DS9 Spoiler: Lynch's Spoiler Review: "Progress"

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Tim Lynch

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May 18, 1993, 4:27:47 PM5/18/93
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[DS9] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "Progress"
Review by Tim Lynch <tly...@juliet.caltech.edu>
===============================================

WARNING: The following post contains lots of spoiler information about
"Progress", the most recent DS9 episode. Be warned.

Very understated -- but it grows on you if you give it a chance.

"Progress" is a very, very "quiet" episode of DS9 -- in fact, thinking about
it, it may be the quietest one to date. There's not a lot of danger, not a
lot of plain old "excitement", and certainly not a lot of action -- just an
attempt to see one character having to deal with her past and present
colliding.

As such, I suspect lots of people will hate it.

I didn't exactly *love* it, but as I said above, it grows on you. While
flashier episodes may have been more fun to watch initially, I bet this one
will age a lot more gracefully, just as "Family" did for TNG.

The key scene for me was the Sisko/Kira conversation outside Mullibok's home.
Anyone who's been saying Nana Visitor can't act should take another look at
this scene -- both she and Brooks do a bang-up job on cutting right through
to the real issue. And considering that we've only seen these characters for
a few months, it's testimony to how much work has been put into them already
that the line "But you have to realize something, Major -- you're on the
other side now." really, _really_ hit me in the stomach. (Its nearest
analogue in TNG, I think, would be Picard's big speech to Admiral Jarok
about being a traitor in "The Defector", but that was much more ... er ...
"grandiose" a scene than this was. Both worked very well, though.)

My only complaint about that particular scene was that Sisko seems to have
come a little too far over to the side of being friends with Kira. My hunch
about this is that it's the sort of friendship that never comes out except in
times this tough -- it's not the sort of thing _either_ character could ever
acknowledge under normal circumstances. They'll continue to snap at each
other, but when push comes to shove, they'll be at each others' backs
instead of throats.

We're also seeing hints that character changes are being followed through, at
least a bit more than they _tend_ to be on TNG. Although I find it a bit
implausible that the Bajorans are going to be so easygoing with the
Federation shortly after the Federation left Kai Opaka on a planet full of
bloodthirsty lunatics, Kira's reaction to "sorry I missed the fun [of the
fight against the Cardassians]" is one that could only have come up after
her experiences in "Battle Lines". Very good.

Speaking of "Battle Lines", Kira's reaction to Mullibok's injury was *far*
more in line with the Kira I know than the parallel scene in BL. She was
upset and felt helpless, and so lashed out at everything and everyone,
getting frantic in the process. Much better.

This isn't to say that the Kira-centered plot was faultless. It wasn't.
There were two basic problems I saw with it:

-- One, in an effort to show how much she snaps _back_ to being with the
underdog, Kira was made entirely _too_ matter-of-fact about the project at
the start. The Kira we saw in the runabout was very mellow, and almost
*bored*, which simply didn't ring true.

-- When the story was on, it was very on -- but sometimes we got scenes that
felt like filler. Kira taking care of Mullibok on that final night
qualifies: there wasn't much there that really drew me in at all. The story
was good, but the padding to make it fill out its half of the show wasn't.

Before I head away from the Kira plot, though, I should mention one
particular directing moment that really caught me. The camera work when Kira
arrives back on the station was very nice, but in no way I can easily
describe. I just ... well, I just liked it. So there. :-)

Then, there was the Jake/Nog plot. This wasn't much more than comic relief,
but it was perfectly good comic relief. The only disappointment I had with
it was that I figured the stembolts (pardon me: *self-sealing* stembolts)
were completely useless items -- sort of the Bajoran equivalent of a snipe
hunt. It certainly looked from their interaction with O'Brien that he
thought so. I figured they'd been completely taken -- there's nothing wrong
with what really happened, but I'd have preferred it my way.

(What I was initially reminded of, believe it or not, was a chapter in one of
John D. Fitzgerald's _Great Brain_ books from years and years ago. There's a
long bit where the youngest brother tries to become a wheeler-dealer and
starts trading his way from item to item, only to end up with something he
couldn't use or unload.)

Aron Eisenberg still isn't quite doing the job with Nog I'd like to see, but
after all my griping about it last week he did a much better job this time.
He may end up looking perpetually weak because he's paired with Cirroc
Lofton, who's doing a great job when given the material -- if so, there's not
much that can be done. And Eisenberg did a _great_ job when Nog was
convincing Quark to let him have the yamok sauce.

Now, I've a point on the ending. While Kira's way to let them both get on
with their lives was good, it seemed a bit convenient that the cottage was
*that* much of a tinderbox. More importantly, DS9 appears to have tackled
the "shortened resolution" problem TNG has by having *no* resolution at all
and ending right at the climax. Sometimes, like in "Battle Lines", it works
beautifully. Here it didn't.

