Episode 1.14: The Storyteller

Storyteller employs the dual-plot method that I enjoy so much.  One of the plots involves some strong development of the Bashir & O’Brien friendship, so this is one of their seminal episodes in my mind.  If I was to define a time when their relationship begins, I would consider it this trip to Bajor.  Julian is definitely the initiator of the friendship.  As has been building through small interactions through the past few episodes, Miles finds the doctor annoying, brash, upstart, and naive.  But he can’t find an excuse to satisfy Sisko, so to Bajor he goes.  On the trip, Julian surprises Miles with his directness and forthright question about Julian’s own annoying nature.  One of the many qualities I love about Julian is his direct nature and lack of patience with the deceptive arts.  It also shows us that Julian’s naiveté is not as deep as the other characters think.  Further, he tries to push the friendship by having Miles call him by his first name.  While I sympathize with Julian’s desire to get past the pleasantries, this cannot be done, and the use of a first name must come willingly from Miles.  As their trust in each other builds, so will their familiarity.  Once in the village, they play off each other extremely well.  Julian finds the entire situation exciting (without losing his compassion, mind you!), and he greatly enjoys seeing Miles squirm.  Miles looks to Julian for help, mostly because Julian is his only ally in that place.  At the end of this episode, I would not call them friends yet.  Miles is greatly relieved at being able to call Julian ‘sir’ once again.  But now they have common ground, and Miles is beginning to see beneath the nervous face Julian often dons.  For Julian, the friendship begins out of his earnest desire to know Miles.  For Miles, the friendship begins because he’s forced into a close proximity with Julian.  I do not find either reason lesser than the other.

The conflict at the village itself is a worthy topic to discuss.  Again, this conflict is centered on non-physical ideas.  What I’d call spiritual problems or in the language of DS9, issues with the Pagh.  The Dal’Rok itself is a manifestation of non-physical problems: fears, anxieties, doubts.  Science fails the two Starfleet officers; nothing shows up on tricorders.  But clearly it exists and clearly it presents a danger to the village.  Non-physical problems are serious threats to our beings.  We spend great amounts of money fixing some of our physical problems but are hesitant to equally care for emotional and mental problems, like depression.  Stress is another ailment that we ignore.  O’Brien ultimately cannot lead the village because he is not one of them, nor does he understand what needs to be done.  With Bashir seeing the truth of the old man’s ruse, the apprentice finally steps up to lead his people, allowing them to focus on the Dal’Rok and overcome it together.  Though I find interesting thoughts evoked here, this a mediocre setting for the fantastic development of Bashir & O’Brien’s friendship.

In the second storyline, Nog shows a bit of the better side of the Ferengi.  The girl they meet is a horribly obstinate teenager who bothers the crap out of me.  In typical teenager fashion, she protests one thing then does exactly that thing.  Regardless, she faces a dilemma with her people and this treaty.  Nog correctly identifies this not as a problem, but rather an opportunity.  One of the best strengths of the Ferengi is their ability to reclassify situations into something far more favorable.  This unique perspective allows them to find value in places that would otherwise be extremely negative.  Nog also has an excellent grasp of risk, and reminds the girl that saying yes carries as much risk as no, but yes offers more profit.

Random Thoughts: 1) I’m going to stop with the Morn sightings.  Apparently, he ends up in more episodes than Jake Sisko.  2) Kira totally misses the baseball reference.  3) Odo gets a huge kick out of being constable.  4) 9th Rule of Acquisition is quoted.  5) Like with Dax in Dax (Ep. 1.8), Bashir tries to help O’Brien by rushing in, but only puts himself in danger of getting stabbed himself.  6) The punishment for Jake and Nog at the end is very Old West style.

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~ by Joshua Black on September 7, 2012.

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