Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Episode Review - Favor the Bold (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 – As the war rages on, Sisko finally convinces Starfleet that now is the time to retake Deep Space Nine. On the space station, Rom is awaiting his fate in a holding cell, Damar has found success in being able to destroy the minefield, and Dukat tries to connect with his now estranged daughter, Ziyal. All this while Kira and her conspirators try to warn Sisko of the impending destruction of the mine field and Odo further falls into the lure of the Link.

Kira and Quark demand to see Odo

Score: 9/10 – In a multi-episode story arc such as the Season 6 opener is understandable that we would expect the next-to-last episode show some signs of fatigue. That would be understandable, but that is far from the case with “Favor the Bold”. The purpose of this episode is to build up to the conclusion of this six-part season opener, and it does so with flying colors. The focus seems to be centered on Kira and what is happening on the station, but that does not mean that Sisko and the Defiant are ignored. Nog receives a promotion to Ensign (I guess this is a field graduation), and Jadzia takes Sisko to task for the lack of success they are having in the war. While there is a bit of action, it is on a much smaller scale. This is good, because all the stops are pulled out for the next episode, which will feature an epic fleet battle that DS9 became famous for. Important plot pieces are moved into place, key characters are positioned with effectiveness, and the anticipation gets ramped up to the hilt. We learn some interesting tidbits about certain groups or characters through some great dialogue. As an example, Weyoun explaining both the Vortas lack of aesthetic appreciation for art and their poor eyesight yet excellent hearing is a true showcase of how well Jeffery Combs knows and plays this iconic character. Similar performances by Marc Alaimo, Casey Biggs, Max Grodenchik, and Chase Masterson are also noteworthy. Indeed, this episode seems to be a real showcase for some of the recurring characters that have become almost as important as the core cast of leads. Even Morn gets to play a significant role in how the story progresses, acting as the courier to deliver the message to Sisko. And all of this guides us to the thrill ride that will be “Sacrifice of Angels”.

Leeta and Quark speaking to Rom.

Relevance – 2 points. Of course we see the fallout from the previous episode, “Behind the Lines” with Rom being sentenced to death and the mine field getting closer to being deactivated, Odo’s further descent into the influence of the female Founder, and Sisko trying to organize a plan to finally retake Deep Space Nine. We also score a point for Sisko telling Admiral Ross about his plans to build a house on Bajor when the war is done. This idea will continue to develop for the remainder of the series.

Starfleet has concerns with Sisko's proposal.

Continuity – 3 points. The story continuity and universe continuity both are intact in this episode. The character continuity is especially good here. As Damar becomes more pompous and boorish towards Kira, she eventually lets him have it. She has had enough of his bullying and levels him in quick and brutal fashion when he tries to grab Ziyal. This is just one example of how the characters remain true to themselves as the important events unfold around them. I could write an entire article on this point in itself, but just trust me, here we really get to see the characters develop as we would expect they would.

Worf and Martok agree to convince Gowron of accepting Sisko's plan.

Character Development – 3 points. So while important recurring characters see their development grow (Weyoun, Dukat, Damar, Ziyal, Rom, Leeta, and Nog in particular), what about the core cast of characters? Well, as I mentioned previously, Kira finally has the throw down with Damar that she has been itching for since the whole occupation started. Odo also continues to delve further into the allure that the female changeling offers him, including a physically sexual encounter. Sisko, meanwhile, gets back into the captain’s chair of the Defiant, but it his growing love for Bajor that truly begins to blossom in this episode as he reveals his plan to live on Bajor once the war is over. This will be an important development in the development of the captain. 

Weyoun wonders if this art would be better if it were blue

Social Commentary – 1 point. OK, here is where the episode comes up a bit short. Yes, with all the intertwining storylines there are snippets of social commentary that can be extrapolated. Themes such as betrayal and loyalty, boldness and courage in the face of overwhelming odds are sprinkled throughout the episode. Nothing really sticks out, though, as a poignant comment on our lives. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that I can only give this criteria a single point. The absence of serious social commentary is hardly noticed and does not diminish the episode in itself, but it does diminish the points I can award it for this category.

The trap is about to be sprung

Cool Stuff – 3 points. One point for the opening scene of the Defiant and the Rotarran springing a trap on a pair of Dominion ships. Another point for the scene where Kira totally kicks Damar’s sorry butt. As viewers we have been waiting for this to happen for some time now. Finally, the closing scene shows the two fleets approach each other, hinting at the bloody battle that will kick off the next episode. It creates the perfect mix of dread, excitement, and adrenaline that will have you anxious to see how it concludes. A well created scene with Sisko’s line of “There’s an old saying: Fortune favors the bold. Well, we’re about to find out” sets the stage for a thrilling conclusion.

Kira puts Damar in his place.

Rank – Admiral (21 points). Leading up to an exciting conclusion, the fifth of the six episode story arc is definitely a solid showing. Of course you have to watch the episode to follow the overall DS9 story, this episode could have easily reflected fatigue and weariness in the writing and viewing of it. Instead, it keeps you on the edge of the seat. For those of us that watched this when it was first aired, it made the following week a delightful mixture of eager anticipation and gleeful frustration for the time between this and the next episode.

Fortune favors the bold. Off to fight the Dominion.

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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