Goodbyes

by Christopher DeFilippis

DeFlip Side, Vol. 1, No. 6
(First Appeared: June/July, 1999;
First Light E-zine, Issue #82)

Farewell Star Trek Deep Space Nine

This is going to be short and sweet, folks. My original plan for this month’s column was to bid a fond farewell to Deep Space Nine, until recently the best show on television. I was going to do an in-depth review of the final episode, exploring whether or not it brought the Dominion war arc to a satisfying conclusion, as well as if it proved a fitting send-off to the best Trek series ever; my swan song to the swan song, so to speak. But those ne’er do-wells at Paramount took the wind out of my sails. After watching the finale, I came to only one inescapable conclusion: It’s not over.

After all, Sisko left his baseball behind.

Of course, there’s also the question of his unborn child, his career in Starfleet, a new Defiant that needs to be broken in, an unfinished real estate transaction on Bajor and his promise that he would return “in a year from now or yesterday.” But the baseball is the cincher. He doesn’t leave home without it, much less take up permanent residence in Prophet limbo. We haven’t heard the last from him or the rest of these characters. I don’t know when or in what format, but we’ll see them again. Bet on it.

This fact colors my opinion of the two-hour series finale. As a final good-bye, it would have left too many loose ends. But as a “so long for now” it was perfect. It brought enough closure to satisfy, but egged us on just enough to keep our expectations for a return simmering on a low frame somewhere in the back of our brains. Like Kira and Jake, we’re all gazing out of a portal on the Promenade, waiting patiently to see what happens next.

I’ll spare you all a long-winded essay on what I liked and why. Different parts of the finale will have appealed to different people for different reasons. But there is no call for excess exposition. After all, we’re not talking about “Mirror Image” here (the legendarily confusing finale to the TV series Quantum Leap). Instead, I’ll be as succinct as possible:

The Good Stuff:

  • The death of Kai Winn.
  • The kick-ass battle scenes.
  • Kai Winn’s unfortunate demise.
  • Garak’s revenge on Weyoun.
  • Barbecued Kai.
  • Nog’s promotion.
  • Pah Wraiths 1, Kai Winn 0
  • Kira’s ironic role in the liberation of Cardassia.
  • Kai Winn all gone.
  • Ezri’s nearly exposed breasts.
  • Bye bye Kai.
  • Sisko plowing Dukat over the cliff’s edge in a flying tackle.
  • The old bag bites it.
  • Martok’s self-satisfied belt of blood wine while standing on bloated enemy corpses.
  • She’ll finally shut up.
  • The faint hope that once O’Brien accepts a teaching position at the academy, he’ll attain some kind of rank (Where does “Chief” fall, anyway? As far as I can tell, it’s somewhere between ensign and lieutenant. So Nog outranks him now? Not a proud legacy for more than a decade in uniform…).
  • Winn-kabob.
  • Damar’s last stand.
  • Burn Winnie burn.
  • Worf’s new-found honor and influence with the Klingon council.
  • Are those Kai burgers I smell?
  • Bashir finally gets some.
  • Armagedd-Winn.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Vic Fontaine’s schmaltzy send-off.
  • A too-short stand-off between Dukat and Sisko that smacked of the
  • Kirk/Mitchell showdown in “Where No Man has Gone Before” (“Get on your knees and pray to me, James”).
  • A tuxedo-clad Odo melting into the Great Link.
  • The use of stock footage of a Klingon getting blown down a corridor on a wave of fire (from The Undiscovered Country, I think).
  • Worf’s flashback sequence that held not a smidgen of Jadzia memories. (I guess Paramount didn’t want to have to pay residuals to Terry Farrell.)

As you can see, the good clearly outweighed the bad. I think the very best thing about the episode, and the series over all, was that I could never tell exactly how things would turn out. And even when I did have a pretty good idea of where things were going, the characters would reach their destinations via completely unexpected routes.

This rule holds true for the future of Deep Space Nine. It’s a foregone conclusion that Sisko will come back. Just watch; he’ll soon get tired of playing pinochle with Wesley on the astral plain and shuffle back into his mortal coil for a return to his old life. But to what effect? Will he be considered a lord on Bajor? Will his new found Prophet wisdom cause a rift between him and his all-too-human friends and family? Will he have hair? I can’t even guess at the possibilities.

Of course, we’re most likely to be hearing from Worf the soonest. I just hope the powers that be use the opportunity they’ve created to full effect in the next movie. Worf’s position as Federation ambassador to Qo’noS lends itself to a sweeping story that could encompass the Federation and Klingon Empire and propel the franchise forward, something it sorely needs after the disaster that was Insurrection.

The one thing I do not want to see is a feature length film that combines the Next Gen and DS9 casts. The writers have a tough enough time as it is finding useful roles for the entire Enterprise-E ensemble with each outing. If they tried to add the DS9 crew as well, the screen would be packed tighter than Seven of Nine’s Wonder Bra, but with a far less marvelous result. I’ll pin my hopes on a small-screen reunion that will give the DS9 characters and plot lines free reign.

In the meantime, I guess I still have Voyager to give me my Star Trek fix, though it’ll be like going from heroin to methadone. Now that the DS9 writers are freed up, maybe they can help put Voyager on the right track and raise it to the standards we’ve come expect from Star Trek. But I’m not gonna hold my breath. I don’t have to anyway.

When DS9 premiered, I still had a maniacal hatred of new Trek. I wasn’t sucked over the Next Gen event horizon until Generations hit the theaters. And by the time I got into DS9, it was well into its run. So I ask you to pray with me now that channel 11 in NY soon starts rerunning the series from the beginning. There are three years worth of episodes I’ve never seen. It’s a little something extra to look forward to.

See Pop? Sometimes it works to your benefit to be a day late and a dollar short…

* * *

Bones, We Salute You

I’d just like to take a moment to pay tribute to DeForest Kelley, who died the day before I wrote this column. His passing represents the end of an era, shifting original Trek firmly into the realm of memory. I’ll miss you, Bones. :-(

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