Sunday, 26 July 2009

Playing Genre God

Update: Forgot to mention this post contains spoilers for The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Given Tomsks comment, I should add also Angel and for The X-Files in there too, but I have decided to impose a five-year rule. Any TV event that occurred five years of more before the date of the post is fair game. You have been warned...

Update 2: Let's do this properly. The statute of limitation for film and TV is five years, for books ten. Comics I'll judge on a case-by-case basis.

I'm on record as stating that this month's Torchwood story was the least shit ever, but even so, a "bring back Ianto" petition is surely a bit much?

This scratches at my brain in at least two different ways. Firstly, I think it's important to note that Ianto was one of the weaker Torchwood characters, a statement that carries the same implications as "Bubonic plague was one of the worse international pandemics". He threw a paddy the first time he went out in the field, he forgave his boss for murdering his girlfriend the instant he decided he wanted some futuristic immortal ass-timing, and, most importantly, he spent the entirety of his time on-screen looking like a sulky fridge balanced on top of a cheap suit. I get that mileage varies when it comes to fictional characters, but the people who claim that watching him cark it leaves them "as sorrowful and hurt as any death of a person close to us" must have pissed of more than one spirit of the departed feeling somewhat undervalued. I did feel sorry for Ianto, but I would be genuinely have been more upset had they set fire to a cardboard cut out of him instead, because of the wasted opportunity to recycle wood pulp. [1]

Problem number two: the further fading of whatever spark of hope I still had that people in this world understand what good television is. The thought that anyone could have watched sufficient Torchwood to have become attached to a carefully carved sideboard like Jones and yet simultaneously hold the belief that the reset button wasn't used enough makes me wonder if there genuinely isn't any steaming pile of shit subsections of the British public won't cram into their mouths, so long as it's advertised with explosions and flashing lights.

I said "at least two", but my last problem is admittedly not particularly well-formed. Basically, I don't like the idea of telling people how to write their stories.

Obviously, this sounds massively hypocritical, given the bashing Davies and Chibnall have received on this blog, often on a weekly basis (though it is not my fault they managed such epic runs of shitty, shitty scripts). That's about craft, though. Method. Suggestions about how best to build tension, as oppose than just repeating the same phrase. Pointing out tat trying to maximise your emotional impact by concocting a situation that cannot be resolved in a dramatically satisfying way is counter-productive. Arguing that the Daleks cannot be terrifying every time they appear, because familiarity breeds contempt almost as quickly as repeated defeats do. Getting together and demanding specific story choices are reversed seems a ways beyond that. I doubt Davies will listen in any case (given his childlike insistence that he doesn't have to listen to anyone, and that he will call you names if you try [2]), and even if he did I wouldn't particularly care, since my attachment to the show is pretty minimal (though I would reserve the right to criticise the execution) but the idea still makes me nervous. Constructive criticism is great, and very important, but stories themselves shouldn't be written by committee.

Having said that, I figured I'd waste some time this afternoon deciding which fictional characters I would resurrect if I had the chance.

1. Cordelia Chase

Cordy's death hit me about 1% as much as Fred's, even though the latter event was something I'd already known was coming (damn me for flirting with spoilers!) and the former came entirely out of the blue.

Nevertheless, (and speaking of blue), Fred's death had a point to it. Sure, in the fictional world of the show itself, it was a heartbreaking, senseless waste, but that was the idea. Watching the way each character dealt with her death was horrible, but it was fascinating too. Marsters and Richards were both brilliant in the aftermath, and Denisof managed to find brand new ways to make Wesley compelling. His breakdown was tragic, his pain obvious, and his last moments with Illyria probably the saddest moment the show ever managed, and it isn't like that's an achievement without stiff competition. The whole saga also raised a (morbidly) fascinating question: how long can you spend with the one you love before their death can't erase what went before? Before, as harsh as it sounds out loud, you can consider yourself lucky for what you've experienced? Harmony tries to argue that it happens almost instantaneously, but Wesley can't agree, and even as a vampire Harmony is neither stupid nor unfeeling enough to push the point. It's probably not something it's too healthy to consider in-depth, but that doesn't make it any less interesting a question.

