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  #10681  
Old 02-13-2019, 11:19 PM
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Gravitational slingshot
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  #10682  
Old 02-13-2019, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Peach View Post
But I thought his character found his voice pretty early on. He ended up being a good-to-great pairing for most of the cast, even if he didn't drive a lot of episodes.
Bashir does often kind of end up as sounding board for more interesting things going on with Garak or O'Brein, but yeah I think he does end up working well on the show.

Although Dax is often also a sounding board for Sisko and eventually Worf when an episode is not specifically about her, the episodes that do focus on her are often interesting symbiont stuff or Klingon adventures, and I'm very much there for both of those. Her being Worf's sparring partner and one of the few people who can really relate to him in his moment feeling estranged from both the empire and the federation is an interesting development for both characters, even if it's primarily about his problems. (At least so far, I'm toward the end of season 4.)
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  #10683  
Old 02-14-2019, 03:50 AM
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I go back and forth a lot on Worf in DS9. It's one of those things that, on the one hand, makes a lot of sense to do given the character and the setting. And I'm fairly neutral with regards to adding Worf to the cast. But I personally loathe his personal character arc throughout DS9, despite generally enjoying his presence and individual stories. For example, Worf as a groomzilla is simply amazing, and it's a good thing that Worf gets some career advancement after remaining stagnant for so long on the Enterprise. But as a person who partially identified with Worf as a character, seeing his personality and development of his identity take what I consider a backslide in DS9 is just... it's just really rather upsetting on the whole.

Worf is full-Klingon, but his experience is very much that of a mixed race individual. He's a man who doesn't quite feels fully at home either among humans or among Klingons as he straddles both worlds. He is obviously not human, and the Klingons never readily accept him as their's either. His Klingon heritage is something he had to learn about from afar, and he always feels he has to tip-toe around humans despite living most of his life with them and generally being accepted into their society.

Yet despite that feeling of unease, in TNG it's largely something he'd already come to terms with. It was part of his identity that he had accepted. He had built a successful life, and become integrated and loved within all the communities he had joined, be it back in his home in Minsk on Earth, or on the Enterprise. Watching him interact with pure, unbridled love and acceptance with his adopted parents is one of the most touching moments in TNG. And Worf in TNG really stands as a rather inspirational/aspirational figure. Worf is a testament to the facts that home is where you make it, that family are the people you choose, and that finding acceptance starts with fully embracing who you are and who you choose to be and loving that. That it's not just OK to come from multiple backgrounds, but that it's a source of strength.

And in DS9, Worf loses all of that for whatever reason. He loses the Enterprise and thus he feels he lost his place in the universe. An understandable impulse, but one I would have hoped had been beneath Worf. The ship itself wasn't what Worf missed, but his family and community that it housed. The ship exploded, but that family didn't go anywhere. Meanwhile, instead of being this man who combines the best aspects of both cultures and proudly presents himself as such, DS9 has Worf dive deep into being Klingon to the point where his human side is essentially shed. Some people who come from a polyethnic background do make that choice, but it's one I personally find distasteful and unfortunate as it is an implicit rejection of yourself.

Worf's whole DS9 arc is a path of rediscovery of who he is. Which, if taken out of the context of TNG, works fine. But I can't really remove that context, and it feels like a backslide. This path of personal discovery for a mixed race person works a lot better if that's the starting point and there's a fairly clear progression that happens. Spock and B'Elanna are amazing characters because of how their respective shows handle this development. But Worf starts out at a good place, and then backslides to a bad place for bad/dumb reasons.
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  #10684  
Old 02-14-2019, 05:17 AM
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Im glad to hear the Bashir twist gets buried eventually, because Im tired of the show talking about it constantly. And its at the heart of my least favorite episode so far.

