Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Children of Time”

4 stars.

Air date: 5/5/1997
Teleplay by Rene Echevarria
Story by Gary Holland & Ethan H. Calk
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"Are you the son of Mogh?"
"Is it true you can kill someone just by looking at them?"
"Only when I am angry."

— Inquisitive kid and Worf

Review Text

Nutshell: An excellent, original science fiction story with hard choices and well-realized arguments. Very, very intriguing and powerful.

Color me impressed. "Children of Time" is another highlight of the season, and, again, another show that ranks among the best of the series' installments, a praise that I've now used four times this season—and meant every time. This is one of the most fascinating, original science fiction stories I've seen in quite some time, and it's absorbing and compelling pretty much from beginning to end. High praise is in order for another wonderful script by Rene Echevarria (as well as to Gary Holland and Ethan Calk for story credit).

The episode is another Trekkian time manipulation episode, but one of the best ones on record, up there with the likes of emotionally gripping time-travel character shows like "The Visitor" and "Past Tense, Part I."

The setup is as follows: Returning to the station from a reconnaissance mission in the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant (carrying all the DS9 senior officers, of course), deviates from its course to investigate a planet with some odd energy readings. Dax assures Sisko that the risk of entering orbit is minimal—definitely worth investigating for what may be a rare scientific discovery. The Defiant is snagged in an energy field, and seconds later they receive a hail from a human colony with more than 8,000 people. The crew beams down to the planet, where they're told by the colony leader (Gary Frank) that the entire settlement's citizens are descendents of the Defiant crew. According to the leader, in two days when the Defiant attempts to leave orbit, the ship will encounter an anomaly that will send it back two centuries through time. The Defiant will then crash on the planet. With no means to escape (the wormhole doesn't even exist at that point), the crew will decide to begin life anew. Two hundred years later, this history is revealed to the crew before it happens. The leader of the colony, by the way, is Yedrin Dax—the current host for the still-surviving Dax symbiont.

Yedrin has a theory that will allow the Defiant to escape this destiny and still preserve the colony. Through a complicated technical procedure that can be executed at the time the ship encounters the anomaly, a duplicate Defiant will be formed; one will travel back in time and crash, while the other will safely break orbit and resume its course.

This is a clever concept to begin with. It's another interesting example of the time paradox that leads one to question where and when events begin and what true causality is based upon. (Is Yedrin, for example, changing "destiny" by informing Sisko what will happen before it does?)

But this is only what begins to make this episode the success that it is. "Children of Time" takes a turn that makes it a real classic—a truly compelling story that seeks to raise some very tough questions.

It turns out that Yedrin is lying. Dax discovers Yedrin's logs are forged and the theory will never work, and that he has hidden his attempt to preserve his colony at the expense of the Defiant's imminent crash—and also Major Kira's life. Kira will die, it's revealed, in the next few days if she doesn't receive some serious medical treatment for a radiation surge she was subjected to on the Defiant. Her grave just outside the settlement proves it.

The rest of the episode is about this dilemma. If the Defiant avoids the anomaly and doesn't go back in time, the entire colony of 8,000 will cease to exist—or, rather, will never have existed. Yet if the crew chooses to save the colony, they also choose to abandon their lives as they know them—and Kira suffers a death sentence.

Questions arise. Difficult questions, such as: Who has the right to ask Kira to die? Would it be worth it? Is this colony even truly "real"? Would preserving this colony be the "right" thing to do? Is it the crew's destiny to do so?

Such questions define this episode, but what's also stellar is the way these questions are presented by the various characters' situations. For example, Yedrin's deception turns out to have a very personal concern beyond his obvious need to preserve his society: He has repressed guilt—Jadzia Dax's guilt for getting the Defiant into the situation in the first place, without being certain of the risks. A very interesting notion. Yedrin explains to Sisko how for months Jadzia couldn't even look at him without thinking how Jake would never see his father again. Gary Frank's performances is one of the scene's highlights, and Terry Farrell's reaction shots are quite emotionally revealing.

Then there's Kira's dilemma. She visits her own grave, wondering if perhaps it is her destiny to give her life to save this colony. She asks herself how she can justify saving her own life at the expense of 8,000 people. Have the prophets laid out this path for her to take? Would avoiding the time anomaly be avoiding her destiny? These are some very appropriate and well-realized questions—and completely consistent with the major's character. This aspect of the episode truly had me fascinated.

In fact, everything about this show just clicks right into place. In addition to Dax's and Kira's binds, Worf finds himself sympathizing with some colony residents who have chosen to live the Klingon way, following the traditions of the Sons of Mogh. I appreciated the episode's nod to cultural identity within this colony, and I felt for these Klingon followers when they revealed that ceasing to exist because their parents were never born does not constitute an "honorable" death.

There's also interesting, substantive discussion once Kira goes public with accepting her fate to die. The crew argues the situation further in a wonderfully thoughtful scene that displays the main characters all being honest with one another (although I must admit that I also wondered what the Defiant's unseen 40 crew members had to say about the situation). Kira believes that they should follow the path of the prophets. "With all due respect, Major," O'Brien replies, "I don't believe in your prophets. I have a wife and kids back home." There is, of course, the question of whether these people are as "real" as people who "already" exist.

Hearing this dialog was fulfilling. Here was a time story not mired in technobabble plotting (cf. Voyager's "Before and After") or superficial adventure romp (cf. Voyager "Future's End"), but about looking destiny in the eye and making tough, important choices. I greatly appreciated how every character felt big pressures.

The Arbor Day commercial—er, "planting day" scene, featuring the colonists and the crew working together in the final day before the big decision, was a tad overlong and slightly exceeded my syrup tolerance. I would not, however, call this a weakness of the episode—just some schmaltz in a good-sized dose. It serves its purpose by making the crew realize they can't simply go home and snuff this colony out of existence; instead they suddenly find themselves obligated to travel back in time.

But that brings us to the issue of Odo. That is, Odo from the alternate timeline. He has been living on the planet 200 years, and has been longing to see Kira again. This Odo is quite different. He's much more open with his feelings, and he immediately reveals to Kira how he loves her, and has always loved her. (The Odo from the normal timeline is in no position to intervene; he is incapacitated by the planet's energy field—something the alternate Odo overcame long ago.)

Now, as some may know, I've never been terribly enthused about the writers' hints for pairing up Odo and Kira (and I realize I may be in the minority as fans go). I preferred their sibling-like affection back in the second season, and I'd thought with last season's "Crossfire" we had seen the situation put to rest. When I saw the trailer last week featuring the big "declaration," I thought we'd be in for the beating of a dead horse taken to a new level.

However, I couldn't have been more wrong. Everything about Odo's feelings in this episode rings absolutely true and fits beautifully in the context of the story. Plus, there's no simple solution to Odo's fear of not having his feelings returned (despite the fact the show reveals early on that Kira and Shakaar have broken up). Kira does not throw herself at Odo or any such nonsense—she is understandably confused. In a reasonable notion, Odo tries to convince Kira to change her mind—so that the Odo from the normal timeline won't have to watch Kira die again. But Kira can't do it if it means wiping away the colony's existence.

The most fascinating thing about this episode is that it's 100 percent character-driven. This is not an episode where a technicality saves the day, or a last-minute solution makes the choices easier. This is a show where a decision must be made, and everyone has to live with the consequences. I can't stress how much this worked in the episode's favor. A lesser effort might've taken the easy way out, but "Children of Time" does not cheat, and not cheating makes the drama that much stronger.

The ending (since, obviously, the crew must ultimately not be stranded in the past) throws a twist on us that manages to preserve the necessary requirements of the series while also being completely satisfying. The crew's flight plan is unsuspectingly reprogrammed, causing them to veer away from the temporal anomaly and break orbit. The colony vanishes without a trace. It never existed—period. The irony is that the person who reprogrammed the flight plan was someone from the alternate timeline (now there's a paradox for you)—or, more specifically, it was Odo. He did it so Kira wouldn't have to die.

Frankly, the implications of Odo's actions scare me a little bit. And, in the rather intense final scene, Kira's reaction when the "normal" Odo informs her of his counterpart's deed is absolutely believable. ("He did it for you, Nerys. He loved you," Odo tells her. "That makes it right?!" she demands. "I don't know," he replies, desperately. "He thought so.")

In fact, it's hard to imagine how Kira will look at Odo again without realizing what his counterpart did, and thus what Odo himself may be capable of. The implications here are neither pretty nor easy—and that's exactly why they're so wonderful. There's almost the sense that Odo passed a judgment that wasn't his to make, trading 8,000 lives for one. There are many interesting dynamics to ponder concerning the alternate Odo's actions, and this thoughtfulness is perhaps the most interesting aspect of "Children of Time." The episode is a tragedy of sorts, and once it's over, it leaves behind questions with tough answers that resonate, working completely plausibly with character history, and making extremely good use of the given situations.

With compelling performances all around and its brilliant script, "Children of Time" is stellar work—nearing perfection.

Previous episode: Soldiers of the Empire
Next episode: Blaze of Glory

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Comment Section

251 comments on this post

    I recently saw this one again. Absolutely stellar piece of character work, and proof that Star Trek in general, and DS9 in particular, CAN do innovative science fiction stories without tossing plot and characters out the window. One of the series' very best.

    I can't understand why this episode is so popular. I've watched it a few times now and it doesn't do anything for me. I don't hate it, but I'm not enamoured with it either. If there is some profound "X factor" to this episode its gone right over my bloody head.

    I agree with Admirable, this like most DS9 is a good episode but it doesn't rank up there with In The Pale Moonlight. But the difference of opinion is interesting when it comes to this series. Alot of fans seem to love The Vistor while I don't and Jammer in particular isn't a big fan of Ferengi episodes but I love them. Point being the fans of this series all have their favorites yet still love the show just the same.

    Plot hole: At the end, Odo tells Kira that it was the later version of himself that reprogrammed the Defiant, dooming the descendants. However, that means that Odo knew that *before* the Defiant left the planet, as he learned it from his later self. Therefore, he could have warned the crew before it happened.

    No he couldn't, Anthony2816, because Odo couldn't take his solid form while being inside the barrier

    A nice episode, not sure if worth the massive praise here but it is good.
    The thing that gets me is how 48 people become 8,000 in two hundred years. I mean, that's seriously going for it.

    Dan's question is interesting. Being a geek, I did some simple calculations, assuming people have kids by 35 yrs and live for 70 yrs, 48 people will become ~350 in 200 years if couples have 2 kids each. But if they have 3 kids each, they'll become around 8000. 4 kids each, they become ~30000!

    Ive just been watching DS9 recently. I have a huge problem with this ep. Like many, I cant believe future odo will be that callous to wipe away their timeline. Its easy to just say "All for Love" and write it out that way. But if you think about it, in-story, Odo (along w/ the Dax symbiote) are the longest living colonists. He KNEW all those people. Watch them marry. Be happy. Have kids. Have grand kids. Die. He knew them for 200 years, he's know the present DS9 crew for 5-6 years, Major Kira for what, 10-15 years? Versus 200 years and 8,000 people. Thats worse than 8,000 abortions. Its just not possible and i dont buy the "All for Love" crap. Thats just Lazy Writing. I'd rather have them fail bec of some anomaly or scientific reason. 0 out of 5 for me.

    Jammer's always hammering away about consequences and difficult choices being linchpins for great episodes, and in particular, takes many episodes of VOY to task, and deservedly so, for ignoring these tenets.

    Given his position and fondness for these traits, then, I don't understand why he likes this episode, much less give it 4 stars. There are no lingering or serial long-term consequences for any of the "regular" crew members after this episode ends. There are no difficult choices, since you KNOW that the crew isn't going to elect to stay on the planet. Yes, "alternate" Odo makes a questionable decision, but since he'll disappear as soon as his plan's completed, badda bing - no consequences for him.

    But shucks, I'm biased because I hate Trek love plots. Even Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois didn't like the overt romantic themes presented in this episode (ref: DS9 Companion).

    Even granting all that (which I don't), the ending would still be a masterpiece compared to the end of VOY's "Endgame".

    I liked the story, but something about the characters on the planet bugged me, and the actor who played Yedrin Dax annoyed the hell out of me.

    Plus, it's hard to believe that the Dominion would have ignored this planet and it's curious and sudden settlement for 200 years.

    @ Andreas...Anthony still has a point. The alternate Odo learned to adapt to the barrier, and even came on board the Defiant, and was in the same room as the other Odo in the chamber...he could have linked with "our" Odo and showed him how he does it.

    This is a fantastic episode, has far less plot holes and is far more interesting and well-written than most time-travel episodes.

    - 48 -> 8000 people is no problem, so shut up
    - Young Odo couldn't warn anyone, he couldn't do much more than languish in a bucket. As for Old Odo teaching him how -- I'm sure it's a skill which needs to be learned and practiced. I can hand someone a calculus book and even walk them through it, that doesn't mean they'd have any clue how to do it without enough practice
    - The Dominion didn't know about the wormhole until 5 years before this, so for 195 years of its existence this was just some lonely colony out in the middle of nowhere. For the remaining 5 years, they could have either not discovered it, not cared about some small primitive colony living behind a dangerous energy barrier, or not had the ability to get past the barrier. And what would the Dominion gain by penetrating the barrier -- stealing some bushels of wheat?
    - If the Female Changeling can go from waging pre-emptive war on the Alpha Quadrant, and committing genocide against Cardassian cities to surrendering and sending Odo home, then Odo can certainly change a timeline to save his true love. And think about the changelings that infiltrated Starfleet. They had to work along side humans and the Federation for months, years... think of the Bashir changeling, all the solids he was interacting with on a daily basis, getting to know them as people, their hopes and fears, and that what they really wanted was peace. And he was still very willing to fly his ship into a star to blow up their entire star system.

    Changelings are !@%$%@! HARDCORE CRAZY. (9/11 parallels I will leave to your own imagination.)

    The story is okay but immediately predictable as soon as we knew where the inhabitants came from. I think those who think we are dead before we are born might see some kind of moral dilemma or conflict here. I don't see it. It is just as easy to believe this settlement survives in a parallel or mirror universe as it is to believe it will never be. Death only comes to those who are first born.
    Four stars is way over the top. I would take one of those stars and give it to Ties of Blood and Water - an episode I found emotionally powerful.
    I also did not care for The Visitor because it too is like a dream episode - in the end it just never happened.

    Not to mention that even if they *had* gone back in time knowing what they were supposed to do, they most certainly would have not conceived children at the exact same times as they did the first time around. There would have been people on that planet, but not the same people we saw.

    Summary: If time travel causes timeline branches, the colony’s fine, just in another timeline from the Defiant crew. If time travel doesn’t branch timelines, then the colony was screwed anyway the second they told Sisko et al. who they were. In neither case should this have been a moral dilemma on the part of the Defiant crew.

    This episode makes me cry every single time, and it's one of very, very few TV episodes that manage to do that. The Klingons helping with the planting! O'Brien realizing that just because you want to ignore something, it doesn't go away! Odo and Kira's awkward converation at the end!
    Yeah, there are some plotholes and there is some odd acting but overall, it's fantastic and sad and .... ::sigh::

    I have to admit, I'm one of those people who likes to nitpick so I don't admonish those who do the same. However, I think what some are overlooking is the point of the story which is what happens to the characters in an unusual sittuation. Also, how said characters deal the situation. So really the story is more important than some minor details.

    I enjoyed this episode, and I praise it simply for the fact that it has made people think (judging by the number of comments on this page), but I would not rank it among the best of the series or even the season. First of all, as previously mentioned, the moral dilemma was based on an implausible situation. The time travel element doesn't change the fact that those 8,000 people don't exist yet, so no 'murder' was actually committed. On the other hand, if the crew had gone back in time, the Dominion would probably have conquered the Alpha Quadrant with death tolls in the billions. Plausibility aside, it was a nice character outing that I HOPE will have consequences on Kira and Odo's relationship in future episodes. If not, I will be saying "okay, so what was the point of all this?"

    The one thing I have a hard time with in this episode is the idea that Dax would lie to the original crew in a way that had these profound consequences. Yes, they give it some justification and yes it is a different host, but it just doesn't ring true with me - it's still Dax, and as I've come to know the character of Dax, it has a strong moral compass and a deep understanding of friendship that wouldn't allow this kind of duplicity in the interest of self-preservation - even though that interest extends to the rest of the colonists.

    However, I'm able to put that aside and still give the episode 4 stars for all the reasons articulated by Jammer. You could say that I have a highly developed ability to selectively suspend disbelief - perhaps from long practice.

    @ DUrandel...yep.

    In particular, O'Brien, who in the first incarnation was "the last to give up hope" and waited ten years, would, presumably, this time, get started much sooner since this time staying was consentual. Also, this time they have the foreknowledge of who they "ended up" with last time, so that would shake things up too.

    To put it in coarse terms, different eggs and sperm would be at play this time.

    @ Nic...yep. If they had stayed, Sisko wouldn't have been around to coerce the Prophets into holding the Jem'Hadar at bay in the Gamma Quadrant in "Sacrifice Of Angels".

    A very good episode. While I wouldn't put it in my top ten, it's definitely an episode that makes people want to talk about it.

    The Sons of Mogh steal the show, asking Worf to kill them. Honestly, I think Worf might have actually done it under normal circumstances (just ask Kurn) instead of going on about "time" as the enemy. I suppose the shock ending over the future Odo's decision wouldn't have carried as much weight if we had seen Worf slaughter some teenagers earlier in the show. However, since by the end of the show the Defiant crew was set on going back in time anyway, the point becomes moot, but I like to imagine there's some alternate universe somewhere with a much more violent version of this story.

    I love the way the Odo/Kira relationship keeps changing in season 5. In Things Past Kira learns Odo got his hands dirty in the occupation. In A Simple Investigation, Kira sees Odo is capable of intimacy with a woman, and here she learns what his emotions are possibly capable of driving him to someday in the future. She must be wondering "who is this guy?"

    Okay, first a couple of comments on the opening scene, 1) The Bajorans' religion...again looks absolutely foolish. The prophets said we don't belong together, so that's that. So much for free will, 2) is everyone really that stupid not to notice Odo's feelings? Dax is supposed to have acquired a keen sense of intuition from her lifetimes of observing, but she's clueless. Please...

    No, NO NOOOO, you may be able to excuse the "syrup scene" but it's the point at which everyone (represent by stubborn O'Brien) decides not to go through with the escape. Jammer, I don't get it, you complain about taking the easy way out so often, but what happens here? No one who still exists makes a conscious choice not to eliminate the colony, but they all get to survive and go on...what are the consequences, hm?

    The episode makes full use of things extant in two VOY episodes about which you were heavily critical ("Course Oblivion" in which the only solace for the duplicate crew is "as long as we remember them..." and "Endgame" where the only character to make a sacrifice is a duplicate who never really existed).

    It had a really good start and some nice characterisations, but threw it out the airlock when it decided to have the whole crew crash the ship. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    I've watched this a few times now and have to say that it's in the top 2 or 3 of all Trek time-travel episodes. And there's a lot of them.

    However, having watched it a few times, it seems obvious to me that the entire premise of there being some kind of dilemma is just absurd. In fact, both groups of people - the original defiant crew and the 8000 colonists - would only have wanted one thing, which was the survival of *their* group.

    Taking the colonists first: There's just no way Odo could have developed his emotional behaviour like that without having had some serious relationships during the 200 year wait. Those would mean far more to him than Kira, an ancient memory that would really just remind him what a gruff, unlikeable, and emotionally stunted jerk he had been all those years ago.

    Same goes for Dax... the symbiont would have long ago given up feeling guilty and formed much more significant relationships with the descendants than he ever had with Sisko. He knew Sisko for 15 years or so? Obviously there would be people on the planet he had known for their entire lives.

    On the other hand, for the members of the original crew, the idea of sacrificing themselves so the 8000 descendants could live wouldn't even be a consideration. Think about it: If they decided to let the past repeat itself, that would cause a ton of suffering and grief to their friends and relatives back on the station and around the universe.

    But the sudden disappearance of 8000 people who never had any contact with a single other person wouldn't move the grief meter at all. For them, they would all 'die' at the same time, presumably without any pain or suffering. For the rest of the universe, it wouldn't matter at all.

    Why would the Defiant crew ever think there was a choice here?

    So, it's pretty obvious that both groups would have no dilemma, and would pursue the course that obviously benefited them the most.

    For the colonists, this would mean they should capture the defiant crew, put them all in some sort of stasis that would end after they travelled back in time, then just autopilot the ship straight into the anomaly at exactly the correct time. Dax would have had 199.9 years to plan all this, after all.

    For the defiant crew, they would just try to do anything they could to stop that plan from happening.

    In fact, I think I would have enjoyed watching *that* script a lot more than the one we got, with all that fake agonising over choices that didn't actually exist at all.

    I still enjoyed it though, and as I said it's one of the top 3 Trek time-travel episodes. It had less obvious plot holes and creaky contradictions than the 'Enterprise' episode where they encountered their own ship 200 years after a similar anomaly did the same thing.

    Thank you, Jammer for your detailed analysis of each episode. Usually I'm in agreement with your assessments, but I just couldn't get over one plot hole in this episode.

    The gist of the moral predicament the crew finds themselves in is that by choosing to circumvent the time anomaly to live a future on DS9, they are essentially "killing" or "eradicating" 8k of their descendants. However, starfleet officers should know that circumventing the anomaly creates an alternative timeline in which our crew moves forward to DS9. The 8k is not wiped out but merely exists in a different timeline when the original crew of the Defiant remains unaware of the anomaly (ie Yedrin Dax did not tell the crew about their ancestry). The moment Yedrin Dax made the crew aware of the anomaly, he created a divergence in time; two split realities. The biggest beef I have with the episode is the moral high ground Major Kiera takes even though they haven't actually done anything wrong.

    I find this to be a moving and satisfying episode. But time travel necessarily involves paradoxes, and there are several that I feel are either not addressed or not satisfactorily resolved.
    1. Either timelines diverge, or they don't. With advance warning, the Defiant plans to avoid the anomaly this time around (which makes the whole agonizing decision process is necessary). Why not draw lots and load up as many inhabitants as possible, then break orbit and head back to DS9? Would these colonists vanish from the ship upon leaving orbit? Would the Defiant have a time-conniption and explode? I argue this divergence must be possible because when the colony vanishes, the crew STILL REMEMBERS THEM. Which leads to
    2. Had the Defiant never gone back in time (which it ultimately doesn't), there would be no colony to remember...nobody to hail the Defiant...and nobody to attract them to the planet in the first place. This is a classic time-travel paradox, which I am willing to overlook. BUT...I contend that if the memory of a vanished timeline can persist, then elements of that timeline (i.e., colonists) could probably be rescued as well. In either case, this possibility was never even discussed although it was the first one that came to my mind.

