Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Move Along Home"


Air date: 3/15/1993
Teleplay by Frederick Rappaport and Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci
Story by Michael Piller
Directed by David Carson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Quark cheats the first visitors from the Gamma Quadrant in a game of Dabo, so the aliens decide to give Quark a lesson in fair play with a game that places Sisko, Kira, Dax, and Bashir in the middle of a surreal fantasy situation as the players. In order to see the DS9 officers to safety, Quark must play the game through—gambling with lives instead of money.

There is one big problem with "Move Along Home," and it's that the premise is very, very far-fetched. It just doesn't make much sense. The technology—something that allows the senior officers to become players in a game that Quark and the aliens are able to manipulate on a playing board—is never explained (which might be a good thing considering the alternative of technobabble). And it seems awfully convenient that the four players in this game would happen to be the senior officers. The alien "game" sets are impressive, and Carson's overhead camera angles and surreal imagery earn full marks for atmospherics.

Rene Auberjonois turns in another strong performance as an urgent Odo, and some scenes early on between Sisko and his son work well. But Quark's overwrought "groveling scene" falls flat, as does the constant repetition by alien game master Falow (Joel Brooks), who says "Choose their path" and "Move along home!" way too many times in the course of the episode. The motivation for placing the four main characters in such apparent peril strains credulity, assuming it exists at all. A very handsomely produced and often entertaining show, but it bears little scrutiny.

Previous episode: The Passenger
Next episode: The Nagus

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19 comments on this review

Phil - Fri, Jul 11, 2008 - 10:48pm (USA Central)
Man oh man I hate "Move Along Home". For me it's the DS9 equivalent of Next Gen's "Cost of Living". Some of the lighter episodes of the "Trek" shows that I didn't like in my youth (like "A Fistful of Datas") I enjoy much more when I revisit them but "Move Along Home" only worsens with age for me.

Side note - there's a shot in "The Nagus" that is composed and staged exactly like a shot in the opening scenes of "The Godfather" - with Quark in the same position as Don Vito Corleone. In the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "Restless" there's a dream sequence that similarly mimics a scene from "Apocalypse Now". In that scene the character of Principal Snyder is in place of Colonel Kurtz. It just always struck me as funny that Armin Shimmerman twice recreated iconic Marlon Brando roles on sci-fi/fantasy television shows.

William - Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 11:21pm (USA Central)

This always felt more like an early Next Gen to me. And while I know this episode isn't very good and I can't defend it at all, I liked it. The way you like Spam. You KNOW it's not good, but sometimes, you just like that Spam.

But I ain't gonna pretend this is classic DS9.

travis - Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - 7:46pm (USA Central)
"On behalf of the United Federation of Planets, welcome to Deep Space Nine."

"Yes, yes. Now where are the games?"

The episode is 90% silliness, but that opener worked perfectly considering how nervous Sisko and the gang were just a minute prior.
Frank - Sat, Sep 8, 2012 - 7:27am (USA Central)
This show makes just about every "Top 5 Worst DS9 Episode List" I've seen. I have to admit I have never had a problem with this episode and actually like it. Not a top episode for me but entertaining and would not have a problem watching it again if I came across it.
Van Patten - Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - 2:27pm (USA Central)
I'm somewhat surprised at the rating Jammer gives this, especially when he points out the obvious flaws, both in concept and execution.

The first 'official' visitors from the Gamma Quadrant arrive, the Wadi, and immediately request to be taken to 'The Games' - when they learn that Quark has cheated them, they take it upon themselves to force him into a 'Game' of their own, the pieces involved being four of the Senior Officers.

And I have to admit I wasn't looking forward with breathless anticipation to rewatching this one. The scenes with Dax,Sisko, Kira and Bashir playing 'The Game' haven't aged well - for me the episodes best scene is the opening sequence with Sisko talking to Quark in his bar about 'First Contact' protocol and as seems par for the course, the episode's strongest performance is once more Rene Auberjonois as Odo trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. I had forgotten that the Primmin character (James Lashly) appeared in this as well as 'The Passenger' and it's a shame he wasn't reused at all, as the interaction between him and Odo worked quite well.

As an hour of inconsequential silliness, it just about works, but I can't help but think this is the Season 1 low point, together with maybe 'Q-Less'. Even the oft-disparaged 'If Wishes..' works better for me than this - 1.5 stars.
grumpy_otter - Thu, Apr 11, 2013 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
Ugh. This is the first real miss for me, and it could have been so cool! I think the worst thing is that the game simply didn't make any sense. If it had been clear how the dice rolls worked to affect the game, or how the position of the tokens on the pyramid "board" related to the experience inside the maze, it might have been interesting. But as far as I could tell, the pieces sitting on the pyramid were just markers for the levels--so why did the pyramid have to be so elaborate?