That covers the broad strokes. Now, some shorter takes:

-- The Kira/Dax friendship looks like it'll be a nice development in shows to
come; it felt very natural and unforced. However, I wish we'd seen some
signs of it before now -- it *did* seem to rather spring from nowhere.

-- "But sir, that isn't true." Poor, naive Bashir -- he should be lucky he
never got the dashing secret-agent job he seems to want. He wouldn't last
ten minutes. :-)

-- "Eventually you're going to have to stop talking and _deal_ with this."
Kira said the line -- but to whom?

That's about it. If you'd asked me shortly after the first time I'd seen
"Progress" what I thought of it, I wouldn't have been very impressed -- but a
few days and a second viewing later, it has a lot of meat in it that's worth
looking at.

So, the numbers:

Plot: 8. Not exactly stellar, but nice.
Plot Handling: 6. Too much filler at the cost of a too-abrupt ending.
Otherwise, it was nice.
Characterization: 9. Quite good.

OVERALL: 8. Good job.

NEXT WEEK:

Be careful what you wish for...

Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
BITNET: tlynch@citjulie
INTERNET: tly...@juliet.caltech.edu
UUCP: ...!ucbvax!tlynch%juliet.ca...@hamlet.caltech.edu
"You have to realize something, Major -- you're on the other side now.
Pretty uncomfortable, isn't it?"
"It's awful."
-- Sisko and Kira
--
Copyright 1993, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...


--

just another theatre geek

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May 19, 1993, 1:05:16 PM5/19/93
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In article <1tbgs3...@newsstand.cit.cornell.edu> tly...@Juliet.Caltech.Edu (Tim Lynch) writes:
[DS9] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "Progress"
Review by Tim Lynch <tly...@juliet.caltech.edu>

certainly not a lot of action -- just an
>attempt to see one character having to deal with her past and present
>colliding.
>As such, I suspect lots of people will hate it.

Yup.

>I didn't exactly *love* it, but as I said above, it grows on you. While
>flashier episodes may have been more fun to watch initially, I bet this one
>will age a lot more gracefully, just as "Family" did for TNG.

I think so, too. And I did like it better than you, initially....

>Now, I've a point on the ending. While Kira's way to let them both get on
>with their lives was good, it seemed a bit convenient that the cottage was
>*that* much of a tinderbox.

Hmmm....a bit true.....

More importantly, DS9 appears to have tackled
>the "shortened resolution" problem TNG has by having *no* resolution at all
>and ending right at the climax. Sometimes, like in "Battle Lines", it works
>beautifully. Here it didn't.

.....however, it did for me. I thought it was the perfect ending
because there was simply nothing more to be said.


>"You have to realize something, Major -- you're on the other side now.
>Pretty uncomfortable, isn't it?"
>"It's awful."
> -- Sisko and Kira

And you're right....nice scene.
--
Roger Tang, gwan...@u.washington.edu, Producer Emeritus Asian Theatre at the UW
"David Henry Hwang's BONDAGE is about an Asian male attaining his fantasy: being
dominated and humilated by a Caucasian blonde. Sheer fantasy, of course; we all
know in real life it's the other way around."

Claudia Zornow

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May 20, 1993, 4:22:15 PM5/20/93
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tly...@Juliet.Caltech.Edu (Tim Lynch) writes:

> -- The Kira/Dax friendship looks like it'll be a nice development in shows to
> come; it felt very natural and unforced. However, I wish we'd seen some
> signs of it before now -- it *did* seem to rather spring from nowhere.

I liked Janis's comment in an earlier posting that these two are
in danger of turning into Mary and Rhoda in Space.

Claudia

Janis Maria Cortese

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May 21, 1993, 1:37:47 PM5/21/93
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I've written a VERY long (well, moderately long) letter to the studio --
about 12 pages single spaced -- going over what I liked and thought
might be a problem in the future for the show. This phrase did come up
in it, so hopefully they're aware of it; given the effort they seem to
have put into constructing each character, I think we're safe. It's the
outside scripts that have me worried, and they start taking `em in
September.

Of course, this also delights me no end for other reasons . . . Now I
just have to find an agent.

Regards,
Janis the net.proud.hussy

Janis Cortese || President and Founder: SEFEB, and The ||
cor...@skid.ps.uci.edu || Society of People Who Would Love to ||
UCIrvine Linguistics, || Shove a Stick Up Rush Limbaugh's Ass; ||
for a while more anyway || and Member of The Star Trek Ladies' ||
Irvine, California || Auxiliary and Embroidery/Baking Society ||
====================================================================||
I used to be a bitch and just thought it was my problem. ||
Now, I've learned to make it everyone else's problem, too. ||
====================================================================||


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