Thursday, September 15, 2011

Classics: DS9 6:11 - Waltz

Overall: 6.8

SABR Matt and I are certain to disagree on this one.

Plot Synopsis:

Memory Alpha summarizes the episode here.

The Skinny:

I appreciate the point the writers are trying to make here -- i.e., that unambiguously evil people do exist. I have in fact advanced a similar argument before (while discussing another canon). I can even accept that deep down, beneath all the self-delusion and self-justifications, Dukat does want to destroy the Bajorans for the sin of insufficiently flattering his enormous ego. The thing is, I understood that before the writers started to lay it on thick with an industrial-sized trowel. Yes, Dukat has his apologists, but I've never been one of them.

When you get right down to it, the reason I dislike Dukat's metamorphosis into Eeeeeeeeeeeevil Dukat is that it is a metamorphosis. I'm able to accept a character like Cartagia (from Babylon 5) because he was portrayed as batshit insane from moment one. With Dukat, however, we were originally presented with an alternative style of characterization that actually worked extremely well -- and why fix something that ain't broken? Because some idiots out there don't understand that Dukat has always been evil despite his multilayered personality? I don't know. I feel like my intelligence has been insulted somehow.

Plus, my inner Bajoran nationalist chafes at the fact that the writers make Dukat Sisko's nemesis. Yes, yes, yes -- the Sisko is the Emissary, and the Emissary is "of Bajor," but in the end, Sisko was not personally victimized by Dukat during the Occupation. By all rights, it should be Kira who stands as Dukat's opponent.

Writing: 5.0

The writers didn't need to make Dukat's evil so blatantly obvious. The choice betrays a lack of trust in the audience that I find rather grating.

Acting: 8.0

Generally speaking, the performances are pretty good, though there are a few moments that push things over-the-top.

Message: 7.5

Is there such a thing as true evil? Absolutely! But this episode feels a bit two-by-fourish on this front.

1 comment:

  1. Well, you're correct...we do disagree. :)

    a) I don't think this is truly a metamorphosis.

    I think Dukat has always had reasons to believe that he could impress people enough to hide from his own evil impulses. I also think it makes perfect character sense for Dukat to be unhinged after the loss of his daughter...for him to try very hard to fight his id even while insane but to FAIL...because he is insane.

    And finally...I don't think this is a metamorphosis because it ENDS after this episode. He does reappear in episodes like Covenant and Wrongs Darker Than Death of Night but I disagree with the notion that he is really still playing unhinged mad eeeeeevil Dukat in those episodes. In Covenant, for example, he spends the whole episode trying to convince Kira that the Pah Wraiths are good and that they have "changed" him. Now that his facade of being a good mad trapped by circumstance is blown up by his alliance with the Dominion...he's trying a different facade...the reform act.

    In Wrongs Darker than Death or Night, some argue that he's showing Kira the truth because he wants to torture her. It's not true...he shows her those things because he wants her to respect him. He thinks Kira's mother is an "in" to Kira's good graces.

    Even while he's digging for the text of the Kosst Amogen with Kai Winn...he is trying to portray the Pah Wraiths as good and the necessity of many Bajoran deaths as for the greater good of Bajor...not for his own edification. We know it's not true because we got this peak at him in Waltz...the real him...but I think that real him is always there. From the moment we meet him to now. And I think, in a moment of weakness while still maddened by the loss of his empire and his daughter, it makes sense that we would see the real Dukat.

    b) while he's supposedly "changing" in this episode...he still spends the whole damned hour justifying his role in millions of deaths until his own insanity drives him to behave authentically for the first time in decades. All of it makes sense to me.

    and finally...this charge that Sisko and Dukat makes less sense than Kira/Dukat...the writers wanted to make Sisko a God...and last I checked, my co-author liked that they had the balls to do that. I certainly enjoyed that change from Trek normalcy. But to do that, he's got to fight the bad gods. And how are you going to put a face on the bad gods? Which character should be Sisko's adversary? I could see Kai Winn in that role, but the Kai has her own fascinating development to undergo in the last ten episodes of the franchise and I like that version for it can't be her. Who else? Dukat makes sense there. Kira's adversary is the Cardassian mystique...I think that works well too. So no...I don't think it's a slap in the face to have Sisko end up Dukat's nemesis. But...ymmv...I do understand my co-author's points.