Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“The Search, Part I”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 9/26/1994
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Kim Friedman

"Ever since we've come into the Gamma Quadrant I've had this feeling of being drawn somewhere — pulled by some instinct to a specific place..." — Odo

Review Text

Deep Space Nine kicks off its third season with a sensational cliffhanger installment. Possibly a turning point for the series, "The Search" brings about some notable changes to the show and may be as significant to DS9 as "The Best of Both Worlds" was to TNG. In any case, it's the best Trek cliffhanger, season ender or not, since the aforementioned two-part Borg outing.

A continuation of "The Jem'Hadar," this one takes place three months after the Dominion's introduction into the Trek encyclopedia of villains. Sisko returns from debriefing on Earth with a new mission and a secret weapon.

The mission: To search for the Founders of the Dominion and open diplomatic talks in hopes of working out a compromise for peace. The weapon: A small, stealth-like Federation warship appropriately named the USS Defiant. Originally designed to fight the Borg, the prototype Defiant is small and maneuverable, and the Romulans have even equipped it with a cloaking device for the mission. (Trivial aside: The Defiant bears the registry NX-74205.)

It's definitely one of the most gripping hours of DS9 to fall into the adventure category so far (packed full with action and suspense elements) yet remains true to emphasizing the characters with some meaty dialogue and interaction.

The titular search is set against the subplot of Odo coping with Starfleet Command's decision to replace him as DS9 security chief involving Starfleet affairs. Apparently, they've had enough of his disrespect for the chain of command. Consequently, Odo's mood becomes atypically angry and on-edge, demonstrated by his scene with Quark that doesn't end with the usual laugh but rather an unsettling display of Odo's fury. Furthermore, he takes on a bizarre interest in a mysterious nebula while in the Gamma Quadrant.

Meanwhile, Kira's energy makes for a great scene where she confronts Sisko regarding Starfleet's unjust decision. "Can I speak freely?" she asks. "What the hell is wrong with Starfleet? How can they do this to him?" There's also a good Kira/Odo scene where she tries to find out why he's acting so strangely, further stressing the trusting bond shared by these two characters.

The addition of T'Rul (Martha Hackett) as a Romulan consultant for the Defiant's cloaking device gives the episode a fresh feeling of diversity, while Starfleet security chief Eddington (Kenneth Marshall) will definitely be the source of future conflict for Odo, provided he remains aboard as a regular guest star.

"Search I" appears to be aiming for large audience pleasing, displayed by its emphasis on danger and adventure settings. Most of the story takes place in the Gamma Quadrant on board the Defiant, something Executive Producers Berman and Piller have stated in interviews is part of their season three campaign to draw in larger audiences.

The technical aspects are absolutely top-notch. The episode culminates with a tremendous battle (on the "exploding set" level, it's one of the series' best yet) in which Jem'Hadar ships attack the Defiant and then board it, getting into some mega-fisticuffs with the DS9 crew. Here, Jay Chattaway's musical score displays some atypically exciting energy. His score also adds suspense and provides a fascinating cinematic feel to an earlier scene where the Jem'Hadar look for the cloaked, dead-playing Defiant. Why in the world don't we get music like this more often?

Lastly, "Search I" ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger and a major character development, where Odo and Kira escape the Defiant (whose fate, along with Sisko and the others, remains a mystery until part two) and land on a mysterious planet inhabited by morphing liquid creatures that resemble Odo. One walks up to him and says, "Welcome home." Admittedly, that's where this episode shocked me. As I mentioned in my review of last season's "The Alternate," I thought the DS9 writers would refuse to commit backstory about Odo's origin, just as the TNG writers would never give Data emotions. Well, they proved me wrong. Season three for DS9 may be an explorative season of taking risks...

Previous episode: The Jem'Hadar
Next episode: The Search, Part II

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87 comments on this post

    The Search Part 1 contains one of my favourite battle scenes from any Trek series. The fight on the bridge is really intense and visceral. On a broader note, I do find it amusing that Starfleet Academy seemingly trains every officer to use a double-axe handle in self-defence.

    It became even more hilarious when other aliens started doing it too, such as Garak taking out the Romulan guard in "The Die is Cast". It's refreshing to see Sisko in this episode just belt someone in the face. It's his ship and he isn't going down without a fight.

    Strange, I just watched the episode and the end fight scene I find really disappointing. It's so dark and the camera keeps shaking you can hardly see what is going on (I have seen it three times and still haven't noticed the double-axe). The only cool part was that it goes black, and when it fades back in Kira is still in the same position.

    I think this episode is one of DS9's best, if not it's best. It may not measure up to shows like In the Pale Moonlight, but this is where the series really came of age and ventured into whole new territory, and they actually got a proper ship instead of a few runabouts. The second part was a bit of a letdown, but this is also a big episode for Odo when he discovers his people. A real turning point for the series.

    I am rewatching DS9 from first credit to last, first time I have watched it in five years. I forgot how early the Romulans were assisting the Federation, and it really liked that. I also liked the Romulans fighting side-by-side on the bridge with the Federation.

    It is amazing to look at S1 and S2 of TNG, and then look at S1 and S2 of DS9 and see how much more compelling and better written the DS9 seasons were, and how much more character growth there was in DS9.

    I know many Trek fans felt DS9 too dark, but that darkness allowed way more detailed storytelling and development than the alien of the week storytelling.

    DS9 will always be my favorite Trek, and Andrew Robinson and Mark Alaimo really stole so many scenes. But am I the only one who, even though I love Sisko as a character, thought Brooks was just too wooden at times? (Except his scenes with Jake. Sisko was one of the best parents on any TV show, and I love that Brooks was adamant about that relationship.)

    Aside from a few deeply emotional moments, Sisko was pretty wooden during the first few seasons, but I think that was part of his character and Brooks played it very well. Season 3 is when Sisko's character really takes off, though I'm still occasionally put of by his somtimes inappropriate over-acting ("Rules of Engagement" comes to mind).

    Agree with the review bar the grading - for me this was 3 stars, even taking into account Part 2. One of the highlights was the Kira/Sisko interaction at the start, as well as the Kira/Odo scenes (which would be one of the lone bright spots of Part 2) - the revelation of the changelings and the line 'welcome home' were genuinely surprising when watching this for the first time.

    I'd have to echo the comments of chris and Connor, what really elevated this above the relatively pedestrian was the battle scene whereby the crew get boarded and grapple with the seemingly unstoppable Jem'Hadar - excellent scenes and a significant departure from what had preceded this on , for example, 'the Maquis' or 'Armageddon Game'. However, it still feels realtively slow-paced and given some of the 3.5 star ratings given to some subsequent episodes, I'd say 3 abouts covers it. I know you're now a married man (as am I) but any chance you could at some point in the next decade revisit these episodes with some small updates. Without wishing to sound absurdly fawning, being unable to watch the episodes until I purchased the VHS in the UK, often several months after their original airdates, your reviews were a true lifesaver back in the mid nineties. Glad to see you're still doing them.

    This episode picks up running where season 2 left off. Strong episode.

    This was definitely my favourite episode of DS9 so far. I don't know if it's maybe that I just enjoy these action-centric episodes more, but for met his episode was really intense and I enjoyed it a lot.

    Honestly I don't think the writing in any of the Star Treks is sufficient enough for it to be able to stand alone as a drama, so for me these kind of episodes are necessary.

    On another note, I really like Quark and the Ferengi. I think Quark has become my favourite character on the show thus far. I especially liekd his speech in the previous episode about humans not liking them because they reminded us of what we once were, albeit worse! I found it actually quite poignant.

    They declare the Founder homeworld to be a rogue planet, but then when they panned to Odo and Kira walking on the surface, there was a pretty bright, purplish star in the sky.

    So let me get this straight - DS9 is able to detect the Defiant in the opening scene before it decloaks and no one thinks to fix whatever made her detectable? My first thought was "If DS9 was able to detect her relatively easily, then so can the Dominion" - spoiled what was otherwise a good scene. And on her first mission, the Defiant is boarded and captured? That's a fail in my book. So much for giving the Dominion a little surprise.

    Still a good episode. 3/4

    This episode has awesomeness written all over it.

    Sisko arrives with the Defiant (DS9 now has a real ship!!), we're going looking for the founders, we get some Martha Hackett (love her), the Odo/Kira bond grows stronger, etc...

    We are also introduced to the Founders' leader played beautifully by Salome Jens.

    Great continuation from last seasons’ closer and a great start to season 3.

    The Jem'Hadar prove again they aren't to be taken lightly. The boarding on the Defiant was awesome but I'll agree with posters above that it wasn't lit well enough and the shaky cam stuff made me think of ST09.

    It also is telling just how strong this attraction to the nebula is in Odo. He could have cared less about the attack on the Defiant. Wow, that was alarming!

    I loved this exchange and Rene' once again delivers a wonderful performance.

    "KIRA: Where are we?
    ODO: Approaching the Omarion Nebula.
    KIRA: You should have taken us back to the wormhole.
    ODO: You didn't object at the time."

    lol... did anyone else notice that Kira just gets hotter each season and Jadzia seems to have more and more hair? :-)

    This is probably the 5th or 6th time I've seen this episode and it's still exciting.

    Easy 4 star episode for me.

    I may have missed something, but is Eddington's debut "real" or part of the fantasy?

    I had a hard time with Odo in this story. I know he was having trouble with having to share his security details with Eddington, but throwing a fit and quitting is ridiculous. Most of the problem Starfleet had with Odo, Odo brought on himself.

    He boards the ship as a passenger and starts acting real strange. Even Kira told him this was not the time to go on a quest. Then instead of a least checking to see if he could help the others, he puts Kira on a shuttle and leaves with her.

    He did redeem himself in the end.

    A strong opener.

    spoiler for the next episode (if you're watching DS9 for the first time):

    I'm replying to a 9-month old comment, but Jack, everything in this episode is "real". This episode ends with everyone but Odo & Kira captured. So the Dominion takes them and hooks them up to the machine in time for the next episode.

