is calculating and articulate, with a cool, diplomatic facade. Trump is none of those things. He's a crass, bullying, comic goon with a hideous fashion sense and weird orange skin. In other words, he's a Ferengi all the way. (Maybe that ill-fitting wig is an attempt to cover the ears?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:45 AM on January 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


Well, this is unexpected! As part of What We Left Behind, an upcoming documentary about DS9, the main writers of the show have produced a script for a season 8 premiere episode and worked out a story for the whole season! That will presumably be as far as it goes, but it will be real trip to read! (Behr talks about the doc here, and there's a video showing that Nana Visitor has not aged and is still awesome.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:35 PM on February 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that video link, Ursula. Anybody else get the feeling that they were really tiptoeing around the question "Y'all think we should try and Veronica Mars this bitch?"

That'd be friggin' nuts. I guess the show concept is better suited to a 20-year jump than most others. But for a TREK series to do that? That's a steep climb indeed. One wonders whether Discovery being successful would help or hinder this totally hypothetical, 100% unconfirmed, wacky fantasy happyland notion of a DS9 season 8.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:52 AM on February 11, 2017 [1 favorite]




Fingers crossed they get Avery Brooks in there. He seems to be holding out for some reason, which is odd because he's always seemed proud of his involvement in the show.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:49 PM on March 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


io9: To Boldly Stay: How Deep Space Nine Upended Star Trek by Exposing Utopia's Dark Side

Includes quotes about the show from Ira Steven Behr, Nana Visitor and Ron Moore.
posted by zarq at 2:05 PM on March 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Remastering Star Trek: Deep Space Nine With Machine Learning
Be sure to watch on YouTube with the definition turned to 1080
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:50 AM on March 22


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