“In Purgatory’s Shadow”

I think… maybe I will attempt to log the remainder of my maiden voyage through Deep Space Nine and Voyager here. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been alternating between the two series over the past several months. For a while, I was alternating season-by-season, but I recently switched over to an alternating schedule by episodes. This had some weird side effects due to the random, unspoiled approach I’m taking — I ended up seeing Kurtwood Smith’s appearances in both shows within the space of a few days — but it worked for a while. At least, until I hit a lull in Deep Space Nine (mid-season 5) right as Voyager became really consistently good (the start of season 4), at which point I decided to go back to viewing by seasons. I had a feeling that DS9 would only be in its lacuna for a little while, given all the good things I’ve heard about its latter seasons, and its increasingly serial nature doesn’t seem to lend itself to interruptions.

Anyway, I was right. With this latest episode, I feel like things Just Got Real.

I don’t know a whole lot about DS9 beyond this point. Basically, I know:

  • There’s a big, nasty war with the Dominion;
  • Gul Dukat isn’t on the side of angels for it, despite his apparent redemptive arc over the past season;
  • Sisko’s religious role is a big deal;
  • I think maybe Dax gets a new host?

Everything else is completely fresh and unexpected to me, and with “In Purgatory’s Shadow,” I get the unmistakable impression that the show is about to hit another one of its points of no return. It contains shocking revelations about Garak’s parentage, about Bashir’s authenticity as a human being, and also of a huge Jem’Hadar fleet massing near Sullust the wormhole. I wonder if Sisko’s actions in the previous episode were meant to pave the way for tough choices to come — recalibrating viewers’ expectations of what a Starfleet captain can and should do when his back’s against the wall. That would make it an easier pill to swallow, I think.

Although this episode wasn’t listed as a two-parter, it feels extremely serial in nature. I’m curious to see if it’s simply a stealth two-parter, or if in fact DS9 is about to embrace continuity and go full-on Farscape. I feel I can’t really comment much more on this episode until I see how (or if) its various scenarios are resolved next episode. But I am enjoying the uncertainty and sense of discovery. (And I have to mention here how much I appreciate the person who wrote DS9‘s episode synopses for Netflix — unlike with other Trek series, their DS9 descriptions pretty much never give away anything beyond the pre-credits set-up sequence, which means I never know where an episode will actually end up. It’s a nice touch I’d like to see exercised more often.)

2 thoughts on ““In Purgatory’s Shadow”

  1. “I’m curious to see if it’s simply a stealth two-parter, or if in fact DS9 is about to embrace continuity and go full-on Farscape”

    Oh man, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say I want to read your reaction when you get there. You’ll know when.

  2. With respect to your aversion to spoilers, I’ll be as vague as possible. Good things are yet to come.

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