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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 4 (Disc 1 of 7) back to product details

I'd almost forgotten how great these episodes are
written by oldkingcole October 15, 2003 - 3:27 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

"The Way of the Warrior"

The political machinations in this epside are handled extremely well, and end in a rip-rousing space battle where "stuff gets blown up real good." Nevertheless, it's not all mindless gunfire and fight scenes. In fact, DS9, more than any other series in the Trek franchise, is driven by its characters. And those characters are more fully-realized here than ever before in Trek history. Its excellent command of characterization and subtext are among the show's most impressive strengths.

Watch, for example, the wonderfully-written scene in which Quark and Garak, who normally dislike each other, sit at the bar and talk about root beer, turning it into a symbolic reference to the Federation itself, and acknowledging, obliquely yet unmistakably, the similarity of their personal situations with respect to it. It's a terrific bit of smart TV writing, loaded with subtext, that is also 100% about the characters.

And speaking of characters, this episode introduced two very important new ones to the show, both of them Klingon: Worf and Martok. Michael Dorn reprises his "Worf" role from Star Trek: The Next Generation and J.G. Hertzler joins the extended cast as General "Martok." Hertzler brings an almost Shakespearian grandeur to the role, providing viewers with the hippest, coolest, most bad-*ssed Klingon since Michael Ansara's memorable turn as Kang, in the original series episode "Day of the Dove."

Overall, "Way of the Warrior" is an excellent start to an excellent season of DS9.

"The Visitor"

In a 180-degree shift from the testosterone-infused "Way of the Warrior", the second episode of the season is a good old-fashioned tearjerker, and a good one at that. It was nominated for a 1996 Hugo award (which it lost to the second-season Babylon 5 episode "The Coming of Shadows").

Although the frame is a little hokey, and there is a bit too much reliance on technobabble, this episode still packs a surprisingly strong emotional whallup, not once, but several times throughout the hour. Avery Brooks, Tony Todd, and Cirroc Lofton all turn in exemplary performances which really help to sell the emotions. If awards were given for the most scenes in which a male character cries, this episode would win hands-down!

It's another well-crafted, finely pitched DS9 tale that is, as usual for this series, strongly character-driven.

"Hippocratic Oath"

Yet another strong episode. "Hippocratic Oath" explores the dark moral byways of the Star Trek universe. It's basically a "let's put a liberal and a conservative in a life-and-death situation where their politics and world-views will be strained to the breaking point" plot, and it is very well acted and written. The conversation between O'Brien and Bashir that ends the episode has some very tense moments. Strong stuff, especially for the Trek franchise, where character conflict is usually so absent that there's nothing left to do but pit the crew against some external enemy (the "bad-guy of the week" syndrome).

DS9 was the best of the Trek series, precisely because the writers figured out how to make the characters rich enough, and complex enough, to allow for episodes like the three on this DVD, where the major conflict is internal -- whether between world-views of the characters in "Hippocratic Oath"; the feelings of loss, self-recrimination, and obsession in "The Visitor"; or the personal fears of characters as their safety becomes questionable in a galaxy preparing for war in "The Way of the Warrior" -- DS9 is writing a show far more sophisticated than any of the Trek series that came before or after.

Outstanding stuff, better written and more entertaining than most movies, and well worth renting.

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