Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Life Support"


Air date: 1/30/1995
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Christian Ford and Roger Soffer
Directed by Reza Badiyi

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"If I remove his brain and replace it with a machine, he might look like Bareil, he might even talk like Bareil, but he won't be Bareil. The spark of life would be gone. He'd be dead. And I will have killed him." — Bashir

Though most will simply remember this as the episode in which the writers kill off Vedek Bareil, there's more to look at. What could have been a maudlin melodrama is instead a sincere story about one man's sacrifice and Bashir's moral dilemma to keep him artificially alive. The reasons, however, behind Bareil's deletion from the recurring character list is a ponderous issue.

When Bareil and Kai Winn make an unannounced shuttle trip to DS9 to finalize a peace treaty with the Cardassians, an accident seriously injures Bareil, who dies on the operating table. Fortunately (i.e., medical technobabble), some residual radiation manages to preserve him long enough for Bashir to perform a miracle and bring him back.

It is not, however, that simple. Bareil has suffered permanent damage due to the radiation, and Bashir wants to put him in indefinite stasis in hope of a cure that could be years down the road. Bareil feels compelled to be sure the negotiations go through as planned, and Winn says she can not finish the talks without him. Bareil demands another option from Bashir, who reluctantly offers an experimental drug as a dangerous alternative. The drug has been known to cause chemical poisoning of the brain and other vital organs, but it may be able to keep Bareil healthy enough—and alive long enough—to finish the negotiations. Bareil presses on, enduring an increasing amount of pain with each succeeding scene, as the drug slowly destroys his body.

It's the classic example of the man willing to die for his cause. The noble Bareil is completely aware that going through with the treatments will likely kill him but accepts it as the price to pay for peace with the Cardassians.

But "Life Support" also works on the level involving Bashir's dilemma. He has to perform these experimental medical procedures at Bareil's request. The drug takes its toll on Bareil, and his major organs begin to break down, forcing Bashir to replace them with artificial implants. This leads him to appeal a plea to Winn, hoping she will take over the talks and allow Bareil to rest with a chance of surviving.

It's the best vehicle this season for Bashir as a doctor; we get to see him in action playing for a single motive—his patient's welfare. The episode sports his first outing doing real operating room surgery. Plenty of effective interaction with Winn and Kira, the interested parties in Bareil's condition, gives the episode ample substance.

He has to break news to Kira that her lover's chances of survival are slim to none. Meanwhile, he has to keep his patience with Winn, who remains adamant that Bareil is the only one who can keep the peace process moving forward, and must continue with the treatments at all costs.

This again brings up the question of Winn's competence as Bajor's leader. In a rather thought-provoking scene, Bashir confronts Winn and tells her what he thinks of her unwillingness to stand alone. He calls her a coward. He believes she uses Bareil as a political shield, someone to take the blame should the talks fail. It's a good point, given Winn's questionable past ("In the Hands of the Prophets"). Even though Winn has been softened into a more sincere character of late, it's nice to know the writers still acknowledge her past and obvious flaws.

Eventually, Bareil suffers permanent brain damage, and Bashir reluctantly replaces part of his brain with positronic implants so the treaty can be finalized. An eerie scene displays a detached Bareil who, with part of his mind replaced with a machine, loses much of his grasp on reality and emotion, speaking in a slow, confused monotone.

The peace treaty is successfully signed, thanks to his assistance, but Bareil is a lost cause—Bashir expects total brain failure within hours. This leads to another interesting speech Bashir makes. When Kira hopes that replacing the rest of his brain may save him, Bashir tells her that he would simply be a machine without a spark of life. "He'd be dead. And I will have killed him." (One could even argue that this is an allegorical anti-euthanasia moment.) Bareil dies, but with some dignity. It almost makes up for the ridiculous moments of his character's appearance in "Fascination."

However, there are a few problems I have with "Life Support." Though it's an important event and I have faith that the writers will utilize it properly in the future, I question how the episode brings about peace with Cardassia completely out of nowhere. I also want to know the writers' impetus behind killing off Bareil in the first place. It makes sense standing alone in this episode, but why in the world would they delete a character so important to this story arc—a very significant if not the central arc of the series—just to fill the requirements of one episode?

I sure hope that Bareil's death isn't simply the writers' way to remove Kira's love interest from the show so she can explore a relationship with Odo. That would be unforgivable. Whether people realize it or not, Bareil meant more and could've continued to mean more to the series than to be Kira's boyfriend.

