Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


2 stars.

Air date: 10/26/1998
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Jonathan West

"Sarina, what are you doing here? How did you get in?"
"It wasn't hard. Your access code only has six digits."

— Bashir and Sarina

Review Text

Nutshell: Extremely neutral. Acted with sincerity, but the story is all too pedestrian.

"Chrysalis" is essentially four acts inspired by "Flowers for Algernon," with a fifth act that departs the general outline of that story but unfortunately comes off as predictable and pedestrian nonetheless.

"Flowers for Algernon," a short story that was made into the film Charly (1968), is about a man with the mental capacity of a child who receives an operation that transforms him into a genius virtually overnight. The story follows him as he sees the world in a new light, and as he finds himself falling in love with his doctor.

"Chrysalis" is a story about Sarina (Faith C. Salie), one of the four "mutants" from last year's "Statistical Probabilities," and how she sees the world after Bashir performs an operation that brings her out of her deep, catatonic introversion. Keeping true to the Charly formula is the fact that Sarina and Bashir become romantically involved. As Bashir tells O'Brien, Sarina is "the woman I've been waiting for all my life."

Well, it's not so big a problem that the story is based on the cliché of "doctor falls for patient"; it's just that I didn't feel I learned anything new about Bashir in seeing this episode. We've seen before that Bashir feels a bond between those who, like himself, are genetically enhanced, and that he feels a sympathy and understanding for these four "mutants" in particular. There just wasn't much in "Chrysalis" that didn't feel like a rehash on one level or another.

In respect to Sarina's condition, there are some reasonably good moments, like the one where she stands on the promenade simply looking at "everything." One gets the sense that her world will be forever changed for the better. But some of the most interesting questions are the ones the story doesn't ask. Questions like: Will Sarina be accepted in society now that she has emerged from her cocoon? What kind of day-to-day psychological challenges would someone face in being overwhelmed by a new world as they perceive it? (Between this and Voyager's "Extreme Risk," it feels somewhat like psychology week for Trek—not that there's anything wrong with that.)

More questions: What's going on in her mind? How does she feel about it? What kind of challenges will she face in integrating into society while totally lacking previous social experience? This last question seems to be addressed somewhat by the fact Sarina doesn't understand the concept of love the way Bashir evidently hopes and expects she would, but there are more interesting questions, I think, that are missed because the story doesn't dig deep enough. Instead, there's too much implicit emphasis (handled discreetly, admittedly) placed on the "suspense" that lies within whether or not Sarina will return to her cocoon, and not in what it means for her to be out of it.

"Chrysalis" is slow, watchable, nicely acted, and quite uninspired. At this point in the series, I expect as given for everything to be "watchable" and "nicely acted." I have nothing against "slow" per se—the problem is that the story is too derivative, too uneventful, and fails to evoke any passion in me as a viewer.

A big part of the problem, I think, is in the story's perspective. Although a key rule in the Star Trek writing guide has always been "keep the emphasis on our regular characters," this is an episode that really should've been told from Sarina's point of view rather than Bashir's. At this point in the series, we know how Bashir reacts to these types of situations, so most of "Chrysalis" as a result comes off as extremely routine. O'Brien and Bashir Talking Things Over™ is always pleasant and well acted, but it's also routine. We needed something fresh here, or at the very least something interesting for O'Brien and Bashir to discuss.

Telling the story from the character who's waking up from decades-long catatonia would've improved things significantly; Sarina is a character with whom we're just enough familiar to care about, yet she also has plenty of uncharted waters to bring a fresh spin to the material. Alas, the "lonely, lovesick Bashir" angle just wasn't worth the time.

Overall, what bothers me most about "Chrysalis" is the obviousness of it all. I have no objections to a story's revelations being telegraphed in scenes leading up to the conclusion. However, when most of the show is essentially telegraphed from the moment the preview aired the week before, we've got a bigger problem. "Chrysalis" is such a case. Once it was clear Bashir would fall in love with Sarina, it became too obvious that the relationship would fail as a result of Bashir getting caught up in the situation and taking things too fast. Besides, as the die-hard formula always goes, no guest character can remain in a relationship with a regular character for more than the duration of a single episode.

The question for me then became just how closely the story would mimic "Flowers for Algernon." Even though the fifth act managed to break away from the "Algernon" tragedy formula, it still wasn't particularly unexpected or insightful.

Meanwhile, the rest of Bashir's crazies (or the "Jack Pack" as they've also been called), seem somewhat wasted. While I'll grant that this story is about Bashir and Sarina, the presence of Jack (Tim Ransom), Lauren (Hilary Shepard-Turner), and Patrick (Michael Keenan) felt more like the obligatory "Okay, let's have some quirky, funny scenes with these four in the tradition of what we did last time" than it felt like relevant use of them as characters. Jack fared the best as the source of adversity (though not nearly as well as in "Statistical Probabilities"), but just who are Lauren and Patrick? The answers, respectively: A sultry woman who finds Nog attractive, and an old guy who wants the furniture in the room to be arranged exactly the same as during their last visit.

Yes, I did enjoy the scene where Jack becomes fixated on stopping the universe from collapsing back onto itself. And the "do-re-mi" scene where the four of them improvise a song makes for a surprisingly effective musical number, even if the sentiment seems a little too proud of itself.

