Friday, September 21, 2012

The Visitor

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Jake, Jake, Jake. You gotta take better care of yourself. You look like Candyman's Grandpa!

Old Jake Sisko lives in a bayou, and had only two books published in his lifetime. His dad died when Jake was only 18. And he's never been able to heal because his lost father never really goes away.

After disintegrating before his son's eyes, Ben Sisko momentarily reappears every so often, knocked out of alignment with time by a warp core accident. You gotta watch those Vonnegut plugs: they'll unstick you from time every time!

37-year-old Jake is finally happy again as a writer, married to a painter named Korena, and is still chums with Starfleet Commander Nog. But one visit from his drop-out dad, and Jake ditches writing to get a subspace physics doctorate to try to save him. (It's a tough discipline: you need to know how many beans make five, but in 12 dimensions and the beans are usually picked before they were planted. And there's a good chance of Solanagen-Based Lobster-Lizards eating your results. And face.)

50 years after Sisko vanished (and having lost Korena while buried in his work) Jake of 2422 joins forces with Captain Nog to get the Defiant, Jadzia, and Julian out of mothballs. Klingon High Councillor Worf lets them enter the occupied Bajor system. They wear the 'All Good Things...' uniforms. Uniforms that scream: THIS NEVER HAPPENED!

In the scant seconds they have together Ben begs his aging son to build a better life. Finally, Jake returned to his writing, and he's told this strange life story to his young fan Melanie. Jake has timed the moment of his death to coincide with Ben's return: cutting the cord between them is the only way to "snap" his dad back to just before the accident... and prevent it.

Like Drunk Tom in Harry Kim's alternate world from 'Non Sequitor', Jake gives everything in his life ... and then his life... all for the love of his father. Take that, Giving Tree!

"The Visitor" definitely deserved its Hugo nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation. If it had to lose to something, I'm glad it was Babylon 5.

Best line of the night: "I'm no writer, but if I were it seems to me I'd want to poke my head up every once in a while and take a look around, see what's going on. It's life, Jake. You can miss it if you don't open your eyes."

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