Saturday, October 3, 2009

Classics: DS9 2:6 - Melora

Overall Rating: 1.3

DS9's first utter and complete disaster, Melora is a massive cluster of vomit-inducing cliches, terrifyingly bad acting, an uninteresting story, and PC 2X4 head-smashing fun on a scale thus far unseen. Oh mon dio!

"Plot" Synopsis:

DS9 receives a temporary officer with an unusual medical history. The arrival of Ensign Melora Pazlar brings with it unique challenges. As an Elaysian, she has lived her life in extremely low gravity, making the transition to normal human conditions difficult. Yet she stridently refuses the assistance of her new colleagues, fearing that if she accepts help for her limitations, she will be viewed as weak and untrustworthy in a crisis. Dr. Bashir reaches out to her and eventually convinces her to trust her crewmates and to let him in (metaphorically and physically). Bashir also discovers a means of adapting her body to higher gravity, but the trade-off must be that she gives up her low-gravity existance permanently. Meanwhile, Quark, in the middle of attempting to make a sale of a rare and valuable artifact, notes with terror the arrival of a former associate of his named Fallit Cot. As it turns out, he sold his associate out to Romulan authorities and now, Mr. Cot wants revenge. Quark spends the episode trying to talk Fallit out of it, to no avail. Eventually, he tries to steal Quark's artifact, the latinum he acquired for selling it, and a runabout...he takes Melora and Dax hostage and escapes the station. Melora survives a phaser blast and takes out Fallit at the last moment. She eventually decides to cancel the rest of her neuro-muscular therapy treatments and remain limited in normal human gravity, unwilling to leave her family and her life on Elaysia behind for good. Her fleeting romance with Julian ends when she moves on to her next post.

Writing: 0.0

Yes...really, zero. Boring plot, uninteresting characters, horrible dialogue (so bad my highlights section is going to be replaced for this extra-special review by a low-lights section), plot holes galore, bad science, bad romance, bad food on display and oh yes...did I mention something about the bad dialogue? There are very few words to express exactly how strong my desire becomes to punch a hole in my TV screen or revisit my last meal in reverse on several occasions.

Acting: 3

Rene and Armin do their usual solid job, but even Terry Farrell doesn't know what to do with this script. Her role as Melora's surrogate best girlfriend (squeee!!!!!!!!!!) winds up leading her to some truly uninspired commentary about romance in Starfleet, which she fails to make work for her character. Poor Alexander Siddig...I feel for him...I really do...trying to make excrement smell like roses can only take you so far. But I don't think he even got it THAT lesat when Tom Parris and B''lanna Torres were cliche-ing their way to marital bliss, I sensed some chemistry and some acting ability on both of their parts. But here, Sid manages to combine moments of overacting with moments of awkwardness, and I don't think I've ever seen a kiss on screen that looked more like two siblings being forced at gunpoint to make out. That may be, in part, the responsibility of the equally inept Daphne Ashbrook (Melora). I'd better stop before I become ill again. Gotta watch out for dehydration after a show like this.

Message: 1

OK, while I was hurling from the bad dialogue and the bad acting, was it really necessary to sneak up behind me and beat me half to death with that PC 2X4? That is really not fair, guys. Being handicapped is not a disease...nay's a lifestyle gosh darnit!! We should all be super-dee-doooooperly! impressed with how strong and independent Melora is! And her decision in the end to reject the cure to her struggles because she doesn't feel like herself? That's not ridiculously short-sighted and foolish at all. No's brave!

And in case any of you readers are annoyed with me for being annoyed with the message I get all too often on TV that differences in people are ALWAYS virtues even when they are obviously disadvantageous...I'm legally blind. I've been handicapped my entire life. I had educators all throughout my childhood life telling me to make it a way of be PRRROUD!! of my accomplishments in the face of my limitations. It's crap. Pardon me for channeling House, here, but if a way to fix my Ocular Albinism existed and I turned it down because I feared it would change me, I would not just be a fool...I'd be insane.

The cherry on this dung-flavored sundae is the message this episode sends regarding how rapidly a real romance should evolve. I know this is not really DS9's see this kind of thing all the time...but what did Bashir *do* to earn Melora's complete trust so rapidly? Does it really make sense at all that they should fall in love in like two days? It's cheap, it's meaningless, and it's part of the greater problem with today's societal view of romance. The grand tapestry of Hollywood brainwashing extends to convincing millions of people that love should be easy to find, pure and simple, and immediate when that Mr. or Mrs. Right comes along. And we wonder why we get married too fast, have sex too soon, and are so unhappy in our relationships. I could go on ranting for a while, but you're probably tired of reading it already.


(we must establish how impressive Melora is!!)
DAX: "Why can't we use the transporters to give her access to certain parts of the station?"
O'BRIEN: "Well it makes sense to me...but she sent word that that was unacceptable. I can't think why."
BASHIR: "I can!" (starry-eyed enthusiasm already evident) "She's been like this since her academy days. As soon as her basic needs are met, she refuses any additional help. She's quite remarkable actually!" - oh BARF
DAX: "You make it sound like you already know her, Julian."
BASHIR: "Well I suppose in a way I feel like I do. I've been reading her personnel files and medical records for days, preparing for this." - better way to start a friendship than with a clinical survey of some chick's life.