    Here we start season three. This is Ron Moore's first script and the first appearance of the Defiant, and of course it ends with the first we see of Odo's people (Salome Jens). The grand scheme changes to the show's focus is, as Jammer said in his review, a somewhat more action/adventure-oriented story, with more battles and explosions. The idea here of tracking down the Founders seems reasonable-ish, though I do somewhat wish that they could discuss more openly whether this is actually a good idea, given that the Founders certainly want to be kept a secret based on their behaviour. Is there any other way that the Federation, Romulans et al. could try to negotiate with the Dominion? Anyway, the biggest indicator of the new stakes are the way Sisko does acceede to T'Rul's

    ...T'Rul's point that they must leave Dax and O'Brien behind -- which for me is more shocking than the Defiant being attacked and boarded, for one thing because the Defiant was *just introduced* and so we have little idea of what it being taken over means. A good way to demonstrate that the Dominion really is the priority here.

    Is sending a ship that is so overpowered it almost is tearing itself apart the best way to communicate to the Dominion that they have peaceful intentions, though? I get that they want to communicate two things -- "we are peaceful, but don't mess with us," though.

    The two big character threads in this episode are Sisko's and Odo's. For Sisko, we are told a few times (by Dax and by Jake, as well as by Sisko himself) that the Dominion situation and Sisko's visit to Starfleet Headquarters have made him come to realize how passionate he has become about protecting Bajor and how much he now values DS9 as his home. As a development overall, this makes sense, and the symbolic actions of 1) unpacking his Earth-storage stuff and 2) preferring to be out in the field rather than back at HQ do seem to be meaningful; but rather than let us discover how this all affects Sisko, we have Jake and Dax spell it out for us, in rather a lot of words.

    For Odo, the episode's two main elements are his anger at Eddington being brought onto the station and his being drawn to his people. Odo's interpreting Eddington's appointment as being a racial thing (don't trust the shapeshifter!) is part of the setup for his obsession about the nebula where he eventually finds his people. I should say here that while Odo being annoyed at having an officer posted to head up Starfleet security is logical, his reaction is way overblown, particularly since they already went through this in this show with the Odo/Primmin thing in season one (which was quickly dropped). There and here, I think Odo's prickly, angry reaction to any threat to his position and authority is partly the result of his insecurity, and here his assuming that it's a racial decision seems to indicate that Odo still has very little trust that anyone sees him as anything other than The Shapeshifter. Sisko's not wrong in telling Kira that Odo brings this type of thing on himself, though, since Odo's regular attempts to distance himself from humanoids and his continual desire to skirt basic freedoms in the pursuit of justice do just as much to alienate him from others as humanoids' isolation of him. Still, while Odo's fit in this episode has some precedent, it does seem overblown and inconsistent with Odo's ability to -- after a bit of reassurance from Sisko -- take the Primmin thing in stride, to say nothing of his bizarre outburst of threatening Quark. I'm not sure why Odo's reaction in this episode is as extreme as it is, beyond that it's necessary to re-emphasize how little Odo feels he fits in in order to bring us to the end revelations.

    On the other hand, Odo's feeling the pull to the Nebula, to the point where he abandons the Defiant to its possible destruction, fits in with his character, and what the series generally presents -- which is that Odo's instinctual pull toward his own people is stronger than most of the ties that he forms in his everyday life. Odo rescuing Kira but dragging her along to the trip is a lovely encapsulation of their dynamic, with Kira as both Odo's greatest champion and as his sometimes reluctant tether to the humanoid world; Odo brings her along unconscious because he cares so about her, even though he leaves the rest of the Defiant to be destroyed, but his instinctual pull is strong enough that he *only* thinks about Kira enough to save her and (selfishly?) keeping her with him. Odo's insistence that Starfleet doesn't trust the shapeshifter maybe is for good reason; Odo may recognize on some level, even if he doesn't want to admit it, that his loyalties to the humanoids he lives with is somewhat provisional on his having none of his own people.

    Given that I thought Quark's complaints in The Jem'Hadar were a little much given that he wasn't that badly treated there by Sisko, it's worth noting that he is treated *horribly* in this episode by Sisko and Odo. Odo at least we are meant to see is unstable. But what is up with that Sisko scene where he brings in the Nagus' sceptre? Even if we presume that Sisko is in the right to make appeals to Quark the private citizen's head of state for him to risk his life, Sisko making Quark kiss the Nagus' sceptre while Sisko holds it and has a maniacal gleam in his eye makes him seem like a psychopathic supervillain. I don't know what they were thinking. The later scene of Sisko and Quark wishing each other luck is nicely done, for what it's worth.

    So the character work is mixed, and it's hard to evaluate the plot halfway through (and spoilers, the plot in part 2 is not great), so I'd say a high 2.5 stars.

    Also, while it seems plausible that Sisko would feel much more for Bajor than he did a while back, it is a development that has mostly occurred offscreen over the past year -- since The Siege, Sisko has either had minor functionary roles in episodes that involved Bajoran issues (Cardassians mostly, Sanctuary) or has stayed out altogether (The Collaborator -- except for Winn's appeal, which would hardly endear him to the planet). It's a development that's largely occurred off screen over s2, despite it being an important one.

    Effective enough but suffering a little from middle part syndrome. Perhaps the strongest theme is Odo's displacement from the norm - his erratic and increasingly obsessive behaviour provides a jarring counterpoint. Of course, we get the payoff finally at the end. Elsewhere not a lot happens until the excellent final action sequence. But really this is all about setting up for the concluding part.

    Two things I remember when watching this for the first time. For a ship designed to beat the Borg the Defiant sure gets its ass kicked quickly (nice phasers though) and... how many cans of hairspray died for Dax's new style! 3 stars.

    "It's definitely one of the most gripping hours of DS9 to fall into the adventure category so far."

    I got to disagree with you there, Jammer. "The Search, Part I" is indeed a fine episode and nice follow-up to "The Jem'Hadar", but it's a got a lot of padding in it. The opening is very exciting, with all sorts of new elements added into the DS9 mix (the Defiant, the Wardroom, the cloaking device, T'Rul, Eddington, etc.), but once that initial burst of activity is over, not much really happens in the this supposed "action adventure" episode until the final fight aboard the Defiant with the Jem'Hadar. At that point the intensity picks back up again.

    There are indeed some good character moments thrown into the padding to at least keep it interesting. Odo's fury over having to share a room with Quark, Kira's solid trust in Odo and Quark's adamant request to get the hell out of Dodge once his role in the mission is fulfilled are especially nice. But, still, I just can't quite shake the feeling that this story should be bigger, grander, more spectacular. We're supposedly off to meet the Founders and further develop the Dominion threat, but we mostly just get people sitting around talking in the Defiant's drab and featureless quarters. It almost feels like they were just biding time until they could get to the more noteworthy elements of Part II. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like TNG: "Descent, Part I", which was almost nothing but padding - there is quality material here. It just needed more meat in its middle acts.

    I also could have done without Sisko basically blackmailing Quark into helping him yet again. In "Emissary" Sisko refused to even consider Quark's legitimate concerns for his safety under the new Provisional Government. Here he once again dismisses Quark's very well-founded fears of the Jem'Hadar and forces him to join the mission.

    WTF HAIR - 17 (+1) (Seriously, WTF were they thinking with Terry Farrell's hairstyle?!)



    As far as the Quark story goes, Quark stays on with the Karemma and is never in any harm. Quark to this point has probably done the most exploration into the Gamma Quadrant, so it's reasonable that Sisko would want his help for the tamer part of the mission.

    I agree that it makes sense for Sisko to want Quark to go on the mission. And it's true that Quark is only involved in the benign part of said mission. However, that doesn't mean that Sisko didn't coerce him into going.

    Something Sisko could really learn from the Ferengi, and Quark in particular, is how to negotiate - the art of the deal. He doesn't try at all to persuade Quark or make it worth his while. He just threatens him with the implied power of the Grand Nagus. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I think it was implied that the order for Quark to go to the Gamma Quadrant from the Nagus himself. (As an out of universe explanation, they probably didn't want to hire Shawn Wallace to only say a single line.)

    But I agree with you Luke about dealmaking, it seems that for some reason the Federation has no idea how to bargain with their neighbors anymore. And, like it or not, Quark is way more valuable to Sisko and to DS9 than he wants to admit.

    I liked the Romulan girl it would have been nice to make her a recurring character. We could have gotten some good interactions between her and Worf or maybe Quark(since he'll hit on pretty much any species) And just learn a little bit about Romulans.

    Great episode - good follow up to the Season 2 ender.
    The battle scene on the bridge of the Defiant before and after the Jem'Hadar board was good as well as the suspense of trying to evade them initially with the cloak/powering down.
    The bonds between the characters comes through as well - interesting side to Odo with him brooding and then being singularly focused on that nebula.
    The final scene came across as a bit cliche for me when Odo meets the people from his home world. Obviously the interest lies in what happened to the Defiant but as this is a 2 part episode, we can wait.
    I'd give this 3 stars out of 4 - seems like more questions being raised than answers being given but no question, an exciting hour of Trek.

    Good episode but some things that bug me:

    1) How is that Dr. Bashir knows how to use a console on the bridge of prototype ship he's never been on before and can fire weapons on an attacking ship? Starfleet Medical teaches this?

    2) Why didn't the Dominion keep the Defiant, take it apart and study it to learn more about Federation technology?

    3) How come the Romulans never bothered to assign an officer on the Defiant after to protect the cloaking device? It would have been interesting have a Romulan character as a regular character.

    "How is that Dr. Bashir knows how to use a console on the bridge of prototype ship he's never been on before and can fire weapons on an attacking ship? Starfleet Medical teaches this?"

    He's a genetically enhanced genius.

    He's a genetically enhanced genius.

    That wouldn't give him knowledge out of thin air. I hope you weren't being serious.

    "That wouldn't give him knowledge out of thin air. I hope you weren't being serious. "

    I was only half serious this time, but... maybe he's hacking computer of Deep Space 9 as a hobby (hacking, because maybe some data was classified above his security clearance of that time), and he has read USS Defiant Officers Manual (or something like that).

