In the twenty-fifth and penultimate episode of the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, THIS IS UNFAIR, I HATE ALL OF YOU. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For talk of depression and PTSD.
I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU ALL FOR THIS ONE even though I loved it and it’s yet another incredible entry in this season. HOW IS SEASON SIX SO GOOD.
Odo vs. Quark
You know, the sub-plot for this episode feels pretty tremendous, even when compared to the gut-punch at the center of “The Sound of Her Voice.” It wasn’t the Quark-centric “Profit and Lace” that grew his character; it was this episode. Granted, he’s still selfish, and his main motivation here is making 200 bars of latinum by illegally selling some sort of crystal (probably to Jill Stein, I’m guessing). He still breaks the law, and I’m not expecting some huge turn-around on his part.
But the power in this story is rooted in that awesome scene where Odo surveils Quark and learns the truth about how Quark feels about him. Quark is convinced that Odo wants nothing more than to ruin his life. And I don’t blame him for thinking that! Indeed, that’s a huge part of the dynamic between the two of them. Quark tries to do whatever he wants, Odo is always one step ahead of him. That’s like… 90% of every time they interact. It’s an endless cat-and-mouse game!
And yet, Quark “wins,” not because he’s outsmarted Odo, but because Odo pitied him. There’s a part of me that thinks he really does appreciate how often Quark provided him the chance to vent about his unrequited love with Kira, and thus, he lets Quark escaped unscathed. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, and I’m fine admitting this. Perhaps season seven will just be more shenanigans between the two of them. But I also love the idea that Odo and Quark are changing. Odo is learning compassion. Quark found happiness. Amidst the dire circumstances of the Dominion War, it’s a nice exception.
The Sound of Her Voice
Deep down, I was worried that this show would, again, completely ruin me with this plot, but I had so much hope. It is absolutely astounding to me that this episode is able to build up a character like Lisa Cusak entirely through dialogue. We never see Debra Wilson, but her voice acting is unreal here. Within ten minutes of her introduction, I wanted to meet her. I wanted to see the person who used her arresting honesty to get this crew to talk so openly about all the ways the Dominion War had changed their lives. And that’s some brilliant writing, too; it’s not easy to get me to care about someone I don’t see on screen. It’s even more difficult to make these characters react the way that they do.
But “The Sound of Her Voice” is a monumental achievement on all fronts. Watching Sisko, Julian, and Miles speak with Lisa and open up to her was a treat, both because it gave me a sense for who Lisa was and allowed me an emotional insight into those three men. Specifically, it’s a clever way for the show to continue to build up a different aspect of the Dominion War. Both “Far Beyond the Stars” and “In the Pale Moonlight” provided that for Sisko, but what of the ship’s chief medical officer? The chief engineer? It is incredible to me that Lisa manages to deal with isolation in all three of these characters. She helps Sisko find out why he’s been so flippant and irritated with Kasidy. She talks Julian through his general disinterest and fear. (After pulling one hell of a prank on him.) And she gets Miles to admit that he’s grown apart from his friends since he came aboard the station, so much so that he can’t even talk to them about how isolated he’s come to feel.
Lisa exists somewhere between a best friend and a disinterested party, and it’s what works so well in this script. She knows when to be honest and prod a person a bit more in order to get them to be truthful. She’s got a sense of humor. And she ultimately sympathizes or empathizes with everyone she talks to. Her conversation with Miles might be my favorite of the bunch because it’s so rare to see him get vulnerable like that.
Which is why that ending hurts so bad. I mean… the explanation for it is very rushed, and I get that it’s not the point of it, but like… I NEED SOMETHING TO EXPLAIN HOW LISA WAS DEAD THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME. Emotionally, I love what this does for the show as a whole and the cast, but now that I’m sitting here and thinking about it… wow, this was so cruel. It was like the show suddenly decided to drop in a Twilight Zone-esque twist at the last second. Of course, I’m bitter because I wanted to meet Lisa so badly, and that’s kind of the point. And it doesn’t negate what Lisa did or offered to these people, nor does it erase the kindness provided by all the officers who stayed up to talk to her. All of that still matters, and it’s what ultimately comforts me about “The Sound of Her Voice.” I have that, and this twist doesn’t erase it.
Whew, I got emotional myself during that wake. FRIENDSHIP. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Though the absence of Kira and Odo is a little weird, isn’t it? Bah, anyway, I did enjoy this episode, even though it hurt me and me specifically.
The video for “The Sound of Her Voice” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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