Enough about Fred, though, this is supposed to be about Cordelia. Ahem.

Cordelia died. Angel looked sad.
We're done.
After seven years as a major player in the Buffyverse, poor ol' Ms Chase died off-screen, and people barely noticed. Sure, she spent most of the last few months she had awake trying to kill everyone, but people got over it with Angel, and he did way worse things than ensure the birth of a woman who wanted everyone to be hippies (that thing with the kitten, for instance). I realise that out in the real world, commitments and life get in the way of giving characters the goodbye they deserve, but even so, Cordelia's send-off was so pointless blink-and-you'll-miss-it (even the parts you could blink at because they were on-screen) that the whole thing pissed me off.
2. Derek Reese
War is Hell, so from that perspective having Derek brutally shot in what seemed a bog-standard gun battle before the credits even rolled makes narrative sense. The problem, though, (aside from the fact that narrative sense can often jibe with emotional sense, and I tend to get annoyed if both aren't being simultaneously served) is that the season finale (and now last episode ever) of The Sarah Connor Chronicles heavily suggested that the intention was to bring Derek back, albeit from an alternative time-line.

Even by my standards, this is probably more worthy of a YMMV stamp than most things, but I cannot stand it when characters are replaced by "alternative universe" copies. Hell, when Miles O'Brien got replaced by his own self from about ten minutes into the future, I was pissed off as all Hell [3]. Maybe this implies I have more of a belief in a soul than I realise, but I think it's about uniqueness. That O'Brien was not our O'Brien. The new Derek is not our Derek, and whilst I would have trusted the ...Chronicles to deal with the situation rather more satisfyingly than I would Davies' crayon-scribbled scripts (not that I can be sure without ever seeing the resolution), it still irritates when characters with long and interesting back-stories are suddenly rubbed out, but then replaced with the same actor with the same character name.

3. The Lone Gunmen

Man, I loved the Lone Gunmen. I loved them so much I was one of, like, eight people who watched their spin-off show, and adored it to boot. You wouldn't think X-Files - monsters = hijinks would be particularly good TV maths, but it damn well worked, not least because the po-faced pseudo-philosophical bullshit that ruined every X-Files season from 4 onwards was entirely absent.

Then it got cancelled, because no-one in the world but me has any taste, and the characters returned to the parent series at roughly the same time as Duchovny gave up entirely. Perhaps the feeling was that without Mulder, the Gunmen didn't have any place in the show, but if that's true, someone messed up pretty badly [4]. The entire point of the Lone Gunmen is that if Mulder was Holmes, and Scully was Watson (which I think is a pretty fair analogy), then the Gunmen were the Baker Street Irregulars. They're the scruffy (Byers' suits notwithstanding) nobodies whom no-one in power even notices, and certainly doesn't rate, but who help out where they can, and can do things and go places that Holmes himself can't. The two immediate questions in light of the end of Season 8 should have been a) how do the irregulars keep fighting the good fight without Holmes, and b) can they deal with Watson attempting to become Holmes, whilst dragging a brand new assistant who might or might not be working for the enemy?

All of that means that getting rid of them at all was something of an irritating call, but the real problem lay in the method by which it was done. If you're going to finish off characters that have featured in every single season of a show that's run for nine years, I would humbly suggest you not dilute the impact by bringing in a comedy villain, however funny he may have been in the past. Nor is it a particularly good idea to spend the entire episode implying they are bumbling idiots. Lastly, bear in mind that you can't make someone's death seem meaningful just by attaching a body-count to the alternative. Not even my brain works that way.

