Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Forsaken"

2.5 stars

Air date: 5/22/1993
Teleplay by Don Carlos Dunaway and Michael Piller
Story by Jim Trombetta
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The Forsaken," much like "The Storyteller" and "The Passenger," highlights how DS9 can deliver with character insight and development almost every time, even when the plotline fails to be remotely compelling. In this case, a computerized "entity" invades the computer system and causes problems throughout the station. Included in these problems is Odo and Lwaxana Troi being stuck in a turbolift—an unlikely character combination that provides a surprising amount of well-realized characterization.

Lwaxana's lusting after the understandably frightened Odo is initially annoying, but it slowly mellows into reasonable dialog that's unexpectedly affecting. The episode opens the door to some of Odo's mysterious backstory, and shows the constable in a moment of weakened personal pride. Lwaxana's reaction to the situation is nicely handled.

Also entertaining is the always-reliable Meaney as an O'Brien frustrated with a hopeless computer system, as well the notion of Sisko passing off the duty of entertaining visiting ambassadors to an unfortunate Doctor Bashir. What doesn't work here is the completely routine computer-induced mania and its predictable wrap-up, and the unnecessary imperilment of Bashir and the ambassadors in the lackluster finale. The characters work, but the story lacks originality.

Previous episode: If Wishes Were Horses
Next episode: Dramatis Personae

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48 comments on this post

Cail Corishev
Wed, Sep 12, 2012, 9:16pm (UTC -6)
Lwaxana is really charming here, and compared to some of her later appearances, almost understated. Her scenes with Odo in the elevator are excellent.

Good thing, too, because the rest is completely forgettable. I wince every time I hear someone talk about "uploading" data as if it destroys the old copy (Voyager was very bad about this with the doctor). No, uploading the data back to the probe wasn't going to make the virus go along, and even in 1993 we should have known better.
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Yes, there's a lot of talk about the physics of Star Trek (even a book). But the worst kind of science in Star Trek is computer science.
Wed, May 15, 2013, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
The First appearance of Lwaxana Troi on Deep Space 9 - hardly one of fandom's most well-recalled characters, although I have to confess whilst she had her fair share of total clunkers:(Anyone want to watch 'Manhunt' or 'Cost of Living' - thought not!) - she could be at least tolerable, 'Haven' or 'Half a Life' whilst not series high points were at least watchable. This, whilst not a must -see episode actually holds up quite well.

The basic plot is two fold - a computer anomaly invades the station and various mechanical and computer problems ensue. Leaving aside the weakness of the technical issues, this really does betray a lack of imagination on the part of the writer - I appreciate the Static setting makes the kind of adventures TNG had difficult to replicate (And part of the brief was to make this a different show from its forebear) but it really didn't work, and comes across as more than a little tedious.

The secondary plot involves the visit to the station of four Alien ambassadors, amongst whom is Lwaxana Troi - these are assigned to Bashir by Sisko who then delights in the Doctor's obvious discomfiture. As mentioned by Jammer, unarguably the highlights are the scenes involving Barrett and Auberjonois which really work, giving us a good insight into Lwaxana's character. It almost seems superfluous to praise Rene Auberjonois but his performance is consistently amongst the highlights of the First Season. The opening scene:

'When did you join Starfleet?'
'Dopterians are distant cousins of the Ferengi. Since you couldn't read Quark, it made sense you couldn't read this charming fellow either'

are dialogue highlights from what is an otherwise inoffensive but largely forgettable episode. Agree with the 2.5 star rating. Some good character points but ultimately not one to linger in the memory.
Thu, May 30, 2013, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Odod continues to impress, but it is hard for me to watch Lwaxana episodes anymore--it just makes me miss Majel. This episode is a perfect example of how her character, when properly handled, was one of the most wonderful to ever come out of TNG.

I think if more people were like Lwaxana, as Majel portrayed her, the world would be a better place. It would have more joy, more fun, more vivacity, and more sex.

What could be wrong with that?
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Yes, this is perhaps one of the most sympathetic portrayals of Lwaxana, the person behind the bubbliness, and perhaps an insight as to why she is the way she is... it's a shame her romance with Odo didn't grow, I think they make a lovely couple, much more so than Odo's later love interest (whom I won't name for those who don't know!)

And it is a shame she's no longer with us...
Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
This episode marks one of the few times we get to see a Vulcan really put his foot in his mouth. :-)
Tue, Sep 10, 2013, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
best lwaxana show there is. she is usually so annoying.

speaking of computer science..

someone should tell her she sounds like a "computer...."
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
I always liked Lwaxana on TNG, never got all the dislike from some fans. This episode works in the parts with her and Odo. Most of the other stuff is just filler.

2 Stars
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
Considering the appearance of Lwaxana, it could have been a lot worse. A "meh" episode overall. Watchable but not good.

Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 10:40am (UTC -6)
I think this is a good example of why some ST fans never warmed up to DS9. The first season was really uneven and episodes like this were just dull and bad.