Bashir works best as Garraks punching bag or OBriens side piece.
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  #10685  
Old 02-14-2019, 06:58 AM
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On Worf- i agree with you Wist, but Id say this slide started in late tng as well.
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  #10686  
Old 02-14-2019, 02:55 PM
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As someone who makes no conscious effort to avoid spoilers while going down Memory Alpha rabbit holes after watching an episode, I am kind of shocked I don't know what the Bashir twist is yet.
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  #10687  
Old 02-14-2019, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud_666 View Post
On Worf- i agree with you Wist, but Id say this slide started in late tng as well.
I'm not certain I agree? I just finished S7 of TNG last night (teared up a little at the end) and the Worf episodes in there were all really good. The Season 6 episode about Worf questioning his faith and the clone-Khaless I could see as being a "Who am I??" backslide moment. But really that episode was more about reaffirming faith and opening one's mind to better understand faith versus blind servitude and adhering to strict dogma.

More so, the Season 7 episodes actually do a lot towards cementing Worf's polyethnic identity. Worf has three big episodes in Season 7 where he's the primary character of the A-plot. All of which are worth discussing in this context:

S7E11: "Parallels" - A mostly innocuous episode on the surface having Worf leap across dimensions. But under the surface, there's Worf's love life getting explored for the first serious time since K'Ehleyr. Worf cites repeatedly in the early parts of TNG that he is basically celibate because he feels human women are too frail to match up with Klingon mating/libido in a soft form of bigotry. And it's an idea he sheds after Parallels as he opens himself to the possibility that 1) his prejudices might be wrong, and 2) that there are more tender forms of love he could explore and it be just as fulfilling. I never felt great about the Worf/Troi paring because of how forced it felt, but with regards to Worf's personal growth as a person it's a very good thing actually as it gives this gruff guy moments to display tenderness and his human side.

S7E13: "Homeward" - This episode is actually a revelation for Worf as a character. Previous discussions of his childhood raised by humans was always described as trying and difficult. The implication that an unruly Klingon adapting to human society was a hard task for Worf and his family. Yet here comes Worf's human brother and he completely reverses what we think about Worf's upbringing. It turns out, Worf was the good son. Worf was obedient, self-disciplined, excelled academically, and never got into trouble. It was his human brother Nikolai who was the rascal who caused trouble, had a wild-streak, made their mother cry, dropped out of school, and was the real prodigal son. As it turns out, Worf didn't have a hard time integrating, he actually excelled at it! His "problems" growing up then were of a more emotional and existential/reflective nature of feeling unease with his place in the world. An experience that is intensely that of many mixed-race people. And him hashing things out with his quasi-estranged brother, repairing their bond, and coming to a good understanding with each other as he helps his brother find his place in the world is just an extremely positive moment for Worf and the realization of his identity as a polyethnic person.

S7E21: "Firstborn" - Star Trek fans at large hate Alexander, but I've really grown to both love him as a character and how he is used in TNG. Worf struggles with raising Alexander throughout the show, and it's always used to help him grow as a character and expand his perspective. In a lot of Alexander's early episodes, Alexander's willfulness and troubles as a child is used to teach Worf patience and love. But this episode is different, because it specifically is about Alexander's identity as a mixed race person. Worf worries that Alexander doesn't know or appreciate enough of his Klingon culture, and struggles with both respecting his son and respecting his son's mixed heritage and the will of his departed babymama. In the episode he contemplates handing his son over to a family retainer so that he might go to a Klingon school and receive a Klingon education to catch up with his 'deficient' knowledge of Klingon culture and combat ability. And the big twist of the episode is that this family retainer is secretly Alexander from the future, who has traveled back in time to influence himself to become more Klingon and to become a strong warrior. And it's an extremely powerful moment for the two of them when Worf sees the full breath of the situation. Not just how he sees the kind of lasting psychological damage he is potentially inflicting upon his son by forcing the ethnic identity of his choosing onto him, but how wonderful and amazing his son turns out to be and how there's real merit to this other definition of being Klingon that young Alexander is exploring. And this is big. BIG. It's the culmination of all of Worf's progression as a character. It's his moment of clarity where he fully appreciates the synthesis of cultures that have come together in him and his son, and where he is able to not just come to terms with his mixed identity, but to fully embrace it, love it, and cherish it as something special and worth encouraging. Thinking about it and writing it out actually has me verklempt!
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  #10688  
Old 02-14-2019, 07:31 PM
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This might be adding too many discussions to the pot at once, but I just watched the episode that introduces Section 31 and I can see why the concept annoys people.