* * *
The running theme here, of course, is that everyone above died for no good reason and/or in fairly shitty ways. Hell, if someone had resurrected them purely to give them a less wanktankerous death, I'd be cool with that too. [5] Maybe, in the final analysis, I wouldn't want them back, I'd just want to go back in time and slap down the idiots who wrote the episodes in question. Some people would kill Hitler, I would shout at Chris Carter. Go figure.

h/t to Garathon.

[1] Actually, I might not even have noticed at all. Oh, burn!

[2] I should point out though that for a man who claims to never listen to critics, Torchwood has gotten better each year by cutting out a lot of what people complained about. I still think the man has the attitude of a seven year old, but better he pretends not to listen but does than the other way round. Better the carpenter is an arse than all your chairs can't be sat on.

[3] I seem to remember an episode of Voyager in which this idea was taken to its very nadir by having Harry Kim die and be replaced by someone from an alternate reality that was apparently so identical to our own that their Kim had our Kim's entire memory and skill set, and moreover that this development didn't freak out anyone at all, or at least not by the time the credits rolled over the sound of a reset switch being rammed home by Rick Berman's idiot forehead.

[4] It might alternatively have simply been Carter deciding that if he couldn't use them the way he wanted, he was just gonna kill 'em dead, but I'm trying to be generous for once.

[5] This probably explains why Magneto is still running around, it just wouldn't be fair for one of Marvels' most complex anti-heroes to bow out whilst acting like a pantomime villain. More on that next month, though.

31 comments:

Tomsk said...

Cordelia's dead?????

SpaceSquid said...

That's weird. I definitely wrote a spoiler warning at the top of the post, which has now vanished.

Regardless, it was a warning for Sarah Connor. Events in Angel come under the five year rule for TV spoilers.

Jamie said...

The spoiler warning is in fact now at the beginning of your post about global warming. Amusingly incongruous...

Senior Spielbergo said...

I will admit to having fallen into this trap and was slightly annoyed to discover Derrick Reese died (last few episodes still to watch of TSCC).

Honestly given your previous track record I’m expecting a follow up post of the top 10 characters you would MOST like to kill off for no good reason.

Gooder said...

Cordy did get a proper send-off in the end though

Chemie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garathon said...

"The statute of limitation for film and TV is five years..."

Fair enough.

For the avoidance of doubt, if anything should happen to Squid and a Squid from an alternative timeline/dimension/reality (new Squid being in all respects identical to current Squid) should be sourced as a replacement then the five years is counted from the broadcast date of the relevant show in THIS timeline/dimension/reality.

SpaceSquid said...

Sorry, Spielbergo. As I said, I did write a spoiler warning, before putting it on the wrong post. It was a display of grotesque techical incompetence, rather than lack of consideration.

As to spoiler rules in general, five years might seem a pointless and arbitrary line, Chemie, but I think "Watch it when it's on or shut up" is going to force people to not visit the blog unless they are entirely up to date with everything they enjoy. Frankly, I can't afford the drop in traffic; I already feel like an old man shouting at clouds.

Further, Citizen, I notice you have already violated the five year rule, only a couple of weeks after what we will henceforth refer to as "GaetaGate". I have thus deleted your comment, though due to feeling guilty about such heavy-handedness, a spoiler free version is given below.

"5 year rule? The only spoiler rule I have ever seen or obeyed, required spoiler warnings on anything that wasn't published/aired in the country you are in.

There are unfortunately many characters in TV shows that were removed/exited/died in a completely underwhelming plot line. There are some characters who exit with great plot-lines and yet still their demise is a mistake... Of course often these are related to the rot setting in or the actor wanting to leave..."

I'm on the world's slowest wifi right now so I can't check up which of your examples do violate my capricious line in the sand, so I apologise if any of them could happily have survived.

Chemie said...