The worst part of this episode is the overacting/overwriting in the Bashir subplot. Until the very end, Bashir just looks like an idiot and the ambassadors look like assholes. Also, I don't really buy Sisko completely ignoring the ambassadors. The way the episode plays, it's as if they visited the station with no set agenda (even before the emergency).

The O'Brien stuff is also fairly boring as far as O'Brien stuff goes. I guess the "pup" is an interesting sci-fi concept, but watching O'Brien and Dax jockey for ways to fix the problem in this episode is really dull.

The Odo/Lwaxana stuff is actually the best part of the episode, though Odo's discomfort is over the top initially. Lwaxana never bothered me the way she bothered some fans. She can be funny in the right situations and interesting in others.

This is clearly an example of DS9 still getting it's footing, something I don't think it really did until "The Maquis" in the second season.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
This is one of those stupid episodes that I really like.

Forget the whole computer thing; forget Bashir and Sisko overacting, etc, blah-blah…

The whole episode is watchable for me because of the Lwaxana/Odo moments. So well done. The light comedy before the elevator failure was fantastic. The two play great off each other so well and their moments were genuinely touching heartfelt. Odo is understanding and comforts her when she states she needs to talk and she undresses herself when Odo is falling apart. I almost cried when she took off her wig.

LWAXANA: It looks ordinary. I've never cared to be ordinary. So you see, Odo, even us non-shape-shifters have to change who we are once in a while.
ODO: You are not at all what I expected.
LWAXANA: No one's ever paid me a greater compliment.

Both reveal themselves to each other.

At this point in the series I’m wonder just how good of an actor is Rene Auberjonois? It seems that whomever he is paired up with during a scene is fantastic.

3.0 stars for me.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : **.5, 5%

One little nit—why are ambassadors needed for a “fact-finding mission to the wormhole”? Aren't ambassadors charged with dealing with people, not “facts.” Sisko sticks Bashir with the task of carting them around. One of the four is Lwaxana Troi, who is sporting a hot pink hairdo that would make the local drag queens jealous. She ends up being robbed of a brooch and acknowledges that “Ménage à Troi” happened (ick) and that she knows where it hurts on Ferengis (double ick). Odo intervenes and manages to track down the thief using racism. Troi, in typical fashion, takes a shining to Odo.

Act 1 : **, 17%

So we get a cute little scene with O'Brien losing his patience (understandably) with the Cardassian computer. One bit I really liked was the use of the idiom “root canal.” Sisko is unfamiliar with the term (because the dental procedure is obsolete), but the idiom survives in an unrelated field, engineering. Miles doesn't know where it came from, but still uses it. It's an imaginative idea, instead of the usual replace-current-object-with-space-object approach to these matters (“quiet as a Maldorvian field-mouse”). O'Brien intends on totally refitting the system and receives Sisko's blessing. His good deed is rewarded by Bashir and the ambassadors cornering him and complaining about, well, basically everything (including the Wormhole special effect).

A probe emerges from said effect. We get another slap to the Vulcans—why would a logical being 1) presume to interfere in Station operations and 2) not recognise a Trill when he sees one. He's a freaking ambassador! They tow the probe in and Sisko sends the ambassadors away.

Lwaxana tracks Odo down in his office and starts hitting on him. It's the usual superficial kind of nonsense we often get with Trek flirtation scenes. I seriously wonder sometimes if any of the writers have had to flirt, or date or have sex. Or maybe it's the result of trying to portray adult relationships in a “family-friendly” way. Either way, it's usually bland, uncomfortable and incredibly sexist (it's almost always the woman who throws herself at the man).

Act 2 : **.5, 17%

O'Brien is pleasantly surprised that the computer seems to be cooperating for once. It's nice to see him smile.

Odo approaches Sisko for help in fending off Lwaxana (“have you tried punching her in the face?”). Back-tracking on the imaginativeness from Act I, we get a “Winoni Trace Hound” simile. Sigh.

The episode is fluffy enough that I can take some time for another tangent. Why is it the writers always have to justify romance with procreation? I mean come on, do you really think Kirk was looking to make half-green babies? I often get this very fundamentalist vibe when they tackle sexuality in this era; if it's not holosuite debauchery (which our noble characters would never partake in), then it's all just about having babies, reciting poetry and other clichés. Can't a noble character just want to get laid? No one ever hooks up on Trek anymore. It's all, cut-and-paste flirting leads to dating leads to marriage leads to babies leads to death.

Anyway, Sisko proves to be unhelpful while Miles continues to see startlingly efficient results from his computers. The probe proves to be *mysterious*.

Lwaxana returns, sporting a third hair style and continues to berate the poor Constable with her babbling (I actually think she was less irritating back on TNG; her lines feel a little bit too much like someone trying to be annoying rather than simply being oblivious to their her own eccentricity). I do like the “I can swim” in Odo's goo bit, however.

Odo and Lwaxana become trapped in the turbolift due to computer malfunction...with sexy results...

Act 3 : **.5, 17%

I do appreciate that the writers were trying to avoid making Odo look stupid by thinking up all the ways they might escape—the turbolift is down, as are the transporters, and the conduit is charged so he can't shape-shift his way out. It wouldn't really be necessary if the story were more absorbing, and frankly, feels more like a deliberate attempt to circumvent nerd rage than organic storytelling. Just an observation. There's a lot of time for that in this piece.

