The Future Will Be Carpeted

The Future Will Be Carpeted (171)


7.9 (aired November 25, 1998)

“Some things can’t be forgiven.”
    -- Colonel Kira Nerys

"The Siege of AR-558"
7.8 (aired November 18, 1998)

“Let me tell you something about humans, nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time, and those friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces. Look in their eyes.”
    -- Quark

"Once More Unto the Breach"
7.7 (aired November 11, 1998)

“Savor the fruit of life, my young friends. It has a sweet taste when it is fresh from the vine. But don’t live too long. The taste turns bitter... after a time.”
    -- Kor

"Treachery, Faith and the Great River"
7.6 (aired November 2, 1998)

“Of course I’m paranoid, everyone’s trying to kill me.”
    -- Weyoun

7.5 (aired October 28, 1998)

“Everyone, this is Sarina. Sarina, this is everyone.”
    -- Dr. Julian Bashir

"Take Me Out to the Holosuite"
7.4 (aired October 21, 1998)

“When their captain challenged us to a contest of courage, teamwork, and sacrifice, I accepted on your behalf.”
“We will destroy them.”
    -- Sisko and Worf

“It’s a strange sensation, dying. No matter how many times it happens, you never get used to it.”
    -- Ensign Ezri Dax

Characters in ensemble dramas need episodes focused around them to establish who they are, what they want, and where they came from. There’s a tradition in shows like DS9 to have one member of the ensemble act as the protagonist of the hour, with the rest of the cast taking the role of foils or even antagonists. After introducing Ezri Dax, they couldn’t just sneak her onto the show and pretend she’d been there the whole time. No, she was going to need that spotlight.

“It’ll be just like old times. Except different.”
-- Ensign Ezri Dax

Terry Farrell leaving DS9 put the writers in a no-win situation. The first option, the one I preferred at the time, is problematic from the standpoint that the show was already a bit of a sausage-fest, and they’d just been forced to kill one of only two female regulars. Elevating one of DS9’s numerous reoccurring characters to regular status, say, someone like Garak or Nog, who are not only great characters on their own, but are in most of the final season anyway, would have certainly been elegant and organic. It would have also left a cast of nine with only a single woman.

“In times of trouble, some people find comfort in hate and fear.”
    -- Constable Odo

With a quote like that, you’d think Odo was commenting on current events. That’s really what defines good science fiction: the ability to stay relevant many years after it’s released into the wild. Deep Space Nine is prescient to almost an absurd degree, but it’s no great magic trick how the writers managed this. People are people (as the philosophers of Depeche Mode once informed us), and as long as the stories spring from that essential idea, they’ll retain a position of truth. Odo’s not talking about current events; he’s talking about the persistent threads of history that have consistently led to the rise of organizations that feed on negative emotions.

“Take us to Cardassia, Mr. Nog.”
    -- Captain Benjamin Sisko

Whenever I think about running a television show, my sphincter clenches up with the tensile strength of an industrial vice. Too many outside factors determine the stories you’re allowed to tell: your ratings, your network, your executives, your actors, and so forth and so on. Although we call them “talking props” in the industry, it turns out actors are creative folks with thoughts, ideas, and feelings about what they’re doing. And, sometimes, they just up and walk away.

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