    "How is that Dr. Bashir knows how to use a console on the bridge of prototype ship he's never been on before and can fire weapons on an attacking ship? Starfleet Medical teaches this?"

    Given the consoles are all touchscreens (and not physical buttons), I assume the consoles conform to whatever setup the user chooses. Different species would have different optimal console designs (based on hand dexterity & field of vision), and individuals themselves could customize their consoles to their liking. Even if Engineers decided a brand new console design was the most optimal, it would still be an awful idea to prevent someone from calling up a different version. For example, if a visiting doctor suddenly needed access to a console in a medical emergency, you'd want him to instantly call up the screen he's most comfortable with using, rather than making him have to endure "introduction to starfleet console display 475.2 beta" before using it.

    Bashir would just call up whatever console display he's comfortable with and go from there. He might not know all the new systems on the ship, but he should certainly be able to do all the basic stuff right away (engines are still engines, communications are still communications...), and ask the computer anything he's unsure about.

    Things I liked:

    The Jem'Hadar ships have purple lights

    T'Rul -- so familiar, so familiar, I like this Romulan's no-nonsense style, so familiar--ach! Seska!

    Quark was off the ship quickly

    Sisko likes African art

    The ending planet--aside from the "Welcome home," it also just looked cool

    Things I didn't like:

    Battle. Yawn. I don't object to the occasional fight, but I hate when it becomes the focus, and from talk I know the Dominion will become important, so I fear DS9 will start having lots of battles.

    Dax's hair. Women who work in fast-paced serious jobs don't have elaborate hairstyles that take a long time to do. They wear no-fuss hair like Kira. Did the producers think Dax wasn't attractive enough? Blech. It's one of the reasons I never liked Beverly Crusher--hair that flopped all over, including into her patients' faces.

    The random redshirt, who I hadn't even seen before he died during the battle. Where did he come from? This small ship had room for an extra?

    Quark. Just really hate him.

    Great episode but one nitpick:

    When the Jem Hadar boarded the Defiant, why did they start taking swings at Odo? Shouldn't they know that it's bad to beat up a founder? And clearly the writers knew by this point that they were going to have the founders be changlings. Unless maybe the Jem Hadar don't realize someone is a changling until they turn liquid. This seems to be supported by "The Abandoned" where the Jem Hadar gets all mystified when he sees Odo as a liquid. Might also explain why the Vorta and Jem Hadar in the last episode don't seem to recognize Odo as a founder. Do the founders only start appearing like Odo after this episode?

    3.5 stars

    I liked the addition of the Defiant. It made an awful lot of sense as we saw in the season two finale runabouts would be no match for a Dominion warship. Second we knew Starfleet were working on weapons to fend off the Borg and a warship like this would be obvious endpoint. And I remember at the time this originally aired reading that Majel Barrett didn't like the idea of a warship on Trek but no matter how much one may want peace or negotiations to peace they'll always exist someone not amenable to that and in those situations I think one has the right to defend themselves and when the adversary as powerful as the Borg or Dominion you'll need a warship. One annoyance in my opinion was the station should have been given The upgrades that it eventually got and we saw on "The Way of the Warrior" and a few Starfleet ships sent to DS9 would have made sense

    The battle sequences in this episode were absolutely top shelf stuff--the explosions on the bridge, the decloaking of the Defiant as Jem Hadar ships were relentlessly pounding it, the chaos on the bridge, the destroyed sets , the Jem'Hadar beaming aboard was terrifying. The Jem' hadar hadn't yet been humanized and defanged to a degree Another tense moment was when Dax and Obrien triggered the security system on the communication relay and it shut down everything and we are left wondering what became of them

    Liked Dax new haircut but guess the studio didn't cause she was wearing a pony tail extension by the third episode

    I was curious what the Crew would find upon entering the Gamma Quadrant after three months of staying out of it. The cat n mouse with Jem'Hadar ships and going dark hoping they couldn't detect the Defiant were quite suspenseful
    Like I said before Eddington meh to me
    Romulan T'Ruhl I liked

    The sisko/Dax ward room scene enjoyed was quite good

    Odo's search for his people was not something I was heavily invested in even though it had been a lingering thread going all the way back to the first season--their home world was well done in term of design and way it was lit

    One thing I didn't like was Sisko making Quark to kiss the Nagus' sceptre. To me that was meant to humiliate Quark and it didn't help that Sisko enjoyed it way too much. When I saw the scene for the first time in the episode's trailer I figured it was actually the Founders somehow capturing or killing Zek and forcing Quark to bow and kiss the sceptre

    The Search, Parts I and II are good episodes but there are a few things that nag me:

    1) What happened to Subcommander T'Rul? She was supposed to protect the cloaking device on loan to Starfleet but we never see again after these episodes. It would have been interesting to have a regular Romulan character on DS9.

    2) Dr. Bashir is on the bridge during the battle with the Jem'Hadar and he knows how to operate the weapons system on the Defiant? Does this strike anyone as unusual? Defiant is a prototype vessel how many people in Starfleet are trained to operate it in the first place?

    3) The Jem'Hadar board and capture the Defiant and then give it back to Sisko and his crew. Was the Dominion feeling generous on this day? They had no interest in getting a first hand look at Federation technology and a Romulan cloaking device?

    Oh, and another cool thing about this episode is that Babylon 5 ripped it off-the White Star debuted a year *after* this episode. Kina pokes a hole in the "DS9 is nothing more than a Babylon 5 ripoff!".

    @ Iceman,

    That's an interesting point that I'll think about. However it strikes me as problematic to suggest that giving Sheridan a flagship means they borrowed from DS9. Unlike in DS9, B5 is actually about Sheridan mustering a fleet, which sooner or later would necessitate a flagship, so I don't see how they were getting away from that one.

    Given how meticulously JMS planned Babylon 5, it wouldn't surprise me if the White Star was part of the material he shared with Paramount.

    @Peter G.-It's speculation, but I see some a few too many similarities for me to write it off.

    @Jason R.-I can't find the evidence for this, but I remember reading somewhere that the White Star wasn't in the original plan. And JMS himself said that he was confident that the DS9 producers and writers hadn't seen his bible-only the higher ups at Paramount. The Defiant was the creation of the DS9 writers, and according to Memory Alpha, was entirely their idea. So it was created by people who hadn't seen the material (if we go with his story that Paramount did steal his idea). I strongly doubt that the Defiant ripped off the White Star-it's far more plausible the other way around.

    I feel I should begin by quoting directly from my comment on Season 2's opener, “The Homecoming”: “Many of the stories tend to shy away from the mythologised, allegorical approach of traditional Trek in favour of political realism. While I don't disparage the team for wanting to take this approach, it's an incredibly difficult task to pull off in a sci-fi setting like Trek's. In most fictional universes, there are many elements from contemporary culture which are basically replicated or transposed into the fiction for the sake of making the universe seem more real; comic books still involve global politics alongside magic and superhuman adventures, series like nuBSG use a pastiche of contemporary socio-political models against the sci-fi elements. The problem in Trek is that the "fictional universe" is quite specifically not meant to be fiction so much as extrapolation. It's set in the *real* future, a place where, according to the creators, our current socio-political climate will eventually lead. When one adopts the comic-book model of contemporary pastiche, one directly contradicts this model. That in and of itself is not terrible, but of course in Trek's case, the model which is extrapolated is not arbitrary but quite specifically didactic; it's not only the future which will happen, but which *should* happen, so we say. The Trek ethos is built around this ubiquitous "should.”

    I went on to say “assuming for the moment that the creators had no ulterior motivation, in their attempt to create political realism, they have generated a disquieting tension with this ethos.” Having completed Season 2, I can amend to say that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the creators *do* in fact have ulterior motivations beyond creating political realism. There are too many instances of direct Trek subversion written into the scripts for us to ignore. For me, these attempts have not been convincing. But the series still has plenty of time to make its case. Most of the main characters have improved, and there are a number of (mostly) interesting recurring characters from Bajor and Cardassia. The Siskos are the weakest link in the cast both in terms of writing and portrayal.

    On to Season 3...

    Teaser : ***.5, 5%

    After recapping “The Jem'Hadar,” Kira informs the senior staff sans Sisko (who all decided to get fresh hairdos while running months of battle simulations, it seems) that DS9 is pretty screwed if the Dominion decides to attack. How she arrived at this conclusion, when we only saw a handful of Dominion ships and have no idea who or what the Founders even are, let a lone what their abilities are, is a mystery. Dax concludes that their most realistic option is to collapse the wormhole. This is a topic we should return to, but in the meantime, the presence of a cloaked vessel triggers the station's security. It decloaks, and it's revealed to be a Federation ship, albeit a weird one. Sisko, because he's an asshole, hails them from the ship and says he “wanted to test the 'Defiant's' cloaking device.” Cute, commander. Really fucking cute.

    Act 1 : **.5, 18%

    To complement their new hairdos, Sisko gives a briefing in their new set, the...briefing room. He goes over the Defiant's design, and boy is there a lot to unpack here. Sisko says that Starfleet began experimenting with designs for warships after “The Best of Both Worlds.” Oh, and Sisko was one of the designers. So we've got some major ret-conning going on, both with Sisko and the history of the Federation, but does it hold up?

    Sisko—while we did get some hints of Sisko The Builder in Season 1's “Dramatis Personæ,” the idea that he went from designing warships to commanding an outpost tasked with using diplomacy to bring an ally into the Federation strains credulity. A lot. We also haven't seen Sisko have any technical knowledge or instincts regarding, say, the uncoöperative Cardassian station he's been running for two years. Furthermore, we are to imply, I think, that Sisko's decided to design big guns to kill Borg after they killed Jennifer. And this is the example he set for Jake? When you're in pain, seek revenge? That's morally bankrupt by 20th century standards, let alone 24th.

