Warning: The following article contains spoilers critical to the plot of DS9's "Meridian". If you haven't seen the show and don't want to be spoiled, don't read any further.
In brief: In a word: yawn. In another word: why? "Meridian" was very definitely a snooze-fest, at least in this viewer's opinion. Before I continue, though, a quick summary:
While Dax falls in love with a man whose planet is about to return to another dimension for sixty years, Quark tries to obtain a holoimage of Kira for an obsessed customer.
Now, as I was saying ... "Meridian" is the sort of show that slips through the fingers without much in the way of prompting. In fact, while I usually rewatch shows for a second time before reviewing to catch details or particular quotes that I like, this time I had to rewatch it simply to remember what happened. It left that little of an impression.
This may not mean the show was absolutely terrible, however; the *really* bad shows tend to leave scenes burned into your brain that you can't remove without major surgery, at least in my experience. :-) This one was just invisible.
Let's take care of the Kira plot first, since it had less screen time devoted to it. In a nutshell ... it was a nuisance. I didn't care for the "obsessed customer" motif, though it was sensible enough -- but more to the point, this was virtually a standard sitcom plot, and just as hamhandedly done. Quark getting caught using a holoimager on the Promenade and Kira threatening to make him eat it? Ah, this is supposed to be funny. I see. Sorry, but it wasn't.
Three moments stood out in the Kira plot, though -- two decent, one not. The two cute ones were Quark's "one millionth customer" ploy, which while also pretty standard fare was cutely played, and the *method* in which Kira and Odo foiled the plan -- the obvious route was to have Odo impersonate the bed or something, or to have it be the *real* Kira, and at least what we saw ended up being somewhat ... striking. :-)
The bad side of the plot, however, was the teaser; more specifically, the Kira/Odo subterfuge. Even leaving aside the fact that I've been railing against this proto-romance for weeks, the scene was *so* obviously done and *so* blatant that any enjoyment about it was lost.
As for the Dax plot ... well, the best thing I can really say about it is that given the intensely silly premise, they chose the least painful ending. More on that in a bit.
The premise itself, a planetary "Brigadoon", isn't really all *that* bad -- or at least, it wouldn't have been had we not had some silly technobabble- centered attempt to explain it all. The issue of "we only age in this dimension" is intriguing, but glossed over -- if they're still conscious of time in the other dimension (which they clearly are, since otherwise Deral wouldn't have been so ticked off at having to wait for sixty years), doesn't that imply aging on _some_ level? That's about the only interesting question that I saw coming out of the show; other than that, we had Obvious Tragic Love Story #85C.
Speaking of which ... is it just me, or was the love story angle given some of the worst dialogue the show's seen in a long time? The "counting each other's spots" exchanges, for instance, didn't tug at the heartstrings so much as the intestines (at least in my case), and the entire romance felt about as forced as, say, the Riker/Soren romance in TNG's "The Outcast" years ago. (If you thought that one was good, substitute in Troi/.)
The time-critical "one of us must stay with the other before we've forever driven apart" angle was an obvious one, and really no big deal. The turnabout, in addition, from Deral leaving to Dax staying, was visible from a light-year or so off, and the only suspense involved was in figuring out how they were going to manage neither one without resorting to the cliche of "oh, I just can't leave my friends behind."
To the show's credit, the ending *did* at least manage to avoid that cliche. Dax really was prepared to leave, and only a rare occasion of O'Brien's wizardry failing kept her on board the Defiant. That's not exactly the justification for the show as a whole, but it does at least mitigate a little of the damage.
Lest you think I totally abhorred the show, though, let me mention a few of the good points. Things I liked:
-- As I already mentioned, the Kira-as-millionth-customer scene and the ending of the Kira plot were good for a laugh or two.
-- The Sisko/Dax farewell scene was probably the strongest scene in the show; the two have often worked together as old comrades before, and I liked the way in which Sisko wasn't quite able to voice anything he *really* wanted to say.
-- The last line: "I just need some time ... just sixty years or so." That had a surprisingly strong impact to it, particularly with some of the direction (Dax walking right alongside the closing door, for instance). This I liked.
Unfortunately, that's about it -- and when we were also forced to see things like Sisko and O'Brien *sniggering* at Dax's relationship, Dax professing a fear of heights despite a few episodes suggesting the contrary, and just generally a show that spun its wheels for an hour, you get something that really didn't appeal to me much at all.
So, that's about it. In sum:
Plot: Just fine ... for an old musical, which this wasn't. Both plots were pretty forced. Plot Handling: Frakes put in a few nice moments (more than in "Sub Rosa", anyway), but nothing spectacular. Characterization: Pardon? OVERALL: Call this one a 3. Ugh.
NEXT WEEK: Where there's a Will...
Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.) email@example.com "I can't remember the last time I did this: strolled through a garden, climbed a tree..." "Threw up on some pushy guy ..." -- Dax and us Copyright 1994, Timothy W. Lynch. All rights reserved, but feel free to ask... This article is explicitly prohibited from being used in any off-net compilation without due attribution and *express written consent of the author*. Walnut Creek and other CD-ROM distributors, take note.