Thursday, July 1, 2010

DS9 Rewind Review – “Captive Pursuit”

Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’
Season 1 – Episode 5
“Captive Pursuit”

After two okay episodes ‘Deep Space Nine’ bounces back in a big way with “Captive Pursuit”. I’m a big fan of Chief O’Brien, so any story that focuses on him automatically starts out in the good column. Colm Meaney had been playing the character on a semi-regular basis, and with increasing regularity, over the first five seasons of ‘Star Trek: the Next Generation’. Unlike his ‘DS9’ cast mates at this point, he really, really knows his character and it shows.

O’Brien is immediately friendly and helpful to Tosk. He genuinely wants to help the guy out. This episode demonstrates Miles’ ability to plan ahead and use his engineering expertise to great effect. Also, in this futuristic era of phasers, it’s great to see someone taken down with a good old fashion punch. O’Brien’s crack about the hunters wearing helmets is perfect, too.

Tosk is a fascinating character. He is truly alien in demeanor and look. Scott MacDonald takes it even further with his very physical performance. Tosk is constantly taking in his surroundings, looking for possible sources of attack and quick escape routes. He’s hunched a bit as if he is ready to pounce at any given moment. Also the makeup work is great and it covers his entire face and is not the usual bumpy forehead quick fix.

Another great aspect about this particular hour is that it plays with two familiar Trek themes: first contact with a new species and the Prime Directive. As for the former, Tosk is the first being from the other side of the wormhole to visit the station. I like that Sisko decides to forego the formalities so O’Brien can make the visitor feel at ease. It allows the story to and character development kick in quicker.

The Prime Directive has been a continual source of obstruction for characters on Trek shows for years. O’Brien’s solution is great. While insubordinate, his actions certainly fit within the cultural context of the hunters. He makes a great point that they were not happy of having to drag Tosk back home alive. You can almost since the enthusiasm in the lead hunter’s voice when he tells his crew that the hunt was back on.

Quark continues to be a source of great entertainment on ‘DS9’. This episode really plays up his nature as a social creature. He’s a people person. Sure, talking to his customers can lead to the next big score, but he really enjoys interacting to them. Just don’t call him ‘barkeep’. His presence is even felt during the dabo girl’s complaint to Sisko during the teaser. I wouldn’t put it past the Ferengi to put a clause in his workers’ contracts that states certain obligations to the boss.

“Captive Pursuit” is one fun and exciting episode. O’Brien really gets to shine and it shows what ‘DS9’ can do with some very familiar Trek tropes. This is certainly one of the best of the series so far.

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