It could have been interesting if Section 31 were created as a temporary measure against the Dominion which then got out of hand, but retconning it to the original Federation charter is pretty crummy. DS9 already did a good job in earlier seasons problematizing the Federation, and they didn't really need to do more, or at least didn't need to undermine the whole enterprise from its inception.

Does Enterprise do anything interesting with the concept?
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  #10689  
Old 02-14-2019, 08:41 PM
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Not really no. It's wrapped up in the Temporal Cold War/Prime Directive stuff.
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  #10690  
Old 02-14-2019, 08:58 PM
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I thought DS9 Section 31 was fine - compelling even. They peg that particularly malignant, " you don't think about us, but we know what's best for society, and we have the machete-armed death-squads to back it up" CIA vibe super well.

I've never watched Enterprise, but I detested how Section 31 was used in Into Darkness and Discovery. Because, in those, it just becomes a metaphor for the US Security State - broad, deeply implanted, and on the absolutely cutting edge of technology. It's relevant in our modern and recent historical context, sure. Except👏the👏Federation👏isn't👏a👏proxy👏for👏the👏United 👏States👏. I mean, of course, it is, but there's always been a incredibly aspirational element to the Federation - it isn't merely a vessel to transport our current society a couple centuries into the future, but rather to imagine how we would be transformed - often embarrassingly and incorrectly! - by that same span of time.

In DS9, S31 is a black-box side-project - a little malicious brain-trust the Federation keeps in its back pocket, because humans can't quite eject some sort of fundamental xenophobia. But subsequent writers have taken it and turned it into this vast conspiracy under-girding everything because 9/11* and its fallout broke all of our brains. But Star Trek has explored how we navigate a complex and conflicted universe - often embarrassingly and incorrectly! - with nuance and dignity, without just riding on "myabe you nede to immerse urself in draknes to really grsap the lite" stuff.

*I'm especially looking at Truther Roberto Orci with this one.
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  #10691  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:01 PM
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It's been a few months since I watched those episodes, but I don't fully agree on that take there with S31. At least with regards to how it's OK in DS9 but bad elsewhere. Its depiction in DS9 is of this super black ops, MiB style, nobody can know we exist, exist outside of the legally sanctioned government kind of deal. The scope and breadth of S31 is unknown to us as viewers because they only allow Bashir the most limited of glimpses into its operations, but they're powerful and well connected enough to have agents placed at the highest levels of the Romulan government. DS9 hints quite strongly they are this vast conspiracy.

ENT doesn't really do much crazy with the idea. They're a Starfleet intel body whose presence and workings are top secret. But Starfleet at this time is a minuscule baby compared to what it will become. The S31 in ENT doesn't really do much besides attempt to pull some strings politically and recruit agents within Starfleet to keep them apprised of information and perhaps carry out limited ops when they deem it necessary.

Into Darkness is just a garbage pile, especially that it's now an orphaned/dead alternate universe, so it's hardly even worth considering.

Now DISCO - this is something kinda interesting. Specifically because this week's episode talks quite a bit about S31, and it leads me to some speculative conclusions with regards to your specific issues Peach considering how can something like this organization coexist with the aspirational image we want Star Trek society to represent.
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  #10692  
Old 02-16-2019, 09:20 PM
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Section 31 didn't interest me that much. There was a lot going on in DS9 at that point, and it didn't need that extra plot baggage. Then again, I kind of liked the first few episodic seasons before Sisko shaved his head and got increasingly intense. He had a strong, steadily evolving relationship with his son, but that hit a brick wall by the fifth season and Jake became less important in subsequent episodes.

Of course, there's much to be said for the Dominion arc... it gave us those two really good episodes where Worf and Garak were on a Jem H'dar prison ship, and of course, Demar's growth from a forgettable bit player to a more complex character... sadistic in that typical Cardassian way, but a cunning tactician and ultimately an honorable soldier.

I feel like Deep Space Nine started out as one kind of series but turned into an entirely different one by its conclusion. Perhaps it owes Voyager a debt for that, because that show gave DS9 a chance to split from Star Trek tradition and find its own identity.
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