Thursday, September 5, 2013

On Finishing DS9

Saying, "I'm going to finish DS9," is apparently a super dramatic statement. I made this proclamation (without realizing just how crazy the next three days would be) last week to my husband and he was basically like, "Yeah, ok." We headed into "Penumbre"which is the first in an eight-part mini-series which leads up to the very last, two-part episode of DS9. Just about half of the last season of DS9 is the finale. It's like a runaway train and no one (including the viewer) is ok with jumping off until it comes to a sort of meandering halt in "What You Leave Behind."

Given the epic nature of the end of this series, I've not relished the idea of discussing my experience watching it. It seems insurmountable. And that's just writing about it. I can only imagine the guys in the writers' room saying, "Well now, how do we give all of these extremely complex characters and plot threads a satisfying conclusion?"

Then somebody says, "Let's totally have Worf and Ezri get it on and then get kidnapped by the Breen!" Then somebody else says, "Oh, and how about Kira has to go help the Cardassian terrorists wage war against The Dominon!" That's quickly followed by, "And let's make Rom the Grand Nagus!" And, "Oh and Julian should TOTALLY talk to Miles about how super into each other they are." Along with, "Let's make Damar seriously and unquestionably kick ass!" And finally, "Let's fill all eight episode with ridiculously cool space battles! EXPLOSIONS RULE!"

Honestly, it's as if they had a list of plots and they went through the 8-episode stretch from "Penumbre" to "The Dogs Of War" neatly crossing them off. It's remarkably satisfying. So much so that Scott and I binge-watched those episodes in almost one viewing. We couldn't stop. Netflix kept asking, "Do you want to continue?" and we kept nodding--apparently powerless to resist DS9's swan song. Everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph is AWESOME. Just amazing. It's neat and original and beautiful. It's respectful to the characters we love so much. It's eight episodes of epic send-off that's totally appropriate to DS9.

Then, "What You Leave Behind" happened. I'd seen this finale before maybe one and a half times. I remembered the montages. I remembered Sisko pretty much going off to become a god and that's about it. Re-watching it this time, with so much build-up, after months and months of watching this show (as I was unpacking in our new apartment, from Vancouver, from my mother's house across the country, from the sofa as my mouth heeled) I needed something from this show that it didn't give me. I felt strangely unsatisfied with this series finale. Here's why:

I sort of don't buy the female Changeling giving herself up and Odo returning to the great link. I think there was something off, maybe rushed, about Kai Winn and Gul Dukat's finish. Lots and lots of montages that should have but just didn't work for me. No Jadzia--which I understand came out of a complicated financial situation. In the midst of all these salutes to BFFs, there's no Jake/Nog sendoff. The whole Alamo thing (which they talk about non-stop for the entire seventh season) doesn't really pay off. The whole prophecy about living a life of sorrow if Ben married Kasidy doesn't really pay off.

I can sort of forgive all that stuff though. But I can't get over one thing. My biggest problem with all of this is that it's Kasidy and not Jake who sees Sisko in the Celestial Temple. As much as I love Kasidy, I felt that Jake should've seen Sisko in the end. It feels wrong (especially after The Visitor) not to let a father say goodbye to his son. From the start of DS9--the very beginning of the pilot--this show has been as much about a father and son as anything else. We've seen Jake grow, always watched over by his dad, into a young adult. And then we watch him stare into space--hoping to see some glimmer of Benjamin. I get that this is often cited as one of the best episodes of DS9; I get that it's a fan favorite. It just didn't satisfy me. I sort of wish this episode had ended with the crew is standing in Vic's, celebrating the end of the Dominion War:

But, this blog is about liking things. It always has been. That doesn't mean I don't have problems with different parts of Star Trek. It just means that I try to focus my energy on the stuff I love. And here's the thing, before this year, I'd seen just about all of DS9 (there were a couple I missed over the years) and I'd felt pretty familiar with the characters and the show. But watching DS9 over this strange, surreal summer, it's become a part of my heart in a way that it never was before. I love these characters. I love these episodes. I will miss these people (especially the Ferengis) as I go on with my life. I'll return to these stories (especially the ones about Ferengis) time and again because, over the last few months, I've come to love DS9.

But, right now, I don't really have time to sit and reminisce. Janeway is calling me and I can't wait to board the USS Voyager.


  1. This last stretch of episodes was...EPIC! A runaway train! I tried to savor it as much as I could. I completely agree with you on the final episode- I was a bit disappointed, for many of the same reasons you were. I didn't really care for the way Dukot's demise was handled. I would have liked for Kira to somehow have been involved, or at least to have been there for it. I did, however, like that we were able to see Marc Alaimo's real face for a while! The other episode that didn't quite feel right to me was Extreme Measures. I felt like there were just way too many important things going on in every story line for us to spend a whole episode following these two best buddies around inside someone's mind. It felt like a really good early season filler episode to me, but I don't think it fit in at the end. And Jake, definitely Jake, should have seen Ben. Like you, though, I don't want to dwell on the negative here- because there was SO MUCH positive. More than I ever could have imagined! I'm a complete DS9 devotee now. If I'm not Trekked-out by the time the year is over, I'm coming back to revisit DS9! :)

    1. Yes! I completely agree about Dukot's death. I felt like Kira (or Worf too but Kira for sure) should've been involved. I always felt like Dukot and Kira were just as much enemies as Dukot and Sisko. And yes, I'm glad we got to see Alaimo's face too. Though I have to say, I had a sort of evil-villain crush on him in his Cardassian makeup and started to miss it after a while!
      I'd love to come back and revisit some of these DS9's. Maybe that'll have to be in order for the new year!


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