Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"In the Cards"


Air date: 6/9/1997
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Truly Barr Clark & Scott J. Neal
Directed by Michael Dorn

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm not crazy. I'm just a little obsessed." — Jake Sisko

Nutshell: Brilliant. Perhaps the most inspired and humanly scaled comedy in the history of Trek.

"In the Cards" is an enjoyable gem that earns full marks for inspiration and originality. But it all comes together because it works on human terms rather than conjured ones. It's a comedy with a heart and a lot of laughs, with the added bonus of having a reasonable amount of relevance. One probably wouldn't expect a DS9 comedy that centers around a 1951 Willie Mays rookie baseball card would be a likely candidate for a four-star rating. But this episode was, quite simply, so thoroughly enjoyable that I'm giving it just that—I really believe the show deserves it.

The remarkable thing about "In the Cards" is that, in a way, it's unprecedented. This is a DS9 comedy that, for a change, doesn't rely on the often-touted "high concept." It doesn't require a bizarre holodeck situation like "Our Man Bashir" did; it isn't inspired by old-movie parody or implemented with time travel peculiarities the way "Little Green Men" was; it doesn't go the specialized nostalgic route the way "Trials and Tribble-ations" did. I don't mean to take away from the aforementioned episodes—not at all. I enjoyed the Bond parody of "Our Man Bashir." I liked much of the alien invasion jokes in "Little Green Men" (even though I didn't think the whole episode itself was all it could've been). And "Trials and Tribble-ations" was great fun, with lots of infectious nostalgia, as well as some unprecedented creativeness of its own.

Still, for me, "In the Cards" is what I suspect "Trials and Tribble-ations" was for many other people: a wonderful hour of whimsical entertainment, and also something that's special and memorable. But, at the same time, "Cards" plays by the standard rules—it's funny and very well written, AND it manages to work its comedy around DS9's established lore and the current plot threads. In an episode that, for many, will likely be long forgotten when "Tribble-ations" lives on among the most vivid of immortal Trekkian memories, I think such qualities deserve serious respect.

The premise is simple, and it's not surprising why the show manages to do so well; the best comedy often emerges from the most simple of circumstances, because simplicity allows realistic characterizations to bring the humor to the surface.

As the story begins, everyone on the station is depressed, wallowing in a sense of impending doom. The moment of Dominion crisis has become very, very near. Even Ben Sisko, a leader who usually raises the spirits of his crew around him, cannot force a smile. Jake observes this problem and, looking to Nog for possible ideas, desperately hopes to find some way of making his father feel better. (Like many others, this installment highlights that it's very hard to go wrong when exploring the relationship between Jake and his father.)

It's about here that the 1951 Willie Mays baseball card enters the plot. Quark is moderating an auction of rare antiques, and one of the items on the bidding list is this baseball card, which would be the perfect gift Jake could surprise his father with.

Like I said, a simple premise. Most of the rest of the episode follows Jake and Nog around the station in their mini-adventures to get this card. Jake cons Nog into putting up the latinum for the auction bid in a hilarious scene where the young Sisko manipulates the Ferengi cadet with a guilt trip. "I can't believe," Jake says with canned melodrama and back turned, "you'd rather keep your filthy money than use it to give my father—the one who helped get you into Starfleet academy—endless moments of happiness." Nog reluctantly agrees. How couldn't he?

Well, naturally, things are not that simple. The two friends go to the auction but don't have enough latinum to keep up with the escalating bid, and they're outbid by a mysterious man named Doctor Geiger (Brian Markinson, who played the late Lt. Durst and also B'Elanna's Vidiian captor in Voyager's "Faces"). So it's time, as they say, for plan B: They go to Geiger and try to buy the card off him.

It's here where "In the Cards" really starts to take off, featuring a series of parodies and witty plot twists that feature low-key humor in unexpected circumstances. One of the story's inspired ideas is that Geiger turns out to be a paranoid, somewhat delusional scientist. He initially refuses to talk to Jake or Nog, because he thinks they were sent by the "Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy," an organization that earns a grin just for its name. Even Odo hasn't heard of this one. ("The who?" he muses, genuinely confused.)

Geiger's quarters are filled with bizarre equipment he's using in weird bio-experiments. His goal: to discover a way to live forever. The dialog that describes his plan is hilarious in its absurdity. His theory on death boils down to the fact that one's cells become "bored" with the cycle of dividing over and over again. If a person could keep them constantly "entertained," they would therefore live forever. I especially liked his "cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber." Jake's and Nog's blank reactions to Geiger's theories are quite funny, as is their discussion-in-huddle afterward. (Nog: "His theory seems a little odd." Jake: "He had me going there for a minute, but a cellular entertainment machine?")

It's no matter that Geiger is crazy, Jake reasons. He does, after all, have a baseball card. So Jake and Nog agree to Geiger's terms. In exchange for gathering a long list of items for his research, he will give them the card.

This leads the two on a scavenger hunt of sorts, in which they meet with virtually every member of the senior staff, each of which may be able to supply them with materials they need. Naturally, they can't reveal the reasons they need these materials; Jake can't risk having the surprise blown for his father. Instead, Jake and Nog agree to do odd jobs for everybody in exchange for the materials they need. These scenes are entertaining because they're nicely done; the various crew interactions are simple and effective and remain true to the characters.

A large part of why all this works I attribute to the wonderful acting of Cirroc Lofton, who unveils his best turn yet as Jake Sisko. Lofton has a winner of a smile, and his performance in this comic plot is a very big reason of why it's so funny and endearing. There are a number of priceless facial expressions from Lofton that provide the premise with just what it needs to be both convincing and amusing.

Aron Eisenberg as Nog, while admittedly not on the level of Lofton, also deserves commendation. Both he and the writers have gotten a better hold of Nog's characterization, which makes him much more likable and dimensional than what we've seen in the past. One of the joys of the episode is how Nog so unwittingly gets pulled into the mayhem caused by Jake's obsession with this baseball card. For once, Nog is the character who must endure the will of his counterpart's less-than-crystal-clear judgment—which is milked for numerous comic opportunities as the cadet constantly frets about how going after this card may ultimately destroy his Starfleet Academy record.

Similarly, watching Jake get himself and Nog into hot water trying to secretly obtain the card is good for some laughs. At one point, Nog accuses Jake of being crazy. Jake's response: "I'm not crazy. I'm just a little obsessed." (One interesting parallel that pops up here is how "The Visitor" told a tragic story of Jake's obsession. "In the Cards," remarkably, also shows the sort of obsession Jake is capable of where his father is concerned, but the tone of the story, of course, is just the opposite.) Overall, this episode sports the best Jake/Nog story the series has yet come up with.