But aside from a few good scenes worthy of mention, "Chrysalis" is precisely the type of show that makes me wonder if the story being told was worth spending the hour upon. I'm all for DS9 episodes that are relevant to the DS9 universe. And I'm all for DS9 episodes that are interesting even if somewhat irrelevant to the core material. But "Chrysalis" simply doesn't have the ends to justify the means. It's certainly not a bad episode, but it really doesn't come with much to recommend either. It's merely there.

Between the less-than-stunning "Afterimage," the totally fluffy "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," and now the predictable and derivative "Chrysalis," I'm beginning to thirst for some crucial DS9. Fortunately, based on the preview, it looks like we're in store for just that.

Next week: A clone of Weyoun defects, and may offer Odo some crucial information. At last, some meat and potatoes.

Previous episode: Take Me Out to the Holosuite
Next episode: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

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Comment Section

65 comments on this post

    Why is it, that in DS9s first season featuring a counsellor among the regulars, I keep thinking: "Deanna Troi would be of help right now!" First Garak in "Afterimage" and now Sarina positively screamed for our lovely Counsellor Troi. Why wasn't Ezri trying to help Sarina? She only seemed to care about Julian - but, as Jammer said: So did the entire episode!

    This is a mostly dull episode, but Patrick's masquerade as an admiral, and the reason it works, is some of the sharpest plain satire DS9 ever did.

    Watched this last night and quite enjoyed it as a second viewing (hated it first time out). Not exactly ground-breaking, but a nice little bit of story for Julian. People seem to fall in love on Trek really quickly, however.

    Definitely not my favourite episode. Like the review says, the episode telegraphs what the conflict is going to be, and what the outcome is from a mile away. It's all too obvious to be engaging.

    That, and the fact that the entire endeavor is pretty much pointless makes this a less than stellar episode. It has no real lasting impact on the series, doesn't really expand on the universe or the story in any way (significant or not).

    I'm always a little disappointed with filler episodes in the final seasons of a show. I kind of expect one bang after another. You have so little time, why not make the most of it?

    A story like this could have been done at any point in the series... even before Julian's genetically enhancements were found out, because as the story is told, it's not really about that - it's more about Julian's loneliness, falling in love too quickly, and him rushing things. Having said that, the show seems a bit late and could have been explored in season 6 instead... or just not at all.

    There is a similarity to a show like Molara as well that makes this ground already covered.

    I've gotta say, I'm a sucker for Bashir romances because he is so much like me in that respect. Serina's character could have been explored a little more (I really don't understand her choice at the end), but she had been my favorite character from "Statistical Probabilities" and I thik this is the first stand-alone Trek romance episode where I actually hoped the two characters would stay together, despite their inevitable separation.

    Durandal, I'm not a doctor, but could you explain what you think Julian did that was unethical? When he and Serina began their relationship she was already no longer under his care, so I really don't see what he did wrong.

    I liked the message of this episode. Who in the male crowd *hasn't* gone chasing after some young and impressionable girl with what they eventually learn to be a misplaced hope of shaping her in his image? (everyone sticks their hands up. Oh well.)

    There was some element of self in this episode, both this and some very heavy shyness on my part which isn't as bad as Serena's or have the same biobabble explanation but still makes me think "where's *my* Bashir?" so I would have to declare some bias.

    I'm afraid I don't see the appeal of the other "crazies", nor did I the last time around. They're extremely annoying and 2 dimensional, bouncing around in an exaggerated fashion like 10 year olds having their first attempt at "acting" in drama class. I can tell they were having fun, which is great, but in general I find these characters cringe-worthy.

    Overall very good for the quiet, careful examination of characters that I can identify with. Not perfect, but good.

    Well, as the review says, regardless of whether this particular episode was predictable, we KNOW that something has to go wrong by the end of the episode because no relationship with a guest character ever lasts!

    So aside from gripes about the predictability of this episode, there's a much wider complaint to be made about what is basically becoming a formula.

    Yes, we saw some of this in Melora but at least this time Julian had reason to think it might turn out well - Sarina was similar to him because they were both genetically enhanced. I liked this because I thought the characters were true to form -- I especially liked how Sarina simply did not know what she felt and was overwhelmed.

    I also thought the musical morsel, although of course very unlikely, was wonderful.

    I like this one despite its obvious flaws. Serena is an interesting character and the story is enough about her to keep my attention.

    Bashir violated a cardinal rule of doctor-patient relationships by getting romantically involved with Sarina. He is not emotionally mature enough to be a doctor, even though technically he is a good one, and he is compassionate.

    Sisko and Kasidy Yates is one example of a relationship with a guest star lasting more than one episode.
    I think this episode departs from Flowers for Algernon in that the main character does not regress back to her previous state - she only pretends to, so it's far less tragic.

    IMHO, it would have been a lot better if they brought Sarina back later in the season and had her & Bashir start back up where they left off. It would have made more sense than having him and Ezri get started up so suddenly.

    I have to disagree with you a bit Jammer.

    What this episode offered that was new was a more in-depth focus on Bashir's lonliness, which fits with how he's changed (and yet not changed) over the years and the direction they end up taking with him.

    Yes they'd touched on the loneliness before (more as a way of tying up the Jadzia story) but this showed how easily he was able to slip into a blind and moderately unethical relationship with a patient that is struggling to come to terms with a new world and a new life.

