In a rather silly "sci-fi" premise, the station is rocked by troubles arising from the station inhabitants' own imaginations. The mystery conjures three fantasy characters out of thin air, and supplies them with a few light comic moments before revealing them as alien creatures with unknown motives or intentions. The three fantasy characters: (1) Buck Bokai (Keone Young), a baseball player from the 21st century who follows Jake home from a holosuite simulation; (2) Rumpelstiltskin (Michael John Anderson), who terrorizes Chief O'Brien; and (3) Julian's fantasy version of Dax, who drools all over the young doctor.
This episode seemingly hopes to earn points for being weird (including a scene featuring a snow storm on the promenade), but the weirdness falls flat under the routine execution. No one seems genuinely concerned about the strange happenings on the station, not even when they escalate to the point of impending apocalypse in the form of a spatial anomaly which threatens to destroy DS9 and the entire Bajoran system along with it. Boy am I tired of spatial anomalies.
The entire final act drowns in a staggering quantity of forgettable technobabble, and the boring jeopardy premise is solved far too quickly when Sisko realizes the threat can be eradicated if the crew can simply control its collective imagination. A few redeeming laughs and a final dialog scene between Sisko and the Bokai alien save some face. But it's still the weakest episode of DS9's freshman season.
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