Monday, January 16, 2012

The Outbreak Of The Dominion War Is The Culmination Of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine The Complete Fifth Season!

The Good: Consistently high-quality drama, Great acting, Wonderful characters, Special effects
The Bad: None, this is the season DS9 achieved perfection!
The Basics: While peace with the Klingons seems possible, war seems inevitable when the Dominion resurfaces with a vengeance in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season Five!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one of those shows that was consistently underrated when it was on the air, but now people are discovering and are being truly blown away by it. Many people who see a single episode from the show's fifth season are hooked right away; that is how compelling the series is. Unfortunately, the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is best when viewed following the previous four seasons (at the very least, season 4, reviewed here!). That is, because the series is based on the idea of dynamic, rich characters, the steps they take in season five are undervalued by those who do not know where the characters have come from.

That said, the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine follows the tightest plot arc for the series yet. When Sisko, Odo, O'Brien and Worf go undercover to a Klingon installation, they discover the true Changeling infiltrator in the Klingon government, leading to a hesitant detente with between the Klingons and the Federation. As the bonds of diplomacy slowly strengthen between the two powers, the Gul Dukat makes a dangerous alliance with the Dominion, one that leads the entire Alpha Quadrant to war.

The nice thing about the fifth season is that it progresses all of the best ideas and successes of the fourth season while continuing to grow the characters beyond where they have been before. Instead of a simple overall story, as I just described it above, the season is laced with a wide variety of episodes that organically bring out the milestone events. So, there is romance and humor ("Looking For Par'Mach In All The Wrong Places"), obsession ("For The Uniform"), spirituality ("Rapture"), and even a medical thriller ("Empok Nor"). The moods of the episodes range widely from lighthearted humor ("Trials And Tribble-ations") to the most heartwrenching loss ("Ties Of Blood And Water").

As with the previous four seasons, the fifth season truly is all about the characters and what drives them. The success of the fifth season is measured in the growth each character has and the character arcs are impressive and organic this season, among the main cast as well as the recurring supporting characters. Season five's characters look like this:

Nog - Returns to the station a full cadet, eager and organized. There is no hint of the delinquent who left the station at the beginning of the fourth season,

Gul Dukat - Demoralized by fighting a battle against the ruthless Klingons and the Maquis, he turns to the Dominion to make his people strong again,

Garak - Forms a strong relationship with Ziyal, Dukat's daughter, against his better judgment. Garak pays for his crimes in the fourth season finale and commits all new ones in the fifth season,

Jake Sisko - Learns the horrors of war first hand and spends much of the season trying to morally support his father,

Rom - Now an engineer with the Bajorans, Rom continues to defy traditional Ferengi roles by forming a romantic relationship with Leeta,

Quark - Experiences life without other Ferengi and learns how to weasel his way back into the graces of his people, while re-establishing his bar as a bastion of Ferengi society,

Dax - Forms a relationship with Worf and develops into more of a confidant for Kira,

O'Brien - gets used to having another child around and he adapts to learning Bashir's big secret,

Worf - Continues to fit in on Deep Space Nine and spends more time on the Defiant and with General Martok than with assimilating with this crew,

Bashir - Undergoes the most growth in the season when he loses his relationship with Leeta, is captured by the Dominion and his deep, dark childhood secret is revealed to the crew,

Kira - Attempts to aid her mortal enemies the Cardassians when Dukat makes his power play, becomes closer to Ziyal and learns about Odo's feelings for her,

Odo - Lives with the consequences of being made human and then must deal with his love for Kira,

Sisko - evolves to the point that he considers himself Bajoran and fully embraces his role as Emissary, while still working tirelessly to defend the Federation from the Maquis, Klingons and Dominion.

The wonderful thing about the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is that the actors have everything in stride. By this point, the actors know their characters and are completely comfortable with them. Outside Alexander Siddig (who plays Bashir), there are no real fundamental changes to the characters that would alter their acting on a day to day level. That does not mean that the season is devoid of great acting, just the opposite. In the first episode, for example, Avery Brooks (Sisko), Rene Auberjonis (Odo) and Colm Meany (O'Brien) have amazing acting opportunities when they are disguised and sent on an undercover mission. Playing a character playing someone else is a difficult task and those three actors more than rose to the occasion in "Apocalypse Rising."

More than any other Star Trek show, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is an ensemble show. Not just focusing on the Captain with his crew in periphery, the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine illustrates quite well how the entire crew is essential to the story.

What is there here for people who are not traditionally fans of science fiction or Star Trek? The fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine illustrates well the lengths people will go to in dark times. This season is like a political drama of the people working behind the scenes to try to establish and keep peace. It's the story of ambassadors more than adventurers and that's a nice change from most science fiction. As well, there are very few episodes that actually hinge on a science fiction premise. In fact, the most extreme is a time travel episode; the fun "Trials And Tribble-ations" which puts the Deep Space Nine crew back in an episode of the classic Star Trek!

The fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a wonderful story about a group of outsiders, stuck together by circumstance, trying to hold the galaxy together using their wits, intelligence and experience. It is drama at its best and this season finds the show in its stride and reaching the perfection it has been working for.

For a better idea of exactly what you would get in this DVD boxed set, please read my reviews of the individual episodes:
Apocalypse Rising
The Ship
Looking For Par'Mach In All The Wrong Places
"... Nor The Battle To The Strong"
Trials And Tribble-ations
The Assignment
Let He Who Is Without Sin . . .
Things Past
The Ascent
The Darkness And The Light
The Begotten
For The Uniform
In Purgatory's Shadow
By Inferno's Light
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
A Simple Investigation
Business As Usual
Ties Of Blood And Water
Ferengi Love Songs
Soldiers Of The Empire
Children Of Time
Blaze Of Glory
Empok Nor
In The Cards
A Call To Arms


For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2012, 2008, 2004 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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