1.09: “The Passenger”

I…don’t really have a ton to say about this one, honestly? As with much of the first few seasons, and S1 especially, it’s a pretty standard Weird Space Thing of the Week episode. That said, it seems to be a WSTotW episode with a bit more in the way of character moments and interactions than we’ve had in some of the previous episodes, so a little more interesting. (I can already barely remember what happened in “Babel” apart from the mental image of Sisko passed out over the terminal while Odo and Quark are running things.)

Overall, it’s fine! It’s fine. It’s not terrible! It’s just not particularly memorable, either.

Who needs to get their life right this week?

First, I did appreciate that for a second episode in a row, Bashir’s self-assurance immediately precedes his getting into trouble. I also appreciated that he managed to have scenes with Dax without being weird at her! Good job, Julian, sorry about the rough time you had this week. Finally, I very much appreciated Kira’s general air of “my guy I actually respected you for a minute there, please don’t ruin it” in the runabout. Big mood, as the kids say.

Second, Odo’s ability to be melodramatic is AMAZING. Threatening to resign after his first interaction with Primmin, oh my LORD. I love that for all Odo’s posture of bemusement bordering on disdain at Humanoid Nonsense, he can be petty and dramatic with the best of them. I also love that Sisko is 100% aware of this and does a great job of telling Odo he needs to chill. Alas, Ben, Odo has no chill whatsoever, but points for the attempt.

So what’s the deal with Primmin?

Apparently he’s in this episode and the next one, and was mostly there to fill in while Colm Meaney was filming a movie. I also didn’t really notice O’Brien’s absence until about a third of the way into the episode, whoops.

Like Bashir in “Emissary”, Primmin serves as kind of the odd person out among the Starfleet crew, in that his Starfleet worldview has never really been challenged, and he’s having to learn to work within a different set of rules. I love the times that DS9 plays with the contrast between the way they do things and the rest of Starfleet, and explores some of the discomfort much of (to borrow something Sisko says later) the more black and white Starfleet has with DS9’s shades of gray.

I really like that in this case, Primmin ends up learning from Odo, and the two end up working pretty well together. I’m all about drama, but it was still nice to just have some initial friction turn into good teamwork.

Can we talk about that ending though

…uh. Wow. Perhaps it’s another indication of how early we are in the show; I feel like later on there would be rather more of a reaction to the fact that Kajada just, uh, summarily executes Vantika? I mean, Bashir and Dax just have “those wacky Kobliads” smiles on their faces? WHEW.

Horniness Rankings

  • Quark, although I appreciate that his horniness is largely kept to himself/used to annoy Odo, and he behaves relatively appropriately toward Dax.
  • Kajada, who has a Javert-like horniness for JUSTICE
  • Bashir, for himself, in that opening. Or, more generously, for SCIENCE.

1.08: “Dax”

Note, October 7, 2019: for some reason, this post has been absolutely slammed with spam comments. No idea why this one in particular, but there it is. So, for the time being, I’m closing comments on it, just to try and cut back a bit.

So, first of all, I usually enjoy the political drama that results from the station not precisely being under Starfleet jurisdiction (or at least not solely under it), so even the little hints of that here, with the extradition treaty necessitating kidnapping Dax and the Bajoran arbiter presiding over the hearing.

In general, this is kind of a forgettable episode, though it does a decent job of doing some worldbuilding around the Trill. I do have some questions, though. Chief among them…

Continue reading “1.08: “Dax””

slight delay this week

I was at SDCC this past weekend! It was extremely fun, and Picard looks like it will be very much my shit. Alex Kurtzman dodged my question about the Real Unfortunate Implications of an aspect of Discovery‘s S2 finale and answered something else entirely, but I’m hoping maybe the writers will take the question, and the surprisingly positive crowd reaction to it, to heart? Fingers crossed.

(I figured if there was any reaction it would be for me to get booed as a Joyless PC Buzzkill, but people cheered! A lot of them, not just my mom and the friends I was with! And a few people literally stopped me on my way out after the panel to thank me for it!)

Alas, the internet at the place we were staying was absolutely terrible, so I was unable to watch this week’s episode during any of my downtime. Add to this that, rather than give myself my traditional Recovery Tuesday after arriving back home Monday night, I went back to work this morning, and you have a recipe for “uh somehow it’s Tuesday morning and I don’t have my post ready to go yet???” What even is causality, y’all?

Anyway! I anticipate being able to get this week’s post, “Dax”, up Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how tired the Con Crud + lack of sleep the past couple nights leaves me. Thank you for your understanding during this annoying time.

