ext_2512: ([ds9] awkward first date)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] 1summermission
Episode Notes:
+ When Miles and Keiko were having their cute newlywed not!spats about cuisine, this is all I heard:



+ No, it was cute though. If awkward. Just like Keiko's hilarious 24th century shock at the idea of Miles' mother handling REAL MEAT.
+ Cardassian episodes just make me miss Garak. I should watch more DS9. Oh, Garak. You would never grow misguided face ridge facial hair like the Cardassian leader in this episode did. You would never be so tacky.
+ Hi, evil warden from Shawshank Redemption! I will try and judge you for your actual murders here and not for your despicable murder there.
+ Irish men with rough singing voices sort of kill me. This was emotional enough already, Miles.

Overall Reaction: Ouch. Ouuuuuuuuch. My heart.

This is a really good episode about the after-effects of war, about what it does to the people who fight. I actually thought that "The Wounded" was a nice poetic title for it, because that is what both Miles and the disturbed Captain Maxwell, his old commanding officer, are -- they are carrying around a wound that does not heal.

Miles, perhaps because he is faced with the worst case scenario of what happens when you don't move on, begins to make some overtures towards dealing with his past in this episode. After initially rebuffing the Cardassian officers who are aboard the Enterprise while they investigate Maxwell's apparently random attack on a peaceful Cardassian outpost, Miles approaches one of the Cardassian men to make amends in Ten Forward. That scene, where he speaks frankly about the horrible things he witnessed during the Federation-Cardassian war and reveals that it is not the Cardassians that he hates, but what he became when fighting them, is incredibly effective.

Captain Maxwell's trauma from his experiences in that war -- the anger and the pain he has lived with for so many years, after the loss of his family, and his profound inability to readjust to peace -- turn him from an admirable Starfleet officer to a vengeful reactionary. His attacks put the new alliance between the two empires in jeopardy, and also have a clear effect on the Cardassians aboard the Enterprise, who seem genuinely shaken by the loss of life. (Well. They had facial expressions and seemed to show real emotion. Cardassians are pretty hard to read.) They're also shocking for the audience -- it is rare to see the kind of body count he racks up on Star Trek, and all before we actually meet the man.

When we do meet Maxwell, his pain is painful to see, but it is also clear how far gone he is in his grief. He seems too far gone for reason...which makes it all the more powerful when Miles is able to beam aboard Maxwell's ship and find some connection with the commander he still deeply respects. Their quiet moment of union, singing the song of a comrade who fell in the war, is a beautiful denouement to the episode.

And then, in the last thirty seconds of the episode, we have the clear-eyed Picard challenge his Cardassian guest on the "harmlessness" of the ships and settlement that Maxwell attacked -- which both sets up the potential for future conflict (which I gather is coming soon on DS9...?) and establishes Picard as a total badass excellent foil for the Cardassians. You know that Cardassian has never respected Picard more than at the moment he revealed that he was onto their machinations all along but did exactly what needed to be done without letting on.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like... like old leather. And finally... becomes so familiar that one can't ever remember feeling any other way." (Picard)
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