One Tin Soldier
"The Ship" Plot Summary:
While the life of a crewmember hangs in the balance, Sisko struggles to gain control of a crashed Jem'Hadar warship. He wins, but finds the costs of the conflict too high.
This episode should have been called "One Tin Soldier"--I expected the Federation to start its mining operation and uncover a big rock which said "PEACE DAMMIT" at the end. This was a fine, fine, Sisko show, not because he always looked like the kind of captain I'd want to follow, but because he acknowledged in the end that maybe he should have done things differently...and all without getting bogged down in discussion of The Prime Directive, which Picard or Janeway would have been debating throughout. I'm not sure I buy Sisko citing salvage history as precedent for his decision to try to take the ship--Gamma Quadrant inhabitants don't know about those laws--but I'm glad the episode went straight to the bigger moral questions about culpability and cooperation without the usual Federation angst.
Certain aspects of humanoid behavior seem to be universal, anyway--women using their evil wiles to tempt men away from their calling, for one thing. Feminist rant for the week: I'm getting UTTERLY sick of females on Trek falling back on their sexuality, regardless of species, social standing, or circumstance--Vash coming up to Picard to distract him from archaeological pursuits, Janeway playing a hooker to distract a prison guard, and now this Vorta female flirting with Sisko and playing dumb to distract him from his mission. It's grotesque, and the third time this has happened to Sisko--this one wasn't even as attractive as the on in "Paradise". He should have told K'elana it wasn't going to work right from the start; Sisko's smart and strong enough not to play those games.
I was impressed both with the crew's attempt to get the Jem"Hadar ship aloft and with how they dealt with failure; that was interesting, and rare on the show form them to look so fallible. I liked watching all those people cooped up and angry, much, more realistically than in last season's "Starship Down" when everyone bonded during the crisis. As during TNG's "Final Mission" not everyone was heroic; some were selfish and surly and appeared to learn little from the experience.
Not so Sisko. We've never him this broken up by deaths in the line of duty before, not so uncertain about the moral superiority of Starfleet and the Federation. For a man who's generally distant from his officers, he demonstrated a surprising involvement in the lives of those he lost. I was surprised at the deep grief (which he didn't eve show for either Jennifer) and at the impromptu wake set up by Worf and O'Brien over the coffin of their fallen redshirt. I like the reminder of the price of war without heavy-handed speechifying from the Vorta, and I liked this display of Sisko's depth as both a commander and a man.
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