There's a B-story in "In the Cards," and it's surprising how well the two plots work together. The subplot revolves around Kai Winn's visit to the station, who is supposed to meet with Dominion negotiator Weyoun (Jeffrey Combs) to determine the fate of Bajor's involvement in Dominion affairs. Everyone knows that a Dominion/Federation war is imminent, but since Bajor is not yet part of the Federation, Winn has the opportunity to sign a non-aggression pact with Weyoun. But that may not be wise, to which both Winn and Sisko agree—Bajor risks being either destroyed along with Starfleet if they side with the Federation, but they risk suffering the fate of the conquered Cardassia if they sign a peace agreement. Sisko's appropriate advice: Stall for time. This is good stuff, executed on par with the main plot. As a preamble to next week's eruption of violence in "Call to Arms," this is a very, very sensible storyline (and I appreciated the allusions to "Rapture"). I'm certainly glad the writers haven't forgotten Bajor's role within the conflict between the Dominion and the Federation.

The way these pressures of imminent war and threat to Bajor affect Sisko makes the whole baseball card thing that much more relevant. I'm very pleased at how much depth this little comedy takes on.

Still, this episode knows better than to wallow in its own weighty issues. The comic set-pieces and subtle touches make it a winner. I enjoyed virtually all the clever ideas in here. From the goofy but nicely-placed line, "Lions, Geigers, and bears (oh my)"; to Jake accusing Winn of kidnapping Geiger once he vanishes without a trace; to Jake making up a story to his father about being drunk, just to keep a flabbergasted Nog from blowing the cover; to the deliciously-played meeting with Odo—it's all great stuff.

And the ending goes down as a classic in my book, probably one of the most creative, funniest scenes ever in Star Trek. Geiger's disappearance leaves Jake and Nog puzzled, but all questions are answered when Weyoun beams the two onto his ship and demands an explanation for their "conducting secret meetings with the crew," and associating with a man conducting experiments, ironically enough, right beneath Weyoun's own quarters.

When Weyoun doesn't believe the truth, Jake concocts a convoluted lie (much to Nog's dismay) that is brilliantly scripted, centering around, in all its unfathomability, the notion that Willie Mays is a time traveler who must be stopped at all costs. It's been quite a while since I've heard the line, "The fate of the entire galaxy may depend upon…". Coming from Lofton, it's almost convincing as the truth—and it's definitely convincing as a self-parody of Trekkian time travel. Quite clever.

What also works wonders is the extremely affecting closing captain's log montage, which gives the episode its emotional resonance. In essence, the "renewing spirits" in this episode are Jake and Nog themselves, who do the trivial tasks that give the senior staff the relaxing time they need to ease the burdens on their minds. Very cute.

This episode is a breath of fresh air. It successfully sticks with its premise from beginning to end without resorting to pointless action scenes or unwarranted plot nuisances. It's gleeful fun, yet not irrelevant. DS9's storylines can often be dark—which is not a complaint—but the great thing about "In the Cards" is that it proves that even in the heart of darkness there's plenty of room for a smile. If this episode isn't an embodiment of Star Trek attitudes, then I don't know what is.

Previous episode: Empok Nor
Next episode: Call to Arms

Season Index

77 comments on this review

R.D. - Thu, Jun 26, 2008 - 3:20pm (USA Central)
What has always made DS9 stand proud and apart from other "Trek" series were its inspired, unmatched attempts to laugh at itself and never take things too seriously. Between "Little Green Men," "In the Cards," and yes, "The Magnificent Ferengi," we have noble efforts of brilliant, even satirical comedy.

I love how "In the Cards" lampoons TREK's own technobabble and "wacky DNA" plots (Geiger's explanation of cellular ennui) and time-travel shows (Jake's preposterous cover story to Weyoun). DS9 sure had a finely turned sense of humor.
Casey - Tue, Sep 9, 2008 - 9:13am (USA Central)
"Sold, to the blue man in the good shoes."

I don't know why, but that line and the reaction shot gets me every time. It's just one hilarious detail in a most strange and wonderful teleplay. Probably one of DS9's best comedy episodes because it manages to be whimsical and heartwarming rather than hammy and farcical (unlike many of the Ferengi outings).
Destructor - Tue, Sep 1, 2009 - 7:49pm (USA Central)
Saw this last night with the gf, we btoh got teary at the closing montage. Wonderful ep that rolls seamlessly into the next one.
Jay - Fri, Sep 4, 2009 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
This was a nice, if pedestrian episode, I'm definitely not getting the worship here.
Carl - Fri, Nov 27, 2009 - 5:16pm (USA Central)
I'm completely spellbound. I've never felt this way about a Star Trek episode before. I didn't think that anything could top "The Visitor" but "In the Cards" is perfect.
Sintek - Mon, Aug 2, 2010 - 6:25pm (USA Central)
I've been reading this site for a long time; since before I was in High School. I'm now well out of college and I still don't understand why Jammer rates this episode so highly. I've watched it at least 3 times - the most recent a week ago - and I still don't like it.

I don't mind cutesy, warm tingly episodes, but this is just so light and irrelevant and utterly boring that I barely made it through my last viewing. The large part Nog has may have something to do with it, though it may be that I'm just immune to the magic of this episode that has so many others enamored.
Wharf - Tue, Dec 7, 2010 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
Is the line really "Lions, Geigers, and bears"? I don't recall any mention of "bears" in the exchange, but there was one of "beards" as in "bearding the lion in his den" - could it have been "lions, Geigers, and beards"?
ScooterGirl - Tue, Dec 7, 2010 - 11:06pm (USA Central)
I've always enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Jake and Nog and so always thoroughly enjoy "In the Cards". While Nog may have been initially hooked into this crazy venture by Jake's cunning manipulation of Nogs debt to Captain Sisko, I believe that it is actually his love for his best friend that keeps Nog from bowing out as the threat to his Starfleet career builds with each successive mission to obtain something else for Geiger. It beautifully displays to what lengths we will go for those we care most about.
Jeremy - Tue, Dec 21, 2010 - 4:40pm (USA Central)
I agree with Jammer; this episode is a classic that holds up to the test of time. It shows the strength of relationships (Jake and his Dad, Jake and Nog) and the humor hits all the right notes.
@Wharf, the 'bears' line comes after the bearding the lion line; the bear, of course, referring to Bashir's teddy, and the line is a cute reference to Wizard of Oz.
A great episode from my favorite Trek.
Elliott - Sun, Jan 2, 2011 - 9:12pm (USA Central)
Oh, I've been dreading to get to this one and I should have known you'd give it four stars...sigh...

1) parodying the federation's quasi-communist economics by directly quoting First Contact with sarcasm (in the person of Jake whom I'm tempted to punch through my computer screen on almost every appearance). Even in the context of the comedy, DS9 again manages to present one side of an argument against Trek lore without any kind of satisfactory response. Bore.

