Hobsonphile (hobsonphile) wrote,

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As promised, more DS9

My lips are chapped and cracking thanks to the suddenly cold weather. My throat is scratchy and sore, which may signal the start of my usual November cold/flu. And, worst of all, I'm starting to notice significant hair loss. Until recently, I had a pretty full head of naturally curly/wavy hair. Nowadays, it hangs limply and comes out in pretty sizable chunks whenever I wash or brush. I don't know what's up. Is it a side effect of the medications I'm taking for the rheumatoid arthritis? Or might it be something more sinister? Such are the questions that will be asked of my rheumatologist when I see him either this week or next (I have to double check with the office).

But hey, if I lose my hair, it would be just that much easier to dress up as a female Centauri at the next costume party/Halloween. *g* I made this comment in HobsonphileBro's presence and he expressed his admiration of my ability to look at the brighter side of things.

Health concerns aside, I've found a small snatch of time to scratch out a few more DS9 thoughts. These concern Rocks and Shoals, which, in my opinion, is second only to In the Pale Moonlight in the running for Best. DS9. Ever. Click on the cut for a few reasons why:

Gallows humor: I love it and never, ever tire of it. In Shoals, there are several darkly humorous moments that have justifiably made their way into the DS9 pantheon. The most famous of these is, of course, Miles' sudden realization- as they are swimming to shore away from the wreck of their commandeered Jem'Hadar warship no less- that he has torn his pants. "I'm really in trouble now!" Miles cries as the crew lies dripping on the shore, causing those in his company to dissolve into giddy laughter.

When all is bleak and hope seems so far away, there's nothing like laughing at a seemingly inappropriate moment to remind you of a character's humanity.

And while we're on the subject of characters who are drawn in recognizably human form, the Jem'Hadar soldier who opposes Sisko in Shoals is a fantastic, deeply tragic one-shot figure. Third Remata'Klan is a skilled, intelligent leader who is dedicated to the men under his command. And he is acute enough to recognize the corruption of his Vorta. But he has accepted without challenge the "order" of Dominion society and through this acceptance charges to his death with open eyes. We in the audience feel the senselessness of Third Remata'Klan's death as surely as do the soldiers under Sisko's command. I dare say I am far from the only one who silently urged Sisko to shoot the Vorta and make off with his communications unit.

(In fact, in The Magnificent Ferengi some episodes later, I felt this sick, delicious glee at seeing Keevan slamming face-first into a wall over and over and over...)

This is the stuff of which great stories are made.

And after all of the above, can you believe I haven't even addressed the best part of the episode?

As magnificent as the leading plot in Shoals is, the subplot on DS9 surpasses it. A series of minimal, iconic scenes tracks Kira's development from a woman who has resigned herself to the occupying force to one who has rediscovered her old fire in the face of a new enemy. The director and the writers wisely decided to avoid filling up this storyline with exposition and needless dialogue, leaving us with images and the bare essentials. Similar to Londo watching the destruction of Narn in silence in The Long, Twilight Struggle, Kira's story is most powerfully told in a pair of dialogue-free sequences. Each follows her as she rises from bed and reports to her duty station- but in the second, after the suicide of Vedek Yassim (a powerful shot in itself), her turmoil is subtlely but clearly conveyed. If Shoals was not quite the best episode of the DS9 canon, this was surely DS9's greatest secondary plot.

More commentary to come as real life allows. *g*
Tags: ds9

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