    Starfleet—According to Sisko, the Defiant's design began after BoBW, and NOT after “Q Who” which is when Lt Shelby was tasked with creating a defence against the Borg. So, this was not part of that same initiative. There was some luck involved, certainly, but Starfleet got its pyrrhic victory at Wolf 359, as Worf foreshadowed, through cunning and guile. That the followup would be to start designing warships (and we will eventually see that the Defiant was not the only result of this change), makes little sense. What would actually have behoved the Federation would be to assign followup missions to the Hanson's (7of9's parents). Why wouldn't the Federation have negotiated for use of a Romulan cloak to conduct covert reconnaissance on the Borg and learn of their weaknesses? Hell, at this point, they have made an alliance with Hugh and the renegade Borg, where's the followup? No, instead, Ron Moore (no doubt with Behr's blessing) decides that Starfleet reneged on the promises from “Peak Performance” and militarised the fleet, even though the evidence was clear that brute force was not going to serve them against the Borg.

    All of this bullshit gets us to where we need to go, apparently, as now Sisko has a ship to command and he can, you know, Trek places in something a little better equipped than those flying winnebagos they call runabouts. The Defiant, in any event, is “over” (read “poorly”) designed. It tends to tear itself apart because its guns have too much testosterone or whatever. Kira thinks this makes the ship a poor choice for fighting the Dominion, but Sisko claims the Defiant's task is actually to seek a peace with the Founders. He requested this ship because it “has teeth.” At least this explains why it looks like a fist with nacelles.

    Without knocking, two new characters enter the briefing, and the show. Ja Rule or whatever, a Romulan representative, coolly portrayed by Marth Hackett, and Lt Cmmdr Michael Eddington, a smarmy gold shirt. After he makes a pass at Kira (ew), Odo makes a terse comment. After everyone else leaves, Odo pre-empts Sisko's explanation. He thinks he's been relieved of his duties as security chief. And he's half-right. Eddington is taking over Starfleet security. As far as Odo's concerned, he's not going to report to Eddington, so he's resigning. Couple things: so Sisko is allowed to request whatever ship he wants for his mission, including one which hasn't really been finished, but he can't choose his own security chief? Also, isn't antagonising Odo going to strain relations with Bajor? On the other hand, it is reasonable that Starfleet would have concerns about Odo, given his...unique method of meting out justice. We saw in “Necessary Evil” how selective his judgement can be. Anyway, I'm sure Odo's arc will be to prove his worth to Starfleet. We'll see.

    We get another pedestrian scene with the Siskos. Jake makes the point that DS9 has become home. Please remember how lame this all is when we get to Voyager. Rather than giving us any build-up to this change in Sisko's character, the actors just *tell* us that DS9 is home now. What, uh, what prompted this? Was it getting hotboxed for no reason? Was it seeing his best friend betray his uniform? Was it the camping trip to the GQ? Is that it? Does Sisko enjoy living on the border with a deadly enemy? Does he enjoy having his son live in mortal peril? Eh, Probably.

    Odo is sulking on the Promenade. Kira tries to cheer him up and get him to stick around by offering him a spot on the Defiant as a Bajoran representative.

    Act 2 : *.5, 18%

    Meanwhile, we learn that, although the writers rewrote Sisko's backstory, they failed to take advantage of the opportunity by making him a better person. Sisko managed to convince Zek that Quark needed to go along on this mission, which will begin by re-establishing contact with the Karima (introduced by the Kinky Knights who say Eee from “Rules of Acquisition”). Why in god's name Sisko would want Quark along on another trip to the GQ after “The Jem'Hadar” besides subjecting him to torture is beyond me. Maybe all the Dominion secrets will be kept in a big safe, and he'll need Quark to pick the lock. So, Commander Petty Fucking Assbag makes Quark kiss he head of Zek's staff before he leaves. Classy.

    Later, Dax confronts Sisko, offering him the advice, “don't volunteer for dangerous missions.” Okay.... Sisko gets out of sorts, without any real prompting from Jadzia, and screams that “If the station falls, then Bajor fall, and I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.” Okay, dude, call down. It's good you don't want the Dominion to blow up Bajor, but do we really need you to say this? I mean, I think the DMZ and every other Federation asset is also in danger from these super kamikaze soldiers as well, no? Oh. I see. We are being treated to another clumsy character-development scene. She says that Curzon always saw Sisko as the kind of man who could never be happy being out of the thick of the action, who would be comfortable sitting behind a desk with admiral stars on his uniform. So he's a lot like Pike. And Kirk. And Picard. But unlike all of those characters, including one we *barely* saw in the series, we aren't shown why this might be true for Sisko, Jadzia just tells us it is. This is pretty anæmic stuff, Ron.

    Aboard the Defiant, we learn from Bashir that Starfleet, or Ben or whoever designed this stupid ship thought that a war vessel so over-gunned it might blow up at any moment shouldn't be equipped to deal with many casualties. Of course. Oh, but it's so scrappy though! So feisty and too cool for your peacenik BS Starfleet. Fuck yeah, brah. So let's see, what else? O'Brien is running tactical. I mean, yeah he has combat experience, but who is in the engine room? Or did Starfleet decide they don't need one of those, either? Jadzia is at the helm, because who needs to do any science, anyway? Ja Rule is running the engineering station, because..I've got nothing. And Kira's manning the guns. This much I can believe. Before they can leave, Odo is granted permission to board, and they take off.

    Odo is assigned quarters with Quark. Maybe this is the torture Ben had in mind? Quark is inexplicably under the impression that Odo might be happy to be bunking with him and starts gabbing, only for Odo to go off on him. Quite the contrary, Odo needs to revert to liquid, just like he did in 'The Forsaken.” Remember that touching scene with Lwaxana cradling him in her gown? Well, now Odo doesn't want Quark “gawking” at him in this compromising position.

    After a while, they pick up two Jem'Hadar ships nearby, and they seem to be able to see through the Defiant's cloak...but only if it's at warp. I guess no more warp in the GQ then?

    Act 3 : **.5, 18%
    They Defiant arrives at the Karima homeworld...somehow. Quark is negotiating with one of them for information about the Founders. The Karima are apparently the GQ version of the Ferengi, as this derpy guy bumbles about the bridge trying to haggle for every little thing, including Kira's earring. He claims to have no knowledge of the Founders actual existence, let alone where they might be. He does name-drop the Vorta, who are their business contacts with the Dominion. Derpy guy pulls up a starchart to show Sisko where the Vorta subspace relay they use is. Odo has a sixth sense something or other regarding a nebula he sees. Quark asks to stay behind with Derpy, having performed his function in service of the plot, I mean the Nagus, and Sisko mercifully lets him.

    During his night's sleep, Kira wakes Sisko (who sleeps in his uniform just like fucking Data) to berate him about Starfleet's demotion of Odo. Well, at least she's asking for permission before she starts ranting like a lunatic, now. Sisko makes the point that Odo all but refuses to follow the chain of command or play by the rules, which Sisko would prefer. Oh PULEEASE. Sisko's most defining character trait thus far is his disdain for regulations and preference for “getting the job done,” which is precisely what Odo is being pushed aside for. Whatever.

    The Defiant arrives at the relay station, and Sisko sends O'Brien and Dax down to investigate. They seem to have no problems accessing the Dominion information and discover the coordinates for the station's principal contact point right before an alarm sounds and they are captured. A shield appears and Sisko has to decide whether to de-cloak (and expose the Defiant to approaching Jem'Hadar ships). He decides to abandon O'Brien and Dax. Now, this is fine, but I would again like everyone to remember this scene whenever Harry Kim can't get a lock on somebody because a shield or interference suddenly appears. This is a plot contrivance of exactly the same type. With the information Dax sent before they were captured, Sisko takes the Defiant towards the contact point.

    Act 4 : ***, 13% (very short act)

    Sisko calls on Odo to handle a security matter but Odo is too busy to be bothered at the moment. As Kira decides to find out what is going on with him, two Jem'Hadar ships enter the system.

    Kira confronts her friend about his odd behaviour. For some reason, Odo is feeling drawn towards this nebula. He says he's felt pulled towards something ever since they entered the GQ. He's petulant and emotional with her insisting to leave immediately in a shuttle (the Defiant has shuttles?). Before their argument can continue, the Defiant is hit by an attacking Jem'Hadar ship. Having obviously lost the element of surprise (assuming they ever had it), Sisko drops the cloak and engages the ships in battle.

    Act 5 : ***.5, 18%

    Consoles are exploding, red shirts are dying and doctors are piloting. We get a view of the Defiant's phaser cannons which are as different from typical Federation design as the rest of the ship. Below decks, with main power and shields gone, some Jem'Hadar board and attack Kira and Odo—but they don't shoot at them. The visceral action is enjoyable here, but when Sisko knocks out four armed super soldiers by himself in hand-to-hand combat, I'm taken out of the moment. I didn't like it when Kirk did it, but at least one could make the “it's the 60s” excuse. This is Mary Sue nonsense. Odo is having more luck—which does make sense. When Kira is wounded by a Jem'Hadar weapon, he manages to get the two of them onto a shuttle and escape.

    Kira awakens. Visitor does a good job of conveying the myriad emotions Kira must be feeling—anger, pain, loss, confusion. One-track Odo has taken them to his magical nebula of course. They discover a rogue planetoid within and beam themselves down. On the surface, from what appears to be a large sea emerge several Changelings. One of them, who bears a striking resemblance to the Ur-alien from “The Chase,” welcomes Odo home.

    Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%

    Okay, let's start with that ending. Everything else aside, it's great that we are finally being shown Odo's people; that kind of reveal is exactly the kind of punch a season opener should carry. Odo's story is pretty good here, but I think the issues around his job on the station and Michael Eddington is unnecessary and gets in the way. Why hasn't Odo ever felt drawn to this place before now? They could not have been far from Dominion territory in “Shadowplay,” could they? Sure, he didn't have the starchart, but...did the Changelings turn on a beacon or something? Trigger his programming? This contrived sixth sense bullshit could have been circumvented if the opening acts had been about Odo expressing his desire for discovering his origins, picking up the threads from “The Alternate” and “Vortex.” The conflict he's having with Starfleet doesn't service this reveal at all, and the connection between his Act 4 aloofness and his threat to resign is tenuous at best. However, Auberjonois does an excellent job of conveying intense animalistic need he's developed for this discovery. We will have to see how this continues to play out in part two.

