Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Jem'Hadar

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Remember Tosk from 'Captive Pursuit'? Genetically engineered reptile guy, strong, invisible, no sense of humor, runs really fast? He was the RUNT OF THE LITTER. Welcome to the REAL Gamma Quadrant. Sorry we didn't mention it in the brochures...

Quark hopes to ingratiate himself with Commander Sisko on a survey/camping trip with their boys. "No offense, some of my best friends are hew-mons. But my brother Rom isn't as liberal as I am."

The Ferengi's allergy to nature, delicate constitution, and eye single to the glory of Exploitable Resources makes him less than a joy to camp out with. (Exactly how I probably seemed to my fellow Boy Scouts: including the brightly colored shirt that inexplicably bursts into flames.) Quark also gets a couple of the best speeches of the entire season, if not the series, when he accuses Sisko of prejudice against Ferengi. "You Federation types are all alike. You talk about tolerance and understanding but you only practice it towards people who remind you of yourselves."

A gal with kooky venetian-blinds for ears runs up firing telekinetic ball lightning from her breasts. And nobody is even on acid! She's real, she's called Eris, and her pursuers imprison Quark and Ben alongside her.

Their captors, the Jem'Hadar, are the fiercest soldiers of The Dominion, and utterly loyal to its possibly mythical Founders. They know rather a lot about the Alpha Quadrant, scoff at forcefields, and deliver an ultimatum to stay out. They've destroyed a whole list of vessels... and New Bajor colony. Also they poured hot coffee on a tribble. That's how they roll.

Unable to provide authorization to the runabout, Jake and Nog take the automatic pilot apart and discover that without it they can't automatically pilot anything. Limping home at impulse, the boys find the rescue party. Galaxy-class starship Odyssey under hard-ass Captain Keogh is no match for Jem'Hadar ships. They finish him off all too easily with a suicide run. While Odyssey was retreating! And it was just 93 years away from retirement!

Eris' sob story is called into question, right before she sneers at us and beams away. "You've no idea what's begun here."

So I'll tell you!  We just met the Carrot and the Stick of the Dominion. Although it's one miserly, malnourished rib-eared baby carrot, and a honking great big drug-addicted rhinoceros of a stick.

"The Jem'Hadar" would soon lose its visual effects Emmy to its own upstart younger sibling series, Star Trek Voyager.  But for a little while at least, Deep Space Nine was the only Trek in town, and it definitely had my vote!

It's never easy to love Quark but today I really did: "Humans used be a lot like Ferengi. Greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We're a constant reminder of a part of your past you'd like to forget... but humans used to be a lot worse than Ferengi. Slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're BETTER. Now... if you'll excuse me, I have a lock to pick."

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