Episode 4.7: Starship Down

The structure of this episode is very interesting and enjoyable. It masquerades as an action episode, but it’s infused with character intrigue. There is a central plot, however it is fragmented into 4 independent storylines, each centered on a different location. At this point in the series, 3 seasons in, there are several well developed characters that are able to carry an interesting storyline using a fraction of the screentime. Not only do they present interesting and independent stories, but all of them progress the characters in some capacity. Three are focused on individual characters, and one of them is focused on a relationship.

On the bridge, Kira’s faith collides with her fear of being rejected by the Emissary because of her faith. I like this one the most because the conflict swirls entirely within Kira and her own tensions. We see Kira frantic at the prospect of losing Sisko; her letting this fear show through is very unlike her. Sisko certainly gives signals that he’s uncomfortable at being Emissary (by scheduling this mission during Ha’mara), but the tension on the bridge is Kira’s struggle to be both a woman of faith and a loyal officer to Sisko. She tries hard to help Sisko using secular wisdom (talking to him about work, using a stimulant). But this is insufficient to assuage her because her core worry is the spiritual consequences of Sisko’s death. He represents great hope for her people; he’s a man who will do great things for Bajor and help heal her people. On a personal level, he represents Kira’s own hope in the future and trust in the Prophets. Once she starts to connect to him through her heritage, her tensions start to ease. When Sisko slips a second time, she turns to a beautiful Bajoran prayer and a medical stimulant. At last, she melds her secular and her spiritual. I like how the cause of his healing is left ambiguous. I like to think it was a combination of her secular and spiritual actions that brought Sisko through his injury.

Quark’s scene in the mess hall is a tale of Quark finding a fellow spirit in his love for business and gambling. Tragically, Hanok initially espouses a business ethic that I feel is most just; the costs of goods are determined by raw materials and labor, not any kind of perceived value or haggling acumen. However, by the end, Quark has convinced him of the joy of gambling. Quark truly is thrilled by this situation with Hanok. He may have been caught cheating, but Quark has the (risky) opportunity to turn this to his advantage and strengthen his relationship with Hanok. Quark thrives on these kinds of risks. As with many of Quark’s storylines, he stumbles through it on instinct, opportunity, and gambling. Without Quark’s actions, the ship would have been destroyed. But he’s resourceful and has the lobes to win his gambles.

Worf’s leadership style is tested and refined in engineering. Worf’s storylines, obviously, carry over from TNG, but in DS9, they have a distinct flavor to them. Worf is moving on from being a security officer, and starting to struggle with the burdens of command. In a combat situation such as this, he is an ideal officer to be in command of warship. However, crippled as the Defiant is, he struggles with using subpar resources. Prior to the attack, he is irked at the imperfect response times of the crew. It is elegant, then, that his command crew in this crisis consists of engineers. They are problem solvers, and on a crippled ship, they are better able to provide for his needs than a by-the-book command-track ensign. I also like how his command style is mentored by O’Brien. The Chief knows how his people work best, and he is able to detect how Worf’s command style chaffs at them. He bridges the gap between them.

Below decks, Dax and Bashir are faced with the reality of their changing relationship. Bashir conducts himself in a typical heroic, idealist fashion, rushing to save Jadzia at great risk to himself. For Jadzia, she has finally come to realize that this is simply who Julian is. He might hope that his heroics impress his love interests, but he is fundamentally motivated by his idealism, not his desire to impress. Julian is a romantic, in the broad sense of the term.  He strives to create the world he wishes to see, one where he can rescue those around him from danger. For Julian, he is (somewhat abruptly, I think) confronted with how his relationship with Jadzia has morphed to one of plutonic friendship. Dax likes who he is, but his initial immaturity was dissonant with her multiple lifetimes of experience. He pursued her too hard and naively. One of his own naïve fantasies has finally come true, and they do not connect sexually. It’s absurd to think they would in such a situation! Now that the sexual tension is lessened between them, they are truly getting to know each other. That tension was acting as a block for friendship. An interesting aside is how this gradual, plutonic path might have lead to them finally get together. In The Visitor (Ep. 4.3), it is implied that Jadzia and Julian end up together, if Worf is taken out of the picture. A similar thought is expressed by Ezri, and I finally found the episode that mentions it! In Afterimage (Ep. 7.3), Ezri tells Julian that if Worf hadn’t come along, it would have been him with Jadzia.

Random Thoughts: 1) The title is a reference to the movie “Grey Lady Down”. 2) The action scenes are fun, as are Sisko’s and Worf’s cleverness in combat. The combat enables the separation of the crew into different compartments and adds well meaning excitement. 3) I like to think that Sisko’s journey toward being Bajor’s Emissary is helped by these exposures to Bajor’s heritage. 4) This episode is a clear win for Quark. His cheating of the Federation isn’t caught, and he forges stronger deals with Hanok. 5) Hanok is played by James Cromwell, the same actor as Zefram Cochrane in the movie Star Trek: First Contact. 6) The Ferengi vessels are effective against the Dominion. Ferengi aren’t useless, as they often are portrayed. 7) Sisko’s confidence in the Defiant is rooted in the fact that he built it during his stint at Utopia Planitia Shipyards after Wolf 359. 8) Quark’s coat comes off. You know it’s serious then. 9) Mourn has 17 brothers and sisters… 10) Kira dislikes holosuites, so her taking Sisko up on a game is very meaningful. Also, Nana Visitor says “Hot. Dogs.” with just the right amount of comedic hesitation.


~ by Joshua Black on July 20, 2017.

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