2) Quark conducting an auction; for its silliness it sounds like fun, and it's dripping with...stupidness. The bidding Vedic...really, that really bolster's the Bajorans' faith. Quark is quiet and slow as an auctioneer, a totally wasted character opportunity.

3) The premise in itself of "kismet" and Sisko being the best person in the world bs--what should be happening here with Jake having a single father burdened with multifarious responsibilities, is Jake garnering some serious resentment against his father for being unable to be a full-time father. But no, Sisko is a superhero-god so Jake wants to bend over backwards for him.

4) The scavenger hunt reeks of "self-sealing stembolts" all over again, definitely a plot thread that should have been forgot.

5) Sisko's affinity for baseball (coupled with Brooks' breathy iteration of the word like he's Barry White) has never been given much explanation. It's there, it's consistent, but WHY?

6) "Quite literally bored to death"--no there's line to sum up this episode.

7) Why in the 24th century is two teenagers getting drunk such a grave disappointment. What is this? This is some after-school special nonsense right here.

In its own way (perhaps unconsciously), this comedy (not that this is a funny episode, but, well it's not really a tragedy so I'll call it that) exposes how truly stupid many of the ideas in this series are. We get the comic take on so-called and proudly flouted "grey-area" morality with the religiose Dr. Crazy-Dude, we have arbitrary hostility towards Roddenberrian ideals, we have the Ferengi culture shown to be about one all-consuming idea of money, which is like portraying the Klingons as a cultured built around Bat'leths. We have The Sisko inexplicably hoisted up on a pedestal. We have the entire cast painfully oblivious to the deceptions of Nog and Jake and their pathetic manipulations. Sisko is trying to have it both ways, accepting his ludicrous rôle as emissary and purporting an allegiance to Starfleet and given full license to it over necessary objections which are never heard. Ironically enough, the most sympathetic character is Winn (in spite of consulting the ORB OF WISDOM--maybe she should consult the ORB OF PLOTTING).

Nothing is quite so disturbing in your reviews as your praise of Lofton--he's absolutely awful in every episode. One reason "The Visitor" didn't work is because I can't believe any of this Jake Sisko grows into the old Jake in that episode. Give me Wil Wheaton any day.

So, Jake lies to almost everyone and they become cheered up, so who cares that he's a damned lier?

On a side note, as a musician, Klingon Opera is absolutely lobotomised. VOY was far wiser in appropriating real music composed by real composers for Doc's opera fetish.

At the very least "Cards" is honest about what DS9 is, childish and confounded.
Holden - Sun, Jan 2, 2011 - 11:46pm (USA Central)
Elliott, it's clear from your comments that you don't like this show, so why don't you find another show to watch? I suspect you'll be much, much happier.
Elliott - Mon, Jan 3, 2011 - 9:45am (USA Central)
Holden, it's clear from your comment that you don't understand the purpose of comments. It's important to me to watch and understand this show. It's awful but loved by many intelligent people and I'd like to know why.
Ospero - Mon, Jan 17, 2011 - 6:58pm (USA Central)
Elliott and Holden, it's clear from your comments that you won't agree on this.

Elliott, why expose yourself to this show? From your last comment, it's clear you don't like it, even after watching quite a few episodes of it. You don't get what other people see in it, and that's fine - different strokes and all that. But why not simply call it a day then? "Many people like it, I don't see why, move along, nothing to see here" is a perfectly understandable attitude, but the points you make don't hold up under scrutiny and/or are purely personal issues with the actors. Why in the world would every single-parent child have to grow resentful of their remaining parent, as your no. 3 implies? What does Klingon opera have to do with anything, and why would this episode warrant a comparison with the Doctor's musical hobby (seeing as it was Worf's opera collection here)? And calling DS9 "childish and confounded" without giving any convincing reasons whatsoever is borderline trolling on this page, as you should very well know.

So, in short: What are you doing here? Just as I would not post comments on a generally positive review page for Sex and the City, you have no part to be here. I do enjoy criticism in the comments that goes against Jammer's own opinions (read my comment on "Valiant"), but it needs to be entertaining and/or provide an alternate viewpoint that can hold its own. You're doing neither.
Elliott - Tue, Jan 18, 2011 - 11:49am (USA Central)

I wouldn't presume to write a whole review of my own on someone else's review page. I see comments as the place where things which the review ignored or mistook can be adressed. Writing "I agree" as a comment doesn't seem particularly useful to anyone.

My original points were:
1. DS9 presents one side of an anti-Roddenberrian argument or only presents the other side in a flimsy, laughable way (in this case through Jake's pathetic quote of First Contact).
2. In a comic episode, Quark is poorly utilised.
3. No reasonable explanation of why Sisko is so loved is ever given here or before (the exception is simply is title as Emissary, but that would only explain the Bajorans' devotion).
4. It is more a question of taste, I'll grant, but the comic elements are all pretty low-brow and out-of-context in Star-Trek or sci-fi show.
5. Finally my comment about Jake stems from my comment about Sisko. WHY is Jake devoted to him? The series has shown us how burdened Sisko is will duties, but has hardly shown us a relationship between the two which justifies this kind of action. I don't necessary believe that Jake has to resent his father, but it's more plausible given the circumstances.

My comment about the music was a side-note on execution. It is not the fault of DS9 (we saw how ridiculous this music was in TNG's "Unification"), but it was distracting...just like bad special effects, bad acting, poor directing or lighting can be.

The inconsistencies I pointed out warrant judging the episode "confounded" and the tone of the episode with its feel-good message and sitcom antics warrant "childish" so please don't accuse me of trolling.

My comments have provided an alternate viewpoint. If I don't entertain you, I'm sorry, but I don't need you to police my comments. If you wish to argue my points, I welcome your feedback, but don't presume to ostracise me from participating in the discussion because I don't love this show like everyone else. It would seem a very dull crowd that never disagrees.
Ospero - Wed, Jan 19, 2011 - 12:40am (USA Central)
Elliott: You must have realized what you were going in for, so please don't complain about getting the expected reaction. You saw the rating, you saw the number of comments agreeing (or partly agreeing), and you still opted to post a disagreeing viewpoint. Fine by itself, but don't start crying when the rebukes start floating in. I won't insist on an entire episode critique, but your points are simply not that well stated.

I'm not "policing" you in any way, shape or form - I'm wondering why somebody who obviously hates not just this episode but DS9 as a series is bothering to read, much less post, here. You seem to have a lower suspension-of-disbelief threshold than I do, otherwise the details you mention wouldn't bother you that much. And how much work towards establishing Sisko and Jake as popular characters would be sufficient? Sisko is the freaking station commander - by virtue of that post, you get to be popular in the Star Trek universe. Kirk did it, Picard did it, even Janeway did it.

