Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Armageddon Game"


Air date: 1/31/1994. Writen by Morgan Gendel
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

O'Brien and Bashir assist a non-Federation world, the T'Lani, in destroying several reams of their terrible and now-unwanted biological weapons, the harvesters. But the two Starfleet officers find themselves on the run once the last harvester is destroyed, when an attacking group of T'Lani attempts to kill anyone with knowledge of the all-too-deadly harvesters.

"Armageddon Game" is a good episode with an action premise that quickly turns into an interesting (if unexpected) character show. The action early in the episode is reasonably executed, and the irony that the T'Lani would need to make sure anyone with knowledge of the harvesters needs to be eliminated—even those who helped destroy such knowledge—is a telling sign of the severity of such weapons.

Meanwhile, the T'Lani provide Sisko with misinformation, claiming the two officers died in an accident and providing a forged video recording of the alleged incident. The resulting scenes on DS9 are hit-and-miss, featuring some absorbing realistic reactions (Sisko's acknowledgement that "the next few days are going to be hard, but we all have jobs to do" and Quark's toast to the deceased "good customers" ring particularly true), and some less effective moments (namely, most of Keiko's scenes, which lack the emotional punch one would expect).

The O'Brien/Bashir interaction is great, redefining the two characters as the most verbally interesting pair on the series—or maybe a close second behind Garak/Bashir. Bashir's backstory comes off particularly believable this time around, supplying the character with a depth beyond what has been explored to date. O'Brien's dialog about family life is also adeptly written. Basically, this show works because it puts two actors in a room, gives them some believable things to say, and the performances deliver. Keiko's investigation that leads her to suspect the forgery is somewhat hokey and a little hard to swallow, but no matter; the surprisingly clever and understated action finale wraps things up nicely.

Previous episode: The Alternate
Next episode: Whispers

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16 comments on this review

Victor - Sat, Sep 20, 2008 - 10:53am (USA Central)
In "Armageddon Game," I don't see why so much effort was put into neutralizing the stacks of biological weapons. Why couldn't both sides just load everything onto a shuttle and then fly it into the sun or something?
Jayson - Sun, Sep 21, 2008 - 2:16pm (USA Central)
Well Victor, if they had done that then there would have be no episode. But I suppose they could have done a story where Bashire & Obrien were trapped on the ship with the WMD's headed toward the sun.
Paul York - Wed, Jun 6, 2012 - 8:57am (USA Central)
Being able to wipe memory engrams seems a common procedure in the 24th century; it makes much more sense for Bashir and OBrien to agree to do that afterwards than risk bad relations with the Federation, if found out for committing murder. But politicians who order cover-ups probably lack imagination or compassion to begin with. The evil cover-up was plausible. As Jammer notes above, the main element is the characterization. The dynamic between the two characters is a good one that plays well throughout during all the DS9s. Nothing like adversity to bring two people together.
John - Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - 11:11am (USA Central)
Good point Victor.

It's also a bit silly that they come in and shoot at everyone while the harvesters are still being neutralized, rather than kill everyone in a more clean and clinical fashion, like, say, how the forged video footage later portrays it.

But yeah, I know, it's all about the characters and the lengths to which the warring parties will go in order to establish peace.
LastDawnOfMan - Thu, Aug 9, 2012 - 6:58pm (USA Central)
I guess we're trying to avoid spoilers so all I'll say is Keiko's last line was one of the funniest in the series for me.
Jeremy - Tue, Feb 12, 2013 - 10:38pm (USA Central)
"Why not just toss the whole lot into a sun or black hole" is a large plot hole. The other thing that got me about this was it took Julian just a moment to cure O'Brien back at DS9. If the Harvesters were so easily cured, why was it such a threat that the warring races wanted all people who knew anything about it killed.

Yes the point is the development of Julian and Miles friendship and characters. It was still fun to watch, just wish that they had come up with answers for the loose threads.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 3:47pm (USA Central)

Solid episode with some important character development for Bashir and O'Brien.

Yanks - Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - 11:13am (USA Central)
Slightly above average episode.

I think it would have been a much more powerful episode had they not shown the gun fight and left their escape an unknown for as long as possible.

3 stars for me. Nice character development for Bashir and Obrien.
Shawn Davis - Sun, Jul 27, 2014 - 8:19pm (USA Central)
I agree with Jammer's review. I also want to point out that it's a shame that the Defiant wasn't introduced until the beginning of season 3. Sisko and company looked ridiculous trying to battle the T'Lani ship, which is much more larger and powerful, with the small runabouts at the end of the episode (even though they were actually playing a trick on the T'Lani to escape them, but still......). With the Defiant they could had put the T'Lani in their place within minutes.
DLPB - Sat, Aug 16, 2014 - 12:52pm (USA Central)
The way they found out the video was fake was... stupid. Real stupid. Also, I don't like all these "hidden security feature" storylines. Miles O'Brien was also supposedly operating a totally alien system.

But it was a decent watch overall.
Caleb - Thu, Oct 30, 2014 - 8:16pm (USA Central)
Very worthwhile for the O'Brien and Bashir stuff, but I just never bought the motivations of the T'Lani and the Kellerens and the last act felt rushed and kind of silly. Nonetheless, the character stuff is really good, and that last little revelation about the coffee... pretty amusing.
MsV - Tue, Apr 7, 2015 - 2:55am (USA Central)
What I didn't like was, the T'lani and the Kellerans seemed to get away with attacking a Federation vessel and attempting to murder Miles and Bashir. Something should have be done about this or at least mentioned at the end. Oh well!!
SamSimon - Wed, Apr 15, 2015 - 2:24pm (USA Central)
I liked the episode a lot, but... it took Bashir less than an hour to neutralize the terrible weapon that had to be destroyed and all the people who knew about it with it. :--/
Phillip - Wed, Jun 24, 2015 - 7:19pm (USA Central)
hairstylists must be rich in both societies. I know they are aliens but even aliens should have better fashion sense.

The quark scene was funny. Keiko didn't seem too affected by the Chiefs death. The writers have known since tng that the fans didn't like Keiko and yet they didn't make her seem to care that much about his death. I wanna blame the writers and not the actress but I haven't seen her in anything else so who knows. Obrien and Bashir eventually become great friends but I always thought obrien treated Bashir badly the first few seasons for no reason. Eventually Bashir stands up to him but it takes all the way to the third episode from the last in season 7.
Nathan B. - Sun, Jul 12, 2015 - 3:20pm (USA Central)
Great review by Jammer of a really good episode! As for Keiko, I thought her reaction to the bad news very believable and understated. People don't all react to death with outward hysterics, and she never really believed it anyway. By the way, I love Keiko's scenes--they're true to life.

DLPB - Mon, Jul 13, 2015 - 2:51pm (USA Central)
You mean a battle-axe, overbearing wife who seeks to take away all your passion and love for the world? I agree. Luckily, I'll never fall for that life.

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