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The Trek Nation - First DS9 Finale Review

First DS9 Finale Review

By Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga
Posted at May 28, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Here was the program that those of us who were fortunate enough to attend this series finale received:

Seminar
Premiere of Series Finale: Deep Space Nine
Thursday, May 27, 1999; 6:30-9:00 pm

The Museum will premiere the two-hour finale of this science fiction series, which attracted scores of devotees in the post-Star Trek era. Since its debut in 1993, this offspring of Star Trek: The Next Generation -- set in a space station in the twenty-fourth century -- has combined thought-provoking themes with a galaxy of multifaceted crew members and interplanetary beings.

Moderator:
- Steve Bell, Vice President and Director, The Museum of Television & Radio

Panelists:
- Rick Berman, Creator and Exec. Prod.
- Ira Steven Behr, Exec. Prod.
- Avery Brooks, Captain Benjamin Sisko
- Rene Auberjonois, Security Officer Odo
- Nana Visitor, Colonel Kira Nerys
- Alexander Siddig, Dr. Julian Bashir
- Armin Shimerman, Quark
- Michael Dorn, Lieuteant Commander Worf
- Nicole deBoer, Ezri Dax
- Bob Blackman, Costume Designer
- Herman Zimmerman, Production Designer

I also noticed that in addition to the above-mentioned panelists, other VIPs in the audience were Hans Beimler, Ronald D. Moore, Lolita Fatjo, and many others I couldn't recognize by their faces.

According to moderator Steve Bell, the episode was finished yesterday so we were definitely the first public audience to watch it. However, when it comes to watching DS9 on a weekly basis, here in Los Angeles we are almost a week behind the rest of the country. As a result, we haven't seen the penultimate episode, "The Dogs of War," yet!

So to bring us up to speed, Ira Steven Behr appeared before the screening and gave a brief introduction. Before he started though, he asked the audience if anyone already knew what the episode was about. There was some general laughter, and Behr in response, said, "Let's pretend the Internet doesn't exist." :)

He mentioned four plot points:
1. A replacement for the Defiant reappears at the station.
2. Ezri and Bashir are caught making out in a turbolift.
3. Damar's entire resistance movement is eliminated, so the only ones left are Damar, Kira, and Garak, and they're all hiding in Tain's old house, living in the cellar.
4. Kasidy Yates is pregnant.

And then the finale was screened.

As I was watching the opening credits, it dawned on me that this was almost the last time I would be seeing a new DS9 episode.

So how was the series finale? Was it good? Yes. Was it great? Yes. Was it better than TNG's "All Good Things?" For now, I have to say yes.

I do think it was certainly more poignant than TNG because as I mentioned before, the chances of DS9 going to movies is rather bleak and the characters do split up and move on (Sisko's death, Odo returns to the Great Link, and Worf and O'Brien leave the station). I certainly got misty-eyed while watching Odo and Kira on the Founder's homeworld and the Jake Sisko flashback (seeing him grow from a boy to a man was quite amazing). So you do certainly get that sense of a farewell, much more so than with TNG.

When "All Good Things," The Next Generation series finale, aired, you knew that the crew would be transitioning over to the movie franchise. On top of that, the crew stayed together on the Enteprise, even into the last shot that pans up from the poker table and out of the ship.

With "What You Leave Behind," the future of DS9 is not certain. While there have been rumors of a possible DS9 movie, I don't honestly believe that The Powers That Be will not allow it to happen, simply because the audience for DS9 is not as large as the one for TNG and possibly even Voyager. As a result, a DS9 movie wouldn't in their eyes be profitable enough to justify making. As a matter of fact, I don't even think that a TNG/DS9 movie will happen either. I think the movie franchise will unfortunately skip the DS9 cast entirely and shift to Voyager.

With the DS9 series finale, there are some fundamental changes that happen to the characters in this last episode, many of which run full-circle from the beginning of the series:
- Sisko, who was initially the Prophet's emissary, now becomes one of Prophets.
- Odo, who initally thought he was the only one of his kind, finally rejoins the Great Link.
- Worf leaves DS9 to become the Federation ambassador to Kronos. (Okay, not exactly full circle but it seems logical enough I suppose.)
- Jake, initially a boy, is now a man, albeit without his father.
- O'Brien leaves DS9 to teach at Starfleet Academy. (Again, not exactly full circle but Keiko's always pushed for a return to Earth, so it seems logical enough.)
- Quark, who ran his bar, still runs his bar. :)
- Bashir, fresh from the Academy, had the hots for Dax, and now he finally gets to be her lover. (Okay, it's Ezri and not Jadzia).
- Kira finally gets to sit in Sisko's chair on the station. Dorn joked that Kira seemed rather eager to leave Odo on the Founder's homeworld as soon as possible so she could get back to the station and sit in the chair. :D
- Garak, exiled from Cardassia by his father, finally returns home to Cardassia Prime. Or what's left of it.
- Nog, who like Jake was initially a boy, is now in Starfleet and is newly-promoted to lieutenant.