    As for the rest of the story, the atmosphere aboard the Defiant, the submarine sneaking about enemy seas, is very effective, as is the onboard action stuff, Deadpool Sisko notwithstanding. However, I find the character work with Sisko very predictable and poorly-executed. If they're going to pull this new backstory out of their butts, they could at least take the opportunity to course-correct on some of his character problems, but instead they double down. The Defiant itself is overall a good addition to the series, offering the crew the opportunity to move about the galaxy, but it brings some unwelcome elements as well. It's toxically militarised and hyper-masculine features reflect the worst qualities of Sisko himself, which the series seems to want to double down on.

    Final Score : **.5

    @ Elliott,

    In a way there is little a show can do to repair a character that you basically think sucks. In VOY, for example, I can't imagine anything they could have done with Neelix past S2 that would have pleased me. At best he would have been out of sight. Early in the series he could have been taken in an entirely different direction, but once he became defined it was a non-starter for me - the end. So I get it, and if Sisko is that to you then I sympathize in a way.

    That being said, while you try to make fair comments to an extent you may not realize how much your reviews can come off simply as ripping on something you hate. And although your ratings don't directly reflect "hate" the general tenor of your comments seems to suggest utter disrespect for the material. I've seen shows about which I certainly felt that. I try to disentangle your generally sarcastic style with the actual critique of the episode, but in this case the sarcasm seems to itself be a criticism, in the same way one might harshly say to someone "Come on, idiot, can you really be that dumb?" However I recognize it's possible that the sarcasm is so prevalent that perhaps I'm attributing to it more value than I should in trying to parse what your real experience was.

    Actually that's my issue: I have no idea what your experience was when watching it. From what you write it sounds like it was mostly unpleasant and that one thing after another upset you. If that's not the case then your style seems to be misrepresenting your point of view on the material itself. When your commentary seems to offer little more than repeated opportunities to find things you find stupid, it's hard to believe you don't have an axe to grind - and I fully admit that I love reading Jammer's reviews that have the sarcasm turned up to 11. But many of your objections don't really feel to me like real objections, if I may say so. For instance your complaint about Odo's "BS sixth sense" for example - really? That's the thing to object to, that they wrote in that he has an instinct of some sort? But the following paragraph is a better example:

    "Sisko—while we did get some hints of Sisko The Builder in Season 1's “Dramatis Personæ,” the idea that he went from designing warships to commanding an outpost tasked with using diplomacy to bring an ally into the Federation strains credulity. A lot. We also haven't seen Sisko have any technical knowledge or instincts regarding, say, the uncoöperative Cardassian station he's been running for two years. Furthermore, we are to imply, I think, that Sisko's decided to design big guns to kill Borg after they killed Jennifer. And this is the example he set for Jake? When you're in pain, seek revenge? That's morally bankrupt by 20th century standards, let alone 24th. "

    You can do better than this, man. This is weak sauce. The episode never suggests that Sisko was working *as an engineer*, and likewise it's simply preposterous to draw the conclusion that because Starfleet wanted to build a Borg-buster ship that therefore the moral being offered is that when you're hurt revenge is the best thing to pursue. Simply ridiculous!

    Why get in the way of your very good insights with objections such as these?

    Hi Peter G

    Full disclosure, with some exceptions, the more sarcastic my remarks, the less I enjoy the episode. I think Jammer is about the same in his reviews, same with a lot of video bloggers like SFDebris, too. That’s a facet of my personality. If that’s upsetting to you, I’m genuinely sorry.

    I found the character work with Sisko very frustrating here because the writers wasted an opportunity to make him better. I don’t think it’s ever too late to fix a character—or ruin one. Voyager managed to ruin 7of9 in the god damned finale.

    Regarding your specific remarks about Sisko’s backstory, I fudged a little bit—the info that Sisko was one of the Defiant’s designers is made explicit in the episode “Defiant,” but it tracks with what we learn here. And as I pointed out in my review, in genuinely bothers me that 1. Starfleet would be so stupid and reactionary as to try and build warships do deal with the Borg *after* the fleet was decimated, and 2. that Sisko would cope with his loss by directly and aggressively trying to defeat the enemy which killed his wife. That’s not enlightened, that’s small-minded and childish.

    Oh and by the way, if you think my DS9 reviews are sarcastic, just wait till we get to Enterprise.

    @ Elliott,

    "Full disclosure, with some exceptions, the more sarcastic my remarks, the less I enjoy the episode. I think Jammer is about the same in his reviews, same with a lot of video bloggers like SFDebris, too. That’s a facet of my personality. If that’s upsetting to you, I’m genuinely sorry. "

    Oh, I don't have a problem with sarcasm. When done right it can be quite amusing and take the piss out of a subject in just the right way. But a wrong way can include what sounds like bitterness (not necessarily pertaining to you). That said my object, if you want to call it that, is that I feel like the sarcasm ends up *replacing content* rather than being a commentary on content. Like, for instance, I just watched Plinkett's review of SW: The Last Jedi, and boy was it sarcastic at times. But I never felt like he was being sarcastic just to pass the time; his critique seemed always on point and a reflection on what he saw on the screen. That's what makes the sarcasm funny: it's a humorous way of being confronted with an observation that I recognize. He says a thing in a funny way and I think "Yeah, that's true!" and the sarcasm makes it funny. Seinfeld used to do that a lot, where they'd point out something immediately recognizable as "real". The key thing is that we actually recognize the thing that the sarcasm is describing to us. But in your review (just this one) I can't say I observed most of the things you mention.

    Let's say, for example, I wrote of review of The Search Part 1 that contained the following objection:

    "Here we see a prototypical white cultural stereotype of a black man, where the black man is shown cruising around someone else's neighborhood with his big space gun looking for trouble with his posse. This racist and vile representation furthers cultural abuse towards an oppressed people, depicting them as little more than hooligans and not respecting private property. And what's worse, his accomplices are all white people (even the aliens are white people in disguise!!) which is meant to legitimize this portrayal, as if to say "you see! we were there to vouch that this black man really is a criminal." This episode should be ashamed of itself for both villifying 'the other' and portraying a black man as fundamentally being afraid of his neighbors, when in fact in real life it is the black man's neighborhood that is invaded."

    I'm not saying you wrote something like this, but imagine reading a review of this type. In theory its content is "coherent" insofar as it makes internal logic. The problem is that this account of what the episode portrays simply doesn't match up with reality, nor with any realistic interpretation of what the authors intended and the actor's portrayed. So this is a 'real objection' in terms of it's identified a potential problem and shown where in the episode that problem occurs, except that I don't think this example in particular is a reasonable objection. I doubt many readers will read this objection and immediately realize "yeah! that's exactly what I saw too!" Not that every objection must be about something obvious; but nevertheless one sometimes gets the impress that objections of this sort reflect more on the writer than on the material the review is supposedly about. Again, that was an abstract example and not meant to represent any particulars of how you framed your particular objections. My point is that I think it's important that the reader identify with what you say you saw, and I can't say (certainly in the examples I provided in my last comment) that I saw the same episode you did. For the record, while I may disagree I am totally supportive of views that disagree with mine as long as they're backed up by facts.

    "Oh and by the way, if you think my DS9 reviews are sarcastic, just wait till we get to Enterprise."

    I will look forward to it, then.

    I was just watching this one last week too, and the only thing that really bothered me this episode was something Elliot pointed out with Sisko manipulating Quark into a potentially dangerous mission with, frankly, very little in it for Quark. I think it comes down to Brooks’ acting after he uses the Nagus’ staff to order Quark around. Brooks has this sort of devilishly evil smile like he really enjoyed having a big power trip over Quark. It just doesn’t work for what we’d expect from a Starfleet officer or what we’d even expect from Sisko. Sisko was super courteous to Quark in “The Jem’Hadar”, so I don’t know why Sisko needs to pull a 180 and ride Quark around here. The sadistic pleasure he apparently gets out of it is a bit appalling.

    @ Chrome,

    I can see that interpretation. Strangely I always saw that scene as being simply funny, and in a way endearing because it treats Quark like a de facto member of the crew, notwithstanding the fact that in universe he isn't anything of the kind. But in a sort of meta sense he is because he's a main cast member and we would almost unavoidably see him as being allied with the rest of the main cast unless the writers were to go very far out of their way to avoid this. But they wouldn't have done that at the time since the cast 'team dynamic' was very much a Trek thing. So on a storytelling level I think this is the writers' way of saying that Quark is functionally one of the team even though his internal story is that he isn't; he's just in denial. And that premise will eventually become a core part of his character narrative through the series, so I don't think I'm just making this up. In that light I see Sisko's devilish attitude as being a coy way of winking at Quark that he's a member of the main cast, like it or not, and is going to participate in certain episodes even if he strictly speaking wouldn't be involved in such a mission in real life. Call it a poetic way of laughing self-referentially at why a character who has no business being on this mission was written into the episode anyhow. It's a writing thing - they wanted Quark in it! Simple as that.

    If we wanted to look more literally at Sisko's behavior, maybe a case could be made that, being officially respectful of other cultures, he'll take a page out of Picard's book and treat others how they expect to be treated within their own culture. In the case of the Ferengi the joke is that this entails being treated disrespectfully and like a slave unless you're the one in power. So the irony here is that Sisko is respecting Quark's culture by being disrespectful to him, and he knows it, which is where the humor comes into it. Whether Sisko is actually getting off on a power trip is debatable; in his place I admit I would have a hard time avoiding chuckling, and play-acting being the all-powerful Nagus to sort of indicate how foolish it all is seems to me to be within the realm of a birds-eye-view more so than of delighting in literally enslaving Quark. To whatever extent you don't buy that story and think he's just being a jacksass, YMMV.