But I realize I'm banging my head on a concrete wall here. So, for my part: Feel free to post as much or as little as you wish, I don't care either way. I'll simply train myself to block out your name whenever I see it here, as I do with Armond White's name in the context of movie reviews. Have a nice day.
Holden - Thu, Jan 27, 2011 - 11:14am (USA Central)
Elliott, I must apologize. I seldom visit this page and I didn't know that you had replied to me.

I wasn't trying to call you out or tell you to get out of here, as it is your perfect right to share your opinion. As it happens I agree with you on some of your points, and even where we don't agree I can understand your reasoning. All I meant was, "Why not watch a show that doesn't upset you so much?"

Sorry again. It takes courage to voice an unpopular opinion, and you do it well. But if you're hoping DS9 is going to change, well, that's just not in the cards
Polt - Tue, Feb 1, 2011 - 5:30pm (USA Central)
I don't often agree with Jammer's take on specific episodes, but this one, I'm in total agreement with. 4 stars definitely. Oh there were minor things in the plot that stuck out and had me saying, whaaaa? But then something happened that made ma laugh out loud (three times that I recall) and I forgot what was upsetting me.

This episode is mainly fluff, but what entertaining fluff it is. And the parts that aren't fluff, advance the storylines quite well.

Well done, all in all.
Jay - Sat, Feb 5, 2011 - 10:49pm (USA Central)
I think DS9 is the best Trek series, but I enjoy Elliot's comments because they bring something to the table.

The "if you don;t like it, why are you here" gripe falls flat, because VOY and ENT are jokes in their entirety to many in the Trek community. Rather hypocritical to get the vapors when someone gives DS9 the same treatment.
Jacob Sisko - Wed, Feb 9, 2011 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
This may be my favorite episode of DS9 ("The Visitor" being the other main contender). I love the depth of exploration given to even the most minor characters in DS9, and that the writers have the spirit to poke fun at themselves once in a while.
Marcel - Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - 7:00am (USA Central)
When I watched it the first time I was a bit disappointed but now it's one of my favorite episodes.
Michael Cross - Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - 4:24pm (USA Central)
WOW... 4 stars for this?! This was yet another pointless cheesy comedy episode, and quite annoying too. I've been watching this series from beginning to end, and while season 5 seems to have some of the better episides thus far, it has also been loaded with too many of these comedy episodes. It only makes this show harder to take seriously, and that's not a good thing considering (at this point) they're trying to built up this huge war with the Dominion.
Stubb - Mon, May 9, 2011 - 10:18am (USA Central)
Wow. Divergent viewpoints and a spirited debate. For my two cents, I'm also surprised at Jam's four-star rating for what is essentially a gimmicky comedy episode, done to far better and deeper effect in "Far Beyond The Stars". The last ten minutes make the show; take those moving final moments away and we're left with a pointless, irritating, self-absorbed caper focused on two of the show's least appealing minor characters (Jake & Nog) and a cardboard tinfoil-hat villain (Dr. Immortality). I will admit enjoying the way the script tied everything up at the end, especially seeing Weyoun lie down in the immortality pod. I think I could watch Jeffrey Combs' predatory smile all day long.
Krysek - Sun, Oct 30, 2011 - 8:55pm (USA Central)
"Alliance, Geigers and Bears", oh my.
Get it? It's a pun at about the 1/3 pt.
Maybe there was something in the air when this episode aired because it seemed like a haphazard mess. I have the feeling that some of the writers kids may have worked on this one.
mercer - Sun, Nov 20, 2011 - 8:49pm (USA Central)
Best review you've ever written, Jammer, and I agree with it.
Nic - Thu, Dec 15, 2011 - 9:10am (USA Central)
I'd just like to point out that Ron Moore wrote both "First Contact" and "In the Cards". He has stated in interviews that Jake's 'we don't need money' speech was more poking fun at himself than Gene Roddenberry (or his ideals). It was not meant as serious criticism, though how Federation citizens do business with non-Federation worlds that DO use money is a good question, one that has never been addressed.
Kate - Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - 11:20pm (USA Central)
This episode, unfortunately, sometimes gets lost in the mix with all the weighty, epic episodes of this fantastic series.

I just finished watching it again and it's a fantastic episode. Like many episodes of DS9, it has stood the test of time and its relevance is even more apparent in difficult times.

In trying to ease Sisko's burden, Jake and Nog give everyone just one moment and one reason to smile in trying times.

I still give it a five out of five.
Tom - Tue, Apr 3, 2012 - 7:32pm (USA Central)
Like a few others, I'm amazed you gave this episode four stars. Ah well, if everyone liked exactly the same things, the world would be a boring place! It's one of the very few occasions when I've not agreed with your opinions on a particular episode.

As a side note, will you ever write reviews for Homicide? I'm sure I read somewhere on your website that you loved the show (as do I!) and it would definitely be worth your time more than Voyager or Enterprise ever were!
Justin - Sat, Apr 7, 2012 - 1:05am (USA Central)
"Give me Wil Wheaton any day."

Elliott, please tell me you were drunk when you wrote that. Or that it was a ham handed attempt at irony. Otherwise, sir, you are guilty of committing a pop cultural atrocity.

"It's important to me to watch and understand this show."

If that were really true then you'd be asking more questions instead of offering your pedantic arguments against DS9.

"It's awful but loved by many intelligent people and I'd like to know why."

Because we're the soulless minions of unorthodoxy.
Elliott - Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - 6:54pm (USA Central)
@Justin :

I may, indeed, have been a little drunk that day as a means to get through this episode. But seriously, and this has nothing to do with the writing, I think Wil Wheaton is a better actor than Cirroc Lofton. Lofton was given meatier material most of the time, and didn't handle it well. Wheaton was occasionally given something to do other than "boy genius" (First Duty, eg), and usually did okay with it.

Before I became familiar with Jammer's reviews and some other Trek blogs, I expected to find similar opinions to my own--new insights perhaps, some instances of disagreement, etc, but when things were REALLY GOOD or REALLY BAD, I expected to find some harmony.

It's not my job to ask the questions, it's the writers'. It's my intention to point out when those questions are 1) irrelevant, 2) poorly stated, 3) misleading, 4) sophomoric or, as here, 5) a nebulous but appealing expression of the Zeitgeist.

