Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Sense of Wonder

After finishing Deep Space Nine the other day, I proposed to a few friends that "What You Leave Behind" is essentially the end of Star Trek, or more specifically, a hypothetical series trilogy starting with TOS (and its films), continuing on to TNG, and ending with DS9. I thought that DS9 matured the themes of the Original Series and brought them to a sort of sublime conclusion, and that all other Star Trek that came afterwards were real "spin offs" insofar as they branched out or diverged from what I now consider a thematic arc across TOS-TNG-DS9. I think this might only work if you divorce yourself of the notion of a Roddenberry "vision" that must be or was always at play, and that divorced from "what Gene wanted," TOS-TNG-DS9 was about how hubris meets sacrifice, how history and empire are made of small people acting out roles larger than they can comprehend or accept, and that at the end, space is and never was "home," no matter how hard we tried to make it.

Or maybe WYLB was just a real, legit "ending" -- an ending that surpassed the attempts to "end" the previous series, for whatever their motivations. I liked how O'Brien takes his annoying-ass family back to Earth, how Sisko "dies" and literally leaves this mortal plane, how Odo and Kira shed no tears as they say goodbye. None of this bringing Spock back to life, none of this fuzzy poker playing ending where we assume the adventure continues: people finally have to deal with loss. But maybe what made DS9 for me was the episode "Waltz," where a hallucinating Dukat breaks down in front of his hostage Sisko that he should have killed all the Bajorans during his time as leader of the occupation, Sisko sneaks up behind him as he rants, smacks him in the back of the head with a metal bar, and then grits this line through his teeth. "And that's why you're not an evil man," before he runs off to escape.

I said all of that to distract you and myself from the crushing truth that winter will soon be upon Gambier, and I the winter-weary type in summer, will soon find I can only have so much fun throwing my cat into the snow to see what she'll do. I suspect that Irene will probably be okay as she's got fur.