    @Chrome: Interestingly, Avery Brooks did not want to have Quark kiss the staff in that scene because he found it disrespectful. This makes it doubly confusing as to why he wears that shit-eating grin on his face. I suppose we should blame Kim Friedman for her direction.

    @Peter G.

    "The problem is that this account of what the episode portrays simply doesn't match up with reality, nor with any realistic interpretation of what the authors intended and the actor's portrayed."

    Let's use an example from Voyager. The episode "Tattoo" is intended to be about that old sci-fi trope of aliens seeding the primitive cultures of earth to create advancement and enlightenment, but because the writers had their heads up their asses, the implications are that white men from outer space saved the backwards brown people from their own stupidity. Now, if I watch that episode and don't see the massive racist problems in the script, I might enjoy it. And I suppose I have the option of just ignoring them and enjoying it on terms that are comfortable for me.

    Your read on Sisko as a racist take on a black man isn't wrong because it's not what the writers intended, but because the analogy falls apart if you include all of the actual content of the episode. First of all, the Founders are clearly not depicted as innocent victims of Sisko's invasion. Second, Sisko chooses to avoid unnecessary conflict (shooting at the outpost to rescue Dax and Miles) in order to accomplish the mission, which is seeking peace. Finally, not all of Sisko's accomplices are white (Bashir). I don't believe that my interpretation of the episode ignores what's actually happening on the screen. I'm not cherrypicking plot points to fit a narrative, I'm analysing what I see in front of me, but if you think I have omitted key information that invalidates my thesis, please point it out.

    On a wholly other subject, I loved The Last Jedi, and was disappointed in RLM's review(s). I really enjoyed their prequel reviews, too (and hate those films), although I find much of their analyses wanting. The sarcasm isn't the problem, though. It's the fanboyishness. Example: "It's different. And I don't like things that are different, because I'm old."--direct quote from the Phantom Menace review.

    @ Elliott,

    Your VOY example is a good one to show that we can recognize authorial intent and also recognize where we think they failed to tell the story they intended. In Tatoo the problems were unintentional due, IMO, to incompetence. It's not that their message was problematic, so much as they just wrote it badly. Their ignorant approach could be called racist insofar as it involved ignorance about someone else's culture, but I think it's clear that what they wanted was to portray a multicultural outlook in a positive way. They just failed.

    In The Search pt 1, however, I'm not sure I understood your review to be assessing the authorial intent when you make some of your criticisms. Going again to the example of the Defiant itself, there is simply no case to be made whatsoever that the writers were espousing the view that when you're harmed you should become a bully and use force to get revenge. That's not in the text or the subtext. At worst one might say they intended to show something logical in-universe but were inadvertently glorifying violence. Actually that wouldn't be an illegitimate charge, as any show that features 'cool battles' is doing that to an extent. So one might raise the fundamental issue of TV and film portraying violence in a glorified manner, and I would in fact agree with that objection. But that's not what you did, so I truthfully don't know what your objection really is. What you said in this particular case doesn't seem to be based on anything the episode shows, and that's why I brought up the Plinkett review as a contrast. Whether or not you agree with his arguments he bases them on the content. Or maybe you can show where in the actual content we're given the message that revenge is a virtue?

    Likewise, your objection that Sisko cannot have worked in a shipyard because he's in command seems like an objection without a textual basis. It's a 'retcon' in the sense that we didn't know that before and now have to apply that knowledge retroactively, but on the other hand *anything new* we learn about a character will have that same property. So properly we should call a retcon something that violates established canon, not that adds to it. And nothing we know suggest a command officer can't have been involved in engineering projects. I agree that if they had said he was the chief design engineer I would have raised an eyebrow and called that a soft retcon, but they didn't. They only said he was in on the design process, and *of course* command officers would have to be. Have you ever been involved with or been privy to the details of engineers and developers at work? They absolutely need 'normal people' to guide their work because while they know how to build systems they're frequently oblivious to client needs and what users are likely to experience as problems. Plus a command officer would know much better than a scientist which systems should take priority in practical situations and that's due to experience and judgement; you can't learn it in school.

    Those are just two examples, and I am open to being shown that the content of this episode really does violate continuity or else overtly contain objectionable messages (in the case of these particular objections). I'm much more sympathetic to the objection about the Quark scene since there's real content to comment on there.

    @Peter G.

    I think we aren't quite on the same page about this. Allow me to clarify my position. I don't have a problem with making Sisko a designer for the Defiant in terms of breaking continuity. I was pointing out simply that making him one is a previously un-established part of his backstory. In so being, the opportunity existed to reboot the character in some respects, and I am personally disappointed that the writers didn't seize it. We are going to see SIsko's penchant for engineering in future episodes ("Explorers" comes to mind, as well as the house on Bajor he will eventually design). I think adding these characteristics to him are for the good actually; they add an interesting dimension to his relationships with both Starfleet and Bajor.

    Now, regarding authorial intent--that the writers of "Tattoo" missed the racial problems isn't just a mark of their failure, it is a symptom of *their* racism. I don't think the authors were being malicious, but the racism is there, and that is a serious problem, because the episode did major damage to Chakotay's character.

    "[T]here is simply no case to be made whatsoever that the writers were espousing the view that when you're harmed you should become a bully and use force to get revenge."

    I don't think I made that claim. My exact criticism was "we are to imply, I think, that Sisko [sic] decided to design big guns to kill Borg after they killed Jennifer." This is a problem with the timeline; it wasn't that Sisko was tasked with helping to defend against the Borg after their menace had been exposed in "Q Who," it was that *after* they wronged him personally, he immediately began work on this muscly, over-gunned warship to defeat them. Interpreting that as a move towards vengeance is pretty reasonable. I'd even say that *is* the authorial intent. Now, whether the writers thought through the moral implications of that character decision is something else entirely. But just as with the "Tattoo" authors failure to recognise the racism within themselves that led to their racist script, the writers' failure to recognise the morally bankrupt behaviour in Sisko's new backstory does not wipe the sin away. Sisko sought violent retribution against the Borg, and he is never taken to task for this. Rather, the episode seems to vindicate his actions by providing him an advantage against the Dominion he would never have had without his vengeance trip.

    To sum up--I don't have a problem with Sisko being a designer, but we must all acknowledge that this is a facet of his character that is being grafted on, retroactively, in this episode. That the writers were willing to make this change (again, not a bad thing in itself) meant that they had the option correcting or mitigating some problems with his character, but they didn't. Instead, they double down on many of the problems, including the (possibly unintentional) implication that seeking violent revenge against an enemy that has wronged you personally is morally acceptable, even pragmatic.

    FWIW, without getting into things too much, I want to add that actually this is actually *not* a retcon. From Emissary:

    PICARD: Your job is to do everything short of violating the Prime Directive to make sure that they are. I have been made aware by Starfleet of your objections to this assignment. I would have thought that after three years spent at the Utopia Planitia yards, that you would be ready for a change.

    It was established in the series premiere that Sisko worked at the shipyards for three years, which is the approximate time between BOBW and Emissary (actually, it's a little more like 2.5, but sure).

    I think later episodes make clear that Sisko studied engineering. Presumably from the red uniform, Sisko had a command position at Utopia Planetia, but it was probably his engineering background that led him there to an extent, similar to Beverly Crusher being captain of a medical ship in All Good Things.

    That Sisko was specifically working on a warship during that time is, of course, new information in this episode.

    Thanks William B, for your clarification.

    Elliott, regarding Tattoo all I can say is that I am extremely leery of calling any ignorance of someone else's culture "racism." Yes, you can say that ignorance in this case resulted in something insulting, and I would agree. You could also say that writers should stick to what they know, and I would doubly agree. But making a stupid error does not make someone a racist, and I say that knowing full well the current dispute regarding the definition of that word. If you take it to mean "they caused harm intentionally or not" then it's a truism and tells us nothing about the character of the writers (other than being bad writers). The bar is far higher to show that they did anything other than try to portray things positively.

    Regarding Sisko's backstory as I've mentioned elsewhere I'm a big fan of head canon and love to theorize about things. It's completely reasonable to fill in blanks for yourself to create a more in-depth universe, using what's on screen as a basis. So for some arbitrary person it's entirely possible that, being harmed, they seek revenge. It's even *plausible* that this is what Sisko did, being someone with a temper and having trouble getting over trauma. I never said that this interpretation was *necessarily false.* What you seem to be saying, though, is that it's *necessarily true*, and there is zero evidence for that other than what seems like a desire to attribute nefarious motives to Sisko. I actually agree that it might make for an interesting head canon to suppose this. But it's not in the episode, and never corroborated anywhere else either. So in case you think I'm calling your creative idea dumb, I'm not. But I *am* calling it your creation.

    "Now, regarding authorial intent--that the writers of "Tattoo" missed the racial problems isn't just a mark of their failure, it is a symptom of *their* racism. I don't think the authors were being malicious, but the racism is there, and that is a serious problem, because the episode did major damage to Chakotay's character. "

    I haven't seen Tattoo in many years (for good reason), but I can't reconcile what I remember with this comment.

    It seems to me you are taking a relatively minor aesthetic choice or perhaps a casting choice and extrapolating quite alot about the intent of the writers, declaring with certainty something that is as far from certain as can be.

    Scratch that - you are not even speaking to their *intent*, which you concede may not be racist, but seeking to psychoanalyze them in terms of somd alleged inner racism they supposedly have without knowing the slightest thing about them personally. Where do you get off calling a bunch a strangers you never met a bunch of racists?

    I realize this kind of remote armchair motive speculation is par for the course in 2018 when reviewing tv and movies from long ago so I can't fault you personally. But it's still depressing that this is kind of the default setting for contemporary criticism.

    It reminds me of the people who are certain that Shakespeare must have been "gay" based on the flimsiest of evidence.

    Getting back to Tattoo, I will concede that the artistic and casting choices do leave open the potentual for racist implications, but that's such a far cry from what you claim with such certainty and zero real evidence.

    @William B

    I completely forgot that line! I should have made myself sit through "Emissary" again.