'Gaetagate' was before your insane statute of limitations was introduced and was well within the realms of generally accepted views on spoilers (aired, published, on general release, out on DVD and has been for months). Watch-what-you-love asap or it's no-one's fault but your own. You only need to play polite with something that is very recent (not 5 months ago) or is a big twist. Should I put a spoiler warning before the fact that Kong dies?

My second spoiler 'incident' related to a vague implication of removed/dead/exiting not a precise spoiler atall. And except for 1 all of my examples would have survived your capricious cut. I shall obey your authoritarian spoiler system, but I do so under extreme duress and my penguin forces are restless.

Why is it not OK to spoil Harry Potter but OK to spoil Waugh/Dickens/Greene/Pratchett?

SpaceSquid said...

"'Gaetagate' was before your insane statute of limitations was introduced and was well within the realms of generally accepted views on spoilers (aired, published, on general release, out on DVD and has been for months). "

The former is granted (aside from the word "insane"), though a) my BSG spoiler system has been fairly clear from the very start, since every single post has been accompanied by a spoiler, b) Pause noted at the time that your position was not appreciated, which means you are free to disagree, but hardly to claim ignorance, and c) arguing "generally accepted" isn't going to get you far on this particular blog (there is a d), as well, which is that I would be suprised to learn that you'd checked BSG had broadcast in every single country in the world with internet access before you started revealing details, but of course I can't be sure of that, and it would complicate the five year rule in addition, so I don't want to push it).

In other words, I had not specifically stated that the comments that led to Gaetagate were unacceptable (which is why that particular post remains undeleted), but the fact I hadn't outlawed the practice does not mean you remain entirely blameless.

"Watch-what-you-love asap or it's no-one's fault but your own."

That's so manifestly untrue that I'm not sure it deserves a response, but I'll give one anyway. Unless something is shown on terrestrial TV (which isn't free in itself, of course, but for the sake of argument I'll ignore that), ensuring one keeps up on all current events is frequently financially unviable, and I'm not sure where the problem lies in respecting that. Accidents happen, and surfing the interwebhighway certainly carries risks, but it's a ways from that to imply there should be no attempt to minimise those risks. Not everyone has SKY, the DVDs have been out for all of 59 days, and the cure for the problem is to write three or four words at the top of a comment.

SpaceSquid said...

"You only need to play polite with something that is very recent (not 5 months ago) or is a big twist."

In a general sense, I agree. The problem with your reasoning is that your definition of either "very recent" or "a big twist" is no more valid than mine or anyone else's (for example, your implication that the death of a recurring character introduced more than half a decade ago isn't a big twist jibes somewhat with the number of posts you added to the discussion of the event at the time, and the associated period of mourning I am led to believe your house underwent), and in asituation where people have different lines, and the cost of trangressing them far more than the benefits, it doesn't seem too unreasonable to ere on the side of caution, especially since we can still discuss such things on posts with adequate spoiler warnings (which, as I've said, sometimes get missed out, which is entirely my own fault).

"Should I put a spoiler warning before the fact that Kong dies?"

This has, of course, already been covered by the new rules, but your argument here seems to be that because it would be ludicrous to draw the line at 76 years, it is also ludicrous to draw it at 5 year, but not 5 months.

"My second spoiler 'incident' related to a vague implication of removed/dead/exiting not a precise spoiler at all."

'Removed/exited/died' is a vague implication? Really? This reminds me of when a friend of mine got home one day to watch an episode of Buffy she'd taped, only to be told by her sister "Giles got fired!" When said friend registered her objection to this revelation, her sister replied haughtily "It's not like I told you why he was fired."

"And except for 1 all of my examples would have survived your capricious cut."

Then my apologies. As I said, I had no way to know. It's not like "I only broke the rules once in a discussion about the rules" is particularly impressive, though.

"Why is it not OK to spoil Harry Potter but OK to spoil Waugh/Dickens/Greene/Pratchett?"

