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londovir- by iamsab

DS9 revisited and Episode #5 in the Era of No Vir

Netflix finally came through for me with the DS9 DVD's I cued for rental. Unfortunately, I got the third disc of the first season set first, so I'm being forced to watch these episodes again out of order. It's not terribly disruptive at this point in the series, but still...

Tonight I sat down and watched "The Passenger" and "Move Along Home." Neither of these episodes were especially noteworthy- "Move Along Home" was just plain silly in fact- but both were at least watchable. One thing I was delighted to notice this time was that Caitlin Brown, the first and best Na'Toth, had a guest appearance in "The Passenger." Whoo hoo! Go Na'Toth! Oh, and I had completely forgotten how arrogant Dr. Bashir really was this early on- it was kind of jarring. I loved Kira's sarcastic response to his bragging. "I feel privileged to be in your presence." Hee.

Let's see, other comments? Well, Quark and Odo are totally married. I always enjoy watching them spar. I also appreciated the tension the writers maintained between the Bajoran and the Federation officers. Odo gets a new Fed partner in "The Passenger," and it was so nice to see that Odo did not respond to this happily. And it was wonderful that they took pains to capture Kira's silent put-off reaction to this Fed security officer invading Odo's turf. Maintaining this conflict was something that Voyager, which also involved the melding of two very different crews, failed to do.

Now on to this morning's B5 episode...

"Secrets of the Soul"

Grade: B-

Another average-to-solid episode with a missed opportunity or two.

In response to my bitching yesterday about Sheridan's perfection, selenak reminded me that there was one major, acknowledged mistake that Sheridan made in the later years- his poor treatment of Lyta, which ultimately drove her into the arms of Byron. (As we saw today.) All right- I stand corrected. I still consider this whole thing problematic, however, because this particular mistake didn't seem to come from anywhere. What reason did Sheridan have to snub Lyta in this fashion? I don't think this was ever conveyed effectively, and without that motivation, the situation seems writer induced rather than organic.

Byron really shows himself to be quite an arrogant hoser in this episode. "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" "As many as want to." He also quite effectively demonstrates the lesson that martyrs make very poor leaders. Byron might've averted a murder if he had not been so focused on protecting his people from the consequences of their actions. But instead, he takes the fall himself, thus effectively leaving the more militant elements of his group completely unsupervised.

Byron's hypocrisy is also striking. He speaks of being attacked and persecuted simply for being a teep, but when one of his own is taken to Med Lab after being beaten in Down Below and Byron is asked what happened, he responds that the teek was beaten "by one of you." As if all mundanes are universally violent and prejudiced towards teeps. With an attitude like that, it's no wonder he ultimately shows himself to be incapable of polite negotiation. (Which we'll see tomorrow.)

The Hyach/Hyach-Doh storyline was okay. However, I can't help but wonder if JMS missed an opportunity here by doing the parallel evolution/genocide storyline with a race with which we weren't previously familiar when there is a race out there with which we are very familiar that is one of two species that evolved on their homeworld. I am referring of course to the Centauri and the Xon. What if everything the current generation of Centauri have been taught about the Xon is wrong? What if Dr. Franklin had discovered something in the medical history of the Centauri that led him to discover that the Centauri were the aggressors in the fight against the Xon? How would Londo have responded to that revelation? How would Vir have responded? Doing this storyline from this angle would hit upon the same theme, but would do so with characters we know and like. It would raise the stakes of the plot considerably. Hmm...

Damned plot bunnies just won't leave me alone. Nice bunny. Have a carrot.
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I still consider this whole thing problematic, however, because this particular mistake didn't seem to come from anywhere.

Didn't it? I found it remarkably consistent with the attitude of not just Sheridan but the entire B5 command staff to telepaths throughout. (Here is a previous longer post relating to this.) Each and every one of them, save Ivanova (and with her the difference was that she was personally affected) had no problems with a society where telepaths had to wear markedly different clothing, were barred from a number of professions (such as the military in which all of them happily served pre-Clark), and were denied quintessential human rights such as the freedom of marriage and/or procreation. This wasn't anything new but had been an accepted practice for decades. Sinclair knew it. Sheridan knew it. Garibaldi knew it. And none of them protested, joined a rights-for-telepaths organisation or stopped serving in the military because of it. They were fine with this until Psi Corps began to personally inconvenience them or people they cared about (i.e. Talia Winters). Why? Because in a way, telepaths were the blacks in an apartheid-like system. Rationale: You didn't care until you saw them beaten up in your immediate vicinity and subconsciously you were aware of your childhood teachings they could become dangerous if not controlled. They certainly weren't quite like you.

What reason did Sheridan have to snub Lyta in this fashion?
See above and also the entry I linked. Moreover, I think that after his experience with KoshII and the Vorlons, his subconscious distrust became quite conscious because of Lyta's link with the Vorlons.

A Xon/Centauri backstory would be fascinating, you're right!

DS9: my other favourite space station. Wrote quite a bit about it recently here and here. For my money, the consistently best-written of the Trek shows, and yes, I do mean all of them. (Though Picard will always be my favourite Captain.)

You may be right

However, why didn't Delenn intervene?

Also, Sheridan was suspicious of G'Kar until he proved himself. He also put aside the conflict with Londo with the formation of the Alliance. If we were to grant that Sheridan was suspicious of Lyta, it still seems it would be more within Sheridan's character to abandon that suspicion in light of Lyta's contributions. Why didn't this happen?

His treatment of Lyta also does not seem consistent with his guilt at using the cryogenically frozen teeps to fight Clark's forces, nor with his intitial good-will gesture to Byron, a teep he didn't know and had no reason to trust.

Perhaps I would feel more satisfied with this if we were shown Sheridan's suspicion of Lyta's Vorlon connection in some way instead of being told about this suspicion via Zack.
Didn't it? I found it remarkably consistent with the attitude of not just Sheridan but the entire B5 command staff to telepaths throughout.

... Also with the exception of Dr Franklin, who was involved in running an "Underground railroad" for escaped teeps.

(What happened to that particular teep rebellion, btw? I found the teeps Franklin was helping infinitely more interesting than Byron's mob, simply because of their variety in age, ethnicity, beliefs and dress. Byron's followers seem to have escaped the quasi-military conformity of the PsiCorps, only to fall into the quasi-religious conformity of his cult.)

Must go and dig out my B5 tapes and refresh my memory of the series...


...is also the exception in The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father where we see the station and its inhabitants from Bester's and his interns povs, which makes everyone except the good doctor come across as a bunch of hypocritical bigots.