Friday, February 10, 2012

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 101 & 102 "Emissary"



Summary


Star Trek:  The Next Generation presented a two part classic story called “The Best of Both Worlds"  It showed how Captain Picard was kidnapped by the Borg and turned into one of their own.  He led the attack on the Federation at Wolf 465.  Many Federation ships were lost in that battle.  Little did we know that it would provide one of the storylines that would turn into Deep Space Nine.
In that battle, Benjamin Sisko lost his wife.  He managed to survive along with his son.  The scars would stay with him the rest of his life.  He also carried a hatred for Captain Picard since he led the attack.  Picard was not in control of his actions but that did not change things in Sisko’s eyes.  Unlike the crew of the Enterprise, we are immediately shown that this crew would be different.  Many of them carry the scars of their lives before coming to the station.  Some would not like each other.  Many times they disagreed over what to do.  The interaction between Sisko and Picard demonstrates that things are not going to go smoothly in the DS9 universe.



The Bajorans have driven the Cardassians off of their world.  The Cardassian space station Terok Nor has been evacuated and the Bajorans have asked the Federation to assist in running it. It is renamed Deep Space Nine.  When Sisko arrives he finds that the Cardassians gutted much of the station.  As the crew works to get things running, Sisko is summoned to the planet to meet with the Kai, head of the Bajoran religion.  The Bajorans have managed to hide one of the “Tears of the Prophets” from the Cardassians.  The jewel like Tear takes Sisko on a journey through his past.  The Kai gives it to him.  She wants him to find the Temple of the Prophets before the Cardassians.  Sisko is the prophesied Emissary who will bring the Prophets back to Bajor.


Sisko uses the Tear to open a stable worm hole in the sector.  The Cardassians move to take control of it.  Nerys and the crew move DS9 to the entrance before the Cardassians arrive.  A battle ensues.  Sisko encounters the Prophets and reaches an agreement to allow transit to the Gamma quadrant on the other end of the worm hole.  An uneasy truce is reached with the Cardassians.  Now Bajor and Deep Space Nine are suddenly thrust into being the center of trade for this new quadrant.


Notes from the Deep Space Nine Companion


Originally, the role of Nerys was planned for Ensign Ro from Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  The actress who played Ro did not want to be a regular on a show.


The role of Dax was not cast until the last minute.  Terry Farrell, who played Dax, was brought on the show during the eleventh day of filming.


The actors who played Odo and Quark worked together on a Broadway play before being cast for these roles on DS9.


The production crew listed some interesting places on the map of the station.  Included were Garak’s Tailor Shop (Garak would become a regular in the later years but did not appear in this episode) and Spacely Sprockets (workplace of George Jetson on the cartoon “The Jetsons”).


The role of Odo was originally supposed to be played by a Clint Eastwood type character.  Once Rene Aberjonois was cast, they allowed the role to be modified to what we see in this episode.




I never realized it until someone told me about the origin of the character Morn.  He is always at the bar, always sits in the same seat, and everyone knows him.  Yes, Morn is a tribute to Norm from the television show "Cheers".




Commentary


I loved the characters in this series.  Most of them have a somewhat checkered past that would come back to haunt them.


Sisko is tortured by the loss of his wife.  In some ways he resents the Federation for putting him in a position where she could die.  I like how the death of Sisko’s wife plays a major role in the entire series.  In some shows you watch, something like this would be touched on in the early episodes and forgotten as time moved on.  DS9 stayed focused on the main issues introduced in the beginning.


Nerys was a former resistance fighter.  As we will see in later stories, she did many things that most main characters in Star Trek would find appalling.  She is torn between supporting her old friends and helping to create a new future for her people.  Her conflict over the leaders of her faith make for some stressful moments for her in the future.


Odo comments that he was found in the area of the worm hole.  He has no knowledge of his people.  It would become a major theme for the series.  Let’s just say that the Federation is in for some dark days when Odo discovers his origins.


Quark is, in some ways, the most honest character.  He freely admits that he is in it for the money.  Like the others, he is on a journey that will leave him a different person than he is in the first episode.  Sisko is not above blackmailing Quark into staying on the station when the other store owners are leaving.  This puts Quark in a central position in the community as it rebuilds.  At times, Quark’s antics will cause problems, at other times he is a hero.


Bashir seems very much a diehard Federation doctor who is wet behind the ears.  But, like the others, his past contains secrets that he does not want revealed.  The Bashir and O’Brien team seems like an unlikely duo but their friendship is developed over time.


O’Brien is the “everyman” of the crew.  He is overworked.  When off duty, he likes to hang out with Bashir at Quark’s.  He is trying to juggle his long work hours with being a good husband and father.


Dax, as a surrogate, is in her seventh life.  Some of her previous hosts were not nice people.  One in particular will lead to problems later in the series.  Her previous host was described as a “womanizer”.  I like how Sisko calls his friend “old man” in reference to her previous life.  Bashir is jealous of Sisko’s relationship with Dax in this episode.  He is afraid that the two are getting romantically involved.  In Sisko’s mind, Dax will always be his friend-Curzon.


Overall we have a crew made up of flawed people.  With the secrets they harbor, it generates much drama for the station.  And one of the most interesting characters (Garak-a Cardassian tailor) has yet to appear.  The stage has been set.  “Emissary” was a good introduction to the characters and situations that will be uncovered over the next seven years.  Some of the problems ahead are political unrest on Bajor, an intergalactic war, personal journeys, a secret service working behind the scenes in the Federation, the death of a main character, a civil war, and many others.


While I like the individual stories, the War with the Founders is probably my favorite.  But that is a story for another time.

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

I love the idea of watching these and then reading the corresponding sections in the companion book. I'm going to have to pick up a copy of that.

Can you imagine what this series would have been like without Dax? Wow!

SPOILER!!!!!!:

I knew because of just paying attention to celeb gossip that eventually they would kill off Terry Farrell's character, but I had no idea when. And I didn't share that knowledge with my wife or daughter. So for me every season was this intense "is this the time" experience and after it all happened I had a really interesting conversation with Mary and Tori about how hard it was to keep that secret. And kudos to all my friends who knew I knew what was going to happen but didn't tell me when so that I could experience it for myself.

You are correct, the conflicted nature of the various characters added something very powerful to this series and I credit the writers with not backing away from that but made those things a regular part of the ongoing story line.