DS9 Episode 1.16: If Wishes Were Horses

In which, Rumpelstiltskin.

Memory Alpha says: Station residents suddenly find their imaginations are manifested in physical form; a spatial rift threatens to destroy the Bajoran system. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Do you see how spooky this is? The last TNG episode I reviewed was ‘When the Bough Breaks,’ in which children are stolen. The next thing in my arbitrarily self-imposed order is ‘If Wishes Were Horses,’ in which O’Brien is afraid of his little girl being stolen. Whillikers.

This is one hell of a goofy episode. It could have been worse, of course, because instead of Rumpelstiltskin O’Brien was originally going to see a leprechaun, until Colm Meaney pointed out that that was a lazy Irish stereotype and not fecking funny. Would the leprechaun have been trying to steal Molly, or promising him gold, or blethering unintelligibly about marshmallow cereal? I know it’s a lazy stereotype in and of itself, but what can you say about a nation that puts marshmallows into breakfast cereal?

On with the show. I am looking forward to the point where these episodes really feel like they merit full summaries. I’m definitely going to do that for ‘Duet’ and ‘In the Hands of the Prophets’ but I don’t think anything else in season one of DS9 will rate it.

  • Let’s start our day with some Quark and Odo banter. Quark is wearing an uncharacteristically sober suit, and Odo doesn’t like imagination. Quark is disgusting and foreshadowy! I wonder if that is the first use of swirling a drink in a glass as a dirty gesture.
  • It’s a baseball mitten! And some thinly veiled satire of Disneyland. Personally, I just think it’s a shame there isn’t a Star Trek theme park – there used to be a themed attraction at Las Vegas, which would have to please Quark.
  • Urgh, I don’t want some Jadzia and Julian banter, except that I’m glad she shoots him down and points out that he’s still interested in other girls. And he tries to play it off impishly. At least he seems to have some rueful humour about her refusals. And all of this is why ‘If Worf hadn’t come along’ DOES NOT WORK. You know, they could have written that differently to make it work, either ‘Jadzia wasn’t interested, but I am’ or ‘not the man you were then, but the man you are now,’ but they just gave Ezri a clunker of a line and convinced me that the relationship will crash and burn within weeks because it’s based purely on nostalgia and pity, and seems to have been handed to both characters as a consolation prize. Why am I getting mad about Ezri/Julian now?
  • O’Brien reading to his daughter is sweet, especially because he does character voices. Even Keiko is not immune to the cuteness – and she has a shorter haircut.
  • Firstly, I really like Molly’s defiant ‘I’m not TIRED!’ Secondly, unintentionally funny: after Keiko kisses Molly goodnight she wipes the kiss off her forehead.
  • AARGH Molly is CUTE. Especially in little blue footie pyjamas.
  • EW RUMPELSTILTSKIN. Seriously, worst alien ever. Misbegotten idea. Wearing excessively tight pants.
  • I always enjoy it when small children ‘acting’ have inappropriate facial expressions. When O’Brien bundles Molly out of her room and into Keiko’s arms, Hana Hatae looks stoked. I would also be stoked if O’Brien picked me up in his arms, but then my perspective is considerably different.
  • Rumpelstiltskin is an asshole. It’s not that I don’t like self-aware and satirical takes on fairy tales, I love the Fables comics… but I don’t need this little dude on my TV.
  • One thing that I can’t remember being clear to me is, are Rumpelstiltskin and Buck Bokai drawn from Molly and Jake’s imaginations, or from their fathers’? It would make sense to me if the children were imagining these characters more vividly than the adults were.
  • Julian naps with his clothes on and gropes his own chest. There’s just nothing anyone should say about that. Interesting, though, that his immediate response to Frisky Jadzia is panic. Should have held that thought.
  • You’d think Sisko would point out to Bokai that, while he remembers all his game statistics, he doesn’t have any memories of his personal life.
  • Apparently Terry Farrell really enjoyed playing the two versions of Jadzia. Terry Farrell has weird taste.
  • If you take it that the first two apparitions came from children’s imaginations, should we also think that Frisky Jadzia appears because Julian is childish? Because I’d like that.
  • Who was imagining snow on the prom?
  • Odo. It is not a ‘goom jee jackdaw’ or whatever you just called it. It is an emu. Let it be an emu. Perhaps there’s an Australian on board who imagined it. I do really love the fact that Odo is so kind to the emu, and worries about people scaring it.
  • Morn is androgynous? Nonsense, he’s ALL MAN.
  • The problem with this imagination thing is that it’s largely involuntary for a lot of us. Goodness knows, if the random shit I imagine during an average day started manifesting, it would be embarrassing for everyone.
  • Super earrings on one of Quark’s imaginary ladies! He wants to show them his etchings.
  • I always find Jadzia’s silver hairclip vaguely Texan-looking. Yeah, I’m commenting on the accessories.
  • Jadzia is a very good sport, it must be said – and, of course, consequently too much of a grown-up for Julian.
  • O’Brien clambers down into his pit. I just love the fact that it was, officially, called O’Brien’s Pit.
  • That line about the farmer from Derry seems to be left over from the leprechaun draft of the script.
  • It must be satisfying to address someone as ‘figment.’ And, of course, the most telling thing about the whole episode is that Julian’s dream-manifestation is all about wish fulfillment, and O’Brien’s is all about anxiety and fear. It’s partly because O’Brien is a parent, but then, not every parent cares about their children the way they should; O’Brien has, to quote Captain Blackadder, ‘a degree from the university of life, a diploma from the school of hard knocks, and three gold stars from the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of me.’ (And if that allows me to compare Julian to a Hugh Laurie character, Lieutenant George, so much the better.) He knows how much there is to fear in the world, and Julian still has a much rosier view of everything.
  • Argh, God, I know I’m being boring, but the episode is being boring first.
  • At least Sisko shows a modicum of warmth when talking to a hologram of a man he admires.
  • You know, I don’t think I’d find this as goofy if it were a TOS episode. I just have a much higher tolerance for silly shit when people are wearing velour long-sleeved teeshirts and minidresses with spanky pants.
  • I notice Kira hasn’t had any imaginary manifestations. I think the occupation and resistance crushed a lot of the imagination out of her.
  • Awww, Odo is protective of his emus!
  • Ah – and of course, Kira’s imaginary manifestations are horrifying. Okay, that’s nicely in character. She’s got an even more fearful psyche than O’Brien.
  • DON’T SCARE THEM!
  • Implication: Odo’s emus and Quark’s bimbos are the same alien entities. They’re birds! Get it! I think ‘Trollops’ may get my prize for best line of the episode. Just ahead of ‘Listen, figment.’
  • Nice turquoise iPad, Jake. Matches your pants.
  • Wait, where is the ballgame noise coming from in this scene? Is Jake playing it on his iPad or does it just follow Buck around?
  • Yay, they shot the big blue space vulva! Sorry, but it’s pretty vulval-looking.
  • And the station takes a bashing, because you shouldn’t shoot a vulva.
  • Sisko has a breakthrough, I’m not sure why, but hey, he’s explaining everything so everything’s going to be okay.
  • ‘And believe it, Mr O’Brien. It’s important that you believe it.’ Because it’s reeeeeeeal!
  • ‘None of this makes any sense,’ says Kira, speaking for the viewer.
  • Buck explains himself, blah blah – how far would you have let it go before you let them destroy themselves with their imaginations, Buck? Would you have felt any responsibility for their deaths?
  • Buck offers to tell more about his own species ‘next year,’ which never eventuates, and GOOD.
  • Sisko keeps the baseball, and it becomes an epic symbolic baseball, next to which such shitty symbolic baseballs as Dogen’s on Lost can only shuffle their notional feet and look sheepish.

