Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine



Air date: 2/21/1994
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Robert Sheerer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

This episode is an amiable outing character-wise, but rather pedestrian and all too disconnected. Odo and Dax beam down to a planet only to find a small community of humanoids who are disappearing one by one. Surprisingly early in the story, it's revealed that the entire community—people and all—is an elaborate holographic simulation, and that people are vanishing because of the projector's malfunctions.

The premise makes for an obvious definition-of-life analysis (since these holograms are all sentient)—which, fortunately isn't stressed in the slightest. Instead, the writers choose to develop a surprisingly affecting friendship between Odo and the young girl, Taya (Noley Thornton). Watching the softer side of Odo emerge is pleasant, and a final scene where Odo morphs himself into a top is, well, quite cute.

The plot, however, is more or less perfunctory. Will Odo and Dax repair the projector and save the village? Are there stars in the sky? Also present is a somewhat unfinished B-story involving a romance between Kira and Bareil. And then there's the C-story involving Jake coming to terms with telling his father that he doesn't want to join Starfleet like the old man. These character moments are pretty much all effective. But there's probably one storyline too many, and the episode is so unfocused—endlessly switching back and forth between the three stories—that it gets hard to become particularly engrossed in any of them. "Shadowplay" is light and slight.

Previous episode: Paradise
Next episode: Playing God

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5 comments on this review

The Dream - Tue, Feb 26, 2013 - 11:13am (USA Central)
No Comments? I will add the first one. I have seen this show many times due to my large number of 8 hour VHS tapes that I would play while I slept recovering from the night shift.

Anyway, great analysis. An obvious goof pointed out elsewhere on the web is the fact that Colyus says that he scanned for transporter activity and then was surprised that Odo used the transporter.

The also was another episode to drop hints about the Dominion. I thought they did a great job of gradually bringing this menace to the fore. It was nice to see Jake follow a different path, but I guess that this did not warrant its own episode or further exploration, but nicely handled by Sisko.
kavatar - Wed, Apr 24, 2013 - 9:13am (USA Central)
I agree with the above and the rating.

In retrospect this episode is quite disappointing. I mean it's fine and all but there was a lot of missed potential. Jake/Sisko, Odo/Changelings/Dominion and to a lesser extent Kira/Bareil were all major plot arcs which have a lot of ground work here. Unfortunately, it's all sort of flung together without making much impact.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 4:45pm (USA Central)

Not a compelling episode. Odo and Dax don't have much chemistry.

Corey - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 7:25pm (USA Central)
The FX shot that opens Shadowplay is the FX shot that opens Paradise in reverse. They just flipped the shot to save money.
Moonie - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 - 10:13am (USA Central)
Hmmm I would give this at least 3 stars. I always like episodes that deal with "what is the nature of life?" questions.

Also, it was an Odo-centric episode!! He's by far my favorite charctr, maybe in all of Star Trek.

I don't understand why this gets a worse rating than the terrible "Paradise".

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