Friday, December 2, 2011

Lwaxana Troi Returns To Do What She Does . . . Best. "Fascination"

The Good: Acting.
The Bad: Abandonment of Character, Overused plot and predictability
The Basic: "Fascination" fails as a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode by having Lwaxana Troi return only to create contrived romantic havoc on the station.

Lwaxana Troi, mother of Star Trek The Next Generation's Deanna Troi, has a brief character arc on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In her second appearance, Lwaxana Troi forsakes all of her character growth on Star Trek: The Next Generation and essentially remakes the second episode her character ever appeared in.

Troi comes to the station during the Bajoran gratitude festival and shortly thereafter, the crew begins to behave strangely. All of the crew seems to be under the influence of romantic feelings, but their sudden sexual awakenings seem entirely misplaced: the visiting Vedek Bareil proposes to Dax, Jake hounds Kira, Dax aggressively pursues Captain Sisko and Bashir and Kira cannot keep their hands off one another. For reasons unknown, the crew lapses into utter abandon and then the episode ends.

Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it all out. When there's a new element added to the mix, we must always figure that is the culprit and here it is obvious from the first incident that Lwaxana Troi is somehow involved. Sadly, the mystery does not have a compelling end and the obviousness of "Fascination" is disappointing.

What this episode does have is acting. "Fascination" is a wonderful acting exercise. Seeing Nana Visitor, whose character Kira is usually so sexually repressed, throwing herself at Bashir is amusing and Bashir's youthful exuberance is something that has been missing for some time. Siddig El Fadil brings is back here and an amusing anecdote is that his passion for Nana Visitor in the episode is not acting; this is where the actors first actually hooked up.

But more than them, the acting continues as strong. Rosalind Chao returns as Keiko and her performance here is mellow and fatigued, an interesting change from the enthusiastic Keiko we've seen in the past. Cirroc Lofton is wonderfully gangly as the love-struck Jake. Avery Brooks is comical in his putting off the energetic Terry Farrell as Dax.

Majel Barrett and Rene Auberjonois play Lwaxana and Odo quite well in this episode, keeping the series somewhat rooted by their lack of aberrant behavior.

This is a chance for all of the main crew of Deep Space Nine to show off their talents in ways their characters have not previously exhibited and each and every one of them rises to the occasion. Unfortunately, there's nothing more to this episode. In the process of making this very contrived plot, all of the important aspects of character - save in O'Brien - are abandoned. A perfect example is Kira. While Nana gets the chance to play Kira in an entirely different way, it does not fit her character at all going after Bashir. What would have made far more sense would have been that Kira was moved to express her love for Bareil more . . . physically.

In the end, this is a plot that has been done and done to death. It is a cheap reworking of Star Trek's "The Naked Time" and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now." In fact, the "everyone falls in love with everyone else" plot is pretty much the bottom of the contrived barrel. This episode is fine for those who do not take television terribly seriously. Fans of Star Trek and other science fiction will find this too familiar and will likely be disappointed.

Not part of the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this is the romantic comedy episode of the series and fortunately it has decent acting to save it from being an utter waste of time.

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


For other Star Trek reviews, in order of best episode to worst, be sure to check out my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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