Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Episode Review - Emissary (Deep Space Nine, Season 1, Pilot)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Years after suffering a devastating personal loss in the Battle of Wolf 359, Commander Benjamin Sisko is placed in command of Deep Space Nine, an abandoned Cardassian space station in orbit of the recently liberated planet of Bajor. Under orders of Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise, Sisko is supposed to help prepare the Bajorans for possible entry into the Federation. As Sisko grapples with the merging of a Starfleet crew with a Bajoran crew, he finds himself caught up in the discovery of a stable wormhole that leads to the Gamma Quadrant. This discovery not only puts this specific region of space into the focal point of the quadrant, but begins Sisko on a journey of self-discovery and destiny.

Sisko and O'Brien

Score: 8/10 – This is a very strong episode to begin a new and ground-breaking Trek series. There is a lot of exciting action and compelling story telling. As is typical in a pilot episode, the key characters are brought together and introduced to the audience. Key ideas are begun to be fleshed out, and new sets and ships give us much to look forward to. The pacing of this show is near perfect, and the story is quite interesting. You can’t help but feel excited for the new series. Yes, there were some growing pains that were very apparent in this episode. I found that some of the original pairings of characters didn’t quite work at first, and a couple of the actors had not yet found their groove with their new characters. Others, however, were spot on. Even with just a few scenes together, you knew that Odo and Quark were going to be a great duo. Looking back, the episode does appear to be weaker compared to what is to come, but that can be said of almost every series, and it stands more as a testament of how great the quality of DS9 is as a whole. So, in spite of its few flaws, “Emissary” is a great episode.

Welcoming the new CMO and science officer

Relevance - 3 points. No surprise that this show is relevant on so many aspects. In addition to the wormhole being a major plot point for the entire series, it also gives us a look at many stories that were set up in TNG. We see the Bajorans (originally introduced with the character of Ensign Ro Laren) and the Cardassians become central species. The Enterprise loses its transporter operator, Miles O’Brien, as Colm Meaney receives a well-deserved promotion to main cast member. Along with his family, Miles brings his past experiences, as he demonstrates in this episode when he makes reference to his experiences touched on in “The Wounded”. While Ensign Ro was originally to serve as Sisko’s first officer, we are instead given Bajoran nationalist Kira Nerys, who shares many of Ro’s character traits. We are given a great insight into the never before seen battle of Wolf 359 at the beginning of the episode (look for a familiar sounding Vulcan captain) and the action gets going from there. In addition to the main cast, we are introduced to some soon-to-be welcome recurring characters. We meet Nog, Dukat, Rom (known at the time as the Ferengi pit boss), Kai Opaka, and even Morn. We establish some important themes that will come up again and again over the next seven seasons, such as Sisko’s role as the Emissary of the Prophets, Bajor struggling to rebuild after the occupation, and a crew who has a relationship that is far less harmonious than what we have seen before. And, as has become tradition in Trek, the series pilot is directly related to the series finale. It is an understatement to say that Emissary is influential on the series.

Odo demonstrates the usefulness of his shape shifting abilities

Continuity - 2 points. Universe continuity is a check. Cardassians ran amuck on Bajor for fifty years, and the Bajorans are recovering. The Battle of Wolf 359 happens as we expected it to happen with a total destruction of the fleet. All things work out. Story continuity is also a check. Where I sadly had to take a point off was when Sisko referred to his father as “having been a gourmet chef” (past tense). We later learn that Sisko’s father is still an active gourmet chef, neither dead nor retired.