    That said, I agree with a lot of your other points.

    Around 2.5 or 3 for me.

    I think this one is a bit underrated. It's all about being alone, even when you have friends.

    This group is by definition alone in the world. All they have is each other and the nice singing scene shows how much they are in harmony despite their differences (I'll take this ten times over a Vic singing scene :p). They're like a dysfunctioning family but with a lot of love, they'd do anything for one another and that's what keep them going. They accept one another for what they are when everyone else have rejected them (they are what the society wants to hide although they could be useful in scientific projects).

    Bashir is lonely and in need of company, that's what made him blind. Whoever that's been lonely once, knows how easily you can fall in love. What Bashir did wasn't unprofessional - he's stopped treating her and let another doc continue; besides, he's not his shrink either - it wasn't very enlightened due to his need to fill his loneliness.

    Although, I would have liked to see this kind of romance develop on a long term (B-plots, like Miles/Keiko) instead of forgetting it ever happened for the rest of the season.

    I am a little surprised to see that no one seems to realize what this episode was all about: it is a counterpiece to "Melora".
    "Melora" was based on "The Little Mermaid", but in the end the heroine decided to be herself and not to give up her natural gifts.
    "Chrysalis" is based on "Sleeping Beauty", and here, too, we have a more modern, not to say feminist interpretation of the fairy tale. After waking up, the sleeping beauty does fall in love with her rescuer, only after a while she realizes that she is beginning to revolve around him, to try to be what he wants her to be, mostly out of gratitude; so it becomes obvious she must learn to be herself and live her own life first and foremost. Julian, also having a more modern approach, understands and lets her go.

    DS9 shows that Star Trek is going with time - even in a newly told fairy tale, the woman is no longer satisfied with a partner; she first wants and needs to love herself, because otherwise her love for whoever is by her side will be frail and, in the end, not truthful. An admirable new interpretation of two fairy tale classics.

    I understand the sentiment that in the final season, we have too much going on to waste an episode.

    But I'm not so sure it was a waste. It was a good follow-up to the previous episode, and as one-episode love stories go, not bad at all.

    It won't make my Top 10 DS9 list. It won't make my Top 20. But all in all, another good DS9 hour.

    I understand it's predictable but something about this one really gets to me. The two actors have a great, believable chemistry. Actually I think Siddig doesn't get enough credit, he turned into a fine actor as the show went on, given the awful first season stuff.

    Also this episode deserves credit for having O'Brien say, in a Star Trek Romance Episode(TM), "don't you think things are moving a bit fast?" (!) Compared to what, every other romance in this universe? Ha!

    Also I found her reasons for leaving quite moving. This is all new, she has no idea what she's doing, the idea of taking time to figure herself out before taking on a relationship is far more emotionally complex than Trek romances typically are. Kudos.

    But as said above, I wish she came back for Bashir after a year, rather than having the whole Ezri thing happen. There was always something awkward about that pairing. I'm sure he loves her for who she really is and all that, but it still *looks* too much like "second time lucky", feels creepy somehow. Like a man's wife dying and him marrying her twin sister or something.

    The writers made Bashir into a creeper in this one. The poor girl wakes up from a catatonic state, is experiencing everything for the first time, and all Bashir can do is try to get into her pants.

    The musical sequence and the "we must save the universe!" subplot lift this one for me. I thought it was one of Trek's best romantic episodes, though the ending was weak.

    In face of the previous abysmal episodes in this season (and most didn't even have any magictechnobabble going on), this current one that would usually be a bad episode normally ends up standing as above-average. Sad times for DS9.

    Good pieces here and there, like the musical scene as a refreshment. Nice acting by both lovers. Sad interesting tone. But overall, in fact uninspired as Jammer has said. And totally forgettable.

    I could not be any less interested in a episode, and I spent 90% of it on my phone. Really hope this isn't the last Julian Bashir episode because the guy deserves more than this.

    Who decided the genetic crazies needed a new episode? They weren't all that interesting last time and they aren't now.

    Also, did anyone notice the kind of homosexual undertones with O'Brien and Bashir in this episode. Miles sounded alot like a jealous house wife.

    The scene with the four "mutants" breaking into improvised song must be one of the most annoying scenes in Star Trek history. The "mutants" themselves are likewise some of the most annoying characters ever to appear on Star Trek.

    Only one star from me, a very safe boring and totally predicatble effort. Only saving graces were O'Brien getting to say "you cannot change the laws of physics", the singing sequence and pretty good effort by all the actors involved despite being given absolutely nothing to work with by the script writers....

    Feels like the A team script writers were away (hopefully writing up the end of the season) and the B team had to resubmit their stuff which had previously been rejected.

    Patrick impersonating an ADM!!! LOL!!! “That’s a stupid question too” :)

    Hey Sisko, Star Fleet isn’t interested in someone dressing up as an ADM… especially one of this group.

    I'm glad they brought the "mutants" back. They are an enjoyable bunch to watch for an episode.

    I'm glad Bashir was able to cure Sarina. Faith Salie's acting as Sariana comes to life was fantastic.

    But this episode takes a HUGE nose-dive because Bashir .... I mean for gods sake. This is worse than Dax wanting to throw everything away in Meridian.

