Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Move Along Home"

**1/2

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

◄ Season Index

34 comments on this review

Phil
Fri, Jul 11, 2008, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
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.

P
William
Tue, Jul 24, 2012, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Alamarain!

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.

Alamarain!
travis
Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
"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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
@ Adara, in a season that includes "Duet"? I actually might have to hit you for that.
azcats
Fri, Sep 6, 2013, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Reminds me of the VOY:Thaw.

also, reminds me of a twilight zone.

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

trapped....


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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
It's bad, like Voyager Thaw, 1 Star from me. I even skipped it on my rerun.
Kotas
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 1:50pm (UTC -5)

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

5/10
Rawthar
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 10:12am (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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 (UTC -5)
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.
Elliott
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***, 5%

There's a bit where Sisko comments that's it has been about 3 years since he wore his dress uniform (to Jake, no less) which would seem to suggest W359 and Jennifer's death. Very subtly, this little bit of dialogue is hinting that Sisko has reached a point of healing where he can embrace his Starfleet persona again. This is coupled with the discussion with his son about how Sisko still sees him as a younger boy, playing with models, not interesting in girls, etc. Overall, the scene demonstrates how Sisko was "stuck" from the time of Jennifer's death until his new rôle as commander of DS9. Brooks even manages to act. It's subdued, honest and real. Bravo for that. It's also the absolute highpoint for this episode.

Julian didn't "pack" his dress uniform? What the hell, replicate one! Speaking of, why the hell is Bashir in the welcoming committee at all? I don't recall every seeing Crusher in dress robes to meet a new species. At any rate, considering how terribly Sisko's last first contact went, I can understand why he's so eager to impress the Waddi.

And then they arrive, sporting colourful shapes on their foreheads and the proto-Talaxian swimwear collection. And they want to play GAMES. Oh, can't we just have a death-match or alien possession, or can't you just rewrite someone's DNA? Please???.

Act 1 : *, 17%

Something which always bugged me--and yes, I know that the economics of the future have always been vague in Star Trek--but it seems to me that in order for currency to mean anything between different cultures, there has to be a unit standard. Otherwise you're just trading the "money" for its material value, bartering. Between established powers, I can see that happening (Romulans, Klingons, Bajorans, etc), but between the Ferengi and the Waddi? How could their money mean anything to Quark?

So the head Waddi offers to bet one of his special one-size-fits-all dildos, "priceless" nectar and the contents of a drawer at Hot Topic and ends up winning several games of Dabbo. Now, I can understand that Sisko is tired of dealing with this compulsive gamers and wants to go home, but shouldn't he have someone other than Quark take care of them? Show them quarters? You know, someone who actual has to report to Sisko and Starfleet?

Up to this point, the act has been lukewarm, middling around some inane dialogue and cheap looking props. Then Quark decides he's lost enough and he cheats the Waddi out of another Dabbo, for which we can all hate him. Oh, not because he's a cheat but because he ends up being responsible for the rest of this episode. For reasons which are never explained, the greeting party (Sisko, Kira, Bashir and Dax) are transported (it seems) into a virtual world in their sleep.

Act 2 : *, 17%

First question: Sisko was in his pyjamas when he fell asleep, so why is he now in uniform and carrying a tricorder? For 89 seconds, we get to see Sisko pushing buttons in vain until he finally gets a door to open on the laughing Waddi, who greets him with our episode's title.

Following this we get a triple-threat of terrible, embarassing acting and scripting:

1) Fadil's jaw literally drops like a damned cartoon when Sisko "wakes" him from his--well, it sounded like a nocturnal emission, but let's call it nightmare.

2) Ferrel blandly informs us that there's no "immediate danger" (you're not a Vulcan, Jadzia, and if you were, you'd make T'Pol look like T'Pau).

3) Visitor loses her shit, screaming like a maniac that she's "a Bajoran administrator!" in case her colleagues didn't know....clomping around and sneering.

