Episode 2.13: Armageddon Game

Armageddon Game is one of my personal watershed episodes.  Now, I would imagine that most fans of DS9 would not find this as any kind of stand out episode.  However, it stands out to me for two reasons.  First is that it is focused on Julian and Miles’s friendship; this is where the friendship officially begins.  Additionally, it is around this point in the series that I started watching DS9 back in high school.  I can’t remember the exact episode, but I do know it was around the middle of Season 2.  This would have been one of the first episodes I would have seen.  First impressions are quite strong.  We’ve seen throughout several episodes across both seasons Julian reaching out to Miles.  Miles has been extremely resistant to this because he sees Julian as a ponce.  Julian has to prove his mettle to Miles.  It’s been building in little ways, like Julian leading teams successfully during the coup d’etat on the station in The Siege (Ep. 2.1).  It now becomes personal for Miles.

Miles goes through a behavioral transition once they are attacked on the T’Lani ship.  He slips into his war mode; other episodes explore this trauma.  He quickly becomes the “superior” to Julian making statements that sound like commands; as a doctor, Julian is an officer officially in command of Miles, a high-ranking, respected enlisted man.  Miles decides to: abandon ship, go to the planet instead of the runabout, stay put in the building, and repair the radio.  All without input from the ranking officer.  These actions are the result of the lack of respect.  Julian doesn’t help his case for being respected.  He stands pathetically over Miles’s shoulder while Miles starts repairing the radio, offering in a weak voice his Engineering Extension skills.  Julian does indeed feel quite useless.

So they talk, over a few scenes.  Julian is a nervous talker, and he brings up topics to lighten the mood, such as his proposed plans for the party.  It gives Miles an opening to challenge Julian on always thinking about women.  Julian reveals he fell in love once, and his heartache at leaving the girl for the service.  Julian made his choice, similar to how Miles made his choice about staying on DS9 with his family.  In turn, Miles talks about his love of marriage and his wife; it’s his greatest adventure!  They both see eye-to-eye on the difficulties of being married and in the service, even if they made different choices.  They bond over these topics.  There are a lot of food-in-mouth moments from Julian (Miles would only get a good meal at the party, Miles doesn’t notice attractive women, Miles and his wife argue about the assignment to DS9), but they are actually positive; by saying foolish things unintentionally, Julian’s vulnerable, a crucial component of true friendship.  Miles’s vulnerability is his sickness, being unable to act.  Lastly, Miles instigates some of the conversation, finally showing interest in Julian’s life.

The interdependence they have for each other on this planet is what brings their relationship fully into friendship.  Once Miles is incapacitated, every action rests on Julian.  But he needs Miles’s expertise to actually finish fixing the radio.  Julian’s extension courses gives him enough ability to be verbally directed by Miles.  Without the verbal direction, Julian’s engineering training would have been insufficient.  And without Julian having a basic knowledge of engineering, he would not have been able to accept directions.  All in addition to Julian being a brilliant doctor and keeping Miles alive long enough to get treatment.  Miles realizes he can trust Julian.  I think this being a combat situation also helps Miles connect, since that is a situation that offers unique connection between individuals who share it.  The usual “honored to serve” sentiments are exchanged (though Julian missteps again by saying it afterwards).  At the close of the episode, notice how Miles’s comments on Julian have changed tone.  Instead of questioning Julian’s character, Miles complains in a bantery way about his talkative nature.

Being proclaimed dead invokes some mourning in the rest of the crew.  Sisko’s visit to Keiko is well done.  Her face goes from happy to one of dread upon seeing Sisko.  It’s a moment she’s tried to not think about, but feared would come.  Kira, Dax, and Quark have a great moment.  I think Quark is actually the most mournful of the three.  In his own Ferengi way, he will miss Miles and Julian deeply, and he offers his greatest tribute, drinks on the house.  Kira mourns, but it almost has a feel of her being a professional mourner; not surprising given her past.  Dax is closer to a “standard” mourner, realizing she never really got to know Julian.  The final resolution to the conflict, with Sisko and Dax finding the supposed-dead crew, is a good bit of action.  Sisko’s ploy with the runabouts mirrors the deception the Kellerun and T’Lani employed, with Sisko faking the death of him and his crew.  The twist on the coffee at the end caps off the episode with a bit of mild humor.

Random Thoughts: 1) Star Trek has never been great on space travel time consistencies.  The planet only being an hour from the station is a little odd, since Bajor is like a 3-5 hour trip.  It can be somewhat explained by warp travel being gauged in orders of magnitude (Warp 6 being 10x faster than Warp 5).  However, this also over-explains the differences.  A 10-day trip at Warp 5 becomes a 1.4 minute trip at Warp 9.  2) Rule of Acquisition #57!  3) Runabout Ganges down!

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~ by Joshua Black on June 5, 2016.

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