Sisko meets Kai Opaka

Character Development – 3 points. Pilot episodes have a character development advantage in that they are starting with (mostly) clean canvasses. The one exception here is Chief O’Brien, whom we have gotten to know very well on the Next Genertation. Not much new develops with him, but as for the rest of the crew, we get our first glimpses of them. Odo is strict, dedicated to law and order. Quark is a rascal who always has his fingers in everything. Bashir is a typical wet-behind-the-ears na├»ve youngster who may not be the most experienced officer, but has a supreme talent at medicine. Kira is a bit of a hot head, but this is due to being a passionate freedom fighter. Jadzia displays a wisdom that belies her youthful appearance. Jake is, well, just a typical kid. Ben Sisko, who the show centers on, is a man conflicted, broken, and lost. In this episode he discovers a bit of himself and starts a seven year journey. He reconciles his feelings of anger and animosity towards the role that Picard played in his wife’s death, but his journey has only just begun. While some of the cast (Quark, Odo, Dax) have to wait for any significant growth, we immediately get a great feel for these characters.

Major Kira and O'Brien

Social Commentary – 3 points. The journey of self-healing and discovery is pretty universal. Many of us have found ourselves in similar situations, having faced a great loss, only to rediscover ourselves in the least likely of places. Like Sisko, we find ourselves at times wanting to give up the life we know and just avoid the challenges that it brings, only to realize that the challenges will always be there with us. When it is all said and done, we find ourselves on a journey we may have never expected to be on, but it is the one that will bring us the growth and healing that we need.

The Prophets inquiring about Sisko's family

Cool Stuff – 3 points. Point scored for Odo’s shape-shifting effects. At the time these special effects were revolutionary. A point is scored for the appearance of Picard, who I think was the perfect choice for the now traditional previous incarnation cameo. I especially enjoyed the scene he has when O’Brien leaves the Enterprise for the last time and Picard goes to see him off. The battle between DS9 and the Cardassian fleet may seem like small change compared to the epic space battles that were to come, but at the time it was a level of excitement we had only really found in the feature films, so I’m giving that a point.

The passing of the torch

Rank – Admiral (22 points). Forget the fact that if you want to watch a series you must watch the pilot episode, “Emissary” is a great episode of television. Action, intrigue, and new characters brought together for the first time. While not everything worked as well as it could have, overall it was an ambitious project that ultimately succeeded.

Quark, resident businessman and scoundrel

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Episode Review - Encounter at Farpoint (Next Generation, Season 1, Pilot)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Episode Overview – Captain Jean-Luc Picard takes command of the Federation flagship, the USS Enterprise and goes to Farpoint Station to pick up his first officer, William T. Riker, and the rest of his crew as they are about to embark on their exploration mission. Before arriving, the Enterprise encounters the mysterious omnipotent entity known as Q, who puts Picard and his crew on trial for the crimes of humanity.

Episode Score – 8/10. As far as history goes, this was the first Trek episode in almost twenty years. It was great, but because of that there are some weak points to it. Most of the weaknesses in this episode has to do with the notion of everything about the show (the acting, the pacing, they story) as trying to find itself. We can overlook much of that as we were just happy to see new Trek again.

The new crew

Relevance – 3 points. Hey, it’s the pilot episode! Of course it will be relevant. It introduces all major characters, including Q, who will be popping in and out on the Enterprise for the next seven years. We see the first appearance of Colm Meaney as Miles O’Brien. We have the first mention of the Ferengi as a potential enemy. If nothing else, a relevance point would be scored for the pilot and the series finale being the perfect bookends to the entire series.

Continuity – 3 points. Universe, character, and story continuity is all maintained in this episode. Another advantage for being the pilot is that a lot of what is shown is establishing the continuity.

Our introduction to the Chief

Character Development – 3 points. This is a gimme for almost any pilot episode as it introduces us to the new characters, most with a clean slate to work on. We see the diplomatic explorer Jean-Luc Picard who exudes confidence from the opening line. Riker is the up and coming first officer with a stellar record also has a past with the empathic ship’s counsellor, Deanna Troi. Troi shows she is not only in tune with her own emotions but with the emotions of everyone around her. We are introduced to Data, the android who would be human, Beverly Crusher, the devoted chief medical officer, and her genius son Wesley. Geordi gets a minimal treatment as we see more of the abilities of his Visor than much of a glimpse into who he is. Worf is almost an afterthought, but his character will get a fair bit of development in the upcoming seasons, but even in a two hour pilot there is only so much room for the nine main characters.