The glib answer here regards the passage of time, as you know, but it certainly seems reasonable to suggest that the spoiler cut-off should be a function of both age (and associated probabilities of experience and time to acquire sufficient coinage to experience) and the worth of the subject. Of course, whilst age is a hard variable to draw a sensible line over, quality is even more difficult, because even the measurement system causes problems.

Senior Spielbergo said...

Kong dies???? Damm it! I loved that cheeky monkey... :-(

Tomsk said...

That was spoiled for me by the chewits advert.

See also this comic strip.

Gooder said...

How about if we're vague about the film/show in question...?

John Doe succeeds.

He got it all from the wall behind him.

It was all god's plan.

The guys with wings are in on it.

Greeks return.


Please note one of these has been specially chosen to induce rage (because I still think it's funny it's gets people so worked up..)

SpaceSquid said...

Depends on whether its so vague as to be pointless (which ironically includes your "rage-inducing" example), or only vague enough to ensure you ruin someone's enjoyment mid-show rather than pre-show (which probably includes your first sentence). Not, I would argue, much of an improvement.

Gooder said...

To be honest I think it's the person who wishes not to be spoiled who has taken the responsibilty. Since short of someone randomly giving something anyway on a unrelated note in the middle of an article then it's more often than not pretty obvious where spoilers might occur. Basically if you're reading something that appears it might give away a spoiler, stop reading.

Even the spoiler warning on your post fails, since it's clearly about character deaths and somebody only has to casually scroll past it to see pictures of the characters discussed!

SpaceSquid said...

"To be honest I think it's the person who wishes not to be spoiled who has taken the responsibilty. Since short of someone randomly giving something anyway on a unrelated note in the middle of an article then it's more often than not pretty obvious where spoilers might occur. Basically if you're reading something that appears it might give away a spoiler, stop reading."

I'm not sure where you're getting "more often than not" from, and further I'm not sure that even if that were true, it's much help. I think that there's sufficient desire amongst the population to not have their favourite fiction spoiled that a little effort to keep each other safe isn't unreasonable. Again, I'd point out the sheer ease of warning people, and the comparative dangers of the significant loss of enjoyment. Nobody has yet given me any explanation as to why a few words at the top of a post is such a big imposition that it would be better were everyone just to be constantly on the look-out. Sure, people who want to be spoiler-free run risks whenever they go online, or talk to other people, for that matter, but it's this ridiculous attitude that because we can't eliminate the risk we shouldn't bother trying to minimise it that irritates me.

There's also the parenthetical point that Gaetagate was arguably one of the "random comments" you mentioned. I guess it was a unique situation, since it showed up in the comments section of a post which itself linked to many other posts (all of which had spoiler warnings where necessary), so there was a connection, but it demonstrates that your argument that it's usually obvious that these things are coming is less than persuasive.

"Even the spoiler warning on your post fails, since it's clearly about character deaths and somebody only has to casually scroll past it to see pictures of the characters discussed!"

And they would know it's about character death how, exactly? The title is is purposefully vague, and the rest of the post is below the warning itself.

Senior Spielbergo said...

I would agree, that your spoiler notes in the past have been more than adequate; however this particular one did fall foul, partially as a result of lack of spoiler warning and partially as a result of pictures. I basically read the beginning – so was of the mindset this is about people that die, I scroll down and bang there is a picture of someone who I had no clue was going to die. Zero chance of avoiding it as I didn’t even have a heads up on what series *might* be present.

Personally I’m not overly bothered, failing to keep up with a series means I run the risk of such things occurring and personally I accept that. But I provide this response as an effort to help improve your post management.

SpaceSquid said...

As I say though, that has nothing to do with the pictures themselves, since had I managed to get the spoiler on the right post, you wouldn't have read any further, or had you done so, it most certainly would have been your own fault. The only way to discover the post was about dead characters was to read the post. The fault lay in missing the warning off, not that there are pictures. Had I called the post "Dead People I Want Back", Gooder would have a point.

Gooder said...

