[DS9] Lynch's Spoiler Review: "For the Uniform"

3 views
Skip to first unread message

Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

WARNING: This meeting of the Victor Hugo Appreciation Society
is now brought to ... oh. *ahem* Sorry; spoilers ahead for DS9's
"For the Uniform".

In brief: Not quite everything I would have wished for, but generally
*very* strong.

======
Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Victor Lobl
Brief summary: Sisko continues an obsessive quest to bring in former
Starfleet officer Michael Eddington, now a leader in the Maquis.
======

When I reviewed "The Begotten" last week, I mentioned various
reasons why I might have had somewhat lowered expectations for it.
Those lowered expectations may have helped the show a fair amount.
Where "For the Uniform" was concerned, I had very high
expectations based on the combination of the long-away Eddington as
antagonist and the even-longer-away Peter Allan Fields as writer.
(Fields, for those who don't follow writers' credits, was partly
responsible for TNG's "The Inner Light" and for many of DS9's
earlier successes, including "Duet", "Necessary Evil", and
"Crossover". Not everything he did was golden, but a lot of it was --
and I've been on record several times as saying that firing him at the
end of season 2 was a very big mistake on the part of the powers that
be.) Those expectations may have colored my feelings a bit towards
"For the Uniform"; while what it did was generally on a very high
level, I'm finding myself drawn a little too strongly towards things it
*didn't* do and could have.

Most of my impressions of the show are good ones, however. We've
seen stories about obsessive chases before, to be sure: there's "The
Wrath of Khan" in the TOS era, several instances in TNG (including
the Cardassian-introducing "The Wounded" and the recent "First
Contact"), and probably a host of others that just aren't leaping
immediately to mind. We've even had literary parallels drawn much
as one was drawn here: both "The Wrath of Khan" and "First
Contact" drew heavily on _Moby Dick_, albeit with the latter from
Ahab's POV and the former from the whale's. :-) The one thing I
don't think we've ever really had, though, was a situation where
neither the obsessor nor the obsessee was really a classic "villain"
type. Khan, while charismatic, was pretty thoroughly villainous --
and the Borg have no real personality. Eddington bears some
similarities to Khan, except that his belief is primarily about the
wrongness of the Federation, not about his own personal superiority
over everyone else. Eddington's speech back in "For the Cause" still
resonates a lot with me: his scathing indictment of the Federation has
a real ring of truth in it in spots, and as a result I was a good deal more
interested in *both* sides of the chase than I usually am.

That was thoroughly helped, though, by the performance of Kenneth
Marshall and Peter Allan Fields' dialogue. When Eddington told
Sisko, "I'm the one in control here, Captain," he was right on a host
of different levels. As Captain Sanders pointed out to Sisko, as Sisko
himself pointed out to others, and as Sisko raged about, Eddington
knew Sisko so well that he managed to play him like a virtuoso -- not
only using him to continually thumb his nose at Federation policy and
enrage Sisko, but also using him as a catspaw for surprising other
targets like the starship _Malinche_. It wasn't until Sisko starting
seeing some of Eddington's patterns a little more rationally and
discovered a way to "make it personal" on Eddington's side, rattling
*him*, that the tide turned -- and every frustration thrown Sisko's
way tended to reinforce that message.

"For the Uniform" combined a basic story whose outcome I could
have guessed with moments I would never have expected to see,
mostly little snatches of dialogue here and there that felt crisper than
usual. Eddington's musing remark about designing his computer
virus ("actually, I'm quite proud of it"), Eddington's suggestion to
Sisko that "as long as you're making a list [of charges], why don't
you add this?" just before pummeling the Defiant, Sisko's anger over
not having seen through Eddington but even offering him a
promotion, Dax's comment about Sisko's becoming like Curzon, and
many others ... all of these made what *could* have been a potentially
ordinary exercise turn into something that was a lot more fun to
follow. (I particularly liked Odo's exchange with Sisko: "Have you
ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here
because they didn't trust *me*?" "No." "Please do." It's good to
remember that even this kind of betrayal can lead to someone else's
personal vindication.) All of the plot points -- Sisko disobeying
orders, the Malinche being ambushed, Eddington placing innocents in
jeopardy to distract Sisko -- are old standards, but put to good use.

