Friday, May 12, 2017

Episode Review - Rocks and Shoals (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – The Dominion war continues. After completing their mission to destroy a Dominion supply depot, Sisko and his crew crash land on a distant planet. They soon find that they are not alone, as a Jem’Hadar ship crashed some time earlier. Soon, Sisko must decide between the safety of his crew and honor. Meanwhile, on Deep Space Nine, Major Kira is faced with the disturbing realisation that she has become a collaborator with the Dominion, and is given a shocking reminder as to what needs to be done.

Score: 9/10 – Of all the episodes in this season’s opening story arc, this one is my favourite. We see two different stories of making a stand for what is right, and the metaphorical rocks and shoals that we find our characters on provides for some great moments. Kira finds herself in a situation she had despised in others during the Bajoran Occupation, that of a collaborator. It is the sacrifice of Vedek Yassim that snaps her back to reality. The Sisko part of the story is exciting, action-packed, and shows our characters struggle against steep odds. There are some nice humorous moments mixed in, and we are introduced to the conniving character of Keevan. Overall, an excellent episode.

Relevance - 3 points. Again, in this season’s opening story arc, there are a lot of tie ins. This picks up where the last episode left off and is continued in the next episode, “Sons and Daughters” with Sisko and his crew being rescued. Garak and Nog’s conversation prior to them being captured by the Jem’Hadar discusses what happened in the previous season’s episode “Empok Nor”, with Nog still not trusting Garak fully (much to Garak’s pleasure). Sisko also discusses with Remata’Klan a previous joint mission between Sisko’s crew and the Dominion, which resulted in the Jem’Hadar killing the Vorta (the first encountered version of Weyoun). We also meet Keevan, who will appear again in “The Magnificent Ferengi”. In the Kira storyline, the resistance is established with Kira and Odo, which will thread its way through the next several episodes and eventually encompass more of the key characters.

Continuity - 3 points. Character continuity checks out. Sisko attempts to reason with an honorable soul in Third Remata’Klan while protecting his crew. Kira stumbles a little as she tries to walk the fine line between resisting the Dominion and following Sisko’s orders in keeping Bajor out of the fight. The suicide of Yassim manages to knock her onto one side. We also see the Trek universe continuity kept. Keevan is a particularly devious adversary, willing to sacrifice the lives of his own men to save himself, while the Jem’Hadar, especially Remata’Klan, are loyal to the end. Story line wise, everything fits, especially within the six episode arc of this season.

Character Development – 3 points. Kira grows the most in this episode as she skirts the line between her loyalties to the Federation and keeping the Dominion from attacking Bajor. Her loyalties are tested more than at any other time. On the other side, we see Sisko wrestle his own inner battle between protecting his crew and not taking the life of a noble warrior. His decision is not nearly as great wrestled as Kira’s, but is notable nonetheless.

Social Commentary – 3 points. Resist evil. That is the message relayed by both stories. Sisko resists simply wiping out the Jem’Hadar and tries at even the final moment to reach Remata’Klan. Kira struggled more with that lesson, but eventually realizes that she can no longer stand by and watch the Dominion and their Cardassian allies take over the Alpha Quadrant. Likewise, I wonder how often we must make the stands in our own lives against that which is wrong. Sometimes, it requires great courage and resolve, and it pushes us to our limits.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. This is a very exciting episode, but there is only a couple of things that stands out as being a cool moment. The final, desperate charge of the Jem’Hadar on the planet is visceral and enthralling. A great battle scene, albeit a brief one. Of particular note in this scene is Sisko. His resigned expression shows how much he truly wanted to avoid the bloodshed, yet mixed with that was his fierce determination to do what needed to be done. Secondly, Third Remata’Klan is played by Phil Morris, a veteran Trek actor having roles in TOS, DS9 (twice), VOY, and the third motion picture. He is most famous for starring in the second “Mission: Impossible” television series. His father, Greg Morris, played the father of Phil’s MI character in the original TV series (which also starred Leonard Nimoy for a couple seasons).

Rank – Admiral (23 points). One of the strongest episodes of the series and the sixth season. Great action and character development with a strong message for our times.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

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