Lwaxana continues to try and flirt with Odo for a bit. Then we get this very sudden shift in tone, when she proclaims, “I don't think I can [sit quietly].” She tells him that she *needs* to talk. These kinds of people—the kind who never shut up—are unfortunately often very damaged. Chattering is a coping mechanism for dealing with loneliness, or stress, or depression. Lwaxana has always been portrayed has living a rather empty existence. She channels most of her energy into externalities—Deanna, her titles, her riches, her dalliances—but what is she actually about? What are her interests, her goals?

So remember that little joke about Sisko suggesting hitting an ambassador in the face? Turns out that is actually something he's done before. DS9, you can always be counted upon to bring parody to life! Thanks for that.

So, are all the turbolifts down? Is everyone just stuck? O'Brien still can't figure out why the computer isn't functioning, but he thinks the computer has been altered by the probe—it's being too cooperative, too helpful, “like a child” as Sisko puts it. Hmmm

Act 4 : ***.5, 17%

I like that there isn't a lot of time spent speculating on “what could this obvious thing be?” They basically come up with a theory, settle on it and move on. Kira hones Sisko's simile from “child” to “puppy” (do Bajorans have dogs?). O'Brien devises a solution, and he's going to need a very big thumb drive.

Meanwhile, Bashir is still saddled with the remaining ambassadors, on the verge of pulling a Sisko.

Poor Odo is on the verge of reverting to his goo-form, while Lwaxana continues to prod. Say what you will about her—she's definitely irritating, but she doesn't just talk about herself. She takes a genuine interest in Odo's past and his life. One gets the feeling that Odo wouldn't ever open up like this if he weren't basically prised open by such a forceful personality as hers. He reveals a few bits about his past—shifting for the pleasure of others, submitting to Dr Mora's (not yet named) experiments. It's a lovely little scene.

The staff pulls a Kirk-outsmarts-the-computer trick by asking for several complicated operations, and the result is...a fireball nearly kills Bashir and the ambassadors. Wow, and you thought Starfleet tech was badly designed.

Act 5 : ***, 17%

“We're going to need a bipolar torch to get through it.” But, Kira, you're already right here! I crack me up.

Here's where the writing really hits a wall. So, we set up this simile about the computer virus being like a stray puppy. Fine, the simile helps create a allegorical framework for understanding it in more familiar terms. But it does NOT license imbuing the lifeform with all the corollary qualities of its simile! Pups don't like to be left alone, so this virus must be the same! Does it also like to pee on the plants? Why not rub its belly? Yeesh.

Odo is on the verge of reverting, and he expresses embarrassment in letting Lwaxana (or anyone) see him in that state. Lwaxana is beautifully sympathetic here, offering her hair piece, admitting that she has “never cared to be ordinary.” Odo lets go and allows her to take of him in his liquid state. It's a tear-jerker.

O'Brien manages to house his pup and allow the rescue team to reach Bashir and the ambassadors, who end up being singularly impressed by the young doctor's heroism (I actually thought Bashir was going to end up punching one of them).

Lwaxana leaves on a high note and O'Brien decides to keep the “pup” around. Not a terrible ending.

Episode as Functionary : ***, 10%

I'm feeling a bit generous with this one. The plot about the “pup” is borderline stupid, but it's handled in a mostly subdued way, which really helps, and we're spared any histrionics. The Bashir stuff is rather pointless, but I guess since they booked the guest stars they had to do something with them. The Lwaxana-Odo stuff is, I'd say second shelf, but there are some great performances from Barret and Auberjonois (as usual), as well as making smart use of both their backstories. It would have been nice if they had been able to write a full-fledged character piece, locking Odo and Lwaxana in the turbolift for several acts with some more developed conversation and insight.

Final Score : ***
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Did the math wrong on this.

Final Score should be **.5
Mon, Apr 6, 2015, 3:46am (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode,not serious, just fun to watch. With the exception of Odo, I enjoyed everyone else. He seemed to have difficulty understanding humanoid behavior, especially when it came to mating or dating. No wonder he was alone, he was clueless, sarcastic and rude. He was supposed to be a great observer of humanoids, he couldn't understand them. I have to admit I didn't care for him in the first season. Odo along with Kira was my least favorite characters on the show, at least initially. Odo grew on me in the second season, Kira took longer.
Thu, Apr 16, 2015, 1:41am (UTC -6)
I loved Lwaxanna's dresses. The one she wore when she started flirting with him in his office. All of those swirls were in the right places, all on a sheer back. She may have been annoying on both TNG and DS9, but she looked great. Mrs Roddenbury was in her 60's twenty years ago.
Nathan B.
Wed, Jul 8, 2015, 6:23pm (UTC -6)
Lwaxana Troi has always been my favourite character in the Trek universe. She's an absolute delight to watch. Her scenes in TNG's "Half a Life" made that my all-time favorite Trek episode.

