Scotch… the final frontier.
Several years ago, I came to the realization that I have never actually seen much of the original Trek. This provided me with an excuse to go through from the beginning to see the process by which a cohesive, generation-spanning and inspirational setting is presented to viewers. In the end, though, it’s an excuse to get snarky and pick apart a show I’ve loved since childhood.
Why the drinking? Because every time I reflect on the scope of this project I realize there are over five hundred hours of Star Trek ahead of me.
In which the show perfects a mold.
Well, now that Sisko’s alive again and Quark still owns the bar, it’s back to business as usual. Worf is keeping an eye on a known criminal and a customer of Quark’s. Worf’s new around here and doesn’t understand the subtle cat-and-mouse game Odo plays with Quark and his more, uh… open-minded customers. Bashir and O’Brien are coming back from a mission, chatting about how O’Brien and Keiko are having more meaningless arguments. I’m not sure whether Bashir is trying to help, or giving the worst advice possible. I never am, really.
They detect a plasma trail characteristic of a broken warp drive, and go off running to go help, since the Dominion aren’t supposed to be nearby. But as they pass by a nearby planet, they’re hit by a plasma field (coincidence? I think not!) and come in for an unplanned arboreal stop. Upon exiting the runabout, they are summarily taken captive by a Jem’Hadar squadron. They do not attempt to fight back.
The Jem’Hadar know a lot about Federation shuttlecraft and rank structure. The leader is also really, really put out that their warp trail was detected. It’s just a tad endearing. For some reason, he decides not to execute the two of them.
Back on Deep Space Nine, Worf and Odo are arguing over the proper approach to take to Quark’s extra-legal acquaintances. Call it the tactical versus the strategic approach. And Sisko is very, exceptionally clear that Worf has new duties that don’t involve policework.
Bashir and O’Brien discuss the uncharacteristic behavior of the Jem’Hadar, and the suspicion is that they need a doctor. Someone is sick or injured. Now, as a captive, Bashir’s first duty is to escape. But as a doctor, his first duty is to heal. They set Bashir up in a lab and tell him to start researching. Jem’Hadar all require a drug, Ketracel White, in order to live. They want him to break their addiction to it, to help this group escape the control of the Vorta and the Dominion.As it happens, this directly lines up with Starfleet’s long-term goals (Disrupt the Dominion’s ability to make war) and Bashir’s ideals (heal the suffering) and his immediate needs (don’t get killed by the Jem’Hadar).
As it turns out, the Jem’Hadar have the capacity for individual ambition – the Founders and the Vorta weren’t able to breed it out of them. And the leader knows it’s possible to break his men free of the drug because he’s broken the addiction himself. He went off it three years ago in a crash, after some careful rationing, and he just managed to survive. He also seems a little crazy after the ordeal. He brought his men here to break their addiction, but so far it hasn’t worked, with heart-wrenching results. They’re all still junkies. Bashir can’t not help.
On the station, the senior staff discuss the Klingon situation. Even though Gowron was routed, he spun it as a success, because he’s a damn fine politician. He wasn’t defeated by Sisko, he declared victory and went home. After the meeting, Worf and Odo discuss Quark’s business arrangements.
Bashir and O’Brien are working on equipment and research, by which I of course mean they’re working on excape weaponry. Sadly, the guards are a little more alert than Bashir would have hoped, and the plasma taser is discovered.
Worf is not planning to leave the policework to Odo, and sneaks into Quark’s to apprehend whatever crime is going on. Quark does not seem to be obliging, but after some short time he invites a suspicious figre in to examine some merchandise. Worf goes to yell at Odo for not stopping the crime. I would like to assume that Quark has rigged up his bar with motion sensors that would alert him if someone is sneaking around because that would make sense, and that Odo has quietly circumvented them, but clearly there’s something else going on.
In examinations, Bashir finds that the Jem’hadar leader is producing his own Ketracel White enzymes, and we have no idea how. We’ve also got a bit more insight into the Jem’Hadar lifestyle, and the idea of a Free Jem’Hadar society. O’Brien suspects this is a mind game, geared at making Bashir work harder.
Speaking of personality and ideology clashes, Bashir and O’Brien have it out. Bashir’s thinking about the ramifications of stripping the Founders of their army, O’Brien is thinking of the raw tactical situation. He’s thinking as a soldier. And when Bashir orders O’Brien to pull a necessary part out of the runabout, he uses the opportunity to make an emergency transport. Fun fact – the transporter can make a human intangible enough to survive a point-blank disruptor blast within the time it takes a highly trained killing machine to turn around and fire said disruptor. Bashir is having less luck – nothing on the planet is useful to him, and it’s possible that the Jem’Hadar leader was just a random genetic accident. Plus he’s losing control of his men.
Back on the station, Quark was about to deliver Odo onto the smuggler ship using the good old Bag Trick. Odo didn’t tell Worf for a bit of extra verisimilitude, but clearly you don’t use someone as a prop in your undercover operation until you actually know how they’ll react. Odo needs to watch a little more Burn Notice. And Worf needs to remember how to take orders from his CO.
Bashir is conducting brush warfare, just like back on Setlek III. Jamming traps, diversions, snares and deadfalls. meanwhile, Bashir is being true to his word and trying to cure the addiction. Miles shows up to save him and Bashir refuses to be saved until O’Brien destroys all his research and gets them captured again. By the leader. Who lets them go, and kills one of his own men in the process. He has to take care of his men. One way (unnecessarily cocks disruptor, which doesn’t even have that kind of mechanism) or the other, he’s got to take care of them. Which is a real shame because if they could wait around for him and put him through some tests on actual Starfleet equipment, they might be able to make some science stick to the wall.
Bringing the themes of responsibility to a close, Worf reports his less-than-useful assistance to Sisko, even though Odo had left him off the official report. Sisko gives the Wise Old Wizard advice – the sation is a much more nuanced place than a starship. Julian and Miles are coming home too, relationship strained over the clash between practical concerns and high ideology. As a portent of things to come, this has been an excellent episode.