Saturday, February 18, 2017

Deep Space Nine, Season 7: 'Til Death Do Us Part Space Nine, Season 7
"'Til Death Do Us Part"
Airdate: April 14, 1999
166 of 173 produced
166 of 173 aired


Dukat begins his seduction of Kai Winn, pretending to be a humble Bajoran farmer, while he really advances the mysterious purposes of the Pah Wraiths. Also, Sisko decides to defy the Prophets for love, and Worf keeps being a tool to Ezri.

Is it me you're looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted
And my arms are open wide
'cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much
I love you


Bringing Kai Winn into the story mix presents us with a welcome boon. She's very entertaining and she provides us with a Bajoran's view of things. All this Sisko/Prophet stuff can get a little trying at times, and she is as annoyed with it as we are. Having her be contacted by the Pah Wraiths also gives us a fun inversion of the normal reverence we are told to give the Prophets. Who is to say that one set of wormhole aliens are better than the other? What benefits of the Prophets' presence near Bajor have actually been demonstrated? Making Dukat her seducer is almost too delicious, and it's riveting to watch.

Kevin: When she tells Sisko, "Perhaps you assumed I was too busy to perform your wedding," I just died. It was amazing. Bajoran religion usually gets played with such pious sincerity that seeing someone treat it more tactically, and having that person be at the apex of the religion has always delighted me. I like think of Winn in the same breath with any of the Medici or Borgia popes. The minute I realized that Dukat's plan, whatever it was, involved her, I died a second time in this episode. It was the plot equivalent of the little Japanese guy in the Simpson's episode when Marge tries to sell pretzels. "Aw..come on...he hasn't done anything yet and you know when he does something it's gonna be cool." I had no idea how this plot would unfold, but I knew it would be a cracking good time regardless.

Matthew: Ugh, this Worf/Dax story. Worf is an insensitive tool with the "I thought I had lost Jadzia" stuff. Ezri isn't Jadzia! He accords her a level of respect you might expect from a Real Doll owner switching out a head or a vagina part, not someone who viewed people as individuals, as anything but receptacles for his desire. Then he goes and holds her deluded utterances after a torture session against her. I just want him blown out an airlock at this point.

Kevin: I have never understood the narrative device in television and film of "realizing you love someone." It always rings as hollow to me. Perhaps it is my own personal view of love as a descriptor of the nature of an actual relationship, of it's depth and its intensity, rather than a binary state of emotions that I view as closer to attraction or infatuation. Had they chosen a different route for this arc, like have them kiss on the planet and realize..."nope, nothing," they could have spent this time getting to know each other as new people, a process hastened and altered by their predicament. Particularly because Ezri is a counselor, she should probably realize that Worf has some pretty basic form of PTSD/survivor's guilt. On some level, we focus on how similar or not Ezri is to Jadzia, but in some meaningful ways, the violent (and senseless) loss of a second mate has probably changed Worf . Maybe even if Jadzia magically reappeared, their relationship would have been altered. I think that would have been an interesting way in, show them consciously wiping the slate clean and starting again.

Matthew: The Sisko/Kasidy story goes where it needs to. It's initially disappointing that Sisko heeds the Prophets' warning. I would have liked to see a bit more explanation of why he did so. His brief conversation with Jake wasn't enough. But then he did the "human" thing to do and said "screw it," choosing love over destiny. I liked that Kira was so nonplussed at the wedding, too. Functional alcoholic Damar is so interesting.

Kevin: I know. I wanted Sisko to be on Kasidy's side the whole time. I like that Kira walked the line between supporting a friend but acknowledging her apprehension. It had notes of her role in "Accession." An uneven episode to be sure, but I enjoy the portrayal of Kira as someone whose faith is deep and sincere, but not patronizing or one dimensional. She struggles. She may think she is supposed to struggle as an article of faith, but it doesn't change the fact that it is a struggle.


Matthew: The genius of this episode is pairing Marc Alaimo and Louise Fletcher and just letting them go at it (literally and figuratively). Fletcher's Kai Winn is normally a horribly manipulative and amoral witch, but seeing her played by someone even more amoral is just so rich with irony, schadenfreude, and "can't turn away" interest. She and Alaimo nail their scenes. His toadying, humble farmer would work completely if we had never seen his Dukat. I just can't wait for the eventual reveal between the two and to see how the two actors shade their responses.

By the way, I had to share this:

How I felt about the kiss between Kai Winn and Gul Dukat

Kevin: I agree fully. It's a combination of it being so unexpected and so jarring and so weird and so upsetting. It could have gone right over the top, but in the hands of two of the show's most competent villains, it stays just precisely at the top. It's very nighttime soap opera, and believe me, I mean that as a compliment. There's a glee almost-but-not quite overacting that just glues you to the screen. That gif is also genius.

Matthew: On the other side of the coin, Dorn and deBoer just aren't hacking it for me. Yes, they're being given bad lines and situations. But they're not transcending them. There must be some combination of expression and tone that would blunt what a dickhead the writers are making Worf out to be, but Dorn isn't finding it here.

Kevin: I don't have much to add here. I am never a fan of anyone's "crazy acting." It always seems to lack a sense of actual, visceral loss. Particularly since the incoherent ranting is always somehow supposed to convey actual information relevant to the plot, it always read as fake as...ugh...dream sequences.

Matthew: Nana Visitor is the key to making the wedding scenes something more than just "aww shucks" heartstring tugging. I'm kind of over Avery Brooks' soft-voice delivery. Gee, I just can't give the guy a break, can I? He's either too loud or too quiet, it seems.

Kevin: Kira's faith could easily come off as cheap or merely a plot device. It has real depth for the character, and thus the story. Also, since conflict is the source of all drama (sorry, Mr. Roddenberry in TNG Season 1), internal conflicts by definition make a character more interesting. She really nailed the complexity of Kira's feelings. When Penny Johnson gives back the ring, I died a third time in 45 minutes. 

Production Values

I find myself wondering how much Marc Alaimo just looks like he does here. Whatever they did with makeup was effective, and his costume also stuck out as effective "playing against type," too. Putting Kai Winn in more "civilian" gear was also jarring and effective.

Kevin: I like the design if not every frame of execution of the Breen ship. I like seeing a ship consciously designed to not have bilateral symmetry. It makes them more alien with needing to add any apostrophes to their name. We did meet Marc Alaimo at a convention, and I think it's pretty close. He is that craggy.


Matthew: The utter deliciousness of the Kai Winn/Dukat scenes overcomes the execrable Worf/Dax stuff and lands this episode in 4 territory. I love watching those two go at it, and it makes the whole story more interesting.

Kevin: I realized while trying to sum up my comments that phrase I was searching for all review is "Disney villain," which again I mean as a compliment. Ursula, Maleficent, Scar, Cruella de Vil. The bad guys in Disney movies tend to get the most actual character development, usually one of the better if not the best song, and they just steal the scene whenever they are in frame. For the best (Maleficent in my humble opinion), you may not want them to win, but you have to acknowledge if they did, they'd have earned it. Pairing Scar with Cruella de Vil here just makes every scene crackle with energy, both potential and kinetic. I agree with the 4 for a total of 8.

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