Since we finally bit the bullet and signed on with Netflix, I decided it was high time to re-watch my favorite Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine. There are a few rough patches, but I enjoyed S1 quite a bit more than I anticipated.
Some general thoughts first. Bashir was so annoying at first, wasn’t he? I don’t know how O’Brien put up with him long enough to become friends. I did enjoy Dax’s bemused handling of his ‘attentions’ however. Kira’s strident nature cooled though I thought that fit with her pretty well anyway. I’d actually forgotten how important Keiko’s school ended up being. The episodes are all standalone, for the most part, but did do a solid job of introducing or fleshing out some of the characters and races (like the Ferengi and Trill). Oh, and it was kind of difficult to see how much abuse was heaped on Nog early on. And how Rom could transform from such a poor father to a sympathetic character.
I’ll list some individual thoughts on each episode:
- Episode 1 and 2 – Emissary (two parter): A great start to the show. Some action, some mysticism, and deep thinking. Really liked having Picard as the link from TNG to DS9, and how it fit with Sisko’s background.
- Episode 3 – Past Prologue: This episode gives you some detail on Major Kira, and the Bajoran occupation. Helpful if you don’t remember everything from the Ensign Ro episode of TNG, and it provides a base for the three-episode arc to start season two. The most notable part of this episode is the introduction of Garak, the Cardassian tailor left behind when his people abandoned their occupation. He’s a favorite of mine. Also features the Duras sisters, which I’d forgotten.
- Episode 4 – A Man Alone: Odo is accused of murder, after a crime only he could commit appears to have taken place. A good character look at Odo, and his personal philosophy. Also introduces Keiko’s school, and the Jake/Rom friendship, both of which become important later.
- Episode 5 – Babel: An aphasia virus, spread by the food replicators, ravages the station. It’s from a failed attempt to sabotage the station by the Bajoran resistance 18 years before. Your typical ‘find the cure just in time/medical jargon’ episode, notable mostly for showing some touching moments between Jake and Benjamin Sisko.
- Episode 6 – Captive Pursuit: A hunted alien becomes friends with O’Brien. They help him escape, of course.
- Episode 7 – Q-Less: Q’s only appearance on DS9, along with Vash, the treasure hunter Picard romanced on Risa. She tries to auction off Gamma quadrant merchandise, but the most valuable item turns out to be a life form that drains power from the station. Best known for Sisko punching out Q.
- Episode 8 – Dax: Dax is accused of murder, but not Jadzia – a previous host, Curzon, the one Sisko knew previously. Helpful for understanding the relationship between host and symbiont for the Trill, in case you didn’t remember that from the TNG episode that dealt with them. Doesn’t explain why Trill look different now, though. If you like Law and Order, you may enjoy this one.
- Episode 9 – The Passenger: To be honest, I skipped this one. Something about an alien criminal transferring conciousness to try and escape custody. You can only take so many mystery/police procedural plots.
- Episode 10 – Move Along Home: Yeah, skipped this too. A ridiculous premise, to be honest.
- Episode 11 – The Nagus: Now we’re talking! I honestly love Grand Nagus Zek, and this is a great introduction. Rom finally gets a name. Jake teaches Nog to read (seriously, nobody thought a future Ferengi businessperson needed that skill?).
- Episode 12 – Vortex: Hints for the future – is Odo alone in the universe? What’s a ‘changeling’?
- Episode 13 – Battle Lines: Kai Opaka, the Bajoran spiritual leader, is ‘killed’ yet not killed on an alien planet. Setting the table for future spiritual conflicts. Enjoyed this a lot. Good stuff for Kira here.
- Episode 14 – The Storyteller: A rather odd tale that mostly serves as a backdrop to two different friendships – the Nog/Jake one, and the (future) O’Brien/Bashir one.
- Episode 15 – Progress: Brian Keith stars as farmer guy, whose farm is standing in the way of progress. The moon he’s living on is going to be tapped for electricity, somehow, but it’ll cause it to be uninhabitable. Character building stuff for Kira. See her realize that being part of a government and making the tough choices is not always easy.
- Episode 16 – If Wishes Were Horses: Another strange one, where a group of aliens causes the crew’s thoughts to manifest. Molly O’Brien conjures Rumplestiltskin, for instance. Hear about how baseball dies in the future.
- Episode 17 – The Forsaken: Lwaxana Troi visits DS9. She likes Odo. There are other plots, O’Brien dealing with an alien program shutting down station systems (It’s like a puppy, apparently. Kind of silly.), and Bashir babysitting some other ambassadors and rescuing them from the station’s troubles. But I really liked the Odo/Troi interaction here. A bit of vulnerability from both sides. Wish we could’ve seen more from her and Odo.
- Episode 18 – Dramatis Personae: Another ‘alien psychic entity’ causing the people on the station to act out a previous conflict. Eh.
- Episode 19 – Duet: This episode was a highlight of the rewatch for me. Though the sickness or whatever that could only be contracted at this one time seems really odd. A Cardassian comes to the station with that disease, causing Kira to accuse him of being a war criminal. But all is not what it seems.
- Episode 20 – In the Hands of the Prophets: Keiko’s school becomes a battleground as Vedek Winn accuses Mrs. O’Brien of blasphemy. Winn’s followers bomb the school, and Sisko brings Vedek Bereil into it. It’s a great set up for season 2, and really shows just how dastardly a villain Winn is – always done with a smile and condescension that cuts like a knife.
While the season suffers in comparison to later ones, thanks to it not really being part of any great arc, there are some great episodes here. Much better than early TNG. I’ve already started Season Two so expect to see that soon.