Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Move Along Home”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 3/15/1993
Teleplay by Frederick Rappaport and Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci
Story by Michael Piller
Directed by David Carson

Review Text

Quark cheats the first visitors from the Gamma Quadrant in a game of Dabo, so the aliens decide to give Quark a lesson in fair play with a game that places Sisko, Kira, Dax, and Bashir in the middle of a surreal fantasy situation as the players. In order to see the DS9 officers to safety, Quark must play the game through—gambling with lives instead of money.

There is one big problem with "Move Along Home," and it's that the premise is very, very far-fetched. It just doesn't make much sense. The technology—something that allows the senior officers to become players in a game that Quark and the aliens are able to manipulate on a playing board—is never explained (which might be a good thing considering the alternative of technobabble). And it seems awfully convenient that the four players in this game would happen to be the senior officers. The alien "game" sets are impressive, and Carson's overhead camera angles and surreal imagery earn full marks for atmospherics.

Rene Auberjonois turns in another strong performance as an urgent Odo, and some scenes early on between Sisko and his son work well. But Quark's overwrought "groveling scene" falls flat, as does the constant repetition by alien game master Falow (Joel Brooks), who says "Choose their path" and "Move along home!" way too many times in the course of the episode. The motivation for placing the four main characters in such apparent peril strains credulity, assuming it exists at all. A very handsomely produced and often entertaining show, but it bears little scrutiny.

Previous episode: The Passenger
Next episode: The Nagus

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101 comments on this post

    Man oh man I hate "Move Along Home". For me it's the DS9 equivalent of Next Gen's "Cost of Living". Some of the lighter episodes of the "Trek" shows that I didn't like in my youth (like "A Fistful of Datas") I enjoy much more when I revisit them but "Move Along Home" only worsens with age for me.

    Side note - there's a shot in "The Nagus" that is composed and staged exactly like a shot in the opening scenes of "The Godfather" - with Quark in the same position as Don Vito Corleone. In the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "Restless" there's a dream sequence that similarly mimics a scene from "Apocalypse Now". In that scene the character of Principal Snyder is in place of Colonel Kurtz. It just always struck me as funny that Armin Shimmerman twice recreated iconic Marlon Brando roles on sci-fi/fantasy television shows.



    This always felt more like an early Next Gen to me. And while I know this episode isn't very good and I can't defend it at all, I liked it. The way you like Spam. You KNOW it's not good, but sometimes, you just like that Spam.

    But I ain't gonna pretend this is classic DS9.


    "On behalf of the United Federation of Planets, welcome to Deep Space Nine."

    "Yes, yes. Now where are the games?"

    The episode is 90% silliness, but that opener worked perfectly considering how nervous Sisko and the gang were just a minute prior.

    This show makes just about every "Top 5 Worst DS9 Episode List" I've seen. I have to admit I have never had a problem with this episode and actually like it. Not a top episode for me but entertaining and would not have a problem watching it again if I came across it.

    I'm somewhat surprised at the rating Jammer gives this, especially when he points out the obvious flaws, both in concept and execution.

    The first 'official' visitors from the Gamma Quadrant arrive, the Wadi, and immediately request to be taken to 'The Games' - when they learn that Quark has cheated them, they take it upon themselves to force him into a 'Game' of their own, the pieces involved being four of the Senior Officers.

    And I have to admit I wasn't looking forward with breathless anticipation to rewatching this one. The scenes with Dax,Sisko, Kira and Bashir playing 'The Game' haven't aged well - for me the episodes best scene is the opening sequence with Sisko talking to Quark in his bar about 'First Contact' protocol and as seems par for the course, the episode's strongest performance is once more Rene Auberjonois as Odo trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. I had forgotten that the Primmin character (James Lashly) appeared in this as well as 'The Passenger' and it's a shame he wasn't reused at all, as the interaction between him and Odo worked quite well.

    As an hour of inconsequential silliness, it just about works, but I can't help but think this is the Season 1 low point, together with maybe 'Q-Less'. Even the oft-disparaged 'If Wishes..' works better for me than this - 1.5 stars.

    Ugh. This is the first real miss for me, and it could have been so cool! I think the worst thing is that the game simply didn't make any sense. If it had been clear how the dice rolls worked to affect the game, or how the position of the tokens on the pyramid "board" related to the experience inside the maze, it might have been interesting. But as far as I could tell, the pieces sitting on the pyramid were just markers for the levels--so why did the pyramid have to be so elaborate?

    One nice moment was when Quark realized he was playing with the lives (or so he thought) of the officers, and made a choice to benefit them against his greed.

    Very much late to comment on this, but after re-watching it just now, they do in fact hint at how it's done. After some scanning they mention a consistent energy reading similar to a transporter. Combined with the bright white room that Odo finds after boarding their ship, I'm left with 2 conclusions.

    1: The used their transporter-like technology to dematerialize the officers and incorporated them physically into their game.

    2: They were beamed into a holodeck-like area (white room) which is connected to the game on the station.

    Both work fine with what we see, not everything needs to be explicitly explained (in fact that usually ruins everything when it is). After the game is over, they either re-materialize on the station or are beamed back down.

    I enjoy this one...

    The only thing I would say is that the challenges could have been a little more sinister or dangerous, I don't know, for me that was the missing element... I know that some of them were (forcefields, gas, cliffs) but for some reason they just didn't feel dangerous.

    Plus some kind of visual from the game to the pyramid would have made sense so the players could see what was going on.

    But all in all I still like it.

    I like this one too, silly as it is. Probably my favorite of season 1. (don't hit me!) Alamarain!

    @ Adara, in a season that includes "Duet"? I actually might have to hit you for that.

    Reminds me of the VOY:Thaw.

    also, reminds me of a twilight zone.

    or a movie on the Sci-Fi Channel called "The Cube."


    also..the girl singing..reminds me of the Nightmare on elm street song...

    1-2. freddy is coming for you
    3-4, lock the door.
    5-6, crucifix
    7-8, stay up late.
    9-10, never sleep again..

    I like when Quark realizes what the game means....great scene.

    it looks like this is the show where they finally get Odo's makeup to look good. he no longer has the wrinkly divoted skin. it looks like plastic now.

    but finally, i dont know what the problem is. Jammer ALWAYS gets upset with technobabble. and the miracle ending. he should be totally satisfied. they LOST! the did not find a way to save themselves. refreshing ending.

    I think all I need to say about this episode is that I would rather watch "The Way to Eden" any day over this ridiculous dreck. Spock jamming with the hippies freakin rocks.

    I would reverse the ratings. Move Along Home should get zero stars and The Way to Eden should get 2 1/2. At least there is some semblance of a plot in Eden. This just completely sucks.

    It's bad, like Voyager Thaw, 1 Star from me. I even skipped it on my rerun.

    Somehow I was able to get over the absurdity of the premise and enjoy this episode.


