Friday, November 4, 2011

The Closing Of The Circle's Arc Comes In "The Siege!"

The Good: Consistent characterization as well as sufficient character growth, acting
The Bad: Attempts at humor, ultimate ease of resolution of complicated events in the story arc.
The Basics: An unremarkable finish to a well arranged Bajoran Civil War arc. Best when viewed with its preceding episodes.

Every now and then, the Star Trek franchise attempts to do something ambitious. As a foreshadowing to the direction Star Trek Deep Space Nine would ultimately progress in, that is, a completely serialized storyline, the series did essentially a four-part Bajoran Civil War arc. Along with "In The Hands Of The Prophets," "Homecoming," and "The Circle," the divisions of the Bajoran people are explored in "The Siege."

In one of the most action-oriented episodes of the entire series, "The Siege" concludes the plot arc of The Circle and brings resolution to the Bajoran Civil War. Ordered to leave Deep Space Nine, Sisko instead evacuates the station of civilians and remains with several loyal officers to run interference for the new Bajoran forces. The purpose? To buy time for Kira and Dax to bring evidence of Cardassian involvement in The Circle to the Bajoran Provisional Government.

"The Siege" is a remarkably straightforward episode - when the Bajoran military forces take command of the station, Sisko et al. discreetly sabotage everything they can. The strength is in the acting and the characterization. The ambitious Colonel who takes over Deep Space Nine is young and arrogant, while General Krimm, being older is more conservative. He's also correct. Colonel Day is played by Steven Weber who appears even more young than in his Wings days with his straight blond hair and Bajoran haircut. He brings a great deal to the role and it works for him. Richard Beymer returns as well as Li Nalis, Bajoran freedom fighter and he lends his dignity to the continuing role of the ambiguous martyr.

The failures in this episode are pretty middle of the road. Too often the episode attempts unwarranted humor; notably by using Quark. Quark's part in this episode are distinctly not funny and they try too hard to be humorous. It's not a terribly amusing concept: there's a Civil War, lives are at stake and civilians are in jeopardy. Why crack jokes during that?

The episode does, however, mark the first successful attempts to use Dax for something other than a dispassionate scientist. There are at least two instances where she is funny in the episode and it's the start of the Dax as trickster aspect of her personality. Her use of humor works because it is gallows humor and it is removed from the direct conflict of the actual siege of the space station.

The episode is unsurprising and largely unremarkable, putting an end to The Circle and its relevant characters. We know that Li Nalis is too large a political icon to simply stick around the station and we know Frank Langella, who portrays the misguided Minister Jaro is too expensive an actor to sustain more than a guest shot. Fortunately, the political abandonment of Jaro by Vedek Winn assures the return of the amazing actress Louise Fletcher to the series. We're lucky for that.

While not disappointing, per se, it does not live up to the quality or promise of the other two - three episodes in this arc. In some ways, that's simply the nature of a concluding episode. The purpose is to tie up loose ends. I think I come from a generation of people who far prefer being in the mire of the worst situation possible to the actual resolution. Part of the essential "Deep Space Nine" and not a good standalone episode.

[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!


Why not check out how this episode stacks up against other Star Trek episodes by visiting the index page that has the reviews organized by the rating! That is available by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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