    I would have given this episode a 3 star rating, but I can't. Bashir's transgressions knock it down to 2 stars.

    Do the writers even give a shit anymore?

    Are there any standards left on this show?

    I found the musical number to be cheesy as hell. I couldn't even watch it all the way through.

    On a side note, the current consensus among cosmologists is that the universe will keep expanding forever, not implode, but the writers can't be blamed for that, as this was written in the 90's.

    This episode was really about the work of the hair and make up department on Faith Salie, the subtle difference between the no make up make up to being catatonic.

    @ Hlau,

    Agree!!!! Part of what made her transformation so fantastic!

    So this poor girl breaks out of her shell and Bashir asks her to stay aboard crappy DS9? Let her go, man. Despite Sarina not understanding love, she still seems to socialize pretty well. That kills it for me entirely, and all so Bashir can have an uncreepy romance that still ends up uncomfortable. Another 40-minute romance that goes nowhere and affects nothing.

    1 star. Maybe worse than either "Resurrection" or "Meridian".

    @ Eric: "I found the musical number to be cheesy as hell. I couldn't even watch it all the way through. "

    It started off that way for me too, but as it goes on it's actually an extremely complex musical piece. Very hard to pull off IMO, I think the actors did a great job with it.

    Not a BAD episode, but like somebody else above said it wouldn't make my top 20 or 30. Much better than cross-dressing Quark or Worf's Risa shenaneghans.

    I'm surprised at seeing all these people, in the DS9 section of all places, saying "We all know that in Star Trek a romance with a guest star can not last beyond the episode." Umm... how about a few times earlier in this show? Like... Vedick Berile(sp?) and Major Kira, Shakaar and Major Kira, Garack and Gul Dukat'e daughter, or Captain Sisko and Cassidy Yates?

    To be fair I will admit that some of the guest stars here blur the line between what is a "guest character"/"Guest star" and a "recurring" character whose significance in the series and the number of episodes they are used in kind of places them in their own category distinct from the stereotypical Guest Star category that is common to the other Star Treks. But then again this was the second time we saw Sarina so she's not exactly in the one-off guest character category either. This topic does remind me of on aspect of DS9 that helped endear me to the show, it's use of character types, (1) The character who is truly recurring and not just appearing in just two-three episodes across seven seasons, appearing for at least a few episodes over the course of multiple seasons (Z'hael(sp?), Berile, Brunt, Michael Eddington, etc) (2) The characters who go beyond being simply "recurring" in my mind and are more like "supporting" characters like Cassidy, Admiral Ross, Kai Winn, Jake Sisko... oh wait for some reason he was officially a "regular" and "star"... at least according to the show's credits and payroll (3) Chatacters who while not on the "regular cast" but are prolific enough and important enough to the show and are seen often enough to make them quite iconic to the show like Gul Dukat, Weyoun, and (4) Characters who in my mind are more like "pretty much main characters but less used than the central group, including Garack and Nog, both of who in my mind by the show's peak, ie. say seasons 4/5-7 are more rightfully called main characters then Jake and are as interesting or more than some of the other stars (Nog was basically part of the senior staff by season 6, and Garack is both IMO the most interesting character and my favorite character, with Nog also being one of my favorites and quite interesting whose arc I really enjoyed and don't find it hard to believe unlike some.

    Nog experienced growing up on a station run by Starfleet with human friends; seeing the constant struggle for profit and what a small percentage of Ferengi are successful enough to be happy from getting wealthy, seeing how the human Star Fleet officers are content and happy from having interesting jobs and a purpose, serving th greater good, being part of something larger than themselves, being the "important people" in the community, and living quite comfortably with no needs going unmet despite not being able to buy their own moons or slave girls, would I think greatly effect and impressionable kid, especially with a human for a best friends (remember how psychologically our peers in our adolescence have more influence on our beliefs then even our parents, at least in many ways, and Nog had no Ferengi peers- only his uncle and "failure" father), so for him joining Starfleet fits the pattern of teenage-early 20's rebellion and drive to find one's own path, and like those who grow up in small towns and along with their peers vow to not turn out like their parents and to "Get out of ______ [town name]" it is easy to see Nog not finding the life of his father or even his uncle that enviable and vowing to take a different path. Also the writers realistically showed how initially upon moving to this cultural community that contrasted sharply with own Nog resisted assimilating and felt conflicted about his inclinations to act more human, like learning to read/studying in secret, but also at first used arrogance and an "I'm cooler than/above all of you" attitude initially as a defense mechanism to the daily assault on his previous values and drive to stay true to his old ways, but like the bright (and somehow cute, at least to me, despite being a Ferengi... Wouldn't have thought it was possible) young man he is eventually can't continue to pretend to believe the greedy shallow values of his elementary years offer a better chance of happiness and a rich fulfilling life then the Federation/Statfleet values of the community of DS9.

    Count this one of the callbacks I would least have wanted to see. The Sarina story is actually handled well, and with a strong performance at the heart of it. But Bashir's approach to all this seems just... wrong. Impressionable, innocent girl needs man to show her how the world works? I'm your guy! It's all a bit on the nose. 2 stars.

