Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S06E14 – One Little Ship

In the fourteenth episode of the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, well, that happened. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

You know, I’m having trouble coming up with something substantive to say about “One Little Ship.” It’s difficult to come off of “Far Beyond the Stars” and then have to do critical analysis on something as silly and absurd as this. It’s not a terrible episode, but it’s also not among this show’s best, brightest, and most compelling.

It’s not entirely without merit. I love stories about teamwork, and the idea of both “teams” working towards a common goal without being able to communicate with one another was pretty cool. It’s not often that Deep Space Nine deals in science fiction tropes as classic as this one. (Rather, I should say that they’re rarely as obvious as the miniaturization trope.) That was a treat! And when “One Little Ship” barreled forth into silliness, it was a lot of fun!

Plus, there are some serious elements to it that were rewarding to watch as well. The shift in perspective was dealt with brilliantly, I’d say. O’Brien has always been confident as an engineer, even if he’s dealing with complex problems. But upon being shrunken down, his knowledge of the Defiant shifts with his size. I found it to be an interesting way to deal with disorientation. Then, we’ve got Sisko’s continued manipulation of the Jem’Hadar. Y’all, it’s ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO SEE HIM DO THIS. He’s got such a knack for figuring out social dynamics and exploiting them in order to survive.

Actually, let’s talk about the Jem’Hadar, because that’s probably the most intriguing aspect of this episode. I have, for the most part, always seen them as an obedient and unified force. However, “One Little Ship” presents us with a new complication: there is a competitive set of factions within the Jem’Hadar. The Alphas and the Gammas refer to themselves based on their Quadrant of origin. And given that they are a race of engineered warriors, it made sense to me that the newest race of Jem’Hadar would view themselves as superior. Why wouldn’t that be the case? If their genetic engineering made them smarter or faster or more fierce, then it stands to reason that the original “batch” would be viewed with scorn.

That conflict is all over “One Little Ship,” and I’m hoping it’s something explored in another episode. Will the Alphas completely replace the Gamma Quadrant soldiers? What happens when you’re retired??? Do they just execute these Jem’Hadar because they serve a lesser purpose? Do they get re-tasked with less vital missions? What the hell do they do with them?

Other than this, this was a very surreal episode that has the unfortunate virtue of coming after the show’s best. The idea of a miniaturized shuttle combatting the Jem’Hadar isn’t the worst thing, but I also can’t claim to have loved this episode either.

The video for “One Little Ship” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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