Here, her turbo lift scenes with Odo make this episode very endearing. You have a gruff, proud lawman turned into literal and figurative putty in the hands of a very lonely, but worthy woman. The circumstances of the stuck elevator allow them to be vulnerable to each other, not as a couple, but as friends. Very touching.
William B
Thu, Jul 16, 2015, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Forsaken: abandoned, left behind. The "pup" is fairly consistent with the flexible rules for AI within the Trek universe, though in spite of the pleasure in seeing Meaney play O'Brien's frustration the pup plot doesn't generate much interest (and certainly not much suspense). If it is some a computer AI that's a non-sentient life form, wouldn't someone be interested in it as something other than a new pet for O'Brien to keep safe in the station computers?

The pup, which came through the wormhole and clings to the station for dear life, wreaking havoc, is a clue to where the episode's real emotional heart lies, in the Odo/Lwaxana plot: Odo, like the pup, came through the wormhole and settled onto the station, alone and fragile; like Lwaxana, it becomes a pest, demanding attention to soothe its own loneliness, until finally it is paid the proper type of attention. (In some ways, this particular structure reminds me of "Galaxy's Child," which similarly had a space child/animal cling to the Enterprise as its "mother" while Geordi's clingy behaviour put Leah off.)

As Elliott says, Lwaxana's constant chatter (and inability to stop) do seem to have something to do with her damaged psyche; as Nathan B. says, Odo literally and figuratively turns to putty before her. While Picard, another private man, did indeed have some thawing to do of his own over the course of the series, Picard's somewhat aloof stance and his privacy are mostly the result of his personality and choices rather than a direct response to emotional damage, fear, misanthropy and alienation from other living beings -- which makes some sense of why Lwaxana's attaching herself to Odo ends up being much more beneficial to both than her largely unrequited thing for Jean-Luc. Odo largely claims that his desire is not to participate too closely in human(oid) customs except that which coincides with his work, but Lwaxana's pushiness (and the circumstances of the turbolift) allow her to get through to the pain underlying this. "I hate parties," Odo says, and his cynical, hard-boiled attitude about solids becomes more and more a defensive shield to protect him from being used, "liked" only insofar as he can provide services and entertainments; doing a job, at least, gives him a clearly-defined niche where it is expected that he will be liked and appreciated directly as a result of his ability to perform that job, and can leave behind those fuzzy affectionate feelings that humanoids can have for each other, and take for granted. Poor Odo -- Odo, who modeled himself after Dr. Mora and yet insists that this man never cared for him; Odo, who talks almost contemptuously about solids, and what he observes of them, and yet is deeply embarrassed for anyone to see him in his true gelatinous state; Odo, who has the ability to take on any shape, and sticks to a single form approximating a Bajoran man almost all the time. I think that Lwaxana's probing questions get to the contradiction in Odo, his keeping people at a distance because of his expectations of disappointment, and yet his desire to stay somehow part of the solid community even as he refuses to be too much a part of it. The regeneration cycle is a good device to put this all to a head -- Odo's need to regenerate is about the impossibility of holding on to his solid form, with all the attendant rigidity, dignity, and incorruptibility; Lwaxana gives him permission to stop holding himself together.

This is one of the better Lwaxana episodes; I think I'd put it below "Half a Life" and above "Haven" (which is not really a Lwaxana episode) and, as a consequence, way above any other Lwaxana episode. Lwaxana's admission that she never much cared for being ordinary suggests part of what she finds attractive about Odo; Odo's fear of being his full gooey self mirrors Lwaxana's fear of being stuck in one identity, one hairstyle, one (aging) body. "Half a Life" was about mortality; "Cost of Living" had Lwaxana bonding with a child and rejecting the terms on which she might be able to have a marriage; and the following episode after this has her facing the loss of her (other) daughter, which may have something to do with her desire to fill the void with her flamboyant personality. Her identification with Odo who is in many respects still a lost boy, cut off from his family, may, along with Lwaxana's recognition of something kindred in Alexander, represent positive steps in her coming to terms with the big loss she suffered, the daughter she (in her mind) failed and let die. I'm not a fan of either "Cost of Living" or "Dark Page," but this episode does maybe fit in with the story told there.

I do think that the first...I don't know, half? third? of the Lwaxana/Odo material is fairly typical "Lwaxana annoys, man runs" stuff which doesn't really work in any episode (one of the reasons I like "Half a Life" is that it allows a romance in which someone is charmed by Lwaxana and so we don't have to go through the same motions that we get so frequently with Lwaxana/Jean-Luc), but once they are trapped in the turbolift things get interesting and eventually touching. The ending, while a bit silly -- how strong is that dress that it can definitely hold liquid-Odo from electrocution? -- is a nice visual cap.

Oh yeah also Bashir impresses some ambassadors. Bashir trying to spin things as part of the frontier adventure narrative is mildly amusing.

A high 2.5 stars.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Oct 23, 2015, 7:09am (UTC -6)
Ah, the sinking feeling of a Lwaxana episode... However, this proves to be something of a highlight. The early scenes between her and Odo are fun, but once stuck in the lift we actually get something that unexpectedly turns to pathos. Fair play to the writers for coming up with a plot that feels like it means something.