Social Commentary – 3 points. A new twist on the classic judging-a-book-by-its-cover motif with the secret of Farpoint Station. There is also the idea of being put on trial for the crimes of people who you share a bond with (in this case, the entire human race).

Mystery solved

Cool Factor – 3 points. OK, so there is so much coolness shown in this episode. We have coolness in the technology with the holodeck and the first saucer separation of the Enterprise. We have cool character moments as Q is established as a great nemesis to the crew. Cool factor for having the first physically disabled bridge officer with the blind helmsman, Geordi LaForge. The true nature of the Farpoint station was cool. For me, the coolest part of the entire episode occurs at the halfway point as DeForest Kelley makes his final television appearance as “the Admiral” Leonard McCoy. What a perfect scene, and it serves as an essential bridge between the two generations of the crew. It established a great tradition of having a character from a previous incarnation appear in the pilot of the new series.

Two generations brought together.

Rank – Admiral (23 points). There is no denying that if you are going to watch TNG, you are going to have to watch the pilot. Good news is that it is a strong episode that introduces us to some of the greatest characters in the television history. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Episode Review - Where No Man Has Gone Before (Original Series, Season 1 Pilot)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – The Enterprise crosses the galactic barrier, and in doing so bestows god-like powers on Lieutenant Commander Garry Mitchell. As his powers grow, he becomes a greater threat to not only Kirk and the Enterprise, but to humanity itself.

Crossing the barrier

Score: 8/10
– This is the official (second) pilot of the original series. It is not like your typical pilots in Trek in that it doesn’t serve as an origin story. This is partly due to the time that Star Trek first aired, but it does not necessarily give us much in the way of a formal introduction. Also, as it is with any new series, it looks very different than what it will evolve into. The uniforms are very different. Everyone is wearing more of the drab colors. Thankfully, this changes in the following episodes as we get the more familiar (and, in my opinion, pleasant) brighter red, blue, and gold tunics. We saw something similar in the pilot for the Next Generation. Still, this is an episode that has some significant suspense and action. It’s a great tale that looks at the concept of the corruption associated with power. While not a perfect episode, it is a good one, and it is always interesting to see how the show officially started. Gary Lockwood (Mitchell) and Sarah Kellerman (Dr. Dehner) put in some great performances and create some intriguing characters.

The first chess game

Relevance - 3 points. Kirk says that he has been worried about Mitchell ever since that night on Deneb IV. TNG pilot “Encounter at Farpoint” takes place at Deneb IV. Coincidence? I think not. This is also the first episode for a number of notable characters, including Kirk, Scotty, and Sulu (although it should be noted that Sulu is in the science division at this time). Finally, there is the debut of the famous three-dimensional chess game, which has been seen in every Trek series except Voyager (so far).

Continuity - 2 points. We see many of these characters for the first time, and everybody acts the way that we will come to expect them. Not too much is out of the ordinary. One point for character continuity. Universe continuity will also score a point as we establish some important parts of this new universe (e.g. Spock and his views on emotions). What I have to dock a point for is story continuity. This is due to the now infamous tombstone with the name “James R. Kirk”. There have been many explanations given over the years, but since none have been given on Trek itself, I can’t let it slide.

Character Development – 2 points. Scotty and Sulu, while being introduced in this episode, get very little treatment. This is likely due to the fact that in the early days of the show, Roddenberry and company were still trying to get some handle on what this show was all about. This being the official pilot, it is only natural that this is a story about Kirk, with Spock also getting some attention. We see how dedicated Kirk is to his ship and his crew, offering Gary Mitchell a commendation as his death was recorded in the ship’s log. This shows that Kirk understands things like guilt and accountability, but also dignity and honor. Kirk shows compassion for the first of many times, but also shows that he is willing to make the hard decisions that a good leader must have to make at times.

