Monday, September 21, 2009

Classics: DS9 1:6 – Q-Less

Plot Synopsis:

On a foray into the Gamma Quadrant, Dax stumbles into Vash – and with her comes Q, who is desperate to convince Vash to accompany him on a continued tour of the universe. While on DS9, Q teases Sisko and his crew as they attempt to uncover why the station has been suffering from sudden massive power drains – and is rather disappointed to discover that these particular officers aren’t inclined to play along with him. Just before the station hurtles into the wormhole, Sisko and company discover that one of Vash’s artifacts is in fact an infant life form trying to get home. In the end, Vash departs in search of more adventure and profit, and Q departs as well, never to return to the station.

The Ratings:

Overall: 7.3 – An episode that harks back to TNG while still making the point that DS9 is a different show.

Writing: 7

There do not appear to be any glaring plot holes or logical inconsistencies, and the dialogue is frequently cute (see the highlights); there is certainly no denying that Q is funny. However, this episode provides us with few remarkable insights and no challenging philosophical points to ponder. Like Babel, it is pretty standard Trek fare – except for one thing, which I will discuss momentarily.

Acting: 7

It helps to have an experienced guest cast. Jennifer Hetrick slides into her role with ease, and John de Lancie plays Q with his usual amusing relish. Points also go to Colm Meany for his reactions to Bashir’s overwrought description of the Starfleet Medical final exam; the eye rolling is hilarious. Avery Brooks, however, overacts a few bits, including what I think is the best line in the whole episode. Alas.

Message: 8

I may be over-scoring this slightly, but I’m sorry – it amuses me to no end that this episode marks Q’s first and last appearance on DS9. What a delight to discover that no one on the station is willing to put up with Q’s games or oblige Q in his desire for “witty repartee.” This, I believe, was the writers’ subtle signal that DS9 was going to be a very different show from its predecessors.


“Somehow she doesn’t seem to be his type.”
“The captain likes a good challenge, sir.” – Sisko and O’Brien discussing Vash’s relationship with Captain Picard.

“It’s over Q. I want you out of my life. You are arrogant, you’re overbearing, and you think you know everything.”
“But… I do know everything.”
“That just makes it worse.” – Vash and Q in one of my favorite exchanges.

“Just answer me one question: is Starfleet penalizing you, or did you actually request such a dismal command?” – Q to Sisko.

“You hit me! Picard never hit me.”
“I’m not Picard!” – Q and Sisko – YES, YES, YES!

“Security to Ops!”
“Well aren’t we the feisty little go-getter. I’d keep my eye on this one. Chances are she’s after your job.” – Q on Kira.

“I hate to interrupt such a thrilling display of naked avarice, but I thought it was only right of me to warn you that this station is hurtling towards its doom – and it’s very unlikely that any of you will survive to enjoy your purchases. Just thought I’d mention it. Please – carry on.” – Q at Vash’s auction, which takes place just as the life form among Vash’s artifacts is pulling the station towards the wormhole.

“It isn't going to be the same without you. When I look at a gas nebula, all I see is a cloud of dust. Seeing the universe through your eyes, I was able to experience – wonder. I’m going to miss that.” – Q to Vash – a nice line.

1 comment:

  1. The writers needed rather badly early on to prove that DS9 was still Trek in their scramble to appeal to TNG's loyal fanbase. This episode, along with other first season shows like The Forsaken, Emissary, and If Wishes Were Horses did its' best to focus on characters that were popular in TNG and tell a TNG-like story. The first seaosn will be the last in which this is true. By the start of the second season, the writers had realized that they had the fans they were going to have and that the ratings were better when they weren't trying to emulate the other active Trek franchise despite the fact that DS9 never had the loyal viewership that TNG enjoyed.

    We'll see the DS9 writers do things like dimly reject terrorist groups like The Maquis (where TNG made them into a romantic cause that successfully destroys Ensign Ro Laren's loyalty to Captain Picard), take a clear moral position on the "just war" where TNG focused entirely on our desperate struggle to avoid war even in face of compelling evidence that our enemies were arming themselves along our borders...and turn their Captain into a religious hero who dies (and will eventually be reborn) for a people other than his own in a great battle that is never treated as exclusively secular or scientifically explained (compared with TNG's open disdain for the illogical and the theological).

    There's a reason we started with THIS Trek first.