1.07: “Q-Less”

You know, I went into this episode expecting another one that felt a lot like The Next Generation, like the last couple. My thinking was basically this one’s plot involves characters directly from TNG, how much more TNG-like is it gonna be? And yet, weirdly, despite the presence of Q and Vash, it feels a lot more like the show Deep Space Nine will become than most of what’s come so far. Everyone is messy, everyone is horny, and absolutely no one has any chill whatsoever.

Which I say as a joke, but also, a big part of what I love about DS9, and what’s bored me about the last couple of episodes, has been the lack of any major character stuff. It’s all been pretty straightforward plot-driven Weird Space Thing Of The Week. This episode, the Weird Space Thing was almost an afterthought to the character interactions: they figure out that the Big Glowy Space Manta Ray’s thing — egg? Chrysalis? Do they even say? I don’t think they even say — is what’s causing the station’s power issues, beam it out, and it glides on its merry way in the space of maybe thirty seconds. It’s all about the characters.

Brief meditation on the bigger Star Trek picture

I get that this is one of the things a lot of the fandom doesn’t like as much about DS9 — the move away from Weird Space Thing Of The Week — and Discovery as well. I mean, I can’t help but notice that the series certain parts of the fandom complain about the most are also the ones led by Black characters, what a weird coincidence — but I do believe that at least part of the fandom does, in good faith, just prefer the Weird Space Thing Of The Week format. It’s a stylistic preference, fair enough.

But I’m also really glad that the franchise has tried to make room for other kinds of stories. There’s a whole universe sitting there — to only use it for one kind of story really seems like a waste. So while I’m as tired as the next person of the Franchise Grind in pop culture, and a little leery about the rate at which Star Trek is launching spinoffs, I’m also cautiously pleased by the fact that they don’t all appear to be TNG clones. Hell, that was my biggest criticism of DSC’s second season, that they seemed to be backing away from the things that made the first season unique — and doing so in an attempt to win over a segment of the fandom that, for the most part, they never had in the first place, at the expense of the enjoyment of those of us who actually liked what they were doing.

(See also: the Democratic Party and the ~white working class~. Liz and Anika titled their episode on the DSC S2 finale “Making the 23rd Century Great Again” and that is…not wrong.)

Also, if they want to ask me about my spinoff ideas — one about the Cardassian occupation of Bajor that covers a few years before DS9 begins, and one a half-hour sitcom that’s basically Parks and Recreation at Starfleet HQ — I am here anytime.

Uh, so, that spiraled a bit. Returning to the more immediate topic of this particular episode…

The subtle horror of Q

You know, from TOS’s “Charlie X” through to DSC’s Gabriel Lorca, Star Trek really has made a theme out of how fucking terrifying entitled white men with a lot of power can be. Q spends a lot of his time just moderately irritating people and putting them in silly costumes, and then suddenly he’ll turn around and remind us that oh, fuck, he absolutely has the power to do much, much worse.

As a woman, watching his interactions with Vash is…uncomfortably realistic. “I’m the Q and you the lowly human. I’ll decide when this partnership is over.” How many times have I been friendly and polite to a guy who I couldn’t stand because I had no way of knowing whether he would be dangerous if I didn’t?

Also, every time I rewatch one of his episodes, I remember that I really, really need to write the essay about Q as the Jewish devil that’s been bouncing around in my head for a couple of years.

Julian needs to get his life right again

…and all is right with the world once more. I didn’t even know who I was when I couldn’t yell at him to get his life right.

From O’Brien’s face while sitting next to Bashir in the opening teaser, through Q just putting him to sleep for a few days, to Dax’s “lol buddy you have no idea” expression when she realizes he slept through all the excitement, this episode continues the pattern of “everyone is trying their best to ignore Bashir until he settles down a little” and I am extremely amused by it. Like, I don’t think that’s what the writers were doing consciously, but I’m definitely enjoying it as my own interpretation.

OK, Quark, I’ll allow it

In “Babel”, Quark was mostly tolerable because he wasn’t actually doing much hitting on anyone; in this one, he and Vash actually seem to be on the same wavelength, and it’s…kind of hilarious? If Star Trek is still looking for more spinoffs, I would watch The Quark and Vash Dirtbag Variety Hour every damn week.