MELORA: "Am I late?"
SISKO: "Not at all, Ensign. You're right on time."
MELORA: "It seems like the meeting has started already."
SISKO: "We were just discussing your request to pilot a runabout into the gamma quadrant on your own."
MELORA: "Wouldn't it have been appropriate to include me in that discussion?"
SISKO: "Dr. Bashir knows more about your capabilities than..."
MELORA: "I have no need for a medical opinion about my capabilities, Commander! There's nothing he can tell you that I can't." (The staff looks uncomfortable) "I'm sorry, sir; it's just that I've gotten used to this by now - my colleagues discussing 'the Melora problem.' Well the truth is, there IS no Melora problem...until people create one." - YEAH!!! YOU TELL 'EM!!! *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

MELORA: "I'm sorry, Doctor...I didn't mean to attack you personally."
BASHIR: "Oh I'm sure you rarely set out to attack anyone personally...but you do attack a lot, don't you."
MELORA: "Look, Doctor..."
JULIAN: "Julian. I'm not your doctor anymore."
MELORA: "Oh I you decided I needed a friend!"
JULIAN: "Was that another shot across my bow? You see, you do it so well, it's hard to tell sometimes." (Melora sighs) "I actually came here to see if you'd like to join me for dinner."
MELORA: "And after that I suppose we'll go dancing?"
JULIAN: "Oooh, red alert..." - I think I actually lost more brain cells writing that chunk of dialogue down than I have throughout my entire life due to alcohol (not that that's a particularly large number...but still...)

MELORA: "Excuse me, Julian, I can't eat this."
JULIAN: "I know it doesn't look..." (Melora interrupts by barking Klingon back and forth with the chef)
KLINGON CHEF: (laughing) "I like a customer who knows what she wants." (chucks their plate full of mediocre Klingon food aside and starts again with fresher stock)
MELORA: "There's nothing worse than half-dead rrrrrraght!" - Yes there is, honey...this show.

MELORA: "You may want to brace yourself until you get used to it." (referring to her low-gravity environment) "Ready?" (She activates the low-gravity and kicks off from the floor, lofting into the air for a very long time and yet somehow controlling her movements rather precisely so that she ends up back in front of Julian) "Come on, try it!"
BASHIR: "What do I do?" - how make body go up? Me not learned how jump!!
MELORA: "Just give a little push, it's easy!" (Bashir kicks off from the wall and floats very slowly upward, yelling rather ridiculously)
BASHIR: "This is astonishing!" - right...because no one in Starfleet has ever experienced light or zero-gravity before...they don't have like...whole courses on it at their academy that people complain about later or anything. "To tell the truth, I've been curious about this!"
MELORA: "Everyone is...makes me feel like a sideshow exhibit...that's probably why I work so hard to keep people out!" - how remarkably on the nose of you! This script writer must have taken Psych 101 in college and now thinks he's an expert...but thanks for that was too hard an idea for us to get all on our own.
BASHIR: "Well thank you...for letting me in." - hey guys...I bet the author isn't talking about the room anymore! I think it's a METAPHOR!!!
MELORA: "He's my brother." (Julian apparently has no memory of previous conversations since all the blood is located in his other brain now, so he stares blankly at her) "In the picture."
BASHIR: "Oh..." (oh boy...he's gonna GET SOME!!! YEP! They kiss!! It's so hawt!!)

There is more to love about this episode...but I just can't keep's too painful.

Spectacular Errors:

1) OK, scientifically, a planet with gravity low enough to cause people to have more hang time than they did on the freakin' moon (did you ever see a video from the lunar landings, guys?) would never EVER support an atmosphere. Let alone sentient beings. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, let's assume that Elaysians originally evolved on a normal planet, colonized some tiny moon, and their homeland was destroyed. Now, I ask you, how the heck do they continue to survive long enough to evolve compeltely different physiology that cannot handle normal gravity without radical neuro-stimulation therapy? Or even if they can it be a home worth coming back to? Didn't Melora talk about it as her home PLANET anyway? No planet would have gravity that light. The mind just boggles at the ignorance.

2) After taking a phaser blast, Melora survives, evidently because the neurological stimulation treatments increased her nervous system's resistance to the energy of the blast? That doesn't make any sense. On any level. Phasers don't kill you by electrocution...they're very powerful energy weapons that blow holes in you just like a bullet would. If the shot was enough to kill her, there should have been a large phaser wound and a lot of bleeding. If it was set to stun, then we didn't need the extra-special techno-whiz explanation from the planet illogico.

3) Evidently, getting shot didn't slow Melora down at all. In her light-gravity environment, she's SUPER-WOMAN!! Able to take out Fallit in slow way Quark or Dax could've done that...only Melora...wouldn't be much of a PC head-bashing if we didn't have the handicap turn out to be the key to our salvation.

4) After Bashir has started up a relationship with Melora, he then becomes her doctor again. We don't bat an eye at the potentially serious breech of ethics though.

OK...I'll stop now...I'm getting too annoyed.


  1. Also: even if we stipulate that Melora grew up in a low-gravity environment, why isn't she tall and slender? This would be the expected effect in the absence of gravity to compress the skeleton.

  2. LOL...good neuro-muscular stimulation wouldn't address the problem of muscular atrophy...which would still be a problem even though she's lived her whole life in high gravity environments.