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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Favour the Bold (Review)

With Favour the Bold, the writers begin winding down the ambitious six-episode arc that opens the sixth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Indeed, Favour the Bold plays almost like the first part of a two-parter nestled at the end of the sprawling six-episode arc that opens the sixth season. At the end of the teaser, Sisko unveils his ambitious plan to Dax, boasting, “We’re going to retake Deep Space Nine.” It is the story that very clearly moves the arc that began with Call to Arms towards its conclusion, manoeuvring the series back towards the familiar status quo in which Captain Benjamin Sisko commands a lone Federation outpost near the distant planet of Bajor.

Point man.

Point man.

Favour the Bold is very much about lining up everything for the climax of the arc, moving the pieces into place so that that the dominoes can begin falling as early as possible in Sacrifice of Angels. However, the episode benefits from the fact that a lot of the heavy-lifting has already been done by this point in the arc. Behind the Lines already had Odo betray Kira, Rom get arrested and Damar figure out how best to dismantle those pesky self-replicating mines. That is already a lot of the table-setting for the arc’s epic conclusion, before Favour the Bold even begins.

As such, Favour the Bold has the luxury of beginning with a lot of its work already done and ending at the point where the action truly commences. The result is a surprisingly relaxed penultimate episode for this ambitious arc, one with the freedom to indulge in smaller character-driven scenes and the space in which to breathe.

They just need some space.

They just need some space.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – To the Death (Review)

This February and March (and a little bit of April), we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

To the Death continues the late fourth season shift in focus back towards elements unique to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

At the end of the third season, the production team found themselves receiving notes and input from the network, who wanted Deep Space Nine to go in a different direction. The writing staff on Deep Space Nine were willing to compromise, and took some of the network input on board. As a result, The Way of the Warrior added Worf to the cast and brought the Klingons back to the fore. However, it was clear that Deep Space Nine was not particularly interested in telling a long-term story about new hostilities between the Federation and the Klingons.

The Weyoun of the Warrior...

The Weyoun of the Warrior…

Over the course of the fourth season, the writing staff’s original plans and interests began to reassert themselves in an organic and logical manner. A story similar to Homefront and Paradise Lost had originally been planned to bridge the third and fourth seasons; instead, it was pushed back to almost half-way through the fourth seasons. The Bajoran religion was still the focus of Accession. Gul Dukat received a character arc in Indiscretion and Return to Grace. The Jem’Hadar got a focus episode in Hippocratic Oath. Ferengi politics popped up in Bar Association.

However, these aspects of the show really galvanise towards the end of the fourth season, with the production team really focusing on the elements that had been important during the third season and which would become even more important during the fifth season. For the Cause marked the return of the Maquis as a political player. Body Parts focused on Ferengi culture. However, three of the season’s final four episodes focus on the Dominion, working to reestablish the Dominion as the most credible of threats and the show’s primary antagonists.

Boy, does Sisko ever break out the welcome wagon...

Boy, does Sisko ever break out the welcome wagon…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Progress (Review)

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

Progress is the best episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s first season to date. Of course, there are better episodes ahead – two of them clustered at the end of the show’s truncated first year – but Progress still represents a considerable improvement over anything that has come before. It isn’t quite perfect, but it does have a nice character focus and takes advantage of the show’s unique perspective and position. It’s evidence that the writing staff were at least engaging with the show’s status quo and trying to work with it to tell interesting stories, with Progress offering an early pure example of what Deep Space Nine story should probably look like.

While the first season has been quite bumpy (although notably less bumpy than any of the opening seasons of the other three Star Trek spin-offs), Progress offers a demonstration that we are getting somewhere. The title might apply as much to the status of the show itself as to the themes of the episode.

Burning down the house...

Burning down the house…

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