    Seems like an editing issue. Bashir's 'death' seemed to more closely fit the description if the game choosing a random piece to remove from play. Whatever the heck happened with the whole cliff sequence was connected in no way to what was going on in Quark's bar

    This episode isn't as bad as some fans make it out to be. I almost feel like some people feel like they are supposed to hate this episode so they do. It was a fun first season ep. I liked the idea of using real people as game pieces. Maybe people hate it because of the singing but I liked this ep.

    I have to wonder if this episode came out around the time Jumanji was released? Because that's ultimately what the logic of the primary plot reminds me of. Ditto the above poster recognizing the similarity between this sing-song rhyme and the one from Nightmare on Elm Street, but then again I suspect all "creepy singsong rhymes" in most cinema sound the same.

    A skipper for me.

    Not only has this episode earned DS9's worst, it's right there in “the worst of all trek” running competition.

    At least Spock's Brain was so bad it was humorous. At least most of Threshold was good. At least some of TATV was heartfelt. (I could go on)

    The best line was:

    "QUARK: Oh, that's right, you were here for the grovelling."

    This whole episode "smelt of elderberries".

    I’ll bet Odo was pissed he wasn't the one to catch Quark cheating his customers.

    1/2 star for Quark's great line.

    It's particularly bad when you watch this episode after you've seen all of DS9. Seeing all the amazing dark episodes of the later show, seeing all the amazing morally dubious things these characters have done. And then you see Sisko skipping and saying a rhyme. Lol wut. It's like the show is trolling.

    Teaser : ***, 5%

    There's a bit where Sisko comments that's it has been about 3 years since he wore his dress uniform (to Jake, no less) which would seem to suggest W359 and Jennifer's death. Very subtly, this little bit of dialogue is hinting that Sisko has reached a point of healing where he can embrace his Starfleet persona again. This is coupled with the discussion with his son about how Sisko still sees him as a younger boy, playing with models, not interesting in girls, etc. Overall, the scene demonstrates how Sisko was "stuck" from the time of Jennifer's death until his new rôle as commander of DS9. Brooks even manages to act. It's subdued, honest and real. Bravo for that. It's also the absolute highpoint for this episode.

    Julian didn't "pack" his dress uniform? What the hell, replicate one! Speaking of, why the hell is Bashir in the welcoming committee at all? I don't recall every seeing Crusher in dress robes to meet a new species. At any rate, considering how terribly Sisko's last first contact went, I can understand why he's so eager to impress the Waddi.

    And then they arrive, sporting colourful shapes on their foreheads and the proto-Talaxian swimwear collection. And they want to play GAMES. Oh, can't we just have a death-match or alien possession, or can't you just rewrite someone's DNA? Please???.

    Act 1 : *, 17%

    Something which always bugged me--and yes, I know that the economics of the future have always been vague in Star Trek--but it seems to me that in order for currency to mean anything between different cultures, there has to be a unit standard. Otherwise you're just trading the "money" for its material value, bartering. Between established powers, I can see that happening (Romulans, Klingons, Bajorans, etc), but between the Ferengi and the Waddi? How could their money mean anything to Quark?

    So the head Waddi offers to bet one of his special one-size-fits-all dildos, "priceless" nectar and the contents of a drawer at Hot Topic and ends up winning several games of Dabbo. Now, I can understand that Sisko is tired of dealing with this compulsive gamers and wants to go home, but shouldn't he have someone other than Quark take care of them? Show them quarters? You know, someone who actual has to report to Sisko and Starfleet?

    Up to this point, the act has been lukewarm, middling around some inane dialogue and cheap looking props. Then Quark decides he's lost enough and he cheats the Waddi out of another Dabbo, for which we can all hate him. Oh, not because he's a cheat but because he ends up being responsible for the rest of this episode. For reasons which are never explained, the greeting party (Sisko, Kira, Bashir and Dax) are transported (it seems) into a virtual world in their sleep.

    Act 2 : *, 17%

    First question: Sisko was in his pyjamas when he fell asleep, so why is he now in uniform and carrying a tricorder? For 89 seconds, we get to see Sisko pushing buttons in vain until he finally gets a door to open on the laughing Waddi, who greets him with our episode's title.

    Following this we get a triple-threat of terrible, embarassing acting and scripting:

    1) Fadil's jaw literally drops like a damned cartoon when Sisko "wakes" him from his--well, it sounded like a nocturnal emission, but let's call it nightmare.

    2) Ferrel blandly informs us that there's no "immediate danger" (you're not a Vulcan, Jadzia, and if you were, you'd make T'Pol look like T'Pau).

    3) Visitor loses her shit, screaming like a maniac that she's "a Bajoran administrator!" in case her colleagues didn't know....clomping around and sneering.

    So, Jake goes to Odo for help and we learn that Sisko has been physically transported somewhere (and obviously the rest of them). So, they aren't hallucinating.

    Odo confronts Lieutenant Primmin (from the last episode), who's so poorly written he finds the idea of the entire senior staff not showing up to work literally laughable. He's equal in rank to Dax and Bashir, so why wouldn't he even try calling one of them? What a doofus.

    So the head Waddi insists Quark roll the dice while the others bang their dildos against their boxes. -- ahem --

    "Ah, but there's the key; some will never understand while others will consider it...mere child's play." Now there's an example of a clunky line, tying together Quark's comment about not understanding with the forthcoming challenge in as lazy and obvious manner as possible, just to seem clever.

    Ready, set, embarrass yourself! I don't know if I can describe how unbelievably bad the next scene is. I'm amazed this doesn't bear the "SPOCK'S BRAIN!!!" infamy it deserves. Perhaps because watching these poor assholes submit their dignity, dance, hopscotch and sing their way through the "challenge" (what exactly was the challenge, by the way?) is both basement level dreck and surprisingly boring. Quark wins some more crystals for his Wicca altar, begging the question: since Quark obviously can't see what's happening during the game's challenges, how can this possibly be entertaining for those casting bets in the game? What, the Waddi just punches some buttons, they wait around for a few minutes, then the result is announced? It's like playing fantasy football but never watching any of the games! And cue the ominous music, because, um, ominous.

    Act 3 : .5 stars, 17%

    Who cast these extras? Or is this deliberate? They all keep staring at the speaking cast like cats sniffing a chicken bone, all while goofily fondling objects in their hands...I guess it makes sense that they'd all be ADD, but wow is it distracting.

    Anyway, Quark figures out that his pieces are actually the missing officers, because, you know, FOUR. Must be a Jedi.

    Kira remarks "rhymes and riddles and mazes..." But we've only seen one challenge so far. Are we to imply that potentially interesting things have been happening off camera so we can watch the Waddi goof around? Well, I guess we should be grateful it was off screen based on the next scene.

    Kira literally says "excuse me" twice before she starts throwing shit around, totally at her wits' end, and screaming at the room full of fake people. What a LUNATIC! Not to be outdone, Bashir reaches for a glass of...Tang, because you know, may as well get your drink on. So they all start choking on the gas while the Waddi tell them to drink and laugh there butts off. And, some more terrible group acting while they drink, and...they're cured. Wow, what puzzle! I've learned so much.