Previous episode: Past Tense, Part II
Next episode: Heart of Stone

Season Index

26 comments on this review

Dirk Hartmann - Wed, Jun 4, 2008 - 6:26am (USA Central)
I didn't like this episode a bit. First of all, there was simply too much of the same: revival-organ replacement-brain replacement ... at a certain point all of this really ceased to have any credibility with me. Second, I think that the motive and urgency behind the decisions to waste Bareil`s life came off as quite forced.
In the end, I think it was a necessary thing to remove Bareil from the show simply because the actor proved to be just too weak in that role.
Dimitris Kiminas - Sat, Apr 11, 2009 - 4:24pm (USA Central)
There's also a B plot in this episode, in which Nog ruins a date of Jake's (Strangely Jammer does not mention it at all).

In any case, the levity and comedic nature of this B plot makes the choice of the writers to pair it with the very serious A plot seem poor, if not puzzling.
Destructor - Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - 9:25pm (USA Central)
The B-plot made me laugh, but I actually thought it was a bit odd how Jake continues to be friends with such a huge sexist prick- I certainly wouldn't. How come the Ferengi never LEARN anything?

While I agree Bariel was not exactly a great actor I did enjoy this episode and thought it was a good end for him.
Nic - Fri, Oct 2, 2009 - 10:20am (USA Central)
And why the hell is Kai Winn negotiating with the Cardassians? I thought she was Bajor's RELIGIOUS leader, not their POLITICAL leader (this would later be confirmed in "Shakaar.")

The writers have stated that the story's original pitch was Bashir's medical dilemma, and they needed a character to die. They chose a recurring character rather than a new character so that the audience would feel sympathy for him, and they were not happy with the way the Kira-Bareil relationship was heading so they chose him to be the victim. I agree that it seems forced (as Kai Opaka's disapparance did in "Battle Lines.") but I guess in the end it served its purpose.
jilly - Thu, Dec 24, 2009 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
About the B-plot: this was another example of The Future being tolerant of differences. IDIC. Nog was not a sexist prick; he was being a Ferengi. He's also still a teenager without a lot of life experience.

It's obvious Quark has come a long way from wanting females to shut up and be nude all the time, for example, but Quark has been around the galaxy a few times, so to speak. :) Nog is still a product of his culture at 17 (or whatever is his Ferengi equivalent in years).

It's a tribute to Nog's character's potential that his friendship with Jake hasn't had friction *until* this point. Remember that he honestly thinks Jake is 'faking' the respect, and believes that is simply dishonest of Jake to do.

Knowing where Nog is headed soon, I am sure he will be exposed to women he can date who will be clothed, have opinions, and be his equals.

IDIC is one of the things that really stands out in the Trek Verse, and is something that keeps me coming back for more. When we meet other sentient species in real life, we will do good to remember these points. :)
Tex - Tue, Mar 23, 2010 - 6:17pm (USA Central)
Best Nog line ever:

"Money is money, but women...are better"
Jay - Sun, Nov 21, 2010 - 3:33pm (USA Central)
You're right Nic.

It happened again in Rapture...Winn was negotiating with the Federation for admission...surely something Shakaar should have been doing instead.
Marcel - Sat, Mar 26, 2011 - 2:18pm (USA Central)
I liked this episode because it shows how far Winn is willing to go. Also some nice scenes with Kira and the nearly death Bareil in the end.
John - Sat, Jul 14, 2012 - 4:26am (USA Central)
I think this one works fairly well for the most part.

A shame the B story was such an awkward fit.

And I'm not sure your faith in the writers' intent to back up the Bajoran/Cardassian Peace Treaty plot element was well founded in the end Jammer.
Ian - Mon, Jul 23, 2012 - 2:24am (USA Central)
So, Data is NOT a person with rights since he is all positronic? So much for TNG's Measure Of A Man...
Cail Corishev - Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - 1:32pm (USA Central)
I certainly wasn't sad to see Bareil go, but unfortunately, in the words of MST3K, "Yeah, he's dead. But don't worry, they have a spare."
Nick P. - Mon, Oct 8, 2012 - 8:36pm (USA Central)
Yeah, the problem with this episode is that it could have been so much more. Imagine a mid-season arc of 3-4 episodes, or even a season cliff-hanger. That is fine the producers didn't like where the relationship was going, they were right, but man, peace with the cardassians, Bariel hanging on by a thread. This could have easily fit at the end of the season in an extended arc to set up a cool cliffhanger.
Comp625 - Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - 11:29am (USA Central)
I have to agree that "Life Support" was poorly executed. It's reminiscent of Season 2 episodes, where the A and B plots don't intertwine well.

