The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Ship

Whilst surveying a planet in the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko and his away team encounter a crashed Jem’Hadar ship. No sooner have they started investigating this prize than another Dominion ship shows up, keen to take back the ship for themselves. Can Sisko hold out against the Dominion forces, and will it be worth the cost?

I’m not really a fan of this episode – in fact, I’m not sure DS9 would be much worse off if it didn’t exist. It begins by establishing Federation and Starfleet arrogance – they’ve been told to stay out of the Gamma Quadrant or risk war with the Dominion, but here they are trying to establish a mining operation. Yes, this planet is well outside Dominion territory, but it’s still sticking up a great big middle finger at the Dominion. Let’s not forget, these are the people who destroyed New Bajor. I’m not saying that Starfleet should give in to violence, but in these tense and difficult times, maybe flying around the Gamma Quadrant as business as usual isn’t the best course.

We’re then meant to see our senior officers under pressure, trying to cope with constant bombardment from the Jem’Hadar, and figure out whether it’s wise to negotiate with a Vorta. Except here we don’t really connect with the storyline. I never felt that any of the senior officers were in real danger; in fact, their lives seemed pretty charmed. And even the death of a minor recurring character was hardly enough to stir the emotions of a hardened viewer like myself. At no point did I believe in the intensity of the situation, and for that reason, the whole exercise fell flat for me.

Minor points

  • This is the first time we see both a female Benzite, and one without breathing apparatus – both Mordock and Mendon in TNG had to use special breathing devices. it’s been several years since then, so no doubt the Benzites have invented something more discreet.
  • Worf claims that there is a Klingon vigil of watching over the dead until it is time for them to depart to Sto-vo-kor. Previously, we have seen Klingon warriors roar upon the death of a comrade, and then consider the body a worthless shell, as the soul has immediately departed. This may be a more recent cultural shift, however, with Worf referencing an older practice.
  • Transporter burn is apparently a thing. Is it caused by operating the transporter, or going through the transporter? We’ll never know.

Summary – The Ship: I want one of those insulated Starfleet mugs Sisko uses at the end.

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