Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, October 28, 2005

I've been left pretty immobile all week, thanks to the flu. And, since I don't feel like moving or going anywhere, I've been watching a lot of Star Trek reruns. Between SpikeTV and Space: the Imagination Station, I can watch Star Trek reruns for a good one-third of the day.

Today's DS9 reruns were the end of the sixth season and the start of the seventh. These two episodes are notable for one main reason: they killed Jadzia Dax, and brought in Ezri Dax.

For those who don't remember, Jadzia Dax died in the Bajoran temple on DS9. She was saying a prayer to the Prophets, when a possessed Gul Dukat came in and gunned her down. Well, she wasn't gunned down as much as she was zapped down with mystical energy from Dukat's fingertips. All in all, I think it's fair to say it was a "punk death." Sadly, unless it's in a movie, Star Trek characters always die punk deaths.

And then, the introduction of Ezri. I, personally, kind of like it for being simple and understated. Capt. Sisko, refreshed from his sabbatical, is about to go off and rescue the Prophets. And then, there's a knock on the door of the Sisko family restaurant. The door opens, and in walks the cute-as-a-button Nicole deBoer. "Hello, Benjamin," she says. "It's me...Dax." Fade to black. Yeah, this happens in the last 2 minutes of the episode. But still, it's so simple and it works.

Today's trivia bit: Ezri Dax is the only Star Trek main character who has yet to be made into an action figure.

And then, I've also seen my fair share of Star Trek's "metaphor" episodes. See, some of the best science fiction has always been satirical in nature. They'll take some present-day issue, push it to ridiculous extremes, and then move it to an alien planet. The goal is - hopefully - to get you to look at the issue in a new light. Star Trek's done several episodes like this. The best ones are when the metaphor/satire is subtle. The worst ones are when they beat you over the head with it and get a little preachy.

I saw one of the more recent, better examples of a worse one. It was a Voyager episode called "Critical Care." The issue it was satirizing: private, for-profit healthcare.

The set-up was like this: the Doctor was kidnapped and forced to work in this alien hospital. Now, this alien hospital was run by a computer that would calculate your "worth to society." The more you were worth, the better the healthcare you got. The Doctor saw such atrocities as the "worthless" citizens being denied the necessary cures while those with "a great deal of worth" frittered away these cures on frivilous things like anti-aging treatments. Eventually, the Doctor started subverting the system to make sure everyone got the same quality of healthcare. The episode ends with the Doctor re-programming the computer so the hospital's administrators are deemed "worthless," and then infecting them with a deadly plague. Because the administrators are now "worthless," the necessary cure is denied to them. And thus, the Doctor brings and end to this system.

See? Now that's not subtle at all. Prime example of being beaten over the head with the message.

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