One nice moment was when Quark realized he was playing with the lives (or so he thought) of the officers, and made a choice to benefit them against his greed.

Name - Sun, May 12, 2013 - 1:17pm (USA Central)
Very much late to comment on this, but after re-watching it just now, they do in fact hint at how it's done. After some scanning they mention a consistent energy reading similar to a transporter. Combined with the bright white room that Odo finds after boarding their ship, I'm left with 2 conclusions.

1: The used their transporter-like technology to dematerialize the officers and incorporated them physically into their game.

2: They were beamed into a holodeck-like area (white room) which is connected to the game on the station.

Both work fine with what we see, not everything needs to be explicitly explained (in fact that usually ruins everything when it is). After the game is over, they either re-materialize on the station or are beamed back down.
T'Paul - Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 11:42am (USA Central)
I enjoy this one...

The only thing I would say is that the challenges could have been a little more sinister or dangerous, I don't know, for me that was the missing element... I know that some of them were (forcefields, gas, cliffs) but for some reason they just didn't feel dangerous.

Plus some kind of visual from the game to the pyramid would have made sense so the players could see what was going on.

But all in all I still like it.
Adara - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 5:18pm (USA Central)
I like this one too, silly as it is. Probably my favorite of season 1. (don't hit me!) Alamarain!
Dom - Fri, Aug 16, 2013 - 8:47pm (USA Central)
@ Adara, in a season that includes "Duet"? I actually might have to hit you for that.
azcats - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 5:07pm (USA Central)
Reminds me of the VOY:Thaw.

also, reminds me of a twilight zone.

or a movie on the Sci-Fi Channel called "The Cube."


also..the girl singing..reminds me of the Nightmare on elm street song...

1-2. freddy is coming for you
3-4, lock the door.
5-6, crucifix
7-8, stay up late.
9-10, never sleep again..

I like when Quark realizes what the game means....great scene.

it looks like this is the show where they finally get Odo's makeup to look good. he no longer has the wrinkly divoted skin. it looks like plastic now.

but finally, i dont know what the problem is. Jammer ALWAYS gets upset with technobabble. and the miracle ending. he should be totally satisfied. they LOST! the did not find a way to save themselves. refreshing ending.
Peace of Landru - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 6:45pm (USA Central)
I think all I need to say about this episode is that I would rather watch "The Way to Eden" any day over this ridiculous dreck. Spock jamming with the hippies freakin rocks.

I would reverse the ratings. Move Along Home should get zero stars and The Way to Eden should get 2 1/2. At least there is some semblance of a plot in Eden. This just completely sucks.
Snitch - Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - 6:13pm (USA Central)
It's bad, like Voyager Thaw, 1 Star from me. I even skipped it on my rerun.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 1:50pm (USA Central)

Somehow I was able to get over the absurdity of the premise and enjoy this episode.

Rawthar - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 10:12am (USA Central)
Seems like an editing issue. Bashir's 'death' seemed to more closely fit the description if the game choosing a random piece to remove from play. Whatever the heck happened with the whole cliff sequence was connected in no way to what was going on in Quark's bar
Quarky - Fri, May 9, 2014 - 12:41am (USA Central)
This episode isn't as bad as some fans make it out to be. I almost feel like some people feel like they are supposed to hate this episode so they do. It was a fun first season ep. I liked the idea of using real people as game pieces. Maybe people hate it because of the singing but I liked this ep.
Michinoku - Sun, May 11, 2014 - 7:49pm (USA Central)
I have to wonder if this episode came out around the time Jumanji was released? Because that's ultimately what the logic of the primary plot reminds me of. Ditto the above poster recognizing the similarity between this sing-song rhyme and the one from Nightmare on Elm Street, but then again I suspect all "creepy singsong rhymes" in most cinema sound the same.
Yanks - Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 11:54am (USA Central)
A skipper for me.

Not only has this episode earned DS9's worst, it's right there in “the worst of all trek” running competition.

At least Spock's Brain was so bad it was humorous. At least most of Threshold was good. At least some of TATV was heartfelt. (I could go on)

The best line was:

"QUARK: Oh, that's right, you were here for the grovelling."

This whole episode "smelt of elderberries".

I’ll bet Odo was pissed he wasn't the one to catch Quark cheating his customers.

1/2 star for Quark's great line.
Sean - Sat, Jul 26, 2014 - 10:10pm (USA Central)
It's particularly bad when you watch this episode after you've seen all of DS9. Seeing all the amazing dark episodes of the later show, seeing all the amazing morally dubious things these characters have done. And then you see Sisko skipping and saying a rhyme. Lol wut. It's like the show is trolling.

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