"Fascination" Plot Summary:
The entire crew becomes lusty. Jake tells Kira he has a crush on her, Kira chases Bashir around the infirmary, Bareil pursues Dax, Dax tells Sisko she has the hots for him, Quark comes on to Keiko, Keiko wants her husband's attention...and Lwaxana Troi, who's there purusing Odo, turns out to be the cause of all this. Seems her menopausal Betazoid hormones are affecting the people on the station. Fortunately, everyone pretty much ends up with whoever they were supposed to be with in the first place.
In the initial period of my TNG revulsion, I remember thinking that nothing could ever be worse than "The Naked Now." Yet, much as it pained me to see Tasha, Data, Beverly, etc. acting like morons, at least it was only the second episode and I had no emotional investment in the characters. Stupid as the "Naked" virus episodes on both Treks were, they were never mean-spirited and did not seem designed expressly to humiliate people.
"Fascination," however, seemed designed specifically to make everyone on the show look like a complete ass (with the exception of the always-uptight Sisko - I guess there are advantages to being the episode's director). This was preposterous, it was nasty, it was choppy, it was shallow, and it wasn't even funny.
Let's start with the poor supporting cast. I'm not a big Bareil fan, but I would rather sit thorough twenty reruns of every Kira/Bareil scene ever filmed than listen again to the moronic dialogue he has here, even before he gets a headache. Jake in love has been charming, sensitive, surprisingly mature...and it all gets thrown away, plus his father acts like a dope about it. Keiko never gets to play anything but a bitch anymore, and O'Brien - he's supporting cast this season - never gets to do anything but rant and spout technojargon.
I love Lwaxana Troi. I love so much that I'm usually willing to overlook the sexist, ageist crap the writers insert into her episodes. But this one was beyond obnoxious (gotta watch out for those menopausal women, their hormones'll knock you out), and they didn't even give her a flattering hairdo. In the Official Guide to Majel Barrett Bad Hair Days, this one should get special mention.
As for the regulars...well, just when I was starting to think Bashir was tolerable...I guess I should be glad HE was in full, skanky character! Dax gave new meaning to "bimbo," Quark's lines could have been inserted from any one of a dozen previous episodes, Sisko was, well, there. Odo is starting to get used the way they used Data in all the TNG episodes when they needed someone to stand back and look annoyed at the dopey human; the one point I gave the episode was for his smile when Lwaxana hugged him in front of Sisko, but a couple more of those and we can dispense with him entirely.
And I don't even want to remember Kira. I wish at least I could say that I liked her opening that Bajoran Festival, but her lines sounded too much like "hocus pocus" to take seriously. Her annoyance with Bareil was dreadful. (Note to the writers: KIRA DOES NOT WHINE.) Her assault on Bashir was worse, although I completely empathized when she said, "Help me keep my hands off him!" (Note to Nana: Even I, one of the legions of women who'd rather kiss a Ferengi than Bashir, could have faked smooching him better than THAT. Doe Sid suffer from halitosis?) But I'm REALLY aggravated about how she treated Jake, before she'd been knocked loopy - brushing him off and then ratting to his father? (Note to ODO: beware this woman!)
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