Elsewhere, it's fairly standard stuff. The pup storyline fails to turn into anything meaningful, and while the ambassador storyline contains some nice touches (Sisko's pause before turning and delivering the beaming smile when they reach ops for instance) again it is fairly inconsequential. 2.5 stars.
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 6:55pm (UTC -6)
I can't even beginn to express how much I hate Lwaxana Troi. I really don't understand your support, even with the ending scene in the elevator. She is annoying, fake (not caring to be ordinary) and remarkably self-centered. Oh, I just hate everything about that character! I wish they'd never get stuck in that elevator, it was painful to watch, and I felt sorry for Odo having to capitulate in the end. I've got to hand it to the actor, though, portraying such an annoying character. Since I dislike the character that much, it's a sign of convincinv acting.

I aggree on the overall rating though, the episode had its moments. I think I'm also, slowly, growing more fond of DS9, this is my first time watching the series.
Tue, Jan 19, 2016, 2:46am (UTC -6)
Troi is just about as perfect as she can be in this. I was grinning like an idiot throughout most of their scenes -- especially when she puts Quark in his place. Ordinarily, this would be a 1.5 star bore, but I think the Troi-Odo dialog brings it up to three.
Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Lwaxana Troi - simultaneously the worst and best parts of "The Forsaken".

The episode starts out with her straight-up physically assaulting Quark for a crime he didn't commit. Just to be clear here - of the three characters in that scene (Troi, Quark and Odo) the only one actually committing a crime is Troi. When it turns out that Quark is actually totally innocent, does Odo arrest Troi? No, of course not. Does he reprimand her? No, of course not. Does he even give her a slap on the wrist or a disapproving glance?! No, of course not! She doesn't even apologize to Quark! Jesus! But, then, I guess the writers want us to hate Quark so.... fuck it, I suppose? Yeah, just openly harm those you don't like - wonderful message there! Quark is easily the best character thus far and yet the writers seem determined to treat him like shit.

Thankfully, Troi is then allowed to take part in the only redeeming feature of the episode - her scenes with Odo in the turbolift. While staying true to her talkative, annoying character, they also allow her to be a compassionate, understanding and sympathetic person. Nicely done. We also get a nice look into Odo's background and character as well.

The rest of the episode is agonizingly dull. The "pup" story-line is devoid of any drama, tension, suspense or excitement. The less said about it the better. The Bashir/ambassadors story-line is equally banal. However, it does make me think of an interesting theory....

Maybe the writers were trying to say that the 24th century Federation is too sure of itself. Member worlds are so used to being comfortable that they're not even taking diplomacy seriously anymore. So all the ambassadors care about is whether they get fancy quarters or not, instead of actually learning about Bajor or the Wormhole. Do they even realize how important the station could potentially be? From their viewpoint, does Bajor even matter? It's a situation that raises a few warnings about where the Federation might be headed.

Of course, that's all bullshit and I'm not actually willing to give the writers that much credit. What it really is is the standard Trek cliche of ambassadors acting like jerks, nothing more.

Aside from Troi essentially being allowed to do the equivalent of kicking Quark in the groin there isn't anything particularly bad about "The Forsaken". And aside from the scenes (a few touching) in the turbolift, there's nothing particularly good about it either.

Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
Damn it, I keep forgetting to add my counters.

WTF HAIR - 4 (+2)
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
One thing I noticed.....Odo takes away the Dopterian, but leaves the stolen goods on the table in Quark's would think as a perfectionist he would have seen to that
Sat, Sep 3, 2016, 6:15am (UTC -6)
I'm torn with this episode.

I get that sinking feeling like many others when I'm faced with a Lwaxana Troi episode and after the many terrible TNG episodes focused on her, my heart sank straight through my backside when I realised she would be crossing over to DS9.

However, this was balanced out by the focus on Odo. At this point (having never watched DS9 before), he is by far my favourite character and I love anything that explores his back story further, which this episode did.

The scenes in the turbo lift work surprisingly well and we get to see a far more tolerable Lwaxana.

What I'm getting irritated with at the moment is the way the DS9 writers are using Chief O'Brien. He's becoming the Geordie of DS9, in as much as he is only used for techno-babble.

One of my favourite DS9 episodes up to this point is Captive Pursuit, mainly because of Chief O'Brien. When he is allowed to do something other than sit at a computer and techno-babble his way through entire episodes, he is a really great character. I hope he gets the opportunity to do more than this as the series progresses.

