Episode 2.3: The Siege

This episode brings us the action-packed conclusion to the three-episode arc. There are space battles, fights on the station, lots of shapeshifter action, deception on a darkened station, and a crash landing on Bajor. In storytelling, this is the climax to a plot that has built across all three episodes. This one of DS9’s action episodes, focusing on an exciting series of events, though I see one excellent literary element. The action is resolved in the last five minutes (the usual Star Trek style), and I particularly enjoy the events on the station. I like how the station itself seems to participate. The invading Bajorans don’t appreciate what the station is capable of, as the Colonel writes off how well it would have stood up to a direct assault. Whether it would or not, we’ll never know (even if the station is weak, so is the Bajoran military), because the crew is able to effortlessly control the station and the battlefield completely.

Li disappointed me as a character. He was completely flat and didn’t actually contribute to the story until this episode. He fulfilled his role a few times, by stepping in where humans could not, primarily with the crowd at the airlock and with the General. But his contribution was at odds with how much he was played up in the first act, The Homecoming (Ep. 2.1). What’s brilliant though: I think my disappointment at him was intended from a literary perspective. He was built up in Act 1 and never delivered. That’s who Li is in truth, both as a character and a literary element. Kira refuses to let him be tarnished however. To her, he represented the ideal of always striving for a free Bajor, no matter the odds. Even though we, the audience, know Li wasn’t the paragon Kira saw (as voiced by O’Brien), it doesn’t matter. We need heroes. We need folks to remind us of the ideals we strive for, even if they don’t get there themselves. Ideals, necessary for humanity, transcend those who embody them.

There were three character moments that I will highlight here. Sisko opens with the obligatory volunteer speech to his Federation crew. He makes it very personal. He talks about how they care about what happens to the Bajoran people and how they need to delay the takeover so that the truth can come to light. Sisko is invested in the grand narrative of the Bajoran people; this isn’t just an assignment for him. Secondly, there is a nice triptych at the beginning showing three families reacting very differently to the evacuation of the station: Quark/Rom, Jake/Nog, and the O’Briens. Quark is focused on profit, and while he’s able to earn some, he gets a sweet betrayal from Rom over it. A little later, Quark claims some cultural insensitivity when he’s berated by Sisko for over-booking by exclaiming, “It’s an accepted Ferengi business practice!” Was Quark being cultural or was he wrong? It’s a nice shot at our preconceived notions. Jake and Nog are utterly filled with hope at the future, as boys should be. The O’Briens are quite the opposite, being filled with dread at the future. Miles may not like leaving his family, but he isn’t torn at his decision. Duty keeps him with his commander. It’s a good contrast amongst different reactions to tragedy. Lastly, Julian’s and Miles’s friendship builds in a small way here. After the combat rations banter, Miles questions Julian’s ability to capture the Bajoran invaders. When Julian succeeds, Miles’s respect for him goes up a notch. Julian is gradually showing his mettle, which is a key barrier for Miles to get over. Julian’s ridiculous idealism shines through again, with his 200 vs 20 comment. I love it.

Random Thoughts: 1) All three of the station’s current runabouts are named! Rio Grande, Ganges, and Orinoco. 2) Quark and Odo have a nice show of friendship in their love/hate sort of way. 3) Quark is never once told to return the profits he got from the sale of tickets. So even though he stayed and was terrified, he profited from it! 4) Dax is shown to have loosened up again. I laugh every time Terry Farrell delivers the line, “Is that a spider or a dog?!?” 5) Kira and Dax’s friendship is developed a little. I like how, over the course of the show, most of the combinations (Kira/Dax, Bashir/Sisko, O’Brien/Odo, etc) get some screen time. Makes for a very complete meta-narrative. 6) Bajor’s 26 hour day is referenced; I think for the first time, though Emissary might have mentioned it. 7) Sisko left his baseball on the desk. This is a recurring calling card whenever he “abandons” the station. The General, a minor villain, also toys with it. 8) Kira’s ship takes lots of hits while the more advanced Bajor fighter took one hit before going down. Typical. 9) Rule of Acquisition #31! Brought on by a “your momma” joke from Bashir, no less! 10) Winn does something that just makes me despise her deeply. She calls Kira’s use of Vedek robes “blasphemy”. She uses her religious “faith” as a weapon, and does so by twisting a truth. It might be rude or uncouth to wear a Vedek’s robe, but to call it blasphemy is an overstatement of the offense. This strongly mirrors the offenses laid upon Pharisees by Jesus in the Christian tradition; they took tenants of the faith and extended them to include oppressive practices. For a fuller study, look at how lepers were intended to be treated in the Old Testament and how typical rabbis actually treated them in the New Testament time period. I find this kind of behavior outrageous.

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~ by Joshua Black on September 12, 2015.

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