Aaaand we’re back! In this week’s ‘Final Frontier Friday’, we pick up where we left off last time with a look at the conclusion of ‘The Maquis‘.
Two-parters are tricky. Or at least they can be in the format I’ve chosen for myself. If you’re a regular reader, you know I like you give you some background on the episode before jumping into synopsis and the critique proper. But two-part episodes often share that information. And of course they do, they may be two episodes, but there’s only one story between them. This is less of an issue with season-ending cliffhangers. After all, even when the second part picks up mere moments after the first, there’s enough real world distance between the two installments (in terms of writing, production, and ultimately broadcast) that there inevitably will be Something To Say. With ‘The Best of Both Worlds‘ it’s the story of Michael Piller essentially solving the problem in real time, figuring out a way to defeat the Borg as he wrote the scenes in which the Enterprise crew does exactly that. Likewise, ‘Scorpion‘ has the initial development of Seven of Nine and the decision to write Kes out of the series.
But what about mid-season cliffhangers like ‘The Maquis’? Those are a different beast altogether. Unlike a big, season-ending epic, the entire story is conceived and scripted all at once. They don’t have that months long gap in the creative process. What that means for me is that I’m basically trying to stretch one episode’s worth of background information over two articles. And as I said, that can be tricky.
So what does one do about that? Well, if you’re me, it apparently means that you sit down and spend two paragraphs talking about how little you have to say. This is why they pay me the big bucks, folks. A normal person might do something else, but I’d have to ask one.
But this article won’t just be me talking myself in circles. I alluded to this last week, but ‘The Maquis, Part II’ was something of a turning point for ‘Deep Space Nine’. In fact, when you stop to think about it, the story marks a multitude of turning points. It concludes the origin story of the Maquis, which is a pretty big deal not just for ‘DS9’ but for the wider franchise. In a more ‘DS9’-specific sense, it features the beginning of Dukat’s transformation – for a time, anyway – into a more sympathetic figure. And there’s another, one that’s specific to the second part. In fact, of all these turning points, this last one is arguably the biggest. And yes, I’m (still) being deliberately coy, but trust me, we’ll get back to it.
Until then let’s just cut to the bloody chase, shall we?