    This episode has some commonalities with "Melora," five seasons earlier, which was not exactly a success at the time. Bashir finds woman who needs his help, another lonely soul like him; he "fixes" her with his genius medical skills; then he believes that she can fix him; she can't. End. In its broad strokes, the story (there and now) fits how I read Bashir's character, with his (genetically enhanced) intellect and medical ability as the tools he uses to attempt to erase feelings of worthlessness that probably stem from him being the child who *had* to be "fixed" himself, and he just ends up more alone. For its flaws as an episode, "Melora" at least had Bashir starting a romance with a woman who showed evidence that she could navigate the world without depending on him, even if he took increasing her mobility as a personal mission. Here, we get the romantic close-up with Bashir falling for Sarina when she's singing a song, within a few hours of her (according to this episode) first being able to interact with the external world at all. He moves in for the kiss within a few days, and seems unable to process how his I-love-you-let's-be-together-forever sentiments might read as oppressive to a woman who has already communicated to him that she owes him everything. It's okay because he is no longer her doctor -- that's Dr. Girani! -- whom we never meet and has no involvement when Sarina apparently recedes into her shell. I think the idea is that Sarina's hypercompetence at navigating the social world fools Bashir into thinking she is ready for a relationship, but I still don't think I believe that he would be that easily fooled. Bashir's behaviour would still be totally inappropriate in season one or two, but it might have been in character then, but has he not grown at all in these intervening years? Did he learn nothing from "Melora," or the number of occasions -- "Hippocratic Oath," "The Quickening," "Statistical Probabilities" -- when his passion for a new project and belief in his unassailable intellect led him quickly to disappointment? I don't really understand how someone with enough medical training to understand and cure Sarina's condition could believe that a few days are enough not only to learn to communicate but to be in this type of soulmate perfect relationship, even with the rationalizations that Bashir has on hand ("we're genetically engineered, we do everything fast" etc.). To the extent that it is believable that Bashir would jump into this relationship, that evidence of Sarina falling apart would not clue him in at all suggests a kind of cluelessness and resilience of self-absorption that go very far beyond Bashir's usual and, again, run contrary to his character development over these years.

    Sarina herself makes the episode more or less watchable. The episode cheats a little by rewriting how she behaved in "Statistical Probabilities" to get to here (she could interact with the world in "SP" and did, twice, it was just difficult). But anyway, her rapid transformation is surprisingly convincing, as is the heartbreaking way she retreats to her former static state when she is overstimulated or, as in the case when Jack attacks her after she says she cannot change the cosmological constant, when she sees that people actually preferred her when she did not speak. The song is very cute. The scenes with Jack and the others are okay, though I agree with Jammer that there isn't much sufficiently interesting for them, especially Lauren and Patrick.

    But still, this episode is about Bashir more than it is about Sarina, and on that level I think it is a failure. 1.5 stars.

    I guess it is also possible that this Sarina thing is Bashir's particular way of dealing with Jadzia's death, finding himself a new "exceptional" woman to dote on, this one who, he on some level probably recognizes, if not altogether consciously, owes him so much that she feels guilty rejecting his advances. Sigh. Much of the episode's problem is how hard it pushes Sarina to appear "normal" and competent to make it convincing that Bashir would overlook how vulnerable she (rather obviously) is -- apparently no family besides the genetically engineered misfits she feels the need to clam up around, very little interaction with the outside world, only able to speak or walk around for a few days, in desperate need of some sort of support and protection. And even there, Sarina didn't seem that good at even faking interest in a romantic relationship out of guilt. Even if Julian's medical training does not include rudimentary psychology, shouldn't Ezri's counseling include concern about unhealthy relationships? Anyway, Jadzia's death at least makes some sense to me as a reason for Bashir to, from my perspective, regress, though it may simply be that he would have fallen into this trap at any point in the series (and maybe still would forty years hence).

    What breaks this episode for me is that Bashir would go from reanimating his coma patient on day 0, to putting the moves on her on day 2, that makes no sense. It's repulsive that his character couldn't control himself.

    Jesus Christ, that singing episode was utterly cringeworthy, the people in the next room were wondering what in the hell I was watching.

    I can't decide whether this episode was more stupid or more offensive.
    Apparently Bashir skipped the ethics classes in med school.

    Even if it weren't utterly disgusting for Bashir as her doctor and really her creator to date Sarina, the fact that he couldn't wait to get into her pants (or, weird dress in this case) was just gross. Sure, promise to show the universe to someone who has been able to interact with her surroundings for three days, but then plan to bring her to a sex planet! Great!

    I did think of Flowers for Algernon as I watched this episode. But I also thought of TNG's The Perfect Mate, in which a young woman's sole purpose is to please whatever man happens to be nearby. At least this one had a better ending.

    Stupid because Sarina's characterization was utterly unrealistic. I could not suspend my disbelief for a second.

    Alexander Siddig seemed equally put off by the episode, as he kept stumbling over his lines.

    So....Bashir is finally outed as a sexual predator who grooms/creates his victims.

    Serena is essentially a 3-day-old child (based on her experience of the world) who wants to be the woman Bashir wants her to be. As noted above: Gross.

    Once she does manage to get back into her cocoon (probably to escape being molested by Bashir), he jumps right back in trying to build her back up again as his perfect pedo bride.

