Synopsis: A Dominion attack damages the Defiant, leaving crew members separated and trying to survive across the ship.
I always enjoy this episode a lot more than I expect to, and yet somehow I always completely forget what it’s about and don’t go “oh, cool, it’s the one where XYZ” until XYZ actually happens. It’s a fairly decent bottle episode, in the same vein as my eternal favorite, “Civil Defense“, or The Next Generation‘s “Disaster”, with a couple of standout scenes/character pairings. Not a particular favorite of mine, but it’s still pretty enjoyable while I’m watching it.
(Speaking of “Disaster”, Memory Alpha notes that in that one, Riker assumes that everyone on the bridge is probably dead, while O’Brien is one of the few people on the bridge who survives, while in this one, O’Brien’s down in engineering and is the one assuming that everyone on the bridge is dead. Which really suggests that Starfleet needs better bridge design, frankly. And/or, as I have mentioned before, that Starfleet ships really need some damn SEATBELTS.)
The standout senes, for me, are primarily the Quark-Hanok and Kira-Sisko stories, with the Worf-O’Brien-Engineers and Dax-Bashir ones landing pretty solidly in the realm of Okay, I Guess. Let’s look more closely!
Apparently James Cromwell and Armin Shimerman went back a ways, and were delighted to be able to work together here. I’m sorry we don’t see more of Hanok now and then, because he and Quark are really fun together — there are very few actors who can make “this isn’t actually very funny but we can’t take the tension and it’s either laugh hysterically or freak out” laughter actually seem believable, but they really do, and it’s great.
(Also, the first scene, with Sisko as the mediator, has some major parent-teacher conference vibes.)
I also really love the Sisko-Kira scenes — one of the things I genuinely love about the first season, which I otherwise find a bit middling, is the development of their relationship; I miss one-on-one interactions between the two of them. The hints here that it’s not an accident that they haven’t spent much time one-on-one, that neither of them is really sure how to deal with his status in her religion, are interesting.
Also interesting is the fact that Kira — who’s typically not one to hide her feelings or put a lot of work into being diplomatic — hasn’t pushed the issue. I’ve noted before that as someone who is fairly religious, I really appreciate that Kira is as well, that she’s not shown as foolish or fanatical for her faith and her religious practice. It makes sense to me that in one of the few areaa — perhaps the only area — that’s been such a source of strength and comfort for her — her religion — her typical confidence and bravado might falter.
(I notice that while we never get explicit confirmation of Kira’s suspicions that Sisko scheduled these negotiations specifically to avoind having to get involved in the Ha’mara festival, we never get an explicit denial, either; Dax, at least, doesn’t seem shocked by the possibility, but Kira never actually asks Sisko directly.)
Also: HE CALLED HER NERYS, IT’S SO NICE
As for the Jadzia-Julian story, I actually liked the way it started off, and then…sigh. A direct excerpt from my notes as I was watching the episode:
Look how Julian’s grown! He and Jadzia are huddling for warmth and he isn’t making it weird!
Oh. Never mind.
I really could’ve done without Jadzia admitting that a little part of her kind of enjoyed Julian’s attention in the first couple of seasons. In my head, she mostly just said it to make him feel a bit less embarrassed now that he’s chilled out and they’ve become friends, but I’m also fully aware that’s not actually what they were going for (even if it was, I still wouldn’t love it, but I’d hate it a bit less). Just…ughhhhhhhh, to reward him with that is so gross, and undercuts what I liked about the scene up to that point, where she flat-out tells him that he came on way too strong.
The Worf-O’Brien stuff was…fine? I am enjoying that Worf is still settling in — this is a reminder that he’s not only adjusting to a new environment, but a new role, as well. There just isn’t really as much to hold my interest compared to the Sisko-Kira and Quark-Hanok scenes.
I also really like that O’Brien seems to be the person Worf has actually spent time with, socially, so far. It feels very real, emotionally — they’re such different people I wouldn’t really expect them to socialize generally, but as Worf struggles with fitting in on the station and in his new role, it makes a lot of sense that he’d tend to gravitate toward someone he knows from the Enterprise. It’s nice that O’Brien seems to recognize this, as well. Neither of these two is my favorite character, but I like them both, and it’s just something I enjoy.
A few other notes
One little detail I love: after ordering the deck sealed off — a move which, as far as he knows, has resulted in saving the rest of the ship at the cost of Dax’s life — Sisko becomes more controlled and quiet than ever. Brooks does a really great job here of showing how he’s forcing himself to compartmentalize, to put aside, for the moment, the fact that he had to give an order that resulted in the death of one of his oldest and closest friends. It’s just a really fantastic bit of work on Brooks’s part.
A few additional things:
- SISKO CALLS KIRA “NERYS” AND TAKES HER TO A BASEBALL GAME, AND SHE’S SO EXCITED, I JUST LOVE THEIR RELATIONSHIP SO MUCH!!!!!
- Michael Dorn’s wigs are so much better on DS9 than they are at pretty much any point on TNG.
- The detail that the Karemma have been working with the Ferengi because the Dominion wouldn’t allow them to deal directly with the Federation is interesting — I have to assume the Dominion knows it’s just a way of dealing with the Federation indirectly, but so long as the Karemma aren’t blatant about it, they’re willing to let it go. It mgiht even have provided an opportunity for changelings to infiltrate Alpha Quadrant populations, as well, by disguising themselves as Karemma, Ferengi, or, heck, even as merchandise.
- Despite never being overtly sexual, Quark has a very horny energy throughout the episode.
- JULIAN >:(
- This feels like the place to mention that my roommate and I were kinda shipping Kira and Sisko by the end of this episode.