And the literary allusions? Well, not being all that up on Victor Hugo,
I don't know if the parallel is exactly apt, but it certainly seems so. I
certainly knew enough about the story that as soon as Eddington said
he was sending over a copy of _Les Miserables_, I said out loud "oh,
you bastard" -- and it was great fun seeing Sisko managing to use
Eddington's own "gift" against him the way he did.

I said earlier, though, that I was finding myself drawn from time to
time towards the things *not* done in "For the Uniform" -- the things
that I would have expected from the show. These are really of two
types: things that I think the show needed in order to have the right
resonance, and things that are more my own personal wish list.

I'll start with the first type: there are three items I can think of. First,
while Sisko's "playing the villain" was quite well done, I think we
needed to see a scene where Sisko made it clear to Eddington that he
*was* only playing the villain, and that he was far more in control of
himself during that confrontation than he seemed. Essentially,
although we as viewers got to see that Sisko was capable of
manipulating Eddington as much as we'd seen the reverse done,
Eddington never really had that point brought home to him, and it
would have been nice to see some of Eddington's calm veneer crack
under that realization. The second is more of an issue with DS9 as a
whole; if Sisko had been conducting this obsessive search for
Eddington for eight months, and Eddington had become this Starfleet
_cause celebre_ over that period of time, we should have had some
reference to it. As good as "For the Uniform" was, the fact that it was
introduced out of the blue leaves open the possibility that the issue can
be *removed* equally quickly, which I'd rather not see. Third, and
perhaps most importantly, I'm not sure Sisko learned anything here
other than the uses of French melodrama. Eddington, Sanders and
Dax all told Sisko, in effect, that he had to learn to walk away from
obsessions before they consumed him -- given the recent events of
"Rapture", that's a lesson Sisko has failed to learn before. Here,
however, that failure didn't cost him anything. Breaking orders and
going after Eddington didn't cost him his career, his ship or his crew,
or even his conscience -- and since he *won*, there's nothing
preventing him from going off equally obsessively next time a
challenge like this comes along. That feels like it undercuts the drama
of the episode to me; when the first two-thirds of the show are
drawing the parallels to Inspector Javert so well, the last third feels
like someone suggested, "well, how about if Javert catches Valjean
and then goes home to the wife and kids?" By the same token, the
fact that Sisko is probably not going to be reprimanded, much less
harshly disciplined, for destroying a planet's biosphere is also *very*
disturbing.

(Along similar lines, having reintroduced Kasidy Yates to the station
in "Rapture" and *not* mentioning her here is not a good idea. It
feels like a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is
writing.)

Then, there's the wish list. (What, like I'd miss a chance to rant about
my usual DS9 manifesto? :-) ) The only significant one is that
although this worked well as a deeply personal story about revenge,
Eddington and the Maquis can be and should be good sources for
*political* stories as well. Sisko's anger over being suckered is all
well and good, but I liked seeing Eddington in "For the Cause" in
large part because of his and the Maquis' philosophy. I'd like to see
*that* examined. The easy way to do this is for this story not to be
the last of Eddington. I don't necessarily mean that he has to escape
or do something like that; in fact, I'd almost prefer he not. What I
would dearly *love* to see (and may try to write as a short story
sometime when I have a spare century if it doesn't happen) is
Eddington's court-martial hearing. I suspect I'm in the minority here,
but if it were done right I'd be paying rapt attention.

From the sound of it, it feels like I'm coming away from the show
with a fairly negative impression, and I don't want to give people that
sense -- it's far from the truth. It's more difficult to discuss the
positive things in this particular episode, just because they're so tied
up in little moments which are scattered everywhere in the show.
Discussing them would probably entail quoting snippets of dialogue
from every other scene, and that strikes me as unnecessary. So,
suffice it to say that despite a couple of weaknesses I noted above,
"For the Uniform" was a big hit with me, and I recommend it
strongly.