    Also, WTF is up with the character of the sexed up mutant? She's smart, socially aware, and...her mutation just made her slutty? Oh, the horror! A sexually assertive smart lady. Reason enough to lock her up with Wilford Brimley, autistic Ethan Hawke, and Echo's mute kid sister!

    Finally, when will Bashir and O'Brien finally get it on?


    I agree with you here concerning Bashir Gooz. I still can't really believe this got past anyone in charge of DS9.

    Now I can't say I'm with you concerning Lauren... what's to dislike? .. a brilliant sexy woman? :-)

    Are we judging age of consent now by mental age? There's a ton of people out there whose mental age doesn't align with their biological age, GFL testing for it and then enforcing it.

    Also she was catatonic, not a newborn, she did thwart Jack's plan last time remember? Are you saying a newborn can defeat the dominion?

    Bashir's actions here could be frowned upon (just wait, this isn't the magic sentence you feel it is) but history has quite a large number of cases where doctors have fallen in love with a patient, how we react to that lack of professionalism is still ultimately "tribal" (if marry, ok, if just sexual fling, evil).

    Bashir has stated how hard life is at times around those who mentally can't keep up with him, it's why he enjoyed working with these 4 last time around (much to O'Brien's "uncomplicated" chargrin) and after Jadzia's death that loneliness has increased.

    I don't doubt his feelings here and to be honest the object of his affection is quite pretty and many a man would've taken advantage of her with her being socially naive (remember Quark owns a book called "Oomax for fun and profit").

    However I didn't like this episode because frankly I wanted to get back to the war. I understand DS9 needed to break from the war for character development (plus, no war stops life completely - skirmishes do but wars can drag on for years) but I felt the reprieve was a tad too long and to be honest this could have been a four star episode and I probably would've been a philistine towards it because my mind was focused on getting back to the war.

    Real Ric,

    His feeling here shouldn't matter. He should be grown up not to act on them.

    { Jesus Christ, that singing episode was utterly cringeworthy, the people in the next room were wondering what in the hell I was watching. }

    Yes. It was both too long - I kept wondering "when the f will this end?" and too short - there's no drama whatsoever in taking all of 20 seconds to improve from awful to amazing, and there's no drama in that this improvement is just in staying on pitch (rather than any of the 673 things that would be more important for her life at this moment). And it was done more to show off a silly singing sequence (we haven't had enough show-stopping songs yet in seasons 6 and 7 already?!) rather than to showcase any of Sarina's life. If we had got to see in more detail how her genetic abilities help her adapt and learn quickly, that would been much better.

    This was one of the fisrt DS9 episodes I ever saw as a kid. Part of me found it really boring, but at the same time, even as a kid, I really appreciated how the episode ended with Sarina clearly stating "I don't know what love is" (yet). The only bigger cliche than "love interest of the week" for a TV show is "instalove with someone who barely understands human interactions yet but somehow has no trouble picking out their soul mate in the span of one adventure." I liked how this ended realistically, and taught Bashir a lesson about his selfish romantic advances on a woman who wasn't ready for them.

    My 11-or-whatever-year-old-self also enjoyed the "save the universe! We only have thirty trillion years!" bit and the "that's a stupid question!" gag.

    And on a completely unrlated note, are there any other Channel Awesome fans here who think Jack reminds them uncannily of the Cinema Snob?

    I think I know what DS9 was hoping to achieve with this episode but it didn't work for me. Really slow paced with some seemingly arbitrary condition/behavior from Serena to move the plot along. I think it works that Serena could be the right companion for Bashir given the genetic enhancement etc. At some times, she did come across as nearly perfectly "normal" and a suitable girlfriend.

    But if the episode just comes down to Bashir trying to move a relationship along too fast and that spooks Serena -- it sure took a long buildup and it's not really interesting stuff ultimately. Not really moving or poignant either.

    Serena's transformation is pretty miraculous considering how beyond help the other genetically enhanced people are. It's basically creating some kind of moral/selfish dilemma Bashir. But if we're supposed to learn something new about Bashir, then the episode fails. We know he's a compassionate doctor but who also is very lonely, which can impair his judgment.

    I could tolerate the characters in "Statistical Probabilities" but here they were starting to get annoying -- Serena being the exception, of course. I'm shaking my head as the genetically enhanced people sing "Do Re Mi..." Just went on for too long as Bashir began to develop feelings for Serena -- an example of the poor pacing in this episode.

    1.5 stars for "Chrysalis" -- just kind of meh as an episode. I would have liked to have seen some improvement in the condition of the genetically enhanced people, but at least Serena is not going to be spending anymore time with the "Jack Pack" -- sort of a happy ending even if ultimately she realizes she doesn't know how to love or whatever. I guess this episode is pretty inconsequential in the end -- a different kind of fluff piece than "Take Me Out to the Holosuite".

    5 episodes into DS9 S7 and my average rating is 1.8 stars -- not a great start to the final season.

    It's annoying to see a couple commenters think that just because Bashir and O'Brien have emotions for each other, they should just 'get it on'. Friendships include love, jealousy, annoyance, sacrifice, etc. Doesn't mean it's sexual. It's a great example of a great friendship.

    The cringe factor in the Do-re-mi and imploding-universe scenes were well over 9000. This one barely makes it to 1 star.