    Act 4 : .5, 17%

    So, rather than questioning the Waddi over his suspicions, Odo decides to have Primmin scan their ship for human lifesigns. Okay...but, he is willing to take a crap on Starfleet protocol (that pesky thing about not invading peoples' space without permission or due cause) by transporting over without permission from anyone. Speaking of permission, who's in command, now? O'Brien's not on the station. Is it Odo? Primmin? I have no idea. Surely there are other senior officers beyond the four in the game on a station a dozen times larger than the Enterprise D!

    "Is it against Starfleet policy to press a few buttons?" Um, no. It's not the button pushing put the illegal search and seizure that's against the policy there, Constib--I mean, Chief Odo.

    Anyway, Odo finds the closet from "Poltergeist" on their ship, and runs through to find himself in Quark's. So that whole business with Primmin served no purpose other than to give Odo an excuse to complain about Starfleet again. Remember that argument about strawmen in DS9 on the "Homefront" page? This is what I'm talking about.

    Instead of holding a phaser to their heads or locking them up or confiscating their ship or taking their gameboard for analysis, Odo, in the brazen manner we've come to expect from him, insists that Quark choose the safer path! heh. So, Quark blows on the dice like a human, sentencing the un-fFantastic Four to be attacked by Creatures of the Third Kind, and Bashir is...deleted, I guess.

    Quark decides to risk it all and...oh God, they're banging the dildos again...and Quark has to "sacrifice one so two may live." Dun dun duunnnn....

    Act 5 : 0 stars, 17%

    So Quark gets on his knees and we learn that, even though before the commercial break, he was willing to kill all of them so they might skip a level, he can't choose one to be sacrificed. It's poorly handled by the writers, but the sentiment is appreciated: Quark has a heart after all.

    Last move: Bashir's disembodied voices lures Dax to her doom. She is physically injured by a cave-in. The three of them lumber about awkwardly until they realise they need to leave Jadzia behind to move along (home that is). But they refuse to do it on the grounds that fuck you. 2 minutes and 27 seconds of wordless, drama-less climbing about later, they all fall do their deaths. (horay...) Or do they?????

    All four materialise in Quark's, uninjured, not dirty, but still wearing their uniforms. What? So the Waddi gave them their own tricorders which registered tectonic shifts, broken limbs and energy patterns, but it wasn't actually real? But Jadzia was still in pain? But it was really a game? Wait, what if someone had a weak constitution and had a heart attack during the fall? Would they suddenly not have had it? Hang on, if there was never any "real" danger, and none of the Waddi or Quark or Odo could see what we, the audience, had to endure watching, what was the fucking point of having the game pieces correlate to an imagined world for the Four? For whose benefit was that? Is it so the stakes feel artificially higher for the newbie player who thinks his friends will die? I guess it's only fun to play with people who haven't before. What a great game!

    So, for the first time when I'm totally with Sisko getting in someone's face and potentially punching their lights out (these Waddi are asses), Odo steps in to lay the blame on Quark--who didn't realise he was playing with their fates to begin with (except, I guess he wasn't anyway), and when he did realise, collapsed in a pathetic heap at the thought of sentencing one of them to die! All while Odo did the important job of absolutely nothing to stop the Waddi from playing, questioning them about the game, or alerting someone who might be able to help. Yeah, Quark's the bad guy.

    So, after that the Waddi just leave. That's that--no punishment, no followup, Sisko just lets them go back home. Gee I hope they enjoyed their day in the Alpha Quadrant.

    Episode as Functionary : .25 stars, 10%

    The first two minutes between Jake and Ben are good--in fact they're a welcome change of pace from the ham-fisted way exposition and characterisation have typically been handled this season--and for that I will award the episode a tiny, tiny bit of use. The rest of the episode is so utterly pointless, contrived and insulting, I would suggest never, ever subjecting yourself to it. From the perspective of pure entertainment, this is unquestionably the worst episode so far. Bad acting, cheap sets, cheap motivations, and all under the pretence of a some people having fun!

    Final Score : .5 stars

    Oh Elliott, I've laughed so much reading your review. This episode made no sense - it was like a silly TOS episode complete with cardboard sets, but without the excuse of being trapped on a distant planet by aliens and having to follow their rules. Here who can believe for a secodn that the kidnapping of 4 senior officers by aliens would not have meant the Starfleet Command being alerted immediately and the aliens on question being arrested??

    Move Along Home: C-
    This is a surpassingly stupid episode, but I get the feeling that the people making it kind of knew that. Four of our leads play hopscotch for Christ’s sake! Obviously, the game makes absolutely no sense on a technological or metaphysical level, but I appreciate, as Jammer does, that they don’t try to explain any of it with technobabble. But the scenes in the game are mostly just kind of boring, and the repeated exclamations to “move along home” get quite old very quickly. We learn nothing new about any of the characters, and a token attempt to develop Quark fails due to the ultimately inconsequential nature of the game. As I said, however, there’s something slightly self-aware about “Move Along Home”: from Sisko lamenting the goofiness of their first visitors from the Gamma Quadrant, to Bashir forgetting his basically-identical dress uniform, to Quark’s fascination with a game that is apparently completely random and never actually explained to him. Not a good episode, but I don’t have the complete scorn for it that others seem to.

    The Good:
    - Unless stated otherwise, just assume Odo is a positive component of any episode.
    - Hey, Primmin! Is he going to keep showing up? I’d be fine with that.
    - I really liked the Sisko-Jake scenes. We haven’t seen much of Junior, but I’m glad his relationship with his dad is largely positive.
    - I liked Dax asking the others to leave her behind. I continue to enjoy the Sisko/Dax relationship, and I think it’s interesting how Dax continually tries to hurt Sisko’s feelings in order to get him to stop looking after her.

    The Bad:
    - It is slightly disappointing that they wasted their first diplomatic meeting with Gamma visitors on the jolly gamblers. In general, the show hasn’t been exceptional at following up on interesting parts of the pilot: the Gamma Quadrant, the wormhole aliens, the Cardassians, Bajoran religion and Sisko’s role in that theology, and Bajoran-Federation relations have hardly been addressed at all.

    I'm one of the rare few who didn't hate this episode. I don't really think it deserves all the vitriol it gets, but of course in comparison to season 4 and onwards, it does get short-shrifted. Still, like one of the previois posters mentioned, it's meant to be a silly episode, and we're not supposed to be taking it seriously.

    Someone also mentioned that it was like VOY's 'The Thaw'. In this case, I think VOY executed it much better. Of course, that might have been because in VOY, there was a very real danger of actually dying, but I think VOY nailed the suspenseful, eerie atmosphere much better than 'Move Along Home' did. Then again, clowns are always creepy, but instead we get the Wadi with their Legolas hairstyles here.

