The Search, Part 2 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 1) The Federation makes a risky deal with the Dominion; Odo learns from other Changelings

Rewatching ST:DS9 After the recap of Part 1, a female Changeling (leader? spokesperson?) says Odo was sent by his people out into the universe as their equivalent of an infant, in order to learn about the “solids.”   When she takes Odo’s hand, both of their limbs mingle as orange goo, which causes Odo to appear rattled. Kira is concerned for his well-being, but the female Changeling says she’s let him briefly experience the Link, the communal state where all the other Changeling individuals co-exist in their liquid form.  Meanwhile, after six days drifting in a failing escape pod, Sisko and…

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The Search, Part 1 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 1) Sisko takes the Defiant on a mission to contact the Founders

Rewatching ST:DS9 Although the season 2 finale didn’t end in a cliffhanger, the season 3 opener begins with “Last time on Star Trek Deep Space Nine,” followed by clips, followed by “And now, the continuation.” (Note… not “the conclusion.”) In Ops, Kira and the senior staff are debating how best to respond to a Jem’Hadar attack. Warning bleeps sound. A blunt-nosed, tightly-packed, no-nonsense Federation starship decloaks, and a cheerful Sisko apologizes for the surprise. (Welcome, NX-7207 Defiant, to the Star Trek family.) In the wardroom (a big meeting room fitted with Federation viewscreens) Sisko explains the Defiant was originally developed…

The Jem’Hadar (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 26) Sisko father-son bonding vacation threatened by Ferengi and the Dominion

Rewatching ST:DS9 Sisko is unimpressed by Jake’s botany science project, and offers to take him on a vacation through the wormhole to do a planetary survey, proving he’s learned absolutely nothing from O’Brien’s attempt to take a runabout on a vacation. Space Dad is flummoxed when Space Son announces he’s invited Nog to come along, too, and annoyed when Quark presents himself as Nog’s chaperone. Jake’s friendship with Nog is sincere, but Quark, who hopes that spending quality time with Sisko will help him negotiate using the station monitors to broadcast advertisements, pressures Sisko on the grounds that letting him…

Tribunal (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 25) O’Brien Must Suffer: shore leave interrupted for a Cardassian show trial

Rewatching ST:DS9 O’Brien annoys everyone in Ops with last-minute instructions. On his way to join Keiko on a runabout for their vacation, he runs into a former shipmate from the Rutledge. Boone says he’s left Starfleet and is now settled on the Cardassian side of the demilitarized zone. The two promise to check up with each other later. In private, Boone suspiciously plays back part of a recording he just made of O’Brien’s voice. On the runabout, Keiko is annoyed that O’Brien has left behind the “holocam” he was supposed to bring and instead brought some technical manuals. He softens…

The Collaborator (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 24) Winn tasks Kira with investigating Bareil’s connection to a war crime

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a vision, Vedek Bareil exits the shrine on DS9 and sees a hanging monk and a sporty Kira. According to Kira, the hanging man is Bareil himself. After the opening credits, a shirtless Bareil looks pensively out the window in DS9. He’s in Kira’s quarters, and their relationship has obviously advanced since we last saw them together. The two discuss how they will make time for each other in the likely event he is elected Kai. On the promenade, we see Kai Winn telling smiling Bajoran children, “Honor the prophets, and they will always love you.” With…

Crossover (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 23) Kira and Bashir visit the Mirror Universe

Rewatching ST:DS9 Bashir thinks he’s bonding with Kira in a runabout as he namedrops and mansplains cheerfully about meditation and music, and asks her to call him “Julian.” Most of this happens in a single two-person take, and it’s delightfully cringeworthy to watch. A problem with the engines and an unusually rough return trip through the wormhole lead us to empty space where DS9 should be. A Klingon boarding party beams onto the runabout. Surprisingly, they apologize when they see Kira. We then visit an alternate version of Terak Nor, where Klingons supply the brute force, Garak is second in…

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Can AI write good novels?

I expect that this is probably the year I’ll need to consider how my profession will change if students start relying on AI writing software. Like many people in my social media feed, this summer I’ve been playing a bit with AI image software, and thinking about how all the photographers and artists whose work is being sampled and remixed, without compensation or credit, to supply a commodity that serves someone else’s needs. “Julia was twenty-six years old… and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her work, which consisted chiefly…

The Wire (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 22) While examining an ill Garak, Bashir discovers a mysterious implant

Rewatching ST:DS9 While sparring with Bashir over literature, Garak gets unusually cranky and headachy, but insists he’s fine.  Bashir pays a house call to Dax’s quarters, where he treats a plant that’s languishing because it’s away from its natural environment (an apt metaphor for Garak’s situation). This bit not only delivers exposition as Bashir talks to Dax about his arms-length friendship with the mysterious Garak, but also neatly establishes something that we take for granted some 30 years later — that Bashir can diagnose and treat an alien plant he’s never seen before, because he has access to a good…

The Maquis, Part 2 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 21) Sisko must stop the dissident Maquis from reigniting a war with Cardassia

Rewatching ST:DS9 Hudson and Sisko have at it with the rhetoric on a casual stroll across a cheesy-looking jungle soundstage. Hudson admits he can’t prove the Cardassian government is arming its settlers, but he’s not interested in working with Sisko to find that proof. Instead, he phaser-stuns Sisko and escapes. Back on DS9, Sisko gives orders to continue the search for the kidnapped Dukat, and does not mention Hudson’s defection  during a 2-minute meeting with Admiral Necheyev (that could have been an e-mail). Sisko tells Kira that Earth is the cause of the problem — the Federation leaders who wrote…

