February 11, 2013
Star Trek: DS9 - Ep 25 - Melora
A new cartographer is coming to the station on a mapping mission to the Gamma Quadrant. Her name is Melora (Daphne Ashbrook), and she's from the low-gravity planet of Elaysia. Because of this, when she's in normal gravity, she must use a wheelchair and leg supports if she's walking. She also comes bearing an enormous chip on her shoulder because she's tired of everybody trying to make special allowances for her. She's the stereotypical "handicapped person with an attitude" that we've seen in all of those "the disabled are people too" after school specials. She bristles when Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks) won't let her pilot a runabout by herself, despite the fact that no newly assigned ensign would be allowed to do it. She does form a special relationship with Dr. Bashir (Siddig El Fadil), though, which quickly blossoms to romance. When Bashir discovers that there may be a way to make Melora able to walk without help, she has a dilemma.
Meanwhile, Quark is confronted by an old "friend" (Peter Crombie) who he sold out to the Romulans eight years ago. Now Fallit Kot is back to exact his revenge. Much Ferengi whining ensues, though thankfully there is no screaming. I think I would have put my foot through my 47" widescreen TV if I had to put up with more of that.
"Melora" is not of the "so bad it's funny" vein of television shows. No, it's just bad. Some shows take themselves so seriously and try so hard to be "relevant" that they make a mockery of themselves. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when it first came out, I'm sure was intended to be a serious movie, but we now laugh at it. We don't laugh at "Melora," though. We resent the 45 minutes we spent with it. The writers go through every disabled cliche; in the book: Melora attacks everybody to keep anybody from getting too close. Dr. Bashir forces her to see that being dependent on somebody is not a bad thing. Dr. Bashir falls in love with his patient (thankfully, though, he waits until she's not his patient to do so, but then he becomes her doctor again when he begins the treatments to make her walk). The Quark story doesn't suffer as much as the Melora story, but it too is fairly standard stuff. Odo (Rene Auberjonois) gets to make some "I don’t like Quark" jokes, in which Auberjonois appears to just go through the motions. There's really not a lot of substance in any of these.
[MAJOR SPOILER IN THIS PARAGRAPH] The second issue is a combination of this episode and the series itself. When Melora ultimately decides not to go ahead with the treatments, Bashir looks completely crestfallen. The final scene has an uncomfortable moment at dinner between Bashir and her, where Bashir apparently struggles to be affectionate to her, the disappointment all over his face. While that could usually be explained as a temporary thing and he'd get over it, the fact that she's never even referred to again says a lot about Bashir that I don't necessarily like. I'm sure it wasn't intentional on the production side of the story, but the way El Fadil played it combined with that fact was actually quite repugnant.
[END OF SPOILER]
That's about it. This episode has a couple of inadvertently offensive aspects, but everything else is just bland and boring. After such a wonderful high in the last episode, somebody should have warned them about that cliff they were about to fall off of. Hopefully, the next episode will be better. There's nowhere to go but up.