So, Jake goes to Odo for help and we learn that Sisko has been physically transported somewhere (and obviously the rest of them). So, they aren't hallucinating.

Odo confronts Lieutenant Primmin (from the last episode), who's so poorly written he finds the idea of the entire senior staff not showing up to work literally laughable. He's equal in rank to Dax and Bashir, so why wouldn't he even try calling one of them? What a doofus.

So the head Waddi insists Quark roll the dice while the others bang their dildos against their boxes. -- ahem --

"Ah, but there's the key; some will never understand while others will consider it...mere child's play." Now there's an example of a clunky line, tying together Quark's comment about not understanding with the forthcoming challenge in as lazy and obvious manner as possible, just to seem clever.

Ready, set, embarrass yourself! I don't know if I can describe how unbelievably bad the next scene is. I'm amazed this doesn't bear the "SPOCK'S BRAIN!!!" infamy it deserves. Perhaps because watching these poor assholes submit their dignity, dance, hopscotch and sing their way through the "challenge" (what exactly was the challenge, by the way?) is both basement level dreck and surprisingly boring. Quark wins some more crystals for his Wicca altar, begging the question: since Quark obviously can't see what's happening during the game's challenges, how can this possibly be entertaining for those casting bets in the game? What, the Waddi just punches some buttons, they wait around for a few minutes, then the result is announced? It's like playing fantasy football but never watching any of the games! And cue the ominous music, because, um, ominous.

Act 3 : .5 stars, 17%

Who cast these extras? Or is this deliberate? They all keep staring at the speaking cast like cats sniffing a chicken bone, all while goofily fondling objects in their hands...I guess it makes sense that they'd all be ADD, but wow is it distracting.

Anyway, Quark figures out that his pieces are actually the missing officers, because, you know, FOUR. Must be a Jedi.

Kira remarks "rhymes and riddles and mazes..." But we've only seen one challenge so far. Are we to imply that potentially interesting things have been happening off camera so we can watch the Waddi goof around? Well, I guess we should be grateful it was off screen based on the next scene.

Kira literally says "excuse me" twice before she starts throwing shit around, totally at her wits' end, and screaming at the room full of fake people. What a LUNATIC! Not to be outdone, Bashir reaches for a glass of...Tang, because you know, may as well get your drink on. So they all start choking on the gas while the Waddi tell them to drink and laugh there butts off. And, some more terrible group acting while they drink, and...they're cured. Wow, what puzzle! I've learned so much.

Act 4 : .5, 17%

So, rather than questioning the Waddi over his suspicions, Odo decides to have Primmin scan their ship for human lifesigns. Okay...but, he is willing to take a crap on Starfleet protocol (that pesky thing about not invading peoples' space without permission or due cause) by transporting over without permission from anyone. Speaking of permission, who's in command, now? O'Brien's not on the station. Is it Odo? Primmin? I have no idea. Surely there are other senior officers beyond the four in the game on a station a dozen times larger than the Enterprise D!

"Is it against Starfleet policy to press a few buttons?" Um, no. It's not the button pushing put the illegal search and seizure that's against the policy there, Constib--I mean, Chief Odo.

Anyway, Odo finds the closet from "Poltergeist" on their ship, and runs through to find himself in Quark's. So that whole business with Primmin served no purpose other than to give Odo an excuse to complain about Starfleet again. Remember that argument about strawmen in DS9 on the "Homefront" page? This is what I'm talking about.

Instead of holding a phaser to their heads or locking them up or confiscating their ship or taking their gameboard for analysis, Odo, in the brazen manner we've come to expect from him, insists that Quark choose the safer path! heh. So, Quark blows on the dice like a human, sentencing the un-fFantastic Four to be attacked by Creatures of the Third Kind, and Bashir is...deleted, I guess.

Quark decides to risk it all and...oh God, they're banging the dildos again...and Quark has to "sacrifice one so two may live." Dun dun duunnnn....

