Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Meridian” (part 3 of 3)
Back in from the break, Deral and Dax are now doing more science-y stuff at a console. And it would appear that our hastily-thrown-together couple is better at getting into each other’s pants than solving the planet’s problems, because they quickly realize that the issue is not gamma bursts at all. Basically, they’re back at square one.
Another kiss is averted as Sisko calls in, reporting that the probe they sent out has managed to get deeper into the sun’s corona. Chief O’Brien sends the new info down to Dax, and Deral succeeds in replacing the creepy vibe with being just plain annoying by nuzzling Dax the whole time. Seriously, it’s pretty damn hard to get behind a guy who manages to come off as both amazingly creepy and pathetically needy at the same time.
Deral continues to seem more interested in making out with Dax than saving his planet. Then Dax suggests they work a few more hours, and then go back to his place so they can count each other’s spots. Bow-chikka-wow-wow!
Later, while looking over the data, Dax suddenly realizes through the healing power of Treknobabble what the problem is. As a result, they now understand how to keep the planet around for a longer period of time the next time it materializes. She and Deral hug happily, and Dax rushes off to tell Sisko the good news. We’re not going to get to hear any of the specifics, but hell, I guess it’s gonna work, since we’re already 25 minutes into the episode.
So yes, the writers did basically just shrug off what little tension there was in this dimension-shifting plotline in favor of focusing on an improbably fast love affair.
Naturally, Deral has a needy moment again, because Dax is off screen for longer than half a second. He breaks out the sad puppy dog face, so she returns to quickly repeat the “counting each other’s spots” gag before the scene ends.
Back on the station, we’re treated to a camera’s eye view of Odo and Kira, as Quark films them talking. Odo and Kira catch on quickly, and stalk over to him. Quark lies that he’s making a holosuite program about the workings of the station, and Kira tells him not to try that again… and end scene.
Typical Quark stuff, typical reactions from the other people in the scene. There’s not a hell of a lot to get into here. It’s like the episode is just trying to be as insubstantial as possible. Successfully too, I might add.
Back in our supposed A plot, Dax comes across Deral at the pond. And for some reason, Frakes decides to film the first shot of them as a reflection in the water. Well, I guess when your story isn’t wowing the audience, you may as well get showy with the camera work.
An amazingly banal exchange occurs. Dax says she’s been looking for Deral, to which he replies, “You found me.” Like he’s been lost in the desert for a year, only with a little bit of creepy to it, because hey, that’s the way schmucks like this usually are.
Dax reports that they’ve been able to equalize the time between the dimensional shifts, and Deral is happy. Well, as happy as this actor is capable of portraying, which means he just comes off as weird.
Deral says he’s going to build a house for them by the pond. Wow, he must really be tired of the other villagers gossiping, if he’s taking things to this level after knowing Dax all of a few days.
Dax is torn, and in a really bad Soap Opera Moment (actually, I’m probably being generous), there’s sad music as they hug over their love (another overly generous characterization), which can only last for five more days.
So, for those of you scoring at home, we have a series regular falling for a guest “star” in an amazingly contrived manner, where the writers don’t even bother showing them starting to fall in love. Hell, the whole thing comes off more like Dax is just really horny, so she just happens to have sex with some random stalkerish guy who just happens to fall in love with her.
We also have a terrible dilemma facing the couple, because in five days, the man’s planet will take a 60 year hiatus from this dimension. Now, if you can’t guess what’s going to happen by the end of this episode, please turn in your bad TV watcher passes at the door. Thank you for your time.
Deral tells Dax he doesn’t want to wait another 60 years to see her, and suggests he go and live on the station with her. A swell of music comes up and Terry Farrell overacts a joyous reaction. Geez, lady! You’ve known the guy for what, 72 hours? It’s not like he’s George Clooney. Calm down!
This contrived bit of nonsense takes us into a commercial break. Upon returning, Seltin approaches our thrown-together couple and exposits that thanks to Team DS9, Meridian will have thirty years in corporeal form the next time they come back. How this was accomplished will remain a mystery, right up there with Bigfoot, the identity of Jack the Ripper, and the brief popularity of Pauly Shore.