DS9 was very mainstream although it was very un-Trek. Its value system was not unlike the usual dribble we get fed from the media, so it's a little pretentious to align a taste for the show with some sort of "unorhodoxy." People, ahem, nerds like us who are familiar with the reams and reams of Trek scripts from the last 50 years may see DS9 in the light of being "different", but from a larger view, it's the child of the franchise which chose to dress like the cool kids (and ENT was the child they had to send to school on the short bus).
Ian - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 3:59am (USA Central)
1. Elliot seems to be a "trdoll," don't feed them and they go away, take it from E.T....
2. The line WAS "Lions, Geigers and bears,"
3. The idea that the Federation,
or at least Earth,
is some neo-Marxist/socialistic/Communistic society is absolutely absurd,
aside from the hypocrisy of the most profitable television franchise in history preaching this, ANY society no manner how advanced or filled with abundance will still need some sort of currency as a unit of value.
This is why all societies so far eventually have developed some form of currency.
Human nature itself may advance, but still will not change that much in the future.
The TOS seemed to understand this in one episode referring to the Enterprise as a 50 billion Credit starship...
Oh, by the way the episode was cute and fun, nothing more, nothing less...
Ian - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 4:02am (USA Central)
That was meant to be "TROLL," not "trdoll,"
(greasy keyboard)
Elliott - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 1:59pm (USA Central)
@Greasy fingers :

I'm not arguing sci-fi economic theory with someone who doesn't write cogent thoughts let alone complete sentences. I'm not a troll. I don't like this episode. I've said why. If you'd care to wipe the McDonalds gravy from your keyboard and debate with me, that's one thing, but flinging pitiful little insults at me doesn't fly.
Nathaniel - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 9:16pm (USA Central)

No one is saying you are obligated to like this episode. However, complaints like, "Jake should resent his father, because it is an unwritten law that all children must resent single parents. That he doesn't means Sisko is loved by the writers," doesn't exactly impress.
Ian - Sun, Jul 15, 2012 - 11:44pm (USA Central)
@ Elliot

Like I said you are a typical Troll.

1. No sense of humor.
2. Ad hominen, personal attacks.
3. Likes arguing on message boards.
4. Like someone once said "get a life."

The rest of us come here to simply have some fun
lighten up dude...
...or is that dud?
Vulcanian - Sun, Jul 15, 2012 - 11:47pm (USA Central)

I agree with Ian, some people DO need to get a life

Elliot, like somone else once said, phone home...and go stay there...
Latex Zebra - Mon, Jul 16, 2012 - 10:59am (USA Central)
And this ladies and gentlemen is why people take the piss out of Star Trek fans.
Vulcanian - Mon, Jul 16, 2012 - 10:58pm (USA Central)
Piss out?
Maybe something else?

Van deLay Latex Salesman
Latex Zebra - Tue, Jul 17, 2012 - 3:23am (USA Central)
Is that an English only expression.

Mock then, this is why people mock Star Trek fans.
Vulcanian - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - 3:04am (USA Central)
Still waiting for an explanation or translation my latex friend...
...by the way have you tried polyester?
Her fabrics are to die for...
Latex Zebra - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - 1:27pm (USA Central)
I thought I had.

To take the piss out of something means you are mocking someone.

Taking the piss also means that you are taking liberties.
So if you invited a mate round for dinner and he drank all the wine without buying any themselves you could say they were taking the piss.

This Internet arguing with Elliot, some holier than thou Star Trek fanatic, is exactly the kind of thing that causes non Star Trek fans to mock us. Well that and going to a convention dressed as Seven of Nine.

Elliott - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - 3:13pm (USA Central)
Funny, I thought arguing about whether phasers fire out the torpedo tube or how many apostrophes belong in a given made-up name or which room is on which deck or which uniform looks better were the stuff of "un-pissing" Star Trek fans.

It's always just so novel to see someone pat himself on the back for saying "communism doesn't work! Hey, I'm so *above* that lefty nonsense. Look how grown-up and *cynical* I am! pat...pat...pat...

@Nathaniel :

Point taken. I did not mean to imply that children ought to automatically hate their single parents. I am the child of a single mother and love her dearly without reservation. However, she had to sacrifice more of her personal time and fulfilment than coupled parents (though they of course sacrifice much as well) in order to provide for me. I find it insulting that the writers give Sisko *more* to do than the already demanding task of commanding a politically hazardous station of thousands again and again and Jake doesn't react. I might be willing to call that an argument for the Roddenberrian ideal of evolved humanity--Jake is so evolved he can be altruistic and noble as a *teenager*--if this episode weren't so intent on belittling that very idea. I would applaud the series more if the writers were willing to say, "Sisko has a destiny AND he's a starfleet officer. He makes the hard choice to be true to his job and his divine course at the expense of his personal life, because the safety of the Barjorans and the Alpha Quadrant is more important than his personal happiness. So, Sisko is a tragic hero. His son resents the fact that his father's duties make it such that he can't be the father Jake wished he would be or that he had been before he met Kai Opaka." But, no. Everything's fine. Jake adores his father no matter what. In fact, the only people who do resent him are unabashedly villains by the end--Dukat, Winn, Eddington. And *this* is the series lauded with taking risks and being so bravely "different." I call BS, and here's one example why.

All that said, I am willing to take an episode and a series for what they are--even on those relative terms, I still cannot abide the idea that this is amongst the best episodes of DS9, meritting 4 stars.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - 6:51pm (USA Central)
@Elliot There are much easier pickings without getting that deep.

Anyway... You cannot abide that this gets 4 stars. Seriously, don't worry about it. Jammer gives it 4 stars. I think it is a good fun episode but no more than a 3. You don't really like it that much at all. 3 people and 3 different takes on it.
Your life is that rich that you cannot 'abide' someone marking an episode of Star Trek higher than your own opinions of it. Lucky you.
Seriously. I can't abide the kind of atrocities that go on in this world (and our own doorsteps). A world many like to think of as civilized.
That someone likes an episode of a TV program more than me or you is really not worth getting worked up over.
Ian - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 12:43am (USA Central)
DS9 despite, or because of, its flaws is still the second best of the Trek franchise.
The first being TOS of course, (it is still historically groundbreaking despite all its flaws)
TNG was only really good that year or so that Troi wore spandex and Picard became a Borg.
Voyager had the "Scorpion," two parter, the rest was filler.
Enterprise is best fogotten.

Now more inportantly, somone mentioned Dressing up like Seven of Nine...
...latex is that you?
Latex Zebra - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 6:50am (USA Central)
Yes its me... Don't let the name fool you. I'm not into kinky shit.

Hang on... Do I know you?

Oh and just so to make things clear. I have no issue with Elliot at all. We're all here to have fun discussing episodes we enjoyed/dislike etc.
I just think you use quite provocative langauge sometimes. You seem an intelligent person so must know that its not what you say but that way you say it that can upset people, as seems to be proven by your many fans on this site.
Elliott - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 12:30pm (USA Central)
I was about to say, "Oh come off it--criticising the language I use is akin to criticising grammar. It's tedious and pointless and just an excuse to keep arguing," but I'll refrain (see what I did there?).

Anyway, don't knock the kink till you try it.
Vulcanian - Thu, Jul 19, 2012 - 11:01pm (USA Central)
Syntax is everything I guess...
Or is that sin tax?

Still looking to be your latex salesman...