Social Commentary – 3 points. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We feel some sympathy for Dr. Dehner, less so for Gary Mitchell, as the power that they have acquired quickly begins to erode their souls. Often we imagine what it would be like to have god-like powers. We all claim that we would use it to do good things instead of evil, but in all honesty, would we ourselves not be tempted to use them more for our own advantages?

Cool Stuff – 2 points. Have to score a point for traveling through the galactic barrier. This was impressive effects for the day, and in the updated version it is even better. I also score a point for the silver eyes used to show Mitchell and Dehner with their powers. The lenses must have been problematic for the actors, but the effect was quite cool.

Rank – Captain (20 points). I wanted my next set of reviews to be the pilot episodes, and I thought long and hard with my decision over which episode from the Original Series would I consider as the true pilot, this or “The Cage”. I ultimately went with this episode as it was the one that introduces Kirk as the captain and has more consistency with the series than the first pilot. It should go without saying that if you want to watch Star Trek, this is a must see episode. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Top Ten Favourite Deep Space Nine Episodes

Deep Space Nine was a Trek series like no other. Some of the differences were obvious. It was set on an alien space station and not on a starship. It had a combined Federation and Bajoran crew. Other differences became apparent over time. Not everyone got along all the time. The themes became darker and more complex. Good guys weren’t always good, and bad guys weren’t always bad. As the third live-action series in the franchise, it had big boots to fill from its two Enterprising predecessors, and despite the smaller fan base I would have to say that DS9 lived up to the Trek name. It created memorable and complex characters, delivered great moments, added depth to pre-existing characters, and told some great stories. Unlike the Original and the Next Generation, some of these stories were told in multi-episode arcs, beyond the “Part I/II” formula used in the past. There are so many great episodes in this series that it is hard for me to narrow it down to my ten all-time favourite episodes, but here is what I was able to come up with.

Oh, and while it should go without saying, but spoiler alerts for these episodes.

10. Crossover – I think DS9 interacted the most with the Original series, with TNG a close second. Whether it was those furry little tribbles or one final ride for a trio of famed Klingon warriors, DS9 knew how to pay tribute to its roots. For me one of the most important and significant nods was the episode “Crossover”. Kira and Bashir find themselves in the Mirror universe that we were first introduced to in the original series second season episode “Mirror, Mirror”. Taking place nearly a century after Kirk and his crew convinced a bearded Spock to begin the revolution against the tyrannical Terran Empire, Kira and Bashir find that things are quite different. Humans are largely enslaved, the Klingons and Cardassians have formed a brutal alliance, and familiar faces are not who they used to be. Seeing the different crew members in a different light is quite entertaining, with a sadistic Odo quoting the Rules of Obedience, a compassionate Quark trying to smuggle Terran slaves off of the station, a timid tinker in O’Brien, a brash and crude Benjamin Sisko, and a seductive Intendant Kira who is as malicious as our Kira is courageous. This episode establishes a starting point for several future episodes that further explores this alternate universe, but “Crossover” is a fun and delightful introduction.

Mirror, Mirror

9. Rocks and Shoals – The beginning of Season 6 was quite exciting as the Starfleet crew members (plus Garak) find themselves away from the station fighting the Dominion War, while Kira, Odo, Jake, and Quark adapt to life on the station under Dominion control. While each episode has great moments and stories being told, I feel that “Rocks and Shoals” does the best at storytelling in the early stages of the Dominion War. Sisko and his crew find themselves stranded on a distant planet where a Dominion warship has also crashed, pitting Sisko and his crew against the cunning Keevan. This Vorta has a particular problem as his supply of ketrecel white is almost depleted, which would lead his Jem’Hadar soldiers into becoming deranged uncontrollable killers who would then kill all they find. Sisko has to come to terms with doing what he must to protect is crew and trying to avoid slaughtering his adversaries in an unfair fight. Meanwhile, Kira starts to grapple with the realization that she has become complacent and comfortable in her new situations, and receives a severe wake-up call from a prominent vedek to restart a resistance movement. This episode does a fantastic job and building on characters and making some great points while giving us suspense, action, and even some humor (O’Brien ripping his pants).