A few other points, then:

-- Nitpick alert: O'Brien says as the Defiant is heading out that they
have no transporters, yet Sisko refers later to beaming equipment over
to the Malinche and beaming Cardassian survivors aboard. Taking
out O'Brien's line or adding a quick note about repairs would have
solved this.

-- Eddington's pointing out to Sisko that "they're *humans*" ("they"
being the refugees) was interesting. Eddington disliking Cardassians
is expected, but that statement implies that he'd be interested in
helping his own species above all. Perhaps Eddington is not as high-
minded as he wants Sisko (and us) to think?

-- Okay, so the new holo-communicator is a dramatic conceit to give
us the illusion of one-on-one confrontations without a viewscreen
getting in the way. Fine. It *works*, and given holodeck technology
I'm a little surprised no one in Starfleet had thought of this use before.

-- Dax had a couple of cute barbs. Her suggestion that "the next time
*I* go off half-cocked on some wild-eyed adventure, think back to
this moment -- and be a little more understanding" seems to be to be a
reference back to the Fields-written "Blood Oath" from season 2. As
for her reference to Hugo's heroines being "so two-dimensional" ...
I've never seen a show set in the 24th-century manage to make a
gratuitous slam at Disney before. Not that I mind. :-)

-- The music has gotten a fair amount more textured and darker of late.
I noticed it particularly when Sanders informs Sisko that Eddington is
no longer Sisko's responsibility. As Sanders leaves, there's some
very grim music playing -- I don't know why I found it so affecting,
but I noticed it.

-- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
but I can't place why.

That should cover everything. So, wrapping up:

Writing: A lesson unlearnt hurt things a little, but the fun is in the
details.
Directing: Solid; no complaints here.
Acting: Definitely no complaints; this is close to the best I've seen
Kenneth Marshall, and Brooks was doing rather well for
himself as well.

OVERALL: A 9, I think. Not quite perfect or everything I wanted,
but very solid and very recommended.

NEXT WEEK:

Based on the preview music ... "Mars, the Bringer of Dominion
Ships".

Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
tly...@alumni.caltech.edu <*>
"Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed
Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
"No."
"Please do."
-- Odo and Sisko
--
Copyright 1997, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask...
This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net
compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the
author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.

Cronan Thompson(back to normal....errrrrr)

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

<<snipped>>


> That was thoroughly helped, though, by the performance of Kenneth
> Marshall and Peter Allan Fields' dialogue. When Eddington told
> Sisko, "I'm the one in control here, Captain," he was right on a host
> of different levels.

I too enjoyed the dialogue BUT I think that Brooks' delivery often throws
even the best dialogue out the window. Potentially great lines like, "It's
not over between *us*," Caused me to cringe more than applaud.


<<snipped>>

And the literary allusions? Well, not being all that up on Victor Hugo,
> I don't know if the parallel is exactly apt, but it certainly seems so.
I
> certainly knew enough about the story that as soon as Eddington said
> he was sending over a copy of _Les Miserables_, I said out loud "oh,
> you bastard" -- and it was great fun seeing Sisko managing to use
> Eddington's own "gift" against him the way he did.

I had some problems with that also. to my thinking it was all to convient.
It would have been more impressive if Sisko had found some other way into
Eddington's head. I think it is more than a touch melodramatic for the 'bad
guy' to blatantly flaunt his weakness at the 'hero. Very 'Bondiouse'

<<snipped>>


> (Along similar lines, having reintroduced Kasidy Yates to the station
> in "Rapture" and *not* mentioning her here is not a good idea. It
> feels like a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is
> writing.)

Hadn't thought of this but it is a very good point. At least Nog has shown
up more than once.

<,snipped>>


> From the sound of it, it feels like I'm coming away from the show
> with a fairly negative impression, and I don't want to give people that
> sense -- it's far from the truth. It's more difficult to discuss the
> positive things in this particular episode, just because they're so tied
> up in little moments which are scattered everywhere in the show.
> Discussing them would probably entail quoting snippets of dialogue
> from every other scene, and that strikes me as unnecessary. So,
> suffice it to say that despite a couple of weaknesses I noted above,
> "For the Uniform" was a big hit with me, and I recommend it
> strongly.