Dax is boring and lacking in personality as always and Doctor Bashir is only slightly less annoying than he was in earlier episodes.
Thu, Dec 22, 2016, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Odo had to remind Lwaxana that she's telepathic to get her to try and sense any guilt in the room? It didn't occur to her to do that on her own?
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 1:34am (UTC -6)
Easily 1.5 stars. I'm sorry but it's a chore to watch. I wasn't a fan of DS9 relying so heavily on TNG and bringing Lwaxana didn't help. I liked her on TNG but DS9 needed to stand on it's own. Plus it made her a one note character here chasing after yet another male character that rebukes her. Picard--okay. Odo -tiresome. And the plot was not the least bit interesting. The jeopardy didn't generate any tension. I think Jammer gave this too high a score like he did with Move Along Home and another clinker The Storyteller. Nothing enjoyable about this episode
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Best TNG guest star so far. And it's Lwaxana. Who would've guessed. Went from annoyed to melting down in my bucket. Nice. Now it's still waiting for the first Bashir-story that's watchable.
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 10:13am (UTC -6)
For ambassadors, they came across as obnoxious and horrible. Let's hope they don't represent the Federation as such.
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 9:24am (UTC -6)
I can't stand Lwaxana Troi.... but then the DS9 writers do the impossible, and produce a story that turns her into a character I can root for. There is a warm-hearted and caring person beneath all that uncomfortable-to-watch middle-aged man-chaser dialogue. Her scenes with Odo really are wonderful to watch, and both characters benefit immensely from the interaction. Bravo.
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
The first time Lwaxana Troi appeared on TNG was the disastrous "Haven". "The Forsaken" is much better, due to Troi's interactions with Odo. Rene Auberjonois and Majel Barett's scenes together are very well played, and give the perfunctory plot a big boost.

2.5 stars.
Thu, Nov 15, 2018, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
Far more miss than hit, the main idea of some alien computer life form being like a puppy for O'Brien is dumb with the arbitrary problems it causes DS9's computers -- but ultimately the Lwaxana/Odo interaction pays off after a lot of tedium. Interesting structure here with 3 plots going on but the main O'Brien computer problem plot was the by far the weakest. Bashir and the ambassadors was mostly a light-hearted diversion.

Lwaxana can be a good character here and there -- she's not too bad here and proves to be compassionate. Of course Majel Barrett is a good actress - already well established from TOS. The curmudgeon Odo talks about private personal matters like turning into a liquid, Lwaxana takes off her wig -- Odo pays Lwaxana an inadvertent compliment which is very meaningful to her. Good stuff here and a good character episode for Odo in the end.

I didn't buy O'Brien's "theory" of the computer needing him like some kind of puppy -- seemed farfetched, and it didn't seem like the computer needed him as much as it was just screwing with some station functions more or less at random. There was also the tried-and-true Trek tradition of overloading the computer (sort of like in "Charlie X") -- standard stuff. The earlier part of O'Brien's frustration with the computer also seemed mostly arbitrary -- just to get Meaney to act out some frustration. The ultimate solution of putting it in a subprogram seems logical. Of course this happens in the knick of time. Ultimately we get nothing more on this mechanical life -- not as good as TNG's "Home Soil" - so the sci-fi aspect of this episode is pretty weak.

1.5 stars for "The Forsaken" -- far too much crap to deal with to get a few good Odo/Lwaxana minutes and for all the airtime O'Brien gets, it's not a great episode for him either as it comes down to his strange theorizing and then the timely computer fix. Bashir being thanked by the ambassadors was predictable after how unpleasant they were to deal with - tame stuff here. For long stretches this was a boring episode.
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Watching and commenting:

As I listen to Brooks narrate the beginning, I decide he's really more suited to the stage: That amazing voice, those strong, intense features, that regal bearing. On the small screen, it all combines to make even his most lighthearted or quiet moments seem overdone.

Anyhow: Kind of a fun start, hard to know where this is going.

Lwaxana! She's usually great or awful, not much in between.

Wow! That outfit!! Lwaxana goes all out to get her man. I've never seen an outfit like that, except on Cher.

Ah, the old "stuck in an elevator and that transporters aren't working" rom-com ploy for our intrepid pair. Seems more like something that should happen to Chandler Bing.

Lwaxana trying to make Odo love her, the Computer trying to make O'Brien love "her."

After four hours, Lwaxana says, "well, enough about me."

I'm pretty confused as to the nature of the "pup."

The End.

Amusing. Learning Moyer about Odo is good. And I guess I was wrong about Lwaxana eps being great or awful, nothing in between. Because this was in between.
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
I really liked the Lwaxana/Odo stuff but the other two plots didn't even make sense. It wouldn't have been so bad if they actually taught us something about Bashir, Dax and O'Brien but they don't. And never does anyone take anything seriously - the Federation apparently doesn't take the wormhole seriously whatsoever (apart from not wanting the Cardassians to have and ignore it), no-one takes the aliens coming through it seriously when meeting aliens is Starfleet's whole thing (that's a problem in every episode with aliens so far, not just this one, but the constant oversight is shocking to me). And no-one takes the computer problems or even the fire as seriously as they should. It's like they know it ends well. Unconvincing
Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 5:49am (UTC -6)
Modern day ambassadors are often simply political gifts and getting to do travel to interesting places perks of that. Seems to be the dynamic here and why Sisko gleefully pawns them off on noob Bashir. And Lawaxana’s very large personality likely precedes her, particularly with O’Brien on the station.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 5:25am (UTC -6)
Lwaxana Troi gets a good share of hatred from the fandom, but I find her to be among the best tertiary characters of all Star Trek shows. She's flamboyant, joyful, and open-minded, plus she's probably the only person in the whole galaxy with a healthy attitude towards sex and the human(oid) body. The fact that Majel Barrett-Roddenberry is one of the most skilled actors among the cast of the Trek franchise doesn't exactly hurt the character either. The only thing keeping Lwaxana down is that in most stories, she's reduced to a silly comic relief gimmick that would be more at home in a 1950's sitcom. But when written right, she's a fascinating character full of grace and understanding.