Looking for shelter among the rocks and shoals

8. The Jem’Hadar – The second season finale gives us a major (but not final) reveal of the Dominion and its power by introducing us to its lethal infantry soldiers, the Jem’Hadar. What starts out as a fun camping trip with Jake, Nog, Commander Sisko, and Quark turns out to be far more than anyone bargained for. Amidst this backdrop we have some great moments, such as when Quark schools Sisko on his prejudices. Most of all, we see how brutal the Jem’Hadar can be when they are able to destroy a Galaxy-class starship with a suicide run. This is how you introduce an enemy to a series in spectacular fashion.

The fearsome Jem'Hadar

7. The Siege of AR-558 – More than any other episode in Star Trek history, this show shows us the brutality of war like never before. Sure, we have witnessed some great battles before this, but here we see a raw, almost unadulterated depiction of how vicious things can be in the trenches. Set on the planet AR-558, Sisko and some of his crew find themselves stranded with a severely diminished Starfleet garrison expecting to hold their ground against a superior force. We see the crew pushed to their limits, and even Quark gets his moment of heroism (though some would say it was just a survival instinct). There is also loss in this episode. Mostly of secondary one-time only characters, but our own Ensign Nog is horribly injured and loses one of his legs. I sometimes call this episode “Saving Ensign Nog” due to how intense the fighting is. The final battle is not meant to thrill or excite us. Instead, it is gritty, harrowing, and dark. This does not glorify war by any means. Instead, like the afore eluded to “Saving Private Ryan”, it shows us how bad war can be and makes us grateful that we are merely spectators and not participants.

Quark makes a stand

6. Duet – I would argue that no character grew more than Kira Nerys during the seven seasons. While any show’s first season is bound to have a lot of bumps in the road, DS9’s gave us this gem called “Duet”. When confronted with a Cardassian war criminal, Kira is more than happy to have him arrested with the intent of prosecution. The performances by Nana Visitor and Harris Yulin drive this emotionally charged story with brilliance and passion. As Kira grows to doubt her own justifiable hatred against the Cardassians, we begin to realize that in true Trek fashion, things are not as black and white as they seem. We wonder if the Cardassian is the former file clerk, Marritza, or the infamous Butcher of Gallitep, Darhe’el. As Kira digs deeper questions if she is dealing with an unrepentant war criminal or a remorseful man who weeps over the crimes of his people. The biggest moment of the episode comes with its final one. While escorting the Cardassian to a ship to be returned to Cardassia, a Bajoran civilian stabs him from behind. As Kira holds the dying Cardassian in her arms, she demands of the Bajoran: “Why?” The Bajoran, full of hatred and animosity responds “He was Cardassian. That is reason enough.” Kira, with tears and self-realization, tells him “No, it’s not.” This was the episode from the first season that cemented to me how special Deep Space Nine was going to be.

Kira confronting a professed war criminal

5. Only a Paper Moon – While “The Siege of AR-558” deals with the brutality of war, “Only a Paper Moon” takes it to the next level by focusing on the after effects of war. Nog, prosthetic leg and all, returns to the station to complete his recuperation. He eventually finds solace in the holosuite at Vic Fontaine’s hotel and casino. In an unlikely pairing, Ferengi Ensign and holographic crooner begin to fill the voids in each other’s lives while exploring the issue of PTSD. So many times we would see our characters in Star Trek suffer devastating loses and traumatic events, only to be back in full form the following week for their next adventure. Not so here. Finally, we see the consequences of our experiences, and get a glimpse as to how long the road to recovery can be. To make it even more impressive, Nog and Vic, while at the center of the plot, are not the main cast members. This just showcased how strong DS9’s secondary characters could be.