Gratitude is spread all around, and then Deral tells Seltin he needs to talk to her. They head out, leaving Dax alone, and Seltin goes on and on about some village chick who’s been pining away for him (guess she digs creepy dopes), and how they can now start having families again.
Back on the Defiant, Dax and Dr. Bashir are talking in her quarters. Bashir remarks that he feels sorry for Quark, since Quark has always believed he and Dax were made for each other. Well, there’s a mental image I didn’t need. Still, if Dax is willing to make it with a weirdo like Deral, she’d probably get it on with Quark, too. Though I’d imagine that severe amounts of booze would be required.
Before the conversation can go any further, the schmuck of Dax’s dreams appears. He brings news that Seltin does not approve of his plans to leave the planet. Seltin thinks the villagers can’t afford to lose anyone, though if you ask me, she really shouldn’t knock life without this drip until she’s tried it.
Deral hasn’t changed his mind, however. He says that all he has left to do on the planet is take care of a few things, and say goodbye to a few people. Lop off a few heads off, a little disemboweling, that sort of thing.
Back on DS9, Norman is standing in the shadows, looking creepy. Quark approaches and Norman asks about his program. Quark tells him not to worry, and produces some kind of device that will help him finish the program.
Later, Kira enters Odo’s office, and tells him someone has been accessing her personnel file. They quickly intuit that Quark is behind this, so Kira plans a little surprise for Quark.
Yep, that’s about all that happens in those two scenes. Talk about insignificant subplots. I’m all for having stuff to cut away to, but generally it’s good to actually try to hide how pointless it all is.
That night, Deral and Dax are relaxing in a dimly lit room. It appears to be some sort of recreational center, judging from all the extras in the background. Dax notices that Deral is preoccupied, and guesses that he doesn’t want to leave the planet.
He’s torn between wanting to be with Dax, and wanting to be with his people. He says his people need him more than ever, now that they have a future. Though based on what we’ve seen in the episode, this is a gross overstatement. Unless of course, he’s the village idiot, in which case he might actually have a point.
Dax suggest she stay on the planet with him, which Deral says won’t work because her molecular structure wouldn’t survive the dimensional shift. Or maybe he’s just now realizing that since the planet now has a future, he has a wider variety of potential victims, so having her around would get in the way.
Dax suggests a Treknobabble solution, involving the transporter beam and matching the two of them up somehow. Dax says it’s the only way for them to be together, and they kiss. You know, now would be a good time to reveal that Deral really is a psychotic killer. Anything would be better than this banal, sappy sludge.
Back on the Defiant, Sisko enters Dax’s quarters as she’s finishing up her request for a 60 year leave of absence. He asks if she’s sure she’s thought things through, but she just wants him to be happy for her. They have an emotional parting of the ways that would be touching, if it weren’t so hilariously overdone and melodramatic. Avery Brooks is a good actor, and it would be unfair to say he hams it up here, but seriously. He does enough loud sniffling to the point where you just want Dax to say, “Christ, take some DayQuil and come back later, will ya?”
Dax says she’s excited about spending 60 years as pure energy, and Sisko laughingly says the next time they see each other, he’ll be a great-grandfather. Still sniffling loudly enough to indicate some serious health problems, Sisko hugs her, and the scene ends.
Back on the station, our repulsive little B plot comes to an end as Quark and Norman walk towards a holosuite. After some bickering about payment terms, Norman tells Quark that if he’s satisfied (eww), he’ll buy the program to use at home. Evidently, he has his own personal holosuite, which he refers to as “Just a little present I bought myself!”
I’m trying really hard to stifle my gag reflex right now. I’m doing this because I know what’s coming next. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Norman enters the holosuite, and passes through flowing pink curtains that look like something out of Red Shoe Diaries. He parts the curtains and sees a woman relaxing on a bed. We see only her body… but not her head.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer.