I can't say the same. Through most of this episode I expected to fall in
love with Eddington again. I had done that the minute he made that speech
to Sisko in 'For Cause. I just couldn't. Sisko responses and body language
in that scene were all around better than they were throughout this entire
episode. He didn't yell or scream or become enraged he merely told
Eddington that he would get him. Nothing fancy, "Damn you to hell," just a
simple statement of fact. The things that DID work for me were Worf and
Kira. In the few scenes they had their expressions spoke volumes. Sisko's
one scene that really hit home for me was his punching bag scene. That
worked. But the rest forces this down to mediocre. I am appearently alone
there. MY best friend told me he really liked it and disagreed with my
review.

<<snipped>>


> -- Okay, so the new holo-communicator is a dramatic conceit to give
> us the illusion of one-on-one confrontations without a viewscreen
> getting in the way. Fine. It *works*, and given holodeck technology
> I'm a little surprised no one in Starfleet had thought of this use
before.

I keep wondering if you could hit someone thru that holocommunicator. There
are probably safeties and whatnot but if you get an access code..... watch
out.

> -- Dax had a couple of cute barbs. Her suggestion that "the next time
> *I* go off half-cocked on some wild-eyed adventure, think back to
> this moment -- and be a little more understanding" seems to be to be a
> reference back to the Fields-written "Blood Oath" from season 2. As
> for her reference to Hugo's heroines being "so two-dimensional" ...
> I've never seen a show set in the 24th-century manage to make a
> gratuitous slam at Disney before. Not that I mind. :-)

That might have been the very scene that caused me to abandon any hope of
raving about the virtues of this episode. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was
far more interesting than FC. It was probably Disney's single best animated
feature ever and no one went to see it!!!! But lets not fo off topic..


<<snipped>>


> -- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
> but I can't place why.

He is GEORGE. From Alien Nation. He played the newcomer George Francisco
and had a really cool spotted head. If you read *MY* review you have know

> That should cover everything. So, wrapping up:
>
> Writing: A lesson unlearnt hurt things a little, but the fun is in the
> details.

I can't complain about the writing either but I wonder if it was this
authors idea or the Producers to add the Holocommunicator.

> Directing: Solid; no complaints here.

Same here

> Acting: Definitely no complaints; this is close to the best I've seen
> Kenneth Marshall, and Brooks was doing rather well for
> himself as well.

I don't see how you can say that. Brooks' Louis Farrakhan/Al Sharpton
imitation is grating on my last nerve. His delivery and body language
rforce me to think of constipation

> OVERALL: A 9, I think. Not quite perfect or everything I wanted,
> but very solid and very recommended.

OVERALL: a low 7

-- Cronan Thompson, guy among men
Guaranteed offensive material in
10th message. Bring your kids.


Foru...@nycnet.com

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:

>-- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
>but I can't place why.

How can you not remember that Eric Piepoint played George Francisco in Alien Nation?


Gerald Katz
Captain, USS Megadittos
Fan of Tom E. Paris


David E. Sluss

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

More comments on your review later perhaps, Mr. Lynch, but as to Eric
Pierpoint, he played the Newcomer detective on the 'Alien Nation'
TV show (can't recall the character's name, though); he also played a
recurring character on 'Silk Stalkings' for a while, Det. Lance's love
interest.
--
\\ David E. Sluss --- A.K.A. Slugenstein SLUGS trivia: \
\\________email: slu...@pitt.edu_________________"Follow the trail"________\
// "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. /
// That will teach you to keep your mouth shut" -- Ernest Hemingway /

Todd Horowitz

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

In article <01bc1628$27a726a0$272092cf@default>,

Cronan Thompson(back to normal....errrrrr) <mal...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>I had some problems with that also. to my thinking it was all to convient.
>It would have been more impressive if Sisko had found some other way into
>Eddington's head. I think it is more than a touch melodramatic for the 'bad
>guy' to blatantly flaunt his weakness at the 'hero. Very 'Bondiouse'

Ah, but that's the beauty of it. Eddington isn't the "bad guy"; he's
the "hero". He's just trying to help Sisko realize how foolish he's being.
What Eddington doesn't realize is that that *is* his weakness, just as
Sisko can't understand how his obsession is *his* weakness.