Also, I am perhaps disproportionately entertained by Quark taking it in stride when Q just wishes him into the cornfield and back. Armin Shimerman is all in and even when Quark is at his worst I appreciate the hell out of that commitment. (Also, given that for a couple of years there he was doing both this show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer I feel like those of us who were in our formative nerd years during the late 90’s/early 00’s really owe Shimerman our gratitude.)

Other notes

  • Vash hiding her PIN as she locks her stuff in the vault just struck me as a really nice little touch that made the episode that much more real.
  • “Vash and Captain Picard were…friends. Close friends, if you catch my meaning, sir.” I love how O’Brien is trying to pretend to be halfway discreet about his tea-spilling. Like, that significant pause before “friends” may not have been enough, let’s just make it a little clearer. And Sisko’s comment on how Vash doesn’t seem like Picard’s type, ugh, everyone on this station is a messy bitch who lives for drama and I love it so much.
  • Kira’s solution to the jammed door being to pull out her phaser, lord I love her so much.
  • Quark: Isn’t there anything you desire?
    Odo: I have my work. What else do I need?
    Me: GROSS.

Horniness rankings

Everyone. Everyone is horny. Quark is horny, Q is horny, Vash is horny, Bashir is horny, Bashir’s date in the opening teaser is horny, even Odo feels a stirring of something approaching horniness at the prospect of a latinum-plated bucket. Everyone is horny. This may be the horniest, thus far, that an episode has been without Dukat in it; truly, DS9 is coming into its own.

  1. Q
  2. Quark
  3. Bashir’s date
  4. Bashir
  5. Vash

1.06: “Captive Pursuit”

Probably not a super-long post today, since A) my notes were not actually all that extensive so I guess I don’t have a ton to say, and B) most of my spare time and energy has been devoted to frantic crafting in an effort to finish my costumes before San Diego Comic Con next week.

(Can’t wait for the Star Trek: Discovery panel so I can ask, in my best Nice White Lady Voice, how they plan to address a mostly-white, mostly-male group deciding that the accomplishments of a Black woman and her extremely diverse crewmates must be erased from the Federation’s historical record!)

Regarding my first point, about not having a ton to say: like last week, this is a pretty straightforward, plot-focused episode. Which is fine, but also not where DS9 really comes to shine later. Early on, as Jason noted with “Babel”, the show tends to be very cautious, staying closer to The Next Generation in its episode structures. (And it’s even clearer how much that was a “we should play it safe for a while” decision now, nearly twenty years later, having seen the anger from a lot of the fanbase about Discovery committing the sin of not being a TNG clone.) Unlike TNG, however, which was in its sixth season when DS9 was in its first, we don’t know nearly as much about the characters, so it’s hard to know why a given situation might challenge a given character.

Speaking of which…

Oh hey what’s up O’Brien

“Babel” started with a focus on O’Brien and then shifted away once he came down with the virus, which was actually a bit of a disappointment. It was cool to get some follow-through in this one, though I would have liked a bit more, again, about O’Brien as a person rather than a plot piece. That said, Colm Meaney and Scott MacDonald, who plays Tosk, have pretty solid chemistry, and I friggin’ love O’Brien’s well I get what you’re going for here and appreciate it in that spirit but uhhh face in reaction to Tosk’s “Die with honor, O’Brien” farewell.


They completely dropped the whole thing from the beginning with Miss Sarda the dabo girl and I am annoyed about it. Three things I enjoyed about that opening:

  1. That she had the guts to speak up about Quark’s bullshit
  2. That we didn’t have to actually witness any of Quark’s bullshit, just hear it reported, suggesting that Sisko’s default is to believe people who report harassment to him
  3. That the commander of the station makes himself available for anyone to report problems to him directly rather than hiding behind layers of bureaucracy and trying to drown people in paperwork until the problem goes away

All of this speaks well to the healthy, safe place everyone is attempting to make the station! But the lack of any follow-up on it means that it’s impossible to know whether those attempts will be effective.

Other things I appreciated

  • O’Brien pointedly talking over Bashir’s attempt to insert himself into the excitement by suggesting Tosk come in for a medical examination. I really love how everyone is just calmly trying to ignore Bashir until he chills a little.
  • Can we all just appreciate Odo’s attempt to casually saunter away after Sisko’s “there’s no hurry”? Odo has never been chill in his life, he will never be chill in his life, he has absolutely zero chill ever, and it is hilarious. Odo makes Sisko and Kira look low-key and easygoing.
  • Quark’s hunger for gossip remains #relatable as hell

Horniness rankings

The closest thing to horniness this week: Bashir and Quark’s attempts to get closer to the action. And thank goodness, because apparently the opening was supposed to involve Miss Sarda attempting to seduce Sisko later, which, whew, could have gone way too easily into some unfortunate territory.