Norman is astonished to the point of orgasmic delight as he steps forward. And then there’s a long loving pan up the woman’s body. As the pan ends, her head comes up and… Oh sweet Jesus, I think I’m gonna puke.
Her head… Lord, give me strength.
Her head… Satan, throw a bit in there too while we’re at it. This is probably your fault anyway.
The head rises, and rather than the lovely face of Kira, we’re treated to Quark’s head… on a female body.
The head turns and says, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Oh god, my eyes! My eyes! Make it stop!
Just a little bit of trivia before I get back to screaming: Apparently, they wanted to use Nana Visitor’s actual body, and have a foam rubber mask over her head that would be digitally replaced with Quark’s head. She couldn’t do it, allegedly because she had a claustrophobic reaction to the heavy makeup job, but I’m betting she decided she’d rather have an exposed nerve in her mouth drilled without anesthetic than go through with this scene. Either way, a stand-in did the scene, and Ms. Visitor got a lucky break. Unlike us poor bastards watching this.
And now, back to screaming in pain.
Oh, the humanity!
Okay, I think I’m fine now. Well, as fine as one can be after experiencing that.
Norman storms out and confronts Quark, telling him that he will ruin him. Quark is dumbfounded as Norman leaves angrily. Just then, Kira and Odo show up. And that’s the last we’ll be seeing of any of these people in this episode. Thank God.
But I guess we know where the idea for “Profit and Lace” came from now, don’t we? And if you really want some nightmare fuel, just remember that somewhere out there, deep in the parts where the buses don’t run, some guy looked at this episode and was really into it.
Well, there’s four minutes and change to go, so I guess we’re just going for the quick wrap-up, rather than any meaningful character stuff. The show is, at least. I’m gonna drag this out like my life depends on it. I do have some professional standards.
On the Defiant, Dax is ready to go. The music swells as she says her final goodbyes and makes a few jokes with the crew. Hint #1 that the plan isn’t going to work (well, apart from the fact that no show would just write out a main character for an episode this worthless), is that we’re given no idea whatsoever as to what will happen if it does work. Evidently, it involves Dax spending six hours getting her molecules scrambled, but honestly, that information is about as useful as a warm bucket of hamster vomit.
Dax beams down to the village, and Deral greets her. Seltin tells her how happy she is that Dax has decided to join them.
And now it’s time to prepare for the dimensional shift. Dax and Deral hold onto each other, and Deral can’t let this episode end without one more mildly creepy line: He tells her they’ll be together “in a way you can’t possibly imagine”. Man, I really have to wonder if they wrote this dialogue as a goof.
On the Defiant, Sisko and Co. watch as energy rings begin to emanate from the planet. On the surface, however, there’s a Star Trek record set for total time to catastrophic failure, when the planet shudders. Deral intuits something is wrong (no shit, putz!) and on the Defiant, Bashir reports seismic activity within the planet’s crust.
Back on the planet, Deral is starting to fade while holding onto Dax. He only has time to say her name before fading into the other dimension with the rest of the villagers.
Dax is alone in the city as it fades away. On the ship, O’Brien Treknobabbles that Dax’s presence on the planet is causing the problems with the dimensional shift. Sisko tries to reach her on her communicator, but a quick cut to the planet shows her gasping for air, with no Deus ex MacGyver to save her.
Sisko looks panicked. Bashir tells O’Brien to beam her back. There’s one more shot of Dax gasping as she’s beamed back onto the ship.
Later, Dax is ruminating in her quarters. Sisko shows up and tells her that the planet shifted normally as soon as she was back onboard the ship. Dax is bummed out, but tells Sisko there’s nothing he can do to help, because she just needs time. Well, that is what it takes to change the essence of man, from what I hear.
Sisko nods and leaves. Dax sinks down in a corner, muttering, “Just 60 years, or so.” And then the episode ends.
Well, that was much ado about nothing. Predictability and corny sappiness in one plot; repulsive non-humor in the other. Thankfully, this was an aberration in the show’s history.