Friday, February 24, 2017

Deep Space Nine 5x23 "Blaze of Glory"

 rating: ***

the story: Eddington's last stand.

what it's all about: Aside from Voyager's "Extreme Risk" (which came about a year later), this is about the last episode in the Maquis narrative begun in Next Generation mostly as a way to set up Voyager.  Eddington last appeared in "For the Uniform," which to my mind remains one of the signal episodes of the series, but this was immediately preceding "In Purgatory's Shadow"/"By Inferno's Light," where the Dominion War becomes inevitable upon Cardassia joining the evil Gamma Quadrant faction.  Seems the Maquis were targeted for elimination after that. 

So there had to be a follow-up, right?  Between Ro Laren (Next Generation's seminal "Preemptive Strike") and Tom Riker (Deep Space Nine's own "Defiant"), usually once someone has made the fateful decision to join the Maquis and either gone off into the sunset or be captured, it had become customary to never hear from them.  Voyager's contingent, of course, is an exception, for obvious reasons.  "Cause" ended with Sisko putting a stop to Eddington's adventures.  "Blaze of Glory" sees Eddington use some trickery to get his way out.

The Eddington of "Uniform" is more charismatic and thrilling than the Eddington who appeared in any other episode, including "Blaze.  This is my main stumbling block with it.  On the one hand, it confirms the cunning that was needed to engineer the long con necessary for the big reveal in the earlier "For the Cause," as well as the cat-and-mouse game of "Uniform," but it seems a little too clockwork in "Blaze," almost inevitable.  The attempt to make him sympathetic, which is what the episode is ultimately about, kind of foreshadows Damar's fate late in the series, which is far more successful.

It's almost like the season's last bit of bad timing.  Had Eddington returned in the sixth season instead, during the actual war, and actually made a selfless decision to help out the Federation in the war, that would've been a redemptive moment.  Instead...I don't know.  Just one of those moments that doesn't resonate the way it seems it should, even for an admitted fan of the Eddington character from well before there was any reason to care for him...What he ends up with is a valiant death, a sacrifice for family, but it could've been so much more.  Still there's something to be said for living up to one's own principles to the bitter end.

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - The Maquis story reaches a sad climax.
  • series - A necessary beat in the run-up to the Dominion War.
  • character - Whether or not it feels satisfactory, this is the final appearance of Eddington, who became one of the unsung essential components of the series.
  • essential - Lingering doubt about the creative decisions around it dull the impact.
notable guest-stars:
Ken Marshall (Eddington)
J.G. Hertzler (Martok)
Aron Eisenberg (Nog)

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