    I don't hate this one like some others, but it's probably in the bottom 20-or-so episodes of DS9. If they had come up with something more interesting for the challenges inside the game, this might have been a pretty good episode.

    But what I most noticed re-watching this episode is how I now view the Jake scenes. When this first aired, I was mostly just embarrassed for him (I wasn't that much older than him). Now, I laughed & enjoyed his discomfort. I guess that means I'm old now.

    Yeah, the Ben & Jake scene at the episode's beginning is pretty good. I like that Sisko wearing his dress uniform for the first time since Jennifer died suggests that he is starting to "awaken" from a period of grief, as Elliott suggests above. Although, I'm not sure how we're supposed to take the girls talk in this scene. Is the implication that Nog has been giving Jake fashion tips and saying sexist "all girls are stupid" tips, or is the implication that Jake has been "picking up" sex knowledge on the street in a future where fourteen-year-olds have no sex ed? I can understand Keiko being unprepared for how to give multi-cultural sex ed, but Jake was in Federation schools before now. Anyway, one of the implications of the teaser is that Ben wishes Jake would stop growing up, and stay a child so that Sisko can continue to protect him and understand him fully. In a dramatic "be careful what you wish for" twist, Ben's reluctance to see Jake grow up leads him to meet the childlike Wadi, and then be trapped in a childish game. Anyway, the opening scenes of the episode after the Ben & Jake scene are thin but have a certain energy; I like how the Wadi's refusal to be Serious Adults gets on Sisko's nerves because this is presumably his first First Contact not just on DS9 but of his career. (Especially because he never bothered doing much First Contact-ing with the Tosk or the hunters.)

    So Sisko's conflicting feelings -- he wants Jake to stay a child and make models and play games; he wants the Wadi to stop acting like children and stop playing games -- in principle could give meaning to he and the senior staff being locked in a game. Maybe there could have been something about "thinking like children" involving a sense of creativity and non-rigid thinking necessary to get out of the puzzles, which could lead to life lessons of keeping one's sense of fun and wonder into adult responsibilities. That type of thing.

    Anyway, instead we got this! Lots of people have talked above about how terrible this episode is, and I don't feel the need to reiterate those points. I gotta say though, I like how the closest things we see to a "riddle" are 1) hopscotch and 2) the riddle, Q: "why are a bunch of Wadi not dying of smoke inhalation," where the hint is the Wadi saying "DRINK!!!!!!!" and the answer is A: "They are drinking an anti-smoke inhalation liquid." On Quark's end, literally the only choices he ever makes are between the short way and the long way -- and he insists on being able to make reasonable guesses about what the relative dangers are!

    Quark officially has a conscience and cares about not killing the senior staff of the station -- for what it's worth.

    That took long for Primmin to be reduced to total joke.

    Odo and Quark sure accepted quickly that there were no other options, at all, but to play through the game and to try their best to win; and, further, that the only option was to do so still without demanding any new rules instructions, etc.

    What a strange mess. Which -- well, it wouldn't be *okay* if the episode were more interesting, but it would at least be a mixed bag. This is nonsensical and also totally boring, at times simply ludicrous. 0.5 stars -- I think this is the worst episode of DS9's first half, though I might stand corrected.

    I have noticed that the episodes considered bad are always much more highly commented on in most cases than good episodes or average ones.

    That being said, I am one of those sci-fi fans that can turn my brain off and just enjoy stoopid, silly fun for what it is. This episode has a very TOS feel for me, as others have commented.

    I dont mind the occasional foray into the absurd and silly, but admittedly some episodes do this much better than others. This is one of my favorites, especially considering how heavy and emotionally involving the series becomes later on.

    The first big misfire for me. It tries for the surreal but instead hits banal - and it is desperately, desperately slow. Instead of building to a climax, we get about 4 minutes of walking around a dodgy set. And we get the big "it was just a game" cop out at the end to cap it all.

    Still, we do get the command staff playing hopscotch while reciting a children's rhyme. And you don't see that every day. 1.5 stars.

    This is one of those episodes that loses a lot upon re-watching, and I love episodes like that generally, at least on the first run. For example "Twisted" was one of my favorites on first watching it. Very few can hold up on re-watching. "Cause and Effect" manages to pull that off somehow.

    However, the big giveaway here is that Bashir can't die. Neither is there ever any doubt that nothing permanent could happen to any of the senior staff. This might be a darker Trek, but it's hardly an "anyone can die" show. Still, I hardly "hate" this episode. I actually did skip it when re-watching, but decided to go back. It's still at least "ok".

    Allamaraine, count to four. (Stop.)
    Allamaraine, then three more. (Oh, please stop!)
    Allamaraine, if you can see. (Why are you doing this?!)
    Allamaraine, you'll come with me. (*crying*)
    Allamaraine. Third shap. (Just kill me now.)

    "Hey there, potential viewers, are you interested in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"? Well, have we got just the episode for you! Watch as your heroes boldly play alien hopscotch while singing an asinine rhythm, solve puzzles that are so easy even your preschool-aged children could figure them out and then fall off a cliff! All the while, your intrepid Security Chief will spend most of the episode acting like an ass to the one character trying to aide the heroes. If this doesn't get you hooked on this new, exciting series, nothing will!!!!!"

    Wow! It's been quite a while since I laughed this hard at such an utter and complete failure! What the hell were they thinking with this?! First, they decide to take four characters (the two most insufferable - Dax and Bashir, the one who has gotten hardly any character development - Sisko, and Kira) and place them in the most unimaginative and uninteresting scenario possible. Second, they have Kira act wildly belligerent - so much so that it's even out of character for her. Third, they have Odo act like either a complete dickhead or a total imbecile (pick your poison)(and, by the way, pushing a few buttons isn't against Starfleet regulations, but aiding and abetting a criminal act is; you would think the CHIEF OF SECURITY would know that, but since we've already seen him illegally wire-tap Quark, I guess we shouldn't put anything past Odo). Fourth, they reduce Primmin to an absolute clown (good thing he never returned). Fifth, they force the audience to endure the most mind-numbingly boring set of "obstacles" with the four "players" possible. Sixth, they shit all over Quark even though he's the only one who actually shows any consistent consideration for the lives of the "players" in the entire episode.

    And, of course, this deserves special recognition - *laugh* "It's only a game." Um, was that supposed to be whimsical or something.... or make me laugh? Because it wasn't. All that did was confirm that everything I just endured meant.... absolutely nothing. Bravo, people, bravo! You took an already horrible episode and shit all over it. Bra-fucking-vo! LOL!

    What is not laughable, however, but really sad is that "Move Along Home" actually started out rather promisingly. We have some decent father/son dialogue with Sisko and Jake and we have a First Contact situation with a new species that is obsessed with gaming. We could have gotten some character development from the father/son stuff, but instead that gets destroyed by Sisko not wanting to Jake to grow up while simultaneously wanting the Wadi to stop acting child-like. And the meeting of this new game-addicted civilization (something that has a lot of potential) is ruined by having their "game" be stupid.

