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February 1, 2013

Star Trek: DS9 - Ep 22 - The Siege

It's Star Trek tradition that the last part of a two-part story is going to stink. The trilogy that opened the second season of Deep Space Nine started out so wonderfully, with two great episodes. The conclusion had a lot to live up to. Would it be able to? Sadly, "The Siege" falls short, even more so because the setup was so outstanding. "The Siege" suffers from some overacting, some faulty plot logic, and a pedestrian feel. It certainly has its good moments, but what a letdown.

Having been ordered to abandon Deep Space Nine by the Federation, Sisko (Avery Brooks) is determined to get the information that the Cardassians are behind the Circle's coup attempt to the Bajoran Chamber of Ministers. With communications cut off, Sisko orders Kira (Nana Visitor) and Dax (Terry Farrell) to find another way down to Bajor. There are old Bajoran fighters abandoned on a Bajoran moon, and Kira asks to be dropped off there.

Meanwhile, the evacuation of non-essential personnel begins, but Quark (Armin Shimmerman) is his usual greedy self and starts selling seats on the departing runabouts, causing massive crowds at the docking bays. He's burned by his own brother, however, who has sold his seat to a Dabo girl and left Quark stranded on the station. With the Bajoran army coming to the station, can Sisko and his crew hold them off and keep them guessing long enough for Kira to accomplish her mission and end the coup?

"The Siege" suffers in many of the areas where the previous two episodes ("The Homecoming" and "The Circle") was strongest. The first two were very politically heavy with a nice action sequence to sweeten the pot. "The Siege" is mostly action with a little bit of politics. Some of the action is good (the sequence on the Bajoran flyer with Kira and Dax was quite good, both in dialogue and action), but a lot of it seemed inconsequential. I know there was a point to it within the story, but to the viewer it seemed extraneous. Worse yet, it was boring. I know that Sisko didn't want to hurt any Bajorans, but the phasers do have stun settings, you know. The fact that they couldn't hit anything was really strange. The fact that they missed so badly was even worse. There also didn't seem to be much tension during the battle scenes. Each person would calmly peer out over his/her cover, fire a shot that missed by 10 feet, then hunker down again. Am I supposed to enjoy this?

Warning: Fanboy paragraphs ahead!
Then there is a plot hole that almost sinks the entire episode, though this is really only a plot hole if you follow Star Trek, so you might not care. It speaks to the internal consistency of the show. Two years before this episode originally aired, Next Generation aired "Redemption," a two-part episode about a Klingon civil war. Captain Picard stated that they could not get involved in the civil war because of the Prime Directive preventing the Federation from involving itself in internal conflicts (which didn't really fit my definition of the Prime Directive anyway, but that's neither here nor there). However, they were able to involve themselves in the prevention of the Romulans from supplying the conspirators, even going so far as to destroy the conspiracy by exposing the Romulans as the strength behind the coup.

Now, two years later, Sisko and company are ordered off the station by the Federation because the conflict on Bajor is an internal conflict. When Sisko tells the admiral that the Cardassians are supplying the coup, the admiral asks if the Bajorans are aware of this. When Sisko says no, that he hasn't been able to get the information to the Bajorans because communications are cut off, the admiral says that since the conspiracy is internal, then it is an internal matter and the Prime Directive applies. Huh? This is the complete opposite of what happened before, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. Granted, this is a problem with "The Circle", but since it was put in that episode to set this episode up, I'll blame this one instead.
End of Fanboy paragraph

He doesn't even look good in this role
The plot was fairly standard and thus not that interesting, but sometimes that can be saved by good acting. Was it here? Well, no, not really. The regulars are fine (Visitor and Farrell are great, especially their banter when they're trying to get the fighter to fly), but surprisingly the guest cast lets the episode down a little bit. Some are criminally under-used (Beymer is great, but he only has two real scenes, not counting being included in some of the action). Louiser Fletcher is also almost non-existent as Vedek Winn, as is Philip Anglim as Bareil. Langella as Minister Jaro is almost comatose. He was mumbling a lot in the first two episodes, but he carried such power and menace that it almost added to the atmosphere. In "The Siege," he's sleep-walking. Steven Weber is over the top as Colonel Day. He shouts almost everything and overplays the arrogance that the character is supposed to have so much that it made me cringe whenever he opened his mouth. He also struts around a lot, much more than the character really called for. He was probably the weakest of the bunch.

There are some great scenes amidst the dross, though. Beymer is riveting in his scene at the docking bays. Sisko and Bashir (Siddig El Fadil) are having trouble keeping the crowds away because the runabouts are already full but more and more Bajorans are trying to get off the station. Beymer cuts through all that with a lovely speech ("Where are you running to?") and that calms them all down. Also, the scene between Miles (Colm Meaney) and Keiko (Rosalind Chao) is great as Keiko questions why Miles has to stay behind and help fight for the station instead of being with his family. The painful choice that Miles has to make when all that Keiko wants is for her family to be safe and together is wonderfully acted by both of them. Finally, the scene that produces the quote at the beginning of this review is also great. Brooks and Beymer play off each other beautifully, and we see again how uncomfortable Li Nalas is with the status that normal Bajorans have given him. He's a man who doesn't want all the attention and the power that would be his for taking if he wasn't so mild-mannered.

Sadly, though, this scene leads to the predictable ending of the episode. Anybody who didn't see it coming a mile away wasn't watching very closely. In fact, that's one of the major problems with the episode. It's predictable. It's rather dull, despite all the phaser blasts, and the acting doesn't help matters at all. The first two episodes were so good, making this even more of a letdown than it would be normally. It's certainly an ok episode, fine for blowing away 45 minutes of your time and you won't regret it, but it's not one to sit down and make time for.

What a missed opportunity.

Memorable Quotes:

"I'd die for my people." Li Nalas

"Sure you would. Dying gets you off the hook. The question is, are you willing to live for your people? Live the role they want you to play?" Sisko

3 Stars


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