Act 5 : 0 stars, 17%

So Quark gets on his knees and we learn that, even though before the commercial break, he was willing to kill all of them so they might skip a level, he can't choose one to be sacrificed. It's poorly handled by the writers, but the sentiment is appreciated: Quark has a heart after all.

Last move: Bashir's disembodied voices lures Dax to her doom. She is physically injured by a cave-in. The three of them lumber about awkwardly until they realise they need to leave Jadzia behind to move along (home that is). But they refuse to do it on the grounds that fuck you. 2 minutes and 27 seconds of wordless, drama-less climbing about later, they all fall do their deaths. (horay...) Or do they?????

All four materialise in Quark's, uninjured, not dirty, but still wearing their uniforms. What? So the Waddi gave them their own tricorders which registered tectonic shifts, broken limbs and energy patterns, but it wasn't actually real? But Jadzia was still in pain? But it was really a game? Wait, what if someone had a weak constitution and had a heart attack during the fall? Would they suddenly not have had it? Hang on, if there was never any "real" danger, and none of the Waddi or Quark or Odo could see what we, the audience, had to endure watching, what was the fucking point of having the game pieces correlate to an imagined world for the Four? For whose benefit was that? Is it so the stakes feel artificially higher for the newbie player who thinks his friends will die? I guess it's only fun to play with people who haven't before. What a great game!

So, for the first time when I'm totally with Sisko getting in someone's face and potentially punching their lights out (these Waddi are asses), Odo steps in to lay the blame on Quark--who didn't realise he was playing with their fates to begin with (except, I guess he wasn't anyway), and when he did realise, collapsed in a pathetic heap at the thought of sentencing one of them to die! All while Odo did the important job of absolutely nothing to stop the Waddi from playing, questioning them about the game, or alerting someone who might be able to help. Yeah, Quark's the bad guy.

So, after that the Waddi just leave. That's that--no punishment, no followup, Sisko just lets them go back home. Gee I hope they enjoyed their day in the Alpha Quadrant.

Episode as Functionary : .25 stars, 10%

The first two minutes between Jake and Ben are good--in fact they're a welcome change of pace from the ham-fisted way exposition and characterisation have typically been handled this season--and for that I will award the episode a tiny, tiny bit of use. The rest of the episode is so utterly pointless, contrived and insulting, I would suggest never, ever subjecting yourself to it. From the perspective of pure entertainment, this is unquestionably the worst episode so far. Bad acting, cheap sets, cheap motivations, and all under the pretence of a some people having fun!

Final Score : .5 stars
Charles
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Oh Elliott, I've laughed so much reading your review. This episode made no sense - it was like a silly TOS episode complete with cardboard sets, but without the excuse of being trapped on a distant planet by aliens and having to follow their rules. Here who can believe for a secodn that the kidnapping of 4 senior officers by aliens would not have meant the Starfleet Command being alerted immediately and the aliens on question being arrested??
Black_Goat
Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Move Along Home: C-
This is a surpassingly stupid episode, but I get the feeling that the people making it kind of knew that. Four of our leads play hopscotch for Christ’s sake! Obviously, the game makes absolutely no sense on a technological or metaphysical level, but I appreciate, as Jammer does, that they don’t try to explain any of it with technobabble. But the scenes in the game are mostly just kind of boring, and the repeated exclamations to “move along home” get quite old very quickly. We learn nothing new about any of the characters, and a token attempt to develop Quark fails due to the ultimately inconsequential nature of the game. As I said, however, there’s something slightly self-aware about “Move Along Home”: from Sisko lamenting the goofiness of their first visitors from the Gamma Quadrant, to Bashir forgetting his basically-identical dress uniform, to Quark’s fascination with a game that is apparently completely random and never actually explained to him. Not a good episode, but I don’t have the complete scorn for it that others seem to.