    @Peter G

    Can you provide an alternate explanation for Sisko's behaviour? When the text fails to provide explicit motivations, the audience *must* provide them for itself. I am certainly open to other explanations, but without them, the writers have painted themselves into a corner here, leaving few if any alternatives to my "head canon," whether or not this is explicitly supported by the text.

    We don't know explicitly that both Picard and Riker joined Starfleet in part as an act of rebellion against their overbearing fathers, but that would be the most reasonable conclusion to draw in lieu of contradictory evidence.

    Regarding "Tattoo," we may have to table this discussion until that episode, but I vehemently disagree that creating an unintentionally racist script doesn't evidence racism. Racism borne of ignorance is still racism. In any event, the issue with that episode wasn't ignorance of another culture (Chakotay's tribe is a total fabrication). If the aliens had blessed the ancient Egyptians or Mesopotamian Africans, the problem would be exactly the same. The attitude of the writers was that without outside influence, this culture would not have developed into an enlightened society. This problem is prevalent in Hollywood, and was especially so in the 90s regarding First Nations. "Dances With Wolves," "Pocahontas," "Fern Gully," oh and "Insurrection" have this exact same problem of presuming that a by lumping a bunch of diverse cultures together and slapping on some superficially positive traits like "respect for the land," they have expressed respect for native peoples. Regardless of intent, this is a symptom of racism. When you treat people as a monolith because of their ethnicity--even when endowing that monolith with "positive" traits--that *is* racism.

    "The attitude of the writers was that without outside influence, this culture would not have developed into an enlightened society. This problem is prevalent in Hollywood, and was especially so in the 90s regarding First Nations. "Dances With Wolves," "Pocahontas," "Fern Gully," oh and "Insurrection" have this exact same problem of presuming that a by lumping a bunch of diverse cultures together and slapping on some superficially positive traits like "respect for the land," they have expressed respect for native peoples."

    I didn't see Dances or Fern Gully but in the case of Pocohontas and Insurrection, you're not only flat wrong in your interpretation, the text of those films directly refutes this.

    In Pocohontas, for example, there is a line in the headline song: "if the savage one is me, how can there be so much that you don't know". The direct message is that the natives don't need to be enlightened. Your interpretation that they require white people to enlighten them is directly contrary to the text. Indeed, since the whites are portrayed largely as rapacious hoodlums and brigands, this is an especially nonsensical interpretation. I have no earthly clue what movie you were watching.

    Please also cite the part in Insurrection where the Baku required "outside influence" to be enlightener. This equally totally contrary to the script.

    Even in Tattoo, my revollection is that it was implied that natives were enlightened compared to others on earth - hence their being chosen by the aliens.

    "When you treat people as a monolith because of their ethnicity--even when endowing that monolith with "positive" traits--that *is* racism."

    More accurately what you're describing is *racialism*. In any event, this is such a common attitude to ascribe monolithic characteristics to ethnic groups as to be barely noteworthy even in 2018. It just tends to be more of a positive thing these days (as in ascribimg positive characteristics, like what we saw in Black Panther for example) that it isn't condemned the same way. Tattoo is in that vein, although a clunkier more inept version of it compared with, say, Black Panther.

    @ Jason

    Oh boy. Okay look, what I said was that creating monoliths out of native cultures and slapping lazy tropes on them was common in the 90s, and it IS racist. Mixing that with the sci-fi alien enlightenment issue is unique to “Tattoo.” I’m going to direct you here for a more thorough explanation of this phenomenon:

    Elliott I realize I misread your post as you were making a separate point re: Pocohontas etc....

    That said I stand by my claim that racialism we see in Tattoo (not racism) in portraying ethnicities in a monolithic way, is routine in today's film and tv, and Tattoo is just clunky and obvious about it.

    And I stand by my point that your accusation of the writers being racist pretty baseless.


    I wasn’t aware Brooks was against the Quark obedience scene, and it’s indeed puzzling why he’d act so happy doing it. I did read that in the DS9 Companion Armin Shimerman specifically hated the staff-kissing scene because it’s just another example of Federation preaching non-interference with other cultures out of respect while mocking those cultures all the same. There’s something jingoist in using another race’s culture to aggressively assert power. This seems especially true iwhen it seems like Sisko has enough leeway as the station commander to strike a deal with Quark without getting the Nagus involved.

    @Peter G.

    “In that light I see Sisko's devilish attitude as being a coy way of winking at Quark that he's a member of the main cast, like it or not, and is going to participate in certain episodes even if he strictly speaking wouldn't be involved in such a mission in real life. Call it a poetic way of laughing self-referentially at why a character who has no business being on this mission was written into the episode anyhow. It's a writing thing - they wanted Quark in it! Simple as that.”

    I think is the writers’ intent - that Quark is part of the Federation team whether he likes it or not - but I don’t think that Sisko’s maneuvering really comes off as good-natured ribbing. Indeed, it seems like everyone is in on the joke but Quark, who looks miserable cowing down to Sisko in this scene. Maybe Shimerman, who I mentioned above detested the scene, was playing his role too unhappily and it fouls up the intent here that we’re all supposed to get a laugh out of unquestioning Ferengi reverence to the Nagus.

    Finally, while we’re on the subject of RLM, I just wanted to point out that the Plinkett reviews are played out as tongue and cheek approaches to a critical review. If you’ve ever read The Agony Booth reviewing a Trek episode, it’s a similar idea where you treat an episode that has a few flaws as a zero star production and really put it through the ringer for laughs. But these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Surely the Star Wars prequels, for example, have their problems but none of them are so bad that they should be compared to bowel movements or a disappointing son you don’t want.

    @ Elliott,

    "Can you provide an alternate explanation for Sisko's behaviour? When the text fails to provide explicit motivations, the audience *must* provide them for itself."

    Great! This is the fun stuff, and I love a discussion about what we think may fill in the blanks. I think your interpretation is actually quite interesting and I would even consider adopting it as my own head canon, as I don't have any difficulty in considering that Sisko might have been a broken man following BoBW. However that's a far cry from calling this episode out and suggesting foul morals on the part of the writers or series. It's my own head canon I'd have to accuse, if anything.

    But since you asked, here's a completely reasonable alternate explanation: Sisko's ship was destroyed at Wolf 359 and he didn't want to be assigned another starship after what happened to Jennifer. Based on what we know from the franchise, while you don't get to pick your post, you do seem to get to request *what type* of post to get. So if you request starship duty you may not get the Enterprise, although maybe you can put in a request for it. But I don't think you're going to request shuttle or ground-side duty and get assigned to a starship. In Sisko's case he wanted someplace safe for Jake, and presumably someplace near Earth as well. We don't need to presume that he requested Utopia Planetia. In fact if we give Starfleet a lot of credit we can imagine that they thought assigning him there would help him to heal, knowing that he was directly helping to replace the fleet that was lost. Maybe they were even right. And if we read the backstory in this way then when we see Sisko show up Captaining a starship it may indicate a turning point in his healing process where he is now ready to face the demons of his past on a starship. We could see him flying into Dominion space in the Defiant as him literally defying the things that held him back when he lost his wife, deciding that hiding wasn't going to make the dangers go away.

    So you see, we can read all sorts of things into a backstory and it doesn't have to be something nefarious. And I repeat that I like your idea at least as much as mine, so when I say that it's not based on anything we see it doesn't mean I don't like it. But it does mean that there's no ground to accuse the episode of anything on account of it. You didn't have to pick that interpretation, after all, and it wasn't necessitated by what we're told. For a contrast, look at Kira's backstory if you're looking for a mix of personal damage, questionable motives, and mistakes. And that's not even subtext for her, it's the plain text. You don't need head canon to show a shady past for her.

    @ Chrome,

    "Maybe Shimerman, who I mentioned above detested the scene, was playing his role too unhappily and it fouls up the intent here that we’re all supposed to get a laugh out of unquestioning Ferengi reverence to the Nagus."

    That's a good theory, and jives with what I think Brooks was aiming at with his attitude in the scene. The only thing I'll add is that we can interpret Quark being upset as being similar to what later becomes (SPOILER) the famous Root Beer scene, to which this would be a precursor. The theme of "he's with the Federation at heart whether or not he wants to admit it" gets played out in various episodes, and his extreme reluctance plays to me as a lighthearted way of portraying being in denial that he's not such a normal Ferengi. That said you're totally right that if the scene doesn't read as being lighthearted then something went haywire in the production process.

    @Peter G

    "In fact if we give Starfleet a lot of credit we can imagine that they thought assigning him there would help him to heal, knowing that he was directly helping to replace the fleet that was lost."

    But this completely ignores the fact that he wasn't helping rebuild the fleet, he was specifically designing the Defiant. Also, considering how much of a grudge he still held against Starfleet and Picard in "Emissary," I'd say it's safe to conclude that that time at UP didn't help him heal very much. There's no getting around the fact that Sisko went immediately from having his wife murdered to designing a Borg-killing machine. That is in the text. You don't have to agree with me that this sequence of events presents an immoral attitude--that is after all, for each of us to decide based on our personal moral codes. But there is no argument that this goes against the established morals of Star Trek. Whatever other layers you want to bring to the discussion (I agree, this is fun), you can't escape this conclusion without ignoring what's on the screen to some degree.

    Sisko might have just been playing Quark and the Nagus staff was just something he pulled out of a replicator.

    I feel that the writers missed a couple of big opportunities with the new characters. As others have said, it's a pity we never see T'Rul again. The Romulans were one of the first major hostile alien races to be established in Trek, and their relation to the Vulcans makes them especially interesting. We've had Klingons, Cardassians, and Ferengi as main characters or recurring regulars on the Trek shows, but never a Romulan. I would have loved to see a decent role for T'Rul, but she just vanishes after these episodes.

    Eddington fares slightly better. I always liked Kenneth Marshall in this role, and as Jammer notes, he could have been an interesting source of conflict with Odo, who is notorious for doing things his own way, being suspicious of outsiders, and resenting anything he perceives as interference. There was a lot of squandered potential here for seeing Eddington and Odo clash over security matters, arguing over who should have jurisdiction, having to find ways to work together, etc. Sadly, that never happened and Eddington remained massively underutilized until the script required him to suddenly come to the fore out of nowhere as a traitor.