But if you read the first part of the post you realise it's about death (the first being about Ianto follwed by "Having said that, I figured I'd waste some time this afternoon deciding which fictional characters I would resurrect if I had the chance.
") then the very fact you've mentioned names of shows in the spoiler warning is in fact a spoiler of some degree in and of itself.
Thus you I feel you could easily read the first part and be spoiled by the rest (and this is where the pics are a bit of 'dead' giveaway)

Any hey I'm not saying people should be warned it's all the fuss over how long before a spoiler is not to be used that gets me. If you think something you don't spoiled might be spoiled in something you're reading then stop reading.

Gooder said...

that's "should not" by the way.

Senior Spielbergo said...

The only thing I would say is pictures do make it more difficult to skip. Basically I often go onto your page and then scroll down to post a comment on a story further down the page. With text I can ignore the content and not pick up on anything beyond the title and the spoiler warning. Having pictures means I can scroll down and think I’m ignoring the text and then *bang* picture pops up and potentially provides a spoiler. Just my 2p worth.

*Now begining to wonder if this rather random debate is going to break the all time most commented list.

Chemie said...

'*Now begining to wonder if this rather random debate is going to break the all time most commented list.'

Well, if Tomsk stops sending me e-mails counselling calm and I post half my angry responses to being assigned 'blame', it damn well will.

Besides everyone knows most discussion boards are filled with people arguing over spoiler policy and moderation disputes.

SpaceSquid said...

@ Gooder: "But if you read the first part of the post you realise it's about death (the first being about Ianto follwed by "Having said that, I figured I'd waste some time this afternoon deciding which fictional characters I would resurrect if I had the chance.
") then the very fact you've mentioned names of shows in the spoiler warning is in fact a spoiler of some degree in and of itself."

I agree, but all you've said here is that if you read a bit of a post that you know contains spoilers, you might get spoiled. You only know there were no spoilers in the first half because you read the first half. Which is kind of my point. What if the first line had been "Derek Reese dies"? You only know it wasn't having read the thing in the first place.

@ S.Spielbergo: "With text I can ignore the content and not pick up on anything beyond the title and the spoiler warning. Having pictures means I can scroll down and think I’m ignoring the text and then *bang* picture pops up and potentially provides a spoiler. Just my 2p worth."

How is it potentially a spoiler, though? If you only read the title and the warning, then literally all you've got is a picture of a character from a show you know. The only ways it can be a spoiler is either if I had showed him being killed, if the title had been much more specific, or you had read the post you were warned not to. I don't see how any of that is connected to the fact that pictures are more visible than text.

Senior Spielbergo said...

It was more of a generic warning than a specific warning for this case. This case was spoiler unfriendly because you lost the spoiler message. Assuming that doesn’t happen again, the risk I was counselling against is if you have a title or a spoiler warning that basically says don’t read this as I’m about to reveal the following characters die, then pictures can mean you stumble into spoilers anyway.

In this case the error was lack of spoiler warning more than anything else. The pictures very slightly compounded it as maybe if I kept reading and then saw Sarah Conner Chronicles being mentioned first (rather than the specific character) – I might skip that paragraph – with a picture I can’t avoid it even if that was the case.

Basically – I’m currently happy with your spoiler procedures – But as the 20 or so posts above show, when it goes wrong it clearly angers people. So spoiler procedures = fine. Implementation needs work (although one error in over 500 posts is a pretty good hit ratio if you ask me).

SpaceSquid said...

"Assuming that doesn’t happen again, the risk I was counselling against is if you have a title or a spoiler warning that basically says don’t read this as I’m about to reveal the following characters die, then pictures can mean you stumble into spoilers anyway."

True. Hopefully this mistake will not be made. In fact, I almost left the photos off entirely, but I ultimately decided the spoiler warning would warn people off, and that nothing could be guessed from the title and pictures alone. So thought does go into this stuff, even it I do then ruin it with my idiocy.

