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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Tribunal (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first and second seasons. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

Tribunal is probably the weakest episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in quite some time, hampered by the fact that it never seems too ambitious and the fact that the episode ends because we’re three minutes away from the closing credits rather than because it feels like the story has been told. Tribunal is hardly the deepest or most sophisticated episode of the show’s second season, spending most of its time riffing on Kafka and Orwell, but it’s still solidly entertaining – a rare example of black comedy on Star Trek that works surprisingly well.

I suspect the biggest problem with Tribunal is where it’s placed. The second season of Deep Space Nine has been hitting it out of the park since around Blood Oath, giving us the strongest run of episodes we’d see until the start of the fourth season. Indeed, had the show found its groove a little bit earlier, the second season of Deep Space Nine could have been on par with the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation as “that season the show found its groove.”

However, it remains an impressive run of episodes, a rallying of the show in the last third of the season, showing just what Deep Space Nine was capable of. Most of the episodes in that run felt very different from anything done on The Next Generation and most offered some major insight into how the world of Deep Space Nine works as distinct from the rest of the franchise.

A broad cast of characters...

A broad cast of characters…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Armageddon Game (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first and second seasons. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a fairly generic “could have happened on any Star Trek episode of Deep Space Nine. So it’s a lot easier to forgive Armageddon Game its simplicity and lack of nuance. This isn’t a story specific to Deep Space Nine. The basic concept could – rather easily – have been tailored to fit Star Trek: The Next Generation or even Star Trek: Voyager, with two crew members on the run for their lives on an alien world.

Armageddon Game is another story idea from Morgan Grendel, a writer who tends towards extremes. The Inner Light remains one of the best episodes of Star Trek ever produced. The Passenger ranks among the worst episodes of Deep Space Nine ever to make it to the screen. Armageddon Game sits somewhere in the middle.

Talk about chemistry...

Talk about chemistry…

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