Van deLay Industries
Applesauce - Sat, Aug 4, 2012 - 9:37am (USA Central)
I have to say, Jake is FAR too old for the "I'm gonna buy my daddy something nice and he's gonna be HAPPY FOREVER" plot. I could've bought it a few seasons ago, but Jake's done being a kid.
Grumpy - Wed, Aug 8, 2012 - 11:26am (USA Central)
Sisko asks O'Brien if Kirayoshi is walking yet.

O'Brien politely says, "No. Not yet." He could've said, "Sir, he's 4 months old. He can barely hold his head up." Unless 24th century infants are far more advanced. Which would explain how Molly was walking & talking within one year of her birth in "Disaster."
Cindi - Mon, Aug 13, 2012 - 5:47pm (USA Central)
Ugh, what a discussion. Just points

- Eliott's tragedy is he thinks people dismiss him because they can't bear the full might of his poignant and valid arguments.

- Communism can't work. People tried for the duration of 20th century and milions died trying. Thousands still do.

- As already stated, even society with replicators would absolutely need some sort of currency and private ownership. There'll always be a lot of things that can't be replicated.

- Lofton is a better actor than Wheaton by a parsec.

- Ian - Enterprise is best forgotten except the 3rd season which was absolutely terrific.

- This episode was great.
SFKeepay - Sun, Aug 19, 2012 - 8:04am (USA Central)
What a discussion, to second the previous post, indeed.

I confess to having skipped this episode every time I've watched the series. I'd inexcusably assumed it to be, based solely on the title, another Ferengi comdey hour, which, for whatever reason, elude me. Half asleep, however, I did, rarher accidentally, begin watching and it slowly dawned on me to pay attention. I started laughing, getting into into it, and realizing It was something special. Fully awake, enthusiastic and even emotional, I dropped in to read what I (again inexcusably) expected to be a sour review by Jammer. So often wrong, you'd think I stop making assumptions.

At this point I'd like to pay a compliment to Elliott, specifically his first post with which I, in the main, strongly disagree but nevertheless find very well written, weighty, and above all deliciously funny. I laughed out loud at several of his biting, clever attacks on the show even while I couldn't agree with almost any of them. Contrary opinions must always be allowed that we might evermore leverage them to challenge our own assumptions, and these being so well enunciated, are for me all the more welcome. Keep writing Elliot, and I will definately keep reading.

How important is direction to the success of a given episoode? I'm not well informed on this issues but it seems to me that very experienced, highly specific direction could explain how Loften and Eisenberg were so spot on here. The comic timing, the facial expressions, and the line delivery were often utterly brilliant, building one upon another, constructing in tandem with the drama-rich subordinate plot an exquisitly satisfying conclusion. Surely the director, working of course with a great script, must have been key to enabling the actors' specific, critical moments of success.

As for the actors themselves, for me this episode, somewhat sadly, validates Loften altogether and suggests a nearly totally wasted character. Jammer has elsewhere commented on the otherwise weak development of Jake. I had breezily agreed. But I confess my acquiescence had been more from infatuation with adult Loften's utterly radiant, occasionally suggestive smile. So too I have always found the wonderful, uninhibitedly physical and forthrightly positive portrayal of the Jake/Benjamin father/son bond deeply moving and, as I have come to increasingly realize, sociologically important.

Consequently I agreed that Jake was underdeveloped, but for dubious reasons, not any regret about untapped acting potential. Loften's commitment to acting as a profession, to learning and practicing what it takes to bring to the screen a real, memorable character, I had unexaminedly dismissed. But here, with an exceptional script and what I suspect was a very skilled director both on hand, Loften displayed great ability and deftness, and made me wish he'd had the same writing/directing support throughout the series. He really could have been quite something to watch.

Eisenberg, meanwhile, already had my respect, most significantly, if unsurprisingly, from "Paper Moon". I agree with Scootergirl's comment above that Nog's "love for his friend" delightfully compells his committment to the evermore questionable baseball card quest, and Eisenberg is fun to watch as the straight man here. A highlight for me, in fact, near the episode's conclusion, was Eisenberg's pitch-perfect delivery, and accompanying facial expression, of "can we go now?" We're told that in comedy, timing is crucail, and his was flawless here.

I'd lastly like to respond to the "communism/socialism" theme. As I understand it, there is broad agreement that what we call "human nature" manifests a powerful acquisitive drive, and greed, profligacy, and competition are among the inevitable expressions of any species having evolved in a resource-constrained environment. The "units of value" described above as "inevitable", however, represent far more than a mere tool of exchange. The centrality of money as the guiding, albeit usually unconscious, arbitor of the life station into which we place our "fellow man", as well as ourselves, was also perhaps inevitable. Which is, along with its astonishing responsibility for the corruption and distortion of political power, why money, at least as we know it, is an unsustainable construct rightly abolished and superceded on Trek's future paradise Earth. Money is part of a suite of phenomena we must commit ourselves to overcoming, similar to dogmatism, credulity, nationalism, and other inevitabilities of human nature.

I once read of a question regarding Picard's dearth of hair. Apparently, the question was something like "Wouldn't humanity have cured baldness by the 24th century?" The layered response, as I recall, approximated "By the 24th century, no one will care!" Exactly right, but only if "human nature" has been fully and correctly elucidated, compensational disciplines have been perfected or nearly so, and the universal (among humanity) dissemination and implementation of the resulting body of knowledge has been fully realized. In that world, Jake Cisco will have been counseled since the death of his mother to expect feelings of resentment towards his busy father and taught how to cope, money will have been replaced, and the better angels of our nature will in general be in charge, albeit on constant, habitual guard against the contervailing drives we will by then have in check.

At least, that's my take on it.
John - Fri, Sep 14, 2012 - 11:48pm (USA Central)
Not sure I feel 4-stars about this one... But pretty close.

Brilliantly done.
Josh - Sun, Nov 25, 2012 - 1:16am (USA Central)
@Elliott: "It's important to me to watch and understand this show. It's awful but loved by many intelligent people and I'd like to know why."

I've been beaten to it, but we comprise the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy. And we haven't broken any laws... except perhaps the arbitrary laws of Star Trek that you expound tirelessly and tediously on this site.

I love this episode, and I do want to give a little shout out to Brian "Dr Geiger" Markinson, who as a great character actor has made a couple other memorable Trek guest performances (notably Durst/the Vidiian Sulan in "Faces" (VOY)).

