Sunday, 19 April 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #32

Deep Space Nine
Empok Nor

Quark is having issues with retaining customers in his bar thanks to ongoing maintenance by the Chief and Nog, unable to totally fix the problem and with no replicator sourced replacement parts they decide to visit the sister station to DS9 "Empok Nor" which was recently abandoned by the Cardassians. Garak is invited along since it's common practice to booby trap a resource and that is proven to be a good idea as Garak is able to gain entry and power up the station without incident or so they think. It turns out that there were three soldiers in statis left to deal with any intruders, two survive and are revived and begin to hunt down the Starfleet personnel.
It's not all plain sailing though as Garak becomes infected by a compound they find smeared on a railing, it's the same drug that is driving the even more determined Cardassians to hunt down intruders and as time passes Garak himself becomes more of a threat to the remaining Starfleet crew.

Empok Nor is an entertaining episode, its slow pace works to perfection to enhance the suspense and danger involved with being on this moth balled space station. Garak and Miles are great fun as the initial friendly banter which supports the first half of the episode and as the situation evolves into a life and death struggle their dialogue remains the most important aspect. There were some issues most of which exist to make the plot work beginning with the rather suspect inability to repair DS9 in the first place, a conduit shouldn't rely on a like for like original replacement rather than a replicated part. It was rather amusing to see that Health and Safety in terms of noisy working conditions and the environment weren't an issue for Starfleet or Quark missing the opportunity for compensation for loss of business. I also wondered why Empok Nor seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, the design after all seemed to be intended for ore processing but it wasn't in orbit or close to an asteroid belt and while yes Cardassians would bobby trap a resource you would think it would make more sense to destroy it or move it. There was also evidence the station was abandoned quickly which goes against the more organised security measures so when we see a girder has smashed into one of the pods you wonder why, these stations are built strong.

Got to have an audience
Empok Nor is a very good example of what DS9 was created to provide, a much darker and gritty episode of Star Trek with many shades of grey and who else but Garak (Andrew Robinson) could maximise that potential. It was great to see Garak even more dry and cutting as the drug began to take effect and when he gutted the security officer and pointed out he had fetched the wrong tool you had to smile despite the loss of another "red shirt". Speaking of which I was not impressed with the Starfleet personnel both in terms of attitude, tactics and awareness when they knew they were in danger but they were there to set the scene for Garak and Miles with Nog (Aron Eisenberg) thrown in as a pawn in the spirit of the game which was a constant in the story.
Rating 8



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