Episode 3.17: Visionary

This episode takes some tried and true sci fi elements, respins them into a new story, and creates a solid midseason action episode.  The main thrust, to me, is to give the viewer an episode with light intrigue and a simple viewing experience.  In a “torture O’Brien” episode, O’Brien is pulled through time in short jumps and snapped back to his normal time like a rubber band.  Much of the torture comes from O’Brien actually seeing himself dead on a couple occasions; in fact, in a poetic and foreshadowed moment, the “original” O’Brien does die!  There isn’t much technobabble to back up O’Brien’s shifts, so the suspension of disbelief requirement is pretty high, even by sci fi standards.  The Romulans are well used here; they mire themselves deeply in subterfuge to accomplish their goals.  One element to pull out at this point is to recognize that the series continues to benefit from the setting of DS9.  In the first few posts of this blog, I noted that the DS9 crew has to deal with consequences more regularly than the TNG crew because of the immovable nature of the station.  The premise of this episode reflects that.  The Romulans are here for intel because of the deal they made to install a cloaking device on the Defiant (The Search, Part 1, Ep 3.1).

There is a poignant moment at the end between O’Brien and Bashir while they ponder whether O’Brien really belongs or not.  I like Bashir’s firm commitment to his friend; a few extra hours of memory don’t change a person.  But for me, it harkens back to Whispers (Ep. 2.14).  In that, it is the fact that the non-clone O’Brien had continuity of his existence that gave him the stronger claim to the “O’Brien life”.  This new O’Brien can’t really claim that; though with his counterpart dead, there isn’t a conflict between them.  This theme isn’t explored beyond this, however.  I find it an interesting thought experiment, like the one conjured in Whispers (Ep. 2.14).

As is typical in episodes like this, there is some excellent time spent on the characters.  Miles and Julian’s friendship shines strongly.  They banter lightly and discuss some personal issues.  At this point, Miles deeply trusts Julian; he actually entrusts Julian with the delivery of “the letter” to his wife should something happen.  This is very meaningful for Miles.  It shows he trusts Julian as a brother in the dangerous parts of their careers, and that Julian would honor Miles’ family in a way that Miles himself would.  Kira is directly told of the possibility of Odo having feelings for her, which she brushes off instantly as incredulous.  To me, this is evidence that at this point, Kira has no conscious interest in Odo; she doesn’t even consider it as a legitimate possibility even when an outside party demands she think about it.  She doesn’t actually answer the question though, implying something is bubbling beneath the surface.  Odo brushes off her bringing it up to him in the same way as all of us insecure gentlemen would: without style and poorly executed!

Random Thoughts:  1) This is the one and only time the station is destroyed.  2) At this point, I’m not making tag for O’Brien-must-suffer episodes.  The two are nested, so a search for O’Brien brings up all the suffer episodes.  But who knows, I might change my mind down the line.  3) I love the dartboard.  It brings a very nice pub feel to Quark’s that enhances the leisurely aspects of the place.  4) This story is reliant on Star Trek’s time travel motif:  That there is a single timeline that is mutable to time travelers.  5) I enjoy how both Kira and Quark react to the Romulans questioning them.  Kira reacts with passion and fury over being pushed around.  Quark evades and lies at every turn.  6) Every Ferengi has his price.  For triple, Quark is willing to risk a massive bar fight.  7) Odo always investigates Quark.  I love Auberjonois’s intonation at this line.  8) The writers give a moment to the confusing (and sometimes contradictory) notions of time travel.  The two O’Briens: “If you feel bad and you’re my past self, shouldn’t I feel bad too?”  “I hate temporal mechanics.”

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~ by Joshua Black on March 23, 2017.

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