All of the events in "Life Support" had potential to be much more powerful. Yet, the lack of direction made it seem as if the writers were trying to do too much in a span of 45 minutes, and ultimately, they failed to accomplish most of their goals.

#1. The Cardassian and Bajoran peace treaty negotiations should have been a HUGE storyline, and at the very least, treated as if it were a standalone episode with no B-plot. Sh!t, it's one of the major DS9 story arcs thus far.

If budget were a concern, it could have been a dialogue-heavy, bottle episode. Yet, somehow, this historical event becomes overshadowed.

#2. Per Memory Alpha, the writers thought Vedek Bareil was a "weak" character who they wanted to kill off since they were unsure about how to use him going forward. That's fine. But this storyline should have been STANDALONE.

There are too many moving facets to squeeze into a 45 minute period, let alone squeezing it in with the peace treaty:

- Bareil's romantic relationship with Kira
- Bareil's political relationship with Kai Winn
- Bareil's religious relationship with the Bajoran people as its spiritual leader

#3. Did the writers want to make a commentary piece about how human life shouldn't be supported solely by artificial technology? If so, that in itself is a STANDALONE story, separate from the treaty negotiations.

Also, "Ian" made a good point above. This episode essentially negates the validity of Data's existence in "The Measure of a Man."

#4. An alive (but robotic) Bareil would have been a decent way of handling his character going forward -- even if he were to be killed off later on. Heck, have him killed moments before the peace treaty is signed (which would have destroyed the treaty altogether).

This "double-edged" ending would have had significant emotional Kira AND the viewer. Bariel's death would have been tough on Kira, but simultaneously, she would have been glad to hear that the treaty didn't pan out (further emphasizing her hatred for the Cardassians).

I know the writers were having a somewhat challenging time transitioning from episodic writing to serialized writing. But there's no reason why the aforementioned story-arc events could have been all used on a standalone basis, and instead, we're left with the discombobulated mashup that is "Life Support."

My rating: 2 out of 4 stars
kerys - Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - 6:25pm (USA Central)
I disagree that this episode detracts from Measure of a Man at all.

If Bareil's brain had been completely replaced by positronic matrices, Bareil would be dead. His body would be home to a new being, but it would no longer be Bareil. Without the man himself explicitly choosing such a future, I don't know how any doctor could ethically perform the procedure.

Additionally, no one has been able to recreate Dr. Soong's work. Even Data ultimately failed with Lal. It is unlikely that an artificially prolonged Bareil with his brain fully replaced by positronic matrices would be any more sentient (or any more 'human') than a sophisticated computer.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 6:50pm (USA Central)

The best part was Bareil's death.

Jan - Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - 11:39am (USA Central)
I kind of liked Bareil as a character. It was a decent way to let him die.
Nissa - Tue, Jun 24, 2014 - 10:10pm (USA Central)
The major thing that disappoints me here is that Bareil wasn't needed at all during negotiations. Sure, Kai Winn claimed she needed him, but if she simply had a friggin' spine, she could have done all the negotiations herself. Bareil didn't have an exclusive relationship with the Cardassians, and if Winn had had the gumption she showed later in DS9, everything would have been fine without Bareil.
Yanks - Thu, Jul 17, 2014 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
Interesting episode.

I'll agree with Nic, why is Bareil/Winn negotiating? Shouldn't they be in church?

I'm not sure I agree with Bashir's "treatment" here. Just because there is an experimental drug, doesn't mean he needs to prescribe it when a safer option is readily available. I don't care what the patient wants. Bereil can reject going into stasis, but Bashir should have not given him this harmful drug.

Doctors can "do no harm". This drug definitely did that and Bashir knew it would.

I don't see this relating to Measure of a Man at all.

I liked the "B" story with Nog and Jake.

"NOG: At least I didn't have her chew." ... lol

"JAKE: Great. So we both disgust each other. You know, as we get older, this is just going to get worse. But I know one thing. I don't want to lose you as a friend."