    Terrible terrible episode. The singing, Bashir basically abusing the young catatonic girl the moment she started talking. .5 out of 4 stars.

    According to the compendium, Faith Salie trained in singing at Harvard, so it was by coincidence put to use because apparently the producers did not know about it. An check out her resume in the 20 years since this episode. Wow.

    2 stars

    Didn’t really need to revisit Jack Pack. And if you are do something grander tied to war than as yet another tired romance story involving Bashir. Especially in the final season

    I'm surprised so many hated this episode. I didn't think it was so bad and actually liked all the mutants. So many star trek characters are wooden and formulaic, but the mutants aren't.

    For those interested, the main actress has an interesting background on this episode which you can read here:

    Not so great. A return of the stereotypes: the Manic One, the Nympho, the Childlike One, the Catatonic One. . . and introducing Julian Bashir, as the Lonely One.

    He's so lonely, he can't maintain his professionalism with his vulnerable, fragile patient. Ugh.

    Lots of silly. I did like that Sarina had the strength, in the end, to set off to make her own life, so points for that.

    Below average.

    @ Aaron, thanks for providing the link to that article. It was interesting reading.

    IMO the singing was significant because it showed that these chaotic personalities could come together for a few minutes to give the viewer something intricate, difficult, and beautiful.

    The episode as a whole was predictable, but more interesting than the stupid baseball episode. I'd give it a B-

    Oh goody. The genetically-engineered comedy-characters are back.

    I’m not quite sure if I enjoyed the two episodes these characters appeared in. As previously mentioned, they’re an odd mix: intelligent to the point of being weakly godlike (to quote Charles Stross) while being unable to bring that intelligence to bear to help them fit into society, leaving them to behave like children. They’re fey, and just as likely as any mythical demi-god to bestow curses as blessings.

    This episode also brings a distinctly disturbing element into Bashir’s personality, as he decides to try and form a romantic relationship with his patient while she’s still recovering and while she’s still under his care.

    In some ways, it makes sense. After all, if Bashir is just as weakly godlike as his fey compatriots, then baseline humans must mostly seem like untrained monkeys; to meet someone who he can interact with as an equal must be a breath of fresh air.

    But at least in our relatively primitive 20th century timeline, a romantic relationship between a doctor and their patient is considered as gross misconduct in most countries, and I find it hard to believe that 24th Century medical ethics would view things differently.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed that the writers decided to go down this path. It would have been different (if perhaps overly cliched) if Sarina had fallen for Bashir, and he’d then had to choose between his ethics and his heart.

    As it is, any enjoyment which can be derived from this episode has to be counterbalanced by the fact that Bashir is frankly being creepy.

    Deathly dull. Pat TV storytelling that never gets referenced again for the rest of the series, *in the series' final season*, might I add.

    The lack of emotional investment from me can best be summed up by my reaction to one of its final scenes, wherein Chief O'Brien invites a dejected Bashir to dinner to try to cheer him up.

    O'Brien: "Keiko's making tempura."
    Bashir: "No thanks."


    Lol... I really like tempura

    Bashir did cross an ethical line by getting romantically involved. His loneliness is no excuse. I noted a contradiction in Trek technobabble in this one. O'Brien says that precision at the synaptic level is impossible due to "quantum fluctuations", ie that he can't break the laws of physics, yet transporters are routinely capable of precision down to the atomic level (if not lower), and O'Brien himself said in TNG that transporters have "Heisenberg compensators", something he apparently forgot about.

    Unlike a lot of people here, I don't see anything Bashir did as unprofessional or immature. Once he realised he liked Serina, he let another doctor take over her care. I'm sorry they didn't work out. I think the series should have ended with them getting married-I thought she liked him too. I understand that she needed time to process everything, so I agree with those earlier who said that she should have come back at the end of the year

    I liked this episode until Bashir fell for her - so right up until he was seeing her home after the get together.

    I would have had her (once away from his friends) comment on finding them dull and slow. Bashir gets surprised because he actually likes his friends, but Sarina then breaks down why Bashir often seems like a bit of a dummy himself when it comes to social interactions (because he frequently does when he's not being called on to do complex maths by the writers).

    Basically he's spent so long blending in that he does it automatically, and she can see him almost physically coming back up to speed when he's with other enhanced individuals. She even points out that he's gotten so used to it that he does it when he's alone (working on that virus cure for months when it took her at most an hour of reading his work to solve it - they are supposed to be on the same level after all, and he's a qualified doctor).

    I'd then have her decide to leave and find somewhere 'better' but asks him to come with her and he refuses, citing the war as well as genuine like for his friends. He then warns her not to become dangerous out there while seeking a place to belong and she says something like 'so others don't fear me?' and he tells her no, because if she does he will have to find and stop her.

    She then leaves, Bashir's left wondering if he did the right thing, and there's no sappy love story that we all know wasn't going to make it past the credits.

    Anyway, if you scrolled this far, thanks for reading my impromptu fanfiction.

    Most of this episode is ok. I hated that extremely LONG do re mi singing. AND I still don't understand the character of "Lauren"....she's genetically enhanced for intelligence.....but what is her side effect that makes her too dangerous to herself or others that she must be locked up...?..super "horny" isn't really a thing on par with jacks manic insanity, Patrick's childlike social and self care limitations or Serena's catatonic state.