    Watching and commenting

    --Sisko has the Defiant, a surprise for the Dominion.

    --Jadzia has fortified herself, in S3, with a more formidable helmet of hair. Every little bit counts.

    --What??? The plan is to seek out the Dominion Founders to convince them the Federation is not a threat?? What??? C'mon. No, no, no. What makes them think the Dominion is worried about the Federation being a threat??? Ugh. Disappointing. This i do not buy. This mission makes no sense.

    --Chill, Springy. Just chill.

    --Already, with the Romulans, we see the Alpha Quadrant players coming together to fight an outside threat. Again with the "friends" talk. The Romulan is not there to make friends, Eddington IS there to make friends. Kira tells Odo she's his friend and he's needed.

    --"Rom only has a son to think about, I have a business!!" LOL.

    --Lots of stuff about knowing and accepting and playing your role, knowing your part, knowing your strengths, doing your part, knowing where you belong, finding home (DS9 feels like home now, to the Siskos).

    --Sisko's gonna leave Dax and O'Brien to the Jem' Hadar.

    --Big space fight!!

    --Odo and Kira off on a shuttle craft. A class M planet with no star system? How is that possible?

    --Odo finds home? An intriguing development.

    Not nearly as good as "The Jem' Hadar," but good.

    Had a hard time getting over the "this mission makes zero sense" part. The Dominion is plainly about conquering and invading and expanding. Plus they seem more advanced and more powerful than the Federation. But Sisko is taking this huge, life threatening risk, seeking out the Founders to convince them the Federation isn't a threat. What would that accomplish? Blech.

    Scientists have theorized that a rogue planet could support life, though it would be extremely unlikely In this case, you can reason that the Founders probably terraformed it to their precise needs somehow. The bigger question of course is, from where comes the ambient light?


    I know I'm chiming in pretty late here, but my objection to your portrayal of Sisko is that you seem to be portraying him as more of a free agent than he was. Starfleet assigned him to do this job. There's no indication that he requested this particular assignment. I can't see any argument that it's immoral for Starfleet to design a ship to fight the Borg, (more like bare-minimum prudence,) and given that, I can't see how Sisko doing that job can be immoral, just because he lost his wife to the Borg previously. Is it only moral for people who haven't lost family to the Borg to design ships to fight them? Do you think Sisko had a moral obligation to request a transfer or resign his commission rather than carry out this assignment? To me, you seem to be holding Sisko to so high a standard that I can't even understand it.

    @Gaius Maximus

    Thanks for the question. My answer is that there is every indication within the text and execution of this episode that Sisko relished the opportunity to build the Defiant, and that shapes my reaction to him irrespective of whether it was his choice of assignment. I think my assessment (as I re-read it) isn't so much that this new backstory makes SIsko immoral but that it makes him unhealthy. The immorality comes in when he chooses to take actions that are unethical, but the unhealthy psyche we are seeing does factor into Sisko's decision-making.

    I can't emphasise enough how much this feels like the start of a new era. Not only does the Defiant give them more mobility than before, but the unified threat of the Dominion is something inescapable, something that it'll take far more than just an episode to face.

    Part of me felt sad watching this -- as if the lower-stakes era of the show (where, while not all bright, it could still function as "comfort TV"). It feels like the tone has irreversibly changed. Not for the worse, and indeed I found this gripping; I'm excited to see where it goes. But it feels different. No doubt about that.

    (My god, though, those Jem'Hadar ships! They look like they've got monstrous purple ribcages. I love 'em.)

    Why did Starfleet go to the Romulans for a cloaking device? Why not ask their allies the Klingons?

    @ Thunderchild,

    "Why did Starfleet go to the Romulans for a cloaking device? Why not ask their allies the Klingons?"

    Because if they got it in any way other than through Romulan consent and under Romulan control, they would be breaking the Treaty of Algernon, which I assume would lead to immediate war.

    @ Peter G.

    I think it's the treaty of Algeron. "Flowers For Algernon" is a story about a person with Down's Syndrome being gifted with hyperintelligence through an experimental medical procedure.

    Don't feel bad though, your typo was good for a larf :D

    @ Peter G.

    "Because if they got it in any way other than through Romulan consent and under Romulan control, they would be breaking the Treaty of Algernon, which I assume would lead to immediate war."

    Not buying this.

    #1 - Treaty of Algeron was a peace treaty signed between the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire in 2311, following the events of the Tomed Incident. The Treaty of Algeron was signed approximately 160 years after the conclusion of the Earth-Romulan War. The Khitomer Accords is the treaty with the Klingons that forbids the Federation from developing a cloaking device. (which on it's face is ridiculous)

    #2 - You don't go to war over asking an ally for something. There is more risk of war over clandestinely acquiring it from an enemy of the Federation.

    Poor DS9 writing.

    @ Yanks,

    It seems to me it's pretty clear from The Pegasus that the treaty with the Romulans forbids development of a cloaking device. The Search was made not too long after The Pegasus, so I assume they had it in their brains when they wrote this. As for the Khitomer Accords, I don't remember anything about it involving cloaking technology.

    "You don't go to war over asking an ally for something. There is more risk of war over clandestinely acquiring it from an enemy of the Federation."

    I think the suggestion is not that asking for it would lead the Klingons to declare war, but that it would lead the Romulans to do so if the Klingons said yes.

    Ship is boarded.

    Federation crew: Lets fight hand to hand!
    Sole Romulan: ZRRAAAAAPPPP dead Jemhadar

    My bff and I watched this live back in the day and we couldn't get over how absurd it was that only the Romulan thought to draw her weapon and just shoot them.

    Big thanks to “Jack” for posting a mega-spoiler about Part Two on the thread for Part One.
    For those of us who haven’t seen DS9 in its entirety, you’ve been incredibly helpful in completely ruining the next episode! Cheers!

    Al, this is a review of a two-part episode that is nearly 30 years old. Spoilers aren't really a thing at this point, and even so, many reviews tackle two-parters together, so best practice would be to watch the whole thing beforehand anyway.

    Lesson learned for sure, Jeff.

    And I didn’t want to post anything negative because I love this site. It was just really maddening to know that the entire second part was a “fantasy” before I even watched it for the first time.

    And I’ve noticed that most reviewers/commenters are fairly aware of not mentioning spoilers (or at least signaling them in advance), even given the age of the series.

    Further, I was very impressed when someone even offered a “SPOILER ALERT” for a discussion of the plot of the movie “Casablanca,” which was released in 1942.

    Suddenly, 1994 seems pretty recent!

    Very good ep. Hugely enjoyed the storyline, with the exception of the final minute or so.

    Cisco gave some indications of finally starting to maybe shape up. He actually raised his voice and expressed a degree of determination a few times. Hope it wasn't a fluke though I fear it might have been: He later declared "red alert" with all the gusto and urgency of someone answering the question how long to microwave a cup of ramen 🙄🙄🙄 He may be black but he comes off as the most boring, plain vanilla known to man. Come on, dude!

    Otto is a freak. His appeal is zero. So is his purpose. He was kinda cool in season 1 where his shapeshifting served as a deus-ex-machina device to solve what would otherwise have been impenetrable problems, but since then he's been nothing but a bore and a killjoy. Between Cisco and him, the viewer can easily turn narcoleptic watching this show. I hope his character gets either salvaged or removed.

    Not making more use of the Romulan tactical officer, T’Rul, is such a rare missed opportunity for DS9.

    Maybe they thought they were juggling too many story arcs with the Bajorans, Cardassians, Dominion and, (weirdly) the Klingons. And the Ferengi tended to take up the “totally outsider perspective” episodes.

    But still, I really liked the actress here, and her character had a lot of room for growth if she remained in and around DS9 as a witness to these galaxy-spanning events. She doesn’t play the character with the usual arrogance, coldness, moral certainty, or duplicity of so many other Romulans, and brings an almost Vulcan-like degree of rationality to most of the Starfleet crew’s naive idealism.

    Even if she only remained for this one season, she could’ve done the roles later reserved for Worf and Garak as a wry observer of human nature and her divided loyalties would’ve opened up whole new story possibilities.


    Quite appropriately, Romulans are the most underserved and most fascinating of the Trek main aliens for me. I still don’t feel like we’ve delved into their culture or personality beyond a general sense of secrecy, cunning, extreme narcissism, and clarity of purpose.

    Michael Chabon wrote a great little treatise on their culture and obsession with secrecy on his Medium. Too bad none of it made it into Picard seasons 1 or 2. I’d love to see a show or episode that focuses only on Romulan characters on Romulus.

    PS - I haven’t seen ST: Nemesis nor do I intend to.

    Some excellent dialogue I didn't pick up on much until now at the end of the episode.
    Kira and Odo are in shuttlecraft and Odo tells her they're going to the nebula.
    Odo: "you didn't object at the time"
    Kira (upset): "I was unconscious..."
    She's angry at him but then she softens her tone and follows up with
    "Have you found anything yet?"

    Just a few lines but perfect captures the essence of their friendship and can be viewed as foreshadowing for the future.

    Really don't get why Sisko wasn't promoted to captain with this episode.


    Why should he have been promoted? There's nothing mandating it after all.

    Not sure if this has been asked.

    Odo says that as soon as he was on the other side of the worm hole he felt he was being drawn to the Omarion Nebula.

    He was in the Gamma Quadrant in the season 2 finale and he never mentioned it then.

    Actually, he had to see the nebula, or be aware of it before he felt drawn. Which seems a bit odd.

    That always seemed a bit odd to me. Odo was clearly not drawn to the Omarion Nebula every time he was in the Gamma Quadrant, and he is reacting not to the nebula itself, but merely to a computer representation of it. So I guess that's it? Alternatively, maybe the Founders intervened to make him come back at this time after monitoring him for a while (they do something similar, if more painfully, in "Broken Link").

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