#41 – Not to be confused with Roy Orbison

18 Comments on #41 – Not to be confused with Roy Orbison

It’s a funny thing about the Deep Space Nine pilot: they let two people have orb sects fantasias earlier-life visions, but only two of them. Which seems like kind of a tease, structurally: if there was only one vision quest sort of deal in the whole episode — Sisko’s flashback to his wife on the beach — then that’d feel totally fine and would if anything help underscore the uniqueness of his situation as the Emissary to the Prophets and yadda yadda.

But then they give Jadzia a quick trip back into her experience becoming a Trill host. Which sets up a conspicuous pattern, and gets me as the viewer thinking, okay, so this is part of how we’ll get a tiny glimpse of some backstory for this whole principal cast, that’s sort of clever in its own way, and–

But nope! After that, no more orbing in the episode. Everybody else just has to suck it up and do character defining things or work some expository humblebrags into their dialogue. (Yes, there’s the later Sisko And The Prophets thing that eats up the tail end of the pilot, but that’s just more Sisko and it’s not really the same Revealing Glimpse At Character vision thing in any case.)

The question in my mind then becomes this: did an earlier draft of the script have orb flashbacks for more characters, and they got trimmed for flow/time? Or did it have just the Sisko flashback but they felt they had to add one for Dax as well to reinforce her symbiosis visually and/or to establish more unambiguously that the orb was a multi-use vision machine or otherwise powerful/active artifact? Or was this two-and-out false pattern setup just the specific feel they wanted from early on?

Maybe I should blame Lost for depending so consistently and recently on the reinforcing “each episode will have a featured character flashback element” structure of its writing. For all my complaining there’s no reason that exactly two flashbacks should be seen as some kind of terrible crime against television plotting; I’m just kvetching freestyle here. But still: it does stand out to me. Pecks at my brain a little. It’s a little pecker. (Riker: [sassy grin])

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