Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"In the Cards"

4 stars

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

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous episode: Empok Nor
Next episode: Call to Arms

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152 comments on this post

Thu, Jun 26, 2008, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
What has always made DS9 stand proud and apart from other "Trek" series were its inspired, unmatched attempts to laugh at itself and never take things too seriously. Between "Little Green Men," "In the Cards," and yes, "The Magnificent Ferengi," we have noble efforts of brilliant, even satirical comedy.

I love how "In the Cards" lampoons TREK's own technobabble and "wacky DNA" plots (Geiger's explanation of cellular ennui) and time-travel shows (Jake's preposterous cover story to Weyoun). DS9 sure had a finely turned sense of humor.
Tue, Sep 9, 2008, 9:13am (UTC -6)
"Sold, to the blue man in the good shoes."

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

I don't mind cutesy, warm tingly episodes, but this is just so light and irrelevant and utterly boring that I barely made it through my last viewing. The large part Nog has may have something to do with it, though it may be that I'm just immune to the magic of this episode that has so many others enamored.
Tue, Dec 7, 2010, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
Is the line really "Lions, Geigers, and bears"? I don't recall any mention of "bears" in the exchange, but there was one of "beards" as in "bearding the lion in his den" - could it have been "lions, Geigers, and beards"?
Tue, Dec 7, 2010, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
I've always enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Jake and Nog and so always thoroughly enjoy "In the Cards". While Nog may have been initially hooked into this crazy venture by Jake's cunning manipulation of Nogs debt to Captain Sisko, I believe that it is actually his love for his best friend that keeps Nog from bowing out as the threat to his Starfleet career builds with each successive mission to obtain something else for Geiger. It beautifully displays to what lengths we will go for those we care most about.
Tue, Dec 21, 2010, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Jammer; this episode is a classic that holds up to the test of time. It shows the strength of relationships (Jake and his Dad, Jake and Nog) and the humor hits all the right notes.
@Wharf, the 'bears' line comes after the bearding the lion line; the bear, of course, referring to Bashir's teddy, and the line is a cute reference to Wizard of Oz.
A great episode from my favorite Trek.
Sun, Jan 2, 2011, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
Oh, I've been dreading to get to this one and I should have known you'd give it four stars...sigh...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, in short: What are you doing here? Just as I would not post comments on a generally positive review page for Sex and the City, you have no part to be here. I do enjoy criticism in the comments that goes against Jammer's own opinions (read my comment on "Valiant"), but it needs to be entertaining and/or provide an alternate viewpoint that can hold its own. You're doing neither.
Tue, Jan 18, 2011, 11:49am (UTC -6)

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

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

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

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

My comments have provided an alternate viewpoint. If I don't entertain you, I'm sorry, but I don't need you to police my comments. If you wish to argue my points, I welcome your feedback, but don't presume to ostracise me from participating in the discussion because I don't love this show like everyone else. It would seem a very dull crowd that never disagrees.
Wed, Jan 19, 2011, 12:40am (UTC -6)
Elliott: You must have realized what you were going in for, so please don't complain about getting the expected reaction. You saw the rating, you saw the number of comments agreeing (or partly agreeing), and you still opted to post a disagreeing viewpoint. Fine by itself, but don't start crying when the rebukes start floating in. I won't insist on an entire episode critique, but your points are simply not that well stated.

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

But I realize I'm banging my head on a concrete wall here. So, for my part: Feel free to post as much or as little as you wish, I don't care either way. I'll simply train myself to block out your name whenever I see it here, as I do with Armond White's name in the context of movie reviews. Have a nice day.
Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Elliott, I must apologize. I seldom visit this page and I didn't know that you had replied to me.

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

Sorry again. It takes courage to voice an unpopular opinion, and you do it well. But if you're hoping DS9 is going to change, well, that's just not in the cards
Tue, Feb 1, 2011, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
I don't often agree with Jammer's take on specific episodes, but this one, I'm in total agreement with. 4 stars definitely. Oh there were minor things in the plot that stuck out and had me saying, whaaaa? But then something happened that made ma laugh out loud (three times that I recall) and I forgot what was upsetting me.

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

Well done, all in all.
Sat, Feb 5, 2011, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
I think DS9 is the best Trek series, but I enjoy Elliot's comments because they bring something to the table.

The "if you don;t like it, why are you here" gripe falls flat, because VOY and ENT are jokes in their entirety to many in the Trek community. Rather hypocritical to get the vapors when someone gives DS9 the same treatment.
Jacob Sisko
Wed, Feb 9, 2011, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
This may be my favorite episode of DS9 ("The Visitor" being the other main contender). I love the depth of exploration given to even the most minor characters in DS9, and that the writers have the spirit to poke fun at themselves once in a while.
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 7:00am (UTC -6)
When I watched it the first time I was a bit disappointed but now it's one of my favorite episodes.
Michael Cross
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
WOW... 4 stars for this?! This was yet another pointless cheesy comedy episode, and quite annoying too. I've been watching this series from beginning to end, and while season 5 seems to have some of the better episides thus far, it has also been loaded with too many of these comedy episodes. It only makes this show harder to take seriously, and that's not a good thing considering (at this point) they're trying to built up this huge war with the Dominion.
Mon, May 9, 2011, 10:18am (UTC -6)
Wow. Divergent viewpoints and a spirited debate. For my two cents, I'm also surprised at Jam's four-star rating for what is essentially a gimmicky comedy episode, done to far better and deeper effect in "Far Beyond The Stars". The last ten minutes make the show; take those moving final moments away and we're left with a pointless, irritating, self-absorbed caper focused on two of the show's least appealing minor characters (Jake & Nog) and a cardboard tinfoil-hat villain (Dr. Immortality). I will admit enjoying the way the script tied everything up at the end, especially seeing Weyoun lie down in the immortality pod. I think I could watch Jeffrey Combs' predatory smile all day long.
Sun, Oct 30, 2011, 8:55pm (UTC -6)
"Alliance, Geigers and Bears", oh my.
Get it? It's a pun at about the 1/3 pt.
Maybe there was something in the air when this episode aired because it seemed like a haphazard mess. I have the feeling that some of the writers kids may have worked on this one.
Sun, Nov 20, 2011, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
Best review you've ever written, Jammer, and I agree with it.
Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 9:10am (UTC -6)
I'd just like to point out that Ron Moore wrote both "First Contact" and "In the Cards". He has stated in interviews that Jake's 'we don't need money' speech was more poking fun at himself than Gene Roddenberry (or his ideals). It was not meant as serious criticism, though how Federation citizens do business with non-Federation worlds that DO use money is a good question, one that has never been addressed.
Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
This episode, unfortunately, sometimes gets lost in the mix with all the weighty, epic episodes of this fantastic series.

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

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

I still give it a five out of five.
Tue, Apr 3, 2012, 7:32pm (UTC -6)
Like a few others, I'm amazed you gave this episode four stars. Ah well, if everyone liked exactly the same things, the world would be a boring place! It's one of the very few occasions when I've not agreed with your opinions on a particular episode.

As a side note, will you ever write reviews for Homicide? I'm sure I read somewhere on your website that you loved the show (as do I!) and it would definitely be worth your time more than Voyager or Enterprise ever were!
Sat, Apr 7, 2012, 1:05am (UTC -6)
"Give me Wil Wheaton any day."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DS9 was very mainstream although it was very un-Trek. Its value system was not unlike the usual dribble we get fed from the media, so it's a little pretentious to align a taste for the show with some sort of "unorhodoxy." People, ahem, nerds like us who are familiar with the reams and reams of Trek scripts from the last 50 years may see DS9 in the light of being "different", but from a larger view, it's the child of the franchise which chose to dress like the cool kids (and ENT was the child they had to send to school on the short bus).
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 3:59am (UTC -6)
1. Elliot seems to be a "trdoll," don't feed them and they go away, take it from E.T....
2. The line WAS "Lions, Geigers and bears,"
3. The idea that the Federation,
or at least Earth,
is some neo-Marxist/socialistic/Communistic society is absolutely absurd,
aside from the hypocrisy of the most profitable television franchise in history preaching this, ANY society no manner how advanced or filled with abundance will still need some sort of currency as a unit of value.
This is why all societies so far eventually have developed some form of currency.
Human nature itself may advance, but still will not change that much in the future.
The TOS seemed to understand this in one episode referring to the Enterprise as a 50 billion Credit starship...
Oh, by the way the episode was cute and fun, nothing more, nothing less...
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 4:02am (UTC -6)
That was meant to be "TROLL," not "trdoll,"
(greasy keyboard)
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@Greasy fingers :

I'm not arguing sci-fi economic theory with someone who doesn't write cogent thoughts let alone complete sentences. I'm not a troll. I don't like this episode. I've said why. If you'd care to wipe the McDonalds gravy from your keyboard and debate with me, that's one thing, but flinging pitiful little insults at me doesn't fly.
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 9:16pm (UTC -6)

No one is saying you are obligated to like this episode. However, complaints like, "Jake should resent his father, because it is an unwritten law that all children must resent single parents. That he doesn't means Sisko is loved by the writers," doesn't exactly impress.
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 11:44pm (UTC -6)
@ Elliot

Like I said you are a typical Troll.

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

The rest of us come here to simply have some fun
lighten up dude...
...or is that dud?
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 11:47pm (UTC -6)

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

Elliot, like somone else once said, phone home...and go stay there...
Latex Zebra
Mon, Jul 16, 2012, 10:59am (UTC -6)
And this ladies and gentlemen is why people take the piss out of Star Trek fans.
Mon, Jul 16, 2012, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
Piss out?
Maybe something else?

Van deLay Latex Salesman
Latex Zebra
Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 3:23am (UTC -6)
Is that an English only expression.

Mock then, this is why people mock Star Trek fans.
Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 3:04am (UTC -6)
Still waiting for an explanation or translation my latex friend... the way have you tried polyester?
Her fabrics are to die for...
Latex Zebra
Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
I thought I had.

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

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

This Internet arguing with Elliot, some holier than thou Star Trek fanatic, is exactly the kind of thing that causes non Star Trek fans to mock us. Well that and going to a convention dressed as Seven of Nine.
Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Funny, I thought arguing about whether phasers fire out the torpedo tube or how many apostrophes belong in a given made-up name or which room is on which deck or which uniform looks better were the stuff of "un-pissing" Star Trek fans.

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

@Nathaniel :

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

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

Anyway... You cannot abide that this gets 4 stars. Seriously, don't worry about it. Jammer gives it 4 stars. I think it is a good fun episode but no more than a 3. You don't really like it that much at all. 3 people and 3 different takes on it.
Your life is that rich that you cannot 'abide' someone marking an episode of Star Trek higher than your own opinions of it. Lucky you.
Seriously. I can't abide the kind of atrocities that go on in this world (and our own doorsteps). A world many like to think of as civilized.
That someone likes an episode of a TV program more than me or you is really not worth getting worked up over.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 12:43am (UTC -6)
DS9 despite, or because of, its flaws is still the second best of the Trek franchise.
The first being TOS of course, (it is still historically groundbreaking despite all its flaws)
TNG was only really good that year or so that Troi wore spandex and Picard became a Borg.
Voyager had the "Scorpion," two parter, the rest was filler.
Enterprise is best fogotten.