    This is something that would fit in perfectly with the dreck of TNG Season One. I would say the only thing missing is the crushing sense of smug arrogance, but even that comes out in the final treatment of Quark (which is what really grates on me about "Move Along Home"). I'm just going to copy this, from Elliott's review.... "So, for the first time when I'm totally with Sisko getting in someone's face and potentially punching their lights out (these Wadi are asses), Odo steps in to lay the blame on Quark--who didn't realize he was playing with their fates to begin with (except, I guess he wasn't anyway), and when he did realize, collapsed in a pathetic heap at the thought of sentencing one of them to die! All while Odo did the important job of absolutely nothing to stop the Wadi from playing, questioning them about the game, or alerting someone who might be able to help. Yeah, Quark's the bad guy." But, then again, I guess we're supposed to hate Quark because.... .... .... .... yeah, moving on.

    Seriously, the only thing (and I do mean the ONLY thing) saving this episode from the dung-heap and a zero star rating is the fact it does show us that Quark does have his limits. When he breaks down in a blubbering mess on the floor at the thought of sacrificing one of the "players" it not only shows that he's more compassionate than any other character in this episode but that he's also.... well maybe not a "rogue with a heart of gold" but at least a likable rogue.


    P.S. - Elliott, I don't know if you're still around, since you wrote that post almost a year and a half ago, but I have to commend you on such an excellent review. I can't tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud reading it.

    "Odo finds the closet from "Poltergeist" on their ship" LAMO!

    Me, March 1993...

    OH... GeeZ! What did I JUST WATCH!? What?... *waves arms around frantically*... What were they Thinking!? ...*facepalms* *shakes head* *squints eyes* ...

    I still look back at this one and do sort of the same thing, except I shake my fist at the sky (ala John Cleese) as opposed to waving my arms around (I hurt my shoulder once and it just isn't the same waving with one arm, and sort of flopping the other one around...).

    Of all the early episodes, this one made me repeat "Give it time... Give it time..." more than any other. I've really attempted to find anything redeeming about it, but just the memory of "Move Along Home!..." overwhelms me and I end up in a fetal position with drool on my chin, lamely shaking my fist skyward...

    Heh, I loved the review by Elliott as well. I've read it before, but it'd been a while. Reading their take on Act 5 brought me to tears. :D

    Have a great day Everyone!... RT

    I think this was the first really stupid episode of DS9, but it's still loads better than like half of TNG season 1.

    Hysterical Hysterical episode.

    "Choose their path. Double their peril, double your winnings!" THIRD SHAP.

    So awesomely bad. There are only a few of these gems in DS9, I've learned to really savor (and laugh, and continuously quote their most memorably funny lines)

    Great review site!


    I am rewatching DS9 on Netflix.....and came across this site...TG!!! I love the reviews and in particular, Elliot' sides were splitting...This is by far the most horrid to watch...thank goodness I can simply skip parts and "move along home",,,or rather to the end of this episode! Thanks for this site, Jammer!

    We all love Elliot, Ken!

    Happy 2016 Elliot! I remember you from 2013!

    Elliot's review is right on. I'm a dedicated fan of everything Star Trek yet somehow I never wanted to watch DS9 mainly because I didn't like the whole premise of a series on a stationary station instead of an exploring ship. Yet someone convinced me to watch it assuring me that I will fall in love with DS9. I started and couldn't get attached but I continued to watch hoping that I will eventually become fond of DS9. And then I watched this episode!

    I stopped and will not watch anymore DS9. Any series that will go to the extent of writing, directing, producing, and then airing this load of crap can never recover to an acceptable average.

    I came here to find out if this episode was an aberration and that the rest is good, only to find a lot of people claiming that this is actually not such a bad episode.

    WTF! Seriously WTF!

    @ Ace-

    With that rationale, you wouldn't have made it past TNG's 3rd episode. Though this one's a stinker for sure, I assure you most of even DS9's first season is great to excellent. Especially in comparison to TNG's season 1.

    I liked Kira's comment, something like 'I'm sure you Starfleet types find this all fascinating. But I am a Bajoran military officer. This is not what I signed up for!"

    It would have been better if someone said to her at the end of the episode something like, 'well, you'll have to get used to it.'

    Drinking Game:
    1 sip whenever someone says "home"
    1 sip whenever someone says "allamaraine"
    1 sip whenever someone says "shap"
    1 sip whenever someone says "game"
    1 sip whenever someone says "double"

    Take a shot whenever Odo blows Quark

    At first it was so silly that it made me laugh. Then around the halfway point it started to get boring. This had an early TNG feel to it. I suspect they borrowed some of the set pieces. This episode is low budget garbage.Funniest line in the episode is said by Quark "Do you know what a holosuite is? Do you have sex in your world?" Finally somebody says what most trek fans have been wondering about.

    2 stars for me - the first part of the episode until the game starts is good. Even once Sisko/Kira/Dax/Bashir are in the game, while their scenes feel irrelevant and have no dramatic momentum (and some drag out too long, like the cliff scene), the Odo/Quark scenes remain well-written and entertaining. It's not enough to make the episode good overall, but the characters are all consistent and well-played here.

    This was the first episode of DS9 I liked. Then again, I was only 10 years old when it originally aired, so the fantasy game obviously appealed to my imaginative sensibilities. It's still a fun romp for me today, a guilty pleasure on par with TNG's "The Game" and "Rascals".

    I'm rewatching DS9 and this was the first 0.5 stars for me. Terrible episode. All senior staff abducted and Odo just stands there? They can walk away afterwards and Quark too? This one doesn't even work as an abstract absurd episode. It might be the worst Star Trek episode ever. Man, you have some good reviews Jammer and I admire your work but sometimes your way, way off.

    Worse part of "Move Along Home" is easily the part when Sisko introduces his crew to the Wadi. And there they are, trying si hard to look like they're posing for some photo for a tv series of bad ass space adventurers! oh wait..maybe they thought they really were bad asses!. But,the most ignorant looking one as ALWAYS imo is Nana Visitor. She is hands down not only the worst actress but the wirst character!. She should've never been hired.

    This episode gets a 1star from me.

    @ data fan:

    I agree with you re Nana Visitor. I'm just doing a rewatch of DS9 and find her, Terry Farrell and Siddig el Fadil the worst actors at this stage. In my opinion, Farrell and Siddig vastly improve - pretty quickly - but I never learned to like Visitor's portrayal of Kira.

    Knowing they were trying to keep Michelle Forbes as Ro in a similar role really does make me long for that might-have-been...

    I agree with those who said this feels like a TOS or TNG script, which fits poorly into DS9. How many times were those crews stuck helplessly into a fighting arena or puzzle by an advanced alien of one sort or another? The only difference here is the aliens came to them.

    The biggest problem is the lack of consequences, but DS9 wasn't that heavily serialized yet, so that makes it seem worse in hindsight. It's one of the worst episodes of Season 1, but that just shows how strong the season was overall.