Good for them. IDIC aye.

2.5 stars... average at best.
Diane - Wed, Feb 11, 2015 - 6:03am (USA Central)
This is the first episode that I liked Kira, I hated her for all of the first 2 seasons and almost all of season 3. Bereil was a weak character but the actor is a really good one. I always loved to hate Kai Winn, she was such a hateful woman but she was so also vulnerabe. She wanted power, but not able to pay the price it took to have it.
Icarus32Soar - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 - 3:50am (USA Central)
Vedek Bareil a weak character played by a poor actor? Nuts! Bareil has quiet inner moral strength and acts on principle and out of pure motivation, sacrificing his own career for the greater good as he sees it. Gene would have been proud of this character had he lived to see him.He is far closer to Gene's vision of a benign future than the cartoonish action men, the typical two-dimensional federation officers spawned by the much vaunted academy.He has moral layers that satisfy.
Anglim plays him with an admirable understated dignity that is never brash and in your face. I love all Star Trek but killing off Bareil in this episode and Kes in Voyager has been unforgivable. It shows writers unwilling to take a risk and develop characters that are outside the square. PITY!
MsV - Sat, Feb 28, 2015 - 7:27pm (USA Central)
No Icarus32Soar, a good actor, weak character.
M.P. - Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - 10:56pm (USA Central)
This episode has always bothered me. Primarily what Comp625 said so well, so I won't repeat that.

I really didn't like Bashir in this episode. He came off as way too preachy and arrogant. As Yanks says above, I do agree that he should have just refused to give the drug. In modern society doctors generally have the right to refuse treatment on moral/ethical grounds, as long as they provide an alternate physician.

It should always be the right of the patient to determine their own treatment and even if they live/die (assuming they are of sound mind). This, to me, is an inalienable freedom worth dying for. This episode dropped the ball though, with both sides of the question.
methane - Sat, Aug 8, 2015 - 7:09pm (USA Central)
I really disliked this episode when it first aired. I think I caught on quickly that they were killing off Bareil (probably to open up the way for a Kira/Odo relationship), and I wasn't happy about it. I wasn't a big fan of Bareil, but I did like the character, and I enjoyed the fact that Kira had an actual relationship (a rarity on Star Trek at the time). The repetitive nature of the episode (questionable medical procedure, negotiations, questionable medical procedure...) didn't hold my interest when I had already figured out where they were going and I was unhappy with the destination.

Re-watching it now, it's...OK, I suppose. I'm less attached to Bareil now, and the drama works somewhat better now that I've accepted where it's going. The whole treaty negotiations really got short thrift, though. Why were the Cardassians offering to pay any sort of reparations to the Bajorans? It seems like they were trying to claim the station as their property (and perhaps the wormhole) with their negotiating tactics. Absent that, I don't see why they'd pay anything. It's not like they're worried about the Bajorans attacking them at this point in time.

As to the B plot, I'll echo what I wrote for (I think) a season 1 episode. Back when I was close to Jake's age, I felt embarrassed for him in situations like this. Now that I'm older, I laugh.
SonofMog - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 - 3:16pm (USA Central)
So, so, so sick of the "negotiator who cannot be replaced" cliche. It's one of those premises I can't remember ever seeing outside of Trek but occurs routinely within it, especially TNG. Enough with this stupid idea.
Robert - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 - 4:44pm (USA Central)
@SonofMog - You totally missed the point of this episode. Winn could have completed the negotiations without him but elected not to so that she'd have a fall guy if she failed.

If anything this is sort of an inversion on that cliche. Bashir even openly calls her out on it.
William B - Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 11:03am (USA Central)
Life Support:

Defining the B-plot as the Jake/Nog story and the A-plot as, uh, the rest, the A-plot is a medical ethics story, the reveal of a quadrant-shaking new treaty, and the death of a major recurring character and the significant other as a main character. Of the three, the medical ethics story gets the most focus and is the most successful, though even that feels perfunctory. Memory Alpha confirms that the original idea for this episode's A plot was the medical ethics plot, and only in the development stage was this idea grafted onto Bareil and the Bajoran/Cardassian treaty. This is unsurprising, because despite the ostensible centrality of Bajor to the series, the death of one of the most prominent Bajoran characters and the quadrant-shattering secret peace treaty with the Cardassians pass with less of a sense of the deeply personal than the difficult personal losses of diplomats in various TNG episodes. The list of TNG episodes which come down to "diplomat makes great personal sacrifice for the possibility of peace of cultures-of-the-week" is surprisingly long, varying in quality from "Darmok" and "Sarek" on one end to "Too Short a Season" on the other, and containing episodes centred around one-episode mostly-tragic romances as diverse in theme and content as "Loud as a Whisper," "The Host," and "The Perfect Mate," and that's off the top of my head. The problems I have with this episode come much more clearly into focus when I realize that I had a much stronger sense of what it meant to Troi, Crusher and Picard (respectively) to see the struggles and transformation of their *one-episode romantic interest* than I do about Kira's feelings about a supporting character she's been dating for a season and who has been a recurring player for two years. Bareil's transformation into a robot, somehow unable to feel or convey emotion, is as good an image as any to convey the lifelessness of this episode as a show about Bareil or Kira. And the Bajoran/Cardassian peace talks are given about as much weight, or less, than the negotiations in some random diplomacy episode like "The Vengeance Factor."

The existence of a formal peace treaty between Bajor and Cardassia is maybe not something that would be all that riveting to see on screen, I'll grant. Even so, here is what we are basically told: Winn and Bareil, *in secret*, formally negotiate a peace treaty with the Cardassians, and what little we learn suggests that the formalization of PEACE carries with it maybe the chance at an apology from the Cardassians but the return of Bajorans in "processing" or Bajoran Orbs is not guaranteed, let alone the possibility of prosecutions of war criminals ala the late Gul Darhe'el (or, more to the point, Dukat). I know the Provisional Government is considered something of a joke some of the time, but that the Kai as Bajoran religious leader has the authority to do the negotiations in secret by herself for a treaty with the Bajorans' very recent oppressors, only three years after the end of their occupation, either reveals no understanding of how governments work or essentially confirms that Bajor is an entrenched, frightening theocracy, to the point where it's hard to understand why Jarro bothered with his coup of the Bajoran Provisional Government when presumably all they had to do was wait and hope Winn was elected kai. That conservative hardliner Winn pushes for this treaty seems to run counter to the careful way she manipulates public hatred of Cardassians and any Cardassian collaborators to bring herself into power -- can she ensure that her base continues to support her when joining with the Cardassians? I do appreciate that this episode made some attempts to soften Winn's character, at least insofar as Bareil says she is sympathetic and her goals of peace seem genuine-ish, but Winn's inability to do her own research (or engage some not-dying person to read the previous treaties) is frustrating; what little we see of the negotiations makes Winn look slow-witted and rhetorically weak, which are not really the flaws that I normally associate with her. The consequences to this vague, ill-defined treaty are reduced to a log from Sisko. Worst of all, Kira doesn't even express an opinion about it. Whether she is angry at any possible concession to the Cardassians, thrilled at the public acknowledgment by the Cardassians of their wrongdoing, ambivalent because she wants peace but still has her battle scars, hopeful that this brings on a new era for Cardassia better to people like Legate Ghemour, is a step in the wrong direction, quasi-legitimizing the current Cardassian administration as Friends Of Bajor while war criminals still fill the Central Command -- Kira is bound to have STRONG OPINIONS, and should want to tell us what they are.

The story of how Bareil's death impacts Kira and Bareil himself personally is also very lightly sketched in. Part of the problem here, of course, is that the big emotional impact of this episode is rather blunted when Philip Anglim's performance of Bareil-as-robot is nearly indistinguishable from his normal performances of the character. Even so, Kira and Bareil only having a brief exchange about springball before he has parts of his brain replaced with machines; Kira talks briefly with Bashir by saying that she's throwing herself into her duty, and perhaps that may explain why we don't hear any of her strongyl felt opinions on the peace treaty, either. Still, Kira is largely on the sidelines when she should be the/a central figure, as the person who survives Bareil who cares most about him. The "touching" Kira/Bareil farewell scene is reserved for the episode's very end, where Kira gets off a few sentences while the camera pulls away and the closing credits begin, which rather feels as if the episode faded out in the middle of holo-Tasha's opening lines in "Skin of Evil." Kira's explanation of why she loved Bareil as basically the *closing* moment of the episode where he dies feels something like a desperate attempt to check some box that Kira's feelings for the guy were real right before shipping him off, as if racing against the clock for the episode's end to squeeze in a reminder that this is a guy Kira's supposed to love. Kira's end monologue, too, mentions her discovery that Bareil is just as confused as the rest of them, which only *kind of* is represented in-series in "The Collaborator," by Bareil's uncertainty (in Orb visions) of what to do, but otherwise Bareil's serenity has been mostly maintained as a character trait, without the confusion Kira talks about. For what it's worth, I'm not very broken up about Bareil's death or the end of the Kira/Bareil romantic subplot, which led to some decent internal conflict for Kira in "The Collaborator" but has otherwise been badly mishandled pretty much throughout.