The episode has so many delightful touches:
- Jake's lame pun intended for Kira's speech ("Water reclamation is considered such a dry subject")
- Nog's retrieval of Kukalaka
- Bashir's concern that someone was going to eat the anaerobic metabolite suspended in a hydro-saline solution
- Odo's confusion at hearing about the aforementioned soulless minions
- Dr Geiger's whole explanation for "cellular ennui"
- Weyoun's interest in "creative genetics"
- Jake's plea for help to stop Willie Mays from destroying the future
- Quark as auctioneer
- The seamless backdrop of impending conflict signalled by the opening scene and Winn's visit (along with connection to "Rapture")
- Nog's characterization of the Federation's philosophy of "self-enhancement"
- The final montage with Sisko's voiceover - touching and simple (the episode's direction by Dorn is generally superb)

Anyway, time to retire to my own cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber. Gotta watch that ennui.
DavidK - Thu, Jan 3, 2013 - 3:27am (USA Central)
As someone already pointed out, Ronald D Moore has admitted to writing the original First Contact line about "working for the betterment of humanity", so he was at least poking fun at himself.

But I thought that scene in this episode (which is quite an inconsequential part for all the attention people are giving it!) asked a valid question...it's all well and good for the Federation to not have any money, but the rest of the galaxy begs to differ. I mean the Federation must have a latinum stockpile of some description, I'm sure there are times when they need something off the Ferengi urgently. The crew of DS9, as here, must run into the same problem. I mean who pays their tab at Quarks? Ah, the drinks are replicated, so how is Quark making money?

I think I give the writers a bit of slack too because I don't think they were lashing out at Gene's ideals, just his rules that made writing for the show difficult. I mean the whole "no interpersonal conflict amongst the crew" cuts your avenues for drama by a wide margin (and makes the crew seem a bit ambivalent about everything).

The no money rule is made easier with replicators, but they have to keep the whole replicator thing vaguely defined as well. Any plot that involves scarcity becomes hard to tell...O'Brien has to lead an expedition to Empok Nor because the components they need can't be replicated. How come? *shrug* Kira has to visit Shakaar and demand he return the soil reclamators he borrowed. Why don't they replicate more? *shrug* Why does Garak mend pants when you could recycle them in a replicator and get a new pair?

I know, I know, I'm nitpicking. My point is it's tricky to balance Trekkian optimism with the negativity that's the beginning of drama, and to balance the appealing nature of a Star Trek future where technology has solved many of our problems, with the dramatic need for "a problem" of some type.
DavidK - Thu, Jan 3, 2013 - 4:45am (USA Central)
In follow up, an interesting analysis of Star Trek's apparent no-money system: www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/economy.htm
Peremensoe - Fri, Jan 4, 2013 - 1:51pm (USA Central)
*Replicated* doesn't mean *free*.
Baron - Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - 11:53am (USA Central)
This is my least liked episode this season but I did enjoy parts of it. Probably would have given it a 2. The biggest problem is I don't think the actor that plays Jake is a very good actor. I haven't really liked him in any episode.

Although I didn't care for the main story, I did like the teddy bear scene and Leeta looking for the bear in another scene. The last scene where everyone is now happy because of Jake and Nog did was also nice.
Sherlock Holmes - Sun, May 12, 2013 - 12:26pm (USA Central)
I have to say Jammer giving this 4 stars is a joke.
While I respect many of Jammer's reviews this one I cannot. To begin with, a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be. Of course Jake is not as bad as Wesley, but he still is pretty terrible. I won't bother going into further details because it will too tedious to write, but I will say that Jammers boi crush on Jake is oh so obvious. The last Jake episode got 4 stars also. Personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review.
William B - Sun, May 12, 2013 - 3:53pm (USA Central)
To be honest, I think "a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be" and "personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review." I think Jammer overrates both this and "Nor the Battle to the Strong" a fair bit, but his "personal feelings" about the character are no more or less valid than dislike for the character. Jammer happens to like many of the stories told about Jake in the show; many others dislike them. It could be that, rather than it being a totally arbitrary like/dislike for the character, Jammer and the anti-Jake people simply have different views about what constitutes a good story and the writers hit somewhat similar notes with Jake stories. I am fairly indifferent to Jake, or was back when I watched this series forever ago. (I do love "The Visitor" though, but that's more Tony Todd than Cirroc Lofton.)
William B - Sun, May 12, 2013 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
Rather (forgot to finish my first sentence), 'To be honest, I think "a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be" and "personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review" are contradictory, given that the former statement presupposes that Jake stories are automatically judged to be bad before even watching.'
Josh - Sun, May 12, 2013 - 8:59pm (USA Central)
Well, coincidentally I just started watching "In the Cards" to finish up my rewatch of the fifth season.

I don't really follow all the comments about Lofton "not being a good actor". Compared to what? I suppose when you're alongside Colm Meaney, Rene Auberjonois, and Andrew Robinson, it might seem that way, but in this episode he's perfectly fine.

Another nice moment I didn't mention above is Sisko's exasperated reaction to the news that Kai Winn will be coming to the station. This is, interestingly, one of my favourite appearances of Winn, inasmuch as she's for once not playing any kind of villain.

Otherwise, concerning all these "acting" complaints, I still don't get it. Avery Brooks is a case in point. He can be... odd at times, but at worst this might apply to his "showier" moments. Effective acting is all about *not* noticing it. Perhaps the best example I can think of are the videos floating around comparing Genevieve Bujold's initial turn as Janeway on Voyager to Mulgrew. It's not about the big moments but the small ones - and Bujold failed on those.

(I also just noticed that Morn acquires the matador painting that gets smashed in "Who Mourns for Morn" at Quark's auction.)
musicaddict365 - Sun, Jul 21, 2013 - 4:24am (USA Central)
i think this episode is kinda connected to the episode of TNG : The Most Toys . the Zibalian trader Kivas Fajo's collection includes the very same card he even remarks about how he even preserved the smell of bubblegum.
ProgHead777 - Thu, Aug 1, 2013 - 4:02am (USA Central)
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful episode and a spot on review from Jammer.

@musicaddict365 That was a Roger Maris baseball card in "The Most Toys", not Willie Mays. That would have been great though, if the card in this episode was the very same one from Fajo's collection. They wouldn't have had to acknowledge it in the dialog or anything. Just a sly little wink to the fans. Too bad.
Michael - Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - 5:28am (USA Central)
Spot on review. This is a gem of an episode. Four stars.
Tom - Tue, Sep 3, 2013 - 4:17am (USA Central)
Surely you guys realize that Elliot is an epic troll?
Kotas - Sat, Oct 26, 2013 - 4:42pm (USA Central)

About as good as it gets as far as Jake and Nog just for fun eps are concerned.

Galaktikhonjk - Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
I must agree to some points Eliot made earlier (Jan 2. 2011). I don't want to say that Cirroc Lofton never did a good performance at all, especially 'The Visitor' is still a masterpiece of Trek History to me. But since I usually fully agree to your reviews, Jammer, I really have to disagree in that one here.

The episode may have its moments (some funny lines between Nog and Jake, Weyoun - of course - and also, for a change, a more likeable Kai Winn), it didn't keep me constantly entertained - neither in the way of comedy nor character development or simply bringing forward the main storyline. It didn't really catch me on either the intellectual or simply entertaining level.