    (cont'd from above)
    3. This is the Defiant's first visit to the planet, and thanks to temporal displacement their descendants are already there to greet them. But this necessarily creates a time-loop with variances that I feel are not effectively resolved either. The colonists act as if the Defiant arrived, left orbit, crashed, and then started the colony 200 years ago with no interference. And from their perspective, perhaps it did. But there never was a pure, non-colonist planetary encounter for the Defiant. EVERY TIME the timeline loops back and the Defiant arrives, the colonists are always there to greet them. So all the talk about crew behavior 200 years ago (colony's past, crew's future) makes little sense because the crew NEVER had a pure non-interfered encounter. This would necessarily change the loop every time it occurs. As another commenter stated above, why would O'Brien 'hold out' for ten years if he already knows his own future?

    (cont'd one more time)
    4. OK, final thought re: divergent timelines and taking the colonists with them. By the end, the Defiant crew remembers people who never existed (i.e., neuron imprint). If they had taken video of the colonists, would that video have gone blank the instant they leave orbit? When Odo kissed Kira, he may have left a trace of saliva on her lips. Did that saliva vanish when they left orbit? My extremely belabored point is that they most likely could have taken a substantial number of colonists with them. Heck, maybe they could have stored their patterns in the transporter and thereby saved them all.

    Lots of excellent points have been made and this episode certainly deserves extended discussion. It is simultaneously a great and extremely flawed episode.

    Here's what I see as a real problem, and I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned...

    This should have been an episode about Sisko. He was the ONLY person in a position to actually make the ultimate decision in this episode. I was completely absorbed in thought about his situation, but I think it all really came down to this: (Sisko: I want to go home as much as you do, Chief, I'm just listening to what everyone has to say / O'Brien: So we're not actually considering this? / Sisko: No we're not.)

    His obligation was to his crew, and all the argumentation about alternate timelines here proves that there is no clear answer in the Star Trek universe as to what will happen as a result of their actions. I was beside myself when a crisis of conscience on O'Brien's part suddenly became Sisko's decision to give up the lives of his entire crew. Even if his reasoning had been addressed I doubt I would have bought it, but not addressing it at all completely steals the wind out of the sails of this episode.

    Wow, I can't believe there are so many critical posts about this episode. Why does everyone worry so much about if what the characters tell us about the consequences would actually be true in the real world or not? Time travel defies logic anyway, so just go with the writer's interpretation! What's important here is the depiction of the moral dilemma these characters face. You're watching an episode of TV, so learn to suspend disbelief, please! Don't nitpick wonderful episodes like this one to death.

    I agree 100% with Jammer, this is one of DS9's finest episodes. It hit all the right notes for me. Pure magic.

    I enjoyed the episode, but I never bought the dilemma either. Halfway through, they made the only choice they could make -- save themselves and let the future take care of itself (and do their duty by returning to their jobs as Starfleet officers, incidentally). Then suddenly things went goofy. There's no way Chief is going to abandon Keiko and the kids to start a new lineage instead. After The Visitor, we're supposed to be okay with Ben never making it back to see Jake again? For every potential descendant on that planet, who knows how many descendants wouldn't happen because someone didn't get back to DS9 and reproduce there? And without Odo in the Alpha Quadrant to end the war, how many billions or more might have died in a Dominion conquest?

    But the basic problem is that you can't say Theoretical Future A is more valid or deserving than Theoretical Future B just because A happens to be visible at the moment, and all these engineer/science types should know that.

    With the crew essentially already knowing the next two centuries of their future, either they would relive it exaclty, thus taking away their free will, or live a different 200 years, meaning the timeline changes. It's hard to believe that Starfleet's temporal monitoring departments (either the present day one we saw in "Trials And Tribble-ations" or the future one we saw in Voyager's "Future's End" and "Relativity", would tolerate this entire situation, to say nothing of the Q.

    Seems fairly typical of finding a paradise which has a flaw but spends a long time convincing you it's people are happy and everything only to destroy it---in this case----in a very convenient way. It goes along with ds9s bleakness without consequences. They keep saying, those people were really alive but who really believes it? It's just another dream sequence, overused in other shows as well but here hanging on us believing they killed 8000 people. If you don't then the dream is a bit pointless.

    Aaron - I'd say the future in front of you is far more pressing than one you can't see or predict. Physicist or not. They don't actually have any answers with regard to the effects of time travel anyway, it's not a very well understood topic even in the 24th century. There's a lot of theory, but how effective is that when you're staring your own descendants in the face?

    This episode is built on THAT emotion, not the paradoxes or alternate possibilities. Which is kind of why I like it, and why it's better than most others in Trek.

    I love this episode for all the reasons that Jammer gives: it's about honest choices, there's no cheaty ending, there's a lot of character shown, etc. Even with the glaring problem to me, it's an easy four stars.

    The problem is that there was a solution that maximizes even more lives: with the replicators that exist both on the Defiant and the colony, some kind of warp-capable vessel must have been possible to construct. The obvious solution is to send Kira in that new ship through the barrier back to DS9 and get the treatment she needed from one of the other physicians on the station. Then, let the Defiant crew go back in time and start the colony... the timeline is mostly preserved, save for one Bajoran grave in an idyllic field of grass.

    Of course, Future-Odo would probably object to that plan if only because he spent two centuries mourning his lost love, and rewriting history would allow he and Kira to be together the way he thought they'd always belonged. (Though he could have gone with her, too. Changelings obviously live a hell of a long time.)

    My big issue with this episode: how come nobody from the Defiant mentioned that they had to get back to stop a war? I mean, I would think that would be the first thing that pops into their heads. "Oh shit, the wormhole will be mostly unguarded without the most powerful warship in the Federation on patrol."

    Kojac is right...that they would be so concerned over 8000 lives, that as mentioned above, wouldn't even be the same 8000 the next time because of the foreknowledge the crew would have this time...when the lives of billions hung in the balance, is some twisted morality...

    The character moments in this episode were really good, but I couldn't buy in to the story.

    It's been established that Star Trek time-travel does not work like Back to the Future time-travel. Things don't fade out, they just exist in alternate timelines. And once you're in a universe in Star Trek, you tend to stay there, no matter what happens to your ancestors.

    Related nitpick: I really wish they hadn't given the "then they'll cease to exist" line to Worf. What does he know about quantum theory? Dax would have been more appropriate.

    The other problem I have with this episode is when it happened in the series. If it had come before the Dominion war, I'd be more ok with it. But when you have a series-long arc, it's pretty lame to have a one-off episode that is supposed to feel as heavy as this one wants to be. That's just a flaw of this being a series in the 90s. If DS9 had been made after Lost, this wouldn't have happened. But it still bugged me.

    I've always thought this episode was manipulated into existence by the prophets, who obviously have the ability to control time. The goal of the prophets is to protect Bajor. They can see the Dominion war coming, and they know that Odo's love for Kira is critical to the protection of Bajor. This is why they have chosen this point in time to end the relationship between Kira and Shakaar, and this is why they have created this time travel episode - so that Odo and Kira start the relationship that is so necessary for saving the Alpha Quadrant.

    @Athena re: "The Visitor" -

    From Benjamin's POV it did happen. He kept popping up in the future somehow tethered to Jake, witnessing pieces of his son's existence without him. When elder Jake ended his life it sent his father back to the time of the accident. In real time he only experienced about a day or two's worth of memories. OK, so that was a kind of technobabbly ending, but it didn't take anything away from it for me. Sisko remembered it all and his emotional reaction to what his son did for him was one of the best moments of the series.

    @Elliott, why do I get the feeling that if this were a Voyager episode you'd be jizzing all over it? You have a clear bias against DS9 because of its spiritual element as well as the fact that it was specifically designed to be a contrast to TNG. Personally, I just like good stories. Even if (and sometimes especially when) they challenge my preconceived notions. You seem to recognize truly good storytelling when you see it on TNG and VOY, but there's definitely a wall between you and DS9 that you can't see over. You're obviously compelled to watch, so why deny yourself enjoyment?

    @Stubb, you're making my brain hurt. Odo doesn't have saliva, he has changeling trace elements.

    @Some Dude, excellent point. I would add that this episode did what it ultimately set out to do - it entertained. If not, there wouldn't be so much discussion and difference of opinion.

    @Jack, I would theorize that the temporal police of the future or whoever did monitor these events and decided that the correct outcomes occurred each time. At least, the outcomes most favorable to the Federation. Had the Defiant never returned, The Dominion would have conquered The Federation. The Voyager "Endgame" situation is a bit more tricky, but hey, they dealt a crippling blow to The Borg. And who knows? Maybe the elder Janeway is in prison somewhere in an alternate timeline. Maybe Braxton gets his revenge after all. OK, now my brain really hurts...

    I posted this over at the Dauntless reviews site and I thought I'd share it here as well:

    One of the great things about this episode is that while it may have all of the elements of a typical “reset button” show, it refrains from using said button. There are real emotional consequences both for the characters (particularly Odo and Kira) and for the audience. Some may see Odo’s actions as a bridge too far, but that, I think is what the writers were trying to convey.

    In a way, Odo did what Harlan Ellison had originally wanted Kirk to do at the end of “City On The Edge Of Forever,” only to be overruled by Gene Roddenberry. Odo sacrificed everything and everyone for the love of a woman. The difference is that Kirk’s decision to save Edith Keeler – had he made it – would have been somewhat impulsive. Odo had lived with 200+ years of unrequited love, not to mention deep sadness over Nerys’ death. He had time to weigh the consequences and when he was presented with the opportunity to save Nerys, he ultimately did the selfish thing and "doomed" the colony to non-existence.

    Harlan Ellison’s rather petulant and loudmouthed objection to how Roddenberry had changed his ending to “City” is quite famous in Trek lore. He originally wrote Kirk as being so head over heels in love that he damned the consequences and desperately tried to save Edith at the last second from a fatal car accident, only to have the ever logical Spock intervene in order to preserve history. Roddenberry rewrote it so that McCoy, unaware of the paradox, is stopped from saving the girl by Kirk. Because saving her would have meant the end of history as we know it and that the Enterprise – James T. Kirk’s one true love – would have never existed.

    Gene Roddenberry made the right decision for his character and the DS9 writing staff made the right decision for Odo in “Children of Time.” It’s clearly established at this point that Odo is fiercely loyal to Kira and, despite the seeming closure of recent episodes, he is still hopelessly in love with her even 200 years later. He would do anything to save her and he did.

    This doesn't make any sense at all. How can they "change" anything that has not happened yet? The present part (or the future from our perspective) only happenes once. Either they travel through time or not. If their descendants are there, that means they did and it already happened and nobody can change that - whatever happened, happened. If they don't, their descendant should never exist at all - not exist and then cease to exist.
    Haven't they watched LOST? I know it aired a few years later, but with time travel, apparently, everything is possible...

    @Mario: There are only 2 ways for time travel to be logically consistent:

    1) Whatever happened, happened, i.e. there is only one timeline, you can't change the past no matter how hard you try, it is predetermined.
    (e.g. Lost, IMO with the temporal predeterminism as one of the show's strongest points)

    2) Parallel timelines: at the exact moment you are transported back into time, a new timeline branches off with you in it, and you can wreak havoc and do whatever you want because the 2 timelines (original and new one) are different ones. The changes you make in the "past" never happened in the original timeline; it is set in stone, otherwise the version of you that travelled to the "past" timeline would never have existed in its present configuration. Also, the alternate timeline is here to stay. It won't vanish once you return to the original one, because it was created by your very arrival from the original timeline.

    In Star Trek however, time travel is an illogical paradox-riddled mess.

    @Justin :

    I liked this episode with 2 exceptions, the beginning and the end. Why? Because the philosophical impetus behind the dialogue is idiotic. To be clear, I do not have a bias against DS9 for its spiritual element, I have a problem with how poorly DS9 handles the topic.

    @Nyk, great job describing the concept of time travel.

    @Elliott, I don't see how that relates to my post. Spirituality has little to do with this episode, except for Kira's problem of going against the will of the Prophets. And that clearly happens in the middle. Puzzled...

    Bill T - Not sure why there is any need to tell anyone to 'shut up' when having gentle discussions about Trek. It's hardly like I (posting as Dan) made reference to it in terms of enjoying the episode any less.

    Seen this again since then and I actually liked it more second viewing. This is a 4 for me.

    @Justin : your comment which was adressed to me :

    "@Elliott, why do I get the feeling that if this were a Voyager episode you'd be jizzing all over it? You have a clear bias against DS9 because of its spiritual element as well as the fact that it was specifically designed to be a contrast to TNG..."

    That's why I responded about spirituality. Kira's dilemma in the middle is fine, but the justification for her religious feelings (exposited in the beginning) are crap. For the record, I'd give this episode 3 stars on the Jammer scale. The meat of the story is good enough to warrant 4 stars, but I knock of half for the beginning and the end.

    The crew of the Defiant - and in particular Kira - are choosing to make a utilitarian decision: to trade one life for 8,000. There is a major difference between it being chosen for her and choosing it herself. She chooses it herself and in that choice there is moral worth. She sacrifices her life for others. However, future Odo's choice is selfish: he is trading away the lives of 8,000 for the benefit of his past self, and also negating Kira's moral choice. He comes across as a monster. I appreciated this episode for the ethical dilemma it portrayed -- a dilemma that is often faced by human beings in the present in different ways (e.g. every time we choose to consume something that is unsustainable we are doing so at the expense of future generations). This was good as an exploration of what is called "intergenerational ethics."

    It seems to have already been mentioned, but the whole notion of staying behind for the purpose of "saving these people" is epic fail, since even if they went back it would be an entirely different 8000 people for reasons already state. These particular 8000 were doomed the moment they re-met the crew of the Defiant.

    I like this episode, and I think it is indeed a quite good one at that. Nevertheless, I wouldn't give it the highest possible score like Jammer did. The biggest reason is for some of the questions that weren't raised in this question, and an answer was simply assumed.

    First off, though, let me start with a thing that I really liked about the episode. It was the ending. The thing I liked about it, was that by the time I was watching it, I was completely convinced that the copying effect presented early on in the episode happened after all, though accidentally this time. Though the colonist never realized, it was what happened in their crash as well, and by recreating the same circumstances, they made sure it happened again. So I thought. I was then thrown a curve ball by the fact that we didn't get an all sweet resolution, but a bitter disappearance of the colony instead.

    Then. there is the questions I talked about:

    1) Is the settlement going to disappear if the Defiant changes time by not crashing?

    If we know one thing about time travel in Trek, it's that it is different each time around. The rules just don't get to be the same each time. That means that when someone encounters an unknown anomaly, they don't know how it's going to work. They might have feared the disappearance of the colony, but having them be certain it was going to happen and never even question it for a second seems very strange.

    2) Is never having existed the same as dying?

    Is your death never having happened better than having ceased to exist? (The Sons of Mogh think the one gives a place in the afterlife while the other doesn't - a strange conception to say the least.)
    This is a very philosophical question and it doesn't matter what way you feel about this. The problem lies in the fact that they just silently all equate never having existed with dying. Perhaps they could have come to this conclusion, but because they don't even raise the point, it makes the whole issue feel artificial.

    3) Is there a way to save both the current crew and the colonists?

    That's what Federation Captains do, look for ways to save everyone against all odds. However, as soon as the duplicating turns out to be a farce by Yedron Dax, Sisko never even doubts either the current crew or the colonists have to get the short endof the deal.
    Even if they had had Yedron utter a line like "I thought about it 200 years, but couldn't find a way to both save the crew and have the colonists live on", I think Sisko would have been stubborn enough to still have his crew look for extra options.


    I also had some reservations about how Sisko decides to crash the ship knowing everyhing, but that is something I am willing to forgive the episode because of its good character work and the amazing work of showing everyone's influences on the colonists. I can't do the same for the fact the above questions weren't raised. So, while it was a very good episode in my book, I would never give it the maximum score.

    Sorry, one of the worse time travel episodes...
    It has that massive RESET button at the end that everyone usually complains about regarding Voyager....
    It would have totally destroyed the continuity of the entire series...
    Portrayed the characters as self-sacrificing lunatics...
    Totally illogical premise from start to finish...
    Other than that...

    This is one of those episodes that I can see is well constructed and I can see why other people love it, but I just cannot stand it. I identify too much with O'Brien, and I still can't believe that he and Sisko are so willing to give up on every seeing their families again, not to mention the lower deck crewmembers who apparently don't get a vote. If I had been in that situation, I would have eaten a phaser before agreeing to stay on that planet and screw any hypothetical future people.

    Also, this episode suffers from the common Star Trek problem, (strange given the omnipresent technology of most of the series), of idealizing low-tech lifestyles. Subsistence farming is back-breaking work that ages you fast, and that is what the Defiant survivors would be facing after the crash. Especially considering that these people have always lived in a world where technology provides all the necessities and can solve almost any problem, the first generation or two (at least) of the colony are likely to lead short and miserable lives.

    Fantastic episode.

    In spite of its openness to being torn apart by well-meaning nerds for its time travel paradoxes (or inconsistencies, depending on your position).

    My biggest issue is Paul Baillargeon's typically rubbish musical score..

    The older Odo pretty much behaved like the rest of the Founders; putting their self-interest ahead of pretty much anything else. It's as if the writers were saying that Odo's destined to turn out like them in spite of his current associations and friendships.

    I think Odo gets a lot of flak for this episode. I understand why, his decision is quite monstruous, but it opens up a whole new philosophical time travel dilemma...can you really judge someone based on a decision they would have made? I suppose it reflects on his personality in some distant sense, but 200 years is a long time, I think it would fundamentally change someone. To put it another way, if you asked present-Odo to make the same decision, I suspect he would sacrifice Kira for the 8000 people (just on those terms, ignoring the debate people are having above).

    It's also not just a question of time but of circumstance. I don't think Odo is destined to become this sort of person in the future, he became that way after 200 years of loneliness and thinking about her.

    On that side note, someone said they doubted Odo would still be thinking about Kira, contrasting a 15 year friendship with 200 years of colony life. I think it could happen, I think if something hurts enough, it either hurts less with time...or it hurts much, much more. If I were to improve the episode I would have made future-Odo a bitter, angry person who has had 200 years to stew over what was taken away from him.

    According to Memory Alpha, Ronald Moore said "It tells the audience how deeply this man can love. He can love to the point that he will sacrifice an entire world for a woman." Hmm, love is a tricky thing. Even in reality, the same gesture can be either sweet or creepy depending on how it's done. You can have the romantic lead sit outside his girlfriend's apartment cranking out their favourite song, and make it work as either Say Anything romance or Fatal Attraction thriller.

    So yes in the context of this story, there's a difference between the romantic lead saying "I'd sacrifice the whole world for you", and actually wiping out 8000 people.

    "[Harlan Ellison] originally wrote Kirk as being so head over heels in love that he damned the consequences and desperately tried to save Edith at the last second from a fatal car accident, only to have the ever logical Spock intervene in order to preserve history."

    Don't get me wrong -- I think COTEOF is a fantastic episode, good science fiction and very moving too. But one thing bugs me. In order for history to proceed as it "originally" did (i.e., the Nazis don't win the war), Edith Keeler must be removed from the timeline so she doesn't form her pacifist movement. In the "real" timeline, this is accomplished by her getting hit by a truck in 1930. We don't know how the Guardian works, what it will and won't allow, but why wasn't the possibility of bringing Keeler back to the twenty-third century with them given any consideration? No Edith Keeler in 1936, no pacifist movement, no Nazi-dominated world. If bringing Keeler back was against the Guardian's "rules," this option could have been discarded with a single line of dialogue. Obviously with this solution, you don't have the affecting drama that COTEOF is. But the possibility did exist for Kirk to have his cake and Edith too.

    A lot of people are saying that, if the Defiant had gone back, the 'new' colony resulting would be different, by virtue of the crew 'niw' knowing what will come. But it seems to me that the founders of the colony *always* knew. There is no real evidence that the colony was ever founded by a crew that had not met the colony already/much later. Yes, there's the line about O'Brien's "hope," but it's open to interpretation. Perhaps he wrestled with the decision for years after the jump back, searched for ways to return to 'his' time.

    "But the possibility did exist for Kirk to have his cake and Edith too."

    You just won the internet with that line as far as I'm concerned =P

    Great episode. Had to comment in answer to Ram above who says: "Dan's question is interesting. Being a geek, I did some simple calculations, assuming people have kids by 35 yrs and live for 70 yrs, 48 people will become ~350 in 200 years if couples have 2 kids each. But if they have 3 kids each, they'll become around 8000. 4 kids each, they become ~30000!"

    Am i wrong in thinking that if couples only have 2 kids each then the final population number would be 48. Considering 2 kids per couple is just a replacement level. Assuming 6 generations they need 4-5 kids per couple.

    The question I want answered is why everyone thinks that preventing the colony from coming into existence is tantamount to murdering all of the people in it? It's not as if they lived a life and then were killed. They were never born. All of their progenitors live on... +1, i.e., Kira. Put another way: alternate timeline Odo was still alive when the Defiant arrived. Did he "die" after the colony was prevented from being founded? No, of course he didn't. And neither did anyone else.

    @ProgHead777, certainly it's a complicated situation to which close real world analogues are tough to nonexistent. Still, I do think it's kind of close to killing. In the original timeline of the episode (before the Defiant escaped and the colony was wiped out), those people existed, had consciousness; afterwards, they didn't. That is what death is -- but it's even more severe in this case, because the consciousness they had had is now wiped out as well.

    @William B, I agree that it's difficult to suss out the moral implication because there's really no real-world situation to compare it to. I guess that's part of the beauty of science fiction. It compels you to think about things in a way that you otherwise never would or even COULD. Anyway, I can kind of see your point. It's bad enough to end someone's life. Wiping out their entire existence from birth to death might be a whole new level of immorality.

    Man... I was so depressed after this episode. I was holding out hope that somehow when they reached the barrier, the duplication thing would trigger anyway. The fact that they avoided the time anomaly and all those people ceased to exist made my heart feel heavy. I can only imagine how the crew felt after they already decided to go through with the time travel only to miss it at the last second and realize that they doomed those people.

    The children especially make it hard to deal with. The episode put a good amount of emphasis on the children and now we know that the little boy will never grow up to be a Klingon, and little Molly O'Brien will never get to see those plants grow...

    People here are saying that they don't see the issue because the people would just not exist and it's not the same as dying, but I beg to differ. Those people were ALIVE. Those children had dreams for the future. They all had families and friends. Their people were alive for 200 years. Ceasing to exist is the same as dying. Who's to say that when we die we don't simply cease to exist too? What difference does it make for us if we died a natural death or not if in the end we cease to exist anyway. If there is no afterlife, then when we die, our lives and how we lived them have no consequence either. All our experiences, our memories, our lives would just be gone and it's no different than wiping our existence from the timeline.