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

Hang on... Do I know you?

Oh and just so to make things clear. I have no issue with Elliot at all. We're all here to have fun discussing episodes we enjoyed/dislike etc.
I just think you use quite provocative langauge sometimes. You seem an intelligent person so must know that its not what you say but that way you say it that can upset people, as seems to be proven by your many fans on this site.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
I was about to say, "Oh come off it--criticising the language I use is akin to criticising grammar. It's tedious and pointless and just an excuse to keep arguing," but I'll refrain (see what I did there?).

Anyway, don't knock the kink till you try it.
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 11:01pm (UTC -6)
Syntax is everything I guess...
Or is that sin tax?

Still looking to be your latex salesman...

Van deLay Industries
Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 9:37am (UTC -6)
I have to say, Jake is FAR too old for the "I'm gonna buy my daddy something nice and he's gonna be HAPPY FOREVER" plot. I could've bought it a few seasons ago, but Jake's done being a kid.
Wed, Aug 8, 2012, 11:26am (UTC -6)
Sisko asks O'Brien if Kirayoshi is walking yet.

O'Brien politely says, "No. Not yet." He could've said, "Sir, he's 4 months old. He can barely hold his head up." Unless 24th century infants are far more advanced. Which would explain how Molly was walking & talking within one year of her birth in "Disaster."
Mon, Aug 13, 2012, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
Ugh, what a discussion. Just points

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

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

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

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

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

- This episode was great.
Sun, Aug 19, 2012, 8:04am (UTC -6)
What a discussion, to second the previous post, indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least, that's my take on it.
Fri, Sep 14, 2012, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Not sure I feel 4-stars about this one... But pretty close.

Brilliantly done.
Sun, Nov 25, 2012, 1:16am (UTC -6)
@Elliott: "It's important to me to watch and understand this show. It's awful but loved by many intelligent people and I'd like to know why."

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

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

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

Anyway, time to retire to my own cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber. Gotta watch that ennui.
Thu, Jan 3, 2013, 3:27am (UTC -6)
As someone already pointed out, Ronald D Moore has admitted to writing the original First Contact line about "working for the betterment of humanity", so he was at least poking fun at himself.

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

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

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

I know, I know, I'm nitpicking. My point is it's tricky to balance Trekkian optimism with the negativity that's the beginning of drama, and to balance the appealing nature of a Star Trek future where technology has solved many of our problems, with the dramatic need for "a problem" of some type.
Thu, Jan 3, 2013, 4:45am (UTC -6)
In follow up, an interesting analysis of Star Trek's apparent no-money system:
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
*Replicated* doesn't mean *free*.
Tue, Mar 19, 2013, 11:53am (UTC -6)
This is my least liked episode this season but I did enjoy parts of it. Probably would have given it a 2. The biggest problem is I don't think the actor that plays Jake is a very good actor. I haven't really liked him in any episode.

Although I didn't care for the main story, I did like the teddy bear scene and Leeta looking for the bear in another scene. The last scene where everyone is now happy because of Jake and Nog did was also nice.
Sherlock Holmes
Sun, May 12, 2013, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
I have to say Jammer giving this 4 stars is a joke.
While I respect many of Jammer's reviews this one I cannot. To begin with, a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be. Of course Jake is not as bad as Wesley, but he still is pretty terrible. I won't bother going into further details because it will too tedious to write, but I will say that Jammers boi crush on Jake is oh so obvious. The last Jake episode got 4 stars also. Personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review.
William B
Sun, May 12, 2013, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
To be honest, I think "a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be" and "personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review." I think Jammer overrates both this and "Nor the Battle to the Strong" a fair bit, but his "personal feelings" about the character are no more or less valid than dislike for the character. Jammer happens to like many of the stories told about Jake in the show; many others dislike them. It could be that, rather than it being a totally arbitrary like/dislike for the character, Jammer and the anti-Jake people simply have different views about what constitutes a good story and the writers hit somewhat similar notes with Jake stories. I am fairly indifferent to Jake, or was back when I watched this series forever ago. (I do love "The Visitor" though, but that's more Tony Todd than Cirroc Lofton.)
William B
Sun, May 12, 2013, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
Rather (forgot to finish my first sentence), 'To be honest, I think "a Jake episode is the first clue on how terrible the episode will be" and "personal feelings on characters should not interfere on an unbiased review" are contradictory, given that the former statement presupposes that Jake stories are automatically judged to be bad before even watching.'
Sun, May 12, 2013, 8:59pm (UTC -6)
Well, coincidentally I just started watching "In the Cards" to finish up my rewatch of the fifth season.

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

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

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

(I also just noticed that Morn acquires the matador painting that gets smashed in "Who Mourns for Morn" at Quark's auction.)
Sun, Jul 21, 2013, 4:24am (UTC -6)
i think this episode is kinda connected to the episode of TNG : The Most Toys . the Zibalian trader Kivas Fajo's collection includes the very same card he even remarks about how he even preserved the smell of bubblegum.
Thu, Aug 1, 2013, 4:02am (UTC -6)
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful episode and a spot on review from Jammer.

@musicaddict365 That was a Roger Maris baseball card in "The Most Toys", not Willie Mays. That would have been great though, if the card in this episode was the very same one from Fajo's collection. They wouldn't have had to acknowledge it in the dialog or anything. Just a sly little wink to the fans. Too bad.
Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 5:28am (UTC -6)
Spot on review. This is a gem of an episode. Four stars.
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 4:17am (UTC -6)
Surely you guys realize that Elliot is an epic troll?
Sat, Oct 26, 2013, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
About as good as it gets as far as Jake and Nog just for fun eps are concerned.

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 10:51pm (UTC -6)
I must agree to some points Eliot made earlier (Jan 2. 2011). I don't want to say that Cirroc Lofton never did a good performance at all, especially 'The Visitor' is still a masterpiece of Trek History to me. But since I usually fully agree to your reviews, Jammer, I really have to disagree in that one here.

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

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

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

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

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

Btw, my favorite line of this episode:

"No it's not. But before you twist that into a compliment let me be blunt: I don't like the dominion, I don't like what it stands for and I don't like you."
(Sisko after beeing warmly flattered by Weyoun about their oh so good relationship)
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
This is a very subtle comedy episode (no ferengi in drag!) and is slightly slowpaced which can make it seem boring, but the comedy is really top notch. The slow burn of discovering that Doctor Geiger is crazy is really well done, Odo's reactions to Nog and Jake's story is hilarious, and the finale is heartwarming. If Jammer hadn't given this episode four stars already I would have called it underrated.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
Just saw this episode for the first time and it still holds up after 17 years and is an absolute delight to watch, the acting and comedic timing really work, dialogue crackles, credit to the writers and made the job of directing very easy for Dorn. Overall a silly but fun episode with a lot of "heart". I liked it. Probably the best Nog and Jake episode I have seen yet.
Patick D
Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 12:18am (UTC -6)
"In the Cards" is for DS9 what "Deja Q" is for TNG: a multi-layered human story with a warm, humanistic sensibility, and DAMNED funny.
Sun, Mar 2, 2014, 7:15pm (UTC -6)
I never thought of this as a comedy episode per se, or at least not in that it's full-on funny. It is, however, a pleasantly lightweight episode with substance and heart and with elements of wonderful and humorous characterizations throughout. Also a very nice set-up for what's to come. Everything here just clicks in the right place.

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

4 stars.
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Nice episode... I really liked the scene where Jake sums up the Geiger's agenda at security office...

Weyoun's subtle threat after Sisko loses his temper is worth mentioning, too. I thought it showed nicely why they made Weyoun a diplomat. Until this episode one couldn't be sure, if he was just a brainwashed man really believing things he was saying. Here you can briefly look behind the charade and see someone you shouldn't underestimate.
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
Actually, I didn't think the Willie Mayes story was convincing, but rightly so, because it was supposed to be incredibly stupid and make Weyoun see Jake and Nog as the harmless kids in over their heads that they were.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 10:28am (UTC -6)
SFKeepay, thank you for that wonderful and insightful post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.5 star for me.
Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 11:00am (UTC -6)
Gosh.... Nog (Aron Eisenberg) not Rom.... *** slaps forehead ***
Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 12:50am (UTC -6)
Gotta love the Jake / Nog discussion about money:
J: "... it means.... it means we don't need money."
N: "Well, if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine."

QED. Humans *do* need money. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not for the bare necessities, but if you want, say, a Willie Mays baseball card, perhaps some non-replicated food, whatever cargo Kassidy's hauling around this week, or a week on Risa -- in short, anything where demand could exceed supply -- you'd better have some way to pay. And that means a medium of exchange. The alternative is bartering, which makes for fun TV, but is a lousy way to run an economy.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 10:17am (UTC -6)
I like this one. It's fun to see the NoJay Consortium in action again (my favourite moment still being the stembolts from, I think?, season 1). It probably shouldn't work this well, but it's well paced and satisfying. I think it's neat how this episode reversed the A- and B-plot setup. Usually the comedy gets stapled to a heavier A-plot and sometimes comes off too transparently as comic relief. Not here, though, because it's a nice tour of the station from the point of view of two guys who aren't necessarily keeping tabs on the political moves going on around them.

I also like that the Bajor-Dominion negotiations stayed civil. No assassinations, no protests - not everything has to be as dramatic as that. It keeps things light enough that the focus of whether or not Bajor should sign the pact leaves the impression it should and sets up the next episode nicely. A genuinely creative move by the writers with this one. A strong 3 stars.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 10:22am (UTC -6)
Oh, and one question for those who might know:

Where was Dax? You'd think she'd have a role in an episode about staying positive and getting Sisko an awesome gift! Farrell is most fun to watch when she's having a good time with the rest of the crew.
Nathan B.
Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
"In the Cards" is a great episode, Jammer's review was absolutely spot-on, and Elliot isn't a troll-just dead wrong on pretty much everything he wrote here. I say that as someone who does appreciate many of Elliot's comments.

Many people collect things. Some businesspeople spends millions of dollars on art. Sports fans collect baseball cards. In the previous episode, Michael Eddington treasured his 300 year old "lucky looney" [sic].* Kids passionately acquire sets of provincial and state quarters. Collecting is a passion for many, and as someone who enjoys collecting things myself, I've always been unhappy that the only Trek show in any depth about the passions of collecting was one that focused on its negative side: the unethical collector (TNG's memorable, and--to be sure--good episode "The Most Toys."

In "In the Cards," DS 9 gives us ordinary mortals who still need money and still see value in collecting a celebration of collecting, of the motivations of buying something special for others, of the thrill of the hunt, of the disappointment at the auction, of the willingness to do whatever it takes (within reason and ethics) to get it.

The fact that "In the Cards" manages to so naturally and authentically situate itself in so many things DS 9 has been working on--the feeling of doom regarding the long-awaited Federation-Dominion war, the lovely father and son relationship between Sisko and Jake, the friendship of the romantic Jake and the practical Nog, the diplomatic overtures between the Bajorans and the Dominion--is remarkable. It makes for very pleasant, interesting viewing.