According to that, I really have to agree with Eliot that Jakes response (in referrence to Picard in First Contact) wasn't funny to me at all, since it simply undermines all Star Trek (and Roddenberry) stands (or stood) for: A vision of a better future AT LEAST IN RESPECT OF HUMANITY! This is important since I am totally fine with the DS9's conduct of opening the "love, peace and harmony" universe my beloved TNG left us over (I really love that series but I wouldn't have worked for another seven years).

I didn't really understand the mood that dominated the first scene. I know they all are aware that they might be on the brink to a war with the dominion, but all of them being that depressed? And where is Dax at this moment? Perhaps I'm getting that wrong, but somehow it looks like the writers didn't want her to be around since she would never act like that (and neither would the others do, at least not in that intensity).

I also agree with Eliot on the barely (fully) convincing deceptions Jake and Nog pull on the O'Brien and Co as well as the wasted opportunities with Quark at the auction and Siskos silly reaction hearing that his 18 year old son got drunk for one time (uh-uh!). Not to speak of the 'Dr. Strange' and his entertaining chamber. The latter wasn't a bad idea at all but took much too long to establish to be a striking comedic element to me (I might be an advocate of pointed comedy, though).

That been said, I would rate this episode with 3 Stars, acknowledging its humorous attempts as well as some good pieces of dialogue (Sisko - Weyoun, Weyoun - Kai Winn). Nothing more, nothing less.

Btw, my favorite line of this episode:

"No it's not. But before you twist that into a compliment let me be blunt: I don't like the dominion, I don't like what it stands for and I don't like you."
(Sisko after beeing warmly flattered by Weyoun about their oh so good relationship)
Krog - Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - 5:04pm (USA Central)
This is a very subtle comedy episode (no ferengi in drag!) and is slightly slowpaced which can make it seem boring, but the comedy is really top notch. The slow burn of discovering that Doctor Geiger is crazy is really well done, Odo's reactions to Nog and Jake's story is hilarious, and the finale is heartwarming. If Jammer hadn't given this episode four stars already I would have called it underrated.
eastwest101 - Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - 10:42pm (USA Central)
Just saw this episode for the first time and it still holds up after 17 years and is an absolute delight to watch, the acting and comedic timing really work, dialogue crackles, credit to the writers and made the job of directing very easy for Dorn. Overall a silly but fun episode with a lot of "heart". I liked it. Probably the best Nog and Jake episode I have seen yet.
Patick D - Thu, Jan 30, 2014 - 12:18am (USA Central)
"In the Cards" is for DS9 what "Deja Q" is for TNG: a multi-layered human story with a warm, humanistic sensibility, and DAMNED funny.
Vylora - Sun, Mar 2, 2014 - 7:15pm (USA Central)
I never thought of this as a comedy episode per se, or at least not in that it's full-on funny. It is, however, a pleasantly lightweight episode with substance and heart and with elements of wonderful and humorous characterizations throughout. Also a very nice set-up for what's to come. Everything here just clicks in the right place.

Highly recommended and although I don't consider it classic Trek, I do consider it easily as one of the best of DS9.

4 stars.
Jan - Mon, Mar 10, 2014 - 3:56pm (USA Central)
Nice episode... I really liked the scene where Jake sums up the Geiger's agenda at security office...

Weyoun's subtle threat after Sisko loses his temper is worth mentioning, too. I thought it showed nicely why they made Weyoun a diplomat. Until this episode one couldn't be sure, if he was just a brainwashed man really believing things he was saying. Here you can briefly look behind the charade and see someone you shouldn't underestimate.
ShastOne - Mon, Apr 28, 2014 - 7:09pm (USA Central)
Actually, I didn't think the Willie Mayes story was convincing, but rightly so, because it was supposed to be incredibly stupid and make Weyoun see Jake and Nog as the harmless kids in over their heads that they were.
Yanks - Fri, Aug 15, 2014 - 10:28am (USA Central)
SFKeepay, thank you for that wonderful and insightful post.

I've always enjoyed this episode although I don't quite give it 4 stars.

I see Lofton and Wheaton both about equal as far as acting talent. My distain for Wesley later in TNG isn't because of bad acting, it was bad writing. I always thought Jake carried the scenes with him and Sisko. I've always loved Jake and the Rom/Jake friendship.

I also think more highly of the character Rom and Grodénchik's ability to create and portray a very unique character whose core remains consistent regardless of the development or situation. I love Nog.

I've always thought of this episode as a "Pay it Forward" (one of the best movies ever made IMO) type episode. Jake's good gesture trying to brighten his father’s day and his quest to make it happen in one way or another just positively infects everyone else.

"Maybe the real explanation is as simple as something my father taught me a long time ago. Even in the darkest moments, you can always find something that'll make you smile."

This episode is wrapped up flawlessly. This one warms the heart with the best of trek.

3.5 star for me.
Yanks - Fri, Aug 15, 2014 - 11:00am (USA Central)
Gosh.... Nog (Aron Eisenberg) not Rom.... *** slaps forehead ***
zzybaloobah - Thu, Sep 11, 2014 - 12:50am (USA Central)
Gotta love the Jake / Nog discussion about money:
J: "... it means.... it means we don't need money."
N: "Well, if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine."

QED. Humans *do* need money. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not for the bare necessities, but if you want, say, a Willie Mays baseball card, perhaps some non-replicated food, whatever cargo Kassidy's hauling around this week, or a week on Risa -- in short, anything where demand could exceed supply -- you'd better have some way to pay. And that means a medium of exchange. The alternative is bartering, which makes for fun TV, but is a lousy way to run an economy.
$G - Mon, Sep 22, 2014 - 10:17am (USA Central)
I like this one. It's fun to see the NoJay Consortium in action again (my favourite moment still being the stembolts from, I think?, season 1). It probably shouldn't work this well, but it's well paced and satisfying. I think it's neat how this episode reversed the A- and B-plot setup. Usually the comedy gets stapled to a heavier A-plot and sometimes comes off too transparently as comic relief. Not here, though, because it's a nice tour of the station from the point of view of two guys who aren't necessarily keeping tabs on the political moves going on around them.

I also like that the Bajor-Dominion negotiations stayed civil. No assassinations, no protests - not everything has to be as dramatic as that. It keeps things light enough that the focus of whether or not Bajor should sign the pact leaves the impression it should and sets up the next episode nicely. A genuinely creative move by the writers with this one. A strong 3 stars.
$G - Mon, Sep 22, 2014 - 10:22am (USA Central)
Oh, and one question for those who might know:

Where was Dax? You'd think she'd have a role in an episode about staying positive and getting Sisko an awesome gift! Farrell is most fun to watch when she's having a good time with the rest of the crew.

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