The Good: Characters, Acting, Philosophy
The Bad: Predictable plot
The Basics: Excellent acting and a strong emphasis on developing a friendship between two formerly adversarial characters makes "Armageddon Game" worth watching.
Up until this point in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine story, Dr. Julian Bashir has been a medical upstart and a pain in the butt to Chief of Operations O'Brien. O'Brien has grudgingly accepted Bashir and has done his best to avoid him. Unfortunately, meetings between the two often are unavoidable (see "Rivals").
"Armageddon Game" puts O'Brien and Bashir in a life or death chase by an alien government set on ending all war in their planetary system. O'Brien and Bashir are part of a neutral expedition sent to a planetary system that has long been at war using biological weapons called Harvesters. The Harvesters are devastating and both sides have decided peace is worth is and it's time to do away with the weapons of mass destruction.
Bashir manages to find a way to destroy the weapons, but once that is completed, terrorists storm the installation and attempt to kill everyone. O'Brien and Bashir escape, but they find themselves in worse conditions. O'Brien takes ill and the pair knows they must survive for days before Sisko even suspects they're missing.
In the meantime, Sisko has been informed his officers have been killed in a technical aspect and as the crew investigates, they find reason to question the obvious.
"Armageddon Game" succeeds despite the simple and predictable plot. It works because the focus remains on the characters. Bashir and O'Brien are forced to work together and the tension and honesty that results works very well. The episode "reads" right with the characters interacting very organically. They react like desperate people and also as people coming from very different backgrounds trying to make things right between the pair.
The peripheral characters, especially Keiko O'Brien, work well. Scenes with Keiko and Sisko that would otherwise be cliche (the leader informing the wife of her husband's death) are pulled off well. Part of that is Rosalind Chao's acting; she plays Keiko subtly and with distinction.
One of the most memorable moments is actually a brief scene between Dax and Kira where Dax discusses her feelings about Bashir, whom she assumes is dead.
The acting and characters in the main plot, between Bashir and O'Brien (Siddig El Fadil and Colm Meany) is excellent. The actors have real chemistry and the characters work very well overcoming their obstacles.
"Armageddon Game" is resolved via a freak line and part of the strength is that it ends on a light note and does not belabor the joke that makes the rest of the episode possible. Does that not make sense? Watch the episode and it will; I won't be the one to ruin it for you!
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season by clicking here!
For other Star Trek episode, DVD set or movie reviews, be sure to check out my specialized index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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