Like a few of the above commenters, I didn't find the episode particularly hilarious--though it had humorous aspects and parts--but I did find it touching, uplifting, and deeply worthwhile.

*In the previous episode, Eddington talked about his "lucky looney" [sic], a reference to the Canadian one dollar coin. I find it odd that his character successfully predicted what is officially known as the "lucky loonie" on the Royal Canadian Mint's own website. Basically, the story is that at the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2004, someone buried a loonie (the nickname of the $1 coin) under the ice in one of the ice rinks. Canada went on to earn gold medals in men's and women's hockey. The Mint went on to issue bronze circulation loonies and proof silver non-circulating loonies called "lucky loonies" every Olympic year from then on. Some of these coins wouldn't actually have a loon on them, but many would.
John G
Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Seems that a 1951 Willie Mays rookie card just like Sisko's was recently stolen from Rob Schneider's home.

Could this be the work of the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy?
Diamond Dave
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 9:59am (UTC -6)
It takes a little while to spin up but from the moment of Giger's appearance this develops into a little masterpiece of the driest possible comedy. It reminds me of the best of The X-Files comedy episodes - sending itself up subtly but played absolutely straight.

Probably the greatest achievement is in pulling a heavyweight B-story into the comedic element and making it work organically. Winn grabbing Weyoun's ear and saying "No, we're nothing alike. Nothing at all" is a wonderful little moment. And who can't love the montage at the end. 3.5 stars, but only for the slow start is this not a 4.
William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2016, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
I've been going back and forth on this for a while, to the point where I do think I want to rewatch it before making any final declarations (though I change my mind constantly, so what would a "final declaration" look like?). Anyway I agree this is generally a funny and touching hour and an effective calm-before-the-storm. One thing that keeps me from loving it is that I actually found Jake's treatment of Nog irritating throughout the show, in a way that I don't think was *exactly* comedically justified. In "Blaze of Glory," Jake is mostly the sardonic observer to Nog's attempt to gain respect from Martok and the other Klingons -- which is a very recent background for which to discuss how Jake behaves when Nog has a "quest." In this one, he drags Nog along for the ride, yes, which is not so bad when he convinces Nog (as he does at several points) but is actually being a shitty friend when he goes well over Nog's bidding limit, ropes Nog into his crazily confronting Winn, lies that Nog was drunk and disorderly, rapidly shifts stories when their lives might be in jeopardy from Weyoun and shouts down Nog's objections, and so on. Now, the episode does acknowledge to a point that Jake is being a jerk to Nog, especially since Nog does react with increasing worry and annoyance, but I get the impression that we are meant to see this as ultimately justified by the successful procuring of the baseball card, which really still was Jake's project to begin with. I feel like I needed a scene where Jake actually acknowledges outright that he is putting Nog in a bad position and asks him, mano a mano, to please help him see this through, rather than the way Jake either steamrolls over Nog's reasonable objections or guilt trips him about how great Sisko is, in order to get the right level of fuzzy good feelings at the ending as far as those two are concerned. Partly because, you know, while the main cast got something out of this episode, all that Jake and Nog get are the pleasure of helping others (Sisko in particular), and Nog doesn't even get the personal connection to some dumb hew-mon sport that motivates the Siskos. It's not a huge deal, actually -- I don't think Jake behaved monstrously or anything -- but it feels to me like an asymmetry in the friendship where Jake feels that his wants are more important than Nog's, and one which the text kind of glosses over in the ep.

In general, the episode throws (ahem) curveballs at Jake but he remains steadfast in his pursuit of the card, which ends up being important/rewarded; I really like Jammer's point that there is a bit of an echo of "The Visitor" here, where Jake died because of his obsession, even if the tone is completely different. It really is a tragedy/comedy difference—Jake’s obsession here is shown to be worrying and potentially damaging, but ultimately closely connected to courage and faith. The admittedly very silly “The Wizard of Oz” allusion is pretty appropriate, since “Oz” is partly a story about going here and there, helping others self-actualize while trying somehow to get a certain item of symbolic worth. (A more subtle allusion than the “Lions and Gigers and bears” is Jake and Nog discussing whether or not Sisko would like some new shoes.) And actually it occurs to me that this episode which lays the groundwork for the next arc where (spoiler) Sisko leaves the station and leaves his baseball behind and plans to return has its own “Oz” elements, having to do with being whisked away from home and having to return, and ending with a peek inside the Celestial Temple to make some demands of the men behind the curtain. Anyway, within this episode, Jake’s overriding BELIEF in this baseball card does have spiritual elements (“kismet”), which here are rewarded; it does not mean that unwavering belief will guarantee success—far from it. I think it mostly works because the episode is about how faith, combined with hard work and steadfast devotion, sometimes pays off, even though we *know* that this is not an absolute; things will fall apart very soon.

Conversely, in terms of Jake’s characterization, once again spoiling for “Call to Arms,” having Jake develop a wild theory that Winn had Giger kidnapped or killed because she wanted something and then confront her directly, and then have him spin out that tale he does to Weyoun, because he absolutely places his father’s happiness over and above all other concerns, pretty severely disqualifies him from the Serious Field Reporter! Role that he apparently decides to make his own next week. (It’s not that Winn is absolutely above kidnapping, but there’s no real reason to suspect her in this instance, and if Winn *did* kidnap or kill Giger it is simply crazy for Jake and Nog to follow up on that by themselves.) I know, I know—this is a comedy episode. But I think that the episode is trying to make a serious point amidst the absurdity, especially in keeping the Jake/Nog material so close to the doom-and-gloom Sisko-Winn material, and especially in the episode laying the groundwork so much for the season finale, so the big gap between the presentation of Jake here and in the following episode is particularly noticeable and, I think, a demerit. I guess we are meant to assume that Jake swings from “my father’s happiness is all that matters” with large-scale political events only interesting insofar as they impede his ability to acquire a baseball card to “what matters most is a big scoop!” to the point of hurting his father’s standing and eventually leaving him entirely in the space between these two episodes; it’s not wholly unbelievable because teenagers can go through pretty rapid phases, but I find it unconvincing. What this does reflect, though, is that Jake is at a pretty crucial turning point in his life—where he is just on the border between being a child dependent on Ben, and an adult who is an independent agent. Within this episode, his is an independent agent *for* Ben, and in the next he is already an independent agent participating in the whole quadrant political drama. (I just would have been happier for the transition to be handled better.)

Anyway, I like the idea that Jake’s unwavering devotion to lifting his father up ends up “spreading” to other people almost accidentally, to the point where not only do the senior staff get some of their desires met but so does weirdo Giger and even enemy Weyoun—a touch I quite liked in the final montage. The issue is not so much that no one is willing to help Jake & Nog at all, but they are unwilling to help for no reason when they are already busy and in too much despair to take the steps *themselves* to make themselves happy, so that it really does take engaged people with little responsibility to turn around the mood. In spite of my criticisms, what makes Jake’s characterization mostly work here (and Nog’s work even better—except for when he apparently goes with Jake to accuse the Kai of burglary and kidnapping, that I don’t believe he would do) is that as someone standing slightly outside the realm of responsibility but now old enough to recognize it, Jake (and Nog) are able to *give people permission to be happy*, which no one really feels that they can do at this point in time, with the doom that is hanging over them. While Jake is mostly concerned with his father, to a point that I find somewhat off-putting, he did mention at the beginning that Sisko’s despair is hurting the entire staff, based on the premise (of which I’m somewhat skeptical) that it is Sisko who normally brightens everyone’s spirits, with the belief that improving Sisko’s mood will have a knock-down effect. That Jake and Nog only think of helping the senior staff who are their acquaintances/sort-of friends improve their lives in the process of helping Sisko is both understandable in general (they aren’t that close with these guys; they would not normally presume) and also an artifact of them believing that it must be *Sisko* as leader who must somehow lift people’s spirits; they do not seem to realize directly, except as part of the trade, that they can have an impact. The basic idea here that a strong desire to help someone out has a positive domino effect against despair is nicely realized. And I like that even Weyoun is included in the “happy montage” at the end, as well as Leeta for comic counterpoint.

As a comedy, I think much of this is low-key; the funniest element is Giger, whose “cellular ennui” theory and ravings about the soulless minions of orthodoxy are just the right combination of standard crank with enough insight that it seems plausible that he *might* have some good ideas in there somewhere—just with little chance of implementing them successfully. Jake’s baseball-time-traveler plot is also a good parody on Trekkian time travel material as well as a joke on the extreme, nonsensical reverence applied to this particular card in the first place.

As for the serious B-plot, I really enjoy all the interactions among Sisko, Winn and Weyoun. This is a place where to some degree I have to shut out “By Inferno’s Light” in order to believe the Bajoran/Dominion nonaggression treaty as a viable option, though maybe I should also recognize that to some degree, it actually doesn’t matter that much whether or not the Dominion tried to destroy the Bajoran solar system—the Dominion is untrustworthy but has shown some evidence of holding to some limits and not annihilating everyone in the GQ, which basically means that it may well be that trying to stay on their good side is still the less risky option. It’s a mystery why it’s Winn and not Shakaar who is dealing with Weyoun, but she’s a better character (note I didn’t say more ethical) so, sure. She is actually very sympathetic here, and I think that it’s not a contradiction to see this Winn as being the same Winn from s1-2—while it’s true that she is humbled by the events of “Rapture” and sees Sisko as a potential ally more than she did before, I tend to believe that she has always had *what she believed to be* Bajor’s best interests at heart, which just always happened to coincide with her leadership, and at this point what is best for Bajor really is what’s best for her, leading to no contradiction between her ambition and her duties as political/spiritual leader. It is fun to see Winn’s passive-aggressive condescension be turned around on Weyoun (“No, we are nothing alike! Nothing alike at all!”) in what also doubles as probably my favourite pagh-reading scene, partly because essentially Winn now has to deal with Weyoun the way she had dealt with Sisko or Bareil or Kira—as someone she absolutely has to be on “good terms” with to some degree, but from whom she still cannot help but separate herself from with superiority. With Weyoun, there’s the odd combination of 1) Weyoun, unlike the others, largely deserves her scorn, and 2) Weyoun seems to be the most hurt of all of them. As funny as he was in “Ties of Blood and Water,” I think that this episode is where Weyoun-Five really comes into his own as a full-fledged character—his response to Sisko and to Winn, for example, his delight at finding out what Giger is up to, and his reaction to Jake at the episode’s end. I must note—“The Maquis” had Dukat insulted that Sisko would think that he had hurt Jake for no reason as one of the character points that clarified what type of character (villain) we were dealing with, and the way Weyoun deals with Jake here performs a similar function, of emphasizing that Weyoun can be reasonable and personable on a one-to-one basis (note that while he may have something to gain by treating Jake well, part of his interaction with Giger is genuine delight and friendliness), even when he is now the face of the series’ major antagonist.

