Friday, February 3, 2012

Anger And Hatred Dominate "The Darkness And The Light"

The Good: Good acting, Interesting character development, Nice effects
The Bad: Pacing, Stretching a thin plot way too far
The Basics: When Kira and her friends are hunted down by a psychopath, the viewer is left with mixed reactions.

One of the nice things about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the presence of recurring characters. Various people come in and out of the series and fans of the show get to know who they are and look for them to pop up again. Two such recurring characters are Lupanza and Furel, two people who were part of the same resistance cell as Kira during the Occupation. They resurface in "The Darkness And The Light."

When one of Kira's associates is killed, she is unnerved to receive a message that simply says "That's one. . ." Her horror grows as a second "accident" occurs and a similar message ("That's two. . .") is transmitted to her. It does not take long for a pattern to be established; Odo deduces that former members of Kira's resistance cell are being targeted. Kira's friends, Furel and Lupanza show up having deduced the same thing. They want to protect Kira and she gladly takes their aid, until they, too, are killed. Alone and running out of time, Kira begins a hunt for the killer and finds herself at the mercy of a maniac.

"The Darkness And The Light" is a strangely unmemorable episode and it has a lot to do with an unmemorable villain and a plot that is stretched way too thin. Kira's hunt for Silaren, the killer, is drawn out and feels overlong. The attempts at creating tension while more and more of Kira's friends are killed comes across feeling more like trying to take a weak plot and fit it into an hour long show. Essentially, all this episode is is a group of people getting killed and trying to narrow the list of suspects down. The process takes far too long and it feels as frustrating to the viewer as it does to Kira, who is watching her friends be picked off.

Moreover, Silaren is an uncompelling villain. The viewer, by this point in the series, has seen several characters who are motivated solely by vengeance. It's been done on this series. Silaren is a rather unlikely one to get as far as he does as he lacks the cunning or real conviction of a good villain. Instead, he seems more like a mindless enemy than an actual character.

Conversely, Randy Oglesby plays Silaren quite well. Despite the dragging way the episode gets to Silaren and how poorly the character is written, it is intriguing that Oglesby is good enough to act the part. Oglesby does a good job of using his eyes - one of the few resources outside his voice that he's able to use to enhance the character - to express his anger quite well. As a result, Oglesby makes Silaren somewhat less faceless and more distinctive.

In the end, though, "The Darkness And The Light" is a Kira episode. As the episode commences, Kira becomes more and more isolated, losing everyone who is not on the station that she cares about. Her frustration and anger is reasonable and compelling to watch. The viewer is quite able to empathize with her as she is put in greater and greater peril and forced to watch as those around her are cut down.

Nana Visitor does an excellent job portraying Kira in this episode. She plays Kira as hurt and frustrated with new depths of concern that she has not exhibited through her character before. Everything Visitor does "reads" as right with her character. She sells the viewer on the way Kira reacts and is scathed by Silaren as a result of his killing spree. She puts over a shaky episode.

Fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will enjoy the character development of Major Kira and the last chance to see Lupanza and Furel. Those who are not are likely to find this particular tale of obsession more tiring than compelling. Though it is intriguing and ultimately executed with good acting, it is little more than that.

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

For other works featuring Diane Salinger, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Batman Returns


For other Star Trek reviews, please be sure to visit my Star Trek Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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