DS9 - Exciting to the end! by Gisele La Roche

As I watched the final episodes of DS9, I could only conclude that it is Star Trek's "masterpiece".

I am going to miss it like I would miss a family member who has gone away for good. It has become such a part of my life. I wanted so badly to see how it would end and the episodes were so riveting and compelling to watch that I couldn't wait for the next one but at the same time I didn't want it to end. I don't want to believe it is over.

Sisko (Avery Brooks) was aptly and excellently characterized by the actor. Brooks portrayed the Starfleet captain with such distinction and the character was so well written that the captain is a well-defined and genuine personality, in short, a great captain. He will be missed.

Isn't Dukat one of the BEST Trek villains ever? Marc Alaimo is such a fine actor. The scene between him and Kai Winn in the finale firmly established Dukat as pure evil, no doubt remains. It is a pity however that the duel between him and Sisko was so short. Nonetheless, Dukat will stand out as one of the greatest Trek villains of all time.

Who wasn't rooting for Damar? He exemplified the tragic antihero, so courageous and resolute. The actor who plays him, Casey Biggs is very talented. As Damar he portrayed the Dominion's puppet so well he had me convinced and then the turnabout as a rebel was so well executed, he had me cheering. It was sad to see the character of Damar die, what a waste.

Garak, (Andrew J. Robinson), the irrepressible Cardassian tailor with a shadowy past turned rebel was carefully performed by Robinson and with great panache. He created a character that is suspect and devious while being honorable and trustworthy all at the same time and certainly the character is one of the favorites of DS9 fans. His last talk with Dr. Bashir in the finale was poignantly honest and heart-rending as he is at last no longer in exile but his beloved homeworld is in ruins.

Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher), a tragic character in the end, who personified the old adage that power corrupts, finally, through excellent character development and magnificent acting, became a powerful centerpiece in the story. It was great to see an older female character so well written.

The Dominion's leader was cold and wickedly shrewd and played with such finesse by a great actress, Salome Jens and yet I cannot help but feel that the female founder was defeated too easily, too quickly for such a powerful adversary.

Weyoun was delicious as the devious yet charming, cutthroat right-hand man of the female founder. His facial expressions were priceless and always convincing as when the Founder suggested she wished she could replace him with a new clone. But then again, Jeffrey Combs is a superb actor. He does a great Brunt too. It shows he could stretch himself as the two characters were so different. As Brunt he played the perfect, slimy liquidator. It was hilarious to see him trying to gain favor with Quark when he thought Quark would be Grand Nagus and even funnier when he tried to do the same with Rom.

Which brings me to Quark, so lovable, so greedy, so always informed and wise and in the end so human. Armin Shimerman created a real person in Quark. I was disappointed but not surprised that Odo in the finale did not want to say goodbye to Quark. I felt so sorry for Quark but then he handled it so well. You've got to love Quark's spirit.

The lovable dolt Rom, Quark's brother, was played with much skill by Max Grodenchik. Who would have thought he would become Grand Nagus, a Nagus with a socialist streak no less?

Grand Nagus Zek (Shawn Wallace) entertained us with his cantankerous wit, while Tiny Ron (real name Ron Taylor), all seven feet of him, served Zek so patiently as the quiet Maihar'du.

And thumbs up to the spunky, feminist Ishka (Moogie) played with such exquisite style by Andrea Martin and later equally well acted by Cecily Adams.

Kira (Nana Visitor), the strong, female character, who was respected for it, was so refreshing and so mischievously treacherous as the Intendent of the mirror world. Kira was endearing in that she was so intense and yet so warm and vulnerable.

Odo, the admirable, gruff character was eloquently brought to life by Rene Aubergonois. His love for Kira was enchantingly romantic and as passionate as their first kiss. It was heartbreaking to see them part in the end but sadly his desire to help his people and the need to maintain a lasting peace took precedence over their love.

Colm Meany, deftly portrayed the chief of engineering Miles O'Brien and the stalwart Smiley in the alternate universe. His performance in "Whispers", a great mystery episode, was so convincing, he had us guessing till the end. Also Miles' friendship with Doctor Bashir was inspiring and full of fun and added so much to each character's development.

Alexander Siddig, who played Dr. Julian Bashir, is another of the great actors of this series. He portrayed a caring, sensitive and dedicated doctor but one with a lonely heart. It was satisfying to see that he finally found someone to love in Ezri.

Nicole deBoer titillated us as the pixish Ezri Dax and lest I forget, Terry Farrell, who portrayed the brilliant Jadzia Dax and who was sorely missed this final season, nonetheless through the years showed that a female character can be so much more.

Then there is the irascible, dutiful Worf, played with style and so well by Micheal Dorn. Alas his memories of Jadzia were ignored in the finale, neglect perhaps, a mistake for sure. Kurn (Tony Todd), Worf's brother, added greatly to Worf's character. When Kurn's memory was erased in "Sons of Mogh" he later asks Worf: "Are you part of my family?" Worf replies: "I have no family", further demonstrating the feeling of alienation that Worf had with his people. The fact that Worf is now part of the house of Martok and returning to the Klingon homeworld provides a satisfying closure to his character. Tony Todd also portrayed the older Jake in the episode "The Visitor" which featured the deep love between father and son and was one of the most moving episodes of the series.

J.G. Hertzler, the great Martok, along with Robert O'Reilly, the powerful, albeit capricious Gowron excelled as the fierce Klingons. Who can forget those bulging eyes?

Kor (John Colicos), Kang (Micheal Ansara) and Koloth (William Campbell) will remain in our hearts; their performances were so grand as the great legendary Klingon warriors. This was a nice tribute to the older TOS fans.

Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton), the young, albeit underused character nevertheless shone through as the budding writer and son of the captain while Brock Peters (Joseph Sisko) was excellent as the proud, doting father of Sisko. Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) portrayed a strong, independent woman whose love for Captain Sisko was so tender.

Jake's escapades with Nog gave us a chuckle more than once. Aron Eisenberg portrayed the cute, proud and courageous Nog neatly and through many obstacles achieved the rank of lieutenant and inspired us.

Many other characters enriched the series such as Kai Opaka (Camille Saviola) who portrayed the mysterious Kai all too briefly unfortunately; Keiko O'Brien (Rosalind Chao) who portrayed an independent woman and mother and was well acted by Chao; Leeta (Chase Masterson), enticed us as a sweet, naive yet dignified Dabo girl; Vick Fontaine (James Darren) added a nice touch of class; Ziyal (Cyia Batten and later Melanie Smith) was so innocent and sweet; Jennifer Sisko (Felecia Bell), who was Captain Sisko's first wife, became a heroine in the alternate universe. It was sad to see her die and the subsequent grief of both the captain and Jake was so poignant; Shakaar (Duncan Regehr), the Bajoran resistance fighter elected First Minister was well but all too briefly portrayed in the series; Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim), was so heroic; Barry Jenner was convincing as Admiral Ross; Eddington, (Kenneth Marshall) whose disloyalty foreshadowed that all was not well in the Federation as witnessed by the introduction of Section 31 and its secret operative Sloan (William Sadler) who although misguided was so patriotic, provided us with a minor but effective foe for Sisko; Lwaxana Troi, played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, whose comedic talents graced the show, provided many an enjoyable hour; the omnipotent Q (John de Lancie) and the dubious Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), alas their talents used but once also entertained us and who can forget when Q said to Sisko: "You hit me! Picard never hit me."? And where else could you see Iggy Pop as a Vorta? Lastly, a tip of the hat to that mysterious, ever so silent, barfly Morn played by Mark Allen Shepherd.

All these characters and more, played by the finest actors on television to date, created a rich tapestry on which to weave the mythology that is Star Trek: DS9.

Of course, this could not have happened if it had not been for such a creative, talented group of writers and producers and creative staff as that of DS9 that created this masterwork.

DS9 was unfairly misjudged by some critics as a soap opera as it used a serial format. It was hardly a soap opera if you compare the subject matter of DS9 as opposed to soaps. Still, many people labelled the show this way because rather than exploring the galaxy, the show explored relationships, characters and species. In fact, DS9 excelled in maintaining continuity and character development.

Even the recurring characters were well developed but it is the relationships that made the show different from the other Treks. It showed a more complete picture. We learned that Starfleet wasn't the perfect utopic paradise that it was shown to be in all the other series. DS9 was a more human show. It was more realistic and showed us all sides of people, good AND bad. It showed the darker side of Star Trek *along with* the good. It may have veered from the classic good feel, utopic, Star Trek we had been used to or as some would say Gene Roddenberry's Trek, but it still retained the essense of it. The good guys were still good guys but they had flaws and were more human in the end.

The use of arcs and unparalleled continuity and character development in the series gave us a comprehensive look at the Star Trek universe. DS9 had a serial format which made it difficult for the casual or new viewer to get into but if you watched the series you were well rewarded for the effort. All the other Trek series were/are made up of stand alone episodes for the most part and I suspect that DS9 is a unique show that unfortunately we may never see the likes of again.

The story they perfected over the years was rich in themes such as: sexism, racism ("Far Beyond the Stars"), the tragedy of war, the good and bad of Capitalism, politics, politics of war ("In the Pale Moonlight"), greed, betrayal, murder, homosexuality (a daring move), homelessness and poverty as the episode "Past Tense I and II" reminded us of the apathy of the middle- and upper-classes to the plight of the poor, among so many other topics.

And they had a good blend of light funny episodes such as the spoof of the secret agent genre in "Our Man Bashir" and the "Midsummer Night's Dream" theme that was alluded to in "Fascination" and "The House of Quark" which featured the charming Grilka (Mary Kay Adams) and the fascinating differences in the Klingon/Ferengi cultures. "Trials and Tribble-ations" featured neat technical wizardry and a pleasurable bit of nostalgia, all of the above being only some of the so many wonderfully funny episodes that balanced and tempered the great serious drama that DS9 is.

And to add to the sombre atmosphere during the war and ambience when the story was light, the glorious, glorious music so expertly composed and performed.

The ongoing satire of the excesses of Capitalism and the ensuing greed was hilariously written into the show with the "Ferengi Rules of Acquisition" (created by Ira Steven Behr) thrown in like a chef sprinkles spices into his creations. In addition, there was also the neat tribute to labor and unions in the episode "Bar Association".

The unifying theme that has played out surprisingly well in the series is that of religion. It is almost a Christ archetype with Sisko being the Christ, Kai Winn as Judas, Dukat as the AntiChrist, the Bajorans as the Christians, the Cardassians as the Romans and the Founders and their allies as the evil, corrupted kings of the world, in this case the universe, and their armies. Add to that the obligatory death (murder) of Kai Winn's servant which provided the initial satanic ritual sacrifice to summon the devilish Pah-Wraiths with the fire caves providing their hellish abode. Of course this is but one of the many archetypes that may be found in the series.

Lastly, I must mention that great little ship, the "Defiant". It was almost a character in itself, and as great as, in the end, the Enterprise herself.

I feel such a sadness that I cannot express knowing that this grand story is ended. DS9, yes exciting to the end, will be greatly missed.

Gisele La Roche

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