Nog and Vic going over the numbers

4. Hard Time – Poor Chief O’Brien. It seems like every season there was one episode where our favourite non-commissioned officer gets treated to some form of abuse or torture. In this episode, Miles is forced to experience a lifetime of incarceration in mere minutes, and has to deal with the after effects of a life he only lived in his mind. While we watch Miles relive those days and see him fall deeper into depression, we cannot help but feel the utmost sympathy for him. It is a clever way of exploring trauma (hmmm, this seems to be a reoccurring theme for this list) that digs into the emotional psyche of the human mind. Colm Meaney has always been a terrific actor, and this episode is one that showcases his talents extremely well.

O'Brien doing some Hard Time

3.Far Beyond the Stars – This is Star Trek and science fiction at its finest. A compelling story, superb acting by the entire cast, and the chance to see the actors in completely different roles (and often out of makeup) all come together to create this masterpiece. As Ben Sisko finds himself in the life of writer Benny Russell, we explore racism in the early 19th century America and question reality. I think Sisko undergoes more personal growth in this episode than almost any other. Avery Brooks does a nearly flawless job of both acting and directing and the end result is one of the most special episodes we have ever seen.

The dreamer, or the dream?

2. Trials and Tribbleations – In 1996 Star Trek was celebrating its 30th anniversary. With two Trek series on the air (DS9 and Voyager), each show had a special episode dedicated to this momentous occasion. Deep Space Nine took a popular and classic episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles”, and turned it into one of the sweetest tributes. Using technology to place the Sisko and his crew within the actual TV episode, we were able to see our favourite characters from two generations interact in a way that was fun and exciting. By bringing in Charlie Brill to reprise his role of Arne Darvin they were able to add fun and continuity. In addition to that, we had several questions answered (some of them tongue-in-cheek) that had been debated for decades. We learn a bit as to why the Klingons in the Original Series were different (as Worf said, it is a private matter), the fate of the tribbles (I would love to hear the songs from the Great Tribble Hunt), and even why those tribbles kept falling out of the grain bin onto Kirk long after the bin was opened. Fans of both Kirk’s and Sisko’s respective shows can’t get enough from this show’s love letter to its roots.

The meeting of two legendary captain

Before I get to the #1 episode on my list, I have to give a shout out in the form of Honorable Mentions to the many great episodes that did not make the list. This was a very difficult list for me to compile as there are so many great episodes to choose from. As each of the following episodes fell to the cuts, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of regret. So, leading up to my favourite Deep Space Nine episode, have a quick look through these excellent episodes and enjoy the fond memories.

Little Green Men

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
·         Emissary
·         Badda Bing Badda Bang
·         In the Pale Moonlight
·         Way of the Warrior
·         Take Me Out to the Holosuite
·         Facets
·         Who Mourns for Morn
·         Little Green Men
·         What You Leave Behind

Way of the Warrior

1. The Visitor – I have to admit that this is my favourite episode of television, not just of Star Trek. When I first watched it I was enthralled by the love story between father and son. So often we see parents make the ultimate sacrifices for their children, but here we see the roles reversed. After losing his father, Jake dedicates his entire life to saving him. In addition to seeing an alternate future (complete with the more elderly Dax and Bashir and Captain Nog), we see a beautiful story of the power of familial love. While Ben, who keeps jumping in and out of Jake’s life, wants Jake to live his life to the fullest, Jake just wants his dad back. Add to that powerful performances by Avery Brooks, Cirroc Lofton, and Tony Todd (who plays the older Jake Sisko), and you have the near perfect episode which is my all-time favourite.

Father and son

 If you are curious as to which episodes of the Next Generation I love the most, check out its list here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Episode Review - Hard Time (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Chief O’Brien is wrongly accused of espionage on an alien planet and is sentenced to receive the memories of twenty years of incarceration. When he returns to the station, the effects of his new experiences cause him to struggle in his attempt to get his life back together. As he wrestles with guilt over what he remembers having done, his friends and family try to support him.