    Anyway, this was a great episode and I agree with the rating. But then again, I always think highly of the episodes that make me feel for the characters.

    Has anyone wondered how Dax found a new host? I'm guessing there were no spare Trill's hanging around that planet waiting for a symbiont to show up. And Jadzia would have been the only Trill on the Defiant.

    Maybe Jadzia had a half Trill baby with one of the Defiant crew, and then Dax jumped ship to Jadzia's baby once Jadzia was old and ready to pass?!?!? Holy incest batman.

    Lots of interesting points made here by you guys.

    This episode got my brain working ovettime as well, about a lot of issues.

    There's one thought I can't let go of, though:
    When "alternate" Odo linked with "our" Odo (who was in a liquid state at the time), isn't it possible/likely that "our" Odo got access to "alternate" Odo's memories of his 200 years on the planet? If this is the case, then Odo was given a whole lifetime of memories that would probably seem as real to him as his own memories ... and it would make this story Odo's very own "Inner Light" (where Picard gets a lifetime of "fake" memories within a few minutes).

    Since we don't know exactly how The Link between changelings works, we dont' know how much information - i.e. how many memories - "our" Odo got from "alternate" Odo ... but the thought certainly is intriguing!

    I wish there'd been a line or two about this in the episode - but since there wasn't, I'll think of this episode as Odo's "Inner Light" ;)

    The biggest issue I have with this episode is the notion that they are dooming 8000 people to non-existence, and it's a matter of measuring one life against 8000. Ok, but what about the kids the crew would have had if they had gone back to DS9? For example, who is to say Chief O'Brien and Keiko don't wind up having 5 more kids? I don't like the implication that it's 1 vs. 8000, it's more like 8000 vs. an undetermined number of descendants the crew will have in the future after a similar 6 generations.

    Oh, and for all we know, a Dominion ship could pass the planet the next day, see a bunch of human/Klingons on it and kill everyone in seconds. A little more fragile that having descendants spread over the entire Alpha quadrant.

    And hey, what about the billions of people in the Alpha quadrant who will be overrun by the Dominion without Sisko? Really this should have been a VOY episode, not a DS9 episode. At least with VOY, they would have had to make a decision between a very uncertain future and 200+ years of relative prosperity.

    A great episode that raises some interesting moral questions. Old Odo was pretty cool and I thought it was a rather interesting way for Kira to find out about his feelings without a big awkward scene.


    I really liked this episode, really did. However, I can't help it but wonder if the writers could've ended it a bit differently. This does show the immensity of Odo's feelings for Kira, but at the same time I never would've thought Odo capable of condeming 8000 people to death (or nonexistence, even worse). Yes, it was obvious that the Defiant's crew had to get back to DS9 and I was really interested in seeing how they would actually do it, but I really didn't expect this. Someone already mentioned, and I thought this to myself the minute the show ended, Odo has been with those people for the entire 200 years, seen them live, get born and die. And he sacrificed it all for a woman he knew for 15 years? Some love, right?

    And for me, the most important thing. If they really had crashed again and founded the settlement once again, the first problem is (as someone has already stated) that knowing what had already happened, the new settlement and people in it definitely wouldn't have been the same as the first. So basically, everyone from the original settlement was doomed the second the new Defiant crashed. Or better said, the second the first Defiant crashed. (Still with me?)
    And the second major problem (even a plot hole) is the fact that even if the Defiant had crashed again and they made a second settlement, a new third Defiant would come after another 200 years and everything would happen all over again. And then the fourth would come after another 200 years, and the fifth, sixth and so on. So what I'm trying to say is that the settlement was doomed to exist in a 200 year loop constantly repeating itself. Taking that into consideration, leaving the planet and going to DS9 doesn't sound that bad now, does it?

    All in all, I really liked the episode and enjoyed every minute of it. But I have an issue with the ending and Odo's actions. Somehow, they don't suit him, and Star Trek in general.

    Time travel does weird things. It's a mistake to think about a person who did exist but now never existed in the same way you would think of a person who truly never existed. We make that mistake because time travel just doesn't happen in reality.

    These people BOTH existed and never existed. That's worse than death. The results of people's actions go on forever, long after they are forgotten. But to erase someone's existence, takes away even that.

    If a time traveler showed up, and said he was going to prevent you from being born, most people would find this horrifying. If someone truly didn't exist, there never was anyone to miss out.

    Mediocre episode. Obvious time loop problems (they avoid the anomaly because their descendants tell them to avoid it, which means they never have descendants, which means nobody tells them which means they have descendants which... blahblahblah).

    Pathetic sentimentalism based on ridiculous biology (200 years is a very, very long time. Nobody's anybody's grandchild, or more exactly, by that time everybody's everybody's grandchild) and dubious comment on abortion (omg! what if those babies had lived!!) which makes no sense.

    I honestly don't understand the four star rating. For me it's a 1 star AT BEST.

    This episode, unfortunately, had me practically yelling at my TV by the end.
    The whole issue, people keep saying is "1 life to save 8000", as if the ONLY way things could work is for Kira to die and the rest of the Defiant crew gets themselves stranded on the planet.
    We see the Defiant crew solemnly prepare to fire a probe... so we know they know how to get past the barrier.
    So why, instead of doing that... didn't they instead put Kira into the Chaffee (which is a Warp-Capable shuttle) and send her to DS9, while allowing the Defiant to remain in its time-destined loop cycle?

    Kira wouldn't have to die, and neither would the colonists- and they could send a team back later on to recover the pieces of the Defiant.

    And Kira and Old-Man-Style Odo could have snuggle time together.

    God, I love Star Trek but sometimes it feels like the writers are so busy writing happy-planting scenes that they forget these glaring plot holes.

    As has been addressed above, it's ridiculous to go to these lengths to save "these 8000 people", because with the Defiant crews knowledge of the future, even if the colony survives, it's going to be another set of 8000 people that continue on. O'Brien surely wouldn't have waited so long to give up on getting back to Keiko the second time, since it will have been voluntary. So right there, a different egg/sperm combo, which will reverberate through the "O'Brien line" on this colony'.

    These particular 8000 people were doomed the instant the Defiant penetrated the energy barrier the second time, at the beginning of the episode.

    I've always been on the fence with this one. Sure it's 8000 lives versus 1 life (and the livelihoods of the crew) in simplistic terms. But the real conundrum here is not the "needs of the many" scenario. It's the fate versus destiny paradox and what one does when confronted with it in this manner. Does it ultimately make a difference if these people disappear because they weren't meant to exist in the first place? I mean, sure, if I was one of them I would want to continue living. But if I knew the bigger picture and truly understood that my "sacrifice" would mean restoring my family bloodline back to "normal", would I do it? Especially with the knowledge that I am not dying per se?

    There's also the added bonus to the fate versus destiny scenario in that of the Defiant coming there the second time in the first place (if that makes sense). Thankfully they avoided the potential of a circular time-loop here. There's just the one time that sets up the colonists and then the second time that sets up the conundrum.

    At the risk of ranting I will stop here. Suffice it to say it is another intriguing addition to the many intriguing ideas that ST is known for. I have minor quibbles about the colonists themselves and the music was WAY too high in the mix to the point of distraction...but otherwise in and of itself this episode was not bad at all. In fact it was quite well done and I rather liked it. But hardly a classic in my opinion.

    High end of 3 stars.

    A) The colonists had 200 years to relocate to the other side of the planet.
    Therefore, when the Defiant landed again, the crew would do exactly the same things as the first time.
    Lets assume no butterfly effect stands.
    Otherwise, moot point, everybody was doomed.
    I dont believe in loop paradoxes.

    B) If we disregard time travel problems, also the moral dilemma has a simple solution.

    Defiant crew is Starfleet, taken an oath to protect civilians with their lives.
    If a colony was under Dominion attack, they would sacrifice themselves to save them.
    Same here. 8000 civilians vs lives of 48 starfleet soldiers.
    No brainer.

    Like Vylora said, the problem is not 'the needs of the many vs the needs of the few', it should be the concept 'destiny'.

    I have a problem with some of the ways of thinking of the characters. Kira believes she will 'kill' 8000 colonists because she has to live, but she's being supremely selfish. It's not like the crew wants to return *only* because Kira will die, it's because of multiple reasons, such as the fact that their getting stranded was not supposed to happen, it goes against the timeline, and because they already have large families at home, etc etc.
    Aside from that, if they return to DS9, the colonists will not 'die', they simply would not have ever existed.

    What I found very odd and enraging was that none of the crew commented on Kira's views. Miles just said: ''I don't believe in your prophets''. Wow, such depth. What he should have said is: ''if destiny means that your fate is predetermined, and you think your death on the planet is your fate (determined by the prophets), then that means it would be impossible to return to DS9. The prophets would find a way to prevent you from returning. If they didn't, then that means it was your destiny to return''.

    That's a serious hole in her logic that wasn't addressed. Because of that and the fact that Odo would sacrifice 8000 people (genocide, in their view) for one person, this episode lost much of its value. I just don't see Odo going crazy like that, ever.

    This is just another example of why one should not think too much when indulging in Sci-Fi. This is a very entertaining story based on a theoretical premise, but mostly, it's fantasy of the highest order and deserves to be enjoyed as such. Over thinking Star Trek can just ruin it.

    I mostly love this episode but I wanna talk about some character problems. First is Dax. I don't know if it's her acting or what but Dax has always come off as an android to me. Just the way she talks. Even when she's trying to be emotional
    It comes off as stale. Anyways this all was Dax's fault. She seems to dislike the new Dax the whole episode. Maybe it's because of guilt if I'm being generous. My main problem with her is she doesn't care that not going back will make these people die. When they are all debating going back or not she says these people will cease to exist. She doesn't say die. Then at the end she coldly tells Sisko these people never existed. These are the people they just planted crops with. She saw these children playing and she again comes off like an android. She doesn't want to take responsibility for these people dying. Even obrien finally comes around and says we can't let these people die. obrien was awesome in this ep. He tried to stay distant from these people but finally realized he couldn't let these people die even if he couldn't see his family again. He is a genuinely good man.

    I also had a problem with Odo. He lives with these people for hundreds of years and is ok with them dying just for Kira. It doesn't come off as romantic. It comes off as crazy obsessive. I'm surprised Kira ever hooked up with him. It reminds me of an ep in season 7 when another changeling tells Odo that when they linked he learned that if it wasn't for Kira Odo would be with the great link even with the dominion war ongoing. That was a huge statement. Odo would also be ok with the destruction of the alpha quadrant and all his friends as long as he was in the link. But he stays with the group at ds9 because of Kira. Great episode but it was very revealing for those three characters.

    Oh and one more wasn't just 8,000 people were affected by this. You have the thousands that have lived and died on that planet during the 200 years then you have the 8000 who died in this ep. And they did die becaue they did physically exist

    Pscott, the whole point is that the people on the planet didn't die, because when the crew broke free from the planet's atmosphere, the timeline was restored. At that point, the colonists had never actually started existing. It's been a while since I last saw this episode, but I know the colonists in the end never existed. If the crew had remained stranded there, then yes, they would exist. But because they never existed, they also never died.

    I think Pscott is reading something into Dax's semantics that aren't there.

    "My main problem with her is she doesn't care that not going back will make these people die. When they are all debating going back or not she says these people will cease to exist. She doesn't say die. Then at the end she coldly tells Sisko these people never existed. These are the people they just planted crops with. She saw these children playing and she again comes off like an android. She doesn't want to take responsibility for these people dying."

    Yes, O'Brien eventually says die, but he's not the scientist. Dax is being correct. They never existed. She's not trying to absolve herself of responsibility. if anything not existing is a worse fate than dying. I felt a gravity to her statement at the end, not a coldness. And she's actually the first person to take Kira's side at the briefing (even before Worf).

    "O'BRIEN: What? Have you lost your mind?
    BASHIR: Kira, if we don't go back to the station you'll die within a few weeks. There's nothing I can do for you here.
    KIRA: I know that, Julian. I've accepted it. We've got to take the Defiant back in time, otherwise we're cheating fate.
    O'BRIEN: Yeah, well, I wouldn't mind cheating fate all the way home to the station.
    DAX: Neither would I. But if we go home, eight thousand people are going to cease to exist. "

    And I found later actions by Odo to be much more troubling. He lived on this planet for 200 years, an immortal watching his friends die. By the time his true love came back he probably WAS a little crazy. But that's not our Odo, it's one possible version of him. I found his actions during the occupation and the comment by Laas to be more disturbing.

    I didn't like this episode. I didn't sympathize with the colonists, and I was very happy when Odo made sure the colonial timeline never happened.

    On the other hand, it's fascinating that this episode received so many positive reviews. It's as though all it takes is some over-the-top emotion for people to like something.

    This is one of those love/hate episodes.

    It's hard to hate this. Trek does this all the time. Throw some cute kids up there, add some family stuff... we just love this stuff. ( I know I do)

    But there are some glaring problems. The below quote is from ‘Ex Astris Scientia’ because there is no way I could have worded it better :-)

    “Sisko's decision to let the time travel happen is highly doubtful in three respects. Firstly, from an ethical viewpoint it is equivalent to abandoning his duty and family intentionally and condemn his first officer to death. Moreover he more or less orders his crewmates to do the same. Secondly, the fact that the crew have learned about their future in the past will almost certainly change the history of the planet, considering various possibilities of female/male relationships that cannot be controlled and would develop in a completely different way. In this case the known descendants might never come to existence and the sacrifice of the Defiant crew in favor of them would be useless. Thirdly, even if we accept that the timeline with the Defiant crashed on the planet is the original one (because it is "predestined"), it is created involving a time travel, and this is not possible in the natural course of time. In this regard, if it is possible to break the causality loop, it would be generally the right decision to alter history in a way that the time travel and its effects are avoided or compensated.”

    Due to the 3rd point, I’m not sure this could/should have happened at all.

    But, isn’t time travel always a head-ache? Lol

    Damn, wouldn’t this make Sisko ENSURE that Kira and Odo don’t get together? Odo killed 8000 folks because in 200 years he couldn’t get over Kira’s death… eeesh, just what else is he going to be capable of doing?

    One more thing, could someone on the bridge shed a tear – show some heart, how about Sisko throwing a fit… - or SOMETHING!!! The ending just seemed so “not caring” to me…

    Don’t get me wrong, I love this episode and never skip it on rewatches.

    I give this one a 3.5 because I don’t think they thought out the actual time travel part well enough.

    I agree with a great deal of your review, but I think the appropriate response when a planet full of your family vanishes is probably numbness. That's probably too great a thing to throw a fit or a tear over... a least right away.

    Thanks Robert. I believe numbness is exactly what they were going for and I can see that, but when I watched it I just got the feeling I wanted something more.

    I can't see it as a 1 vs 8000 argument. It's one set of possibilities vs another and you can say that we all make an infinite amount of these choices with every action we make. Maybe if I don't leave my house now, I won't make my wife and none of that line of descendants would've both etc. I mean, if they did go back 200 years, O'brien would HAVE to shack up with that Ensign after ten years at the exact same time to produce the right offsprings? I guess it is the time paradox about knowledge of the future, if it's destiny then you can't change, if you can change it then what you see as the future must be something else.

    It's just how you frame it. I mean, we forget that this timeline only exists since Jake brought Sisko back in the Visitor. Jake wasn't presented with the choice, but the Dominion war didn't happen in his timeline, how many lives was that worth? But here we don't see odo's pov. I did think he was a bit of an idiot to tell Kira it was all about her though, that can haunt people for the rest of their life if there wasn't a reset at the end of the episode.

    I did like that it took Odo two hundred years and time travel to get out of the friend zone though.

    ^^ Don't agree at all.

    Odo made the conscience choice to sacrifice everyone in the settlement to save Kira. It's that simple.

    ^ yeah, Odo did it to save Kira, but if you love someone would you really actually tell them that? It would make her feel guilty if anything,

    I couldn't work up any feelings for this colony's survival, and especially the people in it, since for reasons stated already, even if this colony was saved by the Defiant's actions, these particular 8000 people are not the ones who will be occupying it anymore in any event.


    Good point. REALLY good point. It makes Odo seem very self serving here doesn't it?


    That's an interesting thought. If I understand you if the Defiant stays "again", they the 8000 disappear anyway?

    I think what Chris is saying is that considering you are the result of a single sperm and egg intersecting at the exact correct instant in time/space the odds of all of the planet people being born again now that the crew is slightly different (Bashir knows who he will marry, so maybe they'll get together faster). I try not to think about that since it ruins the episode if you focus on it.

    If I went back in time and told your parents (right before they met) that they would get married some day it would almost definitely negate your existence.

    I just can't believe O'brien would choose to abandon Keiko, Molly, and Yoshi to save a group of people who would otherwise just never be born.

    @Adrian have you seen how annoying Keiko is and how many dangerous missions O'brien volunteers for? I'm sure O'brien would be happier with the ensign and I'm sure Keiko wouldn't even shed a tear. As for the kids I'm sure the prophets would take care of them. I'm kinda kidding but in all seriousness I was proud of O'brien in the episode. At first I could understand how O'brien was really uncomfortable with the fact that he moved on and married again because for some reason he loves Keiko. But I agree with obrien when he said we can't let these people die. He comes to realize that he couldn't live with himself if he didn't try to save these people. And I think he believes Keiko would understand that he had to do the right thing and save these children's lives. His family will go on living. It's not like Keiko and the kids will die without him.

    Although I didn't like it when he tells the crew that nobody has the right to tell him he can't go home to his family. Wrong. He is in starfleet and any away mission can get crazy involving these types of decisions. The captain decides. O'brien would have never questioned Picard if Picard explained the moral reasons for staying. After the mission Sisko should have taken obrien aside and asked if he wanted to remain in starfleet. I think O'brien needs to remember that any away mission can turn into some crazy problem with the space time continuum and he might get stuck in the last or something like that. O'brien should know that by now.

    @Scott - In all fairness to Miles, this is the exchange.

    "KIRA: Your family will be fine, Miles. The Prophets will take care of them.
    O'BRIEN: No offence, but I don't believe in your Prophets.
    WORF: All Major Kira is saying is our families will survive no matter what we do. The colonists will not. If she is willing to sacrifice her life to save them, I am willing to remain here.
    O'BRIEN: That's easy for you to say. You hardly see your son.
    WORF: And you are afraid to face your destiny.
    O'BRIEN: We can sit here arguing destiny until we're blue in the face, but the bottom line is, nobody has the right to tell me I can't go home to my family.
    SISKO: I want to go home as much as you do, Chief. I'm just listening to what everyone has to say.
    O'BRIEN: So we're not actually considering this?"

    I think perhaps he was exaggerating when he said NOBODY had the right. In his very next line O'Brien asks Sisko if they are considering it.

    Sure he was angry (at Worf/Kira) but if Sisko had ordered him to stay he would have respected it. And I felt it was obvious he thought it was Sisko's call.

    I also had trouble seeing a moral dilemma.

    They're on a different timeline. It's not always possible to determine which happened first -- an event in our timeline or an event in theirs. That's the whole problem with time paradoxes; they break causality.
    (Imagine a chicken going back in time and laying it's own egg....)

    Suppose Sisko decided NOT to go through the barrier in the first place, but continued home -- would they suddenly stop existing? Or would they, in that case, never exist?

    When did they first exist? After the Defiant went though the barrier, or 200 years before that?

    OK, yes, it's SF. But if the writers want me to buy into their interpretation, there needs to be some exposition (technobabble, no doubt) making it clear that there was a scientific basis for a real moral dilemma.

    And yeah, I would have tried to bring them back with me on the Defiant.... I thought that's where the episode was going when O'Brien had his change of heart.

    I'm curious about the sex.

    If they knew that children and a civilization is supposed to be born, then wouldn't O'Brien be "forced" to have kids with that ensign woman, just for the purpose of popping out babies?

    Then, to preserve genetic diversity, the crew would have to mix their breeding around.

    I can imagine Odo drawing up plans about who is to boom-boom who, in order to bring order to chaos, and everyone justs drops their trousers while Odo records everything for orderly note taking.

    Maybe I'm sick and need mental help, but all I kept thinking when watching this ep is ...


    I have read most of the comments and I have come to the conclusion that I am like no one else Lol. I liked this episode a lot but it made me angry not sad. I got mad a Kira first because she kept saying 8000 people have to die. The wouldn't die, they just simply would not exist. Second I got angry with Worf because he thinks he knows how other people feel. He said, " you're afraid of your destiny." He said this to Miles who already has a family and is very much in love with his wife (I don't know why). And how does Worf know for certain that this is their destiny, it was an accident after all that got them there. Then there is Dax, not for causing thise situation, but for not voicing her opinion about not wanting to stay, I could see it in her face, even after they were on the Defiant getting ready to go through the barrier.

    There are 3 people that I was not angry with, Odo, Sisko and, Obrien. Odo and Obrien were true to their feelings, at least until the end when Obrien wavered. Sisko went along with the majority which will call a waver. They never considered that the Klingons would take over the wormhole and the Dominion would take over the Alpha quadrant if they didn't go back, that was more than 8000 lives.

    Great episode!!

    I agree with some of the former posters here, who pointed out that Odo's actions made it seem creepy rather than romantic. I'm rewatching DS9 for the third time, and a lot of details I didn't the first two times have surfaced since.

    The Kira-Odo relationship, as Jammer points out, seems so contrived. After the happenings of 'Things past' and now this, I find it implausible that Kira just forgives Odo like that and gets together with him. Later in the Dominion occupation arc of Season 6, Odo betrays Kira and gets together with the female Changeling, indirectly leading to an almost complete defeat for the Allies - which Kira forgives and forgets again. I find this inconsistent with everything we've learned about her personality.

    In regards to Odo, it makes it hard for the viewer to buy all the stuff the other DS9 crew says about his honour and integrity - he stayed with the Allies and helped them in the fight against the Dominion because of his obsession with one woman. If anything, this reminds me of Snape's obsession with Lily in Harry Potter, and how she was the only reason he sided against Voldemort and aided Dumbledore.

    This childish cardboard cutout of an episode gives Let him who is without sin a bad name. That episode at least worked as a parody of all the dodgy holiday resorts and the dodgy tourists who frequent them. This moronic time loop works on no level at all, the script is something a bunch of third graders would come up with. Sisko turns to a wishy-washy do gooder and poor Odo is used like a deus ex machina to save the day? Jammer the writers got you this time, they're pulling your leg big time.4 stars? What drugs were you on when you watched this poor excuse of an episode?