Fortunately, this is what this episode achieves in the turbolift scenes, after a slow start with the usual "pompous middle-aged woman desperately searching for a husband" crap. Lwaxana and Odo are both used to shape themselves in certain ways in order to control how the outside world sees them, and when they get to open up to one another, we're presented with deep insights into what makes them tick. Barrett-Roddenberry and Auberjonois have incredible chemistry together, and manage to say so much with little gestures, looks, or the tone of their voices. Easily the high point of this episode, and among the best moments of season 1 so far.

Sadly, this isn't the only storyline in this episode - instead we get two more plotlines, which both don't go anywhere and just take up valuable screentime.

The AI / pup plot was a big heap of bad Trek IT, covered up with technobabble and far-fetched analogies (the program "doesn't like being left alone" - sure, mate). So a previously unknown lifeform from the Gamma Quadrant attaches itself to the station's main computer, and O'Brien just keeps it as a pet? Why is nobody inerested in studying it, or voicing concerns about how it could compromise the station? At least Meany's acting skills manage to make some of his scenes almost entertaining, but apart from that, this plot is an absolute stinker, with an overused premise and nothing to tell us about the characters or their world.

The third plotline seems like an afterthought: Once again, Sisko would rather sit in his office thinking about baseball all day than do his fucking job for once, and piles his diplomatic duties on someone else's shoulders. Well, he seems to have learned from the events of "Move Along Home", and at least assigns the task to a fellow Starfleet officer, instead of forcing it onto an independent businessman who's not even a Federation citizen. Of course, Sisko still sends his Chief Medical Officer, instead of, say, the Science Officer, who could have actually told the guests a little about the wormhole they had come to study, but who cares? Apart from annoying everybody on the station, the ambassadors don't really do anything anyway, and Bashir's big moment where he suddenly gains their respect mostly happens off-screen.

This last plot could actually have been interesting, if given some breathing space. Federation diplomacy is one of the aspects of Trek I find most fascinating, and I loved the wormhole negotiation scenes in TNG's "The Price". It's strange that DS9 doesn't show more of how the discovery of the Gamma Quadrant passage affects the Federation and its neighboring powers - shouldn't the station be swarming with ships eager to explore what's out there? Shouldn't there be permanent residencies by Federation diplomats on the station, instead of leaving this post to a guy whose last diplomatic mission ended in him punching an ambassador in the face? It's like the show can't decide yet which premise it wants to follow: Is DS9 an outpost on the frontier of Federation space, manned by a rag-tag bunch of misfits? Or is it the gate to new part of the galaxy, ripe with exciting opportunities for exploration, trade, and cultural exchange?
Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
Ahh, the rare good Lwaxana episode! She may be on her usual behaviour for the initial portion of the episode, but by the end you reach a new understanding of her -- as does Odo. With such an aggressively mile-a-minute character, it's the moments where she slows down that she shines the best.

(... I spent a few of those turbolift scenes wondering where exactly she was gonna hold the Odo juice when he inevitably melted. Hands? Wig cap? Bra cup? Nope, we've gone for the dress instead. Good thing she chose to wear a waterproof dress today, huh?)

I wasn't too attached to the probe/pup storyline, though O'Brien acting affectionate towards it in the end was actually played in a rather cute manner. Fun bit of computer trivia: "PUP" can stand for "potentially unwanted program", which the probe certainly is to start off with. But then they make it feel wanted. D'aw.
Sun, Aug 23, 2020, 12:39am (UTC -6)
One thing that always bothers me about episodes like this is when writers seem to forget all the tools that the characters would have available to them. Sure, the alien computer program is affecting systems like the turbolifts and transporters, and that is a big problem. But it would not be affecting the systems on any of the runabouts since they are independent of the station's computer. Why not just use one of their transporters to rescue Odo and Lwaxana from the turbolift and then later save Bashir and the other ambassadors from the fire?

That sort of oversight seems fairly common and it can nag at my suspension of disbelief. These characters are very bright and resourceful. There's no reason they wouldn't think of that solution other than it's because the plot demanded they don't.

The writers even realized the problem with trapping Odo was that he could shape-shift out, so they came up with an explanation about exposed circuits to counter it. Never mind that Odo has been on this station for several years now and would know this already. It would have made more sense for Odo to have been telling that to Lwaxana rather than for Kira to be informing Odo. After all, Odo has shape-shifted around doors and other places on the station, so presumably he was aware of where it was safe to do so.

At least we got the weak "exposed circuits" explanation. The writers could just as easily come up with a throwaway line like "all of the runabouts are on a survey mission in the Gamma quadrant and won't be back for XX hours." Then at least the problem with the computer becomes much more critical. Though there are other ships docked at the station that could have been used. You'd have to also explain that none of those ships had transporters, even though that seems highly unlikely.

