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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Ties of Blood and Water (Review)

Ties of Blood and Water is a phenomenal piece of television, and a great example of the strengths of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

It is an episode that is tied to the personal and the political, a thriller about great powers squaring off against one another set against the more intimate story of a woman nursing her surrogate father in the final hours of his life. Ties of Blood and Water is both intimate and epic, never sacrificing one for the other. Its larger political story beats feel entirely in keeping with the demands of the larger shared universe, but it never loses sight of the story’s emotional centre. There is a very personal aspect to this tale, one firmly grounded in the characters and their relationships.

The ties that bind.

The ties that bind.

Ties of Blood and Water focuses on Tekeny Ghemor, the Cardassian Legate featured in Second Skin. There, he was convinced that Kira was his daughter who had been sent to infiltrate the Shakaar Resistance. In Ties of Blood and Water, Ghemor returns to the station as the relationship turns a full circle. In Second Skin, Kira Nerys had been a surrogate daughter to Ghemor, standing in for the lost Iliana. In Ties of Blood and Water, Ghemor finds himself cast as a surrogate father to Kira, providing her with a means to work through the loss of her biological father.

Ties of Blood and Water has a certain poetry to it, extending beyond the memorable title.

Greener pastures.

Greener pastures.

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Millennium – The Sound of Snow (Review)

This July, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the sixth season of The X-Files and the third (and final) season of Millennium.

“Our pasts are what we are,” Alice Severin explains to Emma Hollis and Bob Giebelhouse towards the climax of The Sound of Snow. It seems as if she might be talking for Millennium itself.

The Sound of Snow is a literal homecoming for Frank Black and Millennium as a television show. It is the last time that a number of crucial elements of Millennium appear in the show. It is the last appearance of Detective Bob Giebelhouse, the Seattle police officer who has been around since The Pilot. It is the last appearance of the yellow house, although it has since been painted a less striking white. It is also the last appearance of Catherine Black, who was a regular character for the show’s first two seasons.

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The Sound of Snow features Frank Black returning to Seattle. This is not a big deal of itself. After all, Frank visited Seattle during TEOTWAWKI. However, The Sound of Snow sees Frank wading through memories. He flashes back to the events of The Fourth Horseman and The Time is Now, and visits the yellow house. He even takes a trip out to visit the cabin where he tried to wait out the end of the world with his wife and daughter. The Sound of Snow is about reconciliation, allowing Frank one last conversation with his beloved.

The Sound of Snow is also about reconciliation for the show itself. Since Omertà, the show has been trying to deal with the legacy of a second season that the first eight episodes of the year had tried minimise or ignore. The Sound of Snow is the culmination of that approach, with the third season finally picking up from where the second season let off.

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Millennium – The Thin White Line (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

The Thin White Line is the final script from James Wong and Glen Morgan for this season of Millennium, following closely after Never Again, their final script (ever) for The X-Files.

Indeed, there is considerable overlap between the two stories – at least thematically. Both are episodes about destructive cycles. In Never Again, Scully faces the very real possibility that she is now trapped with Mulder; that her life outside the X-files is over. In The Thin White Line, Frank Black contemplates the idea that people are trapped in perpetual cycles of violence and abuse; that the world resembles the ouroboros featured so prominently in the opening credits, a snake constantly eating its own tail.

Frank discharge...

Frank discharge…

Never Again is relentlessly cynical. The closing image suggests that nothing will change, that something is broken than cannot be fixed. Important statements hang in the air, unresolved. The Thin White Line is perhaps slightly optimistic. Both Frank Black and Bob Bletcher try in their own way to end cycles of violence and recrimination. While Bob Bletcher responds with brutal cynicism and more violence, Frank Black responds with compassion and humanity. There is a sense of cynicism to The Thin White Line, but there is also some hope.

The Thin White Line is a stand out piece of work, a fantastic illustration of what Millennium can do when it sets its mind to it. Like Force Majeure before it, The Thin White Line suggests that Millennium has very clearly and definitely figured out its own voice. It is no wonder that both episodes come from future showrunners.

Cutting retort...

Cutting retort…

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