Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best of/Worst of #1

Best of / Worst of
                                                     Kevin Scott Bolinger

   Hello and welcome to what I hope will be the first of many blogs showcasing the best or worst of a particular genre, movie series, or television show. My hope is to make this a weekly feature, though I currently have no home for it. I plan on showcasing one aspect of good or bad per blog. For instance, one week I may choose the best of the Star Wars films, the next I will proceed to the worst. I will present my reasons for choosing and try to inform those that read this to all relevant aspects of said arguments. As always, comments will be welcomed, and constructive criticism appreciated.
    So, let us begin. This week I will feature what is , in my opinion anyway, the best episode of Star Trek. I am not just talking the original series, but the entire franchise. Some may guess my choice right off the bat, since many who will read this know me very well. But I digress. Let us dive right into Star Trek Deep Space Nine, season six, episode nineteen, "In The Pale Moonlight" .
   For those not familiar with the show, a brief background. The show centers around a space station located near the first stable wormhole ever found. It leads to the other end of the galaxy, know as the Gamma Quadrant. the station is commanded by Benjamin Sisko, a no-nonsense Federation officer. As the show progressed, the aggressive rulers of the Gamma Quadrant, known as the Dominion, began to invade the Alpha Quadrant, where most of Star Trek in general is set. Eventually, this leads to an all out war between the major races of the Alpha Quadrant and the Dominion. The Dominion manages to for alliances with the Cardassians and the Breen, two highly aggressive Alpha Quadrant races.
Benjamin Sisko, Captain of Deep Space Nine
    As the war progresses in the series, things go from bad to worse. The three main superpowers in the Alpha Quadrant, the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire, are all dealing with the Dominion in their own way. The Klingons and Federation, allies, are fighting the good fight, while the Romulans have stayed neutral.
   The episode in question opens with Sisko posting the daily casualty lists. Everyone scrambles to see if familiar names are on the list. The war is going badly, without further help, the Dominion will win and enslave the Alpha Quadrant. Sisko knows their only chance is to get the Romulans to enter the war on the side of the Federation, not an easy task considering the over one hundred years of mistrust and hatred between the two superpowers. He realizes that if he can find evidence that the Dominion plans to attack the Romulans, it might spur them on.
   He enlists the aide of Garak, a former Cardassian spy who was exiled to the station, and now spends his days as a tailor of sorts. Sisko asks Garak to get a hold of contacts he still has on Cardassia, in the hopes they may turn up the needed evidence. Needless to say this becomes a dead end, as all of Garak's contacts end up assassinated shortly after he calls them.
Garak, Tailor and sometimes spy...
   Garak then suggests they may be able to manufacture the evidence, it all depends on how far the Captain is willing to take all this to involve the Romulans. Sisko thinks it over and agrees to Garak's plans. This involves getting an expert on forging data rods out of a Klingon prison. this is accomplished using Sisko's connections, and soon a holo-recording of a fake meeting between members of the Dominion and Cardassian high command discussing an attack on Romulus, the Romulan home world.
   With the data rod in hand, Sisko sets up a meeting with Senator Vreenak, a Romulan of high influence that is trying to get the Romulans to side with the Dominion. Sisko believes if he can convince Vreenak of the imminent attack, that he will change his mind and persuade his people to go to war against the Dominion. Sisko presents his recording to the senator, who then has it analyzed. The next day, Vreenak sends for Sisko, and as soon as the Captain enters, Vreenak confronts him with the words, "It's a fake!"
Sisko and Vreenak
   The senator leaves the station in a huff. However, along the way his ship meets with an unfortunate accident and is destroyed. The Romulans discover the recording in the debris. Sisko, however is not pleased, as he learns that the destruction of the senator's ship was caused by Garak. He also learns the forger has met a sticky end as well. He storms into Garak's shop and punches him. His anger boiling over, he repeatedly strikes Garak. Garak finally tells him the intricacies of his plan. With the ship destroyed, the Romulans would chock up any flaws in the recording to the explosion. This way, they would believe the attack to be genuine.
   As the episode closes, with Sisko in his office, dictating his log of the events, it is shown that the plan succeeded. The Romulans have declared war on the Dominion. Sisko got his way. He ends his log asking if he can live with what he did, his part in this conspiracy. His answer, yes he can, and he would do it all over again exactly the same. He then deletes his log entry.
   Why do I consider this the best episode of Star Trek ever? Well, consider the original series, and its follow up, The Next Generation. Both tried to showcase the best of humanity, rarely showing our flaws. Both shows tried to make it seem as if we had outgrown our savagery and childishness. Deep Space Nine, on the other hand, shows us a humanity more in line to our current time. A humanity that still has a dark side, that will still make decisions that sacrifice a few to save the greater good.
   This episode shows Sisko betraying his very principles to accomplish what is the necessary goal. Without the Romulans, the war is all but over. The sacrifice of a senator and a petty criminal are more then justified for the cause. It begs you to ask yourself, how far would you go to attain a goal that has great benefits to all. Sisko may have went against his core beliefs, but he did so for the side of light. He can live with selling his soul to the devil, if it means there is a chance to end the conflict.
   This episode is a must watch, even if you are not a fan of the series or Star Trek in general. The acting is superb. Showing how far someone will go, the chances they will take, the lives they will sacrifice, is done so well. It deserves the accolades many have already bestowed upon it. give it a watch. Let me know how you feel about it.
   I hope you enjoyed this little blog, and hope you will join me for a look at what I feel is the worst of the Star Trek franchise...and this one will be a doozy. Till then, be well and remember, we are simply the universe, trying to find its voice, we are one!

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