The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get at the contrived predicament. That's not to say that I dislike the episode! I actually like Lwaxana as a character and Odo gets some good character development. It's just the plot hole that nags me.
David L
Sat, Oct 24, 2020, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
Matt it's a TV drama! In the real world when we have a problem we try to solve it in as quick and no-fuss way as possible. If they did that in Trek even some of the greatest episodes would be over in half the time. The point of this episode is to get Odo and Lwaxana in the lift for as long as possible to enable one of the most iconic scenes in all Trek.
Wed, Nov 4, 2020, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
Auberjonois seems to have been (RIP) one of those actors that work well with seemingly everyone.

A plot with Odo and Lwaxana just sounds like a very lousy joke.

Barret (RIP) a was always a good actress, but Troi was written so badly 90% of the time.

But here? Not the best episode overall, but Odo/Troi pairing here is convincing and very touching. And it’s organic. I seriously get misty eyed just thinking about the scene where Troi shows her wig to Odo. As much as I might not be a fan of the Lwaxana character, scenes like this, as well as Dark Page, make it seem like it was worth it. Troi was a goofy character, but these two great episodes show that her annoyingly ebullient self was a cover for a woman with some very deep pain.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 5:09am (UTC -6)
Just brilliant. The exquisite Majel Barrett at her best. I love her as No 1 in the TOS pilot, and as Nurse Chapel in the rest of TOS, and I absolutely adore her as Lwaxana, despite the ludicrous screenplays she has had thrown at her. She is such an exquisite character actor, her Lwaxana has depths a lot of "fans" don't seem to see. Her scene with the liquid Odo pooling in her scooped up skirt makes me cry everytime. Odo's remark "you are not what I thought you were..." is just spot on. Not only does she think it's the greatest compliment she's ever received, I think it sums up the whole of her everywhere she's ever appeared. The flirtatious outgoing femme fatale with a deep deep sensibility. One of ST's best characters and performers. Love her!
Mon, Mar 29, 2021, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
As a character episode, this does fine. Odo looks like a henpecked husband in the lift. But the Lwaxana on-the-prowl episodes are tiresome. Been there, done that on TNG multiple times, and it was only funny the first time.
Mon, Mar 29, 2021, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
It wasn't funny the first time.
Fri, Oct 29, 2021, 5:08pm (UTC -6)

TNG kind of screwed up Lwaxana out of the gate. It was all endless Lwaxana on the prowl stories to begin with, and they really weren't that funny.

It was as if she had been on "The Naked Now" but stayed in that mode for several seasons.

She got some good meaty parts later on in TNG, but most TNG viewers tuned her out by then.
Andrew Eastman
Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 1:12am (UTC -6)
Maybe Troi got what she wanted, for Odo to "melt" in her hands.
Wed, Mar 30, 2022, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
I like some parts of this episode, .but the VERY FIRST scene where lwaxana has a tantrum...goes right at quark for no reason, insults him, grabs him by the ferengi version of his balls and delivers her annoyingly stupid signature line naming her pointless titles on betazed...but this time it's EVEN more annoying because she's doing some sort of........idefk what that was supposed to be, her serious voice maybe? That scene just completely killed the episode for me.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 11:13am (UTC -6)
This ep. was okay. Nothing special but more than watchable.

The computer system conundrum was beyond absurd but the interactions of Bashir and the ambassadors as well as, especially, Momma Troi and Otto were very good. Troi Sr. came out of it all looking particularly "sympathique."
Sun, Aug 6, 2023, 6:20am (UTC -6)
I refer all who care about this surprisingly touching Lwaxana-Odo episode, to a wonderfully perceptive review by CPUFP
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 5:25am (UTC -5).

It conveys rather well and with humour the way Season 1 of DS9 often flops around. Recommended reading. :)
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 3, 2023, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
This is such a classic S1 episode, in that there are great character-building scenes and fun moments, and yet the main plot itself is rather uninteresting. This is practically the opposite of some TNG episodes where the characters are mostly there to help lead us through an interesting story mystery (like Clues, for instance). I think this episode showcases the beginning of the Benjamin we come to know later, and some of his scenes with Julian and Miles definitely begin setting him up as more than just a level-headed leader and father. Julian is his usually hyper self here, but because of his particular assignment and his conversation with Sisko, it follows up on what we were told in the pilot about how green he is, very fresh from the Academy. And the scenes between Miles and the computer are among the best character scenes this season so far - very fun! Sisko looking on as Miles wrestles with the computer, and the ensuing scene with Miles requesting persmission for a multi-year overhaul to update the system, struck my wife as being a very realistic scene between an engineer and upper management in a tech firm. Can we spend half our budget on tech debt, really? Pretty please? But we hate using the system how it works now! Everyone needs this update, we swear!! The idea of an engineer being pacified by being given a computer puppy to take care of is funny, and actually it's really too bad Pup wasn't brought back in later episodes. He could have ended up as a recurring mainstay, like Morn.

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