Season 2 Summary

I think that Season 2 really epitomizes the setting of DS9.  The wild west feel is constantly exercised.  Many of the episodic conflicts are derived from clashes over territory or sovereignty.  The station is isolated from the broader infrastructure of the Federation.  Justice is murky, and the viewer is challenged on preconceived notions, particularly if the viewer is a long-time Star Trek fan.  The station itself takes on a personality at times.  Consequences from previous actions begin recurring.  Side characters get some significant screen time, particularly Dukat and Garak.  In Season 2, all the pillars of the show that I enjoy are in place.

The theme I enjoyed the most out of this season is the clashes of culture and sovereignty with the Cardassians.  Dukat plays a very strong role in this season as an antagonist.  In some episodes, he is clearly a villain (Cardassians, Ep. 2.5) whereas in others (The Maquis, Ep. 2.20 an 2.21) he is less villainous and more simply an antagonist who challenges the beliefs of the crew.  Other very solid episodes with Cardassians (The Wire, Ep. 2.22 and Tribunal, 2.25).  I found Necessary Evil (Ep. 2.28) to be filmed and acted quite well.  The twist at the end had consequences beyond simply that episode.  I found the dynamic between the Bajorans and the Cardassians well designed and executed: a weaker, spiritually deep people fighting for political solvency against an arrogant and technologically superior aggressor.

The season finale, The Jem’Hadar (Ep. 2.26), transitioned the tone of DS9.  While it won’t go away until the war, the sense of “life on the frontier” will begin to fade.  The station becomes the front line to a quadrant wide threat.  Military and politically, the crew must maneuver around the Dominion to stave off war.  This is in addition to juggling threats from the Cardassians and the Maquis.  The sense of DS9 being on the far flung frontier is replaced by a bustling sector with much more traffic on the station.  Rather than an outpost at the edge of the frontier, DS9 becomes a gateway to the frontier.  The crew become more important (Sisko is promoted) and central to conflicts with farther flung consequences.  Progression in scope like this is extremely healthy for a well made TV show, in my opinion.

This season also contains a huge variety of episode types.  Some fun episodes, some action-oriented ones, some thought provoking ones.  The central quartet of episodes (2.13, 2.14, 2.15, 2.16) are fantastic social commentary that really gets the viewer to contemplate.  Shadowplay (Ep. 2.16) in particular stands out as extremely good television on the nature of what it means to be alive.  Episodes like these really inspired my high school brain to think broadly, deeply, and grandly.  Going through this project of documenting my thoughts on each episode is showing me how much an impact DS9 had, beyond what I originally had thought.  Science fiction (and fantasy) are uniquely positioned to challenge our thinking on a variety of topics, such as what it takes to achieve sentience.  I think storytelling like this is essential for humans to reach our fullest potential.  How often do people give themselves the opportunity to simply contemplate?  I know I rarely do, and I yearn for those opportunities.  Good storytelling can create the catalyst for those contemplative moments.  It illuminates and inspires, as art is wont to do.

Random Thoughts:  1) Favorite episode of the season: Necessary Evil (2.8).  Honorable mention: The Wire (2.22). 2) I clearly didn’t have a sense of the quality episodes that appeared in Season 2.  Really increases my opinion of the season.  3) I retrospectively added Invasive Procedures (Ep. 2.4) to the Least Enjoyed Episodes list.  After seeing the rest of the season, my marginal opinion of that episode dropped further.

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~ by Joshua Black on November 6, 2016.

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