Episode 2.11: Rivals

Tis a tale of two sets of rivals!  This is a very fun life-on-the-station episode where Julian and Miles’s relationship takes a great turn.  I really enjoy this premise as a sci-fi storyline.  Luck being controlled by a technological device is the kind of sci fi we all want in our back pocket.  Yet this episode remembers luck will swing into the good, the bad, and the neutral sort of luck.  The little moments really add flesh to the premise; I found the salt shakers an amusing moment.  The crew employs a neat physics trick of spinning neutrinos to be ~50% in each direction (which is real, by my recollection) to be a proxy for twisted probability.  To solve the conflict, Sisko is a bit of a cowboy and simply blasts the devices into smithereens.

Quark was on the verge of being utterly destroyed.  If he had been a bit less aggressive on his bid to Martus, he would have ended up with the device and seen his fortunes slip down the drain instead.  But he overplays a bit, and Martus sets up as Quark’s rival.  I think Quark really loves the prospect of a direct rival.  Ferengi are far less excited about being given profit.  They actually thrive in the moments where they can earn profit.  They’ll employ completely dastardly tactics, but nonetheless, they feel rewarded if they outsmart, outmaneuver, and outplay an opponent.  Quark is clever and innovative, and in the end, he actually does beat Martus by winning his customers back with his racquetball match.  He even got his brother back.  There’s a nice hint too during this rivalry that Quark is quite good at making profit off-screen.  Sisko insinuates that even though he blackmailed Quark to stay, Quark has done pretty well for himself.

This episode is where we finally get to see Julian and Miles interact directly and the friendship starting to form.  Miles reinforces his disdain for Julian; conversely, Julian starts off really admiring the Chief.  Racquetball is a great forum to get them together; Miles is too stubborn to let losing go, and forces himself to be in Julian’s company.  Julian stays because he wants to form a friendship.  Julian is too honest at times, insinuating Miles is too old and throwing matches, which just goads Miles even more.  Julian is also finally seeing himself through others’ eyes, and he is recognizing his own social failings and when he insults others.  Julian deeply insults Miles by trying to throw the match.  In forming their friendship, the key moment in this episode is when they both realize they’ve been swindled by Quark.  A small moment, but one where they have common ground.

Random Thoughts:  1) Humperdink!  Martus is played by Chris Sarandon, the actor who plays Prince Humperdink in Princess Bride.  2) Martus is a Listener, i.e. an El-Aurian.  The same species as Guinan in TNG.  3) 47th and 109th Rules of Acquisition.  The 109th is probably my favorite: “Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.”  4) I enjoyed the scene where O’Brien is suiting up for the big match, and Keiko offers him a favor, as a beloved to her warrior. 5) Ah, Quark.  Poisoning doctors for the children.  6) I realized while writing this, I needed a new category.  This episode inspired the “Life-on-the-Station” category.  I want it to represent an episode that is a bit lighter in nature and is set within normal station life.  I retroactively added the category to several episodes prior.

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~ by Joshua Black on May 28, 2016.

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