    "but that just shows how strong the season was overall."

    What? DS9 season 1 is pretty universially considered the worst season in all of trek.

    "What? DS9 season 1 is pretty universially considered the worst season in all of trek."

    Uh...really? I can think of three series that blatantly had worse S1's, and another that I personally think did although others disagree. You can guess which that is, but only TOS *definitely* had a better S1 as far as I'm concerned.

    DS9 is a curious animal in that it has some of the worst shows like this one and “A Man Alone” however it also has some of the best shows like “Duet” and “Emissary”.

    Before this becomes Voyager bashing, I’ll go ahead and nominate S7 of TNG as the worst (with the caveat of it also having the best Trek series finale). I think there’s consensus among fans that it’s pretty terrible. Of course I haven’t even been able to sit through most of ENT so make of that what you will.

    I’ll also add that while I find DS9 season 1 to be generally very enjoyable it also has a sense of early-installation weirdness especially with Quark, Odo, and Garak’s characters. There are also things that are great off the bat like Nana Visitor’s performance and of course the lovable Mark Alaimo who might be at his best in the pilot here. Visitor and Alaimo have great season 2 shows as well, so I think it’s really worth recognizing DS9 had a strong start which feels even stronger compared to other Trek season ones and twos.

    Ok, just so it doesn't look like I was subtly Voyager bashing, I actually meant that VOY is the one show that many fans arguably feel had a better S1 than DS9. I personally don't agree but I can see the argument, so I won't venture to say which was 'better'. I meant specifically that TNG S1 and ENT S1 were both weaker, which ENT being outright garbage and TNG S1 being surprisingly engaging in some respects but super-amateurish in others. Overall its re-watchability has been seriously harmed with time, whereas I feel DS9 S1, for its flaws, isn't dated. I would also easily classify DISC S1 as being worse than DS9's. Like it or hate it, the show is terribly uneven and has suffered from simple errors like editing gaffs and bad CGI (!!) that have no place in a major series.

    My point was that TOS S1 is definitely unparalleled, and arguably VOY S1 was better/equal to it, but the rest of the series got off to a worse start than DS9 did. Sure - Move Along Home is painful (although I can't help but giggle when they're forced to play hopscotch, WTF!) and so are a couple of others, but if you get 2-3 classics in a given season that's already pretty good. Here we have Emissary, Duet, and I think In the Hands of the Prophets is up there too as classic Trek (in the same vein as Measure of a Man in terms of being pure Trek). TNG S7 also had the finale, Parallels (a personal favorite), and Lower Decks, so not all bad there. Also worth noting in TNG's case is that the quality of the ensemble by this time was so high that even a mediocre or poor episode script would still have that 'TNG feel' and comraderie that even the best of ENT never achieved. So while TNG S7 suffers from bad scripts overall the show is somehow still really good to watch on a pure 'this feels like a great show' level. That counts for a lot to me, and actually is how I feel about a lot of DS9 S1-2.

    @Yanks-There are many, many seasons of Star Trek worse than DS9 S1, in my opinion. It can be truly poor, but also has some outstanding episodes ("Progress", "Duet", "In the Hands of the Prophets") and quite a few solid ones as well ("Emissary", "Past Prologue", "Captive Pursuit", "Dax", "The Nagus"). That definitely puts it above most of Voyager, which wasn't often terrible, but never really hit many real highs.
    -TOS S3
    -TNG S1
    -TNG S2
    -VOY S2
    -VOY S3
    -VOY S7
    -ENT S1
    -ENT S2
    -DIS 1


    I've ranked DS9, VOY and ENT so far. Here are my season 1 ratings (Jammer's scale)

    VOY S1 - 3.07
    ENT S1 - 2.96
    DS9 - 2.08

    So in my view, DS9 S1 is exponentially worse than all the others. I'm pretty certain TOS S1 will fare better and even the much maligned TNG S1 will rate higher than a 2.08.

    I do agree DS9 S1 had some great ones. "Duet" is my #2 DS9 episode. I also gave 4.0's to "Captive Pursuit" and "In the Hands of the Prophets" and ranked "Emmisary" a 3.5; but the rest of the season just dragged everything down. Some epically poor episodes.

    Peter G, it certainly is a matter of taste.... I'll give you that. I personally was surprised at my VOY S1 rating. I always liked it better than DS9 S1 but I didn't predicted such a numerical gap.

    Chrome, I really need to gt off my butt and finish Enterprise so I can join the masses and offically rate TNG. Should be fun.

    Nana Visitor's exasperation during the Allamaraine scene is one of my favorite Trek moments..

    @Yanks-Most of your ratings are fair for Season 1, with the large exception of "Progress", in my opinion, which was a terrific episode that really deepened Kira's character. If you bumped that episode up to 3.5 stars (which in my opinion is what it should be rated) and counted "Emissary" as two episodes, our averages would be about the same. But I still feel a season with "Emissary", "Past Prologue", "Captive Pursuit", "Dax", "Progress", "Duet", and "In the Hands of the Prophets" shouldn't be anywhere near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Trek seasons. At the very least, it's above Discovery Season 1, Enterprise Seasons 1 and 2, TOS Season 3, and TNG Seasons 1 and 2.

    "Move Along Home" is incompetent on every level, but unlike "Sub Rosa", isn't wildly entertaining to compensate. It's ludicrous without being enjoyable. There aren't many redeeming qualities to this one besides the opening scene.

    0.5 stars.

    Borderline terrible this might be the worst episode of DS9 S1 -- basically an elaborate lesson to make Quark regret cheating is just ridiculous on so many levels. The idea of the senior officers being in a dangerous maze is a good one provided there is good justification for it -- here, there isn't. Quark is terrible in this episode as well -- not great for earning the character any points. Watching the 4 senior officers in the maze got seriously tedious.

    The aliens who are supposed to represent first contact with a GQ species were stupidly outfitted and ultimately, if there's a lesson to be taken from them (perhaps about integrity?) it's completely lost in the nonsense.

    The scene with Quark grovelling just came across as pathetic -- and it was impossible to take him seriously. That's a problem with this character in that one can't take him not being devious in some way.

    I think there was supposed to be a B-plot of father giving son lessons about girls but that went nowhere since Sisko spent most of the episode in the maze. But it continues the idea that Nog is a bad influence on Jake.

    This actually felt like an early TNG episode, which is not good considering S1 & S2 are the 2 worst seasons in the Trek cannon.

    And why was Kira freaking out so much? Seemed excessive. We know she's supposed to be especially fiery to start the series but some of her characterization was over the top.

    Barely 1.5 stars for "Move Along Home" -- first contact gone wrong because Quark's an idiot. The ringer he gets put through in deciding which of the 3 to sacrifice pales in comparison to what the 4 senior officers had to go through. Another set of stupid random aliens here with technology that goes beyond the required Trek suspension of disbelief. Just an early warning that DS9 will produce a handful of really dumb episodes over 7 seasons, but that one can forget in the grand scheme of things.

