A Call to ArmsBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:41 AM GMT
See Also: 'Call to Arms' Episode Guide
With war looming between the Federation and its allies against the Dominion-Cardassian alliance, Sisko sends the Defiant out to plant mines between the wormhole and Bajor, dismisses all civilians from the station (except Jake, who hides on the station to be a war correspondent), and departs to join the massing battle fleet. He leaves Kira to carry out his final orders - to blow up Ops, rendering the station useless to the Cardassians.
Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Rom and Leeta get married, and Leeta refuses to permit Rom to send her to safety on Bajor without him. Dax and Worf get engaged, just before Worf leaves for a Klingon command and Dax heads off with Starfleet. Garak and Ziyal have a tearful parting, with promises of reunion. Kira and Odo agree that this is not a good time to start a relationship.
One day more, another day, another destiny...
You remember Eddington talking endlessly about Javert from Les Miserables before they killed him off? Well, all those Victor Hugo references were premature. This is the episode that reminded me of Les Miz. The musical.
Yes, seriously. At the end of the first act, a battle is brewing, everyone is getting ready to go off to points unknown, and each character starts singing about his or her own personal angst. Lovers sob that they might not see each other again, heroes fret about their planned deeds, wretched scum plot to get rich off the misfortunes of others. Deep Space Nine comes closer to soap opera than operetta, but the similarities at the end of this first act are remarkable. If only Odo had started singing "On My Own" when Kira walked out of his office, I might even have enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, DS9 doesn't have that much of a sense of humor, and doesn't seem to realize when the cliches are getting predictable, not to mention bombastic. The scene I enjoyed most was Rom's, when he simultaneously plotted with Dax to bolster the station's defenses and worried overmuch about his impending nuptials. It wasn't the war that was overkill, it was the relationships - not the quantity, but the similarities between them, the limited dimensions of the characters and their interactions.
This show has not managed one deep, meaningful pairing, and seems determined to squander the one which had real potential - Odo and Kira. We have had enough silly Rom/Leeta, Dax/Worf, and Garak/Ziyal to put the entire young male demographic to sleep. What on Earth are the writers thinking?
I'm glad Sisko finally saw the war coming, because the rest of us saw it long before he did. As a captain, he seemed surprisingly irrelevant: Dax was the one on the Defiant and in the line of fire, while Kira was the one facing down the Jem'Hadar on the station. (Not that I'm complaining; I love it when this show gives women something to do other than stand by their men.) Even Jake stayed more at the center of things than Ben did. His grandest moment was the speech about how the station is now his home, but it sounded predictable and unconvincing; he's got the fewest personal ties of any of the cast regulars, even his son's off living his own life.
The image of the Defiant under Sisko's command, swallowed up at the end in a massive fleet of Federation and allied ships, was more hopeful from a series standpoint than as an image of united strength. I liked the baseball in the office, but is that the best thing he could come up with to leave - a personal memento? Not something which would make a statement about Starfleet and the Federation, his principles, his goals?
I don't expect the Federation to win this confrontation: I assume that the cracks we see in the Cardassian/Dominion alliance will deepen and cause the Dominion to retreat temporarily from their conquest of the quadrant. Then the Federation, like NATO, can sit down and figure out what role it has in the current galaxy, vis a vis Bajor, etc. Except they probably won't bother to do that, they'll just have more Klingon brawls and more stupid romances and more Jake Becoming A Man. In other words, I expect letdown, just like the Shadow War - "It was the year of fire, it was the year of destruction, it was the year I took back my baseball," as the joke is running.
I sort of wish Voyager would unexpectedly pop through the wormhole. That might be the best possible thing for both Trek shows. Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night?
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.