So yes, in conclusion, if this tomfoolery had happened to Kirk and Co, I wouldn’t mind one bit. It’d suit them. Scotty probably does see leprechauns, when he’s drunk enough It’s Green.

Next up, ‘The Forsaken,’ and WOOP WOOP LWAXANA ALERT.

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8 Responses to “DS9 Episode 1.16: If Wishes Were Horses”

  1. Curuchamion Says:

    * Quark can make ANYTHING a dirty gesture.

    * Some lines in the ep imply that it’s the parents who’ve done the imagining (notably in the little conference among Buck and the other two entities), but I prefer the idea that it’s the children who brought the specific characters to life – let the grown-ups stick to snow and emus. (Julian counts as a child for these purposes.)

    * “I do really love the fact that Odo is so kind to the emu” – English is a sadly deficient language in some ways. I keep wanting to say Odo is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL man, and it doesn’t come out quite the way I meant it. o_O (This is odd, because English is my first language and the only one I can really handle verbs in.)

    * I agree about the inherent silliness levels of TOS. (Dang, I miss those velour t-shirts and all. I used to be a fairly obsessive TOS cosplayer/prop maker, so I get a bit nostalgic…)

    * “It’s important that you belieeeeve it.” – Very Spectre of the Gun, except with less Scripture-quoting Vulcans. This is sad, because Scripture-quoting Vulcans make everything better. *g*

    * …Scotty is only Irish in a Doylist sense. (Although he might well still see leprechauns when he’s drunk enough It’s Green! hee)

    * Oh gosh, The Forsaken. O_O

    • picardigan Says:

      Hello new buddy!
      Yes, it’s tricky sometimes, isn’t it – because he is not beautiful in the aesthetic sense, but he has a beautiful nature.

      If your drink is green enough it compensates for any personal lack of Irishness.

  2. solo Says:

    This episode. Yeah. I love the Odo’n’Quark bit at the beginning, though. All good things should begin with Odo and Quark snarking at the bar.

    Is this original vintage It’s Green or the stuff from 10-Forward? Must be good stuff if it can make a Scot Irish.

  3. andygrrrl Says:

    I agree that this would have made an awesome TOS episode but now I can’t help wondering what it would have been like on TNG. Probably a lot of scenes with Picard and Riker explaining the concept of “imagination” to Data. Imagine the fun they could have had with Worf!

    • picardigan Says:

      And Data would be all sad if he couldn’t get anything to manifest. Sitting there with his little face scrunched up trying to conceive of something not real. Meanwhile Riker is making lingerie models pop in and out of existence all over the ship.

      At the climax of the episode Data has a frickin’ breakthrough and unicorns stampede everywhere barfing rainbows.

  4. Sparklynn Says:

    This episode was soooo durpy. Also I can’t wait for Sisko to stop being a stick in the mud.


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