Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Episode Guide - Season 3

For Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 3 is when depth and complexity begin to take over. If The Next Generation was responsible for the new near-necessity of continuity in TV programs, DS9 was testing now taken-for-granteds like season-long story arcs and including a plot/subplot dynamic in every episode.

And with TNG no longer in production, the show’s creators apparently felt the freedom to introduce a proper starship onto the show for some good ol’ fashioned space-faring ST action. The first three episodes of season 3 (two-parter “The Search” and “The House of Quark”) already show DS9’s expanded repertoire in effortlessly bouncing from hard sci-fi drama to serious comedy – though the season does end rather anti-climactically.

1-2. The Search, Parts I & II – Sisko heads into the Gamma Quadrant to attempt to contact the Dominion, while Odo returns to what is apparently his home planet. ***

3. The House of Quark – An incredibly fun twisty/turny episodes which begins with Quark accidentally killing a Klingon and just gets wilder as it goes… ****

4. Equilibrium – Jadzia Dax has psychological problems, hallucinations and neural conditions that threaten to kill her host body, once again sending Bashir into an investigation of a patient’s life in order to save her. ***

5. Second Skin – Kira is enticed by Cardassians with some information, only to wake and find herself a Cardassian. She is told that she’s been a sleeper agent for years. This much-ado-about-nothing episode would have worked a lot better if done in the “head trip” fashion, i.e. by having the cold open begin with Kira discovering herself to “be” Cardassian as in the TNG episode “Face of the Enemy.” **

6. The Abandoned – Quark buys a junked starship, only to find a Jem’Hadar child aboard. As typically ensues with this sort of scenario on ST, much debate is had about what to do with the laddie. **

7. Civil Defense – An automatic emergency defense system on Deep Space Nine is tripped, separating all parts of the station and unleashing various unthinking weaponry – and Gul Dukat ultimately gets to play hero for the crew. ***

8. Meridian – Call it “Brigadoon in Space.” The planet Meridian appears in the “normal” universe once every 60 years and wouldn’t ya know it, but one crew member falls in love with a Meridinian. (Oh, all right, it’s Dax.) ***

9. Defiant – On the off-chance that anyone wanted a sequel to the silly TNG story “Second Chances,” the DS9 lot happily oblige them in “Definat.” Thomas Ryker is back, it seems, and he’s with the Maquis. Things only go downhill after being reminded that Ryker has an EEEvil doppleganger. *

10. Fascination – Lwaxana Troi returns to flirt with Odo (hey, she sees the possibilities in shapeshifting…) and soon her out-of-control hormones (or something) are messing with everyone’s libido. Guess they didn’t want to do another everyone-gets-drunk-on-nbeula, as did TOS and TNG, but it’s the same effect, essentially. **

11-12. Past Tense, Parts I & II – The ever-popular transporter accident somehow sends Sisko, Bashir and Dax back to 21st-century San Francisco (really?). Sisko assumes the role of Gabriel Bell, a key figure in the time period. ***

13. Life Support – Maybe this is some sort of commentary on the “right to die” issue, but mostly just comes off as a lot of medical ethical wrangling as Bashir continuously attempts to keep a Bajoran diplomat alive and/or functioning. **

14. Heart of Stone – Proof that Star Trek’s soap-opera plotlines, if they must exist, belong in Voyager. One episode after Kira’s ostensible lover dies a few times, Odo attempts to move on her by stammering his feelings for her. Yeesh. *

15. Destiny – Sisko teams with Gul Dukat and the Cardassians to potentially establish a communications network via the wormhole. This, despite prophetic warnings from religious leaders on Bajor. Hate to admit it, but seeing how the Cardassians ultimately use this communication in season four, perhaps Sisko shouldn’t have messed with the wormhole. ***

16. Prophet Motive – Again does the Nagus act suspiciously, i.e. by writing a new version of the Rules of Acquisition with a distinctly non-capitalistic bent, and again Quark buys it (so to speak). ***

17. Visionary – Ah, but since this one involves O’Brien, you can bet that’s he’s on the Cassandra side of the “visionary” spectrum. Radiation (sigh) makes O’Brien jump forward in time by five hours at a time. Mix in Romulans and Klingons for additional fun. ***

18. Distant Voices – Head trip for Bashir: After refusing the request of an associate of Quark’s, said associate attacks Bashir, who then awakens to find himself ageing rapidly while his Deep Space Nine comrades don’t seem to notice or care. As in “Second Skin,” this one might be more effective without the introductory bit. ***

19. Through the Looking Glass – Mirror Universe story! Alternative-universe O’Brien abducts Sisko, recruiting him to assume the position of Terran rebel leader, as alternate-universe Sisko has been killed in action. ***

20. Improbable Cause – The destruction of Garak’s shop leads Odo to start an investigation (yaay!) and, whoa, the case is big enough to start a plot thread that will run through the next 30 or so episodes... Bonus points for Garak’s amazing take on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” ****

21. The Die is Cast – A former colleague of Garak’s entices him to capture Odo for reasons unknown. Meanwhile, a fleet of Cardassian and Romulan warships preemptively attacks the Founders’ home planet but are outgunned by Jem’Hadar. ***

22. Explorers – Here’s the Kon-Tiki story in the 24th century: Sisko builds a replica of a Bajoran “lightship” in order to prove that Bajorans invented interstellar travel before the Cardassians. The subplot has Bashir dealing with his old Starfleet Medical Academy rival. ***

23. Family Business – Quark’s mother has broken the law by participating in business, necessitating a trip to the Ferengi homeworld. Something about Sisko and his girlfriend happens, but this is a Ferengi laden episode primarily. ***

24. Shakaar – Even more so that TNG does Deep Space Nine balance the ultra-serious and humorous. The title character takes up the bulk of screen time in a talky plot dealing with farming equipment, Federation law, Bajoran political ascension and a possible Bajoran civil war. Then there’s a funny bit with O’Brien dominating the darts board at Quark’s Bar. ***

25. Facets – A weird Trill trick allows Jadzia Dax to interact with Dax’s former hosts; as each old self can only be given voice through another body, various members of the crew depict the past personalities. Breathing room for the actors gets some great performances. ****

26. The Adversary – Sisko is promoted to captain and pretty much immediately takes the bridge of the Defiant to address a planetary civil war. What he finds instead is a malevolent shape-shifter, who ultimately informs Odo that “we’re everywhere.” And that’s it for the season-ender. Not exactly “Best of Both Worlds,” is it…? ***v