However, I think those fans expecting to see the mother of all space battles will wind up being disappointed, because while there is some spectacular battle sequences, there are also quite a few reused clips from "The Sacrifice of Angels," "Tears of the Prophets," and "The Changing Face of Evil." It was quite jarring to see them, because you'd think the episode's budget would've been large enough to accomodate all-new special effects. In fact, when I first saw those reused clips, I was wondering if we were flashing back to someone's memories of these battles. And no, there is no Enterprise-E, or members of her crew, including Picard in the episode. Not even an FX shot.

Some other notes on the episode:
- There is a great payoff towards the end of Vic's song, specifically with Kira. You'll know it when you see it, and the reaction on her face. Oddly enough though, during his song, Ezri is sandwiched between Worf and O'Brien, and not with Bashir.
- Damar's death in the Dominion headquarters did not seem that heroic, but neither did Jadzia's in "Tears of the Prophets." But sometimes it happens. That's life.
- Speaking of Jadzia, in the de-regeur flashbacks, no one surprisingly remembered her. Not even Worf, and he was married to Jadzia!
- The pacing and juggling of the events between the war against the Dominion, the resistence movement on Cardassia, and the Bajoran fire caves could've been better. After the peace accord is signed on DS9, there is a cut back to the caves and you get so caught up in the war angle that you think to yourself, "Oh yeah, I forgot that Winn and Dukat are still there."

As I had reported in late April to Dark Horizons, it looks like I was mistaken about Sisko not dying and what the last shot of the episode is. My contact on these two facts was apparently mistaken, as they're both still as initially scripted. As I mentioned above, Sisko still dies and becomes a Prophet, and the last shot is indeed of Kira and Jake, looking out one of the windows on the Promenade as the camera pulls slowly back from the station so it becomes one of the stars in space. However, the last scene that was filmed that featured the entire cast was at Vic's Lounge, and that's probably where my contact got confused.

Regardless of all that, after the episode was over, the mood in the audience was definitely solemn. So much so actually that moderator Bell called for a ten minute break so everyone to regain their composure and come back for the question and answer session with the panelists.

Some brief Q&A notes:
- Avery Brooks admitted to breaking Marc Alaimo's nose while shooting the Sisko/Dukat fight scene, almost as if he were proud of it. "But did I break it? Yeah." :) On the subject of race, he did the series because there was a Black captain in charge of the station and because of the loving positive relationship between a Black father and his son. He also mentioned that children needed to see something positive and uplifting on TV, especially with everything going on in the world recently.
- Michael Dorn, on the same note, mentioned the alarming fact that with over 100 pilots scheduled by the networks for the upcoming fall season, only two or three will feature Blacks in the lead roles. I just checked and it looks he was mistaken, as there will be ZERO pilots with blacks and minorities in the lead role.
- Nana Visitor is extremely happy that Kira finally gets to sit Sisko's chair. :) When the cast was asked if they would do another Trek series, she said she'd jump at the chance to do it, citing all the crap television she's done in the past in comparison to her work on DS9. In response, Behr told Berman, "There's one." :)
- Armin Shimerman has long complained about Quark not getting enough character development, but he was extremely pleased with the way things go full circle with his character in "The Dogs of War."
- Alexander Siddig, in answering a question, mentioned that he'd be taking someone (one of the castmembers) home to bed tonight. And in response, Shimerman put his hand on Siddig's knee. :)
- If Nicole deBoer happens to be clicking around on the TV and DS9 is on, she'll watch it and see what it was like before she came onboard (currently here in LA, DS9 has just begun airing at 11:00 PM weeknights in syndication and is in the middle of the first season).

Some brief notes after the Q&A:
- Those panelists who signed autographs for the fans in the audience (theater capacity was a scant 147) included Rick Berman, Ira Steven Behr, Avery Brooks, Nicole deBoer, Armin Shimerman, and Alexander Siddig, while Michael Dorn and Nana Visitor quickly left and did not sign for anyone.
- The only panelist I'm not sure of who signed or not is Rene Auberjonois, but I got the impression that he signed a few autographs and left quickly a la deBoer and Siddig.
- Out of those who did sign autographs, those who stayed the longest included Behr, Brooks(!) and Shimerman.
- I'm surprised by Brooks staying so long because it's usually quite difficult to get get his autograph, but he was very nice to the fans and even chatted with them as he signed.
- Behr took chatted the most with fans as he signed.
- I asked Behr what was he was going to do next, and he replied that his agent told him to take some time off. He said that he has a great idea for a DS9 movie though.
- A friend of mine who arrived late to the finale screening saw the cast getting photographs taken by the media in the museum lobby and noted that the mood was rather downbeat - especially since this is possibly the last time almost all the cast appears together in one place at the same time.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga is a regular contributor to the Trek Nation, as well as webmaster of unofficial fan sites for John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, and Garrett Wang.