The Good:
- Unless stated otherwise, just assume Odo is a positive component of any episode.
- Hey, Primmin! Is he going to keep showing up? I’d be fine with that.
- I really liked the Sisko-Jake scenes. We haven’t seen much of Junior, but I’m glad his relationship with his dad is largely positive.
- I liked Dax asking the others to leave her behind. I continue to enjoy the Sisko/Dax relationship, and I think it’s interesting how Dax continually tries to hurt Sisko’s feelings in order to get him to stop looking after her.

The Bad:
- It is slightly disappointing that they wasted their first diplomatic meeting with Gamma visitors on the jolly gamblers. In general, the show hasn’t been exceptional at following up on interesting parts of the pilot: the Gamma Quadrant, the wormhole aliens, the Cardassians, Bajoran religion and Sisko’s role in that theology, and Bajoran-Federation relations have hardly been addressed at all.
MsV
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 5:38am (UTC -5)
I hate this episode
Vii
Sun, Mar 1, 2015, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
I'm one of the rare few who didn't hate this episode. I don't really think it deserves all the vitriol it gets, but of course in comparison to season 4 and onwards, it does get short-shrifted. Still, like one of the previois posters mentioned, it's meant to be a silly episode, and we're not supposed to be taking it seriously.

Someone also mentioned that it was like VOY's 'The Thaw'. In this case, I think VOY executed it much better. Of course, that might have been because in VOY, there was a very real danger of actually dying, but I think VOY nailed the suspenseful, eerie atmosphere much better than 'Move Along Home' did. Then again, clowns are always creepy, but instead we get the Wadi with their Legolas hairstyles here.
methane
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
I don't hate this one like some others, but it's probably in the bottom 20-or-so episodes of DS9. If they had come up with something more interesting for the challenges inside the game, this might have been a pretty good episode.

But what I most noticed re-watching this episode is how I now view the Jake scenes. When this first aired, I was mostly just embarrassed for him (I wasn't that much older than him). Now, I laughed & enjoyed his discomfort. I guess that means I'm old now.
William B
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, the Ben & Jake scene at the episode's beginning is pretty good. I like that Sisko wearing his dress uniform for the first time since Jennifer died suggests that he is starting to "awaken" from a period of grief, as Elliott suggests above. Although, I'm not sure how we're supposed to take the girls talk in this scene. Is the implication that Nog has been giving Jake fashion tips and saying sexist "all girls are stupid" tips, or is the implication that Jake has been "picking up" sex knowledge on the street in a future where fourteen-year-olds have no sex ed? I can understand Keiko being unprepared for how to give multi-cultural sex ed, but Jake was in Federation schools before now. Anyway, one of the implications of the teaser is that Ben wishes Jake would stop growing up, and stay a child so that Sisko can continue to protect him and understand him fully. In a dramatic "be careful what you wish for" twist, Ben's reluctance to see Jake grow up leads him to meet the childlike Wadi, and then be trapped in a childish game. Anyway, the opening scenes of the episode after the Ben & Jake scene are thin but have a certain energy; I like how the Wadi's refusal to be Serious Adults gets on Sisko's nerves because this is presumably his first First Contact not just on DS9 but of his career. (Especially because he never bothered doing much First Contact-ing with the Tosk or the hunters.)

So Sisko's conflicting feelings -- he wants Jake to stay a child and make models and play games; he wants the Wadi to stop acting like children and stop playing games -- in principle could give meaning to he and the senior staff being locked in a game. Maybe there could have been something about "thinking like children" involving a sense of creativity and non-rigid thinking necessary to get out of the puzzles, which could lead to life lessons of keeping one's sense of fun and wonder into adult responsibilities. That type of thing.