The Maquis, Part 1 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 20) Dukat pressures Sisko to deal with armed Federation colonists in the Cardassisan demilitarized zone

Rewatching ST:DS9 A man in a gold Starfleet uniform tampers with the hatch of a Cardassian ship. Dax and Kira are sparring in a sisterly way about their tastes in men when that same ship goes boom. The investigation implicates Federation technology. Sisko’s old friend Lt. Cmdr Hudson visits from the demilitarized zone, reporting tensions from Federation colonists who found themselves on the Cardassisan side of recently redrawn borders. On the promenade, the Vulcan Sakonna meets discreetly with the saboteur we saw earlier, then seeks out Quark to do business — though he seems mostly interested in pleasure. Intrigue mounts…

Blood Oath (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 19) Glory to Dax and her three aging Klingon chums

Rewatching ST:DS9 A rowdy Klingon customer overstays his welcome reliving a battle in Quark’s holosuite, and ends up drunk in a cell, where a second Klingon leaves him with contempt. Realizing that she’s stumbled across some of Curzon’s old friends, Dax (re)introduces herself. Kor is willing to go with the flow, but stickler Koloth believes Kang “must not have known” about Dax’s new host, and considers it a “mistake” to include her now. Kang says he has found “the albino,” but formally releases Jadzia Dax from the blood oath that Curzon swore. Trek nerds will of course recognize each of…

Profit and Loss (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 18) Quark is reunited with, and punched by, the love of his live

Rewatching ST:DS9 A damaged shuttle brings three Cardassian civilians to the station. Natima is a professor who wants no trouble with the Bajorans and hopes she and her two students can be on their way quickly. When Quark sees Natima on the promenade, his face lights up. The smack she gives him, and his elated reaction, hint at their very Casablanca-esque past. We soon learn Natima’s shuttle wasn’t damaged in a meteor storm, it was fired on. She describes herself as a professor of politics. The student with the intense “Kubrick forward stare” is a nice touch, which helped keep…

Playing God (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 17) Dax mentors a too-eager-to-please Trill initiate

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a nice long tracking shot showing off the set, Bashir strolls through an airlock talking with Arjin, a mild-mannered Trill, who is nervous to meet his mentor Dax, who has a reputation of being hard on candidates for the symbiotic joining process. Of course that was Curzon Dax; the next few scenes are designed to highlight Arjin’s surprise to see Jadzia Dax gaming late at night with Ferengi, chatting with visitors in the morning wearing just a towel, and gleefully phasering vermin. In a runabout, Jadzia is mildly annoyed that Arjin is working so hard to impress…

Shadowplay (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 16) Odo investigates disappearances in an idyllic colony

Rewatching ST:DS9 Just like last week’s episode, this week a hitherto unexplored pairing of main characters are motivated by scanner-confusing plot contrivance particles to beam down to a planet, and the teaser ends with the landing party facing an unhappy colonist’s weapon (which gets lowered almost as soon as the opening title sequence ends). Protector Colyus explains that nothing much happens here in Grover’s Corners (no I mean River City, no I mean Mayberry, no I mean Yerida II), except that a few months ago people started disappearing. The elder Ruigan explains his daughter was the last to disappear, just…

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Paradise (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 15) Anti-technology colony welcomes Sisko and O’Brien a bit too enthusiastically

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a runabout on a survey of star systems near the wormhole, Sisko asks O’Brien to take Jake on as an apprentice.  They find a planet giving off low-level plot contrivance particles. When they beam down, none of their technology works. They also find a thriving agrarian human colony, built around the empty hull of their non-functioning spaceship, which landed here 10 years ago en route to a different destination. The colonists ask questions about Starfleet, sports, and fashion. The leader Alixus gives a speech about how proud they are of what they’ve accomplished on their own, without…

Whispers (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 14) O’Brien Must Suffer: shunned and on the run

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a runabout, O’Brien sets a course for the Parada system, starts a personal log carefully designed to tease the viewer, and flashes back to when it all started — the morning after he returned from a mission to Parada. He wakes to find Keiko is up very early, and Molly won’t kiss him good morning. Keiko gives weak explanations for these and other minor things that trouble O’Brien. He finds an underling has already started on a big project setting up security for upcoming peace talks, saying he’s acting on Sisko’s orders. On his way to talk…

Armageddon Game (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 13) Bashir and O’Brien become targets after helping warring factions eliminate their bioweapons

Rewatching ST:DS9 In a lab on an alien cruiser, Bashir technobabbles a container of orange goop, turning it green, which we are made to understand is good. The T’Lani and Kellerun races have recently made peace after warring for centuries, and the script required them to reach out to the Federation for help destroying their stockpiles of weaponized ooze. O’Brien wants to go home after being away for a week, but Bashir talks him into staying one more day for the peace celebration.   Just as Bashir finishes de-weaponizing the last of the orange goop, two Kellerun soldiers storm the lab…

I did not know how much I would appreciate this detailed exploration of Star Trek: TOS prop computers.

I’m amazed at the level of detail that went into analyzing the prop computers created over 50 years ago for the original Star Trek. Not only has this website collected screen shots of the various props, but some include diagrams indicating which practical buttons on the props activated which lights. (The same website has sections on reused set elements, changes in the depiction of Klingon foreheads, and more.) Back in the 60’s and early 70’s the thought of having a portable desk-top computer was unthinkable. This made the computer props from Star Trek so intriguing and just plain cool. During…