Episode 3.10: Fascination

This episode is loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The crew is “charmed” into romances that are based on latent attractions between characters.  An amusing story that pokes some fun at the characters.  The most amusing component to me is the irony of the mutual attraction of Bashir and Kira, given Kira’s rebuffs of Bashir’s advances.  Keiko and Miles were not affected by Lwaxana, but simply just missing each others’ needs.  Now that I’m married, I see their interactions in a much different light.  Miles really wanted to connect to his wife after months of being apart; Keiko really needed to shut down and stop making decisions.  They were both in need and were looking to the other for help.  I like the scene where Miles comes to Keiko and apologizes.  Miles does some shadowboxing on his own failings and asks for forgiveness, which is a pillar of healthy relationships.

As an American culture, we don’t have festivals.  In the Bajoran people, I really admire the unified cultural context they have.  Religion has a knack of doing that.  The Gratitude Festival represents a new start for Bajorans where their troubles are turned to ash and left behind them.  It seems like a version of the Jewish Day of Atonement, but with a more upbeat tone.  Less fasting and more vaudeville.  I greatly enjoy the spiritual undertone to the revelry.  Acts like the burning of troubles are more than symbolic; I think there’s also a mystical quality to them.  Something real happens when humans engage in intentional acts of spirituality; they better us as humans.  In the modern US, we simply don’t have spiritual festivals that are culture-wide.  Even in local areas, like my own Denver, there are immensely divergent cultural contexts, so the idea of having a singular festival that brings us all together simply wouldn’t happen.  We have parties that are cross-cultural (eg 4th of July), but not grand festivals that draw people from far and wide.  The closest thing here in Denver is the Great American Beer Festival; lots of folks here are into that subculture.  But this is just another party lots of people show up to.  I think there is great value to mystical acts (like writing troubles down and burning them), and as a whole culture, we are in danger of a shallowness if we don’t give ourselves space to explore our spiritual selves.  Festivals like a Gratitude Festival would give us the opportunity.

Lwaxana’s second appearance is rough on Odo.  I can completely sympathize with his look of fear when Lwaxana states that he would never be alone again.  In a visceral way, she pulled him out of an enjoyable introverted moment listening to music to tell him that.  But Lwaxana has a skill at seeing through outer appearances.  She instantly sees and empathically knows Odo’s pain at learning the truth about the Founders.  His walls are very high regarding this.  She is great at healthy confrontation.  She sees through him like glass again at the end when she finally calls out what’s been building for episodes and seasons: Odo has feelings for Kira.  And what makes Lwaxana a fantastic person is how she sets aside her own love to encourage Odo in his pursuit of Kira.  Lwaxana is an open, vulnerable, empathic character that we can learn a lot from.  We just need to avoid being judgmental of her clingy exterior and annoying mannerisms.  Odo isn’t ignorant of her true nature; he was a benefactor of her nature in Forsaken (Ep. 1.16).  He puts up with her exterior because he knows how deeply compassionate she is.

Random Thoughts:  1) There is one component of this episode that really bothers me.  Quark is affected by Lwaxana.  That directly breaks the literary theme of Quark always being in control and representing how modern humans would react in stressful situations.  I can’t think of another time Quark is affected in this manner.  I had forgotten he was affected here.  2) Bashir and O’Brien have a well established friendship now.  70 games of racquetball are behind them.  When Keiko leaves, Bashir shows up with racquetball gear in hand to help his friend in his loneliness.  I love the banter in the beginning between them about the number of games played so far.  3) Odo’s first direct move on Kira is here; he subtly prods about whether Bareil will be there or not.  4) Bareil states he’s now an advisor to Winn; that gets him killed in 3 episodes.  5) I like how all the officers are dressed down for the festival.  Emphasizes the life-on-the-station feel.  6) Quark enjoys his role as barkeep as his questioning gets O’Brien to realize his wife walked out on him.  The knowing look Quark has at the end of the conversation tells me that he knew exactly what he was doing with his questions.  7) Bashir and Kira having amorous feelings mirrors the real life marriage of Alexander Siddig and Nana Visitor.  They marry between Seasons 5 and 6.  8) The puny Vedek Bareil gets pounded by a buff Starfleet officer an empowered, independent woman.

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~ by Joshua Black on December 17, 2016.

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