    This was Avery Brooks' least favorite episode. I actually kind of liked it especially with the Quark storyline. Those of us that grew up with DND are likely more apt to appreciate this.

    Watching the crew play alien hopscotch was hilariously bad. I didn’t get why at the end when Edo blames the whole thing on Quark, why Sisko went along and actually got angry at Quark. Okay, Quark chested. What’s that have to do with bashir, Kira, Dax and sisko? That’s like if you robbed a store so the courts say your family must now go through a torture fest from the movie Saw. Sisko and company should have layed the smack down on those first contact aliens (forget the proper race name)


    I can only hope by the time humans live on space stations auto correct actually works

    Watching while folding and ironing napkins for the table tomorrow.

    This is a stinker.

    Move Along Home is the Sub Rosa or Threshold of DS 9. 1 star - just to be generous.

    In this episode, Sisko can't be arsed to do his job as commander, so instead of taking proper care of his VIP guests, he leaves a first contact mission in the hands (and at the expense) of his local barkeeper, who's neither a member of Starfleet nor a representative of the Bajoran government, and who's only still on the station because Sisko blackmailed him in the pilot episode. Predictably, Quark acts not in accordance with Starfleet protocol, but follows the cultural rules of his own people, and tries to cheat the guests. So what, Sisko couldn't have guessed that this would happen? And after Sisko's own laziness almost gets himself and his senior officers killed, he still blames Quark for all of it. Geez, I see why Starfleet parked a guy like Sisko at their most remote outpost - what I don't get though is why after the discovery of the wormhole, they don't put the station in the hands of someone more competent.

    I actually really like this episode. It's kinda like if you were to put Are You Afraid of the Dark? and TOS in a blender.

    There are many problems with Move Along Home. First off is the game of Chula. We don't get an explanation of how it works and that is probably a good thing. The Wadi are one of the most annoying, least interesting alien races in Trek history. The dialogue and actions of the characters for the most part are silly and nonsensical. Why would the Wadi continue the game when it's clear that Quark and Odo think that the payers lives are in danger. Furthermore, if Odo believes that the lives of the senior staff are in danger, why would he not shut the game down. Move Along Home is not all bad. The direction of Carson is really good and the sets are nice. Visually it's the best DS9 episode so far but in the end, what was the point.


    Quark's groveling scene was Armin Shimmerman's worst acting moment of the entire series. It was so over-the-top horrible, it made me want to stab a tribble in the...uh...reproductive sack?

    I enjoyed this in the same sort of way I enjoy The Crystal Maze. Only thing it's missing is Richard O'Brien (or even Miles O'Brien).

    We just finished reviewing this episode on our podcast and we think this episode is great. It's even earned its place as Briar's favorite season 1 episode. If you read the Wadi collectively as a trickster god figure, their episode plays that out in a far more satisfying way than any Q episode ever could.

    This is THE worst episode of Trek for me. It's so pointless. Worse than any in TNG S1.

    @Yom ei

    How can you say this is worse than Voyager's "Twisted" or "Threshold"? I gave it a 6/10. I thought making Quark decide which player to sacrifice in order to save the others really added to the tension.

    One thing I'm not clear on is whether the players were in some sort of holodeck, beamed down to a planet, or in some sort of hallucination?

    I would have liked this episode a lot more if the puzzles had a problem solving element. In particular, the second puzzle just involved them choking until they took a drink, and that was it. If they used a bit of logic to deduce what drink to take (like Indiana Jones), then that would have made it a lot more engaging - perhaps one of the characters could have "died" in the process. Instead, we just had a lot of filler between the puzzles where they pointlessly wandered around corridors.

    {{ How can you say this is worse than Voyager's "Twisted" or "Threshold"? }}

    How can you say Twisted is on the level of Threshold?

    I didn't like this at all first run. It's kind of like TNG's The Naked Now, in that a goofy episode this early doesn't really work. It works better after you know the characters better.

    But I'll say this-- just like The Naked Now, every DS9 viewer that saw it first run absolutely has bits of it seared into their memory. In this case, of course:



    Definitely meant to be taken lightly. How in the world does Quark figure out the pieces in the game are the officers? That is such a leap it practically demands Quark be telepathic.

    Also, there is a solid sci-fi concept here, in that alien cultures could have very different values and ways of meeting other cultures. To them, this crazy game may indeed be their method of first contact. Really, this should probably happen all the time, instead of the more common Space Romans, Space Proud Warriors, Space Capitalists, etc.

    So...much...cringe! I feel bad for the actors singing "alamerain". They must have been thinking to themselves, "just think about your paycheck and get through this" the whole time.

    "So...much...cringe! I feel bad for the actors singing "alamerain". They must have been thinking to themselves, "just think about your paycheck and get through this" the whole time."

    Hey, that's the best scene in the episode!!

    I have to admit, the one part that works is Quark begging not to have to pick who dies. Shimerman really sells the horror of being forced to pick who lives and who dies.

    "I have to admit, the one part that works is Quark begging not to have to pick who dies. Shimerman really sells the horror of being forced to pick who lives and who dies."

    That scene is only funny if you already know the story, because it becomes equivalent to a D&D player weeping and begging the DM not to make him roll that constitution roll to stabilize from near-death. I bet such things happen! It's just impossible to un-know that's the situation and to take the gravity of the situation seriously. No wonder the Wadi are rolling their eyes.

    @Peter G. "No wonder the Wadi are rolling their eyes."

    That is a really good point. When you don't know what's really going on, they seem quite callous and indifferent. But they're actually thinking "what the hell is wrong with these people?"

    @Daniel B
    >How can you say Twisted is on the level of Threshold?

    They are both 1/10 episodes. The ship warping and reconfiguring in such a perfect way made no sense. There was no solution to their problem. There was no character development and as far as I remember, no humour. It had nothing going for it, yes it's not as insulting to the viewer's intelligence as "Threshold", but still deserves the lowest possible score.

    DS9 on acid. DS9 meets Alice In Wonderland. DS9 meets House Of Leaves. Bizarre and quite fun apart from the grossly overlong scene in the cavern at the end.

    Just two notes:

    1. Absolutely ridiculous and grotesque that a species from the Gamma Quadrant should be completely human apart from a few symbols painted on their forehead. Do the producers think us so stupid that we would accept that without question? If they can do Ferengi, then they could certainly do something imaginative and convincing.

    2. Cirroc Lofton is simply wonderful as Jake - one of the few Trek child actors who really convinces in their role.

    2.5 stars.

    Well, it will win no awards, but it was passable. I do have a nit to pick, though. Granted, the game is described as " just a game", but the officers did feel pain in several of the scenarios. So, not so much "just a game" with those consequences.

    @Lawrence Bullock I agree that for "just a game", it was too intense. That said, in real life, people take games too seriously. I am a photographer of youth sports, and especially with boys, pain is inflicted with little or no consequences (View youth boys lacrosse, or rugby, and you'll amply see what I mean)

    DS9's first season does TNG's seventh season.