[snip]

>I keep wondering if you could hit someone thru that holocommunicator. There
>are probably safeties and whatnot but if you get an access code..... watch
>out.

yup. Given how dangerous holodecks have proven, holocommunicators
seem like asking for trouble.

Todd


Timothy W. Lynch

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

Foru...@nycnet.com () writes:
>tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:

>>-- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
>>but I can't place why.

>How can you not remember that Eric Piepoint played George Francisco in Alien Nation?

Primarily because I've never *seen* "Alien Nation". That does tend to
cause some difficulty.

Tim Lynch

epbe...@pacbell.net

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

David E. Sluss wrote:
>
> as to Eric
> Pierpoint, he played the Newcomer detective on the 'Alien Nation'
> TV show (can't recall the character's name, though); he also played a
> recurring character on 'Silk Stalkings' for a while, Det. Lance's love
> interest.

. . . and to drag the trivia down to almost microscopic levels, he was
the male lead in the extremely short-lived NBC program a few years ago,
"Hot Pursuit," opposite "Star Trek" guest star alumnus Kerrie Keane. If
you remember THAT, what are you hanging around here for when you could
be winning every round of AOL's TV Trivia??? ;-)

Jeff Jacques

unread,
Feb 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/9/97
to

"Cronan Thompson" (mal...@worldnet.att.net) writes:
> <<snipped>>
>> -- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
>> but I can't place why.
>
> He is GEORGE. From Alien Nation. He played the newcomer George Francisco
> and had a really cool spotted head. If you read *MY* review you have know

He also played Ambassador Voval in TNG's "Liaisons" in the 7th season.

--Jeff


--
************************************************************************
"Most people just go to Sears, buy the kit,
and follow the assembly instructions."
** Calvin's dad, explaining how people make babies, "Calvin & Hobbes" **

jse...@ime.net

unread,
Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97
to

Timothy W. Lynch (tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu) wrote:

: Foru...@nycnet.com () writes:
: >tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:
:
: >>-- Speaking of Sanders, Eric Pierpoint looks *very* familiar to me,
: >>but I can't place why.
:
: >How can you not remember that Eric Piepoint played George Francisco in

: >Alien Nation?
:
: Primarily because I've never *seen* "Alien Nation". That does tend to
: cause some difficulty.

Well, you've missed out if you've never seen "AN". Pierpoint does,
however, have another ST appearance. It was on TNG (gets out reference...),
the episode being "Liaisons." Pretty brief, though.


Foru...@nycnet.com

unread,
Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97
to

tly...@alumnae.caltech.edu (Timothy W. Lynch) wrote:

>>How can you not remember that Eric Piepoint played George Francisco in Alien Nation?

>Primarily because I've never *seen* "Alien Nation". That does tend to
>cause some difficulty.

Hmmm, considering I don't know of any other work Eric Pierpoint has done, I had guesssed that this
is where you saw him before. Oh well.

Micheal Keane

unread,
Feb 10, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/10/97
to

In article <5dl9st$g...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Todd Horowitz <to...@garnet.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>>I keep wondering if you could hit someone thru that holocommunicator. There
>>are probably safeties and whatnot but if you get an access code..... watch
>>out.
>
> yup. Given how dangerous holodecks have proven, holocommunicators
>seem like asking for trouble.

At some point, the holocommunicators are going to be used in a ruse. ie:
Someone takes ove rht eDefiant and then is fooled into surrendering it
when SIsko et al "transport" on board with an armed strike team and them
to lower their shields... *THEN* the real group beams on board...
something like that. I half-expected this scenario to be used in FTU.
--
Micheal Keane(ae...@u.washington.edu)
Join the Church of Last Thursday and worship Queen Maeve! E-mail me to join.
http://weber.u.washington.edu/~aexia/thursday.htm
"I have too much blood in my caffeine system." -- Netrunner CCG

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages