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Deep Space Nine (DS9) Season 2 Guest Reviews

Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4 - Season 5 - Season 6 - Season 7

 

The Homecoming Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

This second season opener is also the first of many three-part episodes. I love plot arcs, but "to be continued" drives me nuts. That being said, this episode finally makes good on DS9's promise of consequences. Especially in TOS and for most of TNG you could say that "what happens in an episode stays in an episode". With the notable exception of Q, the Borg and the Traveler no TNG episode had any consequences and very little learning. In this episode of DS9 several things happen that we will be reminded of again many times later in the series. But that was the point of DS9, I'm glad to finally see it happen since season one was all about learning about the characters.
Oddly enough, a long lost friend of Quark shows up to give him a Bajoran earring which he hands over to Major Kira. This is our first hint that Quark isn't your typical Ferengi. This earring belongs one of Bajor's greatest heroes, an occupation era resistance leader, Li Nalas. Kira takes it upon herself to rescue him from a POW war camp on Cardassia IV.
As if the Cardassian POW camp weren't enough, "The Circle" (or as Sisko calls it, "The Alliance for Global Unity") makes their way on to the station for some good old 20th century graffitiing. Don't worry, beyond this arc, we don't hear from the Circle again.
Chief O'Brien and Kira head off to Cardassia IV to rescue Li Nalas. Unsurprisingly, they have little trouble getting past the Cardassians and manage to rescue Li along with several other Bajoran prisoners.
Immediately upon Kira's return to the station, Gul Dukat calls the station to offer a formal apology, and to say the remaining prisoners are being returned to Bajor.
Li Nalas seems unimpressed, if not upset, at the attention he gets on the station. After he's caught trying to stow away on a ship heading to the gamma quadrant, he confides in Sisko that he's not really a hero, that his famed battle with Gul Zurale was really just an accident. He's never seen again beyond this three episode arc.
Overall, I did not care for this episode much. Almost nothing happens. The fact that Li is never seen again is evidence (at least to me) of how unimportant this story is.
It ends with a cliffhanger, Li replaces Kira on the station and she's sent back to Bajor.
Remarkable dialogue: "It's probably just a routine scan." - "We're being hailed." - "Then again we could be in serious trouble." (Kira and O'Brien)
Rating: 5 (Holland Rhodes)

The Circle Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

The second part of the three part opening of season two is a let down. It starts out with a very monotone argument between Sisko and Blehu. It's far too political, and delves in to problems that simply don't matter to the series. The episode as a whole didn't bother me too much.
Kira is also in an especially bad mood. As every one of her friends visits her quarters, she becomes less tempered. Bareil enters, and Kira seems to have a moment of clarity, where she declares that Odo, O'Brien, Bashir, Quark and Dax are her friends. This is important, because Kira relies on her friends, and Quark to be sure, for solutions to many problems in the future.
Li Nalas shows up, to essentially relieve Kira of her duties. He does an excellent job of it. Ultimately he goes his own way. In the mean time, Kira is spending most of her time on Bajor, does a lot and learns nothing. We never hear of this experience again.
This show drags on, much like the past. Kira has an "orb experience" that I consider remarkable. As in previous shows, this shows the non-corporeal existence of the wormhole aliens. It does so in a very good way, and Nana Visitor proves her prowess as an actress..
For some stupid reason, Odo makes Quark a deputy. Li is extremely uncomfortable in his position. And Winn offers up her own anger for Kira's presence on Bajor.
All in all, this episode tries to bridge a gap from what could easily have been a two-part, but drags it to three.
Rating: 3 (Holland Rhodes)

The Siege Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Finally, this arc comes to an end. I was quite disappointed with the first two parts, but this episode makes it worth it.
Starfleet has Sisko evacuate all non-Bajorans from DS9 and let the Bajorans run it. However, Sisko and most of the bridge crew stay behind to retake the station. Quark sells seats (that he doesn't have) on the escape runabouts. However, that plan backfires when Rom gives Quark's ticket to a dabo girl. Quark is forced to stay on the station. Kira and Dax head to a Bajoran moon to look for a derelict fighter ship. Back on the station, the crew has hidden themselves. Although the station looks completely deserted the Bajoran invasion force suspects that it hasn't really been abandon. They go out in search of Starfleet still on the station. In several small skirmishes that remind me of "Home Alone" the remaining officers manage to capture most of the Bajoran forces.
Minister Jaro is making promises of grandeur about taking over the Vedek Assembly and the Chamber of Ministers then promoting Winn to Kai. Meanwhile, Kira and Dax are battling their way to the Chamber of Ministers with proof that Cardassians are responsible for supplying weapons. They are shot down and left stranded in the jungle. Luckily they are rescued by Vedek Bareil and with his help they make it to the Chamber of Ministers. Once Winn in presented with the proof that Cardassians are involved in supplying weapons to "The Circle" she agrees to return the station to the Federation.
What I liked most about this episode are the two story lines, one on the station and the one with Kira and Dax. Both were well done, and cut together nicely. It also seemed to resolve some of the distrust Bajor had of the Federation.
I was a bit disappointed with the fighter ship design. It reminded me too much of Star Wars. And later when they're in battle, I was again reminded of Star Wars. There were a few other things about this episode that reminded me of Star Wars, but that didn't really hurt the story any.
Nitpicking: The station houses about 7,000 people, yet quark says hundreds of people need to evacuate. We could assume he's right and that the bulk of the population is Bajoran, except that the invasion force finds the station completely deserted.
Remarkable quote: "With your eyes lieutenant, not your pants." (Kira, to Dax who mentioned "seat-of-the-pants" aiming)
Remarkable fact: Trills are allergic to spiders.
Rating: 7 (Holland Rhodes)

Invasive Procedures Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Once again the station has been evacuated, this time due to a plasma storm. A seemingly distressed ship is allowed to dock. Bad move. Two Klingons, a Trill, Verad, and some woman of unknown origin board the ship with the intent of taking the Dax symbiont. Odo is placed in stasis. Quark is involved in this. He has a deal with the Klingon to sell some liquid data chains. It's never mentioned why Quark has to sell these liquid data chains to Klingons during this storm. I would have thought Quark wouldn't hang around during a dangerous storm to sell something he could easily sell any other time.
Verad tells his sad story of how he tried so hard to be approved for joining and was never chosen. Dax tries to explain to Verad what a terrible idea it is to take the symbiont. Obviously Bashir wants no part in removing the symbiont from Dax to put in Verad. Dax tells him to do it so that no one else will get hurt. Even Sisko tells him to do it. I didn't find it very plausible. Bashir performs the operation, and we see a Trill symbiont for the first time. It's quite different from the one shown in TNG: "The Host". The show drags on with pointless dialog about Jadzia dying. I think it's supposed to be heartfelt and touching, but it's really rather boring.
Quark in a sudden act of bravery or stupidity jumps on one of the Klingons and is injured. He's taken to the infirmary where he acts like he's in severe pain, but it's part of a rouse to help save Dax. I've always wondered about his motive. My best guesses are a) he felt guilty for allowing the Klingons on the station, b) he was mad at the Klingon for not completing the deal, c) he likes Dax and doesn't want her to die, d) he doesn't want to lose his bar.
Again, more slow moving dialog, with the eventual outcome that Dax is put back in Jadzia. Overall, this is a boring, slow and uncomfortable episode.
Rating: 1 (Holland Rhodes)

Cardassians Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

The show seems to be about an orphaned Cardassian boy, but it turns out to be about much more. It is about Cardassians in general, their family structure and some of the finer points about the occupation, and the political system.
O'Brien's feelings towards Cardassians are fleshed out a bit more when Rugal, the orphaned boy, is sent to stay with the O'Briens while his status is investigated. Bashir takes an interest in the boy and wants to get to the bottom of it. Garak offers to help Bashir. You can see them start to trust each other more; eventually they'll form a friendship. Dukat takes a keen interest in Rugal as well. He turns out to be the center of a controversy. On one hand, the Bajorans who raised him love them like their own son, and on the other he turns out to be son of a politician on Cardassia.
I'm not sure if the truth is ever revealed, it's always hard to tell with Garak and Dukat who's telling the truth. That's one thing that makes them great characters, you're always left wondering.
Remarkable quote: "I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences." (Garak)
Remarkable fact: over 10 million Bajorans were killed by Cardassians during the occupation.
Rating: 8 (Holland Rhodes)

Cardassians Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

"Cardassians" exemplifies what is best about the first two seasons of DS9; it is a interesting, well thought-out look at an issue that does not try to hammer you over the head with the 'message' of the story. The set-up is simple; when a Cardassian war orphan brought up by Bajorans assaults plain, simple Garak, questions rise: Is the boy being raised to hate his own kind? Is he being mistreated by his hard-faced adopted parents? And should he be returned to his adopted parents (as he says he wants), or should he be sent back to his birth father against his will? The best part of the show is simply the fact that there is no one simple answer, and the episode does not try to say there is. It presents both sides of the issue equally well, and, when a decision is made, the episode does not try to prove that it is the right one, as most of TNG's moral-message episodes do. By doing this, it avoids any controversy, because it KNOWS that there are counterarguments. My only complaint with this episode involves the final choice; it happens off-camera, and we are simply told about it via a Captain's Log Narration. This is a missed opportunity for a great scene.
All together, an exemplary effort
Rating: 9 (Nathan)

Melora Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Melora Pazlar, the show's namesake, boards DS9. She is the first Elaysian in Starfleet. Her planet has low gravity so she requires some extra help. Bashir seems like he's already enamored with her even though they've never met. He eventually becomes romantic with her. Bashir's love for women is a common theme in DS9 and becomes a little too predictable.
Melora walks on the station with a cane and some odd braces on her arms and legs. Her attitude towards being offered help is standoffish at best, and downright rude at worst. This made her a tough character to like. She says she wants to be treated like everyone else, but in reality she wants to be left alone. Thankfully she's humbled a bit when she tries to go it alone and falls down being forced to wait for another person to come along to help her.
Bashir, comes up with a near miracle: a way for Melora to walk in normal gravity, without a chair or the braces. The relationship seems a bit contrived. Is Melora a patient or a girlfriend? It's a bit hard to tell.
Quark has some of his own problems as he often does. One of his old business associates, Fallit Kot, is released from prison and is bent on getting his revenge on Quark. In yet another deal gone wrong, Kot hijacks the runabout that Dax and Melora are boarding. Thankfully, by turning off the artificial gravity in the runabout Melora is able to attack Kot and save everyone. Because of this, Melora decides not to continue the treatments that would allow her to live in normal gravity. The romance is also over.
This was a fun episode and we got to see a part of Bashir's personality that we'll see again and again. The two low gravity scenes were also interesting to see.
Nitpicking: Bashir tells a story about how he tried becoming a tennis player before he went in to medicine. The odd part of the story is how bad he was, because he's genetically enhanced and was captain of the racquetball team at Star Fleet Medical. It doesn't make sense that he couldn't play tennis.
Remarkable fact: Melora is the first Elaysian in Starfleet.
Rating: 5 (Holland Rhodes)

Melora Stardate 47229.1: An Elaysian cartographer Melora Pazlar from a low-gravity world tries to adapt to life on DS9, a normal gravity environment. Meanwhile Quark's treacheries from the past catch up to him in the form of a criminal Falet Kat, intent on revenge.

I have mixed feelings about this episode. The primary plot of Melora and her problems adapting to life on DS9 was quite unremarkable, even boring, though it did have its highlights, as well as irritations. Irritations first: Bashir's drooling over her, and not taking it to the "next level". It seems that he has a new crush on a new woman almost every day, but what else is new? At least this time, I can't fault his choice, for Pazlar is definitely a piece of work (second only to Jadzia Dax)! Especially the hostile front she puts up to keep him at bay... almost as if she wants someone to breach her defenses! Which Bashir did, and quite effectively, too. Now, if he only pressed the advantage... ahh, what an INCREDIBLE missed opportunity! Then, of course, there is Pazlar's insecurity about the medical procedure. I admit, such a life-changing decision should not be made hastily, but I was expecting a little more decisiveness on her part, especially given her (at least at the beginning) forceful and hostile attitude (which I really liked). Later in the episode, her resolve simply vanishes, and ultimately she decides against completing the procedure. A shame, because I would have really liked her to have become a permanent member of DS9 cast. The highlight is her handling of the fat Klingon chef at the restaurant, to confront a Klingon that way definitely takes 'kajunpakt'! I would have liked it even more had she thrown that plate of half-dead racht in his face, with a suitably obscene insult, that is what a Klingon woman would have done! Oh well, wishful thinking...
The secondary plot (though their screen time is almost identical) of Quark's conflict with Falet Kat was definitely the more interesting part of the episode. I can certainly understand Kat's desire for revenge: he spent almost a decade in a Romulan labour camp because Quark fingered him to the Romulans, while Quark got away without any consequences! In his place, I would do exactly the same! Although, I would not lose perspective like Kat did... At first, he refused to be bribed by Quark's pathetic attempts at appeasement. I mean, really, a round of dabo, a soup, and Vulcan mollusks are supposed to compensate for Quark's betrayal and its consequences?! I would consider that simply an added insult! When Kat spilled the bowl of soup at Quark's feet, he demonstrated very graphically what he thought of such an appeasement! Finally, when Quark offered 199 bars of latinum, that was worth Kat's notice! From that point on, however, Falet Kat has lost perspective: from killing Quark's business partner and stealing the gold rings, to kidnapping a runabout with Dax and Pazlar and almost killing her (which was one of the two absurdities I will address later), all of those actions demonstrated that his greed and killer instincts have overwhelmed his common sense, and single-minded desire for revenge on Quark. From that point on, it was obvious he would be subdued one way or the other, although I was expecting him to be killed by one of the people on the runabout. The events on the runabout are my only two major grievances in this episode, which were largely to blame for my final rating of it: Absurdity1 -5 points, Absurdity2 -2 points, Bashir's missed opportunity -1 point, Pazlar's indecisiveness and loss of "attitude" -1 point, Remarkable scene +2 points. Final tally: 3/10
Absurdity 1: Melora Pazlar survives a direct hit with a from a phaser because "all of the neuro-stimulants we have been pumping into your body" as Bashir put it! This ABSOLUTE INCREDIBLE NONSENSE ranks as my second worst scientific blunder after those seen in Voyager's "Threshold" episode! WHAT IN HELL'S NAME DO NEURO-STIMULANTS HAVE TO DO WITH RESISTING A DIRECTED HIGH-ENERGY DISCHARGE FROM A PARTICLE WEAPON? That phaser beam would have made a charred hash of all of her internal organs regardless of any amount of neuro-stimulants in her body! That is like me saying I survived a .50 cal sniper bullet through the heart because I was taking injections of adrenaline! I mean please!
Absurdity 2: Not nearly as mind-numbing as the first one, but still EXTREMELY unlikely: Pazlar launches herself from the runabout's aft bulkhead in zero gravity hits Falet Kat, hits him in the chest with an impact barely strong enough to nudge him in real life, and he is instantly incapacitated? If the hit was twice as strong, and if it hit him below the rib cage in the solar plexus, than it would have had some quite unpleasant effects, though I doubt he would have been knocked unconscious, but this?! A mild impact directly in the chest, and he is out like a light? VERY unlikely.
Remarkable scene: Falet Kat demonstrates his ruthlessness as he calmly demands Sisko to release the ship, then cold-bloodedly shoots Pazlar! That calm, measuring look in his eyes really sent chills down my spine! Far more deadly than any outburst of rage!
Rating: 3 (Darko)

Rules Of Acquisition Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

This is a Ferengi episode, and while I typically like them a lot this one wasn't great.
I was glad to see that life seems to be back to normal on the station. Quark is back to his late night tongo games with Jadzia. Zek arrives on the station to open negotiations with the Dosi, a race from the gamma quadrant. He wants to sell tulaberry wine in the Gamma Quadrant and wants Quark to get tulaberries from the Dosi. A young Ferengi bartender, Pel, befriends Quark, who in turn invites him along for the Gamma Quadrant assignment. The secret is that Pel is no ordinary Ferengi, Pel is a female. Quark is so eager to please the Nagus and make a profit he never figures out Pel's identity. Not even after Pel tries to kiss him.
Quark isn't able to get the tulaberries, but he learns about the Dominion for the first time. As we know, the Dominion turns out to be the biggest enemy to the Federation and greatest threat to the Alpha Quadrant. Back on the station Rom tells Quark that Pel is a female, and Pel tells Zek. Quark loses out again when Zek takes away his Gamma Quadrant deal.
Although learning about the Dominion for the first time was a plus, not enough was mentioned. Being mostly about the Ferengi many rules of acquisition were quoted, hence the title of the show. The major problem is that while the rules are funny they are no basis for an hour long story. Worse yet is that too much is made about how Ferengi treat women. This is covered much better in later episodes. Anyone who likes the Ferengi will find this episode to be fun. If you don't like Ferengi, you probably won't care for this episode much at all.
Rating: 4 (Holland Rhodes)

Necessary Evil Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

This show starts out when a friend of Quark's asks him to Bajor to request a favor. I'm always a little surprised when Quark has a friend that asks a favor. I would figure no one would want to deal with Quark more than once or twice, certainly not long enough to become his friend. Through several flashbacks to when the Cardassians ran the station, the episode deals with two crimes. A murder in the flashbacks and several murders of people whose name is on a list found by Quark and Rom. It gives us a very interesting look at how Odo became involved with the Cardassians and Bajorans, and gained the trust of both.
We also learn a little bit of Rom's dubious side when he breaks in to a shop on the promenade to help Quark get the list. He also tells some tales of breaking in to Quarks and once Quark is shot and may be dead, Rom seems almost gleeful about the prospect of owning the bar.
In the flashback scenes Odo suspects Kira of the murder. Of course, at the time she's just a visiting Bajoran, not the Major. Kira is later dropped as a suspect, and the case goes unsolved. In the present day scenes a little more happens. Eventually the names are figured out, and then they start dropping like flies. Odo tries to solve those murders, and ends up solving the original murder in the process. Kira ends up being guilty after all. Odo seems shattered by this. It's hard to tell if he's more shattered that Kira who he now considers a close friend lied to him for so long, or that he wasn't able to figure it out sooner.
I found the story rather intriguing. It gave us a lot of insight in to the station's past, and especially the relationship between the Cardassians (especially Dukat), Odo and Kira.
Remarkable quote: "What do you see?" - "The Bar." - "Yes?" - "With my name on it!" - "The past Rom, not the future." (Odo and Rom when Odo is questioning him about the names on the list)
Remarkable fact: Odo is given the "Constable" title in this episode (By Kira during a flashback scene).
Rating: 7 (Holland Rhodes)

Second Sight Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

I like this episode for its entertainment value, but truth be told I was disappointed by the story. Essentially nothing happens that affects the characters, and very little is learned of their past. The b-story is also pretty weak. 
The main story is that Sisko meets a mysterious woman named Fenna on the station who keeps disappearing. He ends up falling in love with her. She turns out to look identical to the woman in the b-story, but of course they each claim not to know each other. The woman in the b-story is Nidell, the wife of a terraformer Dr. Seyetik that is visiting the station. As it turns out, she has psychokinetic abilities and Fenna is merely a mental projection. Her species is never seen again in DS9, so why even bother? It seems a bit odd that she's married to a famous terraformer whom Sisko admires, yet he had never heard of Nidell's species or abilities. In fact, he seems unaware that's she's even aboard Seyetik's ship or that he's even married. Nidell is creating the projection because of her dissatisfaction in her marriage to Seyetik. She seems to be in a coma, and the only way Seyetik can see to get her out of it is to commit suicide.
This was incredibly disappointing to say the least. This is the second suicide this season. Li Nalas jumps in the line of fire to save Sisko in DS9: "The Siege", essentially committing suicide. Suicide seems to be a recurring theme, especially in TNG. I don't think a single season went by without a suicide episode, and I can think of three other DS9 episodes off the top of my head dealing with suicide (DS9: "Life Support", Bareil takes drugs that he knows will kill him in order to stay alive long enough to complete negotiations; DS9: "Covenant", Dukat arranges a mass-suicide of his followers; DS9: "Hard Time", O'Brien attempts suicide due to being imprisoned for 20 years).
Rating: 4 (Holland Rhodes)

Sanctuary Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

A ship unexpectedly comes through the wormhole carrying four Skrreea. Unfortunately the universal translators aren't able to translate their language. I found this odd. In fact, I can think of only two other times this has happened. It happened in TNG: "Darmok" when Picard is actually able to figure out some of their language but the universal translator cannot, and in DS9: "Little Green Men" when the Ferengi's universal translators are damaged during time travel. Eventually the station's universal translator is able to translate the Skrreean language.
The Skrreea social structure seems to be a bit odd. It's not just female-dominant, but the males are immature and subservient. Not only that, they seem shocked to even see males of another species in a leadership role.
The Dominion is once again mentioned by the first Skrreean woman to come through the wormhole, Haneek. So far, I'm pretty pleased with the subtle introduction of the Dominion. The Skrreean are looking for Kentanna, and Haneek identifies Bajor as Kentanna. The Bajoran government turns them away, and Kira agrees. This pits Kira against her new friend, Haneek. With the Skrreeans so interested in finding Kentanna, and believing that it's Bajor, I expected them to make another appearance during the war with the Dominion. Of course, if Kentanna is their fabled homeland, shouldn't they be willing to fight for it?
I did feel the Bajoran government made the right choice to turn away 3 million Skrreeans. Although, given that the Federation helped them resettle, they should be seen again, unfortunately, they're not.
Remarkable quote: "I monitor my gross income hourly. My hourly figures become my indicators. My indicators become my projections. ... If my projections hold true in a month I'll be out of business." (Quark)
Remarkable fact: Kentanna may be another name for Bajor.
Rating: 5 (Holland Rhodes)

Sanctuary Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

The idea of immigrants/refugees flying through the Wormhole is an obvious plot, but here done with a few twists.
The first is the noticeable failure of the universal communicator, now exposed as basically as a "smart stereo" system where the computer hears the voices, tries to discover a universal code, cross relate and voila, communication. Then the scale of the refugee (called the Skrreea) crisis - three million people - a task that is accomplished with remarkable ease (maybe budget constraints to be fair), but is impressively done.
I felt that it was an attempt to redo the immigration story that was done in the infamously dreadful TNG episode "Up the long Ladder". This is a lot better, but there is still the tweeness of the refugees - the usual suspects are there: kid gangs that are misunderstood and frustrated, grannies/mums leading lost kids, curious poor folk in obvious refugees in rags prodding and probing the technologies of the station, and so on and so forth - I think this was a Star Trek version of Polish/Jewish/Irish folk arriving at Ellis Island.
Of course things go wrong, and a tad obvious - the Skrreea are looking for a planet of sorrow via the eye of the universe - anyone with a small portion of grey matter can clearly work out that its about the Wormhole and Bajor. The Skrreea want to settle and the Bajorans cannot allow it, because they are not in exactly the best shape to accommodate three million new aliens. As a result a couple of folk flee to Bajor to defy the authorities, but due to their knackered ship they blow up before they get there.
Overall its not a "blow me over" episode, its typical Star Trek stuff on a refugee situation - Star Fleet finds a planet that the can settle on, repair their ships, Sisko getting smug and sentimental about helping these refugees and "their first taste of freedom", and so on and so forth. It’s also bombastic that the Skrreea is a Matriarch society, and one the women of DS9 like to emphasise with smug glee.
I have no qualms about a woman/women rule - in the UK during the 80's we had two of them! What I find irksome is that they think that female rule is idyllic and flawless - tell that to the Miners in the UK who lost their jobs and the catastrophic devastation to their communities when Thatcher wiped out the coal industry, who privatised everything the Government controlled - who supported Apartheid South Africa for business, who promoted greed at the expense of humility. Some will say that she is strong for it - tell that to those still picking up the pieces - and there was no sexual discrimination when Thatcher wiped out the livings of many.
There is a fundamental belief in the US that women can do a better job than men. The truth is that anyone can do a good job regardless of sex, gender, race, or creed. It’s the character and level of gumption that makes a person from a hero, monster, or weakling, nothing else. Would be more interesting if they came across a culture who believed that men are superior - would they then tolerate the male's smugness in response?
Having said that, the leader of the Skrreea, Haneek, who makes friends with Kira, and Kira champions the Skrreea cause, start out as friends and determined allies but at the end of the day, the "way of the universe" crushes Haneek's hopes and dreams. It's very naive to assume that Bajor can take them in and to blame Kira for something that is beyond her control, but Kira should have known better to ally herself with very desperate people; they always need more than what anyone can offer and when there is nothing more to give, they get disappointed and bitter fast and turn on the likes of Kira who they thought/believed they could help. Kira got too involved - and she really asked for it.
The ending (thank the stars) is a verbal slap across Kira's face from Haneek, for letting her down. If there is a lesson here is that no matter who or what you are - be it sex, race, religion, or preference, you disappoint or fail people, be prepared to take a smack in the mouth.
3/10 - mainly for the boring and the smugness overwhelmed this episode. The ending just raised it.
Remarkable dialogue: "I think you've made a terrible mistake. All of you. Maybe we could have helped you. Maybe we could have helped each other. The Skrreeans are farmers, Kira. You have a famine on your planet. Perhaps we could have made that peninsula bloom again. We'll never know, will we? Fifty years of Cardassian rule have made you all frightened and suspicious. I feel sorry for you. You were right. Bajor is not Kentanna." -Haneek, to Kira Nerys
Remarkable build up: The Skrreea talked about their history, and how they were enslaved by a race called the T-Rogorans, who they escaped from after the T-Rogorans were crushed by an unknown force - all they knew were called the Dominion - at the time I thought - WOW here is a force - little did I know...
Sad loss: Kitty Swink, who portrays the character of Minister Rozahn, is Armin Shimerman's wife, while Andrew Koenig, who plays Tumak, was Walter Koenig's son. Alas Andrew killed himself on the 25th of February 2010.
Remarkable fact: The ending was to have been more happier but Michael Piller changed it to put Kira in a "more uncomfortable place" to give it more resonance. Hence the three points.
Rating: 3 (Chris S)

Rivals Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Rivals deals with two small competitions. One between O'Brien and Bashir playing racquetball, and another between Quark and an El-Aurian con artist named Mazur who opens a casino on the promenade.
Bashir is an excellent player. O'Brien can't win any matches against him. Bashir seems to take great delight in it, whereas O'Brien feels like he has something to prove by beating Bashir. Although Bashir really seems to be bragging about beating O'Brien, he tries hard to get him to stop playing. Their behavior felt odd to me, very out of character.
Odo imprisons the El-Aurian, and while there he picks up a small gambling device from his cellmate. Mazur is released from prison when the elderly couple that accused him of scamming them drops the charges. Out of prison, and luck on his side thanks to the gambling toy, Mazur opens up his casino. I was rather surprised Odo would allow someone he suspects of being a con artist open a casino. I'm not positive, but I believe the casino's location is sometimes the Bajoran temple, and for a while served as the station's school.
The gambling toy is much more than a toy as it turns out. It affects probability. Quark ends up with a lot of bad luck, while Mazur has nothing but good luck. Other odd things are happening all over the station. Quark comes up with a scheme to get people back in his bar, he arranges a match between Bashir and O'Brien. Quark gets them to agree to the match by promising a donation to Bajoran orphans. Thanks to the gambling toy, O'Brien is at the top of his game and is easily beating Bashir. It's an interesting match to be sure.
It's a pretty funny episode, especially Quark. I laughed several times. As fun and entertaining as it was, it was also unbelievable. Of course with Star Trek we're expected to buy in to a lot of advanced cultures and technologies. This one doesn't even seem possible, a gaming device some how changing probability? I don't buy it. I would have rated the show higher if he had a more believable premise.
Remarkable dialogue: "I can listen. I can list as well as anyone. What happened?" - "I fell down." - "See? I'm listening. Nothing to it." - "How did you fall down?" - "Playing raquetball with Bashir." - "Where?" - "At the court? Where do you think?" - "What was the score?" - "Who cares?" - "I care, I’m listening. Tell me your problems, all of them." (O'Brien and Quark)
Rating: 5 (Holland Rhodes)

Rivals Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

A con man, one Martus Mazur, gets hold of a device that can change probability. He replicates it and becomes a rival to Quark's casino and earns a fortune, with luck bending his way at his leisure, whereas Quark typically suffers in lost revenue. Cue the usual snifflings by Quark which the Trek Core adore, Odo not caring and being the foil to Big ears, Martus being a clumsy bumbling fool, and you get the idea.
Of course, Quark is the cute comedy relief and for Martus to bankrupt him is not going to happen because Quark is an 'essential/popular' character; so typically the Star Fleet crew realise that thing are wrong, detect the problem, find the source, destroy Martus's devices, thus bankrupting him and getting him arrested, and gone from the station.
If I did not know better, this episode sounds more like the plot of the Red Dwarf story "Quarantine" Where that crew plays with the power of luck. The results in that were absolutely funny. Here it’s absolutely awful.
This boring tripe's sole purpose was to have another clichéd story surrounding Quark, his mob, greed and 'Constable' Odo getting involved, and get some ratings. How does the spinning of neutrinos have any bearing on luck? Luck is a series of events that can either benefit or curse. It’s just a silly plot point to do the above. They could have come up with some original spins or clever ideas with this - instead it's a typical trivial "rival to Quark and once again a 'threat' to the station" story.
This from a pool of writers! Pathetic.
Nitpicking: If Martus's devices can alter luck, how comes he did not use them to disable Sisko and Dax's attack?
Remarkable fact 1: The original idea was that Quark got a device that can bless him great fortune but at the costs of his friends. Another forced morality play. *Yawn*.
Remarkable fact 2: Martus was introduced as a 'wayward son' of Guinan, but the idea was shelved because Whoopi Goldberg was unavailable. The role was changed and was planned to be a reoccuring character, but the producers hated the end result and dropped the idea - wonder why?
Rating: 0 (Chris S)

The Alternate Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Dr. Mora arrives on the station with a possibility of helping Odo find his origins. In my opinion, Odo has too much animosity towards Mora which dominates the episode. But since the prospect of finding his people is so appealing, Odo agrees to go with Mora to the Gamma Quadrant.
Odo becomes infected by something on the Gamma Quadrant planet. The infection causes Odo to become a "Jekyll and Hyde" type. He transforms himself and randomly attacks people and things on the station. Odo is essentially investigating himself. I found the premise plain silly. In fact, people doing things that they are unaware of is a recurring theme in Star Trek. In TNG: "The Mind's Eye" Geordi is committing acts that he's unaware of and investigating himself. In DS9: "The Assignment" O'Brien is forced to investigate himself (knowingly) and in DS9: "Inquisition" Bashir is accused of being a double-agent for Romulans and not knowing it.
Back to the story. Apparently Odo is doing all these things to strike out against Mora. And of course, Mora is the only one who can stop Odo. In the final scene, where Mora saves Odo is more than a little cliché. I didn't care for this episode very much. In general, I don't like Odo episodes, he's not a very fun or likable person.
Remarkable fact: The Ferengi Plegg invented holosuites.
Nitpicking: Sisko tells a story about his father in such a way that it seems like his father had died. Perhaps the writers forgot about this when they wrote the character of Sisko's father, or perhaps the point of the story isn't that Sisko's father died.
Rating: 3 (Holland Rhodes)

Armageddon Game Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

This episode is primarily an O'Brien and Bashir show. They are given the task to work with two warring worlds, the T'Lani and Kellerun, to help them destroy a biogenic weapon called a "harvester". The episode builds the friendship between O'Brien and Bashir. In reality, I think it would be more likely for Dax and Bashir to be doing this. You'll often see her helping out in the infirmary, but you rarely see O'Brien there.
The moral basis of the show is questionable at best. The T'Lani and Kellerun want peace between each other but don't mind asking the Federation for help, then killing them. Wouldn't they realize if the plan is found out that they'd just end up in a war with the Federation instead? The Federation response is also a bit of a surprise. Any other time someone is killed, or assumed dead, the Federation response is not less than a full investigation. In this case, Sisko is satisfied with a video clip of the incident and it's not until Keiko O'Brien notices an oddity that Sisko and Dax do some investigating.
Although there are more than a few plot holes, it's still a fun episode. Having O'Brien and Bashir come closer worked out great for later episodes. I'm always impressed with Rosalind Chao's performances. Her part may have been small but she was still an excellent part of this episode. The little stand off towards the end of the show was fun to watch too.
Nitpicking: The data clip contains a spectroscopic analysis of what O'Brien was drinking? Is that a joke? The whole clip was a fake, why would they go to the trouble of adding a coffee analysis to it? A more plausible and quicker way for Keiko to notice O'Brien drinking coffee would be for him to say so, "Ack! This coffee is still too hot" or something like that.
Remarkable quote: "To our dear, departed comrades. We may have had our differences, bull I'll say this for them – and it's the highest tribute I can think of. They were good customers – they always paid their bar bills on time." (Quark)
Rating: 5 (Holland Rhodes)

Armageddon Game Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

Nutshell - Bashir and O'Brien go to a world that has (again) ended a civil war that has lasted for 'centuries' and want to ensure the peace - and the best example is for both sides of that planet to see the destruction of a cache of powerful genetic weapon known as Harvesters. After numerous attempts, Jules and Smiley finally figure out how to neutralise them - with muon particles. Cue everyone chuffed to bits at the prospect, the Feds getting all self smug about it all, and peace assured. All they have to do is wipe out loads of these items and job's done.
When the job is done however, the planet's government are so obsessed in keeping the peace that they decide not only to wipe out all data on the stuff, they also decide to kill everyone involved in this program - including the dynamic duo. Thankfully their Star Fleet training saves them, only in the fight, Smiley gets a drop of this devastating Harvester stuff on his arm. The pair escapes down world and stake it out.
Meanwhile, the planet informs Benny and co that there was an accident, and that all including Smiley and Jules are toast. Cue the usual scenes of everyone looking grim, Kira being wrath like, Benny silencing her, Quark doing a buffoon toast, and the usual Star Fleet stiff upper lip. Keiko is told the news and she looks at the video of the death. Only she discovers a glitch - enough for all to act on it. Meantime our duo are on said planet trying to hide. They get caught but are rescued in the nick of time. Sisko uses a runabout on remote to fool the said government in their pursuit who destroy the ship only for the lot to escape on the other runabout. Meh
This is another rehash of a Star Trek story, that being TNG "The Most Toys", the one where Data is 'killed' but really kidnapped but a slight clue in a recording of the death gives it all away. It's the same here. Keiko knows Miles never has a coffee in the afternoon, and that is "enough to raise reasonable doubt". In ways this is the start of the Smiley and Jules show that will be consistent in the series, but in all fairness, it’s just 'so what'?
It’s always some backward colony/planet/government that has heavy hints to either poor eastern European nations, African countries, or some impoverished backwater that needs the 'might of the Federation/USA' to get them out of a tight spot. Then said poor world have to do something stupid for drama sake. Once or twice, yeah okay, but this is becoming a constant habit in the franchise and it's getting old.
As for the Harvesters, some genetic weapon; Jules took ages to wipe out a tube of the stuff, but a simple spot on Miles turns him into a bloke with a very bad crippling cold, a couple of hypo sprays later and he is right as rain.
It's just watchable but that's about it. Nothing adventurous, and quite boring. I pity the actors for doing this. 4/10.
Remarkable fact: Morgan Gendel's original idea was a sort of North by Northwest/Midnight run caper, where Jules and Smiley were on the run, after the Federation wanted an alien civilization's bioweapons destroyed, but the aliens had created it with O'Brien's DNA - kill the weapon, kill Smiley. It involved numerous location shots, and starships - and that was too much to the budget. So as Ira Steven Behr pointed out "they managed to do a chase movie on one set". Explains a lot!
Reused ship: the Tamarian warship - used also in the DS9 ep "Dax"
Rating: 4 (Chris S)

Paradise Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

This episode was extremely disappointing to me. The premise was sound, although not too original - Sisko and O'Brien beam down to a planet where people have a kind of a anti-technology society. However, we already see that people there only regard them as Human Resources. Alixus comes off as a very unpleasant person that keeps speaking about the "benefits of the community" every time we see her on screen, and that's a whole lot of time.
All of this would be fine, however, if not the reaction of the two Starfleet officers. They do basically nothing here, only use passive resistance, and only in the end O'Brien does something worthwhile. There would have been absolutely nothing of the sort if there were the two previous captains here. Kirk would have fought his way out of the village on the first opportunity (and wouldn't mind the seduction attempt ;) ), found the device and destroyed it. Picard would have rallied the crowd, and rightfully so - the regime is so blatantly wrong with its "discipline" that is actually torture, evolutionary ideas, and still very much based on the same technology that they were trying to avoid for the decade (especially jarring is the "punishment box" - it's clearly a cargo crate). In fact, the whole anti-technology business is wrong to the core - the primitive tools they use are still tools, they are still technology, the only difference is the level of sophistication. It would have been believable if they lived in the forest and did nothing else but eat fruit, since that truly doesn't involve technology, but not this way. And the villagers should have enough common sense to understand this. So as you can see, there is a whole lot of things to include in a Patrick Stewart Speech. :)
And the ending, as Bernd pointed out, is probably the most disappointing part, where Alixus gets to defend her position (with flawed arguments, too), and nobody objects to that. Plus none of the villagers return, which is again very unbelievable and unfair, because they are supposed to have their own voice in this. What happens after the four leave, does the oppressive labour regime continue?..
The B plot was also not really interesting. The lasso way of stopping a runabout is novel, but it makes you wonder about how it works. Do you pull the other ship out of the warp bubble? And after it works, why do they tow the other runabout instead of having Kira pilot one and Dax the other?
Nitpicking: How did Alixus manage to send the runabout into warp in the first place, if she is not supposed to use any means of technology? Even if she did have access to the jamming device, I highly doubt it's capable of locating ships in orbit and pushing them right on track into the star, especially in warp! And since when are Romulans so kind as to provide Starfleet with information about missing runabouts?
Remarkable precontinuity: We have seen another way to transfer from one ship to another in warp in ENT: "Divergence". Runabouts are no longer outfitted with grappling hooks, however. Or space suits, it seems.
Rating: 1 (GreatEmerald)

Crossover Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

I can only assume that DS9 must have been struggling for stories, and no doubt looking back into Star Trek’s history for ideas they stumble across the "Mirror, Mirror" episode in the Original Series and thought - WOW!
It starts when Kira and Bashir "accidentally" get misdirected via some spillage/interaction of some sudden leak of an "exotic particle of the day" in the Wormhole, which catapults them into the alternate universe and are introduced to a seedy version of DS9 where the cast they know are, in a nutshell, degenerates.
The top of this list is Kira herself - known here as the Intendant - who is a camp drama whore (literally) who runs their version of Terok Nor on behalf of ‘The Empire’. This version of Kira is into all the illegal stuff, sex with anything, wears tight fitting leather, and has a violent yet seductive temper. She actually is the highlight of literally a rather daft dull stupid episode. In fact its Nana Visitor’s performance in this ghastly fantasy, that is the catalyst for other stories to come from this new universe.
So begins the DS9 Great Pantomime that would feature a lot in the series, each episode about this "alternate universe" more camper and dafter than the last. This is just an excuse for all the bad things they cannot do in the "good universe" to take place. Like with cop-out time-redo stories, alternate dimensions, and "duplicates" of the crew, its a convenient way to do bad, horrible, defeated things to the Star Trek mob without actually harming the people involved, or tainting Gene‘s vision of Utopia.
On a science fiction front too it's complete rubbish compared to the excellent TNG episode "Parallels" that explores the notion of parallel universes with a scientific and sensible approach. The Mirror Universe I can only assume was done at the time as looking into the idea of an alternate universe, (much like the theorised anti-matter universes), and since then the alternate notion has gained more scientific interest. "Mirror, Mirror" was a sign of its time and should have been seen as "one possible reality"; alas the writers and Nana’s performance ensure that this would not be the last time viewers would visit DS9’s pantoland.
There is no real purpose to this except to show the "goody goody two shoes" cast looking villainous and "free" of the order in our universe. There is even an explanation of the crossover by Kira to Kira on the mention of Good Kirk meeting Bad Spock to justify this nonsense. To most actors it was probably a nice respite to play the same characters but differently; to the Trekkies it's Trek ‘on a new level’; to the rest of us its either fun or stupid.
To me at the time I thought it was fun, as a one off, but as Bernd points out about how only homosexuality occurs here, and that this theme would be explored again and again, the novelty has long worn off.
2/10 - for seeing the actors act but as mentioned, it did not stay a one off and thus seeded worse to come.
Rating: 2 (Chris S)

The Jem'Hadar Stardate not given: Synopsis in main DS9 listing

To me, this episode radiates the fact that the original plan of DS9 - that, being the exploration of the new frontier, the Gamma Quadrant - via a wormhole - was now dead. For proof, look to the episodes prior to this - just two visitors of major impact came through the wormhole, very little was found/shown, and the stories stank. Compare this to the discoveries and various encounters with numerous alien finds in The Next Generation, and the results speak for themselves.
Add to this dwindling viewing figures, Babylon Five and X-Files competitions, the net result was to change the game but in a way that did not humiliate all those involved with creating the idea of DS9.
Hence this.
The idea and plot is not bad actually. In a nutshell, Sisko and son plan to go into the Gamma Quadrant for some family time. However, Jake wants Nog to come along, and in effect Quark is dragged in for guardian reasons. From then on Quark whinges and Sisko preaches, and is a rather predictable tedious affair, but it leads to a good climax on that part.
When they make camp on some world, the tension between the adults rise. The kids are better models and get on, which is a good observation. Just as things get out of hand, a woman bursts in on them. They are later captured by the Jem'Hadar, soldiers of the infamous Dominion.
What happens next is well good. Benny's prejudices are at maximum yield and regards Quark as an embarrassment to his enlightened vision. Quark admits his society's weakness, but retaliates in a brilliant fashion and punctures Benny's smug superiority. They maybe money grabbing sexist hoods, but they did not commit massacres, slavery, and the sort. I liked that sequence because its a way to remind the 'better' how they got there and at the same time slapping them across the face with no chance of retaliation.
When it's learned of Ben's abduction by the Jem'Hadar, the Federation dispatch a Galaxy class and two runabouts to rescue them.
In the process a fierce battle is waged and in a frightening display of determination, the Jem'Hadar inflict a massive loss on Federation forces. The ending is also ingenious, with Quark once again stealing the show. Armin Shimerman again out acts Avery Brooks.
This is a good episode. It is well plotted, crafted, and lays the foundation of the Dominion War that will come. However I find that the Federation thinks that it has a right to traverse into anyone's territory and think no reprisals. Sort of like the USA...
It would be a lot better too if the Jem'Hadar stayed a formidable foe. Alas in typical tradition, like with the Borg, they start out great but get diluted as time goes by. Some say its progress on one's enemy, but I keep seeing that only the Federation gets better and their enemies do not.
6/10 for overall idea, the ending, and the great lines by Quark.
Remarkable dialogue: "The way I see it, hew-mons used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We're a constant reminder of a part of your past you'd like to forget." - "We don't have time for this..." - "But you're overlooking something: Hew-mons used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi. Slavery. Concentration camps. Interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're better. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lock to pick." -Quark and Sisko
Nitpicking 1: Why did the Jem'Hadar charge Sisko in the cave when he had a rifle? Some would say it may have failed on him - but so too the pistol?
Nitpicking 2: The Jem'Hadar and the Dominion have the right to defend its space, yet the Federation invade it - and it's that. Colonies, frequent flights in. It may not be armies, but its not exactly an accidental stroll. In truth the Federation started the war, plus the fact that they never tried to talk to the Dominion and settle this until the END of the war with billions dead. The fact that the Federation would mine the entrace to their side to prevent Dominion support for Cardassia in later episodes, emphasises the hypocrisy.
Dialogue for war?: "I'm Third Talak'talan of the Jem'Hadar. I am here to inform you that your commander has been detained for questioning by the Dominion." - "Detained? For how long?" - "Indefinitely. Commander Sisko will serve as an example of what happens to anyone who interferes with the Dominion." - "What kind of interference are you talking about?" - "Coming through the Anomaly is interference enough. Unless you wish to continue to offend the Dominion, I suggest you stay on your side of the Galaxy." - "You're making a mistake if you think that detaining Commander Sisko will stop us from exploring the Gamma Quadrant." - "We anticipated that response." -Talak'talan, Kira and Dax
Nitpicking 3: What happened to the Vorta's psychic abilities?
Remarkable fact: After Quark's speech in which he concludes that the Ferengi are less barbaric than humans and thus better, the stage directions say that, while Sisko is not at all convinced, Quark's words give him food for thought. According to Ira Steven Behr, "We were going into the end of the second season and it was time to lay to rest this long-time feeling that the Ferengi were the 'failed villains' of the Star Trek universe. I wanted people to see them as something else. And if we could show that Sisko, whose character has a lot of weight, would take what Quark says seriously, then the audience would take it seriously."
Rating: 6 (Chris S)

 


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