    Weird, this is one of my favorite DS9 episodes (it'd make the top 10 for sure). Different strokes!

    OMG not existing is NOT the same thing as dying, not in this universe or any other! Deciding to end the lives of 8,000 people is way different from making it so 8,000 people never exist. For one thing, no one suffers with no one exist, but there is always suffering associated with death. For another, killing people usually involves subjecting them to some sort of fear in the process (the knowledge of impending doom if nothing else), but if the victim never exist, they never experience this torture. It's akin to the argument, if you never knew you had something you've lost, then have you really lost anything at all?

    Just wanted to had something about the issues with this particular time travel: first, I agree the whole colony would disappear anyway and be replaced with a new version.

    But as I was watching, the thing that first struck me was this: how come nobody has a problem sharing/receiving information about the past/future? Every time people time travel in Star Trek, they always do their best to minimize contact. But here, nobody has a problem learning who and when they'll marry. It already doesn't make sense that they'd gladly talk about their future, it's completely stupid for their descendants to casually tell the crew about it. And yet the plan is to match what happened "the first time", when there was no colony (cause you know, if there was a colony, they'd have gone through this already), including purposely crashing with the Defiant.

    So really, time travel only makes sense when you minimize contact, unless you want things to be different (like when O'Brian had visions of his death and the destruction of DS9).

    That's the kind of nonsense that happens quiet often (in series in general) but is overlooked because the story goes on and no character ever raises the issue. Exactly the same with the faceless and nameless 40 crew members who don't have a say: we don't see them, the main characters don't question it, the show goes on.

    Personally, I thought poor O'Brian, when the idiot Bashir was more or less saying "forget Keiko and your children, have you talked to your next wife yet?". But then he changes his mind, having your descendants growing potatoes all day in the gamma quadrant isn't so bad I guess.

    @Edouard Personally, I thought poor O'Brian, when the idiot Bashir was more or less saying "forget Keiko and your children, have you talked to your next wife yet?". But then he changes his mind, having your descendants growing potatoes all day in the gamma quadrant isn't so bad I guess.

    Oh, please. O'brien is the idiot. First of all anyone who watches Star Trek knows obrien should have divorced Keiko a long time ago. And also it's pretty selfish to sacrifrice the lives of all those people to get back to his family who would go on living. I couldn't believe it when obrien said "nobody has the right to tell me I can't go home to my family". Uh, yeah his superior officer can. Picard could and he would have obeyed. Riker could have made that decision and he would have obeyed. I mean this is the same obrien who was willing to leave his wife a widow and his child fatherless to rescue Li Nalas. Kira told him they either brought him back or they weren't coming back. I guess he just doesn't respect Sisko as much as his next gen superior officers. Eventually obrien comes to his senses and realizes he can not let these people die which if Keiko is a good person would understand he had to do. Bashir was just playing around with his friend which a lot of guys would do since I'm sure he's assuming they will all get home safe because that's the way it works on Star Trek. I love the obrien Bashir friendship but a lot of the time obrien treats him like crap. It took seven seasons but I was cheering when Bashir finally stuck up for himself in one of the last few episodes and told obrien to get the hell out of the infirmary. And obrien respected him for it.

    @ElimiRo OMG not existing is NOT the same thing as dying, not in this universe or any other!

    OMG the point is they DID exist. We watched them exist for 45 minutes and Odo made a decision to end their lives. Kira and Sisko knew it but Dax didn't want to acknowledge what she had accidentally caused. I blame Odo much more than Dax.

    The premise and plot of this episode were very good, but the racial composition of the crew's descendants was so big of a flaw it took away from the rest of the episode. I'm willing to suspend disbelief for DS9 (as well as all the other Star Trek franchises/movies) to allow for the somewhat distinct races that still exist 300+ years into the future. But in this episode, there have been another 200 years (8-9 generations) with the full 8,000 person population all stemming from 40 or so people. There is just no way there would still be "black" & "white" people. (Don't even get me started on the redheads!) This would be one multi-racial group. And how there were still "pure" Trills, with only one to begin with, is a mystery. At the very least, the Trills would also be Klingon descendants. For one episode they could have cast a group of racially ambiguous people.

    @ JAC- I think you can assume (however unlikely as it might be) that there were other Trill included in the offscreen Defiant's crew. Of course if there were another trill onboard DS9 I'm sure we would've all known about it by this point.

    Or it could be an oversight / bad writing.

    Oh, man, anyone else get a headache whenever arguments about time travel are started? For me, time travel is kind of like the idea of an afterlife: tons of theories, postulations, thoughts, beliefs, but no proof OF ANY OF IT. We can speculate all we want, but until we experince it firsthand, none of us has any clue.

    When it comes to episodes like this, as long as the story is engaging, I can enjoy it for what it is. I don't see much of a point in destroying a great character study like this episode by nitpicking over the ins and outs of something we can't possibly comprehend with the knowledge we possess at this stage in our educational evolution.

    But hey, that's just me. Feel free to nitpick away if that's your thing.

    Only thing I find annoying is the whole Kira/Shakaar break-up. Way to think for yourselves, lemmings!

    I'm torn on the ending.

    At first, I wanted to call it a character assassination of Odo. I found it unbelievable that he would not have found new love, forgotten Kira. It happens all the time. I found it unbelievable that Mr. D&D Judge character would sacrifice 8000 people he has known for all their lives for the vague *chance* that he and Kira might hit it off.

    But then I remembered that they made it a point - repeatedly! - that Odo would have joined the Founders if it weren't for Kira. So he seems to be a tad obsessed with her.
    So perhaps it's less of a character assassination than it is a character affirmation. I now assume Odo is a selfish bastard. Who knows how much of his "honorable" behavior is just pretense to make Kira like him. If you remember, he was a straight up Cardassian collaborator until he met her.

    Oh yeah, one thing I found EXTREMELY annoying was Sisko's "I can't ask Kira to sacrifice her life for 8000 people, or 8.000.000"


    It happens all. the. time.

    Closing the wormhole to prevent the Dominion fleet from coming through, thereby stranding Worf et al. in the Gamma Quadrant is the exact same thing as stranding the Defiant's crew inside the barrier. With the difference that he knows the people inside the barrier have great lives.

    Sending the Defiant to meet a hundred Jem Hadar ships in battle is nothing but asking them to die. If Sisko wasn't in the business of doing that, he should have sent them away when the fleet came though the wormhole.

    For a time, all the philosophic discussion revolved around not letting Kira die. What a load of crap.

    This episode stretched my willing suspension of disbelief to snapping point because of all the logic holes.
    Moreover, I find that the similar moral dilemma in Voy:Tuvix absolutely wipes the floor with this one, both in its shunning of melodrama and in the near-perfection of the way it is acted.
    I've been fast tracking the Star Treks that followed TOS as I wasn't able to watch them first time round, using various reviews as my skip guide. I took a time out to revisit some I'd skipped due to bad reviews. There were quite a few surprises and a good number of gems, any one of which I'd have traded for this one. (I've quit relying on reviews and letting the first 15 minutes be my skip/watch switch).

    The inconsistent treatment of time travel makes the episode lose any impact with me. Should we revile Guinan as a mass murderer for her actions during Yesterday's Enterprise?

    I mostly liked the episode, it was mostly good, but Kira agreeing to stay was just barely believable and Sisko and O'Brien both changing their minds after a morning or half-day of planting felt like way too big a cheat. I also didn't quite buy that alternate Odo would link with present Odo.

    DS9 has real problems with time travel mechanics. "They never existed" - well then, how did you meet them then? TNG did time travel much, much better.

    Lots and lots to like here, and definitely one of those episodes that makes you think. A lot. The trouble is that the more I think about it the less satisfactory it all appears.

    On the good side, the relationship stories for Worf/Dax/Odo/Kira are developed in a new and unanticipated way. The crew accept the situation differently, and the dynamics also play out well, from Kira's fatalism to O'Brien's rejection. And, best of all, is the conclusion that takes the decision out of the crew's hands and places it squarely in the hands of an Odo that has never seemed closer to the indifference of the Founders.

    On the debit side, the Planting Day scene seems more than just a little trite. The lack of input from the rest of the crew not featured is noticeable. And the more you think about the time travel element the less sense it all appears to make. I'm also minded to the explanation that the colony wouldn't survive in its current form whatever happened. In which case the stakes are not what they appear.

    So to me this is a conditional success - profoundly thought provoking but just a little lacking. 3.5 stars.

    I agree with many of the criticisms of the episode's sci-fi time-travel logic -- that the whole village would be irreparably changed *anyway* just by the crew knowing about them, and so much of the debate is pretty silly on those grounds. I think to go with this episode, one can accept the idea that the crew's descendants' existence is more or less guaranteed *as long as* the crew do go back in time (and Kira dies in the process), which I acknowledge is a leap (and one that the episode could maybe have tried harder to paper over, somehow). That said, it's a leap I am willing to make for the story, which I *really* like.

    One thing I want to point out -- we've got a lot of nice opposites here. Kira and O'Brien are the advocates for opposite positions in the present, for example. But there's also the future versions of Dax and Odo, who are the two of "our" people still alive as (forms of) themselves, rather than as descendants. While it's Yedrin rather than Jadzia, it's *still Dax*, and so in a way we can view the Jadzia -> Yedrin shift as in some ways as much a cosmetic makeover as Odo's slightly enhanced shapeshifting ability. And what's interesting is how much both characters end up being motivated by guilt: Yedrin has Jadzia's original guilt about leading the crew to the planet, which Dax seems to have funnelled entirely into a desire to make the best out of their situation -- making a full life for themselves here and protecting it at all costs. Odo becomes obsessed with Kira's death, and seems to be fixated on it. The future versions of Dax and Odo actually do the same thing, in opposite directions -- they manipulate the Defiant crew, in some way or another, into (attempting to) send the Defiant the way *opposite* what the Defiant crew wants, Yedrin at the beginning by lying to them that they can duplicate the Defiant as a way to lull them into simply going into the past, Future-Odo by sabotaging the ship so that they escape.

    We are also given a hint of the difference in the final results. Yedrin Dax regrets that it was Dax’ decision to land on the planet that got them in this mess, but he is committed to upholding that choice, refusing to let go of any of the consequences of that decision. (Again, compare with Odo – Dax’s curiosity gets them onto the planet, Odo’s obsession gets them off the planet.) Dax has guilt about cutting the Defiant crew from their alternate lives, and so he wants to supply them with the knowledge of an alternate future they could have had, even if it’s a lie. But ultimately Yedrin wants to protect what they have on the planet because they have built a future that he likes and that has worked for him. In the years following the crash (in the past), Jadzia and Worf married in a beautiful ceremony; unlike Miles (the advocate for leaving in the present) or Odo (the one person in the Future to reset the timeline), Jadzia crashed on the planet with who seems to be the love of her life. Jadzia got to design a Quark-centred education system and seemed to have fun with it. This community actually fits quite well with some of Jadzia’s/Dax’s contradictory impulses—the desire for adventure and exploration is satisfied by the chance to colonize a whole new planet; the desire for continuity of identity across generations is satisfied in that Dax genuinely gets to live with the same people, generation after generation, without any pesky Trill taboos getting in the way. (Who on this planet would enforce the ban on Trill reassociation, anyway?)

    By contrast, we have Odo, which I want to talk about at length. First of all, yes, Odo essentially condemning everyone in that village to non-existence to save Kira certainly is creepy to the extreme. It is one thing for Miles or another of the crew members in the present to argue against throwing themselves into the past; they have their own lives and their own futures to protect, and they have not lived with this village for, ahem, centuries. (Odo is condemning himself to nonexistence here, though by linking with the younger version of himself he is also allowing a small bit of himself to survive.) It is also going directly against Kira's own wishes, and leaving her with the guilt of what nonexistence his actions to save *her* would bring. This demonstrates a very dark lining to Odo’s (any era) feelings for Kira, which very seriously complicates any attempt for the two to get together. It also pretty seriously weakens the idea that Odo has an intrinsic, genetic propensity to justice, in case we still believed that now.

    But I think we have to put things into perspective a little bit. First of all, I am not sure how Odo’s changing his own timeline/past to save Kira is different from what Old Jake does in “The Visitor,” or one of the older versions of the Voyager crew in one of those future-self-changes-past episodes, except that we come into this from an external perspective rather than from the perspective of the regret-filled person who saves a loved one who had died. But putting that aside: We are not given a background on Odo in the future, but we can piece together a little bit. We are shown the Sons of Mogh, who are themselves some sort of isolationists with relatively little contact with the main village—and so we are shown people who *to some degree* reject the village as created/maintained by Yedrin. We know that whatever the exact nature of the social organization, not everyone knows everything that goes on—the children are quite obviously kept in the dark about their encroaching doom/nonexistence, for example, and we also know that Odo is completely unaware of Yedrin’s attempt to deceive the Defiant crew. In any case, we actually have not a single scene in which (future) Odo interacts with any members of the village, or indeed anyone besides Kira. He does say, “Gaia is a beautiful place. I would like to show it to you.” But Gaia could well be the *planet*, rather than the village. In any case, Future Odo does not spend any time with anyone besides Kira herself, and the only places we see him are in the Defiant corridor or by Kira’s graveside. Odo’s ability to mimic human form has improved, over time, and that *could* suggest that Odo has spent more time with the humanoids. But it also seems possible to me that he has lived a mostly solitary existence. He does not participate in the harvest time.

    The one thing we know for certain is that Odo has been waiting two hundred years to see Kira again, and has been holding on, throughout that time, to the idea that *this time*, Kira will not die. And since it took some length of time for Odo to learn how to hold his shape in the strange tech fields of the planet, it seems likely that he did *not* see Kira again after they went to the planet and before her death—that, essentially, the last time he ever saw her *was* the conversation where she revealed that she had dumped Shakaar because the Prophets work in mysterious ways, etc., which surely intensifies the feelings of loss and missed opportunity—Odo did not get any proper goodbye. Now, present Odo does not, at the episode’s end, explain that he agrees with Future Odo’s actions. I think that in the weeks and months and even years after Kira’s death, Odo would still probably not go mass murder, sending everyone into oblivion because he cares about Kira. But then decades and centuries happened, and Odo spent all this time thinking that he would one day see Kira again, if he lived long enough; and perhaps by then they would find a way to allow Kira to live. It actually makes me wonder how far back Dax came up with the idea of selling the Defiant crew on them splitting into two versions—because that is actually a narrative that not only helps sell the Defiant crew on giving up their lives off Gaia (and Kira of giving up her lives entirely), but it’s a narrative that will reassure Odo (and others) that the Defiant will get back to those lives. Imagine the feeling of betrayal upon discovering that this was all a lie—that Yedrin had created this ruse so as to make Kira go to her death without even realizing otherwise! But in any case, I think that what happened is that Odo’s love for Kira *and knowledge that he would one day see her again, if only he could live long enough* became an obsession that came to dominate his thoughts. Generations after generations of people were born and died, and there was Odo still there, besides Dax the only person who was there since the beginning. And as time came closer to the Defiant’s arrival, I think Odo became more and more fixated on *what he would say* and taking the opportunity to right old wrongs. That Odo is *this* hung up on Kira two hundred years later, in addition to the lack of any evidence of his involvement in the community, does suggest to me that he has not integrated that well into the civilization, and has perhaps been mostly alienated and isolated all this time, especially after the original crew died. He might really not have been able to form any new attachments after Kira’s death. And so it does seem as if he spent two centuries mostly preparing for this chance to see Kira again, and cannot after ten score spent stewing just *let* this happen again.

    That Odo is also focused on the idea of him getting together with Kira removes some of the potential nobility of his attempt to save Kira. But that, too, strikes me as pretty comprehensible. Odo is not a believer in fate or destiny, or in Kira’s gods—and yet, if Kira’s Gods told her that she and Shakaar were not meant to be, immediately before a freak, improbable accident leads to her death and Odo alone is alive two hundred years later to prevent it, well, this seems as much as anything like the hand of fate perhaps pushing Odo to be there for the possibility of love between him and Kira. That *this* Odo really has stopped caring about anything besides Kira, and even there is somewhat fixated not just on Kira herself but on Odo/Kira as relationship, puts him close to the Founders, who really do see most solids as beneath them. But that Odo is also apparently immortal, at least on human time scales, also makes a bit of sense out of the Founders’ general indifference. Kira lives on as an idea, suspended in his memory in her prime, unresolved, while others live out their full lives and disappear before him. I also think that his attachment to Kira underscores the dark side of his staying away from the Link because of Kira; Odo’s choosing Kira over the community he failed to assimilate himself into really does mirror his rejection of the Founders for Kira, only this time it’s not a bunch of totalitarian monsters he’s denying but other people. In any case, I think that Odo’s selfish but nevertheless very acute pain is pretty clear here, as well as the implication that he has essentially been caught in a moment of grief for two hundred years. His preventing Kira from dying is saving himself from the fate of going all these years without her, even if it dooms others to nonexistence in the process.

    The Dax/Odo contrast then is partly actually about how happy the people are with how the last two hundred years of their lives turned out, which is partly the result of how the first couple years after the crash turned out (and whether they had their loved ones with them when that crash happened); both Yedrin and Future Odo are willing to cheat and manipulate to get their way. Yedrin is mostly aligned with a broader community, and Odo is entirely alone.

    This is by no means all I have to say about this episode but I will stop here for now.

    This is so dramatically turgid. The scene with Sisko, Yedrin and Dax. I HAVE A DUTY TO PROTECT MY PEOPLE... WHO ARE TO DECIDE WHO LIVES AND WHO DIES.,, and so on. Seriously, where's the Janeway & Seven of 9 spin-off? Got to beat this nonsense down. Not far off a christian neocon (everything is Terrible) movie production. Right after Sisko has just dropped: I'm sorry old man, there's nothing I can do! Check Dax. (ahem, Terry Farrell). That's about as grim as Trek ever gets (not counting Troi's mom). Cringeworthy throughout but more than that, a reminder of just how easily DS9 was unbearable.

    Geez Jammer, as Gene Siskel once said to Roger Ebert.... "Wow, where's your big red suit and bread, Santa? You just gave them a gift!" Yes, "Children of Time" appears to be yet another fan beloved episode that I have to play the curmudgeonly contrarian on.

    They sure tried to hit the audience squarely over the head with sweetness this time, didn't they. It reminds me strongly of "The Inner Light", where the insulin shot inducing sugariness was apparently there to cover up the decidedly questionable morals of the guest aliens' actions against Picard. While "Children of Time" isn't covering up anything like that, it's still a sugar overdose. The Arbor Day, a.k.a."planting day", scene slightly exceeded Jammer's syrup tolerance? Well, practically everything about the colony exceeded mine. Could this place be any more freaking perfect?! I mean, damn, the ridiculous Ba'ku Elves didn't have it this good in their little communal, simplistic paradise. There is literally no problem detectable from them. Any racial strife? No. Any problems with supporting 8,000 people? No. Anybody going hungry? No. Anybody who wishes to leave the colony and see the Alpha Quadrant? No. I would say perfection is the name of the game here, but "heaven on earth" is more appropriate. I'm sorry, while it seems that this really draws a lot of people into the story, it simply didn't for me. And, as a result, that left me with a lot of time to notice all the minor flaws the story has (which I wouldn't even bother pointing out if the story had gripped me).

    First, so in the span of about 6 or 7 generations (at the most) a colony of forty-eight people (wow guys, you're slipping, not forty-seven?) grows to one of 8,000? That's some pretty damn impressive population growth?! I'm no mathematician but when you consider that only about one-third of the Defiant's crew are female (again, at most) doesn't that mean that every single woman would have had to have at least five or six children? Every single one, every single time! Or did the colonists approve of wife-swapping? And that doesn't even factor in the fact that some of the crew are undoubtedly aliens who can't biologically have children with Humans, at least not without serious advanced medical assistance (which I assume would have been unavailable on the colony). Second, the "planting day" scene really rubs me the wrong way. Did anybody watching this have any doubt about how it would end? Let's take the one character who is most adamant about leaving and returning to DS9 (O'Brien) and cajole him into helping plant the colony's crops/trees. In other words, have him bond with these people over a shared task. Did anybody watching honestly think he would emerge from that scene still determined to leave these people to die? Seriously? His turn-around was telegraphed in from a light-year away. It didn't feel sweet, or honest or even entertaining. All it felt was manipulative, and rather transparently so. Third, if we're going to judge Old Odo - Oldo?, hehe, I like that name - for sacrificing the colony for one life, shouldn't we also judge the Senior Staff for doing the exact same thing? Sisko and his officers are fully ready to condemn the 40+ other crew members of the Defiant to a life detached from their families and full of dangers just to save others - just like Oldo did. Who is Oldo to make that decision? Well, who is Sisko to make it either? Fourth, Oldo isn't exactly presented very effectively. The fact that he doesn't interact with anybody besides Kira really harms the episode. We never get a sense that he has spent the last 200 hundred years living among these people. For all we know, he may have lived that whole time as a hermit, shunning the society of the colony, and living solely with his sense of loss after Kira's death. As a result, his decision to betray the colony and save Kira doesn't have the emotional impact it should have had. If we had seen him interacting with Yedrin (or, hell, anybody from the colony) it would have really gone a long way to making his decision much more impactful. Fifth, the two girls leaning math from Quark. Oh God, could these two child actresses have been any more cringe-worthy?!

    Now, don't get me wrong, there is good in this episode. It's just almost completely confined to the Kira/Odo relationship, even with the fact that the ultimate decision was somewhat lacking. Look, I'll admit it, I'm a Kira/Odo shipper, sue me. I really like the idea of getting them together and am thankful the writers have FINALLY decided to move them in that direction. And I just don't see why Jammer was so convinced that "Crossfire" was somehow going to be the end of this story-line. Having Odo just suppress his feelings, act like nothing is wrong and move on with his life? Just having him ball his emotions up like a knot and bury them deep in the pit of his stomach? Yeah, that wasn't going to work. "Crossfire" almost screamed that more was going to come. And here, I love how Rene Echevarria handles it - because it's very true to Odo's character. Even after Odo has spent 200 years learning how to better express his feelings and not be so withdrawn emotionally, he still clings to his desire for order and control - not surprising, since those traits are, after all, genetic to the Changelings. When Kira makes the decision to sacrifice herself to save the colony, Oldo feels justified in over-ruling her judgment for the sake of his love. In other words, he tries to control her the way he tries to control life on the Promenade. That simply isn't going to work if these two are going to have any kind of romantic relationship, naturally. So, Odo has to learn to change and not impose himself on Kira before the relationship can even begin. Simply put, it opens up this arc with a moment of dysfunction between the two characters which allows for struggle and character growth. Beautifully done!