"In this case the error was lack of spoiler warning more than anything else. The pictures very slightly compounded it as maybe if I kept reading and then saw Sarah Conner Chronicles being mentioned first (rather than the specific character) – I might skip that paragraph"

This is true, and I think part of what Gooder was getting at earlier. At the end of the day, though, I'd rather spice the blog up a bit with pictures than not include them on the off chance I've managed to stuff up the spoiler protocol, which is likely to stuff things up in any case.

Senior Spielbergo said...

Having been distracted by the whole Spoiler debate, just wanted to say that the Miles O’Brien thing pissed me off as well. Although the sum total of all the crazy stuff to happen to Miles and be ignored is really quite staggering – what about all the memories of being incarcerated for 20 years that seemed to bother him for a single episode then just went away?

SpaceSquid said...

I think one of the problems TV shows sometimes run into is that a writer has a really good idea for a stand-alone story that can't possibly work in the context of an ongoing series. The prison episode you mention ("Hard Time") is a good case in point. On its own terms, I love that episode. It has a great central concept, and some solid acting by Colm Meaney, but it can't help but be screwed by the fact that a week later everything is normal again. There are times, quite simply, when script writers have to remind themselves that a TV episode is not a short story. A lot of the same rules might apply, but they are different entities.

In fact, while I'm on the subject, it's worth noting that "Hard Time" was originally going to feature the Bajoran junior officer from the TNG episode "Lower Decks", who had been declared missing, presumed dead. The writers eventually decided not to bring her back, so as not to lessen the impact of the previous episode's ending. It's that kind of respect for what has gone before that a TV show needs to work as a whole, and why so many people who complain about others nit-picking continuity need to shut the Hell up (which is not to say you can't take it too far in the other direction, of course).

Senior Spielbergo said...

Oh I agree. Definitely one of my favourite episodes that one, and I always like Colm Meaney. I think the other problem is that in order to work well that sort of episode needs to feature a character the audience cares about. O’Brien was always my favourite character in DS9 (with Garrak being second) and so to have that tragedy happen to him after you’ve got to know the character for 4 years previously (well more if you factor in TNG) makes the impact even better. It therefore pisses me off immensely that the whole process of him getting over it and returning to somewhat of a normal existence is relegated to the gap between episodes. Surely it would be possibly to have his character effected on some level for the remainder of the season and maybe (shock horror) actually have some character development.

SpaceSquid said...

With better planning you could have had it happen to a recurring character, I suppose, and then have them disappear for a while to recover. On the other hand, I would struggle to think of someone who fits that bill. Rom and Nog are too comical, Jake would be an obvious no-no; and I can't really see Rosalind Chao (Keiko) pulling it off. Maybe Eddington, though that might have prevented him turning traitor three episodes later (three weeks to recover is better than one, of course), and he was probably too distant and jobsworthy to make it work either. The only person I could potentially think of who could pull it off would be Garak, though the story would need some tweaking.

Actually, ere's an interesting question. Would it have been better for Bashir to have found a way to wipe O'Brien's memory? It would do some damage to the emotional impact of the story, but it would have worked far better given the incident was never (?) mentioned again.

Senior Spielbergo said...

“Actually, ere's an interesting question. Would it have been better for Bashir to have found a way to wipe O'Brien's memory? It would do some damage to the emotional impact of the story, but it would have worked far better given the incident was never (?) mentioned again.”

Been thinking about it and it’s a tricky one. I have to say that when I watched it that was what I was expecting them to do – and I think the episode was good because they didn’t. I think making the trauma something that would be with him for all time made the whole thing substantially more *real* and hard hitting. So in respect of the episode I’m glad they didn’t do that. BUT you’re right it would fix the annoyance factor that it never comes up. Overall I think I liked the ending of the episode as is, and I prefer the annoyance factor over weakening an otherwise excellent episode. I just suppose my ideal solution would be to use it further down the series.