    Regarding ethics, etc., come on, guys, are we new here? Surely it became obvious eons ago that ethics are in the service of the story. Such hallowed, lofty, vaunted precepts as noninterference, nonaggression, medical integrity, prohibition of the use of chemical weapons, and so on are ignored or bent when The Cisco and Friends decide there is a Greater Good™ to be achieved by ignoring or bending them. In the scheme of things, Bashir's transgressions in this regard hardly rank up there in terms of egregiousness.

    Serena has a beautiful smile 🥰 Putting that aside, I'd so much rather have her (and the entire four-strong freaks contingent) as permanent characters than Dax v.8.0, if only to distribute the load among more people. Heck, I could even stomach her and Bashir embarking on some kind of a fauxmance.

    Anyone notice that Bashir didn't brush his teeth after waking up and before reporting for duty? Is dog breath S.O.P. in the 24th century or does he (do they all!) have some high-tech. super-duper odor eliminator built into their mouths? LOLzies!

    Overall, I quite liked this one. The story is kinda lackluster and the whole execution pretty lightweight, but it wasn't boring and parts were actually quite sweet.

    Agree with the Flowers/Charly/Awakenings comparison, but if you’re going to pay homage to them, I would’ve rather they embraced the tragic end of those stories than the watered down wrap-up we got with this.

    And can we stop already with the extended singing sequences? They’re a cheap/lazy way to burn up air time. I noticed they started doing this with the Vic Fontaine character, too. I love James Darren, but one or two verses please, not the whole dang song!

    So... in every medical district I'm aware of, ethics forbid a doctor from getting into a personal relationship with a patient unless: 1) The doctor and/or patient have formally ended their professional relationship, in writing; 2) 6 months to 1 year have elapsed (amount of time depends on the district, but there's always a minimum time frame).

    Although it is never directly stated that the professional relationship is ended, it is implied when Serena relapses and Bashir is not the doctor caring for her. However, their personal relationship commenced immediately after Bashir treated her. So yeah... this is a major ethical problem.

    The reason for the minimum time is because there may be a professional bond between doctor and patient that distorts the importance and gravity of the relationship. For example, if a doctor saves a patient's life, the patient may become very attached to the doctor and this could create the illusion of an intimate relationship, but it may just be a trauma bond. Even if there is no trauma, a natural closeness develops between doctor and patient because of the intimacy of the medical procedures involved: doctors have physical contact with patients, there is empathy and compassion involved, it is a caring relationship. A natural pull between the two people may develop, and it's the doctor's job to maintain professional integrity because they are the one with the power and training to recognize when boundaries are in jeopardy.

    I found it cringeworthy that Serena's entirely new sensory world was intruded upon by Bashir's romantic interest, even if his interest was totally understandable. He's lonely and had no cognitive equal in life... but that doesn't excuse the ethics of this. It's like he had no personal or professional boundaries. Serena was vulnerable as she adjusted to her new reality, and she was obviously so extremely grateful to Bashir that a personal bond formed immediately. As the person with the power, it was Bashir's job to navigate that ethically, and he failed to do so.

    I realize it would've been impossible to drive this story line without violating medical ethics, but I think the writers had a duty to try and go about this the right way. It would have helped if even one character - say, Ezri - said to Bashir, "You two should really take this slow and give Serena a lot of breathing room because she is experiencing a lot right now." But nobody does this. Bashir and Serena just glide into dating life together with everyone's full support.

    It was difficult for me to fully enjoy this episode because of that. As someone who works in medicine, I had many WTF moments watching this.

    One thing I really enjoy about this site and reading the comments is observing how societal norms change over the years. I get the sense that when it aired, Bashir trying to hook up with a (former) patient was fine, or at least in the 24th century it's fine. Watching it in 2023 however, and it felt wrong right from the start. Even though Bashir's reasoning makes some sense. But, man, wait. Let her go out into the world and discover herself. Instead he's planning the wedding on day 3 of her recovery.

    Also, I couldn't shake the idea that The Jack Pack is really a band of travelling thespians.

    @Robert - at least O'Brien tried to slow Bashir down, but I agree that Ezri's role as a counsellor should have been way more important in this episode.

    Jammer, I have to disagree with you that Lauren's character was wasted in this episode. I thought the care she showed towards Sarina added nice depth to her character. She was the only one who showed overt affection for Sarina. Jack was focused on helping her but also on making her stay with them, whereas Lauren was the one who put her foot down about telling Bashir what was going on with her.

    They should have completely cut the offensive romance plot from this one. I would have liked to see another scene with Sarina and the other "mutants" where Jack wasn't allowed to intimidate her into silence again - say, with Patrick and Lauren while Jack was sleeping, or had stormed off. Watching them all sing together was really nice, just like the scene where they were all dancing together in their last appearance.

    Like @Sal said above, it would have been interesting if Sarina's "insights" into Bashir's friends would have left something to be desired, rather than just stating the obvious about the characters. There's so much more we could have explored with Sarina, like the scene where she was overstimulated in Quark's. I really liked her as a character setting off on her own. At least this episode showed Bashir to be in the wrong, but yeesh, they could have made this a great episode about them bonding without an icky romance.

    Another cringeworthy episode. I wish they hadn’t made bashir so creepy as I ordinarily like his character.

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