1.05: “Babel”

Honestly, I am a sucker for episodes that deal with language issues in Star Trek. It’s prime territory for worldbuilding and politics, as well as presenting some ready-made conflicts. This was also unusual for DS9 so far in every single plot tying directly into the A plot, with very little in the way of personal subplots, and while the episode itself was relatively strong, the lack of character stuff just makes it a lot less memorable for me.

The subplot with Captain Jaheel, for instance, was…kinda boring? It felt like they wanted something to add a more action-y, ticking time bomb element, because, you know, the issue of no one being able to communicate with one another or their technology and also dying wasn’t dramatic enough. There are some hints of the drama you can explore there already in Sisko and Jake’s interactions even after Jake falls ill; I would have liked to see the story allowed to stand on its own with the main characters.

Similarly, we don’t get much of O’Brien after he falls ill, which is a shame, because he makes a really interesting point of view character in the early episodes. Previous Treks have had the Federation treating its exploration mission in a way that can come uncomfortably close to manifest destiny, and one of the central conflicts of Deep Space Nine is pushing back on that. The show establishes this in the very first episode, when Kira shuts down Bashir’s waxing romantic about the frontier with a blunt reminder that millions of people already live on his “frontier”. O’Brien’s work makes that conflict into a very real, physical thing, with the Federation and the Bajorans trying to use existing Cardassian technology in ways that it wasn’t intended to be used.

That makes it interesting that the device, initially being identified as Cardassian sabotage of the Federation, turns out to be an old piece of Bajoran Resistance sabotage instead. The Bajorans have been using Cardassian technology for their own ends for decades, so at least having someone make that connection would have been interesting. And that, in turn, makes it noticeable that O’Brien doesn’t have any Bajorans on his team, or, for that matter, anyone else at all, apparently? LEARN TO DELEGATE, CHIEF. Even if he hadn’t come down with an engineered virus that put him out of commission, he’d still have to sleep sometime.

…and with that, actually, we come full circle to my criticism that seeing more of O’Brien outside of serving as a plot device would have been interesting. It’s not entirely shocking that his instinct would be to do everything himself; he’s been a transporter tech on the Enterprise for several years now, and suddenly he’s in a more supervisory role. I mentioned last week that the conflict between Miles and Keiko felt very realistic in spite of the sci-fi trappings, and I think they lost an opportunity for something similar in this episode, with Miles still trying to do everything himself.

Has Julian begun to get his life right?

Bashir is significantly less irritating in this episode than he’s been so far, in no small part because he’s entirely focused on doing actual medical work. As I noted earlier, one of the only things that makes him bearable early on is that he’s genuinely good at his job.

On the one hand, it seems like a missed opportunity that they never explicitly draw the line between Dax’s musing about how different a woman’s experience of the world is from a man’s, and Bashir’s behavior towards her in the past few episodes. On the other hand, given that it seemed like we were supposed to consider said behavior relatively harmless, perhaps even endearing, maybe that’s for the best.

So many workplace issues


Sisko: No need to ask how you’re doing.
Kira: Chasing after ghosts.
Sisko: You have twelve hours to catch one.
Kira: And then?
Sisko: People start dying.

Like, obviously we, the audience, know that he’s referring to the rapid progression of the virus, but Kira wasn’t in the scene where Bashir explains that to Sisko. Without that context, it definitely sounds like he’s just gonna start straight-up killing people, right?


  • OK, if the nurse who asks the aphasic Jake “what’s wrong?”, and seems to be waiting for a verbal answer is indicative of the level of help to be expected, it makes a bit more sense that O’Brien’s not delegating.
  • This is all I can imagine when Quark and Odo are the only people in Ops.
  • I get that it was a manpower issue, but the constant shots of Sisko just…passed out over the computer in Ops in the background while Odo and Quark are working is weirdly hilarious.

Horniness rankings

Almost no one was horny this week and I’m frankly bewildered by it. That said, Quark’s dedication to trolling Odo borders on horniness and I find it absolutely delightful.

July schedule

I have pre-written this post on the assumption that this entire endeavor will not have petered out by July. Is this hubris? Possibly. Nonetheless, here is the July schedule!

  • July 2: “Babel”
  • July 9: “Captive Pursuit”
  • July 16: “Q-Less”
  • July 23: “Dax”
  • July 30: “The Passenger”