Anyway, instead we got this! Lots of people have talked above about how terrible this episode is, and I don't feel the need to reiterate those points. I gotta say though, I like how the closest things we see to a "riddle" are 1) hopscotch and 2) the riddle, Q: "why are a bunch of Wadi not dying of smoke inhalation," where the hint is the Wadi saying "DRINK!!!!!!!" and the answer is A: "They are drinking an anti-smoke inhalation liquid." On Quark's end, literally the only choices he ever makes are between the short way and the long way -- and he insists on being able to make reasonable guesses about what the relative dangers are!

Quark officially has a conscience and cares about not killing the senior staff of the station -- for what it's worth.

That took long for Primmin to be reduced to total joke.

Odo and Quark sure accepted quickly that there were no other options, at all, but to play through the game and to try their best to win; and, further, that the only option was to do so still without demanding any new rules instructions, etc.

What a strange mess. Which -- well, it wouldn't be *okay* if the episode were more interesting, but it would at least be a mixed bag. This is nonsensical and also totally boring, at times simply ludicrous. 0.5 stars -- I think this is the worst episode of DS9's first half, though I might stand corrected.
Shoregrey
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
I have noticed that the episodes considered bad are always much more highly commented on in most cases than good episodes or average ones.

That being said, I am one of those sci-fi fans that can turn my brain off and just enjoy stoopid, silly fun for what it is. This episode has a very TOS feel for me, as others have commented.

I dont mind the occasional foray into the absurd and silly, but admittedly some episodes do this much better than others. This is one of my favorites, especially considering how heavy and emotionally involving the series becomes later on.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Oct 22, 2015, 11:13am (UTC -5)
The first big misfire for me. It tries for the surreal but instead hits banal - and it is desperately, desperately slow. Instead of building to a climax, we get about 4 minutes of walking around a dodgy set. And we get the big "it was just a game" cop out at the end to cap it all.

Still, we do get the command staff playing hopscotch while reciting a children's rhyme. And you don't see that every day. 1.5 stars.
BZ
Sun, Jan 3, 2016, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
This is one of those episodes that loses a lot upon re-watching, and I love episodes like that generally, at least on the first run. For example "Twisted" was one of my favorites on first watching it. Very few can hold up on re-watching. "Cause and Effect" manages to pull that off somehow.

However, the big giveaway here is that Bashir can't die. Neither is there ever any doubt that nothing permanent could happen to any of the senior staff. This might be a darker Trek, but it's hardly an "anyone can die" show. Still, I hardly "hate" this episode. I actually did skip it when re-watching, but decided to go back. It's still at least "ok".
Luke
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Allamaraine, count to four. (Stop.)
Allamaraine, then three more. (Oh, please stop!)
Allamaraine, if you can see. (Why are you doing this?!)
Allamaraine, you'll come with me. (*crying*)
Allamaraine. Third shap. (Just kill me now.)

"Hey there, potential viewers, are you interested in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"? Well, have we got just the episode for you! Watch as your heroes boldly play alien hopscotch while singing an asinine rhythm, solve puzzles that are so easy even your preschool-aged children could figure them out and then fall off a cliff! All the while, your intrepid Security Chief will spend most of the episode acting like an ass to the one character trying to aide the heroes. If this doesn't get you hooked on this new, exciting series, nothing will!!!!!"

Wow! It's been quite a while since I laughed this hard at such an utter and complete failure! What the hell were they thinking with this?! First, they decide to take four characters (the two most insufferable - Dax and Bashir, the one who has gotten hardly any character development - Sisko, and Kira) and place them in the most unimaginative and uninteresting scenario possible. Second, they have Kira act wildly belligerent - so much so that it's even out of character for her. Third, they have Odo act like either a complete dickhead or a total imbecile (pick your poison)(and, by the way, pushing a few buttons isn't against Starfleet regulations, but aiding and abetting a criminal act is; you would think the CHIEF OF SECURITY would know that, but since we've already seen him illegally wire-tap Quark, I guess we shouldn't put anything past Odo). Fourth, they reduce Primmin to an absolute clown (good thing he never returned). Fifth, they force the audience to endure the most mind-numbingly boring set of "obstacles" with the four "players" possible. Sixth, they shit all over Quark even though he's the only one who actually shows any consistent consideration for the lives of the "players" in the entire episode.