I’ll say 3 stars for now, waiting upon a rewatch. I could see going to 3.5 (probably not 4, but you never know) if Jake’s characterization plays better for me.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
Absolutely loved Sisko chewing out Jake and Nog, his "DISMISSED!" is right up there with "You betrayed your uniform!" earlier in the season.

One thing irked me, tho: Jake isn't in Starfleet, is Sisko even allowed to confine him to quarters?
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
@Norvo - The answer to that is complicated I assume, but probably temporarily, yes. If the station is a military base (which I think it is) then the military is in charge. We've seen them enforce mandatory evacuations... I don't see why they couldn't confine someone to quarters.

But either way do you want to tell the Commander of DS9, the Emissary to the Prophets and your Dad that you're going to defy his orders?
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
@Norvo & Robert

Weren't Jake and Nog basically telling Sisko that they got drunk and started verbally assaulting the Kai? I'm sure there's any number of "disturbing the peace" and/or assault laws Odo could've nailed them on, so Sisko's punishment is relatively lenient.
Mon, May 9, 2016, 4:50am (UTC -6)

Yes, you are a troll.

You clearly have no love of the DS9 series. Perhaps you should use whatever positive comments you may have for trek in the reviews for the original series.


Fantastic review for another fantastic DS9 episode!
Fri, May 20, 2016, 1:36am (UTC -6)
Well, this sure was a risky decision on the part of the writers, wasn't it? Taking the light-hearted comedic story and focusing the A-plot on it while moving the deadly ultra-serious political story into the B-plot? But you know what, it worked magnificently! It did so for two simple reasons. 1.) The "Deep Space Nine" writers know how to write comedy, when it's not focused on the Ferengi that is. When this series gives us fluff episodes like this they go full on with the ludicrousness but keep everyone completely in character so we can accept the lunacy. When TNG did stuff like this it often ended with the episode not being fluffy enough. When VOY attempts it, it often ends in sheer stupidity (a la "Fair Haven" and "Spirit Folk"). But here, we get the perfect balance of silliness, emotion and serious political intrigue. Nicely done! 2.) These are simply likeable people. After spending five years getting to know this characters and their relationships with each other, it's wonderful to have an episode focus almost solely on how they all care for one another. This is quite possibly the best example of a Trek cast acting like a family.

Also of note is how "In the Cards" is, essentially, the last hurrah everyone is going have before the coming war. In a sense, this is like the last breath before they all take the plunge into the water. They are all about to undergo two years of brutal war, morally questionable decisions and extreme loss. Sure, there will be plenty of fluff episodes in the next two seasons, but nobody is going to be able to fully relax until the Female Changeling puts pin to paper and signs the peace treaty ending the Dominion War. Putting this episode here, right before the opening salvos of that war, was a masterstroke in terms of the overall myth-arc of the series.

Finally, did this episode just subtly deliver a pro-capitalism message? Because I think it did. "Let me show you a little something about incentive-based economics," Nog tells Jake at one point. They then spend the rest of the episode bartering and trading with various people in order to get what they want. In the end, everyone benefits in one way or another from the exchanges. In other words, they engage in win-win interactions. If that isn't pro-capitalist, I don't know what is. And, of course, there's the scene where the writers openly have Nog mock the very idea of Humans having no money. I seriously doubt if whoever wrote that little scene was a socialist!

If there is anything that troubles me about the episode, it's the lengths to which Jake pushes Nog in his obsession to get the baseball card. Jake literally guilt trips him into handing over his money, convinces him to break into Leeta's quarters while she's sleeping, threatens his Starfleet record by telling Sisko they were drunk and risks getting him killed by the Jem'Hadar by lying to Weyoun. In a story that is so filled to the brim with characters caring for each other, they pushed Jake's obsession a little too far for my tastes. It almost makes him look like a bad friend.


Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
I agree with all of the above about Elliot. I only recently started to read these reviews and I have found that Eliot's posts are almost ALWAYS bordering on disparaging...and I am being kind in that description. Yes...I think TROLL is an absolute way to describe Elliot. Watch another show or maybe come up with your own...or direct one....each of your comments makes me ill
Latex Zebra
Tue, Sep 27, 2016, 4:32am (UTC -6)
The reason “intelligent” people watch this show is because it is intelligently written and it treats its viewers like grown-ups. It constantly refers back to the episodes and appreciates that the main viewership is those that tune in regularly. It is not written for the casual viewer.

Don’t think I have ever genuinely commented on this episode. It is a lot of fun. I never found it gut bustingly funny but if you can watch this episode without grinning there is something wrong with you.
Like all Trek you have to let certain things go, Starfleet citizens not having money for example. Especially as in other episodes you see Starfleet crew wandering around with loads of latinum they’ve just won playing Dabo.
Anyway, good lightweight episode and at least a 3 out of 4… Possibly 3.5
David Pirtle
Wed, Dec 7, 2016, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Glad to see at least some of you give this episode the props it deserves. It's zany, and I mean that in a good way. I'm pretty sure I never expected to see Weyoun interrogating Jake and Nog about anything, let alone the possibility of a time-traveling Willie Mays.
Sat, Dec 17, 2016, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
I'm pretty sure the first item for sale in the auction was a toilet paper roll.

I loved how the crazy guy seemed to be channeling Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The whole money thing is weird. Star Trek has always been inconsistent about whether human's use money -- but Jake certainly eats at Quarks, as do other humans. How do they pay?

I was glad to read in earlier comments the background to Jake's discussion of humans not using money, because an image of Stalin flashed in my mind when he said it.

It seems unlikely that Odo would accuse Jake and Nog of making up a story. He's smarter than that.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 7:33am (UTC -6)
Was a bit disappointed that no one mentioned the hilarious scene in the montage, where Geiger shows Weyoun the cellular entertainment machine and Weyoun gets in with gusto. He seems to be genuinely digging it.

This was definitely a fun episode to watch, lightweight, entertaining and tongue in cheek, but with enough heart to keep it from veering into obnoxious or dull. Also, Jake Sisko can run circles around Wesley Crusher any day. Nothing against Wil Wheaton, whom I find very entertaining, it's just that Wesley Crusher's character was written almost as if the writers intentionally wanted us to hate him. No one likes a Mary Sue. Jake on the other hand was just a normal kid trying to make the best out of his situation.
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 7:43pm (UTC -6)

Come on, man. Just because you think something is awful doesn't mean you're right. You seem to think that your opinion is gold or something. Consider the possibility that your preconceived notions prevent you from enjoying the show.
Mon, Jun 26, 2017, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
The problem that people are having with you, Elliot, is not your disdain for DS9, but that your disdainful comments are coming from a place of ignorance. In other words, you trash a show that you admitted to not knowing or caring about, to not liking. And because you don't like it, you have little knowledge of it, yet you comment as if you do.

For example, your critique about why Jake doesn't have more hatred for his father considering his position is, quite frankly, stupid. I use that word not to provoke but to prove the point that, for those of us who watch the show, it is OBVIOUS where that love comes from and why that relationship has meaning. For homework on this topic, watch the following episodes: The Emissary, In the Hands of the Prophets, The Jem Hadar, The Visitor, Paradise Lost, Shattered Mirror, Explorers, A Call to Arms, ...Nor the Battle to the Strong, Rapture, The Reckoning, Image in the Sand, and What You Leave Behind. ALL of these episodes, every single one of them, explore that father/son relationship either in whole or in part. It is CLEAR after watching these episodes why Jake loves Ben so much. An avid viewer of DS9 knows this. Someone who doesn't like the show, however...

As another example, you complained that DS9 often put forth an anti-Rodenberrian version of the ST timeline. Again, that implies a lack of understanding of the show you're watching, probably because again you are not interested in the show. Think about where DS9 is located, in the ass end of the quadrant, a "primitive, frontier" area, according to Bashir in The Emissary (which, of course, drew the scorn of one of the primitive locals, Kira), that had just finished with a 50-year occupation, a war, and the creation of a new DMZ. Then, no sooner than the sector finally begins to establish itself thanks to the discovery of the galaxy's first stable wormhole and all the commerce that would come with such a find, the DMZ gets set on fire by a faction of disgruntled former Federation citizens, the Klingons and Cardassians fight a conflict that further destabilizes the area, and the Gamma Quadrant's version of the Borg comes pouring through the same wormhole that was supposed to make Bajor wealthy. How "Roddenberian" do you EXPECT such a sector to be??? Bajor is FAR away from Earth and the paradise that was created on that world, a concept that was established IN THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF THE VERY FIRST EPISODE!

THESE are the kinds of things that make people on this board so irate with you. You don't have an understanding of this series, yet you comment as if you do. Rather than saying "can someone who follows the show please explain how they established the father/son relationship," you jump on it with unfounded and incorrect criticisms of something you clearly know nothing about. If you're willing to learn about DS9, IMO the best of the shows because of it's complexity, I'm willing to teach. If not, it might be best to not say anything at all. You know Lincoln's quote about being a fool...
Tue, Jun 27, 2017, 6:22pm (UTC -6)

"As another example, you complained that DS9 often put forth an anti-Rodenberrian version of the ST timeline. Again, that implies a lack of understanding of the show you're watching, probably because again you are not interested in the show."

I know Elliot spews vitriolic comments on popular episodes, but this critique isn't completely wrong. DS9 reputably shows a less than ideal Star Trek universe, in contrast to the utopia Roddenberry envisioned in at least TNG, despite DS9 taking place in the same time period.

And that's NOT a bad thing. Many DS9 fans I've encountered, including Jammer, like that DS9 can apply a critical slant to optimistic perfection of the Federation. DS9's reveal of the often dark side of the Federation often comes off as a more realistic depiction of people in the future. It also shows that while the people of the 24th century may have advanced philosophically, perhaps deep down they aren't hopelessly far off from the people of today.
Mon, Jul 3, 2017, 10:37pm (UTC -6)

You're right, DS9 does have a darker, less utopian, more realistic tone to it. Count me as one of the fans who love the show for that reason. That was the point I was making to Elliot. He didn't know what show he was watching. Given the location of the station, on the edges of Federation territory, and given the history of the sector (a Holocaust-style occupation, a recent war with the Cardassians, the formation of a demilitarized zone, the formation of the Maquis, the threat of the Dominion), this particular show CAN'T be Roddenberian. It wouldn't make sense. So for Elliot to apply that as a critique means that he had no idea about the concept of the show.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 9:38am (UTC -6)
There's nothing I dislike about this episode, but as another commenter said above, it's fairly "pedestrian" for me. Still, your review did make me appreciate it a little more than I had before. Let's put it this way. If I started at 4 stars and then subtracted for each negative part of the episode, my overall rating would stay near four stars. Because I have no specific complaints. But it's just not memorable enough, funny enough (minus a couple of lines of dialogue by crazy Doctor Geiger, haha), or moving enough to earn four stars if actually compared to other episodes of Star Trek or DS9 in general. Jake and Nog are two of the most "likeable" characters on the show. So I was rooting for them. But though the outcome at the end was pretty sweet, until that final montage there was never a sense that what they were doing mattered much one way or the other. If it weren't for that final montage showing that they'd bolstered spirits throughout the station, I would have liked the episode significantly less. As it was, it was nice. Especially knowing what I do now, that these characters are all about to be put through the ringer. Glad the boys could cheer them up a bit.
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
The second half of this episode is a real comedic winner and makes this the best DS9 comedy I've seen to date. The first part of the episode was pretty pedestrian -- didn't seem like an out-and-out comedy given the B-plot of Kai Winn negotiating with Weyoun (who is supremely annoying in general but only until the ending of this episode when he contributes to the humor) and the A-plot of Jake/Nog trying to get a baseball card.

It got hilarious when Ben Sisko confronts Nog/Jake about implying Kai Winn is guilty of kidnapping and burglary and Jake says they got drunk.

I've always liked Lofton's acting -- when he bullshits Weyoun about the Willy Mays being a time-traveler, that was great. And then Weyoun asks Geiger about his research and Geiger goes "Do you want to die?" Great stuff here, although Nog is a bit of a drag on this episode - just not a fan of this character.

It's always nice to see the DS9 cast members happy - they were particularly depressed at the start of the episode given that war is imminent after a depressing dinner with Ben Sisko. Loved the ending scene with Worf listening to his Klingon operas, O'Brien with the paddle about to go rafting, Leeta looking for the teddy bear etc.

3 stars for "In the Cards" -- a subtle comedy that is different from VOY's "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" which was an outright comedy right from the get-go. Another episode like "The Visitor" which turns out to be a winner thanks to Lofton's acting.
Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 1:16am (UTC -6)
Don't know how many times this needs repeating to you guys, but DS9 departs from Roddenberry's vision so far almost entirely due to it plagiarizing B5. There is no mystery there.

As for this episode... I just wish Nog and Jake would go away. Just imagine how much more actual grown up plotting we could have. The whole "find a card" quest is something a child would write. I don't find it funny... just annoying and offputting. This is what sci fi has been reduced to here? Following 2 brats around as they hunt down a baseball card from a nutcase? Count me out.

Shame, too, because Winn and Weyoun are here.
Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 1:22am (UTC -6)
And for the record, Elliott is right. This episode is just stupid. 4 stars only after copious amounts of LSD. Jake and Nog truly are annoying. The stories, the bad acting - the utterly pointless presence of these two.
Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
3 stars. Very entertaining

It was season five withbits really good frequent use of Nog that I became a big fan of his. And his friendship with Jake was put to good use in this outing. Their story was solid and interesting

My favorite plot though involved Winn, Sisko and Weyoun. I especially enjoyed the Weyoun/Winn dynamic. Those two given who they are as bad guys interacting with their own selfish agendas was quite interesting to watch. Standout was Winn grabbing Weyoun’s ear and with a smile telling him that they have nothing, nothing at all in common

. I also liked how the Dominion continues to try to neutralize as many Alpha Quadrant races from a possible war as possible. I especially liked the Sisko/Winn scene in his office whether they discuss what Bajor should do and Winn reminding Sisko that of worlds like Vulcan, Andor and Berengaria were threatened then where would Bajor be in terms of priorities.

The final voiceover and the accompanying scenes really were nice.
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:32am (UTC -6)
What a great episode. Some people seem to view DS9 as a relentless, grim slog. This episode disproves that notion. It takes the larger story's threat and fear as its starting point and builds from it into one of the funniest and warmest-hearted episodes of Star Trek.
Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
My Friends and me have been cursing the soulless minions of orthodoxy ever since we first saw this episode! - So awesome!
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 6:44am (UTC -6)
I was hoping to discover that the derelict ship and its collection auctioned by Quark was in fact Fajo's from TNG's The Most Toys. Sadly no. Fajo had a Roger Maris card, not a Willy Mays. And Fajo still had the original chewing gum with his. Shame.
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
"In the Cards" may be my favorite episode of the season. In a season with "Rapture", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "Children of Time", and "Call to Arms", that's quite an achievement! It's also the best comedy episode that DS9 ever did-it's tighter than "Trials and Tribble-ations", and funnier than "The House of Quark" and "The Magnificent Ferengi". It's also incredibly heartwarming and delightful pretty much start to finish. The beginning of the episode wasn't as fun as the later material, but it was necessary to show how gloomy the mood on the station was before Jake and Nog could cheer everyone up.

4 stars.
Andre Rhine-Davis
Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 7:22am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode, but I didn't like the way Jake treated Nog here.
Jake pressured Nog into giving up all his latinum, which he had been saving up his whole life! And you know how much latinum means to Nog as a Ferengi. Would you like it if your friend pressured you to give up all the money you had saved for them? In the end they didn't win the auction, so Nog didn't even up actually losing any of it, but still... not cool Jake.

But yeah, this episode really does explicitly raise the question about humans and money. A good real world analogy is kibbutzim. Kibbutzim are small communistic communes/farms in Israel. A couple of hundred people live together in each kibbutz, where everyone works for the benefit of the whole kibbutz. There is no money and no individual ownership, everything is shared. Communism seems to actually work relatively well with these populations of a few hundred where everyone knows each other well and it's like one big family.
However, while kibbutzim are internally communistic, they are externally capitalistic. People living inside a kibbutz live a communistic life, but each kibbutz as a whole has money, it buys things and sells things with other kibbutzim and with businesses in general. If someone from the kibbutz needs to interact outside the kibbutz for some reason, say to go to a doctor or something, the kibbutz will supply them with the appropriate money from the kibbutz' fund.

I imagine this to be sort of how Earth (or the whole federation?????) works in Star Trek.
On Earth, there doesn't need to be money, because there is so much supply of everything that everyone just does what they want and gets what they want and there is no scarcity. In reality, I am not sure to what extent this could work, since individual people might still *want* to do personal projects, or might want the efforts of other people. If you want 100 other people to perform a play you have written, and nobody volunteers.... how can you get them to do it? What can you offer them in return? But whatever, I can suspend my disbelief and assume that the Earth does work without money.

But the way the Earth and/or the Federation interact with the Klingons or the Ferengi or the Bajorans or anyone else really has to be capitalistic. The Earth and/or the Federation must buy and sell things (well, "import" and "export" things) with other planets, and it needs latinum or some galactic currency to do so. I would imagine that when Earth citizens go to other planets or whatever, they would apply to the Earth government for some latinum to have for their trip. Similarly, I imagine that Starfleet Officers have access to Earth's latinum supply, or they can just charge the things they buy at Quark's or whatever with a "Starfleet" or "Earth" debit card which just uses the Earth's huge supply of latinum. Whatever they do, humans away from Earth (such as at DS9) should definitely get a latinum allowance from Earth *somehow*, or else how are they supposed to do anything or buy anything outside of Earth or the federation?

How does Jake buy food from Quark's? How does Jake buy anything from anywhere on DS9? I find it hard to believe he'd have to ask his father to use *his* "debit card", after all Jake is 18 now, he should have his own "debit card", even if it doesn't have unlimited access to Earth's latinum account since Jake isn't like a Starfleet Captain or anything. Jake should definitely have access to *some* latinum... his life on DS9 wouldn't make sense if he doesn't. So he really shouldn't need to ask Nog for his.

I mean, this also raises the question of "Why do people need to pay Quark at all, if he just gets stuff out of a replicator, and there are replicators all over the station?". But that's a whole nother issue.
Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 9:12am (UTC -6)
@Andre R-D

Good insights about currency and why things get silly in Star Trek sometimes. There must be some sort of reserve currency the Federation holds to issue to its officers and families when needed (here, a station that uses latinum transactions). You’d have to imagine that the Federation has bonds it can issue to other countries to show good faith because trying to barter goods and services at a 1:1 trade ratio is extremely primitive.
Peter G.
Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -6)
It's interesting to ponder these things, but somewhat futile because any sufficiently functional economic system will be opaque to us as outsiders. If you tried to explain the current U.S. system to anyone it would take you years, if either of you could understand it at all. Maybe the Federation system is simpler in complexity but it strikes me as unlikely that we could just guess, as outsiders, what it is.

That being said, we don't need to assume that only one currency is used on DS9. In fact, the use of a single currency is a feature in systems where those who print the currency want monopolistic control over its distribution and supply. If there is no restriction you'd very likely see a system of competing currencies, all of which would be accepted to varying degrees based on how stable they are. The Ferengi might like latinum best of all, but there's no reason why Quark and other merchants shouldn't accept Federation credits since their value is stable and they're basically guaranteed to be able to use them to get things they want (like from the replicators). Getting latinum is useful for Quark because it allows him to purchase things from off-station, but assuming his goal was merely to live well he'd do ok to just collect Federation currency and use it locally on the station for goods and services. No doubt he balances for himself how much latinum he needs for imports, compared to Federation credits and other currencies that various species bring with them. The advantage to Quark in accepting credits is that (a) Starfleet is going to have lots of them to spend and so he'll have a steady stream of it, and (b) it can probably get him a vast selection of things. Many other races may even accept Federation credits as exchange if they're very stable and guaranteed to be useful in barter. The other thing is that since Starfleet officers probably aren't allowed to accumulated credits and 'get rich' they'll be happy to spend all of their credits regularly and won't be 'stingy'. They would have no fear for the future because their economic system always guarantees them good conditions whether they're stingy with credits or not.
Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 11:55am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

“Maybe the Federation system is simpler in complexity but it strikes me as unlikely that we could just guess, as outsiders, what it is.”

Well yeah, the writers don’t even know what it is, which facilitates the WMG.
Mon, Nov 5, 2018, 11:24am (UTC -6)
This is an entertaining episode, and it's great to see how much Jake and Nog have matured as characters since their mostly forgettable turns in seasons 1 and 2. The show is not without its weaknesses. The brooding of the rest of the main cast rings false for me. Bashir's drastic change in tone was particularly off-putting. It's like Siddig said to himself, "The script says Bashir is sad, so I should be sad now." Nog's stealing of Bashir's teddy bear literally out of arms of a sleeping Leeta was funny, but played like a cartoon. Minor gripes, though.

In a more general sense, having Nog go to Starfleet Academy was about the best thing the show could've done with the character. Unlike Rom and virtually every other Ferengi, Nog became more likable as the series progressed.
Fri, Nov 30, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
Just when you think Elliott can't get any more joyless he finds a way to surprise you.
Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 8:38am (UTC -6)
I'm surprised too by the praise this episode gets here. I thought it was solid, competent at what it's doing, but not particularly interesting or funny or anything. I don't see anything standing out in any way, or what's so funny about Geiger and why stupid theory equals hilarious. Star Trek often makes me laugh, but not in this episode. Seeing how people put this on a level with The Visitor makes me wonder if I was watching the same show.

Again, a watchable episode, but for my liking pretty standard and forgettable. 2.5.
Cody B
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
Sounded like quark mentioned a painting he was auctioning that “ inspired the first Martian expedition of 2017”. Sorry 1997, you got that one wrong. Morn sure was into it though since he can be seen later with the painting. Not sure when he will have time to look at it in between never not drinking at Quark’s bar. I recently found out that Kai Winn is played by the actress who is Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Doesn’t mean I like seeing Kai Winn ever showing up though. (I also recently found out that Kira was supposed to be TNG’s Ensign Ro but the actress turned down the part. Not a great decision). Doctor Bashir still has a little of his “special” original self. How else do you explain a grown man doctor missing his teddy “Kookalocka”? Great episode though
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
What a strange and sweet little story. Loved the A story about the boys, as we watch them spread the joy. So many nice moments, but especially loved when Weyoun believed "the first story." Coombs great as always.

Dr Geiger was a classic mad scientist sci fi character. Lots of great touches in his characterization.

With or without a regeneration chamber chamber, with or without the Dominion threat, life goes on, it seems. When you keep your cells energized, you're whole body stays energized. When you keep your crew happy, the whole station is happy.

Life finds a way.

The B story about Kai Winn . . . I always love Fletcher as the Kai and enjoy her performance. "We're nothing alike," she tells Weyoun in a great scene.

Not sure why the Dominion would want to bother with a non aggression pact with Bajor. I don't have the impression Bajor has the resources to make much difference in any Alpha Quadrant takeover attempt by the Dominion.

I just can't make sense of the Dominion threat or approach. We're almost to the end of Season 5, and still, no payoff on the threat posed, the nice sense of dread created (bit long since dissipated), in the Season 3 "They're everywhere!" finale.

Wish I had more time to really give this ep more thought.

Lions and Geigers and Bears - oh, my!!
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 10:00pm (UTC -6)

"Not sure why the Dominion would want to bother with a non aggression pact with Bajor. I don't have the impression Bajor has the resources to make much difference in any Alpha Quadrant takeover attempt by the Dominion. "

They want to prove to the Alpha Quadrant two things: 1)-They're a peaceful power who means the Alpha Quadrant powers no harm and 2)-They're a great power of their word.

Onto the rest of the episode, I think it's really beautiful. One of the best DS9 episodes for me-great writing, acting, pacing, and editing. A comedy classic.
Andre Rhine-Davis
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
@Springy @Iceman
"They want to prove to the Alpha Quadrant two things: 1)-They're a peaceful power who means the Alpha Quadrant powers no harm and 2)-They're a great power of their word. "

Also, Odo has an affinity with Bajor, and the Dominion want to get on Odo's good side.
In season 6, we see Weyoun telling Odo that he's doing everything he can to help Bajor and the Bajorans, clearly in an attempt to impress/appease Odo. Maybe the Dominion thinks that if they invade Bajor, Odo will be very angry with them.

On the other hand, this doesn't really match up with Odo's other interactions with the female changeling, where she doesn't care about Odo's affinity with the solids at all, and has no problem telling him she's going to execute Major Kira. It could well be though that the whole "peace treaty with Bajor for the sake of appeasing Odo (at least in part)" is the brainchild of Weyoun and/or the other Vorta. After all, Weyoun genuinely tries to appease Odo and make him happy and do what he wants, whereas the female changeling doesn't really care what Odo himself wants.
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 2:01am (UTC -6)
This episode is a quirky, goofy, warm and fuzzy and very optimistic one. And I hate those in my Star Trek, but I like it more that I'm willing to admit, even to myself.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Thu, Jul 25, 2019, 10:37am (UTC -6)
Yeah I am kind of struggling with this one too. If anyone is still reading that agreed with the 4 star rating, what were the moments that really hit you, and what emotion was it you were feeling? For me a 4 star is usually one that hits me with awe, or perhaps sadness, or just completely grips me with its plotting. I didn't really feel any of those things. I didn't feel impatient or annoyed for sure, like with Ferenghi Komedy episodes ... but a 4 star for me is the likes of Measure of A Man, the "blew my socks off" episodes. In which scenes / in what way were your socks figuratively liberated from your tootsies, if I may ask? I don't mean it as a challenge, I just honestly want to know what I am missing!

Coombs is awesome though.
Sun, Sep 22, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Very sad to hear of Aron Eisenberg's passing today. Always is the case when Trek loses one of its family members.
Noticed others posting about their favorite Nog episodes. For me, it's "In the Cards" - DS9's best comedy. (Although Jake plays a bigger role).
Nog and Jake really developed something special over the seasons -- from little brats to buddies to being at each other's throats and to mature young adults. Here, their partnership is at its best and most entertaining.

RIP Aron Eisenberg
Lew Stone
Wed, Oct 9, 2019, 1:04am (UTC -6)
This was a dumb episode. Chrome made a good point several episodes back in one of his/her? posts that DS9 is like watching 20th/21st century people in the STDS9 environment. This doesn't seem to bother Chrome based on his mostly positive reviews of DS9 but it bothers me. After all, I don't watch ST to see people behaving as they would in today's civilization (boring). This episode is a great example of this point.

First, we have Jake becoming obsessed with getting his hands on a baseball card (I used to collect baseball cards too, but that was the 20th century, been there/done that). Okay, so one of the refreshing things about some of the other ST series, like TNG, is the evolved nature of human attitudes regarding material items and monetary wealth. Namely, the lack of both in those worlds is refreshing in terms of story-telling, and is believable from an evolutionary standpoint for a futuristic society. But here on DS9 it's like the 20th century, where if your loved one is upset then just buy them a shiny necklace or baseball card, and they'll be happy again. How shallow and absurd is this idea in the ST universe! I would expect something more profound from ST but then this is DS9, which is an outlier for me in terms of ST series. So Jake tries to get Nog to give up his entire life savings through a guilt trip (bad friend) to buy this dumb gift, like that card all by itself will cheer up Sisko since he's depressed about, you know, an oncoming war (implausibly stupid). That doesn't work so the writers set up this dumb scavenger hunt plot line where Jake lies and manipulates his way along, Sisko's over-the-top yelling at the two for 'getting drunk' is silly, and the ending is boring and convenient. About the ending, Jammer writes "And the ending goes down as a classic in my book". Sometimes Jammer I think YOU are the one trolling us with comments like that. What was classic about it? It was simplistic, convenient, and boring.

I much preferred the B story. Kai Winn and Weyoun are very interesting characters and acted superbly. I wish this had been the A plot and more time had been devoted to it. I thought it was serious, credible, and interesting while moving forward the larger story arc of Dominion/Federation conflict. I find the Kai, in particular, to be such an interesting character. She's like one of those corrupt Pope's from Europe's Middle Ages, at least that's how I see her. This B plot line is why I think DS9 has a large fan base. The political intrigue is done pretty well. Unfortunately, it's the silly plot lines like the Jake/Nog fiasco that ultimately drag the show down, at least for me.

I consider 2 stars out of 4 to be an average episode. This episode gets less than that because the awesome B plot was so small.

1.5 stars
Wed, Oct 9, 2019, 3:33am (UTC -6)
@Lew Stone
Personal possession were never not a thing in Star Trek. Picard (artifacts) had them and was obviously happy when he got new ones, Spock (paintings,art) had them. I cannot think of one person on the Enterprise who didn't have some personal possessions which obviously were important to them.
The baseball card is more comparable to flowers you picked yourself. It is less about the thing that is gifted, it is about showing love and that you care.
Plus Sisko collects, like Picard historical artifacts and a 400 years old baseball card can certainly be considered an historical artifact.

"Chrome made a good point several episodes back in one of his/her? posts that DS9 is like watching 20th/21st century people in the STDS9 environment."
Did he or she??? Somebody (Robert) said something like that but it was about Voyager. I guess your brain heard "bad thing about a star trek show" = must have been about DS9! ;)
Lew Stone
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 2:52am (UTC -6)
@Booming, are you stalking me now? I'm flattered.

The concept of giving a gift because someone is depressed about going to war is utterly shallow and stupid. It's like you have the weighty, meaty concept of going to war on one side, and on the other side I'm going to give you flowers or a baseball card??? Silly. They could've come up with a much deeper, more meaningful gift from Jake, but no.

Yeah, you just made the perfect comparison between DS9 and TNG: Picard's interest in ancient civilizations, their artifacts, and what their culture's history can teach present-day peoples versus a baseball card. Thanks! The metaphor is made clear.

My comment about Chrome's (and I'm sure it was Chrome) comment works well for either DS9 or Voyager, but it works better for DS9. Either way, it works.
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 4:16am (UTC -6)
"Are you stalking me now?"

Don't flatter yourself.

Every new comment appears on Jammer's "comment stream" page, which is where many of us hop to see if there's anything new.

Anyway, Booming summed up nicely why Jake's gift has absolutely nothing to do with 20th/21st century greed or material wealth. It's the sentimental value the matters, and the thought that counts.

Also, there's nothing in canon to support the claim that 23rd/24th century humans have stopped being emotional and sentimental creatures. As Spock would say, these emotions are completely illogical. But as Kirk would say (with a huge self-satisfied grin on his face): It is these emotions that make us human.

Besides, would it really be more logical for Sisko to be forever depressed because of the war? Will eternal sulking help the Federation win? Being pereptually stuck in a gloomy mood until the external crisis is solved, doesn't strike me as particularly logical either.
Lew Stone
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 4:34am (UTC -6)
@Omi I never said Sisko was "forever depressed" or going to eternally sulk, your words, not mine, but nice try. I stated that it is silly to think that a baseball card, or any gift for that matter, will alleviate the depression that comes from a looming conflict such as war. If you have ever written fiction then you understand that you put yourself in the place of your characters and try to understand what they are feeling in that moment as if it were real. When war is coming you begin thinking about your own death, the death of loved ones, the destruction of your planet, civilization, or people as a whole. I think a "funny" episode about trying to find a gift to alleviate these weighty issues is silly, the two drastically different plot lines made the episode feel uneven.

I'll even give you a quick example that I just thought of. How about a tie-in to Jake's writing ability to have him write a an ode, a sonnet, any kind of poem, or short story, for Sisko that incorporates Sisko's life, his present love interest, as well as themes of peace, love, and acceptance, the beauty of life, the nobility of fighting and dying for your beliefs, and have part of the episode revolve around THAT. Now THAT balances out the theme of looming war, death, and destruction. A baseball card doesn't get the job done. Oh well, maybe you guys need to read more classic literature, you don't seem to get it. But to each their own Omicron.

Oh, and the "are you stalking me now" was a joke, or couldn't you tell? I'm beginning to think some of you have no sense of humor, take things way too seriously, and are overly-sensitive. You kind of showed your nasty attitude there Omi but whatever. Keep it coming!
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 5:04am (UTC -6)
@ Lew Stone
Who am I? What am I doing...

Sisko is not depressed about going to war. He is depressed about the situation which is quickly deteriorating and he can do nothing about it.

Sisko is happy about his son spending a lot of time and effort to give him a little joy because that means that Jake noticed that his father is unwell and then wanted to show him that there are things that are still good in the galaxy. It helps Sisko to open up and gives him emotional pleasure. What is that other than a lovely gesture?

One could also add that in the process of that episode for example Weyoun is shown as three dimensional being, not just another cardboard villain twirling his mustache just being evil for evil's sake. It shows several people from unique angles.
"Picard's interest in ancient civilizations, their artifacts, and what their culture's history can teach present-day peoples versus a baseball card."
Are you sure that Picard ever said that? He gets artifacts during TNG not to put them in a museum but for himself. Plus a baseball card can teach many things about Humans.

" Thanks! The metaphor is made clear.

My comment about Chrome's (and I'm sure it was Chrome) comment works well for either DS9 or Voyager, but it works better for DS9. Either way, it works."

You have a vivid imagination and construct outlandish thinks with it. :D I looked through Chromes's comment stream but couldn't find what you think is there but if you are so sure... :)
Plus I made a comparison. True, but in what way did I use a metaphor? The baseball card is even sold at an auction for artifacts. A 400 year old anything is an artifact. What do you think artifacts are?
The Oxford Dictionary states:
"An object made by a human being, typically one of cultural or historical interest."
A 400 year old baseball card is of cultural and historical interest.

The rest was covered by Omicron quite nicely.

But if you are so bothered by my tremendous wisdom and razor sharp criticism then I will leave you in peace with which I mean swimming trough that endless stream of bile that is your relationship with DS9. ;)
Jason R.
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 5:16am (UTC -6)
" I stated that it is silly to think that a baseball card, or any gift for that matter, will alleviate the depression that comes from a looming conflict such as war. "

Ever heard the saying "it's the thought that counts"?
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 6:45am (UTC -6)
"I never said Sisko was "forever depressed" or going to eternally sulk, your words, not mine, but nice try. I stated that it is silly to think that a baseball card, or any gift for that matter, will alleviate the depression that comes from a looming conflict such as war."

Look... I've lived through my share of impending wars and existential dangers, and I can tell you from experience: The most important and most healthy thing you can do in these situation is to realize that LIFE GOES ON.

Yes, it is *natural* to become preoccupied with the thoughts of doom and the horrors of death. But it isn't healthy. At least, it isn't healthy to be like that ALL THE TIME.

And yes, small actions of goodwill can do wonders in this respect. It may not be 'logical' but human emotions seldom are logical. The simple truth is that it often works.

Of-course, this doesn't mean that now everything will be bubbly and happy forever. It just makes coping with the impending doom easier.

Also, it isn't just the baseball card that cheered Sisko up. It's the fact that everybody on the station was a little less tense because someone has done something nice to them that day.

I know, I know... It is terribly cliche. But it is cliche because it is *true*.

"I'll even give you a quick example that I just thought of. How about a tie-in to Jake's writing ability to have him write a an ode, a sonnet, any kind of poem, or short story, for Sisko that incorporates Sisko's life, his present love interest, as well as themes of peace, love, and acceptance, the beauty of life, the nobility of fighting and dying for your beliefs, and have part of the episode revolve around THAT."

The nobility of fighting?! Dying for your beliefs?! How the hell is that supposed to cheer anybody up? And shouldn't the 24th century Federation be above this kind of thing, anyway?

To be fair, it does look fitting on paper. But unfortunately, to a person who actually *lived* through similar situations, it just doesn't make any sense.

Unless it's a Klingon ship. Writing that song to Worf and Martok would certainly get their spirits up :-)

"Oh well, maybe you guys need to read more classic literature, you don't seem to get it."

Or maybe classic literature isn't as "realisitic" as you think it is, when it comes to the human condition?

"Oh, and the 'are you stalking me now' was a joke, or couldn't you tell?"

Of-course I couldn't tell.

As Booming already told you a few episodes ago, people cannot tell your tone of voice over the internet. He also recommended that you use emoticons to clarify your intentions, to which you replied "good point".

In the post we're discussion right now, you didn't use any emoticons. So if you *were* joking and people didn't get it, the responsibility for not getting the message across lies squarely on your shoulders.

"I'm beginning to think some of you have no sense of humor, take things way too seriously, and are overly-sensitive. You kind of showed your nasty attitude there Omi but whatever... "

How did you leap from "not understanding a joke" to "nasty"?

Seriously, if you think any of the replies you've got here are "nasty" then perhaps it is you who are overly-sensitive...
Peter G.
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 11:30am (UTC -6)
@ Lew Stone,

It's interesting you suggest that Jake should have written a sonnet for Ben as part of your critique of the episode. Your general tone seems to indicate you know better than everyone else. Well ok, let's put that detail on hold for the moment. Then you suggest that you also know better than the writers of the episode what would cheer up Ben most, and that it's not an antique baseball card but rather a piece of literature. Let's examine that. Have you seen any evidence in the series that Ben is a fan of high literature? Sonnets? Sure, I guess maybe people in the Federation may read more than people today do, but have we seen anything in DS9 to show he's an avid reader, or lover of poetry, like Picard was? If not, why should that gift make him happy? Because you think it's thematically more appropriate to Jake's characterization?

So let me ask this: when you're getting a gift for someone, do you get them something according to what would maximally demonstrate "your characterization", or do you get them something you think they'd like, based on their tastes? Do you think of creative ways to fulfll what they would like, or do you get thems something *you think they ought to like*? From your suggestion it's sounding like you think Jake should get Ben something you approve of rather than something Ben would actually like. You say that poetry or whatever is better for getting over war doldrums. Is that a fact? Show me the study where the test cases prefer poetry to sentimental shows of affection and I'll be quite interested. On the fact of it your argument seems to make no sense, and I have no reason to believe Ben would be interested in poetry or that it would lift his spirits, other than it's from Jake. But since it has that in common with a baseball card that point is moot. The card is something peculiar to Ben's tastes, so it does seem like the clear choice over something we have no way to know if he'd care for. So are you sure your attitude on this plot point isn't another case of thinking you know better, in this case knowing better than someone what their own likes are?

I mention all this as sort of a parenthesis, because harping on the choice of gift is actually missing the point of the episode entirely. What Jake and Nog needed was a quest, to be able to do something. The fact that it ended up being an immense treasure hunt is exactly the point of the episode, and in some way the card turns into the holy grail in that it was the focal point of a huge exertion whose pursuit brought out the best in Jake, to the point of standing right up to Weyoun. *That* is what Ben would have been most proud of, and although Ben doesn't actually see all this we do, and that's why it's a good episode.
Lew Stone
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 12:34am (UTC -6)
You folks have a real problem with criticism. Despite all of your arguments I still don't agree with any of you about this episode. So, keep making those arguments but I think the 'A' plot line was dumb, the baseball card was dumb, and those two actors are two of the worst on the show. If you care to have more detail about that then see my above comments.

@ Peter G. you're completely wrong about the gift idea needing to be something other than writing, like the card. Sisko has praised his son many times for his literary accomplishments and is clearly proud of him. So both Sisko and Jake appreciate Jake's writing and is meaningful for both of them. Also, taking into consideration that a beautifully written poem, or meaningful story, has a deeper meaning than a baseball card, then this makes my idea better than the baseball card. And yes Peter, I have great ideas for stories and music. I've proven this in my own life many times. I've recorded music and played it live to many audiences, written poetry and done many poetry readings. I've read many books of American literature, studied story construction in stories, poems, and songs, and after a many years of doing this (decades) I know what a poorly constructed story looks like compared to an average story compared to a great story. Maybe you don't, and that's okay but I do. Why is that so hard to believe? Some people, like me, devote years to learning these things because we are interested.

@ Omicron, I made the "stalking" comment as a joke because Booming and I had just finished a long dialogue on another episode, so I expected him to get the joke. It wasn't meant for you but you inserted yourself anyway and did have quite a nasty tone to your post. I completely understand that you want to play some kind of victim but you are not, you are a bully who inserted themselves into a discussion. Heck, I never even addressed you. I simply put up a post and you all responded negatively to it. Oh and in the 24th century humans are beyond acting nobly? How is this so? Acting nobly, morally, ethically, those are hallmarks of the Federation and Starfleet. Yes, writing a small piece of literature reminding Sisko of these virtues that even death and war can't take away, a piece of writing devoted to him from father to son, is more eloquent and more profound, and in the end more meaningful, especially during a difficult time, than a baseball card. I know, you can't see it, which is fine.

@ Booming, your last sentence proves my point that you are arrogant which is probably why you, along with your buddies here, so ravenously attack anyone who doesn't like DS9. Keep being arrogant see where it gets you.

Along these lines I'll address how you all seem to wolf-pack anyone with a negative comment about DS9. I see it on here all the time. You all come off as arrogant know-it-all's who can't stand if even a couple of people on this thread criticize this show, it's a bit disturbing considering the vast majority of people on here love DS9 episodes. Is your goal to have 100% agreement? Are you so threatened by just a few people criticizing this show? You seem like it, the way you gang up. Am I not entitled to give a negative critique of DS9? According to you all I guess I'm not. You all come across as a bunch of babies really. I can hear the crying now.

As an aside, I actually like some DS9 episodes, parts of episodes, and some characters quite a bit. But you all ignore that, which proves you're trolls.

I will continue to watch the series because I wanted to give it a fair shot, just like VOY, I started watching these series years ago, didn't like them and stopped watching them. Recently I decided, why not just muscle through the episodes and give them a fair shake. It turns out that I began liking VOY a bit more, I don't hate it like I used to, so that's nice. However, DS9, sorry, still don't like it. But I'm coming from a place of open-mindedness, you all are simply close-minded trolls trying to demolish anyone who doesn't agree with you. So continue being trolls, get upset when not every single person agrees with you. I will continue critiquing as I see fit. Hey, I'm about to write a couple more reviews. Be sure to comment.
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 3:00am (UTC -6)
@ Lew Stone
"your last sentence proves my point that you are arrogant which is probably why you, along with your buddies here, so ravenously attack anyone who doesn't like DS9. Keep being arrogant see where it gets you."
*Sigh* You accuse others of having no humor but that seems to be pointing to a pattern you show here which is projection. Most of my comment wasn't serious.
For some reason while reading your comment I had to think of this scene

You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled of being free from having your opinion criticized.

"But I'm coming from a place of open-mindedness, you all are simply close-minded trolls trying to demolish anyone who doesn't agree with you."
Well, if that statement doesn't speak for itself. I recommend that you try to be a little bit more self-aware.

I'll leave you in peace now and don't worry I will not end this post with a joke that you interpret as a vicious attack.

See what I did there. :D
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -6)
@Lew Stone

It's amazing that every single thing you've accused the people here of, is a thing that you yourself are doing.

Can't accept criticism? check.
Arrogantly assuming that you're better then everyone else? check.
Playing the role of a victim? check.
Taking everything here way *way* too seriously? check.

So you might want to lighten up...

Also, please remember that this a Trekkie discussion board and that one of our favorite hobbies is to nitpick and overanalyze and correct EVERYTHING we see. So if you see people doing that to your comments, try not to take it personally.

(you might also want to take it as sign that you should try and improve your arguments)
Lew Stone
Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 1:57am (UTC -6)
@ Omi, my arguments are fine, and whatever you want to believe about the episode is fine, but some of you have a nasty tone to your messages. I've read comments by people on this DS9 board that pointed out how many DS9 fans swarm and attack with nasty attitudes when someone gives negative feedback (I'm not the first), then others as you are doing now, try to play it off like its some kind of respectful criticism and other people are taking it too seriously. It's the other way around chum, you take it too seriously and have poison in your posts, don't blame others for defending themselves against you.

Also, I don't assume I'm "better than everyone else" but I do think that I'm better than most at understanding what makes stories good or bad only because I've worked hard at this understanding for many years, as I stated above.

As for taking the role of the victim, I'm not a victim but I stand up to idiots trying to be bully's. I only created a post and you attacked, so try and be a bully if you want to, doesn't phase me, I've dealt with bully's in real life and now on message boards, but again, good try.
Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 5:17am (UTC -6)
@Lew Stone

Omicron please don't react to him. Let him do his thing.
Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 1:39am (UTC -6)

Don't worry. I have absolutely no interest in continuing on this futile tangent.

Now back to discussing DS9 and this episode:

I actually agree with Lew's general point of how the people onboard DS9 are behaving too much like 20th century humans. It's a thing that bugs me too about this show (and to lesser extent - about Voyager).

I just don't agree with the specific example he gave here. I don't see anything "greedy" or "primitive" in the idea of cheering Sisko up with a sentimental gift. In fact, I find this episode heart-warming and beautiful (and much of the stuff with the Geiger fellow was also hilariously funny).

It's ironic. Because my biggest gripe with the characters of DS9 is how often they fall into being egotistical and petty (at least when compared to the earlier Trek shows) and the spirit of *this* episode is precisely the opposite of that.
Mark Bogn
Mon, Nov 11, 2019, 10:24pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching this in 2019 for the first time and found it absolutely hilarious and I'm in complete agreement with Jammer from over 22 years ago.

One thing it seems none of the commenters picked up on--when Jake and Nog see Kai Winn on the promenade, one of them says, "You wouldn't like her when she's angry." Kai Winn was played by Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award in 1975 for her role as as the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Jason R.
Tue, Nov 12, 2019, 7:18am (UTC -6)
"Kai Winn was played by Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award in 1975 for her role as as the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Oh my god I never realized that! Cool.
Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
You folks have a real problem with criticism


'Course. It's tribalism. Like obnoxious football fans when you criticize their favourite team.

Trek has a cult following and, although most Trek fans here would be the first to laugh at religion, they are themselves religious nutcases... The difference is that Trek is their religion.

DS9 has some good moments and some decent stories at times - but overall it's a very childish melodrama. Way too inconsistent. The show also had no goal in sight when it started and largely plagiarized Babylon 5 (which did have a full planned arc).

There's no need to argue that the writing at times is crazy when you have evil spirits trapped in a book in later seasons. There's nothing left to say.

Just keep pointing out the logical fallacies and problems, and don't let some of these zealots put you off reviewing and criticizing. It's the only way we'll get any change.

This episode is laughable. Having 2 kids running around doing stuff doesn't help any show. Kids didn't like Star Wars because Han Solo was some badly written 10 year old.
Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -6)
@Mark Bogn

""You wouldn't like her when she's angry." Kai Winn was played by Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award in 1975 for her role as the tyrannical Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Sadly, I don't think the writers had this in mind when they wrote this line.

They had a perfect opportunity to put her in the back of an ambulance without make-up in 'Far Beyond the Stars' and didn't.
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 8:02am (UTC -6)
This one clinches the four-star rating with zero hesitation from me. I even watched the finale after this, and yet out of both of those excellent episodes, the one that sticks in my mind is not the status quo-shattering events of 'Call to Arms', but the beautifully nonsensical wild goose chase for a single baseball card.

There's just so much to love here! It harkens back to the self sealing stem bolts-style Jake and Nog shenanigans that I loved so much in the early seasons (hell, sometimes more than the A-plots). They've finally earned their promotion to A-plot here, and while I thought it was a curious choice (Bajor-Dominion politics is the B-plot? are you sure you guys didn't mix those up), it absolutely pays off. Considering the context -- as the teaser shows all too well, we're in some of the most depressing times DS9's ever given us -- this is the exact blast of entertainment our cells need.

I really love a good bit of *happy* comedy like this. The ending here is like the ending to 'Body Parts' -- despite the bleakness of the times, everyone's supporting each other, and everyone manages to find their little oasis of happiness in spite of everything...

... and not a single bar of Nog's latinum is spent!

And yet my *favourite* scene in this is one very specific moment during the final monologue: Weyoun getting himself snuggled up and comfy in the regeneration pod. Ready for a good, refreshing blast of entertainment, delivered straight to the cells? You'd better believe it!

(I keep misspelling Weyoun's name, and I know EXACTLY why. I teach English to Korean kids for a living, and a student I've had twice-weekly for about two years has a name that rhymes with "Weyoun" -- though it's romanised in a completely different way. You have no idea how difficult it is to physically stop myself from typing "Weoyoon", hit backspace, and type "Weyoun" instead. If you ever see a stray "Weoyoon" in one of my comments, or perhaps "Weoyoun" or "Weyoon"... now you know the reason.)
Jamie Mann
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -6)
It's a fluff episode. It has a few funny moments. And (perhaps give or take the way it highlights the issues with the "post-money economy" model the Federation allegedly follows), that's pretty much all there is to it.
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
My gut tells me "In the Cards" plays a bit better on paper than on screen. DS9 has a rather dry "house style" - a preferred manner of presentation - which you sense doesn't fully capture the wit, pacing and tempo of Ron Moore's script.

My gut also tells me that this episode was inspired by Darin Morgan's "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", Morgan being the writer who pushed "The X-Files", the other big SF series of the 1990s, into doing the occasional high-concept comedy episode. "Jose Chung", an "X-Files" episode, was released a year before "Cards", and they share a similar voice-over heavy ending (the mad scientists and themes of fate seen in Moore's script also echo a number of Morgan's other scripts).

But while I wouldn't rank this episode as highly as Jammer and most DS9 fans - "In the Cards" has long been canonized a classic - I still like a number of things about it. The "mad scientist" who "bores people to death" while trying to do the precise opposite is interesting as a concept, and Weyon is great throughout the episode, particularly when he learns that the "mad scientist's" investigations into immortality echo his own nature as a repeatedly cloned being.

We also get more good Nog stuff, the character continuing to grow considerably across this season, and a neat subplot in which Bajor contemplates joining the Dominion, the episode's title (in the cards) echoing both the planet's destiny, and the Federation's inevitable war with the Founders.

Some commenters above complain about Jake Sisko's acting, but I thought he was fine throughout, and I really dig how DS9's costume department dress him; the guy looks like a 1930s hobo, or Huckleberry Finn on a space station.
Iain Scott
Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
This episosed must have been a lot of fun for the script writers, just as it is for the viewers. One tall tale after another, it seems like everyone has turned into either an Irishman or a Newfoundlander! This is GOOD entertainment.
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
Great episode, in fact, it is a classic. I do want to point out one "mistake" on the part of the writers. There would be no way that a visiting adversary would kidnap a child and or cadet of a high ranking official, just not plausible in the real world. When Jake and Nog are beamed to the Dominion ship that constituted a kidnapping, period.

Imagine if Putin visited the USA and was staying at the White House , and while on his visit he kidnapped Sasha & Malia Obama momentarily for questioning? Even if it were for a brief moment, and it was harmless, it would cause an international scandal if discovered.

Also, the Jem'Hadar are killers, period! If Weyoun had ordered the Jem'Hadar to execute Jake & Nog, or if for some reason the genetically modified Jem'Hadar began malfunctioning while during Jake & Nog's questioning by Weyoun and harmed them all, what would have been the ramifications from this incident?

I cannot imagine a representative of any government making this type of judgement call. If Weyoun believed that Jake, whom by the way is the son of Commander Sisko, the commander of Deep Space Nine was plotting against him he would have certainly informed Captian Sisko.
Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
They never worked through the notion that humans don't use money. Probably because it is hard to do.

They've talked about having transporter credits and such. Well, guess what, that's a form of money.
Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
Jake mutters platitudes that don't really make much sense and Nog destroys him. It's a great scene.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Nov 3, 2021, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
@Silly "They never worked through the notion that humans don't use money. Probably because it is hard to do." Yeah it is. It's also hard to explain how money would be of any worth in a society with replicators that use the same amount of energy to create a lump of clay, a bar of gold, or a computer. That's why they always talk about how Humans have eliminated hunger, want, and need for things, because they can all be provided with basically no cost.

That leaves intellectual property as perhaps a different avenue for achievement and contribution to society, but the sort of protections we put on IP are entirely artificial, and without the necessity of monetary compensation maybe even IP would be freely given to the public domain. That's how you get societies like the one in Voyager that puts such a high value on stories and literature in general.

I guess what it boils down to is that once material needs are met, then a monetary system like we have which is based on scarcity kind of falls apart. All that's really left is to find ways to better yourself and help others. People end up doing the things they want to do, rather than what they have to do.
Mon, Jan 31, 2022, 9:09pm (UTC -6)
I wonder if Sisko became aware of the lengths Jake went to to get the baseball card here?

The Sisko IS aware of Jake's actions in an alternate future in "The Visitor".

Jake repeatedly exhibits unhealthy if not pathological obsessions towards his father.
Tue, Feb 1, 2022, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
I think this episode has Kai Winn's only comedic bit, and it's pretty good considering it's at Weyoun's expense.

It's great that's it's still in character. Winn is remarkably effective as a conniving politician considering she can't seem to hide her emotions well at all.
Tue, Mar 22, 2022, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
I'm so glad your review matches my opinion almost exactly. This episode is so silly but also genius. I esp loved weyoun in this episode. Esp when he learns of what Dr. Geiger is working on, it's so hilarious. As is every other moment you mention. It's so bonkers crazy absurd and I love it. This would have NEVER worked won any other trek show or with any other cast.
Thu, Apr 14, 2022, 3:00pm (UTC -6)
That is a heartwarming and fun episode. I really enjoyed it. The Captain's log at the end added that extra sweet touch.
Mon, Aug 15, 2022, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Genuinely funny episode and very much so. Put me among those who rate this one as "inspired."

Weyoun (to Kai Winn): "I feel .. that we are very much alike."
(Winn places his hand on his ear to check)
Winn (with her ever-menacing smile): "No, we are nothing alike. Nothing at all" (walks off). Louise Fletcher's delivery here is everything.

There's many gems like this one in the episode. In so many ways this show is a DS9 self-parody.
Fri, Sep 16, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
Agree with the rating.

I don't think there was anything inspired or inspirational in it. It was just a really sweet, fun, funny little eppy.

They tried something different and it worked.

Jake's diatribe about humans effectively outgrowing money? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Comedy gold!!!!
Bok R'Mor
Mon, Jul 10, 2023, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
Adore this episode. One of Trek's simplest and finest feel-good episodes, with top performances all round. The premise and the Jake/Nog double act is outstanding throughout, and both the Jake/Nog/Weyoun and the final scene are simply perfectly wonderful.

Michael Dorn's direction is utterly brilliant and that final sweeping shot of Jake and Sisko hugging is very moving indeed.

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