Bareil does have a decent enough scene when he assures Bashir that he has no wish to die, but for the most part it's Bashir who becomes more and more animated and passionate as the episode goes on, which is mostly appreciated. Still...Bashir's unilateral opposition to further mechanizing Bareil's brain does involve a just-so statement about where the line between man and machine is, one which is never really justified, discussed, or complicated. The episode's dramatic structure is thus pretty flat: Bashir argues against all the measures used to keep Bareil alert in the short-term, but basically concedes to all of them because of Bareil's wishes, and then the negotiations end and Bareil loses consciousness, at which Bashir finally "stands up" for his beliefs when the patient is no longer awake to disagree with him and Winn is no longer breathing down his neck about the greater good. Notable too is that the final stuff -- MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO BECOME A MACHINE! -- is a significantly different moral dilemma than the initial question of whether risky short-term drugs are preferable to the safer long-term course of stasis and careful study. For what it's worth, I am on board with Bareil's right to decide what courses of action to take with his body in this situation, and support Kira's supporting Bareil's decision; it may be that I don't really disagree with most of the decisions taken in the episode as a result, it's just that it lacks the complexity and spark and pop it needs as a medical story to be intellectually engaging, which is all the more damaging since it falls flat emotionally.

An interesting aside: Bareil and Winn keep talking about the Will of the Prophets. My girlfriend pointed out that at some point Bashir should have told Bareil to seek spiritual guidance from another Vedek, someone who was NOT Winn and who was not invested in these peace talks per se, and who could help give him religious guidance that Bashir is obviously unqualified for. This would maybe have worked; I guess more to the point, this Will of the Prophets stuff is particularly annoying whenever Winn or Bareil use it, insisting as they do that the Prophets obviously want Bareil to continue on drugs and be mechanized in order to get this treaty through, when, heck, why not claim that the Prophets trashed the shuttle and put Bareil near death to sabotage the talks? It is an interesting irony that Winn and Bareil's *religious* convictions bring them into using *more* drugs, risky procedures, and technological organ replacements, when the more common experience today is to have people refusing treatments or transfusions for religious reasons (i.e. Jehovah's Witnesses). This element is not explored.

The Jake/Nog subplot is okay. Maybe I should have talked about this in "Heart of Stone" write-up, but the placement of this episode where we reveal Nog to be a chauvinist treating all women (not just Ferengi women) disrespectfully immediately before the one where he declares his desire to join Starfleet Academy is a weird one. And I do think that there is something weird in the way the episode and Sisko sort of try to present the Jake/Nog conflict as some kind of general Culture Clash where it's unclear who is right and who is wrong, like they want to schedule a trip on different days because they have different Sabbaths or something. And, you know, there is no real ambiguity that Jake was treating the two girls on the double-date appropriately according not just to human values but according to those girls' values as well, and that even aside from the moral implications Nog is clearly deluded if he fails to see that it was *Nog's* behaviour that sent the women away in a huff (to say nothing of Nog inviting himself to the double date). It is also interesting to see that Nog takes a more hardline stance on "females" than Quark does -- Quark is often way too forward, but likes women who talk to him and only barely seems to buy into that weird Ferengi ethic (ala "Fascination"). Still, if Nog is going to hold onto some of the more anti-humanistic, anti-equality Ferengi values, I'd much prefer the show acknowledge that this is going to have a negative impact on his friendship with Jake and to put Jake in the position of choosing what unpleasant values he will tolerate and what he won't.

The Bareil plot is not totally horrible, but it's sapped of most of the emotion and there is not all that much space given to any "debate," so that the Bashir/Winn argument more or less continues unchanging for the whole running time. I have problems with the Jake/Nog subplot but overall I'm fairly okay with it. I think 1.5 stars for the whole package.

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