Welcome to another installment of my reviews for all 715 episodes of Star Trek. Today I start Deep Space Nine Season 6. I’m rating these episodes on a scale of 1 to 10 with the following meaning:
1. Abysmal, 2. Terrible, 3. Bad, 4. Poor, 5. Mediocre,
6. Fair, 7. Good, 8. Great, 9. Superb, 10. Perfect
In addition, I’ll be rating (on a scale of 1 to 10) the historical importance (HI) of the episodes – looking at how much they tie into other Star Trek episodes or lay down important precedents.
A Time to Stand: 8
With the Dominion winning in the war against the Federation, Sisko and his crew regroup and prepare for a special mission.
Air date: 9/29/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
“It’s only a matter of time before the Federation collapses and Earth becomes another conquered planet under Dominion rule.” – Dukat
While the fifth season finale teases a big battle show to follow, “A Time to Stand” spends most of its time in the periphery of hostilities until the end. There are battles, but they happen off screen. Sisko and company’s regrouping and the Dominion’s occupation of Deep Space Nine (the alternating A and B stories) are both rather quiet and do not intersect. The bulk of the episode includes small-scale scenes between the characters, including a mix of new and old pairings like Kira and Odo, Weyoun and Jake, Dukat and Kira, and Ben and Admiral Ross. Most of the scenes go as we would expect, with the exception of Ben and the new Admiral. Barry Jenner takes a novel approach to playing the Captain’s boss: he doesn’t act like a dick. This unusual acting decision immediately vaults him ahead of just about every admiral preceding him for the “most liked figurehead” award.
As the episode nears its end, the action picks up with a daring undercover mini-mission, setting the table for the next episode.
Rocks and Shoals: 8
Sisko and his crew are stranded on a planet with the Jem’Hadar.
Air date: 10/6/1997
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Michael Vejar
“I’m going to order the Jem’Hadar to attack your position tomorrow regardless of whether you agree to my terms or not. So you can either kill them or they’ll kill you. Either way, they’re coming.” – Keevan, the Vorta leader
Reminiscent of “The Ship”, but better, “Rocks and Shoals” is another “Sisko as a troop leader” episode. It’s supposedly part of the season opening six parter, but could just as easily have been made as a standalone episode. (Actually, the next episode, “Sons and Daughters”, was shot before it.) Sisko and most of the regulars (along with Garak and Nog) are part of the A story, where they and an enemy ship have crashed on a planet. Only working together can they escape. The result is combat crosscut with political drama. The script itself isn’t anything special, just running through the motions, but the acting (including the new guest stars) and the directing (taking advantage of a beautiful location) elevate the story, giving it a unique feel. (At times it looks like a feature film.) Most of the episode features Sisko making the tough decisions, but in the end we learn more about his enemy (the Vorta and the Jem’hadar) than him, better defining what the Federation is up against.