And, of course, this deserves special recognition - *laugh* "It's only a game." Um, was that supposed to be whimsical or something.... or make me laugh? Because it wasn't. All that did was confirm that everything I just endured meant.... absolutely nothing. Bravo, people, bravo! You took an already horrible episode and shit all over it. Bra-fucking-vo! LOL!

What is not laughable, however, but really sad is that "Move Along Home" actually started out rather promisingly. We have some decent father/son dialogue with Sisko and Jake and we have a First Contact situation with a new species that is obsessed with gaming. We could have gotten some character development from the father/son stuff, but instead that gets destroyed by Sisko not wanting to Jake to grow up while simultaneously wanting the Wadi to stop acting child-like. And the meeting of this new game-addicted civilization (something that has a lot of potential) is ruined by having their "game" be stupid.

This is something that would fit in perfectly with the dreck of TNG Season One. I would say the only thing missing is the crushing sense of smug arrogance, but even that comes out in the final treatment of Quark (which is what really grates on me about "Move Along Home"). I'm just going to copy this, from Elliott's review.... "So, for the first time when I'm totally with Sisko getting in someone's face and potentially punching their lights out (these Wadi are asses), Odo steps in to lay the blame on Quark--who didn't realize he was playing with their fates to begin with (except, I guess he wasn't anyway), and when he did realize, collapsed in a pathetic heap at the thought of sentencing one of them to die! All while Odo did the important job of absolutely nothing to stop the Wadi from playing, questioning them about the game, or alerting someone who might be able to help. Yeah, Quark's the bad guy." But, then again, I guess we're supposed to hate Quark because.... .... .... .... yeah, moving on.

Seriously, the only thing (and I do mean the ONLY thing) saving this episode from the dung-heap and a zero star rating is the fact it does show us that Quark does have his limits. When he breaks down in a blubbering mess on the floor at the thought of sacrificing one of the "players" it not only shows that he's more compassionate than any other character in this episode but that he's also.... well maybe not a "rogue with a heart of gold" but at least a likable rogue.

1/10
Luke
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 9:20am (UTC -5)
P.S. - Elliott, I don't know if you're still around, since you wrote that post almost a year and a half ago, but I have to commend you on such an excellent review. I can't tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud reading it.

"Odo finds the closet from "Poltergeist" on their ship" LAMO!
RandomThoughts
Thu, Feb 25, 2016, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Me, March 1993...

OH... GeeZ! What did I JUST WATCH!? What?... *waves arms around frantically*... What were they Thinking!? ...*facepalms* *shakes head* *squints eyes* ...

I still look back at this one and do sort of the same thing, except I shake my fist at the sky (ala John Cleese) as opposed to waving my arms around (I hurt my shoulder once and it just isn't the same waving with one arm, and sort of flopping the other one around...).

Of all the early episodes, this one made me repeat "Give it time... Give it time..." more than any other. I've really attempted to find anything redeeming about it, but just the memory of "Move Along Home!..." overwhelms me and I end up in a fetal position with drool on my chin, lamely shaking my fist skyward...

Heh, I loved the review by Elliott as well. I've read it before, but it'd been a while. Reading their take on Act 5 brought me to tears. :D

Have a great day Everyone!... RT
Del_Duio
Thu, Feb 25, 2016, 10:24am (UTC -5)
I think this was the first really stupid episode of DS9, but it's still loads better than like half of TNG season 1.
dillz
Tue, Mar 8, 2016, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Hysterical Hysterical episode.

"Choose their path. Double their peril, double your winnings!" THIRD SHAP.

So awesomely bad. There are only a few of these gems in DS9, I've learned to really savor (and laugh, and continuously quote their most memorably funny lines)

Great review site!

~dillz

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