    For me, this is 'Masks' all over again: basically, our crew are inadvertently trapped in a confounding internal narrative by technologically superior aliens to communicate some of their own culture. Unfortunately it is not particularly engaging: we look on as obscure references are trotted out ('Allamaraine!' 'Shap one, two!' etc etc), as the head alien repeats himself, and as the crew wander around in peril that does not feel remotely perilous.

    I did like the ending, though - with the revelation that they were never in any real sanger at all. And watching Dax, Sisko, Kira and Bashir doing hopscotch in all supposed seriousness is just so bizarre that it raised a smile if only for how ridiculous the script is. Given how early on this episode was, I do wonder if the cast at exactly that point experienced a pang of regret about what they had signed up for.

    This is also the second of two episodes in a row in which Siddig El Fadil's acting is distractingly *extremely* over the top. I'd actually forgotten how cringeworthily bad he was in the first ten episodes of the series. Thankfully he toned it down a lot as time went on.

    I should clarify here, of course, that 'Move Along Home' actually came first by quite some time (broadcast 14 March 1993, with 'Masks' not broadcast until 21 February 1994).

    Disagree on this one too, I hope later seasons will find me agreeing with your reviews again like I did with nearly 90% of your TNG ones. This episode is watchable the VERY FIRST time only, attempting to rewatch after already knowing there's no danger makes it even worse than it is upon the first view

    I'm a couple minutes in and didn't read the review or comments but I have to say, on first blush, these "aliens" look like a Mexican drug cartel... 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Now the main characters are doing hopscotch and singing some silly rhyme... 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Too funny for words!! Who writes this stuff!?!?! 😂😂😂

    Reminds me of some of the absolute stupidest, dumbest, most idiotic T.O.S. episodes I had the displeasure of watching before I gave up on that show, with creepy kids, surreal mind trips, Kafkaesque puzzles, etc.

    I'll probably bail soon; if y'all don't see a comment from me on a later episode though, you can assume this one caused my I.Q. to hemorrhage to the point I devolved to a vegetable...

    I don't get the hate for this episode. It's not even the worse episode of season 1 (see Past Prologue). It was very very enjoyable. I'm not saying it's the best, but not the worst.

    @Matt B

    Wait till you get to "If Wishes Were Horses", it's certainly the worst of DS9 in my opinion.


    I couldn't resist.

    It's only a game.

    I just started rewatching DS9. I don't remember if this is my least favorite episode. Actually it's kind of hard for me not to laugh while watching it.

    Well, one thing this episode has going for it:

    No damn Dominion War.

    I liked several of the scenes in this episode. For example the conversation between Sisko and Benjamin, the aliens when arriving at the station immediately asking about games, Bashir screaming thinking he is having a nightmare, Quark freaking out begging the game to stop and more. I don't agree with those who find the game concept unbelievable or unrealistic. This culture of aliens have taken the art of playing games to a completely new level because they are totally obsessed with games. Makes perfect sense and also makes sense that they would put the four highest ranking officers on the space station in the game to make it more serious.

    Obviously feeling a bit masochistic tonight as I decided to watch this awful episode again to see if it is as bad as I remembered. So far, yes. Just noticed however that Quark says "Good lord, they've won again" when the Wadi keep winning dabo. Surprising that one made it through editors and into the final cut: "Good lord"? Is Quark a Christian!?

    Well, it got me again! Sisko saying the Allamaraine makes me laugh out loud every time. It's genius. So stupid it's brilliant. My wife laughed too, and not at it. Another good laugh is Odo caustically asking the lazy-looking Lt. Primmin whether he's lost many commanders in his six glorious years of service. The other good laugh is maybe a bit obvious, Falow's "It's only a game." He knew full well he put those people through hell, knew full well they had no idea it was a game, and he did it to get back at Quark. That aspect goes a bit under the radar, but does make the Wadi look less clueless if you see it that way.

    I had some thoughts about the Wadi game as well. First of all, it's actually a very interesting game, as it combines gambling with a traditional board game. It's for gamblers who are bored with what we think of as normal gambling games, which admittedly I also think are boring. And the game is neat because the players divide into two groups - the gamblers and the board game players. The fact that the board game players are in a VR 3D environment makes that part more exciting, but it's in essence a type of board game we have now, with encounters and skill checks. This allows two different types of players to play the same game and have a division of labor. That's pretty cool, and I could see how (a) we're not ready for that yet, because bona fide gamblers probably prefer simpler stuff at the moment, and (b) in the future when there's perhaps more leisure and less work, people might choose to expand the complexity of their leisure activities. This is definitely a kind of game that people could really get into in the future, maybe 100 years from now. And a long-form campaign version of it could be super-popular. I don't doubt at all that Quark could find a market for this game, which makes the episode really not take its own premise seriously when it makes Quark out to look like an idiot when he goes off chasing the Wadi to try to license the game. He definitely should do just that!

    One other thing struck me as odd, which is that when the Wadi came on board and met with Sisko and the others at Quark's, Quark tried to discuss business arrangements with the Wadi right away, to open Dabo franchises in the Gamme Quadrant, or whatever else. And Sisko right away shushes Quark, letting me know to keep out of their first contact procedure. But who the heck does Sisko think he is telling Quark he can't discuss anything he pleases with the Wadi? It's really weird, because they're on a space station where different races come all the time. Just because FC is very important to the Federation doesn't mean that they have any business telling third parties who are present whether or not they're allowed to talk to the Wadi. It's not like the Federation owns the right to talk to the Wadi exclusively. So that scene ends up looking unintentionally dictatorial in hindsight. And this is kind of in step with the later scene where Sisko gives up his late watch in Quark's and decides he doesn't have to stay anymore. Did he ever? It wasn't even a diplomatic event, just some race coming to the station to gamble. If they weren't interested in talking to him I'm not sure Sisko even had any business hanging around in the first place, other than as a guest of Quark's of course.

    So I find a fair bit of the logic missing in the episode. Basically they had a gimmick idea and left their brains on the floor. But I do enjoy elements of the gimmick and I'll stand by saying that I do find parts of this one funny. It's not boring, which is something.

    I gotta admit, I get the negativity. But I like this episode. Pretty much agree with @azcats. It has a sci-fi short story type feel that is a throwback to TOS and earlier TNG - less focus on plausibility and more on concocting an unusual situation, swirling, then letting the characters react.

    I like the notion that we can think we're acting with free will, but in fact we're playing out the rolls of some unseen dice. There's an interesting exploration of chance, fate, and free will lurking somewhere under this silliness...

    P.S. I get a lot of joy when someone catches an 'Allamaraine!' reference in real life. Of course, normally people react as they probably should. *Wince*. I wish this episode had the second life that Darmok did when it comes to meme-ability - ah, well - Shaka, when the walls fall. Next shap!

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