Monday, September 5, 2016

Benjamin Sisko

If it seems odd that Benjamin Sisko was the only one of the captains to have an on-screen family (seen on a regular basis, that is), then I'm glad he was the one to be defined this way. His relationship with his son Jake felt so real and warm, every time we saw the two of them together, which is probably because Avery Brooks really did take Cirroc Lofton under his wing and was like a mentor to him during the seven-year run of Deep Space Nine.

We had differences of opinion during the latter years of his life, but I like to think my father and I were still close. I miss him. Whenever I saw the Siskos together - including Brock Peters as Joseph Sisko, to make three generations - something they said or did, sooner or later, would remind me of my relationship with my father. I looked on Daddy much the same way Jake looked on Ben, particularly in the early years of the show, the difference being my mother is still around. If Jake seemed slightly clingy to Ben at times, it may be because of the absence of his mom...

...which is why the addition of Kasidy Yates was such a welcome breath of fresh air. Ben and Kasidy had a mature, loving relationship that grew over time. It had its share of growing pains, but it was such a refreshing change from the cliche of bringing in a love interest for an episode whom you know Our Hero will never have a long-term affair with, but is there strictly for the sake of having a love story. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; it's just that having someone to stick around was nice for a change.

The Starfleet officer/Emissary to the Prophets dichotomy may not have always been that interesting to watch, but it was a very original wrinkle that gave Sisko additional depth. I liked how it colored the way he got along with Kira. I can't imagine how I would work with a boss I'm not that fond of to begin with who's also the embodiment of a major figure in my religion. To wrestle with that makes for a tough conflict.

I admire Sisko for so many reasons: as a family man, as a Starfleet officer who tried his best to do the right thing while fighting a war against an implacable foe (whether or not he succeeded is entirely up to you), as a friend and confidant to three incarnations of Dax, as a baseball fan, and yes, as a black man too. Avery Brooks invested so much humanity, so much passion, conviction and love into the character, and I'll be forever grateful to him for creating a role model for all kinds of people to admire.

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Previously:
Chris Pine's Kirk
Jonathan Archer
Kathryn Janeway

2 comments:

  1. The father-son relationship here is something that Janet and I bonded over in our sharing of "Deep Space 9". It is one of those cases where the emotion means the show will always be special.

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  2. That's nice, that a mother and daughter can relate to their relationship too. I never would've thought of that.

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