O'Brien finishing his "sentence"

Score: 8/10 – This episode continues the “O’Brien must suffer” tradition that the writers seemed to have adopted. Of all of the episodes that torture our beloved Chief of Operations, this one is, in my opinion, the strongest. Colm Meaney gives a powerful performance that tests his emotional range and gives us an amazing story of how to recover from trauma. Unlike other traumatic experiences, this one exists solely in O’Brien’s mind and in some aspects was not technically “real”. This is a great way of exploring the effects of such a brutal incarceration without having the character leave the show for an extended period of time. O’Brien meets Ee’char, a mysterious alien who happens to be O’Brien’s cell mate. While Ee’char may have only existed in the Chief’s mind, he is a very real and important character who serves as an anchor for Miles. Most importantly we see an emotional roller coaster ride for Miles, ranging into the darker aspects of depression and PTSD. My one criticism for this episode is that, like so many episodes from this time, the effects of something like this are never touched on again. I would expect there to be at least a brief follow-up, but this is 1990s television, where telling a separate story each week is the norm.


Relevance - 2 points. A point scored for mentioning O’Brien’s trial on Cardassia from the episode “Tribunal”. A point for the appearance of Crewman Muniz (his second of three) which furthers his development as a key member of O’Brien’s team. Since Muniz is going to be killed in a future episode and his death will have a profound effect on O’Brien, this episode is meant to help establish Muniz as significant.

Continuity - 3 points. Nothing contradictory in this episode. Because O’Brien is sentenced and punished so quickly, all the crew can do is help him out. Everybody acts the way that they would be expected. Worf, out of honor towards his friend, plays darts with him. Quark, while appreciating that O’Brien’s life is in shambles, still focuses on his business first. Sisko shows compassion while being firm. Even Jake gets into the program by helping Miles brush up on his engineering knowledge. Molly is the typical kid who doesn’t quite get it, while Keiko shows the dutiful care of the spouse of a suffering man. Bashir, as both doctor and best friend, shows a great deal of maturity towards Miles in helping him. Most of all, Miles O’Brien acts the way our beloved Irishman would act. Story and universe continuity are also good here.

Character Development – 2 points. A good story often shows great character development, and this episode is no different. While many of the characters are shown very briefly (I think Jadzia, Quark, Worf, Jake, and Odo are only in one scene each), we see a bit of something key in almost every one. Bashir and Keiko especially get some good moments in as they bear the largest burden in helping the Chief. There is also the great character of Ee’char that adds depth to the story. It is Miles O’Brien that gets the (understandably) majority of the attention and screen time. We see him both pushed past his limits and then almost to the brink of disaster. For those of us that have felt so helpless and lost to the point where we are ready to put a phaser to our chin and end it, it hits close to home. I would argue that this is one of O’Brien’s most defining episodes, and this is Colm Meaney’s finest performance.

O'Brien wants a drink immediately.

Social Commentary – 3 points. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real thing and affects many of us in ways that are difficult for others to understand. This is shown very acutely in this episode. It drives home the depths of despair that people feel after enduring some pretty awful stuff. For those of us that have been fortunate enough to have not experienced major trauma, this gives us some insight into those of us who were not as lucky.

Bashir finds Miles at the right time

Cool Stuff – 2 points. The method that the Argrathi method of sentencing a person to experience incarceration without actually being incarcerated is intriguing to me. A point scored here. Ee’char is also a fascinating character, so I give a point for him as well.

Two friends helping O'Brien

Rank – Captain (20 points). This is one of my favourite Deep Space Nine episodes as it does a superb job of showing the struggles behind PTSD while keeping the emotion real. Kudos to Colm Meaney for his acting and Alexander Siddig for directing a fine piece of Trek. 

20 years is a long time
If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.