    They'd lose a lot of genetic diversity but let's just say they have incredibly good luck (no catastrophe's, etc.) and that Bashir's sick bay is really well stocked and nearly everyone lives to be 100. Let's also assume that all 1/3 of those women find acceptable husbands that they can mate with. Let's assume each couple has, on average, 5 children? Though it could be higher than that... 5 is a good number.

    Generation 1 - 48
    Generation 2 - 16 couples * 5 children = 80
    Generation 3 - 32 couples (80 children should likely produce at least 32 couples) * 5 children = 160
    Generation 4 - 64 couples (is this still a fair guess?) * 5 children = 320

    So I'm roughly doubling the population here every generation. So 5 would be 640, 6 would be 1280 and 7 would be 2560. Presumably though... those 2560's parents and grandparents would still be alive. So that's 4,480.

    I'm still one generation away from getting 8k.... BUT I also have a lot of people not having kids in those later generations.... generation 6 would be considered to have 256 couples (for instance) and that's only HALF the generation having kids. Had I done a little more than double the population every now and again I could probably have hit 8k.

    Genetic diversity would suck though, but I can suspend disbelief here.


    I think the writers didn't put "Oldo" in earlier scenes because they were afraid that his interactions would spoil the ending. If he acted normally, and got along fine with people then his choice in the end would be bizarre. If he acted distant and disturbed, it would be a huge flag to the audience that Oldo would throw a monkey wrench into saving the settlement.

    It's hard to say whether the ending would be more or less satisfying without the Oldo surprise, but I think I'll go with the writers and say it was good to leave Odo as a wild card until the very end.

    I'm with Chrome on this -- I tend to read Oldo as being isolated from the community based on his actions at the end, but I think it is only at the end that his disconnection from everyone who is not Kira becomes clear. Personally I like the choice a lot, because while there are some mysteries remaining about Oldo I feel like I can easily reconstruct some of what he went through based on the hints in the story. Oldo being a loner and the Klingons having their separate community also undermine the utopia that Yedrin carefully presents, in response to Luke's concern that the planet is too perfect. I think it's quite reasonable that no one on the planet besides Oldo wants to never have existed, and for the adults to try hard to put their best foot forward to convince the crew that this accidental colony is worth preserving, just to hedge their bets (in case Yedrin's fake duplicate plan doesn't convince). It's manipulative because Yedrin and Oldo are both manipulative, but the difference is that Yedrin is preserving thousands of lives and Oldo is preserving one. Similarly, I tended to assume that the whole Defiant crew agreed to go back in time after O'Brien did, so that Sisko was not ordering anything, which yes raises other problems -- what if people decided not to agree? -- but I think that the crew would be willing to do what they believe is the right thing and I can see the whole crew becoming convinced that this colony is real and must be preserved.

    Okay, so, Odo is now a genocidal romantic after a few centuries? You know, you have to give television a lot of leeway when it comes to plot holes, and sci-fi has to be given enormous leeway with technical problems, and it's all okay, and understandable. But what would make the writers think it's okay to turn a well meaning, honorable, ethically upright (to an extreme) main character into someone that would erase 8,000 people to prolong the life (even though there's no way to guarantee she won't die of any fluke thing anyway) of one person because of his deep feelings for her, and all against her will, knowing fully well that she'd never, ever want him to do that? This is disgusting.

    I don't normally sympathize with the going-against-character critique, because, people do that in real life every day anyway. But Odo Hitler over here is a little frigging extreme, don't you think? This is a premeditated mass murder from a logical minded person...because love! 0 - o

    I don't understand the praise for this episode. And when it was assumed they were going to let the colony be wiped out, as a crew, they just had a good time together planting stuff? I cannot come to terms with this episode, I'm sorry. Great idea for the first half, but this doesn't make that much sense to me, the way they handled it. You say the episode doesn't cheat, but that out they use with Odo is the ultimate cheat, to me. It cheated the character, it cheated us, and it cheated, in essence, 8,000 people out of their lives, according to the logic of the episode, and everyone in the crew of their choice! Cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat. Cheat!

    @JD - Because we're in a time travel episode and Odo is by far the most alien character we've EVER had as a regular in Star Trek you have to realize that your morality may be different than his. Yes, he caused 8,000 people to not exist, but how many people did he cause to exist as well.

    Maybe Odo is just really god damned selfish and wants to leave this stupid planet and go home with Kira even if it means that it's not exactly him that's going home. I don't like the episode as much as I did when I first watched it, but Odo is a lifeform that's meant to literally exist in a permanent state of telepathic(?) connection with his entire race.

    Dax was willing to lie to her old friend and kill Kira without anyone having any choice in the matter because of centuries of guilt. Well maybe centuries of isolation for a creature that is not supposed to be isolated really, really screwed him up. This story falls short of the kind answers I want, but I don't necessarily think the characters made the wrong choice.

    @ JD,

    You suggest that by sacrificing 8,000 people to save the woman he loves Odo has gone too far and done something wildly extreme. Yes. The episode doesn't skirt around this, but rather is exactly about this. You say he's been written inconsistently with his previously established ethics, but what made you think his behavior was ever governed by Human ethics? At every possible occasion in the series Odo has made it clear that he'd prefer to rule the Promenade with an iron fist if given the chance, much like alternate-Odo does. He explicitly does not endorse or accept Human values. He does have a personal code to which he tries to stick unwaveringly, but whatever that code is, we are told multiple times in DS9 that it isn't a code based on justice and fairness.

    The Female Changeling isn't the only one who informs Odo that his natural drive isn't towards justice but rather towards order, like the rest of his people. This is proven time and again, and made crystal clear in episodes like "Things Past." The Changelings, by their nature, will go to extremes to have their way regardless of the consequences. 'Future Odo' never went through what Odo did in the S6 arc, where he came face to face with his own nature and what it meant in terms of his feelings for Kira. He never realized the dangers inherent in his own nature, and how the extremity of his natural inclinations was something to be kept in check.

    What you see as a writing flaw is in reality a definite design, meant to further a point about Odo, which is that he is not what you thought he was. That thought might be menacing, but it's even driven home further in S7 when Laas makes Odo see that his was masking his true nature for the benefit of solids. The only flaw with this episode as I see it isn't in the episode itself but rather in the lack of consequences in future episodes of what Odo did. They certainly address the consequences of what he said to Kira, but not of what he did to the colonists, and I think they missed out on an opportunity for good follow-up there.

    Horrible episode. I'm working through the series on Amazon Prime. Didn't get a chance to watch when during first run (college). I was enjoying the series up until this episode. The writers make the characters all equally intentionally dumb for the purpose of. .. I don't know why? Story?

    TvTropes has this to say, ''Timey-Wimey Ball: Two examples. First, in the original timeline, the Defiant lands on the planet, the crew learns about the colony, and then they knowingly take off knowing they'll hit the anomaly and be sent back in time. They do, they crash, they have children, their children have children, and eventually these become the people that the Defiant crew encountered before. But the colony shouldn't exist until at least one time through the loop, because it didn't come from anywhere; the colony causes itself to exist. This is, of course, impossible.

    Second, and much worse, the loop is sabotaged by Alternate!Odo. By preventing the Defiant from crashing, Alternate!Odo prevents himself from ever existing. This is, of course, impossible. Of course, this ''is Star Trek''.'

    Top five all time Star Trek episodes, and the best DS9 episode. It ranks right up there with In the Pale Moon light, City on the Edge of Forever, The Inner light and Day of the Dove.

    In the words of Captain Sisko (I think), "I hate temporal physics." Was there an original timeline where the ship got stranded without having first met the descendants of the survivors? And then a continuous loop where every time after that they did meet the descendants? Meaning that Dax would have remembered having this exact conversation with Sisko? Aren't those descendants from a slightly different timeline than the first one? Or are all the descendants from each loop from a different timeline than each other? Or is there only one loop? First they get stranded, then the ship comes again and meets the people who were stranded and the ship escaped?

    I imagine future Dax and future Odo must be best friends by now, since they have together watched generations of everyone else they know die.

    Kira took a lightning bolt to the heart. Sisko could have shown a little more concern.

    With only 40 crew members 200 years ago, wouldn't all the current generation be descendants of almost all of the crew members? Otherwise there's a lot of cousins having children with cousins. Figure a generation of 25 years, that's 8 generations, which means 128 great great x8 grandparents if there's no intermarriage. So they're all a little bit Trill, a little bit Klingon, and they probably all have a tail and an extra pinkie as a result of the inbreeding.

    Watching this episode just reminded me how special is this franchise. It's the only one that could produce it. That said, I was thoroughly prepared to be disappointed that What's-his-name Dax was responsible for modifying the flight plan. I thought it would have been way better if it had been Odo. Then it turned out to be Odo!

    Just getting to these comments and haven't read them all, so at the risk of redundancy, this episode interested, and somewhat annoyed, me to the point that I have to put my thoughts down somewhere.

    Taking the temporal science premise of the show as truth to avoid THAT discussion and getting to the ethics of it all: Eventually, every one of the people from "our" DS9 timeline determined that they could not be responsible for extinguishing 200 years of reality and 8000 living sentient humanoids. And every one of those 8000 people wanted to live. But, the older version of Odo "loved" Kira so much he was willing to go against the wishes of every other person on that planet, including hers. And so Oldo surreptitiously made a selfish, unilateral contrary decision that wiped out a society from existence.

    Yes, Oldo is 200 years older than her version, but it's the same shapeshifter with the same Founder DNA or whatever it is they have. I personally can't believe Kira ever talked herself into falling for him later, knowing what he was capable of.

    Then again, Kira herself is a terrorist who killed innocent people for the sake of Bajor, so maybe they were meant for each other.....

    To me this episode is probably my favorite of DS9, including the Episode In the Pale Moonlight.

    It's true science fiction, an imaginative plot, and a love story that defies convention and even fate. Odo's love for Kira is poignant and potent, just like Kirk's love from the TOS episode "City on the Edge of Forever", but unlike Kirk, Odo does not have a cold logical Vulcan friend to keep him from making a morally dubious choice.

    In that way, I think DS9 answered Harlan Ellison's classic with its own classic that reverses and parallels the issue of fate and love in time travel. However, DS9 showed that its voice is not as utopian and "greater good driven" as TOS, the voice of DS9 is a human story set in an alien cultural intersection.


    I'm absolutely in the camp of people who love all-time greats like The Inner Light and The Visitor but think this is a total mess. The moral dilemma never feels anything but contrived, and the community never feels remotely real, which has more to do with the twee, corny execution than the script. (The community in The Inner Light was only shown in microcosm too and was also kinda corny, yet still managed to resonate because of the focus on family, as well as the actors and Stewart's reaction to them. That isn't the case here - Gaia's depiction is as stagily inauthentic as that of the community in Meridian, if not more so, especially the children, the "planting" scenes and the silly "Klingons".)

    I never remotely believed that Ben would abandon Jake, Miles abandon Molly etc. and everyone abandon their lives - especially with the impending threat of Dominion invasion that the entire quadrant is relying on them to fend off - just to preserve some village that only existed due to a timeline accident, led by someone who immediately tried to deceive them into stranding themselves in the past again. The DS9/Defiant staff are responsible for far more lives in their everyday Starfleet work than they would "save" by sacrificing themselves here. Never bought it. 2 stars - as bad as Similitude for similar reasons of (lacking) credibility.

    So the hard choice that the crew made is suddenly taken away from them by ALT Odo. So really, they didn't make the choice. And afterwards, they don't seem that upset about not saving the colony. In fact. I might suspect that they are quietly thankful ALT Odo sabotaged the plan.

    So I was wondering, if the Defiant crew had stayed on the planet, and the time loop reset 200 years, would that have happened, or would the Defiant crew had just joined the 8,000 inhabitants? And if so, one would think that if the Defiant crew had left, as they did in the episode, wouldn't the 8,000 inhabitants have remained in existence simply because the Defiant crew had not actually slipped 200 years into the past? Time vortex episodes confuse the hell out of me sometimes. If so.some wants to open this discussion, my email Addy is [email protected] . no spam plz.

    Wow. I If you love this episode that's fine, it wasn't awful, I'm just.....kind of stunned so many people love it.

    To be it was very typical "Star Trek" cliched plot, specifically a kind I'd expect from TNG, but not DS9. As someone else mentioned, the entire ending is given away as soon as you learn where these colonists came from.

    The emotional and moral dilemma the characters were supposedly stuck in had no effect on me, because the descendents were such flat, bland characters. Yedrin and all the colonists were played just like any bland colonists-of-the-week. And the "Klingons" just seemed bored, like their actors had no interest in playing Klingons and would rather be anywhere but here. The episode tries to make us care about the colonists with painfully cliched interactions with cute kids, but that doesn't do it.

    The episode kept asking us if we'd be okay sacrificing Kira and dooming Sisko, Odo, Miles, Worf, Jadzia and god knows how many Dax hosts to a life of imprisonment on this planet and never seeing Jake, Molly, Keiko, Kirayoshi, Alexander, or any of their families or friends again, not to mention how their absence would affect the Dominion exchange for these cardboard cutouts who feel like "descendants" of these characters we love in name only (literally).


    If I'm going to care about a character the show has to do more than have the ones I already like verbally pummeling me over and over with "But these people! The children! Look how happy they are, planting and stuff!"

    This episode seemed like an already cliched idea for "Star Trek" presented in the most effortless way possible.

    Warp10 I haven't watched the episode in a while but going from memory I tend to agree with you. I have a few theories as to how this can happen.

    First I think that as scifi fans, we are trained to put up with ALOT of crap so we do accept a level of acting in a scifi context that we wouldn't necessarily accept in another. If the scifi premise is cool or well executed we forgive failings in the acting.

    Second, because this is a longrunning tv show, we fall in love with the characters and perhaps identify with them too much, losing our objectivity. It's not that these cardboard characters are interesting or compelling in of themselves (they're not) but because of who they are and what they represent to the characters we know and love, we see them as more than we otherwise would.

    This is why tv has a very different dynamic from a movie. I remember showing a friend an episode of Babylon 5 and he was ho hum about it. But once he saw the series and was able to put the episode in its proper context, he became a big fan. For shows like DS9 with such lush and interesting character arcs, standalone "great" episodes that can be accessed easily by non fans are going to be rare.

    @Jason R.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Warp10Lizard was specifically talking about the descendants, which were guest stars in this episode. In which case, I think he has a point; the guest actors we were supposed to feels pangs of conscience for because they'd be lost if the DS9 crew leaves pales in comparison to the lush DS9 universe outside this episode that we already love. You can't even compare the two, so it's hard to side with the colonists.

    Chrome I thought the point was these guest actors were the descendents of the main characters so were connected to them in a significant way.

    Yes Jason R., but you're talking about falling in love with characters and identifying them which is true for the main cast, but it's a bit of a stretch to say that love extends to their fictional descendants. I can't say that I saw any of the charm of Jadzia Dax in Yedrin Dax, for example. So despite the fact that I like Jadzia Dax, it's hard for me to sympathize with Yedrin. Is that the actor's fault? Possibly!

    So, if (the alternative) Dax really had spent 200 years figuring out how to preserve the colony once Defiant arrives on the planet "again for the first time", you'd assume she/he would have come up with a plan that ensures that the crew of Defiant won't encounter them or, better yet, even find out about any existense of life on the planet with their sensors, because everything that is said and shown in this episode indicates that (the alternative) Defiant got stranded on an unpopulated planet before going accidentally back in time while exiting the planet. But in this episode Dax is the one to take first contact right away and to happily provide the crew information about what happened 200 hundred years ago, which surely would change everything about how the colony was formed the first time around! The colonists doomed themselves by contacting their ancestors and telling them about their future. Maybe Odo did the right thing.

    It's very interesting to me to see the disparate opinions on this episode.

    I have to say personally, I always thought the episode was decent, but my reaction to it has varied. Watching it today, I'm brought to a very emotional place by old Odo's scenes with Kira as well as by a handful of scenes towards the final day of the colonists - scenes like the Klingons asking Worf to kill them, and the planting scene; particularly where O'Brien speaks to Molly, and the senior staff meeting where they each voice their opinion on leaving. Auberjonois's performance as old Odo was picture perfect and completely empathetic. And realizing that all these people and their families were all going to die choked me up.

    Then, the ultimate moment comes and the ship misses the anomaly and... everything just sort of went cold. I didn't get the sense that the bridge crew was as paniced and saddened and as they should have been in that moment. I also felt the score lacked a big swell of emotion underscoring the tragedy and significance of what had just happened.

    The moments KNOWING what was going to happen to the colonists brought literal tears to my eyes, but the actual moment it happened almost alleviated the emotions. So perhaps this episode is more poignant on subsequent viewings (where you can appreciate the sadness knowing what is going to happen) than on the initial view. I don't think there's quite enough emotional reflection of the fate of the colonists. No one speaking of specific people who are now gone. No Worf lamenting those people having an unwarrior-like death or Molly never getting to see the crops reach 3 feet, etc.

    Finally, I felt that as well as Auberjonois did as old Odo, young Odo's final scene just feels a bit off. As if he expects Kira to react positively to the news that old Odo was behind it. Perhaps it's an attempt to show how inexperienced and naive young Odo was compared to how mature old Odo seemed. I'm not sure. I just felt that that shot was the sole attempt to really put an emotional bent on the close of the episode, but it could have done more.

    Still, 40 great minutes leading up to the ending.

    Great episode, but one minor flaw: Miles knows that he can finally be free of Keiko and her evil loin-spawn AND hook up with ensign Tennenbaum, but he doesn't instantly jump at the chance to replicate the crash? Makes ZERO sense.

    Very nice episode. I just couldn't get past the scene where they put the Odo goo into a device, which actually was made out of a Hitachi HB-B101 bread machine. Take a close look at that thing. Here is a link to an image:

    Great episode (watching DS9 for the first time), my favourite episode so far. Children of Time has an intriguing premise that asks, what would you do? What is morally right and morally wrong? I loved it!

    Very boring episode with so much cliche and non-believable time travelling shenanigans. I'd rather rewatch Worf and Jadzia on their holiday in Risa and have fun than watch this ever again.

    I dont get it if yedron dax would hav never told the defiant crew the truth in the 1st place and just sent them on their way without any knowledge of the events
    Sisco and the crew would have tryed to escape and crashed back into the planet and the alternative timeline would hav been preserved

    To answer the question on Time Travel, I have a simple answer:

    What if the events in this episode happened in an alternate Universe- Timeline aka Abram's Kelvin-verse and when the defiant was in orbit the 1st time, it had already split into its quantum duplicate like the Voyager episode Deadlock?

    Star Trek has already given us answers to the questions many people pose here, all you must do is use the canon to answer them.

    It would also solve a different mystery too, Dax did not know what the crew did in the episode, so what Yedrin knew was from an alternate timeline set off already from the point of departure in the first entry.

    However, I'll warn you if toy take my interpretation literally as the right one, then this episode is a guiltless platitude rather than make Odo a potential genocidal Dominion changeling for the sake of Kira.

    I like the original interpretation of fate being in our hands rather than the one I came up with. Sometimes, even if your solution is correct and makes more logical sense, the idea of "perceived" free will and choices of good/bad choices makes the story richer.

    In the Star Trek Universe, if you can't explain something, we can always say its Q, just like humans do with God, We can also explore things using science, logic, and deductive reasoning, which comes up with a less interesting though more likely correct answer. However, like Q points out, our exploration is not out there mapping stars, but "exploring the possibilities of existence", I think that is more important and the stories implications on choices is far more interesting than an easy answer.

    Count me as a lover of this episode. I was riveted. I love time travel episodes (more than the average Trekkie. Seems a lot of you DON'T love time travel. Gasp. Sacrilege!)

    I'm one who often disagrees with Jammer. (I am generally perfectly happy for things to wrap up happily and with a bow at the end of each episode. I like the majority of the Ferengi episodes. Hell, I like Voyager more than DS9. His Voyager reviews are depressing. Haha, yeah, so we don't see eye to eye.) But I'm with him on this one. What a compelling episode. For once, I'm glad they didn't have their cake and eat it too. Well, just a bit of that second piece of cake. (They made it out without having to consciously choose to sentence the settlement to death, so that did work out pretty nicely for their consciences, but it would have been really lame if the whole "copying" plan had worked out.)

    I really liked how we watched each of the main characters, one by one, decided to sacrifice their life (Kira), or lives as they knew them and seeing their families again, for the good of the colonists. Actually, knowing Star Trek as well as I do, I feel like these guys were a little slow to come to that decision, for Star Fleet officers. But it was very realistic. Choosing to give up one's life isn't easy, whether or not it's the right thing to do. The colonists were also well-realized, and I really believed that Yedrin was Dax.

    I don't like Star Trek romances much, as a rule. It just never gets enough attention for the pairings to seem especially believable. . . nor do I want it to get more attention, since it's generally not very compellingly written. I don't watch Star Trek for that. Generally, watching Star Trek, I feel like I can TELL that the writers are kind of socially awkward when I watch a "love" scene. Pulls me out of the action!

    Still, Odo and Kira was one that I was even less interested in than normal, the first time I watched this show. But on re-watch, knowing it was coming, I guess I'm minding it less.

    Whether or not I'm interested in it, this is probably one of the best Star Trek romance-driven episodes of all time, the others being on Voyager or TNG (I'm picturing the episode when Tom and B'elanna admit their feelings while floating in space suits running out of oxygen, the episode where Captain Janeway and Chakotay are forced to remain behind on a planet alone together, the episode in which the Doctor gives Seven social lessons and falls for her, to be rebuffed at the end before he can come out and admit his feelings, the episode in which Riker's double and Troy attempt to have a relationship that falls apart in the same way the first relationship ended, and perhaps the episode where Crusher and Picard can hear each other's thoughts and know once and for all how the other feels).

    Anyway, Odo and Kira have some compelling chemistry in the episode. I was feeling it. For Odo to finally admit his feelings to Kira (taking her completely by surprise). . . though it's not really him. For her to begin to consider the prospect. . . only to discover that he's decided to sentence 8000 people to non-existence for her. Pretty deep stuff. Another thing that makes Odo and Kira interesting compared to other Star Trek romances is the length of time that the writers chose to make it unrequited. It has been at least a couple seasons that we the audience knew about Odo's feelings, while only Quark knew about them in terms of characters on the show. Star Trek loves to do slow-burn relationships, to create some will-they-or-won't-they (Dr. Crusher & Captain Picard, Commander Riker and Councillor Troy, etc), but those other relationships were always two-sided, and just put on the back burner for professional and other complications. But with Kira and Odo, until this episode, there was a sense that it might ALWAYS be unrequited. Hell, we already saw Jadzia firmly turn down Julian, which seemed like a likely pairing at the beginning of the show.

    So... yeah. As I say, this is a re-watch, so I do know the general direction that Kira and Odo go from here. But I don't really remember very well. I hope that the fact that his older self was willing to sacrifice all of those people for her comes up again.


    "Seems a lot of you DON'T love time travel."

    On the contrary, I love time travel plots and have fun trying to run through the writers' logic with them. And actually, "Yesterday's Enterprise". "All Good Things" and "Trials and Tribble-ations" are all well received here so I don't think time travel as a show premise is the problem.

    I like this one, I do. It's a solid 3 stars for the premise and I think the Kira-Odo romance actually takes a good step forward here. But, the scene where the crew changes their mind about going back because they planted some flowers or something strains credulity. I think they could've made something seem genuinely appealing about the new timeline, like the Dominion is at peace with the colonists or something, could've made the decision to repeat the accident much more compelling.

    Just my 2 strips, though.

    Since we later learned that Sisko was created by the Prophets for a very specific destiny (and this wasn't it), the Prophets may not have permitted this to stand even if they had done it.

    Definitely a good hour of Trek -- can always get a lot of mileage with tales about alternate timelines, difficult choices, the lives of a few vs. the lives of many. I'd expect Discovery to have a shot at this type of episode.

    But this kind of thing has been done before and done better in TOS ("Tomorrow Is Yesterday" and "The City on the Edge of Forever") and TNG ("Yesterday's Enterprise"). And with these types of episodes, there are always loopholes. So if Sisko/Dax etc. went back in time and crashed on the planet 200 years ago, who are the characters running DS9 in the present time?

    There isn't enough of a new twist in "Children of Time" for me -- some temporal anomaly causes the rift in time seems a lot like YE. The episode, for me, had to spend too much time with each DS9 cast member getting to understand their correspondent colonist(s) and develop a desire to stay. But it seemed to me the episode made it like the colonists would die as opposed to stop existing (and never have existed). I don't know but it seems like a much easier decision here than in YE or "The City on the Edge..."

    I liked colonist Odo and how he has changed in 200+ years but Yedrin was annoying and the actor that played him didn't exactly put forth a remarkable performance.

    I feel like I'm crapping on this episode quite a bit but the bar for these alternate timeline tales is quite high. There is plenty of compelling stuff here like Kira/Odo and the discussion between the DS9 crew about what to do -- liked how Sisko said he was just listening to the discussion.

    Jammer clearly loves alternate timeline / time travel episodes - seem to always get 4 stars (VOY's "Timeless" also comes to mind). "Children of Time" gets 3 stars -- can't deny that it's thought provoking, and the ending here isn't a let-down or let-off. The decision is made for them to return back to DS9 and the colony never existed -- neat and tidy solution but it's believable in how it's done.

    I can't believe some of these comments. Preventing thousands of people from being born is not equivalent to murdering thousands of people. We prevent people from being born every minute we're alive. Also, think of the thousands of people whose existence would've been prevented if they stayed on the planet.

    I'm not saying what Odo did was completely problematic, but equating it to mass murder is absolutely ridiculous.

    There is one HUGE plot hole here that I haven't seen mentioned, making this one of the silliest episodes, regardless of the decent drama. The defiant was supposed to have gone back 200 years to that planet to create the colony. BUT, this defiant, does not, it is purportedly in the present time. Meaning, it could not have created the colony even if it stayed, the colony had already been created and existing for 200 years at the point at which this episode's events are taking place. It means NONE of this episode makes sense! How the crew, and inhabitants of the planet, and the watching audience, don't see that, amazes me.

    @Chris-That comment literally makes no sense. There's a time loop in this episode-the Defiant hits a space-time anomaly on its way back to DS9, and gets sent back 200 years. They build the colony that meets the crew of the Defiant in 2373, when they crash on the planet. The real plot hole would be the bootstrap paradox, not whatever you mentioned.

    I have to echo nemo's comments. I feel the same way.

    The idea of meeting your descendants, getting to know them, seeing how they live, and having to choose between giving them life or going back to the life and people you love... I wouldn't want to make that choice, ever.

    I also don't really buy the story 100%. Nevertheless it was an interesting episode with a good drive. I did enjoy "Soldiers of the Empire" more though.


    And they call it Gaia. Barf. This episode has two stars written all over it. Nice, predictable and a bit boring with no consequences. "They have an enemy. It's called time." Oh please.

    It's not just the 8000 people currently alive, but the temporal existence of all the intervening generations, too. It's not about "death" but rather existence vs nonexistence. Not sure how that math works out, but it's more like 18000 lives or something like that.

    Also HTF did Dax manage to have a suitable non-Trill host all lined up at the end of Jadzia's colony life? Trill biology is supposed to be very complicated, as all the various "Trill medical drama" plots have explained. I would have expected the Dax symbiont to have died away from real Trill medicine and Trill hosts. Oh well.

    I've had a few doomed crushes in my day, but holding out hope for a dead woman for 200 years is Dracula levels of creepy. Odo 2 came off as a little sinister in the end, like a classic doomed "monster in love" (Kong, Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, The Beast or what have you).

    "Children of Time" is probably the best sci-fi episode of DS9 not named "The Visitor". It's emotional, intriguing, and incredibly thought provoking. It manages to retain a lot of its emotional impact even on repeat viewings. There are plot holes here for sure, but you can't really avoid those when constructing stories around theoretical concepts like time travel (even the vaunted "Yesterday's Enterprise" has plot holes). It works much, much better than the Enterprise episode that ripped it off. "Children of Time" is ultimately rooted in the characters, particularly Odo and Kira, two of the strongest leads in the franchise. The Enterprise characters were too poorly developed for that.

    4 stars.

    There is one thing not mentioned (at least I didn’t see it) in all the comments that is bothering me. Why did they stay in orbit so long the first time they were there? Supposedly the colony didn’t exist the first time. They knew Kira needed medical attention on the station. The second time they spent quite a bit of time interacting with the colonists. But what would have been the reason the first time, without a colony? If they had to try to leave orbit the first time at the same time as they tried to intentionally hit the anamoly the second time, they must have stayed quite a while. The first time, they should have entered orbit, since there is no colony to hail them they wouldn’t have a reason to stay long, Bashir should have said Kira needs medical treatment at the station, they do a quick scan of the planet and see nothing, and they leave to go back to the station to treat Kira. But they didn’t. Why did they stay so long the first time?


    Weren't they there the first time to satisfy Jadzia's curiosity?

    It's been a while, I could be off here.


    Yes they were there to satisfy Jadzia’s curiosity. But to create the accident the first time and to match it the second time, they would of had to stay in orbit for well over a day the first time (just as they did the second time)? Why? The first time there was nothing there to hold their attention. There was no colony the first time. So why stay so long?


    I'm trying. :-)

    I'll have to watch this one again.


    They had to stay to repair the Defiant, which was damaged by the anomaly. When you say "in orbit", I assume you mean "on the planet"?

    This episode reminds us that Odo lives by a different moral code than the other officers, and his quiet response to Kira at the end - not at all shaken by her emotion rage - I think foreshadows his betrayal in "Behind the Lines". Yes, he betrays Kira in that episode, but it goes along with his acceptance here that the needs of the many don't matter in the grand scheme. That's not right to anyone else, but it's right to Odo.

    I agree with those who say that Odo's action here is very unforgiving. Even if you love someone to death, would you sacrifice 8000 people for that person? I really like this episode, I especially like the scene where Worf and the klingons come to help with sowing. I do not especially care for the Odo character. He seems kind of insane. If I was Kira I would never have trusted Odo again.

    I find it hilarious that this Elliott misery watched every episode, a hundred and fifty hours of tv, and didn't seem to enjoy even the finest episodes. You'd think he would have given up after the first thirty hours or so of pain, but no he kept pushing through so he could continue to make his joyless, witless, nit-picking comments on the internet. What a hero.


    “So much for free will”

    There is no such thing, and even if by some unfortunate fluke there was, there would still be a right and a wrong choice. That people would have those choices make no sense, which is why we choose nothing, we are all following a script.

    Also, are you really a man? Your diction and syntax is very effeminate.

    The paradox stuff is heavy in this one. Why do the descendants think they're going to somehow . . . experience their ending? Or that if Worf kills some of them, thir deaths will somehow be real?

    Lots of other questions come to mind, but must apply the Janeway "don't think too hard about it" method.

    It's hard to believe O'Brien would be willing to give up his family. Sisko, his son and Kasidy? What about the 40 or so other people on the crew . . . did no one care what they thought?

    It was well done for what it was. Time Travel stuff is always nutty.

    The Kira and Odo stuff was interesting.

    Having read the comments:

    Agree that what old-Odo does is nothing like murder, and it bugs me that the Kira or anyone else would see it that way.

    Never having existed is different from dying. Anytime we use birth control, or simply don't take advantage of every opportunity to procreate, we might be preventing someone from existing. Do I feel racked with guilt over the times I had a headache?

    No, I do not.

    I was surprised at the high rating. A good ep, but not a classic to me. Too much crazy contrivance beyond the unavoidable paradox stuff, especially when it comes to how the tough decisions are made. Reset button conveniently hit by old-Odo.

    MY TAKE: Of course they should go home to DS9. Of course they should. If I had been on that ship, I think I would have sabotaged that flight plan myself before I would have let anyone keep me from returning home to my children. No, no, no, no, no.

    God only knows (literally) what the possibilities are, when you're messing with Time. Will (e.g.) the O'Brien who now knows he'll "wait 10 years then marry Ensign Tennennaum," still do the same thing he did "the first time?" Are all the same colonists going to greet the Defiant the third time? Was that the second time, or the 100th time, that we saw? Do they make the same decision every time?

    So,to Hell with it: I'm going home to DS9.

    KIRA AND ODO - this was well done. Auberjunois especially sells it. Loving with a perfect touch of alien creepy. Hard to see, at this point though, any real mutual attraction.


    " I was surprised at the high rating. A good ep, but not a classic to me. Too much crazy contrivance beyond the unavoidable paradox stuff, especially when it comes to how the tough decisions are made. Reset button conveniently hit by old-Odo."

    I disagree. What's brilliant about the ending is that it 'hits the reset button' (as it must) in a way that makes sense for the characters and is devastating. It's a love story filtered through a sci-fi high concept-it's outstanding in my opinion. Yes, you have to suspend disbelief, but that's the case with pretty much all of Star Trek. The technobabble is never the point (and in this case, I don't even think this was a particularly incoherent use of it). So, I do see this episode as a classic, and one of the best in the whole franchise.


    I was thinking about this a bit. I think you are absolutely correct on the actual mechanics of what "would happen" -- i.e., because the Defiant crew has been informed about the colony, the timeline has already been changed, and so the colony will not be the same, the specific children born will be different, etc. However, I think this is just a place where we have to accept the premise of the episode, which is that if the crew do go back in time, they will create the colony. You can accept it or not accept it, but there you go.

    If you accept that premise, then I think the rest falls into place. The reason that the colony is treated as "real" and their erasure from existence is treated as death is for the same reason that, for example, Picard has to try to save humanity in All Good Things. I mean, in fact, if Picard failed the Q's test there, humanity would cease to exist...but they certainly wouldn't feel their deaths. Or take any other example (the Enterprise-C in Yesterday's Enterprise, The City on the Edge of Forever etc.) where they have to prevent some change to the past which would result in the present no longer existing. In each case, the current people who will cease to exist won't feel pain, but that's hardly a comfort. They want to live and want to maintain their existence.

    And really, I do think this is the same as death. OK, so they don't experience pain. But if someone is wiped out by an atomic bomb explosion, and are at the centre of it, they are unlikely to experience pain either. Something which is present is lost.

    That's why Old Odo's actions are, I think, akin to murder. From the perspective of the current Defiant crew, it's more ambiguous. But in Old Odo's case, he's wiping away the actual people he lives with. He's killing thousands of people *he knows*, and lives with, to save Kira, against Kira's wishes. He's also wiping out the product of generations of people's lives for the same reason. So okay, they don't feel pain, etc., but again, how is that different from a particularly powerful bomb that wipes out not only a civilization but the traces thereof? That's all kinds of worrying.

    If you don't accept the episode's premise as such -- that this civilization will still exist if the Defiant goes back in time -- then it's a different story, because then the colony will be wiped out (or, more accurately, a different colony will develop) even if the crew does go back in time, and so there's less point in prioritizing it. And this is also where the comparison falters with All Good Things or whatever. In All Good Things those other episodes, the idea is that there was an external pollution of the timeline that causes the end of civilization (whatever), whereas here the colony relies on the Defiant going back in time and actively maintaining it. But I don't know, I think it's an interesting and original idea, and I don't have problems accepting the episode's premise as such. The basic idea then is that there are people here who are in the present and thus already have existence, whose lives will be ended if the Defiant crew don't fulfill their existing role, and that is too much to weigh against the lives upended but not *ended* back on the station.

    Life itself is about making choices that affect the future, no?

    Like William B says, this happens all the time in Trek, just look at "The Visitor" with it's alternate timeline. However, I think the problem with comparing Odo's actions to murder is that with murder there's an "intent to kill" where a person decides to end someone else's life. Similarly with warfare, everyone involved in a modern war assumes the possibility they may be caught up in an explosion that ends lives instantly.

    That's different than what's going on here. Pardon the pun, but Oldo's intent is only to restore the timeline to a version where Kira continues living. You can say, in that case, Oldo is negligently disregarding any life he might affect by his decision. But unfortunately, when dealing with time travel *every decision* is going to affect people's lives one way or another and there's no real way to decide which timeline has a moral superiority. In the end, which choice is better is highly subjective.

    What's kind of funny about these episodes, and City on the Edge of Forever is a great example, is that the reset button itself becomes the morally difficult decision. We know the writers will restore the status quo, but what's the moral cost and whose paying it?

    Now all we need is for Dax to end the episode with "Let's get the hell out of here."

    @William B

    I liked the ep a lot - as @Iceman mentions, it's a great and original way to filter a love story.

    And I can easily wave away time paradoxes and crazy technobabble. This is a little different though, in that accepting that the same exact colony would come into existence "each time" is both an assault on every day common sense, and accepting it is so very, very central to accepting the idea that going back to DS9 is somehow the morally wrong choice.

    But ok, let's accept it.

    It's still an incomprehensible choice to me.

    I get that Sisko & Co have the same sort of concern Picard had. But Picard definitively saving all of humanity, at no cost to anyone, is different from Sisko deciding to save 8,000 people, with DS9 facing imminent war, at "who knows what" expense.

    The characters just don't weigh it at all. Not at all. A brief mention of his wife and kids, by O'Brien, and we're done talking about it.

    And beyond that, they can't really be certain they won't simply create an alternate timeline, if they left. They've seen the Mirror Universe, after all.

    That's what I didn't like about old Odo pushing the (very necessary) reset. I don't mind the reset button, I mind that the method absolved everyone else from having to think.

    I agree with @Chrome that often, with these time travel eps, it's difficult to argue the obvious moral superiority of one choice over another. It's highly subjective.

    I just know which choice I'd make (do you think you know?). I'd go home.

    And it's hard to buy the lack of discussion, the lack of pushback, and the method by which they abandon DS9 (to who knows what, with no commander, no doctor, no science officer, no chief engineer . . . ) - so that these 8,000 people could continue to exist - especially since neither choice (stay, go) seems to clearly mean continued existence or non-existence.

    I honestly can't think of any reasonable way the characters I know came to their crazy, crazy quick, joint decision.

    I still like the ep very much, many great aspects, and honestly, I can overlook it all . . . just not enough to put it up there with my list o' classics.

    Great point, @Chrome. Most Trek one-offs have the reset button. The question is whether the writer(s) can make the journey compelling. In this case, I think Rene Echevarria (and Gary Holland and Ethan H. Calk) absolutely did (but I know you disagree-you gave this 1.5 stars! Ouch).


    "And it's hard to buy the lack of discussion, the lack of pushback, and the method by which they abandon DS9 (to who knows what, with no commander, no doctor, no science officer, no chief engineer . . . ) - so that these 8,000 people could continue to exist - especially since neither choice (stay, go) seems to clearly mean continued existence or non-existence. "

    This is an understandable criticism. Michelle Erica Green's review brings up the point that someone should have brought up the Dominion or the junior officers-does it make sense that the decision seemingly hinges upon O'Brien's conscience? Well, not entirely, But O'Brien is a regular character, and the junior officers aren't. And I'm sure Starfleet will find other talented individuals to replace the DS9 senior staff-as you've seen in "Call to Arms", they have a massive, massive fleet. I think "Children of Time" goes pretty in depth on the moral dilemma (there's only so much time in 45 minutes), but ymmv. The colony story secondary to the Odo/Kira story-Echevarria's a character writer, and one of the strongest in the franchise at that-, so leaps in logic in the colony section of the episode don't bother me much.


    I believe I gave this 3 stars. I had some issues with the guest actors, but otherwise enjoyed it, especially the Odo character progression.

    Hello Everyone!

    I was just thinking about Stockholm Syndrome.

    While they were not held captive by the residents, the more they learned about them, the more they began to identify with them. Life elsewhere would go on, they knew they would be replaced in their positions, and they eventually could not justify removing these thousands from time just so they might have their old lives back.

    If they had the command crew decide to stay in their time, they would have had the guilt of erasing those descendants. They only way they could write this with an "out", was to have Odo break the ship for them. They can feel badly for what was (probably) erased, but they didn't do it and then can move on with their lives, guilt free (and never, ever bring it up again).

    It might have been interesting to get a look at the station after they were declared missing/dead. Perhaps Captain Edward Jellico (since he knows how to handle Cardassians) as the new commander, with a vindicated Ro as his 2nd (because, well, Bajoran reasons). Then when the Defiant didn't go back in time, we'd see everything change/vanish.

    Just musing there though. Time might not work that way, but hey, it's ST. :)

    Enjoy the Day Everyone... RT

    I don't get why at the beginning of the episode, they cannot see through the barrier around the planet to determine if there is life, structures, etc; but, suddenly at the end they can. The barrier is still there; they haven't improved their sensors to cut through interference.

    I recently watched this episode for the first time since its original airing way back when, more than twenty years ago. I think it's much better than TNG's The Inner Light because of the moral dilemmas the crew are put under.

    I'm still not convinced that Molly and O'Brien planting trees together persuaded him and Sisko to not return to DS9; it's such an abrupt moment for O'Brien, especially after hearing that it took him ten years to get married in the past. All those other ruminations about love lost, Dax's centuries of regret and the need to make weighty moral decisions with terrible outcomes are pitch perfect.

    Thanks for reminding me why I still love DS9 even after two decades.

    I enjoyed it. One thing niggled me though - all the personal aspects of deciding to stay or go back, came from the senior staff. But we learned at the start that there were 48 crew members aboard the Defiant. We know this because Bashir married one of them. At no point are any crew members asked what they want to do, whether they want to make the sacrifice or not as apparently that comes down to whether you are a weekly regular. Of course, this may have just ended up being one of those "step forward if you volunteer" and everyone stepping forward cheese scenes, so maybe that's why they didn't bother, but nonetheless the decision was about way more than just the bridge crew, and DEFINITELY about way more than Kira dying. In the end I think the right choice was made.

    8000 people did not really die, they just never existed. No pain, no loss, hell even up to the last moment they would have thought everything would be fine. In any case without Sisko, what the hell would have happened with the Dominion War, the Bajoran religion, and all that other pesky millions-of-lives-hanging-in-the-balance-there-captain shenanigans going on? Trade 8000 lives for several billion by not being there to stop a dominion invasion? Kind of surprised that didn't come up...

    I liked it, but when you start prodding and looking a bit closer there's some frustrating holes.

    I think the newer wiser Odo should have got in the Defiant with the original Odo and flown into the anomaly. They could keep doing this over and over again every 200 years, increasing the number of Odos exponentially until they have enough to create a Great Link that would rival the Dominion.

    I guess I'm one of a few people who believe time is made up of many lanes on a vast freeway. If the Defiant crew went back to their own time, why couldn't the colony still exist in a lane of their own, while the DS9 crew headed back to their own lane. I just don't think that once matter is created, it can be so easily dispatched. It will always exist, somewhere.

    "The “magic number” of people needed to create a viable population for multi-generational space travel has been calculated by researchers ... 160 people are needed to maintain a stable population."

    Carrington, D. (15 February, 2002). Magic Number For Space Pioneers Calculated. New Scientist.

    Can't believe this episode got 4 stars. Wow. So when ST fans commented on ENT "Rogue Planet" they couldn't believe that plant life would survive without a star (Sun), but this time travel episode is just fine. Riiiiight. The bias for DS9 is deafening.

    This episode was okay. I generally don't like time travel episodes but I realize that since no one creating these stories truly understands the science of time travel it is impossible to explain it to an audience so I just try to put that out of my mind and enjoy the episode. Doing this, the episode was okay. It wasn't terrible but it was incredibly predictable. We knew they weren't going to stay on the planet and the big ol' RESET button would come into play.

    Jammer hammered "Rogue Planet" for being a bit contrived in places, namely the forced mystery, and I agree with that even though I really like "Rogue Planet" but HELLO! This episode is freakin' super-contrived. I mean, time travel arbitrarily used, along with the descendants of the crew, to create a faux-conflict. More melodrama.

    I liked the touching interaction of Kira and Odo, and I liked the descendants on the planet, except Worf's descendants who kept saying they were warriors, blah blah warfare and fighting. Fighting who? There's literally never been anyone on the planet to fight - ever, but somehow this warrior culture survives for 200 years? Stupid.

    Enough rambling on my part: 1.5 stars.

    @ Lew Stone
    So the heretic is BACK!
    ". 160 people are needed to maintain a stable population"
    Several things. Did you have that article about that study on hand or did you search for it just because you saw this episode? Because if it is the latter then w o w. It is also pretty nitpicky, you cite a report about a study that assumes to calculate a number. I haven't read the actual study either but they also say in the article that it can be pushed down to 80 and I would guess that with 24 century tech you can bring that down even further. Another point. You cannot really accuse them of not respecting science considering this study was made after DS9 completed it's run. What else? Oh it is only one study and there are certainly quite a few about that topic.

    " There's literally never been anyone on the planet to fight"
    If you look for a fight you will find one. The planet was uninhabited so it is pretty save to assume that there are large predators around or maybe now they aren't anymore...

    Have fun with the next episode :D

    The article doesn't really have anything to do with the situation in this episode.

    The scenario described the article is a colony SHIP with a CONSTANT POPULATION. It starts at 160 and stays at 160 for 10 generations. The limit here has nothing to do with genetics (the article explicitly says this). It's simply a problem of matchmaking: Below a certain threshold, finding suitable mates becomes too difficult, and the population simply dies out.

    Anyway, none of this is relevant to a planet-side colony that's growing exponentially. There's nothing in that article that tells us a colony can't have a STARTING population of 48. Probably not an ideal starting point, but if it happened accidentally (as it did in the episode) you'd probably manage just fine.

    (a quick google search on this matter gave me figures from 27 to 500 as the minimum viable gene pool. Make of it what you will)

    It's completely irrelevant anyhow because any difficulty to do with genetic disorders or bad breeding could be dealt with by using gene resequencing and other 24th century techniques if needed. That's one of the most whack objections I've ever heard about a Trek episode.

    Also Star Trek was never intended to be hard science fiction, so subjecting it to this level of detailed of scientific scrutiny is simply a bad idea.

    What's next? A particle physicist insisting that "Silicon Avatar" is U-N-W-A-T-C-H-A-B-L-E because they got the energy of antiproton annihilation wrong (by a factor of 200 thousand, no less)?


    On paper this reads like very typical Trek, and in different hands could have ended up the way that most of these kinds of situations do.

    Although the ending was inevitable (the show must go on after all), a lesser version of this episode might have tried to keep the colony going through some technobabble twist of fate. The moral conundrum at the heart of the episode has no easy answer and there are no quick fixes or cheats to resolve it either. This gives this episode an unexpected weight and impact. It was a genuine suprise.

    I can genuinely say this is in the top 5 episodes of DS9 for me. It's so rare for something seemingly so small have such enormous heft. What a great episode!

    Remember in TNG when Deanna Troy fails the Star Fleet simulation because she couldn't order someone to their death to save the lives of the rest of the crew on the ship? But she does it in the end, passes the exam and everyone is happy about the valuable lesson she learned about tough choices?
    So why is Sisko so self righteous about offing an entire planet of intelligent lifeforms (Ignoring the Prime Directive) just because he won't ask Kira to sacrifice herself ?
    Still a good episode though.

    @ Chris,

    I think the difference there lies in what the ship's mission is. Starfleet crew members join up with the idea of serving to do their duty, knowing they could die in the line of duty. That's part of the deal, that missions can be dangerous. In this scenario, however, Sisko's choice is to sacrifice his crew's lives as they know them (and his mission as well) in order to populate a colony. This is (a) not what Starfleet personnel signed up for, and (b) not part of any mission that has been assigned to them. I think these are very important issues because it is not correct to suppose that a Captain has the moral authority to sacrifice his crew for any purpose he deems fit, unless it falls under doing so for the purposes of a mission of the defense of the Federation. There may be many 'good causes' around the galaxy for which a Captain could sacrifice his ship and crew, but it would not be appropriate to play god and use them like that.

    So in this instance I think the more dangerous choice would be to choose to stay, unless it really was some kind of unanimous vote and everyone agreed. That still doesn't speak to them losing Starfleet's ship, but at least the personnel question is spoken for.

    Pretty damn incredible, not a doubt about it. It didn't have quite the lasting impact on me that I generally require for a four star rating, but I will *easily* award the three-point-five.

    Who needs "happy future where everyone gets married and has babies" when you can have "happy future where everyone got married and had babies... hundreds of years ago... and if you ever want to see your home again, you have to kill them all"!

    This is one of those premises where you *know*, for the sake of the series continuing to be a series, that our main characters will get out of it somehow. The eight thousand descendants here and their Standard Star Trek Charmingly Rural Life are doomed from the start (barring the one-in-a-billion duplication that Yedrin tries peddling to them). But the show is sure to make that inevitability as painful as it possibly can. There's a tension building over the course of the episode, as our crew decide one by one that they want to ensure these people even got a chance to live in the first place: I couldn't help wondering "how is this going to go wrong?" With everyone on board with the plan by the time they're on board the Defiant, we're at the most vulnerable point for tragedy: what *could* it be? Is there some Random Ensign of the Day who's decided to sabotage the plan? Is it as simple and undramatic as an unfortunate accident?

    Oh no. Ohhhh no.

    Oh, Oldo. (Looks like I'm not the only one to come up with that nickname.) At the beginning, he feels like our resident changeling's dream come true: after Odo's spent years dancing around not confessing his feelings, here comes the older and wiser version who cuts out all the hard work by dropping the L-bomb with zero hesitation -- and garnering a positive reception for it, too!

    And then he drops a different bomb altogether.

    For all the breaches of trust that have come up in Odo and Kira's relationship, EIGHT THOUSAND PEOPLE *easily* outdoes one collaborator or three falsely accused innocents. It's one shocker of a bold move to pull, especially now that the feelings are acknowledged and out in the open -- normally, the stage would be set for something to come of that, but MY GOD! Can their relationship be the same after this? Should it? It's a different Odo, for sure, but by God, this feels like something that'd overshadow their relationship for a *long* time. Kira's continued *existence* has come at the cost of thousands of lives, in active defiance of her wishes, all for the sake of Odo's love. Her face of absolute horror really says it all. Imagine the survivor's guilt...

    (... I *said* this ep didn't leave much of a lasting impact on me, but typing it out and processing it, I'm beginning to think it actually did.

    Moving on. Is Oldo just Auberjonois with no prosthetics at all? Usually I have trouble recognising the actors of prosthetic-heavy characters as their usual selves, but had no trouble here. To me, it looks like regular smoothface Odo with detail added -- which speaks to the quality of the prosthetic work.

    I saw a quote from Auberjonois going round about how Odo's smooth face stems from not having much of a grasp on his own identity. He may well be able to "do faces", just as he can easily make other complex forms (he doesn't become an oddly smooth hawk, after all -- he just becomes a normal goddamn hawk). But *his* face? Something he'd have to invent out of nothing? It's non-distinct to start with, and then that non-distinct "placeholder face" (faceholder?) just becomes his face anyway through comfort and familiarity. In light of that, then, Oldo's non-smooth face seems odd -- naturally, it's a visual convention to make him distinct and mark the passage of time, but nothing about Oldo seems to indicate any stronger grip on his identity as an individual and/or as a humanoid. Hell, if anything he has *less* of a grip on it -- he seems very much isolated from everyone else, and IIRC doesn't even talk to anyone apart from Kira. For all we know, he could've just one day escaped from his sci-fi breadmaker* and run off into the sunset, making no contact with The Society Formerly Known As The Defiant.

    * (Memory Alpha says the Odo box here is literally just a breadmaker with sci-fi bits and bobs attached. No disrespect to the props department -- I actually kind of love that.)

    The Sons of Mogh are a rather touching standout. I love the fact that membership of their little group is optional and apparently freely obtained rather than limited to Worf's descendants: "some by blood, some by choice". We have part-Klingon "Sons of Mogh" and part-Klingons in the main settlement; there are full humans in both too, including the kid who's desperate to join them. Little details like this inform mental images of the history that led up to this: an elderly Worf tells old Klingon tales to his children, his grandchildren, and anyone else sufficiently intrigued to listen -- creating a new mythology and culture for generations down the line.

    It's also an interesting little cultural variation within this society. It's rare that Star Trek shows differences in culture on a single-planet basis, beyond a bare minimum (and if so, it'll be the thing an entire one-off episode revolves around). Here, it's just a background fact of the society, originally stemming from a species difference and yet not limited to it. Lovely little concept.

    One final topic before I get to the bullet points -- this *was* going to be a bullet point, but then I started thinking too much (waaaaaay too much). There was one interesting background detail I was looking out for all episode, as soon as it was clear these were Defiant descendants: none of the part-Trill descendants look even *slightly* Klingon, and not one of the part-Klingons has even a single spot. What's the cause of that: genetic incompatibility or romantic incompatibility? If Worf and Dax's marriage didn't last, you'd think Yedrin would've mentioned it... though maybe his nonspecific non-answer to Jadzia's question is telling:

    JADZIA: Were we happy together?
    YEDRIN: He's a good man, Jadzia.

    (while watching, I remember thinking "hah, they couldn't *possibly* have a male host talking about loving a man, gotta give the weakest response possible"... but it could equally hint at this little mystery about the lack of Worf/Dax offspring)

    And if it's a genetics thing, you've then got to have them both banging other people for the sake of the gene pool. Which... may have led to the "romantic incompatibility" explanation in itself, because we've well and truly established how Worf feels about Dax doing that, and while genetic necessity gives her a *reason* for that other than bog standard infidelity, it also seems like a prime way to bring these issues between them to a head. No terrorist organisation for Worf to join this time, though! He'll just have to start his own!

    Or *maaaaybe* the lack of Trillgons (Klingill? Trigons?) was a production oversight, probably like the lack of mixed-race humans in general. But that explanation is Boring. Why go with an obvious/Doylist answer when there's a golden opportunity to overthink things for several paragraphs instead?

    ... and now that's out of the way...

    - There's something very bittersweet about insisting on planting their crops despite this being their last day alive. Insisting on preparations for the future, even in the full knowledge that they won't have one. Worf's action of reuniting the Sons of Mogh for this final action... god, it's the cherry on the cake.
    - I will forever love how *immediate* it is that Sisko goes into Dad Mode in close proximity to babies. Like the flick of a switch.
    - They make a big deal out of how O'Brien ended up with someone else despite having Keiko back on DS9, but there's not a single mention of Kasidy for Ben? I guess it's a less long-term relationship, and an unmarried one at that, but still.
    - Julian, ever the opportunist, immediately making plans to hook up with his alt-future Babyshir-maker.
    - What an anticlimactic ending for Kira/Shakaar! Just shoved under the table and there, done. I hate to say it, but... I really don't mind. He had a strong start and then pretty much went downhill right from the moment they set him up with Kira. But WOW, even less focus on their breakup than we had with Bashir/Leeta. Stone cold.
    - I love the weirdness of the "we need to give Armin Shimmerman something to do this ep" cameo. Simulated maths teacher Quark. What a concept.
    - And speaking of Quark's absence, I'm now wondering what it'd be like if he *had* come along. Picture it: in the absence of latinum, the Quark dynasty has developed a flourishing economy that uses, I dunno, particularly shiny rocks as currency. Oversized ears everywhere.

    @ Fenn,

    Yeah, I agree the lack of spotten Klingons may be a production oversight. They certainly did not imply they split up.

    A lot of people have gone on about Odo as a murderer, or how Kira should be horrified, and so forth. But I think part of this is that after the episode is over they really could think of it as "they never really existed". Sure, it's a sci-fi thing, but in the real world these events exist in some small time loop but otherwise no one died. They have the memories, and I think that is the important take-away: like Picard in The Inner Light, they had a taste of life other than in service to Starfleet, and it was a pretty good one. It's the simple living they all could have had, in an alternate set of choices and circumstances, and one that's no less important or relevant that serving on a super-important space station. And yes, I think the episode is about highlighting how we shouldn't forget about the incredible importantance of little things when thinking about grand wars and intergalactic politics. It shouldn't be just numbers on a screen; planting seeds matters too, and so does having a community. This is the 'real deal' version of what they kept trying to shove at us with the Maquis and maybe with Paradise. Losing all of those descendents isn't murder; it's what actually happens to every person in real life if they're being honest about the life choice to value career over family. You *do* lose something, but that choice may still be the right one. And yes, there are thousands of descendants each person will never have if they choose not to have kids, or to have fewer kids, or whatever. That doesn't mean their choice is wrong, but it *is* a choice with consequences. If you really thought it through it would be no different from this episode.

    So regarding Kira and Odo, I really don't think that deaths being on her conscience is relevant to their relationship. It's not really relevant in terms of the sci-fi trope, and it's not relevant because from what we see of 'Oldo's character, he's no murderer, but what he is is a lover, and that is very different. Where he's changed, and maybe why he's not afraid anymore to show his real face (and yes, I think his inability is based in fear) is because he's not afraid to admit he has vulnerable emotions any more. Actually he's relishing the chance to show them to Kira, so this is about as big a character change for him as you can get. He *wants* to be seen as in pain and willing to sacrifice anything for her. So what Kira gets out of this is knowing that the guy who's too ashamed to even smile in public would do absolutely anything for her. So yeah, that is a pretty good trait to have in a romantic partner :)

    I agree with Peter that there’s no real murder here; it’s more of a “Parallels” type of situation where reality can spin out one path or the other, but no one in the crew can really take some sort of moral high ground and say “this path is best” because — honestly, no one knows. Even the original mirror plan to cause a “Thomas Riker Effect” on the Defiant crew would be dooming those alternate DS9ers to live a life without their family stuck on a planet.

    I like the idea of remembering would could be and focusing on how important our choices are. In a sense, Dax really did get the scientific adventure she wanted on the planet but it turned out to be more personally involved than she expected.

    Replying to both here, but mostly to Peter G: the definition of "murder" or "death" is definitely a weird one in sci-fi situations like this, but I feel the majority of the episode *is* dedicated to having both the characters and audience see these people as living beings with a right to persist.

    And regardless of how killing's defined in this situation, Oldo's decision displays another worrying trait: actively going against Kira's wishes. He knew exactly what her choice was, so he denied her the ability to make that choice, and all for the sake of his past self getting a chance at love. It's a tremendously selfish action all round -- placing his own desires above that of both the 8000 and of Kira.

    I do love the idea of Odo's inability to "show his face" being based in fear. In which case, the prosthetic mask... genuinely is a mask, in a sense. Living apart from the others, as Oldo seems to have done, there'd be no reason to hide behind a featureless front any more.

    “It's a tremendously selfish action all round -- placing his own desires above that of both the 8000 and of Kira.”

    What gives those 8000 the right to live any more than the 8000+ (including Sisko and Cassidy’s son) who will be created over 200 years when the Defiant returns to DS9? I know Odo’s motivations are different, but perhaps the fact that he was so unhappy there shows chinks the armor of ostensible utopian paradise. It’s “The Matter of Time” Rasmussen situation all over again except this time there’s no Picard around to be the voice of reason. Just because they know how our future *might* turn out doesn’t mean they should resign themselves to fate.

    So true, Chrome. What about the husbands, wives, daughters and sons growing up without their loved ones?

    Man, that will be an awkward conversation with Keiko when Miles gets home. :"Hi honey, crazy mission. Phew I decided to abandon you and the kids for some colony of time travelers but it... ." Then the vase hits his head.

    Ehh, for what it's worth I was trying to downplay the point of the 8000 descendants thing in my last comment. That ain't the hill I'm gonna die on here.

    No matter what, it was something that mattered to Kira -- enough that she was willing to die for it. She commits a selfless action, but from the end of this episode onwards she goes on knowing that Odo, despite his love for her, is fully willing to undercut her on this for his own selfish reasons.


    That's a tendency of his that continues from here, actually. 'Favor the Bold' has Odo too caught up in linking to even care about the Resistance any more -- he *hears* Kira calling to him, but he doesn't *listen*. One could argue that Oldo's distance and isolation from the humanoid society in this episode is comparable to the emotional distance Odo develops from humanoids in 'Favor the Bold' on account of repeated linking.

    @ Fenn
    I think one can compliment an episode if you can be on both sides of the argument for good reasons.

    About Odo. As one of the super smarties pointed out. Odo loves Kira because she is sure about everything while he doubts everything.
    Odo in a way is on a coming of age journey. He has his first love during the show, (kind of) parental issues,experiences friendships for the first time. At the beginning of the show he just exists but he has no deeper reason for doing anything apart from an inborn sense for order (or justice). Kira on the other hand has a fully formed personality at the beginning of the show. Sure she gets more open towards the Federation but that is pretty much it. Kira grows as a person but Odo is a changed being at the end of the show. I would argue that it fits his character to act selfish one could say childish/like a teenager while Kira acts more mature.

    Not that no one else has mentioned this, but for me the key insight about Old Odo is that he was willing to wipe out two hundred years of history he himself knew, of people he in principle saw born and died. It's not the same as Miles arguing they go back to their lives on the station (even had he held fast) because it's a confirmation that Odo will choose Kira over two centuries' worth of other connections he's made (or has not made), that *this* is how much his feelings for her eclipse his feelings for everyone else. To be fair to Odo, something similar could be said about Jake in The Visitor, though at least there it's less clear that there are any lives that definitely won't happen (Jake probably believes that Nog, his wife, etc. will still exist in the world where Ben doesn't die). This also raises the question of where Odo's loyalties lie should his feelings for Kira waver.

    " I think one can compliment an episode if you can be on both sides of the argument for good reasons. "

    No doubt there. Says good things about its complexity.

    Yeah, that's definitely an ongoing thing with Odo. I have a low tolerance for romantic angst Odo, but it does make sense, doesn't it? "The first cut is the deepest" -- he looks and sounds old but really he's experiencing a lot of things for the first time. Teen angst.

    Maybe he hasn't got the detail in his face yet because he hasn't quite finished his "coming of age"...!

    And then we get Oldo in 'Children of Time' who *is* sure about things, *can* say the "I love you" with no hesitation. But while he might have become more sure of himself, on his own, I get the impression he's gone the opposite way when it comes to interaction with other people. Hence not taking Kira's wishes into account.

    Yeah, Fenn, I think by letting Oldo be the one making the decision and not prime timeline Odo, the writers let Odo off the hook. I can see Kira still having some apprehension that current Odo might become someone who wouldn't listen to her wishes, but by the same token current Odo hasn't done anything like that. And for what it's worth, it seems likely given the change in circumstances prime Odo will turn out completely different.

    Am I remembering wrong, or did Odo not link with Older Odo before the end of the episode? If so, the decision would have to have been at least partially joint. But I actually do think there's a such thing as not being mature enough to make a decision, that, if you get it wrong, you'll regret for the rest of your life. There are decisions in life where "you won't know" how it will go, and maybe there are others which, pick wrong, and you'll never be able to take that back. In the case of who will have families with whom it might be hard to say which way is better. Or at least it might have tempting to think about the colony. But in Odo's case he had 200 years to think about it, which I think is really not taken seriously enough. She meant that much to him. I'm not sure I agree that him making the choice for her (and for his other self) is antagonistic towards her wishes. It's not exactly as if her life's goal was to die for some random colonist. But her heartstrings were pulled and she gave in to it, which is one of the things he loves about her, but also a good reason to provide her with a kick when she needs to get back to her chosen mission. Maybe that's a contentious assertion and I don't have that much time now, but I'm pretty sure I'm onto something with that.

    @ Fenn,

    "I feel the majority of the episode *is* dedicated to having both the characters and audience see these people as living beings with a right to persist."

    The thing is, I don't really see any point made in the episode about their rights. I don't in fact think they have any right at all to expect anyone to die so they can live. Rather I think a lot of time is taken to help us connect with them, to give a clear vision of who they are and what *wouldn't happen* if a different course is chosen. It's that vivid connection to what *could be* that makes life's choices so difficult. But we let ourselves off easy by not thinking about the consequences of what we *don't do*. Funny that, since we don't do a great deal more things than we do. It's worth thinking about, at the very least, even if what we have chosen to do really is right for us.

    "Am I remembering wrong, or did Odo not link with Older Odo before the end of the episode?"

    ODO: There's something you should know. The other Odo, the one from the planet, came to Sickbay before he left the ship.
    ODO: There's something else the other Odo wanted you to know. He was responsible for changing the Defiant's flight plan.

    It sounds like Oldo linked after he did the deed. Prime Odo couldn't keep form because of the planet's technobabble, so he couldn't do anything to fix it, either. So Odo's hands are basically clean (assuming one thinks Oldo did anything wrong to begin with).

    I'm... not sure about this one.

    Once more, the entire bridge crew of the space station is swanning around for weeks in the gamma quadrant for $pointless_reason, at a time when hordes of Jem Hadar ships are wandering around the Cardassian border and taking pot shots at Federation and Klingon ships.

    And once more, we find ourselves on a planet inhabited by a bunch of attractive Californians living in Generic European Rural Village.

    But then there's a twist! A time travel twist! Though at least for once, it doesn't involve a trip back into some key point in American history.

    Sadly, something doesn't sit right with me about the time travel elements of this episode. I think it's because it's not a closed loop - there's no indication that the crew were aware of the colony on their "first" trip back in time. Though I suppose it could be argued that Yedrin deliberately lied or concealed anything which would interfere with his plan.

    (Though equally, the fact that O'Brien held out for a decade before giving up and (re)marrying also suggests that he didn't have any foreknowledge. And surely Yedrin Dax would have remembered that Jadzia Dax spotted the flaws in his faked sensor logs. And...)

    That aside, the dilemma is an interesting one. Should the crew of the Defiant effectively sacrifice themselves to save the lives of the 8000 descendants (and their ancestors thereof, which would probably bump up the total to 12000 or so - oddly, this is never mentioned in the episode)?

    To be honest, I'm not sure this is something which should have been decided by Sisco; instead, it should arguably have been put to the vote of the entire crew. After all, as O'Brien eloquently notes, many of them have marriages and relationships back home, so there's a cost in either choice (not to mention the personal aspects, such as the fact that O'Brien would have to break his marriage vows!). And then there's the wider picture - how would DS9 survive without it's only defensive platform and the entire bridge crew?

    And I have to wonder what Star Fleet's Temporal Directives would say about this situation? I'd guess they'd probably recommend breaking the loop!

    Then there's the actual descendants themselves, all of whom are suspiciously young and healthy looking, considering they've had 200 years of presumably dwindling technological and medical resources. I suppose it could be argued that they could use their replicators to replace stuff, but TNG and DS9 often point out how limited the replicators are when it comes to complex devices, except for when it's convenient for the writers, naturally. And even then, I'd question how much educational material and/or documentation would have been on the Defiant to train the 10 or so generations of kids who grew up on the planet.

    Furture Dax and Odo are a bit off too. As ever, the role of the symbiote is unclear; in this instance, it's once again little more than an extended memory store. And Future Odo is just odd - he wanders around with a stoner glow and a blissed out grin. And the faux Klingons, running around hunting and blurting out cribbed bits of Klingon philosophy...

    (Actually, what happened to Future Worf? We've previously seen Klingons running around and actively fighting at the ripe young age of 150, so Worf could have potentially still been alive - or only recently deceased...)

    I dunno. It's an interesting dilemma, but the story they constructed around it feels off and the actual events are overly trite.

    I liked some parts of this ep. The “planting” scene was cringe though, shudder

    Mike, just wait till the singing scene in "Chrysalis". I cringed so hard I shriveled up into myself and winked out of existence.

    My biggest complaint with this ep is structural: the denouement is far too brief emotionally. The show spends its long, languid time making the lives meaningful, only to end them in the last seconds of the show. They *did* exist, as Sisko (?) observed, because we just spent the hour conjuring them.

    The characters on the show just spent days with their descendents; Word learned that “Klingon” had become a way of life, not just a genome. Sisko cuddled a baby. And that’s all without addressing the Kira/Odo thing.

    DS9 was made during a period of episodic TV, and although it had the modern approach of plot continuity across seasons, many episodes were filler in the long season. We know the characters will never deal with the emotional consequences of this episode—though they’ll be profound. Structuring the plot so that the build-up was so slow and the climax and denouement so fast meant we neither had a chance to experience the emotional heft of the show (it was more like an O’Henry surprise), nor see the characters reckon with it. As storytelling goes, that’s a fault and a shame.

    I'm just going to point out that no one, not Jammer, not any poster (except 1 and I forgot who it was) or the main timeline DS9 crew managed to mention if they stayed, the dominion would pretty much wipe out the alpha and beta quadrants. That's a pretty big consequence of staying trapped in the past

    Boring and cheesy. This is probably the worst 4 star rated episode I've seen on Jammer, and usually if there's a variance it's only by half a star, maybe one.

    1.5 stars for me.

    I only come here after the best episodes and was not disappointed to see this as a 4 star. Enthralling episode which yet again cements DS9 as THE star trek series. Moral dilemmas are at the core of a good science fiction story and this was one of them.

    @Jeff that's one issue with DS9 I've found, they don't consider their longer term implications. They have a dilema on a personal level but it's obvious the impact of the decision would have led to the fall of the federation and is obvious at the time. In the end they either choose the "right" (or obvious) choice, or some deus ex machina comes up and corrects it back onto the main storyline.

    We learn in Season 7 that Sisko was explicitly bred to fulfill a specific destiny, and this wasn't it.

    It's hard to imagine the prophets not interfering if the crew stuck around here. I'd have expected them to pull Sisko into whatever that weird reality in Emissary is where he seemed to be lying in a pool of milk and give him a scolding.

    If Sisko's life with Kasidy was, as Sara put it, "not to be", then neither was this.

    I would think that the Prophets wouldn’t need to intervene. They KNOW he’ll be back, one way or another.

    A great episode for many reasons, though having just watched a bunch of TNG, it's nice to see Worf and his Klingon stuff taken completely serious here. It's perhaps not as memorable as when he killed all those Jem'Hadar, but I appreciate how much quiet dignity this episode affords him.

    A flawed classic, "Children of Time" sees our heroes stranded on a Trolley Problem Planet. If they remain on the planet, Major Kira dies. If they leave the planet, several hundred inhabitants die, but Kira lives and our heroes are reunited with their families.

    There are a lot of neat little moments scattered about: Worf sires a tribe of mixed-race Klingons, Worf agrees to "murder this tribe so as to grant them an honorable death", descendants of Miles and Bashir are sprinkled about the planet, Odo professes his love for Kira, and various characters gather to plant the "last of the year's crops", a neat moment which encapsulates the wistful, tragic tone which suffuses the episode.

    But while a clever premise, and always interesting, the episode's plagued with little problems. Most of the child actors are hokey, most of the scenes with the Klingons are stilted and poorly acted, and Dax is given a number of heavy-handed, repetitive and obvious lines designed to hold the audience's hands ("If we leave, they will die!"). Dax arc - she feels guilty for stranded the crew - is also never milked to its full potential.

    When stacked up to similar classics in TOS and TNG, there's a tonal awkwardness to "Children of Time". The "cardboard planet of the week" tone clashes oddly with DS9's attempts at deeper, more realistic character work, leading to a kind of tonal mismatch.

    This episode would also kick start the final phase of the Odo-Kira romance, which IMO was a bad idea. Because of this episode, Odo's romantic arc - a tragic tale of unrequited love - degenerates into the gooey, unbelievable couplings seen in the final two seasons. Better to have, in this episode, Present Odo never learning that Kira learns from Future Odo that he loves her. Keep both characters apart, both living in secret, Kira wishing to spare Odo the hurt of rejection, and so never letting on that she knows his true feelings.

    I re-watched this yesterday. Sorry to say, but I have to lower my previous 2,5 Stars to a meager 1,5.

    Here's why: I've mentioned many times before that I have a problem with time-travel episodes, because they are cheap storytelling tricks to concoct whatever plots you like without any regard to what has already been established. They never make any sense and work differently in every episode.

    So, they all become convinced that if the stranded crew doesn't re-do the accident, the colony will cease to exist; why? They did exist simultaneously for 200 years without any problem, why can't they continue to do so? And with the same logic, if they didn't manage to escape wouldn't they just reboot the whole time sequence, still causing everybody to disappear, effectively creating a time loop? Or are they supposed to build a parallel, duplicate colony to the one that already exists?

    The story is extremely poorly thought out if you scrutinize it even the slightest. Which is almost always the case with these type of scenarios. Of course there is something called suspend of disbelief, but that only works if the rest of the story contains elements of very high quality. In Star Trek IV they get a free pass, in Voyagers finale as well, in the Visitor etc,. But here ... The characters you love and respect only come off as stupid.

    The main thing they manage to do is to deepen the relationship between Odo and Kira; however I fail to see how they couldn't have done it any other way. The only thing this episode has going for it is Bashirs banter with O'Brien, which is stellar enough to put it just above the 1 Star mark.

    This is a great variant of time travel stories. It’s very effective and ultimately really quite haunting.

    The characterizations seem spot on.

    I wouldn’t quite go four stars because the colony is just way too idyllic.

    Re-posting after rewatching. I was kind first time around. The temporal mechanics and quantum duplications are such blatant nonsense they do my head in. Do they die or simply cease to exist or never existed in the first place...see what I mean?
    At the moment this and Paradise from an earlier season are my two top worst DS9 episodes. They make the Risa EP and even Ferengi Love Songs come across as the height of sophistication!

    How does any of this actually work?
    The 8000 people come into existence only as long as the Defiant arrives at the planet and crashes 200 years ago. *Laugh* The conundrum is that if the 8000 people already exist, they have no worries. Those worries only begin when the Defiant arrives again 200 years later, but doesn't crash. Everybody on the planet knows that there is a temporal anomaly "up there" that the Defiant has to aim for and "hit" like a pocket in a pinball machine so that (1) the crash can occur, and so that (2) Kira can die on cue and the generations can start rolling to get to 8000 within 200 years.

    It just doesn't work.

    If the Defiant is able to get into trouble at the beginning of the episode AND the 8000 people descended from them already exist, then it must be the case that the Defiant was at some point able to leave the planet. Also, if the Defiant is flying around through space in the present, it either means that the present is actually 200 years ago, or that the 8000 people already don't exist at the point at which the Defiant arrives at the planet.

    To quote the great Anton Karidian, "I am tired!" Fade to black.


    Its called a causal loop or a bootstrap paradox.

    Great post, Sigh2000. I think every single Star Trek time travel episode or film has made this error. It would be pretty boring if it didn't, but it is an error.

    We can't know if time travel will ever be invented, but we can know that we are already living, in 2021, with the consequences of any time travel to a time prior to 2021. It's built in already. The Star Trek format seems to be that the guy in the 23rd/24th century who stumbles on the time travel device, goes back to, say, 1940, and then hundreds of years later the consequences of this actually happen all at once.

    Nolan, the link is all about a coherent scenario in which there are no "changes" to the timeline. This episode, and Star Trek generally, don't really address that. Their model is essentially one in which someone all of a sudden changes the present by going back in time and everything is suddenly different - which makes no sense if you think about it as the changes already had centuries to bed in.

    @Nic, how can you say the settlers "don't exist yet" when they are right there with your Defiant crew and living and interactinf with are they not real to you, I'm curious?

    The crew of the defiant was very stupid. I mean, for all they knew this entire colony was an alien deception, just like the holographic society episode, to try and coerce them into crashing and killing themselves. Also, I fail to understand how them knowing that they will be going back in time, would result in the same timeline anyway, since they know everything is going to happen? Would they get amnesia after crashing and all end up marrying and mating with the same people in the same order as the *last* time? What would actually cause all those people to disappear? Would it take 200 years for the "effects" of altering the timeliness to even reach the present again? That's one simple thing I never understood about the time paradox logic. How could history be changed INSTANTLY? That negates the entire meaning of "time". The only logical solution is the branching theory, and all their consciousnesses would continue to exist in the universe where it did crash.

    I am very grateful to you , Jammers, and to all who posted who treat others the way they want to be treated. When my belief is suspended, this is a wonderfully escapist episode. It pulls on my heartstrings, and is certainly interesting and intriguing. But I do have a major issue about this episode. If I am missing something, please let me know. A Past Defiant Crew comes to a planet that is uninhabited. When it ‘breaks through the barrier’ , it lands but is thrown 200 years back in time. If I understand the episode’s writer’s premise, that planet is experiencing a timeline 200 years behind the rest of the Galaxy. This Past Crew is unable to get back to DS9 so they stay, form bonds, create families on this planet. The Past Crew DIES but their descendants on this planet continue to create new generations on this planet. Fine. The End. IMO, there cannot be a present or future Same Defiant Crew that comes to a planet inhabited by their descendants. Of course, because other elements of this story are compelling, fascinating, etc., I do choose to suspend my disbelief!

    Just rewatched. Amazing episode. Does the central dilemma so well, and has a wealth of details. Really great job at quickly establishing enough aspects that this colony feels like a living place.

    I don't really understand how the colony is not more advanced after 200 years. They said they recovered a generator and a replicator. They were using computer consoles in the main building. There were a series of power-generating windmills on the hillside. Almost every single person on the original colony graduated from starfleet academy. Many of them have advanced scientific degrees. Dax by HERSELF should have been able to advance this colony further after maybe 2 generations. And unlike the other inhabitants, there was always a Dax carrying forward that scientific knowledge.

    They're still an agrarian society obsessed with planting? Why?

    "They're still an agrarian society obsessed with planting? Why?"

    Well, in part this was the era of "rural simplicity is awesome" just look at Insurrection. Why wouldn't you want to live a simpler more noble existence? Oh never mind the back breaking labor, risk of starvation, disease, sanitation, and all that.

    Another thing is that as technology advances, it becomes more interdependent and stacked on top of previous achievements and processes. No matter how smart you are, even if there's thousands of you, you're not going to be able to build a silicon chip fab plant so you only have your existing computers which you have to keep running. Remember how Doc Brown couldn't repair the time circuit control microchip in 1885 because a suitable replacement part wouldn't be built until 1947? Same kind of thing here. Could you build even the most simple transistor without first having sophisticated metallurgical production in place?

    Now if they had a replicator then theoretically they could make anything they needed, assuming it had an adequate power source, which is no guarantee. You would think in a pinch you could just put a bucket full of dirt in the replicator and it would be able to turn it into something else of equivalent mass, but maybe it needs a central computer (not part of the replicator) to store all the various molecular patterns, etc. So I can see them having to scramble for a number of basics when living at such a small scale.

    Lots of comments on this one. Unfortunately this is one of those rare few reviews that I don't agree with. I hated this episode and found it to be kinda stupid.

    I tend to agree. I mean, i think the premise is good, but there are so many problems.

    The one that just slaps in the face is how insanely on the nose it is.

    I can get that the leaders of the colony would be anticipating the arrival of the Defiant and be entirely prepared with their sales pitch, but even the young schoolgirls they first meet seem entirely nonplussed by their showing up. As if they were completely understanding it and ready to participate in this fraud.


    Then there's no discussion at all about the philosophical problems of photocopying the Defiant crew-- best case this works, and the "copied" crew-- still believe they are the originals.

    Bleh x 2.

    Then of course the colony corrupting their own timeline with all this foreknowledge. They aren't even claiming they had all this foreknowledge.

    While there are good elements here, particularly with Odo and Kira, this makes rafts of nonsense such that it should never have been filmed.

    1 star.

    Maybe not even one star.

    After the technobabble fails, next shot we see the Defiant happily flying away. Well, maybe not happily, because there's a bit of decent navel gazing.

    But not much.

    Did they ever try to recreate the accident anyway? Where are those famed Starfleet engineers?

    It sure looks like they were all "oh well, whatever" despite all this character growth where they all agreed to go through with this, including O'Brien.

    All this simply makes no sense.

    The Odo/Kira stuff does make sense and has a very haunting quality, but even that isn't really followed up on other than "he likes me".

    This episode somewhat reminds me of TNG's "The Survivors," especially the ending. Odo's reveal has some parallels with that show's surprise- "I killed all the Husnock. Everywhere." In general the Odo/Kira subplot is handled well and I agree with the sentiment that this is their best handling of it yet, and a worthy way to re-introduce it.

    Similarly to other commentors, I did not find Sisko's ultimate decision to allow the crash to be convincing. The scene where he says he's not seriously considering allowing it was excellent, and I thought it was a great example of the kind of hard decision making and leadership that would be expected of Starfleet captains. His choice to not force Kira to die is well-reasoned and consistent with what I perceive Sisko's character to be. It was disappointing to see this subverted minutes later. I remember my first time watching this that I actually thought they were going for an extremely dark tone- that Sisko realized his crew had decided to make the "wrong" decision during the planting, and it would be revealed that he had sabatoged the program covertly to avoid a risk of mutiny. In retrospect I don't think anything like that would ever really be suitable for Trek, but that's how baffling I found his decision making at the end.

    Watched this again. One comment - I think the ending would've been more effective if they had shown Oldo sitting on a hillside with a tear in his eye as he and the village disappeared. Perhaps have him whisper a quiet, "I'm sorry" before it happens. Then have a final shot of the Defiant heading home. Don't show any of the crew. Just the ship


    "- I think the ending would've been more effective if they had shown Odo sitting on a hillside with a tear in his eye as he and the village disappeared. "

    Not bad. :)

    "This episode somewhat reminds me of TNG's "The Survivors," especially the ending. Odo's reveal has some parallels with that show's surprise- "I killed all the Husnock. Everywhere."

    Good point. Never thought about that way before, but Odo's action does have a similar flavor.

    I was...okay with the episode. Nothing terrible but nothing great either. That is until the ending when they turned Odo into a total simp. No woman in the universe is worth wiping out 8,000 people for. I mean, Kevin Uxbridge did something similar but we were at least given an indication that he regrets committing genocide. We don't know what Future Odo's reaction was to his decision.

    I've long rated this episode very high. In light of so much that's been said, my note is that in the legacy of Trek, the episode that I'm mot reminded of by "Children of Time" is the Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise."

    Four stars!? Not by a long mile.

    It's not terrible but it's nothing special. WAY too much talkie-talkie (e.g. C.C. Dodo and Keera). Yet more Klingon nonsense (his offspring living like stone-age, maybe bronze-age, savages). The on-planet crew has zero charisma: Their lines delivery is flatter than the plains of Oklahoma. There's no excitement of any kind going on. It's all protracted dialogs about an alternate reality in what is already a make-believe universe. Plus the cookie-cutter tableaux of a cute kid asking if they're going to be okay, and ebullient natives scampering around a field planting produce (could've been lifted straight out of one of those Romanian propaganda clips under Ceausescu), and Worf with fire and "feasts." 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 Had to F.F. through quite a few scenes.

    You can harp on about "character development" (though I don't know which character developed here) but if I want that, I'll read Tolstoy or some shit. By this point, I don't care about the characters enough to make me want to watch them "develop." You want great characters who you deeply care about? Try Battlestar Galactica or even Babylon V.

    And for someone forever whining about gratuitous use of "technobabble," saying this is quantum flux anomaly or whatnot is an "original science fiction story" is... 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Now, this eppy does get redeemed to a degree by virtue of the dilemma it throws up. Would any of us accept disappearing and bereaving your families and friends in order to prevent 20 other people being literally wiped out, erased: 20 people who are, kinda, our posterity? I don't think I can answer that question but it sure poses a fascinating hypothetical moral and philosophical conundrum.

    Two stars.

    I liked the plot and presentation of it. Itt is interesting that so many choses to be upset.

    This was obviouls the first iteration of the crews comeback. If they had returend they would have been aware of that they would have been there. In such case would that not have hand an impact on their future decisions?

    The world on the second interation whould then probably have been diffrent so the existing world that they left might not have existed in the same way anyhow.

    Now this temporal conclusion made of a slightly overaged philosoper (me)would of course not have been a match for a Dax.

    In spite for this enourmous failure in temporal logic, I very much liked and think it is one of the top trek episodes.

    Fun premise (flawed, yes) but I thoroughly enjoyed watching our main characters struggle with the dilemma--and for me, yeah, it pulled at the ol' heartstrings. I knew, of course, they had to go back to DS9, but I was eagerly awaiting how the writers were going to get them out of this one.

    I did wonder tho: was it necessary for Sisko & Co. to repeat the accident to save the 8000? Could the Reliant's crew have decided to just live out their lives amongst them? Or did they have to recreate the accident to keep their descendants from "not-existing"?

    Ah, time travel.... :)

    There is no definition of their presence on the planet prior to the Defiant arriving. The colony is in effect without cause, and proceeds to argue for a cause. It's a logical impossibility. They can't have gotten there before the Defiant goes back in time to get them there. The argument is fallacious and invalid from the start. The script uses a kind of magician's distraction to hook us in - with strong emotional hooks - but the obvious question is missing: Who are these people and how did they get on the planet in the first place?

    I realize the above paragraph breaks the script; and I don't disavow an emotional interpretation. It initially hooked me with some well written, deeply emotional scenes. I liked the blunt and honest debate, and think there should've been more serious debates between senior staff. Until recently, I thought of this as one of my favorite DS9 episodes. And I don't think you shouldn't love it. I cannot. There's a difference between *suspension of disbelief* and denial of logic.


    If the proposition *were* true that the colony existed sans cause, I would suggest the following:

    The argument that the Starfleet crew's ancestors knew they could ensure their continuation by hiding or relocating the settlement is the strongest argument.

    YEDRIN DAX: "We know the Defiant is coming, and we have to give them a reason to not stick around [and let them fly into the anomaly and travel back in time]." A stronger script would have had the original descendants decide to hide/resettle instead of waiting.

    Several times I thought that if Major Kira were so sure of her convictions, she would have committed suicide to solve the problem. Her "will of the prophets" argument makes her look like a religious nut. This is more out-of-character than people realize; Kira is a lifelong freedom fighter, I don't see her just giving up and dying.

    While I loved the discussion between the senior crew, I would have appreciated if Chief O'Brien would have been more blunt with Worf (although he was pretty blunt, especially considering how long the two have known each other).

    WORF: And you are afraid to face your destiny.
    -This is a very dumb line, and I wish this would have been the Chief's response:
    O'BRIEN: My destiny is my family, and I accepted that a long time ago.

    The arguments that they are killing 8,000 people is like arguing that because a person isn't constantly reproducing, they're killing future potential children. Ultimately the Defiant crew will have thousands or millions of descendants, so stranding them 200 years in the past in the Gamma quadrant would - by this script's rules - mean murdering all of their descendants.

    As much as I don't care for Terry Farrell's acting, I have to admit she did a great job here. Gary Frank did an excellent job as the elder Dax. He was just as irritating as Jadzia.

    I can't believe Captain Sisko and whole lot of other officers would neglect their Starfleet duty, especially in the middle of a war. One of the many things I like about Benjamin Sisko is that he is a pretty accurate portrait of a military man. This script portrays him as a potential deserter, and I just cannot believe that.

    I'm with Jammer about the syrupy music video planting scene. That's something you remember because you want to avoid it.

    Daddy Sisko is my favorite Sisko. Very sweet!!!

    I still think of this as a great Odo episode, and I find it pretty amazing that he joined with the other Odo. It's hard for me to think that he's a bad guy for helping the starship get home. He sacrificed himself to do it, and so that the Major would have a chance at a long life. I don't see him as the bad guy.

    The older and more emotionally developed Odo is the best part of this episode in my opinion. I liked how frank and open he was with Kira. And I love his courage. I don't think he killed anyone, I think he just prevented one person from dying needlessly. As for his selfishness, have you met the Founders?

    All of the discussion about Odo finding or not finding true love seems very human normative to me. I don't know if the Founders mate like Earth mammals, but I have no reason to believe they do, and little reason to even suspect that Odo is looking for his 'one true love.' It seems to me like he needs to find his home. He's *not* a man and I think that's the problem, people assume that because he can shapeshift into a man, he has human masculine desires.

    Also the idea that Odo was a recluse is the opposite of the impression I had. Recluse Odo probably would not even bother to shapeshift into human form. Here was an older and sweeter shapeshifter. I got the impression that he was super happy, not because of some faux-human attachment to Kira, but because he had a lot of years to heal and grow. That's what I got out of it.

    Definitely one of the very best episodes of Trek.

    Re-watching it this evening I caught a lovely little detail I hadn't noticed previously: in the background of the courtyard scenes in the middle of the episode you can see Starfleet personnel (in uniform) respectively a) recognising and shaking hands with; b) drinking a toast and embracing; and c) walking arm-in-arm with their descendants. It's really excellently done.

    I found this mostly sweet. But I think the central dilemma is not about the 8000 people who would cease to exist (and I'm not sure why it was called dying, because to me it feels so different.) I think it's more about having two destinies at once - how can they both exist, especially when they are at odds with each other?

    For Miles this is how you can be true to your wife and children, when apparently in you there is also the person who chooses to 'abandon' them for a new life and a new marriage. For us it's probably grappling with how can Odo be so selfish and a bit weird when he usually seems to be a very sensitive person. For many others I think it's also the lure: if this is their life and their legacy, it's a pretty good one. Life on DS9 is much grimmer and darker. If you have a choice about which future you could keep and one to discard, would you throw away that what seems to be so attractive? The moral dilemma here doesn't seem to be as hard, even though a lot of words are spent on it. I think this is much more about the personal.

    That said, I think the sweetest moment was when Worf met the Klingons, and they were so naive, and for a moment you could feel the 'those aren't Klingons, they're just children pretending to be' followed by the realisation that they've committed to the Klingon words and values in all sincerety in the world they lived in (not in a universe full of war.) And Worf accepted it with grace.

    If not for the forced episodic nature of DS9 (outside of the multi-part episodes), the path of doubling the Defiant would've been very interesting.

    Kinda like the Star Trek Enterprise episode where they meet their descendants. It would've been cool if they had lived. But despite setting up interesting characters, they were killed off in a second.

    Someone needs to follow the "What would be more interesting and creates more possibilities?" writing principle.

    Just had an urge to watch this randomly again.

    A thought occurs: The trees they planted... are they still there? Wherever that was filmed? Would love to know!

    The whole honorable death thing with The Klingons got me thinking whether the afterlife obeys the laws of causality. Even if you die honorably, do you get to remain in Sto Vo Kor once you have been posthumously erased from the timeline? Perhaps the dead Kira still gets to be with the Prophets since they don't exist in linear time.

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