Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Deep Space Nine, Season 5: Blaze of Glory

Deep Space Nine, Season 5
"Blaze of Glory"
Airdate: May 12, 1997
119 of 173 produced
119 of 173 produced


The Maquis, all but obliterated by a Dominion-replenished Cardassia, launch a final assault the form of cloaked missiles. If the missiles hit their target, it will precipitate all out war with the Dominion, to say nothing of the unthinkable number of civilian causalities. To stop them, Sisko must turn to disgraced Starfleet officer Michael Eddington.

  Sisko and Eddington hammer out the all-important matter of a safe word.


Kevin: Had we just skipped "For the Uniform" and taken his capture as read and gone right to this episode, I think the entire Maquis story would have been better overall, if only for having sidestepped the ethically gray solution in that one. Here, the one-on-one stuff in the runabout and the lack of a hamfisted Les Mis reference really help. We get all of Eddington's wide-eyed romanticism about his life without any shoehorning it into a novel. The setup is a bit of a MacGuffin, and I wasn't entirely surprised by the reveal at the end, given that indiscriminate civilian deaths seemed a little outside the Maquis MO. That all being said, the runabout scenes gave the Sisko/Eddington story the room to breathe to explore both Sisko's sense of betrayal and how Eddington viewed himself.

Matthew: I agree that the lack of the overbearing Les Mis plotline was a benefit to this episode. But, if you'll excuse the phrase, the die has been cast on the Eddington character, and I just can't believe him in this role. There are two reasons for this - the first being that it was a complete and total retcon of the character from the start, the second being that we never see all of the things we are told Eddington has done. There is an attempt, I think, with Eddington waxing rhapsodic about fresh food, but it's just not enough. But we never saw Eddington as anything but a dutiful officer initially, we never saw him develop his snotty cynicism, we didn't see the development of Eddington's homicidal tendencies (he claims he intends to kill Sisko after all), and we certainly never saw the Maquis "enjoy their greatest victories under his leadership." It all just rings so hollow. The character lacks the gravitas to make his confrontations with Sisko feel realistic.

Kevin: I liked a lot of the exploration we got of the Maquis ethos generally, and I could even argue it built well on the foundational stuff laid out in TNG. I won't say it's completely convincing, because absent a mystical attachment to the land, like the Native Americans in Journey's End, there doesn't seem to be a real reason Eddington can't grow tomatoes in NOT a warzone. I did like the line about how the Maquis were going to form an independent nation. I liked that they at least had an endgame. It's a stupid endgame, given that that state would be surrounded by a superhostile nation and one fanatically dedicated to not provoking that superhostile nation, but not every political goal in history has made sense. Which brings me to the other line I loved when Eddington says they had Cardassia on the run, and Sisko responds that they ran right into the arms of the Dominion. It's a great bit of political dialogue. Empires don't fall quietly, and I enjoyed the connecting of the dots. It's a thread I would have loved to have seen picked up in Voyager after they find out about everything. Even from the two-parter that named them, the Maquis kind of come off as hopelessly naive about how realistic their goals are or what the consequences will be, and I like that the episode tags it.

Matthew: I think the episode momentarily got way more interesting when they found the surviving Maquis members. This should have happened ten minutes earlier in the show. Suddenly, I was tickled by the possibilities. Will Sisko be a hostage? Be abandoned? Have to fight alongside them to survive? Take them all to jail? I still don't quite know how Sisko got back to the station with all of these people not overpowering him and going wherever they wished to.

Kevin: I will say I found the ending just a touch overdone. I buy Eddington's noble self-sacrifice. They've been telling me about it for episodes now. I thought the bit with the new wife was a tad much. Ira Steven Behr could have walked on camera and asked the audience "So which of these two people do you think will be dead by the end of the episode?" and it would have been less obvious. Also, Eddington talking to no one didn't really do it for me.

Matthew: I agree - everything I enjoyed about the potential of the surviving Maquis still ended up boiling down to a guy I neither care about nor believe in being an action hero in a fight I felt no connection to, trying to save people I had just met.

Kevin: The Nog-focused B-plot was filler, but it was pleasant, well-acted filler, so I'm not angry at it.

Matthew: In that it prevented us from seeing five more minutes of Eddington acting like a tool, I approved.


Kevin: I will credit Marshall for going toe to toe with Brooks . I don't think Sisko went too far in this episode, but his default setting is bigger than a lot of other actors. Used here, I think it suits. Both actors looked ready to slug each other the entire episode, which fits the tone of the piece. Whatever problems I have with the internal credibility of the Maquis, I bought Eddington's description of that motivation.

Matthew: I think Kenneth Marshall was perfectly cast as the Eddington of his earlier appearances. A little stiff and awkward, focused on his duty, a bit wistful with repsect to his prospects for career advancement. I think he was woefully miscast for this Eddington, though. He's basically straight-up unlikable here, and not even in an interesting way. I don't think he is the physical type for the role, he lacks the grit vocally, and I just wanted him to be off screen sooner than later.

Kevin: Hertzler and Eisenberg have a bit of a difficult line to walk here. Their stuff is the comic relief, but they have to take it seriously internally, and I think both accomplish that. Eisenberg did some great physical acting in the bar stool scene and the scenes with Martok were good. It was just "cute" but that's all it had to be.

Matthew: Aaron Eisenberg has really been blossoming with the stuff he's been given by the writers. What a great choice of a focal character and actor, as opposed to Grodenchik's ponderous Rom or Masterson's unbelievably grating Leeta. Eisenberg has an everyman quality that is easy to root for, and he brings enough complexity to the role to remind us that Nog is different than we are, too.

Production Values

Kevin: I'm just gonna say I find it hard to believe that a runabout has a Jeffries tube. Wouldn't it all just be accessible from somewhere inside the cabin? Beyond that, I liked the Badlands effects a lot this time. The base set was a little dark and murky for my tastes. If the (please please please) Blurays ever come out, it might really benefit from the transition.

Matthew: The size of the runabout has always been a bit baffling. It has a giant dining room, a teeny tiny transporter, a Jeffries tube... who the hell knows.

Kevin: I always enjoy the use of the Regula lab space station, but it always nags me for a second because the obviously difficult quality of film. The grain is just noticeably different and it's a bit jarring.

Matthew: Yeah, that stuck out like a sore thumb. The brig set too seemed like some sort of strange redress that was unconvincing. The badlands opticals were pretty nice, though. I liked the shot of the planet, too. Unfortunately, once they got on to the planet, it was the same old boring cave set that has sunk many a DS9 show into the black-gray blahs.


Kevin: I'm going with a 3. The energy of the two lead characters stuck in a runabout hating each other is fun, and the snippets of dialogue that give some depth to the Maquis point of view are good. The final product is certainly enjoyable, if not mindblowing.

Matthew: I can't go above a 2. I never cared about the story. I never found any of the characters' motivations to be believable, including Sisko's. The eventual red herring status of the missiles ends up making us feel like we watched a half hour of the wrong episode, and then the interesting bits near the end receive no follow up. The villain is unconvincing. It's not an utter disaster, but it's a misfire. At least this storyline is done. That brings our total to a 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment