Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Time's Orphan”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 5/18/1998
Teleplay by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Story by Joe Menosky
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"I'm disappointed in you, chief. If anyone could break a prisoner out of a holding cell and get them off the station, I'd have thought it would be you."

— Odo, before letting the O'Briens continue on their way

Review Text

Note: This episode was rerated from 3 to 2.5 stars when the season recap was written.

Nutshell: Not great, but nice, with some poignant little touches.

I'm beginning to wonder if the only time O'Brien gets the lead in stories anymore is when the writers want to torture him—as if a story break meeting for an O'Brien episode comes down to people asking each other, "Well, how would O'Brien react to this particular personal tragedy?"

Take this week's example, "Time's Orphan." Poor Miles, after nearly a year of being separated from his family because of the Dominion War, is finally reunited with his wife and two children, takes time out from his busy schedule to have a family picnic on a nearby planet ... only so his daughter can fall through a mysterious time portal and vanish before his eyes. She's transported 300 years back in time, and when Miles pulls her back with a complicated tech procedure, she's 18 years old (played by Michelle Krusiec), having been stranded in isolation for ten years.

So now O'Brien has been switched with a different version of himself in an alternate timeline (where he also saw the station destroyed), has suffered through memories of lengthy incarceration, has wrested through a high-pressure assignment while his wife was taken hostage by an evil entity, has been forced to send a family man not unlike himself to walk straight into his death ... and now faces the prospect of not being able to see his daughter grow up. And that's not all; because she has spent ten years in isolation, she has lost most of her language abilities and finds society completely foreign and ungraspable.

Do the writers give this guy a rough ride, or what?

O'Brien-torturing trends aside, "Time's Orphan" is in the tradition of using elaborate time-travel machinations to tell engaging human dramas. This episode isn't a standout example of this theme, but it's a reasonable story that benefits from some nice little touches.

I don't consider myself a social psychologist, but the premise seems believable enough on its terms. I honestly couldn't tell you if a 24th-century 8-year-old could learn to survive on her own with no resources, or if ten years of isolation would change a person in the ways it changes Molly in this story. For the purposes of the story as given, though, I have no problem accepting these given claims as realistic. It certainly seems sensible in context, so the sense that the O'Briens have their work cut out for them in bringing Molly back to society is a workable premise.

There are numerous scenes where Miles and Keiko try to get through to Molly, who simply doesn't understand. I wasn't exactly riveted by a lot of these scenes, but many of them struck me as genuine. The game with the balls showed patience, and the escape to the holodeck was plausible. And when things began to go wrong, the episode tuned into the O'Briens' desperation rather nicely. The eventual central problem—that Molly is far too difficult to control and must be institutionalized after she attacks a man in Quark's—isn't a big surprise, but is fully empathetic.

"Time's Orphan" also sports the first use of the A/B-story structure since "Change of Heart." The B-story—in which Worf babysits Kirayoshi—fits in with the episode's family-oriented theme with an amiable Dax/Worf yarn that toys with Worf's parenting abilities. Again, this was hardly standout material, but the presentation was amiable enough to make me care, and the story dodged enough clichés to keep it entertaining and rooted in believable characterization. It was good use of Worf and Dax in the lightweight sense, sort of like a lot of "Change of Heart." Dax's impression of Kirayoshi's "Gung! Gung! Gung!" was particularly cute.

But what the crux of the A-story really boils down to are a few interesting decisions made by the characters. First is O'Brien's plan to steal a Runabout and send Molly back through time to her home of ten years. Seeing characters forced with choices they would never want to make always makes me sit up and take notice (though I wonder if Miles would carry out such a plan without Keiko knowing about it, as he initially had planned to). Another good moment is Odo's decision to allow the O'Briens to steal the Runabout after they've been caught by security, which is done in a way that is perfectly in tune with Odo's personality and sly use of dialog.

The ending is a bit of a Catch-22—almost as if the episode wants to have its cake and eat it too. It allows the O'Briens to follow through with their agonizing decision, but then it also allows the episode to end happily and erase all consequences of this decision. It's a bit manipulative because the conveniences of the plot allow the various timelines to resolve themselves almost arbitrarily. Essentially, since the O'Briens manage to get lucky, they get their little Molly back without having to face any of the moral implications of willfully retrieving little Molly in exchange for erasing big Molly—an issue that seemed relevant earlier in the episode. This all feels more like a need to make the story end on a happy note than it seems like a genuine outcome of events. At the same time, having the O'Briens lose their daughter isn't exactly the way I wanted to see this episode unfold, either (just how much tragedy does one man have to endure?). Overall, the twist ending left me a bit skeptical.

On the other hand, this finale, even through the plot convenience, still hinges on two specific choices. The first is the aforementioned choice the O'Briens make in sending big Molly back "home." The second decision, however, is a little more interesting, because it's made by a character with motivations that are much more ambivalent—namely, big Molly herself. Just as O'Brien mused, I wonder if big Molly realized that she was sending little Molly home. I have a feeling she did, but I also wonder if she realized the sacrifice she was making.

Overall, I'm giving "Time's Orphan" a recommendation because it manages to keep its heart in the right place and is acted with sincerity (what more could you expect from Colm Meaney?). The episode also benefits from some nice little touches, like the striking similarity in the drawings of the picnic spot that each Molly renders—a poignant little detail. Still, there are better examples of timeline manipulation stories that put their central characters through emotional wringers (like "The Visitor," "Far Beyond the Stars," or "Things Past," for example). As for O'Brien, I think he has been tortured enough—and I think he has been tortured more effectively, too.

Upcoming: Two reruns ("Resurrection" and "Statistical Probabilities"), followed by the two final episodes of the season.

Previous episode: Profit and Lace
Next episode: The Sound of Her Voice

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Comment Section

108 comments on this post

    This ep never did a lot for me, but a couple things stood out on this viewing. The first was when Kira, while holding Yoshi, commented to Odo that she might want to have a baby someday, at which he stiffened and changed the subject. It occurred to me that it might be a (stereo?)typical man-is-scared-of-being-a-father moment, but my initial read was that he was worried about the probable biological incompatibilities between a Changeling and a humanoid and the realization that, if she were to have a child, it would almost certainly not be with him. If that was what the writers intended, it was nicely understated and poignant.

    The second was Worf's reaction to first seeing Dax with Yoshi in their quarters. I don't think Worf's face has ever lit up quite like that before; it may be the warmest Michael Dorn has ever played the character.

    BTW, Jammer, I remember when you first wrote this, or rather, the "Next Week" blurb from the previous review. "Deep Space Nell" made me laugh then and it made me laugh now.

    Man, that O'Brian... he's sure had some bad luck with oddly aged family members. I'm talking of TNG's Rascals of course. His wife, aged to that of a child. Now his daughter aged 10 years.

    Well written review. I found the episode to be unrealistic in the moral decisions of the parents. What parent would consider dooming a child to a lifetime of solitude, even given the alternatives? I expected them to go back with Molly, a choice that never seemed to be considered but that I imagine most parents would take.

    I was pretty unimpressed with this one on first viewing, but I watched it again with my girlfriend last night and she bawled through pretty much the entire thing, was extremely affected by it, and was profoundly relieved when little Molly came back through the portal. If the function of art is to trigger emotion, it certainly succeeded.

    I completely agree with AeC's comment on Odo, exactly what I thought as well.

    This episode was indeed very poignant, and I think actually writing Molly out would've been a bit much. Though I could've happily lived with her eventually re-integrating into society for the 7th season and all the story around that, but I guess it just would've added to the stuff to be wrapped up.

    Reset button plots don't go down too well with me either normally (any episode of Voyager at this point i.e. Season 4, is very frustrating for this) but of all the reset buttons they had to do, I think it worked very well. In my interpretation the older Molly certainly did know what she was doing, and it was a very touching way to finish. It's not like the O'Briens didn't suffer a sacrifice - they lost a real, alternate-future version of their daughter.

    I don't like this one much, mainly as it depends entirely on one silly statement made by Bashir when they get 18-year old Molly. He refuses to let them try again as it would remove 18-Molly from existence and negate ten years of her life, and he didn't have the "right" or some such garbage. Well whatever happened to 19-year old Molly after 18-Molly was removed? Or 29-Molly? They were all negated from existence when she was removed. Taking her out of time at ANY stage would rob her of any future life. It's not as if 18-Molly was magically created when they pulled her back: the moment young Molly went into the past she was already dead in their time. It's just a question of when to get her. There was nothing technical working against them that we were told: it was Bashir's smug insistence on "rights" that screwed over the O'Briens.

    But on the plus side, even though she looked 100% ethnically Asian, Michelle Krusiec was seriously hot....

    Wow this season began with some of the only episodes of DS9 not to evoke negative feelings from me, and lately it's been a stream of pure garbage. This episode is not only morally dumb, it's darn-right un-watchable. It's like watching icicles form for the why not add a mute character. I sort of get the "dilemma" and all that, but please, this is utter contrivance. Wharf's comment is dead-on. Bashir's idiocy (genetically engineered huh?) pasted over with feigned Starfleet idealism is just a joke. Next, please.

    This episode doesn't deserve 2.5 stars... more like 1.5 or 2. I've watched all of the episodes 2 or 3 times... and this is one I will simply gloss over.

    The main problem is that it comes at a time in the season where time is running out... and of all the stories one could tell about the chief, was this really it?

    There was a lot of padding this season, which I think fundamentally made the season worse than season 5. Some of these episodes just don't contribute to the context of the show in any significant way:

    6x08 - Resurrection
    6x12 - Who Mourns for Morn
    6x14 - One Little Ship
    6x15 - Honor Among Thieves
    6x23 - Profit and Lace
    6x24 - Time's Orphan
    6x25 - The Sound Of Her Voice

    It's not a big list, but notice that they get clumped together. At least some of the filler episodes in season 5 had a good balance - they somehow managed to setup parts of the ongoing story or develop pieces further even if the main story was isolated. These episodes can literally be deleted and it just doesn't matter.

    Time's orphan is just one of those episodes I didn't care to say, I didn't want to see and never had to be told.

    Well I was all set to say something, but Wharf nailed it already. Bashir's comment about 18-Molly (to keep Wharf's creative moniker) was arguably the single most ridiculously warped tidbit of "morality" any Trek has ever slipped into dialogue. Whoever wrote it should be vigorously slapped around.

    This might be the first episode of this show that really didn't sit well with me. I thought, "Jesus Christ, they're about to send their daughter into a lifetime of depression and isolation." It was really hard to stomach. I get that it's a difficult decision, but that's a pretty terrible solution.

    "There will be no one to grow up to become this Molly"? Is he kidding with this?

    If we apply that logic to every other Trek episode that involved time travel, then every character who ever time travelled would not have been entitled to come back.

    I'd say the 2.5 star rating is about right. Not terrible, but too many problems to reccommend it to anyone but a diehard fan.

    That said, Rosalind Chao's delivery of the line, "Miles, where's our baby," had me heartbroken and it put a lump of fear in my throat as well. I hope I never have to go through that kind of thing with my kids.

    I loved the B-plot didn't care much for the A-plot. Worf and Dax would make great parents. Well maybe in another timeline!

    Awful. It's this kind of pointless padding that bogged down season 6 after the fantastic occupation arc at the beginning.

    For me, I'd rate this less than Profit & Lace, though neither at 0 stars. 1 for this, 1.5 for Profit. Really didn't like it.

    I must say I am a little surprised both by review and comments. For one thing, where is the most illogical fact that Molly does not only survive 10 years on her own and looks neither insane from living alone for so long, nor starved, nor suffering from any illnesses or infections, she, the protected and pampered child of two doting Starfleet parents?
    Secondly, it is very obvious that older Molly knew she was sending little Molly back to her parents in the end, else she wouldn't have given her the doll to keep.

    I must say I rather liked the episode. When you do not care so much for an outwardly perfectly logical plot but can accept that Star Trek stories are very often built up on a fairy tale pattern, "Time's Orphan" is an interesting parable on parenthood. Kira for the first time desires a baby of her own; Odo is frustrated because he can't be the one giving it to her; Worf experiments caring for a small child.

    The O'Briens in the meantime experience the most bitter part of parenthood - having to let your child go, which might mean you will never see it again, a very important task every parent must accept and perform, even if the adult life their children lead is totally incomprehensible to them. Molly is eight, usually the age where a parent must begin, if slowly, to let go and to give up the delusion that they will always be the centre of their child's world. Parents who do not manage that make their child pay a huge price later in life. That is also, I think, why they never considered going back into adult Molly's world with her.
    Both Miles and Keiko prove considerable maturity and courage sending adult Molly back, so the "happy ending", as it is in fairy tales, is somehow the reward for having learned the lesson. That Miles at first was about to send Molly back without consulting Keiko first is not surprising, seeing how only shortly before she was whining "Where is our baby?" It's only a good thing that she later understands that Molly is no longer a baby and no longer her child but her own person, whatever or whoever that person may be, and who can manage to live in her own world, which is bewildering and lonely to their parents.
    Seen like this, I wish a lot of parents would watch "Time's Orphan" and understand this kind of subtext. Obviously, you won't if you insist that Star Trek stories must be perfectly documentable, as if such stories could ever really take place exactly like this, in some remote future...

    @Amy: After reading your review, I've realized that this episode is deeper than I previously concluded. Thanks!

    A lot of polarization on this one. I liked it quite a bit.

    I think the main reason someone would not like this episode is that it does nothing to further the "soap opera" arc elements of the series as a whole. That has never been too important to me, so it's not a concern; if anything, I am happy for a story in which I don't have to have seen the previous 5 episodes to get it.

    The other reason not to like it is because nothing blows up and few people are stabbed.

    I liked it just fine. It's a great character study and a great Trek story. Not the best episode by far, but a very good one.

    I liked this one in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Sometimes it's okay when things get all sappy and melodramatic. Some viewers really like that sort of thing (like Destructor's bawling girlfriend above, lol). But by now I'm in for a solid main story arc episode, dammit!

    @Chris yeah, I couldn't believe that either. That line should have been "There will be no one to grow up to become this Molly, and we'd be out of a plot". It's such a cop-out.

    **Spoilers** Hard to watch episode. O'Brien Plot: The premise wasn't terrible, but sloppily executed. Very contrived elements were used to move the story along, sometimes painful. The "moral dilemma" was really stupid when they didn't want to try again to get the young Molly. (Wharf above hit it perfectly) - the truth is they'd just try again. It's as much a mistake that she went there in the first place as what random time she came back. But we want to move the plot along! Her "development" was an interesting part of the episode, along with the parents' hard decisions and trying to work with her.

    But the most contrived plot element is that she freaks out - and there is no second chance. She is going to be sent to some home far away, taken from parents, etc. The injured person would be fine in a week. They said he'd press charges. That's believable. But then without a trial, without time passing, without a second chance, Molly is going to be shipped off immediately, far away, to some prison home place. It can't be stopped, appealed, postponed, or challenged. Marshall law Starfleet, huh? I don't think the Dominion war has made them that bad. Totally contrived, but that was to get them back to the planet. These two places where the plot was forced to move forward (can't try again and going to rehab home, no appeal) were very clumsy and kind of ruined it for me. Pull out the Worf/Dax subplot and handle this a little more gracefully!

    Still not as bad as profit and lace, where I watched the clock more than the screen.

    What about the time portal? It is stated in the beginning that it is unstable, yet in the end it seems to work in and out very fluently with the little Molly there unaged, unharmed. O'Brien sees it his right to destroy it with maximum-setting phaser? Just for the benefit of his family, as he originally plans. Ancient and valuable site of incredible technology - a stable time portal.
    Doesn't the portal deserve some study - or preservation at least?

    And if your kid is 8, has lived all her life in the comfort of her parents and then 10 years passes in solitude, while traumatic definitely yes, you don't forget all the talking and the faces of your parents. If it would have been Yoshi who goes through the portal and returns at 18, it would have made sense.

    Interesting idea, but very badly written. Among the worst of episodes.

    Got to be kidding me. One of the most unstomachable episodes in all of DS9. I agree that this season had a rough go.

    I kept seeing the unusual flaws.

    How hard would it be to find an Asian girl who doesn't have an extra 10 lbs of chub on her arms? She definitely hadn't missed any meals recently. Nor trips to the manicurist. Her perfectly cut, but badly hair-sprayed bangs, her complex weave-pattern upper garments with her spandex-like leggings... Do you know how difficult it is to make nylon... with stone age tools??

    This is an 8 year old girl who forgot how to speak. How skilled is she going to be at surviving?

    I think it is interesting because I have learned a couple of languages that have lain dormant since I was a child for 15-20 years and it took me all of 10 minutes to get back into the groove of things... And those were secondary languages, never spoken at home. And after running into an old acquaintance after 15 years of not seeing each other, my subconscious recognized him before I could even place the name (slightly embarrassing because he has the same name as me...).

    And the portal... I guess with all his technological skill, O'Brien couldn't figure out how to make a simple locking door.

    Come on. I expect more! DS9 is my favorite of the Treks, but this sort of fluff belongs in Voyager!

    1 star. Plot holes are too big to ignore. A child who's raised normally until age 8 is not going to completely forget how to speak or interact with other humans, even after 10 years. It would take a little time, but resocializing her wouldn't be the hopeless project this episode lets on.

    It would have been extremely difficult for Molly to survive 10 years on her own, when she's used to being fed and cared for. She'd have no idea what to eat or how to get it. It's really wildly unlikely she would last 2 months, let alone 10 years.

    And total parenting fail! If 19-year-old Molly needs to be at a care center where she'll be watched full time, if she needs to be on a planet where she can run and play in nature, then that's what you do as parents. If you have to resign for Star Fleet and move to earth, that's what you do. Even 21st century United States parents would probably do that, and this is supposed to be the so-enlightened Federation! Sending a child back to live a short live as a wild beast is beyond cruel.

    And there's the reset-button ending. Very few reset-button episodes are worth watching... and this isn't one of them.

    Wow, another horrible episode. Season 6 taking a major nosedive.


    The way Miles made it sound, Molly was going to be sent to a 19th century insane asylum. He asks (paraphrasing) "Do you think Molly is going to be able to play in open fields?" Well... I would hope so. With holodeck technology and 24th century counseling techniques, I would think that she could transition into a normal life, especially given the progress she made by the end of the episode i.e. going from animal grunts to rudimentary speaking.

    And Molly wasn't acting out by writing crappy poetry and getting bad grades in school. She hospitalized a dude with a broken bottle. Even with Federation medical technology, people still die from stab wounds. Transferring her to the care of trained professionals actually seems pretty reasonable to me, rather than a monstrous injustice the episode seems to imply it is. And like kkt said, the O'Briens could have made efforts to join her at the care facility.

    The episode was also a terrible metaphor for letting your child go. It's not like Molly choose to go natural and live in the wild; she was wrested from her parents by a time machine and she reverted to her animal nature due to isolation.

    Add up all the complaints made by previous posters and this was a pretty crappy episode.

    One of Molly's difficulties is that things seem smaller than she remembered. She has a meltdown when she examines her clothes and finds them so tiny. This makes it difficult to accept the station as "home". They should have replaced her clothes with versions sized for an adult. It would have been a nice opportunity for Garak to be brought in for his services as a tailor, instead of the tailor business being just a front. The clothes would be unusual styles for an adult to wear, but it would help Molly adapt.

    Star Trek does tend to idealize a "state of nature", you see this when subsistence farmers are shown as having an overflowing bounty of food and leisure time. In reality, subsistence farming is hard work with some very lean times. Molly would have been unlikely to survive, unless the climate was ideal for the entire year and there was plenty of edible fruit to eat, but that's unlikely. What she would have gone back to was a very rough life, struggling to survive, a life which would end in starvation when she got too injured or sick to find food.

    The legal stuff didn't make a lot of sense. The victim of the attack may want to press charges, but that doesn't determine an outcome, and the outcome certainly would have taken time. Molly would certainly been ruled not criminally culpable, and though she might be put into an institution, she's not insane, so it wouldn't be permanent. They do act like she's going to a 19th century asylum, but this is the 24th century. I am sure there are plenty of institutions that could give her open spaces and take care of her until she was ready to rejoin society. Perhaps a Bajoran monastery, I imagine the Emissary could arrange that. I'm really not sure just what message this story is sending. "Better to be totally alone than to be in any institution" seems to be the closest. But even today there are institutions that could give her time outside. Not everyone that goes into an institution stays there for life. Do they have no medical options to calm her down short of rendering her unconscious?

    Amy's right...the backbone of the episode made for a moving story. They should have just technobabbled reasons why they couldn't retreive the young Molly in a timely fashion. Having Bashir instead make his ridiculous moral assertion as the core reason for all the following drama utterly devoured the story from within. For me it was so obscene that it alone reduced a 3-3.5 episode to a 1.5-2.

    Add me to the list of haters for this lazy contracictory-ridden illogical mess with numerous intergalactic sized plot holes, even the b-story was boring and without charm, a waste of the actors time that told us nothing that we didn't already know and bored us while doing it....... zero stars

    @eastwest101 - "a waste of the actors time that told us nothing that we didn't already know and bored us while doing it....... zero stars"

    I think THAT might be pushing it. The crux of the the B story, to me, was Worf coming to terms with the fact that he was a horrible dad. And that's why he was so sure Jadzia was judging his fitness to be a father.

    For a man who so often is held up as a paragon of honor, he was a really crappy dad. And it's just really nice to see them address that in the context of a marriage and 2 people talking about having kids together.

    I won't defend the A story, but I think the level of bad that the A story is colored your assessment of the B story :P

    The A-story was well-meaning and well-intentioned but the logical gaffes cannot be ignored. I agree with some of the comments here. However, I can actually see an 8 year old child forgetting how to properly communicate after ten years. She's had no social contact whatsoever and the brain has a way of compartmentalizing certain knowledge in order to concentrate on solely what's pertinent to survival. Whether or not said child could physically survive on that particular planet is only speculative. But I also know better than to underestimate pure survival instinct inherent in all living things.

    The B-story is naturally prescient to the A rather than being its own separate identity. It is lightweight to be sure but hardly inconsequential and all the while shows a fairly unique (and welcome) side of Worfs personality. His apologizing for his failures as a father were a bit heavy-handed but, understandable considering we know that his past in that regard was dubious at best.

    While the episode was definitely watchable with some really great character moments, some of the logistics outright failed. Surely a 24th century Federation social and behavioral rehabilitation center would be 100% better than sending Molly back "home". That's just one example of why, despite many good things, this ultimately can not be salvaged as a whole, yet there's some scraps worth picking at.

    2 stars.

    Before I rate this episode, can anyone explain to me why there was an 8 year old Molly in there when Molly-18 went back through the portal?

    @Yanks :

    Trek's time-travelling rules are very inconsistent; it seems that the portal transports one back to the same point in time every time one goes through. Although, if "Parallels" (I hate that show) is to believed, Big Molly should still have to live her life as an illiterate alone in the wilderness in another quantum reality.

    "Eight-year-old Molly O'Brien travels 300 years to the past after falling into a time portal. The DS9 crew manages to reactivate the destabilized portal and get her back. However, due to an instability in the temporal field Molly comes home 10 years too late. She is now an 18-year-old girl, who has spent the past 10 years of her life alone on an uninhabited planet and is run wild. Nevertheless, the O'Briens decide not to alter the timeline again, since the existence of their older daughter would be extinguished once they tried to get her back at the age of eight. When Miles and Keiko finally decide to send her back to her home in the past, the time portal works properly again and she arrives at a time 300 years ago instead of the intended 290 years. So Molly meets herself as a little girl who has just arrived there, and persuades her to cross the time portal towards the future. At the same instant, the 18-year-old Molly vanishes, since she has never existed. Still, Keiko and Miles do remember her, as does the young Molly from her trip to the past.

    The net time travel is that of 18-year-old Molly ten years into her past. In this respect it didn't matter whether the time the portal sent Molly to in the first place was in the future or in the past, as long as no interaction with the present was possible. The obvious paradox in this story can be solved, if we postulate that the time portal has an isolating effect, allowing that different timelines exist on its two sides.

    (Ex Astris Scienta)

    Sounds good to me :-)

    This episode isn't the greatest, but I didn't think it was all that bad either.

    I actually don't see any reason Molly couldn't survive. Those instincts are pretty strong and there weren't any predators, right? (uninhabited planet) We've accepted worse in trek for sure.

    There were some touching moments, what I have to assume is the only purpose of this episode.

    I'm so glad they got Molly back, that loss would have been a hard one to swallow. Just the thought of losing your child makes me quiver. I almost lost it when 8-Molly went back through the portal.

    Average episode. 2.5 stars.

    Awful. Incredibly stupid.

    1) What food is safe to eat? How do you preserve it?
    2) What water is safe to drink? How do you deal with dysentery?
    3) How do you make a fire?
    4) How do you deal with illness?
    5) How do you administer first aid when injured?
    An 8 year old, alone, even one who's been in the field a lot with Keiko? I give her a month.

    And there's no option other than an "institution"?
    This is supposedly the post-money, replicator-economy. Molly needs a holosuite? Why can't Miles and Keiko have one in their apartment?
    Surely Miles can replicate some holoprojectors.

    And even a 21st century institution would be preferable to a life as a solitary hunter gatherer, where life would be "nasty, brutish, and short." No health care, no safety net, no retirement.

    Honestly, how could any parent who thought about it for 30 seconds condemn their child to *that*? Particularly, a child who -- at this point -- really can't give "informed consent" -- Molly can't possibly realize that she's going "home" for *the*rest*of*her*natural*life.

    B-plot. OK. Here's Worf beating himself up again. I didn't see that he did *anything* wrong as a father, but we get to listen to himself whine about how bad he did......

    One of Trek's worst.

    I hated the A plot, but the B plot was cute and if you didn't see anything wrong with Worf as a father you should ask Alexander...

    Yeah, I admit I was a bit surprised by the claim that Worf had made no mistakes in raising Alexander, too.

    @Robert, @William B
    Arrghh.... I meant "Worf did fine baby-sitting Kirayoshi". No, obviously Worf messed up with Alexander...... sorry I wasn't clear on that!

    Yeah, this is not a good one. I'm generally not a fan of the torture O'Brien episodes, since most of them feel so detached from the rest of the series. O'Brien's established Every Man thing just isn't compelling enough alongside former terrorists, religious icons, shapeshifters, former spies, Trill symbionts, etc. So everything that befalls O'Brien is always... well, random.

    This is probably the weakest O'Brien story yet, just inching out S2's "Tribunal". This one includes a lot of wasted rehab scenes, such as Molly playing with a ball or Molly eating a melon.

    And then in typical (bad) Trek fashion, everything gets resolved at the end with no harm, no foul done to anyone? The institution may not be ideal, so the better idea is... sending Molly back to become a cave woman? If they NEEDED to do a Molly-in-danger episode, why not just use the Dominion in some way...? I'm willing to bet this was a pre-written script or something. It's all just pointless, like the worst of late-TNG.

    1-1/2 stars, I guess. Most of it isn't necessarily unwatchable, but it's absolutely skippable and adds nothing to anything.

    Here's the weird thing about S6 - it maybe has the best crop of strong episodes out of the entire series, but it also probably has as many mediocre and sub-par entries as S1. Even most of the weaker entries of S4 and 5 seemed to have at least a few things going for them. It's more painful in S6 though, since there's so much other stories I'd rather be seeing.

    As others have noted, I must agree, a weak episode, with few redeeming qualities. One aspect which I don't think has been touched on was the consistent undercurrent of anti-psychiatry (was this episode written by a scientologist?). Miles was terrified of sending feral child Molly off for federation treatment...what, they don't have humane, state of the art facilities in the 24th century? It is bizarre and inconsistent of what we know of Federation standards and practices.

    At least a whacky episode like Spocks brain, or the classic All Our Yesterday's were ENTERTAINING - including witty banter given the extreme ridiculousness of the situation. I shall shake my head in disbelief and go watch a few Voyager episodes for contemplation...

    I am not going to waste my time trying to comment on time travel since it is impossible and unrealistic. These episodes are just entertaining to me. If I want a headache, then I would trying to explain it. lol

    My comment is, this is only the second time I have liked Keiko. "In the Hands of the Prophets" and "Times Orphan." Rosalind came off as a real parent in both of these. The first where she realized that children needed structure and should not be allowed to roam free on the station. Of course, "Time's Orphan" brought me to tears, her acting was genuine and she wasn't fighting Miles; they were fighting together.

    I have seen better, but this was a good episode.

    Good episode, but if it were me I'd go back in time with my daughter and have somebody else blow up the time portal. I understand why they wanted to protect her from the law or whatever but there's no reason either O'Brien or Keiko couldn't go back with the elder Molly while the other stayed behind and took care of Kira Yoshi.

    Actually, that would have been a hell of a way to write Keiko and Molly out of the show altogether. Maybe would have bumped this up to 3 or 4 star territory. Hmmm.

    Del_Duio, Actually, that would have been a hell of a way to write Keiko and Molly out of the show altogether.

    Good point!

    Man, another snoozer, although this episode is admittedly better than the last two(which really isn't saying much).

    This season has taken a nosedive since "In the Pale Moonlight". Enough fluff, can we get back to the main story arc, PLEASE!

    I've been Netflix binging on DS9 and I was reciting the praises of this outstanding series (I forgive the usual Trek "issues" like the actors' scenery chewing addiction). But this episode was the one I watched with my wife and it was embarrassing. Here's my show and it fumbles the ball on the one-yard-line. Oh brother! I agree with the comments above and then some. Zero stars for a terrible episode where they seem to imply that "crazy" people can end up in "the madhouse" where everybody is locked up in a horrible dungeon. What? WHAT?? Since when? Or is the whole thing just stupid? Hmmm. That's seems like the most likely explanation.

    The B-plot was cute. But nothing in the A plot made any sense to me. As a parent, I simply can't follow how the O'Briens could make those decisions.
    "We can't take those 10 years away from her!". Dude, she was just sent 300 years in the past, yeah? So basically she was dead of old age. Then you went and got her back age 18, how many years did you already "take back from her"? And because of this stupid reasoning full of holes, you'll allow your little girl to grow up in complete isolation, something that is bascially akin to torture? Seriously... WHY?
    With that ridiculous premise out of the way, the O'Briens try to help their daughter and realise she will never fit into this life of theirs. So they... send her back? She'll be happy there, yaddi yadda? Well, for a while, maybe. What happens when she breaks a leg? Or falls sick? Not to mention that no matter how much space the girl needs, human beings remain social beings. THEY GO MAD with no one to talk to. You don't do that to your child, you just don't!
    And the concept that Molly would be institutionized for life when her parents are there to take care of her is ridiculous. Even now in measly 20th century we don't do that anymore. Temporarily, yes, but always with the clear objective to enable the patient to go back to a more functioning life outside.
    All around, this plot was holding together with bits of duct tape. I don't think it deserves more than 1 star... for the B-plot.

    "There will be no one to grow up to become this Molly"

    Muahahaha. What a load of bullshit. "This Molly" has lived alone for ten years in a cave. Literally! You have to say "literally" because it's grotesque.
    Let's not deprive her of that experience! Don't erase that part and replace it with ten years of happy childhood.

    Isn't this the dream of a lot of people? To do things over again. Don't most of think sometimes: "Ah, if I could go back to this moment 10 years ago and do things differently."
    And that is people who just think they didn't study hard enough in college or shouldn't have broken up with their s/o.
    This girl had 10 years of solitary confinement - that *really* is something you'd want to forget.

    Imagine Bashir using this logic in the episode where O'Brien gets the fake memories of being imprisoned for 20 years. "Well Miles, we *could* erase those memories, but we'd be killing of this new you." -- "F*** You, Bashir."

    Where is this park they visit? Unless it's in the Bajoran solar system (which didn't seem to be the case), it's hard to believe that it is only a lunchtime shuttle ride away.

    Endings like this bother me. Not quite as bad a cop-out as Sons of Mogh, but close.

    The actress who played the older Molly was very good, though. It was mainly her performance that kept my attention. I still couldn't bring myself to like Keiko, but I was...neutral. She was a mother concerned about her child and played that part fairly well, without pushing O'Brien away. That was an improvement.

    Jack - it seems like it might be in the Bajoran solar system? They mentioned Bajoran colonists had only arrived on that planet about a century ago, and I don't recall that Bajor had any kind of sprawling empire even pre-Cardassian occupation.

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned how the beginning of the episode was so incredibly similar to the one where Troi's sister (Kestra) died. A happy family outside having a loving picnic in an angelic field type setting. Parents not paying attention, and poof, kid wanders off and zap gone.

    Best bit of this episode was the chief shouting "bollocks" :D

    It shouldn't matter if you disagree with Bashir or the O'Briens, this was a moving episode. That is all too rare for DS9. And what's more, I'd take that over the episodes which get the science and ethics right but basically amount to spaceships shooting at each other, however suspenseful and well produced it may be. Solid 3 stars.

    OK, I get all of the plot contrivances here (with a whole planet to choose from the picnic site is where Molly happens to find an 2000 year-old abandoned time machine etc...), but do you know what? I have always enjoyed this one, and I'm not even sure why.

    Perhaps because it's a "bad things happen to Chief O'Brien" that has a happy ending? Because it's a DS9 episode that has some sensitivity, a bit of heart, and is genuinely moving? Because of a great little performance as older Molly? Because it has an amiable B-story? Perhaps all of the above and more.

    "He acquitted himself well" indeed. 3 stars.

    Millions are dying in a massive war... Let's go on a fun family trip with children!

    This is a weak plot as most agree, with bizarre, improbable events happening to get the episode to begin, followed by nonsense moral arguments designed to get the episode to continue, followed by hardheaded authorities created to push the episode to a climax, rounding up with a highly dubious decision by the O'Briens to send Molly back in time to die forever and capped with handwaving nonsense to get the plot to reset and nullify whatever happened. I could elaborate on these, but others have already discussed them, and while I may take issue with some points I think that the general impression more or less stands. Every moment of this episode requires a series of bad decisions on the parts of the characters as well as contrivances most illogical on the SF side of things. So the episode falls apart under scrutiny. Many of the episode's problems -- the convenience of the time-travel device, the draconian way the Federation apparently deals with the mentally ill, the flimsy justification for Teen Molly to run into Young Molly at the end -- can be at least put aside when trying to get into the emotional material.

    The O'Briens material, not so much; we have to believe that they would actually agree with Julian's dubious temporal mechanics moralizing and we have to believe that they believe that their only option really is to send Molly back to that planet to go live and die alone. The argument Bashir offers is totally unconvincing -- they already "killed" a future Molly by bringing her into the future at all, and so if he was going to object to this he should have done so before. (And at the very least, even if they believed Bashir's argument, they should have recognized that once they succeed in communicating with Molly, they should be able to ask for her consent of whether or not to bring back Earlier Molly.) It is even less believable that the O'Briens would believe it. The second decision is also damaging. The idea here really seems to be that it is simply impossible to find an open space for Molly now, to the point where the only place they can take her is into the past. To justify this, they explain that even if Molly can get holosuite time in a Federation care centre, she wouldn't survive the transport over! Which, you know: 1) remember holodecks? and 2) if that's the case, maybe the O'Briens should have been more concerned about bringing her over to her planet on a Runabout! I gather that the planet is much closer than the Federation care centre, but if Molly can be brought on a transport that distance while unconscious, it seems like it shouldn't be so impossible to figure out some way to transport her carefully to the care centre.

    So really, the O'Briens' final decision is only as believable as it is that they would basically agree with Molly's view of the planet as her home. And...well, I do think some of this is the idealization of The Wilderness and escape from society that crops up sometimes in these stories, and certainly Miles and Keiko are trying their best to respect Molly's wishes. The problem for me is that the stakes just don't seem believably high enough to justify this choice -- we have to believe that the station/Federation law is so harsh, that the Federation institution is so bad, that surviving on a transport is so impossible, that everyone would go looking for her, that the decision must be made RIGHT NOW where she belongs. It would be one thing if Molly could genuinely, outside of traumatized outbursts and with something other than her marginal vocabulary, her preference for the wild, but she cannot really, and bringing her back to that planet *and sending her back in time* as well is forever.

    All that said, I like parts of this episode. It helps that I believed Miles and Keiko's genuine desire to connect to their daughter, and that while I think that the episode fails to make the case for it, I still on some level feel the weight of the sacrifice that they make at the episode's end, when they do what they believe is best for their daughter even if it means never seeing her again. The idea of Miles and Keiko struggling with a daughter who has undergone a major traumatic transformation maps onto a lot of parental struggles (that Molly had a rather extreme growth spurt means that there's a bit of a puberty analogue here, but mostly it seems like this represents an attempt to connect to Molly in the wake of a major event), and it is somehow appropriate given that we saw the outcome of Miles connecting to his family after *his* major traumatic event in "Hard Time." I get why some find it slow, but I found the scenes with the ball and whatnot suitably engaging (with a great punchline as Molly's stack of balls was revealed). I thought that Michelle Krusiec gave a good performance in the "Nell" Molly role and Meaney and Chao were typically strong. Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself getting very involved in the tragedy of Molly's experience, even though it feels a little pointless in the wake of the recognition that it ends.

    I do tend to think that Adult Molly recognized her younger self, and there is something nicely bittersweet about her sacrificing herself so that her younger self can have the life she didn't have...and yet it also somehow negates Adult Molly's existence, and indeed negates the idea that she should "go back home" to the planet, since ultimately Adult Molly makes the choice to eliminate the years of her life on the planet to send Young Molly back to reintegrate into her parents' life. Something about it makes me feel a little unsettled, actually, which maybe goes to show that there is something to Bashir's moral dilemma after all; the Wild Molly who cannot fit into society has to be destroyed so that the Social Molly can return to it. It's actually something of an open question then: how much *did* Adult Molly have a life that was worthwhile, and worth preserving, on that planet, alone? And is it possible that Wild Molly sent Young Molly back through the portal not just to save herself but because she knew that was the Molly her parents wanted more?

    The Worf-Kirayoshi plot is generally amusing, though Worf is too down on himself in a way that spoils the fun. What is interesting is that Worf actually is something of a Wild Man, and the question of how much to introduce Kirayoshi to the joys of wildness (through the gung-gung-gung game and through play which risks getting Yoshi injured) turns out to reflect the main plot -- where Wild Molly cannot fit in on the station and has to go back to the wilderness, where she sends forth the "tame" Molly. Worf's concern really has a lot to do with whether or not he can be trusted with a child, or whether his Klingonness really does mean he is on some level too dangerous for child-rearing, whether he'll play rough. That Yoshi comes away happy from his "gung gung gung" experience with Worf suggests that there is some role for "wildness" in life and in childhood -- which makes me wonder if the episode should somehow have had Molly changed by this episode, even a little -- if Adult Molly could have given Young Molly something of her wildness experience rather than just the doll (which was Molly's to begin with). The subplot does show some progress in Worf/Dax, even if its primarily on Worf's side.

    I guess 2 stars from me.

    I don't think it's impossible to expect the 8 year old Molly survived alone. You have to make assumptions about the location: the climate doesn't get bad, there are no large animals that would threaten her (either as predators or as carriers of diseases that can infect a human), there are no dangerously poisonous plants and at least some nutritious ones. Given that, she's likely to figure out what to eat over time, and the only thing that would kill her would be an accident (like, say, falling off a tree she climbed for fruit). She might be malnourished early on, but once she figured out what she could & couldn't eat, she could be quite physically healthy.

    I empathized with the O'Briens in this episode, and I understood the scenes in the holodeck trying to teach the new Molly to speak again. However, I was never really gripped by the episode; I think the director and editor was struggling to keep the episode involving. I'd give this one 2 stars, maybe 2.5.

    While watching this show, the mommy in me took over! I was stuck on how Keiko was not freaking out once Molly fell into the past! They would have to sedate me!

    So I was down with them allowing her to wake up in the cargo area. But the mommy in me knows it's going to take more than tossing balls around and watching her sleep in a tree, to help Molly! Get some professional help for goodness sake!

    Then when she has a mental freak out and stab what's his face.. The mommy in me would wonder "well where the heck did baby girl learn how to do that! What heck went on down on that planet! I would be screaming" GET MY BABY SOME HELP! THIS IS BIGGER THAN US PLAYING CATCH WITH SOME BALLS AND HOPING WE GET MOLLY BACK!

    Then they decide to send her back with a freakin doll and blanket! I was was ticked at that point. The mommy in me would have done one or two - turned around and smacked Miles for coming up with that stupid idea or if that was the only solution to send my baby back to the wild life... We both would have gone! Of course I would take more than a blanket! We would need some phasers and a replicator or two! :p

    Needless to say the mommy in me hated this episode!

    Someone need to call child protective services and report the O'briens as unfit parents. First they take their daughter to a strange planet and allow her to run off by herself. (They could have had a picnic on the holodec)
    Next they finally manage to bring back their daughter after she has spent 18 years of isolation on the strange planet. All they had to do was send back this poor tortured soul and calibrate the machine to rescue the younger child. But let's not do that because the scared, tortured mentally unstable 18 year old would cease to exist and they'd have spared their child from years of trauma.
    Even after they find that their traumatized teen is unfit for society do they think "Let's send her back and rescue her as little Molly? No they're solution is to send her back into isolation and wash their hands of her.
    I wanted to beat them.

    DS9 is on Netfix here in Canada so I have been jumping around watching some episodes. Always good to come back and read Jammer's reviews like I did back in the 90's and other times when I binge watched the series.

    You know, the thing I am thinking now, which I didn't consider back during it's first run (I was in my 20s, now in my 40s) is the right thing would have been for O Brien to resign, get a farm in Ireland, and take Molly there. In 3 - 5 years she would have been an educated productive member of society and he could have come back to Starfleet.

    of course, he needs to be on the show. So, if they must have sent Molly back to the time portal to sell the "letting go of your child" message, then there should have been no return of the 8 year old. They should have had to live with the emotional reprocussions of letting the child go and never seeing her again (which was the point of their decision). Hey, they could have done an O'Brien arc where he was obsessed with finding her and maybe ends up finding the planet and her bones and some artifacts from here life there centuries ago (maybe some art, tools, a shelter, things like that).

    So to me, the issue here is there was no consequence to their decision. Reset buttons suck in Trek and this episode would have been more powerful without it and given some compelling B story plots in a later episdoe or two.

    The technical thing that kills me from the first act on this one, and which I haven't seen anyone mention to my surprise...

    It is revealed at the end that the portal is two-way. Stuff can pass back and forth through it easily. Meaning, Miles or Keiko, or anyone else, *could've* just walked through and returned with Molly, at *any time.*

    Now, you can say they didn't *know* that... but could they really not think of any way to *test* it? Program a flying drone to fly through, then fly back? Nope. It was just... "Molly went through this portal-thing. Obviously, it is one-way."

    If I push that (glaring, imo) issue aside, I liked the episode well enough - I'd agree with 2.5 stars, though I quite liked the Worf sub-plot. Someone complained about Worf being so hard on himself, but to me, Worf was projecting his fears based on the *fact* that he *royally screwed up* with Alexander as a child, a fact that has been forced brought back into focus for him by the recent return of Alexander. He whines and postures to Dax as if he's proving it to her, but really he's wanting to prove it to himself. And in the end, he does, and it's a good little sub-plot for him. I like this B-plot enough to bump the ep's overall rating up to a 3 out of 4, personally.


    Meanwhile in the White House...

    TRUMP: I just read that a classic episode of Star Trek was banned by the previous administration. Ridiculous! We'll bring it back in 3D!

    I liked that the O'Briens had the cat. That was a bit of continuity that we rarely see.

    The B plot was cute. I thought Michael Dorn's acting was excellent in it.

    Those are the only good things I can say about this episode.

    The whole A-plot was an insulting waste of time. In the end, the 18-year-old Molly and her PTSD never had a chance to exist, which is the exact same thing that would have happened if they had just recalibrated and tried again in the beginning.

    Also, recall that O'Brien and many on the crew had zero issues with **thousands** of people not getting a chance to exist in Children of Time. That is, until O'Brien saw a curly-haired redhead like himself and changed his mind.

    The "all women get baby fever when they see a baby" thing was offensive.

    Worf was surprisingly likable here. Keiko for once didn't grate on my nerves. Molly was her annoying self as a child, and now we know, as an adult too. Leave them both in the past, and send in Yoshi and Keiko too.

    Kira isn't having baby fever just because she saw a baby. She carried Yoshi for five months and gave birth to him, that's a deep emotional connection, not insulting by any stretch of the imagination.

    I thought this was a decent episode until the ridiculous ending. Yea let's condemn Molly to eternal solitude because she hadn't adjusted to life in the station in the two whole days since they got her back.


    Made me chuckle as a Brit :D

    Many flaws, especially on the paradox front. Frustrating reset button ending. However on rewatching I see it more as an episode about parenthood and the challenges involved. Not perfectly done, but a mix of serious and light hearted. Doesn't progress anything though.

    (for non-Brits, bollocks is both a swear word and used to describe something as rubbish).

    Yeah the end went totally the wrong direction. Little molly after returning ,once older Molly goes back, should not have been charged at all. that whole time line of older Molly should have been erased once little molly was sent back through the temporal portal on golana. I love temporal mechanics ( but only if they follow thwir own rules they put down). as for sending oldwr Molly back I agree thats a big moral stretch

    2 stars

    THis was boring filler. ds9 should NOT be doing TNG stories and even TNG couldn't make this story work.

    I can't stand this one. My vote for worst ever. I can dig a good time travel episode, Little Green Men still rings true. Others say the Allamaraine 3rd spap, is the eorst but I would take aliens from the gamma quadrant over this snoozer.

    A mixed bag here with some the random time portal device to conjure up a difficult situation for the O'Briens while Worf tries to prove to Dax he's a decent dad. That B-plot did nothing for me -- just filler material here in a "parents/kids" episode meant to provide some levity to balance the A plot of a serious parent's tribulation for the O'Briens.

    Some touching and well-acted moments -- the O'Briens concern for what would happen to big Molly was well portrayed, their genuine attempts to relate to big Molly were too. Sending her back through the portal turns out to be a logical (and convenient) solution although it required some justifiable dirty work. Good scene for Odo to let the O'Briens get away with it.

    But there's a lot not to like about this episode as well. Little Molly just happens to find a poor man's version of the Guardian of Forever time portal on a nearby planet. You'd think the existence of such a phenomenon would be known by the DS9 crew. The ending resolution with big Molly sending little Molly back through and everything being cool -- seems like a stretch given how little intelligent thinking big Molly showed. Did the O'Briens even expect to get little Molly back? I think they were just prepared to continue their lives without her.

    But I think this episode might resonate with parents who have had to deal with difficult children, foster care etc. So why not make DS9's average dude Miles O'Brien have to deal with that?

    2 stars for "Time's Orphan" -- definitely another filler episode -- a contrivance to put Miles O'Brien (and this time with his wife) through the emotional roller-coaster. But it did make me care about what would happen to big Molly after her rampage through Quark's and the prospect of foster care. However, the whole thing is contrived pretty heavily. DS9 has had better time travel contrivance episodes.

    Coming to think of it, DS9 Season 6 has been pretty poor since "In the Pale Moonlight" (5 episodes averaging 1.5 stars by my ratings).

    Loved the first half of the episode, as it was so well-played by the O'briens that I got misty-eyed more than a few times. Losing Molly and then getting back this scared girl who slowly makes a connection with them again hit me right in the heart.

    Hated HATED HATED the second half. Having Molly sent back all alone was so out of character, especially for Keiko. She's a b* most of the time, but she deeply cares about her family. I was so shocked that neither she nor Miles even thought about going with Molly to the special care center to help her reintegrate into society.
    I was even more shocked that they were both sending her back in time, without coming with her. Every parent I can imagine would follow her daughter into the past. I was literally shouting at the screen when put their plan into action.

    Granted, Miles has a duty because of the war, but I would have expected to have at least go Keiko with her. They could still have retrieved young Molly, because even having young Molly interact with her mother again would have probably erased wild Molly. Alternatively, the writers could have used this chance to finally get rid of Keiko :p

    An 8-year-old can wander into a cave and, boom, there's an ancient time travel machine just sitting there? And the machine decides to turn on suddenly?
    And then the DS9 crew can figure out perfectly in a few minutes/hours how said totally alien piece of tech works.

    As a parent, when Molly started to fall, all I could think in my mind was "JUMP". I think most parents would have dived in after their kid, no matter the consequence. It would have been fun to see both Molly and Chief get returned after 10 years and dealing with life afterwards.

    I kind of wished that Adult Molly would have become a part of the cast. Molly reintegrating into society would have brought some interesting stories to the show.

    Heavy episode, I nearly skipped it because I didn't want to watch something really emotionally intensive. But I loved every second of it! I loved that for once the chief was not made to look like a horse's behind. Although Odo did have a point! I also really like Keiko's acting, a very underused actress. I found the episode to be moving on so many levels. Emotionally exhausting, but one of many gems that make DS9 amazing.

    Worf have a second child would be a nice future idea. Alexander, “haven’t you screwed up with me enough?! Stop trying to turn him/her into a warrior!”

    Watching and commenting:

    --Oh, no! MOLLY!! Are we putting O'Brien through the ringer again? Looks like.

    --This makes me think of the way soap operas rapid-age children. Though the approach is different, of course. 

    --Worf is funny with the baby. I like the Worf and Jadzia stuff. I like the O'Brien family, too.

    --Average ep. Older Molly was very pretty.

    My god... I have mixed feelings.

    I like an A/B story after not having one for a while.

    Jadzia and Worf with Yoshi is cute.

    I think that the main plotline is believable, but I see where we fall flat.


    Bashir makes a claim that it's unfair to try again to recieve a younger Molly.

    So we have this whole story that might even make some people cry.

    And it is raw too.


    Make a better starter.

    uugggghhhhh this was a real drag

    At least have Molly go back in time to some interesting civilization that has something to do with the Prophets or gives her some ability or perspective or something. or ANYTHING.

    Its preposterous that such a child would survive in an unpopulated planet and even if hse somehow did she would be INSANE. Like even crazier than on the show. It would be un-filmable and this ep almost was as is.

    And then the ending is just the thing they should have tried right away, except molly does it herself and somehow thats OK. wtf????

    I hope this show picks back up soon. This was a drag....

    This is "only" a 2.5-star episode for me too, but the best thing going for it is the seriousness with which it approaches its difficult subject matter. The whole scenario may be contrived, and the reset button built-in, but the execution all the way is excellent - the performances and score are what make this work, and Michelle Krusiec is excellent in a difficult, largely mute role that's very physical and requires her to convey a lot of emotions just using her face and body language.

    I executed a double skip maneuver on this and the last episode. With trek you start to get an uncanny sense based on the blurb and opening 30 seconds on whether its worth watching an episode, and with this one it was "ehhh The O'Briens and Molly ... skip". The comments seem to confirm this is one to avoid, but why so many weak offerings near the end of a season with so much great dominion plotting? Its giving me mid-season 7 TNG vibes.

    Sub Rosa.....

    This episode I found to be completely unbelievable, and at times so bad it was funny.

    Molly was more than old enough to retain language. She wouldn't have been catatonic. She was old enough to hold onto her memories of her parents. She certainly would have had severe emotional damage, but her language centers and memories were more than well developed enough to retain them for the rest of her life. She may have been able to survive on her own barring the place had no predators or poisonous substances, and she had adequate amount of food supplies and water. But it's hard to imagine she would want to return to that isolation after readjustment.

    Molly falling down the well, I'm sorry, I couldn't help but laugh. I'm a sicko.

    Time's orphan

    Does anyone besides me get tired of keko ordering around the chief all the time? She pats him on the head like a child, tells him he is eating too much and that she is going to do something about him. Can you imagine the estrogen fueled rage fit if the gender roles were 'reversed' in the opening sequence to this episode? I guarantee it would not have passed unnoticed as apparently it has as-is.

    TIME'S ORPHAN IS ON NOW AND I still have not changed my mind
    about it' in fact, I feel worse about it.

    Never cry! No way would I cry about this ridiculous mess. Yeah, mess. No heartbreak. I feel sorry for Yoshi crying his heart out for his parents. (it reminds of the crying baby and babies in THE GODFATHER. That really grates on my nerves when those movies come on t.v. During Dec. 2019 and Jan. 2020 they were run a big bunch.

    As for torture of Miles.....,I am fed up because all his stories are about him being beaten up, he can really make some painful faces when people wrench his arms and shoulders. That hurts me.

    Kira says she wants a baby, that has not got one thing to do with Odo not being human so he can be a Dad. She feels the motherhood "bug", etc.

    And Worf did no raise Alexander because he did not know about the boys birth until Kaylar brought him to the Enterprise in TNG.
    Then Worf did the best he could later on ........ if he had not carried on and on about the Klingon foolishness he woul;d have done better. YOU DO SEE OR HEAR ANY KLINGON'S BLABBERING ABOUT THE IDIOCY WORF BELIEVES. tHEY PROBABLY DON'T CARE BECAUSE WHAT WORF WANTS WENT ON

    Now, YANKS Wed. 8-20-2014 explained how Molly gets back and I can finally understand it after all these years.

    Thanks for time.

    Uh oh. The writers ran out of ideas again and tossed the “Kira or O’Brien” coin. Come on Miles, time to suffer again…

    It’s not a particularly great episode, as it’s hugely contrived. We’re meant to accept that the Miles go for a picnic on a planet right next to where an ancient - and still functioning - time-travel mechanism is located. And then when Molly accidentally triggers the mechanism, we’re meant to believe that an eight-year old girl is able to survive for a decade on an empty planet by herself, while simultaneously managing to lose the ability to talk. On the plus side, she did manage to figure out how to make clothing which handily covered all the areas considered taboo by US network television…

    Overall, it’s a pretty weak episode, even before you consider the further series of contrivances which force Miles and Keiko to return Molly to the planet.

    But, it does have one redeeming feature, in the shape of O’Miles exclaiming “Bollocks!”. It’s a shame it was censored out of the original British airing...

    Introducing: "DS9: Hard Time" but, y'know, for KIDS! If a grown adult at the end of Hard Time had to be talked down from a phaser-based life-ending activity, how much more horrid would this be for someone who went through this at age 8 in complete solitary confinement and without any mature reference for the scope and impact of post-traumatic stress disorder?

    The Writers: "Ooh! KEWL! Dibs!"

    What are the chances that out of all the solar systems, out of all the planets and out of all the locations on the planet , the O’Briens would choose to picnic right by an ancient time portal. That’s still active. And is discoverable by a child. And happens to turn off when she falls thru. Too many coincidences to gloss over that this is just another “let’s mess with Miles” episode.

    Also, I think any parent would at least give the child a chance to adjust in an institution before sending them to live the rest of their life in isolation. If after a year, 2 years, and no change, Miles could always realize she’d never acclimate and send her back after at least trying. It’s not like O’Brien not to try.

    2/4 stars cause it’s like a reverse “Island of the Blue Dolphins” which is a neat concept at least.

    What a waste of an episode.

    I kind of liked the B-story with Worf as a babysitter, but why can't they write him consistently .... or, in the least, have Jadzia call him out? He didn't "raise Alexander" ... he was an absentee father who pawned his child off on his parents when things got complicated! (Yes, he wasn't around for the first few years of Alexander's life, but Worf was aware of Alexander right at the point when a distinct personality was just beginning to form.)

    Yes, it's undeniably cute to see the big tough burly Klingon coping with a fussy human baby, but I was actually annoyed that Worf seemed to get more pure joy from playing with Yoshi than he ever did with his own son. Poor Alexander.

    As far as the main story goes, there was no reason for ANY of this.

    Why the O'Briens didn't IMMEDIATELY re-extract young Molly is beyond me. Bashir's point about them erasing Old Molly's decade of experiences makes ZERO sense because Young Molly was transported back in time 300 years and would already be long dead by this episode. They "changed" her life trajectory just by pulling her back to the present.

    The whole thing is just stupid.

    I have a bunch of other nitpicks I could mention, but since the whole sequence is manufactured meaningless drama, what's the point?

    Well, there is one plotpoint I think is just glaringly implausible: Molly shouldn't have reverted to completely feral behavior. Even without human contact, a person doesn't just "lose" their internal narrator and language skills, 8 years old or not.

    The showrunners should've been focused on the main arc instead of this predictable trope-soap.... maybe then they could've found 30 seconds before the series finished to tell us if Bajor actually joined the Federation.

    This was a complete misfire.

    1 star

    This episode was just an embarrassment. With so many intersecting arcs to resolve in the series and barely a season left to go, the writers treat the poor viewers to a pointless digression.

    After a parents-and-kiddies-in-bed scene, the main curtain rises with the old chestnut of the child-down-the-well horror scenario. Poor Molly, that was just act one. That was not just any old well. It was a portal to a bloomin' Lost World. In act two, she has re-emerged, having turned 18 and we get to witness how she has completely regressed to a pre-australopithecine-level of arboreal primate clinginess. Act three offered us little comfort, as the colored balls piled up. Finally she relents, shows a little trust and gets to go to the family quarters.

    "Just give her a slice of pizza" I thought, she'll like it, but oh no, nothing that logical would be done this time around, pizza, no cake, no applesauce, let's confuse her a little more with a holosuite program featuring her favorite trees and savannah biome. Started out ok, but it was abruptly shut down in a scene which called to mind King Kong being driven mad by those guys with the flash bulbs! Then the stabbing, quickly followed by a child custody drama, with a personal injury lawsuit (or its 24th century equivalent) thrown in for good measure.

    As if that wasn't bad enough, in the whole Federation, not a single social worker could be found! Probably the five remaining qualified psych counsellors in the A-quadrant were doing a lecture session for the Jem'Hadar using a dog-eared copy of the Portable Jung.

    Just as I concluded that the worst was over, the writers pulled out the remaing stops in a scene where 18 year-old Molly discovers herself as the 8 year-old Molly in the well and they have a chat. The 8 year-old Molly we need to have rematerializes, the arboreal-one vanishes and all is made well.

    I give up! Please tell me it was just a bad dream.

    I could barely believe DS9 rolled out this horrible feral child trope cliché. It's a bit more clever than the other 8,000 times it was used as a TV plot, at least to the degree I could tell while fast forwarding through it.

    It's a shame this episode is so terrible, because IMO writer Joe Menosky has created a very good premise. The tragedy of losing one's daughter, and then learning that your daughter's lost whole decades of her life, and then learning that your daughter has essentially disowned you, and then making the decision to "ethically abandon" your daughter...this is pretty heavy emotional and physical torture, and - as much of it is aimed at a child - of a savagery which Trek usually shies away from.

    Miles has been subjected to so much horrible stuff throughout DS9, but "Time's Orphan" seems particularly macabre. I'd love to see this material reworked, because in more competent hands I think some really twisted drama can be wrung out of it.

    Incidentally, it's unfortunate we didn't get more Keiko throughout the series. She was at her best in season 1 and 2, but then seems to disappear, and becomes quite shrill and combative on the few occasions she does return (DS9 has a bad habit of portraying "couples" as always bickering). It's a shame, because she and Miles are one of Trek's rare examples of a long-term couple.

    Watching this episode made me wonder which Trek couple is the best Trek romantic couple. I'm thinking it's Paris/Torres, but Riker/Troi had amazing chemistry, and Sisko/Cassidy was almost perfect too. Odo/Kira didn't work for me at all, and Dax/Worf felt off most of the time (Wolf always felt better with people like K'Ehleyr). Would have liked some Chakotay/Janeway. Tpol/Trip was okay, but let down by ancillary issues. Stamets/Doc likewise. Kirk had sexual chemistry with everyone, so he doesn't count.

    Keiko and Miles, meanwhile, don't really seem to register as a couple to me. They don't seem to have much in common, and she's always AWOL with her plants.

    You forgot tribunal where he was falsely imprisoned, stripped naked and had his teeth yanked out...I noticed in another review you missed that one when listing O'Briens never ending episodes of suffering.

    Unrealistic. An eight year old child would not forget language nor the parents. Even after 10 years. Maybe if she was 2 years old this would be a realistic reaction.

    I'm with Grev up there: The whole premiss is totally preposterous. Ten years of self-sufficient solitude doesn't turn you into an animal, unless you're very, very young.

    Add to that that the episode centers on THE most boring couple on the show, one of whose halves is THE most boring character on the show, and this episode is a total loser.

    Had it on in the background for 10-15 mikes; then skipped to the next installment.

    @Grev and Michael.

    This is quite much the reasons why I get irritated. But this is not the worst example. Had Molly been younger the loosing of her language would have been more realistic.
    I buy the warp and I buy the time travel. But I very much dislike the inconsistency within this universe which seem to be a result of a sloppy script writing.
    I dislike when everything happens, and the universe is saved in the last second. (In this episode Molly started to open up with two balls still left credit for that). The time frames are sometimes very unrealistic. and There are some horrible examples of that in various other episodes.
    In disco they got very few hours to evacuate and solve the problems but spent most of the time having deep conversations, solving old conflicts with other crew members. In strange new worlds Spock did return to earth form Vulcan in shorter time than Pike had from earth. There are many examples.
    All these contradictions would not have been too expensive to get right. I mean it’s just text that they must change. No expensiv sets that needs to be built in order to get it to work.

    The basic idea here was good. I also think Michelle Krusiec made a quite good realisation of that what was given to her.

    They had a quite good concept, a quite acceptable and funny B story. A pity that the script for the A story was not consistent.

    It was odd to have O'Brien say in the beginning that he'd happily relocate away from DS9 for his family, only to have the option of him relocating to be nearer the institution never brought up in the end.

    A few thoughts on this ep:

    Rosalind Chao does some good acting here conveying the emotions of a mother who "loses" a daughter twice.

    Odo was right... I thought that Miles, out of everyone, would be able to carry out the runabout plan undetected.

    One scene was cleverly done... When the O'Briens first meet Molly18, she eventually comes up to them and crouches down. Miles mentions that the girl is likely doing that to recreate how she saw her parents as an 8 year old.

    Plus I was surprised at how easily it was decided to send Molly18 to the looney bin. I kept thinking about what Picard said: "Order a man to hand over his child to the state... Not while I'm his Captain." Yet Sisko seems to think they have no other choice.

    Yanks said, "Before I rate this episode, can anyone explain to me why there was an 8 year old Molly in there when Molly-18 went back through the portal?"

    There was a dialog that Bashir said that basically said Miles made a mistake when he calibrated the time portal and set the older Molly to the same time as younger Molly. A very convenient mistake to be sure, as that allowed the older Molly to send the young one back.

    Nope! every other episode in the history of all star treks forever beat this one. This one made me absolutely cringe in horror. Your daughter is lost for 10 years alone without any human contact , u can’t undo it because it will take away her experiences. Huh? Is there anything you’d want to remember from 10 years of solitary? Ok, so fine, let’s also pretend she even could survive which is incredibly unlikely.
    But anyway, okay, u leave her 18 yrs old with a horrible past, but then you give her a week to adjust, then decide to send her back to live out her life alone? You can’t just live on bajor with a nice backyard. There’s no middle ground: institution or solitary confinement.
    At least they had molly mistakenly eliminate herself so they didn’t actually maroon her there forever, but no, she had no comprehension that she would cease to exist. She would have no idea she’d cease to exist.

    Seriously worst episode ever. No parent would do this

    the A story is another silly one. like, it wasn't just the time travel stuff that felt undercooked, the O'Briens' responses to the events didn't scan either.

    didn't mind the B story, as Worf really felt more true to character as far as continuity with TNG goes - much less stilted and repressed.

    I mean, the main issue is that Molly wouldn't have survived, so everything that followed that premise was fatally undermined

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