‘Rivals’ (DS9) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This ‘DS9’ episode isn’t one of my favourites. Not that it’s awful or anything, but it didn’t excite me as I watched it. There is a development between certain characters, but I didn’t find it properly explored.

The episode starts with Odo placing an El-Aurian under arrest. The episode features special guest star Chris Sarandon as Martus Mazur. Odo accuses him for swindling a woman doing business aboard DS9.

Martus is of the same species as Guinan from ‘TNG’. His kind are listeners, though unlike Guinan he uses his listening to con people. Thankfully he isn’t so villainous as Soran from ‘Star Trek: Generations’.

Odo puts Martus in a holding cell for the time being. Whilst in his cell, Martus acquires a gambling device from an old alien man, Albert Henderson as Cos. And gosh that alien looks very worse for wear.

I got to admire the actors playing aliens in ‘Star Trek’ under Michael Westmore’s supervision. Those actors must have found it hard work to wear prosthetic make-up that made them look hot and sweaty.

The gambling device that Martus acquires is like a purple sphere. When you switch it, it glows white to provide you luck. It’s meant to alter the laws of probability and in more ways than one as it appears.

Martus manages to use the gambling device to get himself out of confinement. He soon goes to Quark’s where he sort-of offers the gambling device at his bar. Quark’s interested but does not buy it.

Very soon, Martus sets up a bar and casino that draws business away from Quark. I’m not sure if it’s similar to the Bajoran temple of worship since the entranceway looks disturbingly like it in the episode.

Quark becomes anxious when Martus is taking over the gambling establishment on DS9. Martus even employs Quark’s brother, Max Grodénchik as Rom, into his business, promising him a higher payment.

But as the episode progresses, Martus’ device turns against him and he soon loses a large sum of money. I think this episode should be a superb example of not to gamble when you are living your life.

Sisko and Dax also discover that Martus’ gambling devices in his bar and casino are changing the neutrinos of natural probability (whatever that means). Sisko and Dax destroy the device with phasers.

The episode also features K Callan as Alsia, an alien woman doing business with make-up that doesn’t look flattering. And there’s Barbara Bosson as Roana, a Bajoran woman Martus does his business with.

There’s clear rivalry between Quark and Martus in the episode. Quark often quotes the rules of acquisition to Martus when making a point about something in argument regarding business and such.

The episode also features a subplot involving O’Brien competing with Bashir when they play racquetball together. Yeah! O’Brien still does not like Bashir at this point, despite Bashir being friendly.

I don’t know why O’Brien would be so competitive towards Bashir, despite Bashir wanting to play a friendly game. Maybe Bashir’s attitude in considering O’Brien older for newer game tactics doesn’t help.

Bashir tries to persuade O’Brien to stop playing racquetball, but O’Brien is still pretty aggressive towards him. Even when Bashir’s losing, O’Brien doesn’t think his competitor is playing the game properly.

Quark even gets O’Brien and Bashir to play against each other in order to regain business in competing with Martus. This is something O’Brien and Bashir are very against as they’ve been tricked into playing.

Thankfully when playing the game together in a tournament, O’Brien realises something’s wrong with Bashir losing. O’Brien interrupts the broadcast of the game since he finds the ball coming back to him.

O’Brien and Bashir alert Sisko and Dax about this unusual abnormality which leads them to discover the effects of Martus’ gambling devices in his establishment. It leads him in being arrested in the story.

The episode also features Rosalind Chao as Keiko O’Brien. Keiko supports her husband when he’s frustrated at first playing racquetball with Bashir and he encourages him to ‘kick his butt’ in their game.

Like I said, ‘Rivals’ isn’t really a favourite of mine and is easily glanced over. I appreciate the rivalry between O’Brien and Bashir in this episode, which I hope will develop into friendship later in the series.

‘Rivals’ (DS9) rating – 6/10

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