Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Battle Lines:" The Essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Dud!

The Good: Make-Up, Character
The Bad: Plot is low on believability, predictable, Acting
The Basics: The weakest link in the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Battle Lines" is slow and strange for non-fans.

"Battle Lines," right off the bat, is only for people watching the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes and odds are, even many of them won't like the episode. This is a necessary episode for those keeping up with the plot and characters, but watching it becomes like taking bitter medicine. Odds are even if you're a big fan or developing into a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine aficionado, you won't watch this episode more than twice.

"Battle Lines" is the ultimate setup episode in the Bajor part of the Bajoran/Cardassian plotline. This episode sets off the whole rest of the events that happen in the Bajor plot, so why am I not recommending it except to those who are truly devoting themselves to this series? Well, it's kind of bad.

"Battle Lines" features the return of Bajoran spiritual leader Kai Opaka (seen in "Emissary") and the episode takes her on her first trip to the Gamma Quadrant. After begging Sisko to take her away from the dreary monastery life (she's been busy since the pilot uniting the Bajoran people), Sisko obliges, taking her to the Gamma Quadrant to a planet where he promptly crashes the Runabout (the first of many of the small ships to be destroyed) and gets her killed. D'oh.

With Kai Opaka dead at the end of the first act, we're left thinking, well, what now? The obvious question of how to get off the planet they've crashed on is set aside while Kira mourns and the planet's inhabitants reveal themselves.

It turns out the three survivors (Kira, Bashir and Sisko) have found themselves in the middle of a very strange war that has been going on for hundreds of years and when the Kai resurrects things get even stranger.

The idea of an antiwar museum like we see in "Battle Lines" isn't a terribly bad idea. The specific mechanics of it, while excellently explained, are hard to swallow and the episode feels wholly unbelievable. Outside of that and the largely predictable nature of the plot, the episode fails on acting. Nana Visitor, who is otherwise an excellent actress, has her sole off-day on film in this episode and despite her character's fundamentalism, she comes across as largely unbelievable.

"Battle Lines" serves a necessary function, but beyond that, does nothing more. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the episode is its follow-up. With the loss of the Kai, things on Bajor naturally get worse before they get better. That we never see Bashir laboring on the medical aspects of this episode again is disappointing, especially considering how low some of the moments on Bajor get!

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek franchise reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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