Let’s abandon our starships, and set up home base at a (mostly) stationary… station! The podcast is moving onto our next Star Trek series, Deep Space 9. Featuring what Wikipedia calls, “well developed characters, original and complex plots, and religious themes”, Deep Space 9 was not a super popular series but it has a special place in the hearts of Star Trek fans everywhere. In this introductory episode, Wes explains changes to the podcast (nothing major), the upside of DIY music, and why supporting the show on Patreon might be something worth considering!
After losing his wife in the Borg attack at Wolf 359, Ben Sisko accepts the command of Deep Space 9. A former Cardassian mining station in orbit around Bajor, DS9 is seen as a vital part of allowing Bajor to join the Federation. With son Jake in tow, Sisko arrives to find a station in ruins and his subordinates at each others throats. Does Sisko have what it takes to bring his house in order, or will he decide to leave Starfleet for civilian life? Clay and Zack Handlen join me to break down the pilot episode for DS9, “Emissary”! We discuss the acting choices of Avery Brooks, orbs in the shape of a peanut, and using baseball as a metaphor for life!
We know that Bajor is in disarray, but what does that actually mean? In “Past Prologue”, a Bajoran terrorist boards DS9 and Kira is forced to decide whose side she’s on: the Federation or Bajor? In an episode filled with secrets and lies, we are also meet the character of Garak, who may or may not have a thing for young Dr. Bashir. Modi joins me to discuss character conflict, the nuance of Garak, and Bashir embarrassing himself!
Now that we’ve spent a couple episodes learning about the station and Bajoran politics, let’s settle into some character development! While “A Man Alone” is technically an Odo focused murder mystery, it spends a lot of time giving us insight into the rest of the cast. And Keiko! Modi joins me to discuss the economics of the Federation, a Trill-centric menage a trois, and a Scooby Doo reveal!
When a mysterious virus strikes the station, it’s only a matter of time before everyone will be speaking gibberish! And then they’ll die! “Babel” is a story that reminds the audience of “The Naked Time” and “The Naked Now”, but instead of losing inhibitions our characters lose the ability to speak… and tell a good story. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss plot versus story, diseases you should take seriously, and characters as McGuffans!
When the first alien visitor from the Gamma Quadrant appears in the Wormhole, Chief O’Brien learns that sometimes you have to change the rules of the game. After meeting Tosk, an alien with a mysterious past who is being chased by the subtly named “Hunters”, O’Brien is forced to decide if he should follow Starfleet regulations or his heart. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss the moral relativism of Star Trek, chase scenes that go on too long, and the slow walk of Odo!
Q makes his first (and only) appearance on DS9 in an episode that involves graviton particles and a woman who once had sex with Picard! When Vash and Q appear on DS9, strange happenings start to threaten the station. Is Q behind the chaos? Or is it something else, totally unrelated? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 in the shadow of TNG, the Quark and Odo relationship, and space jellyfish!
Was Curzon Dax a murderer? And if he was, is Jadzia Dax responsible for his crimes? It’s the question at the heart of “Dax”, an episode that examines the ethics of the Trill while also giving our new crew a chance to interact. A court room drama with a sci-fi heart, “Dax” is also peculiar in that it features very little… Dax? Join Wes as he discusses an episode that feels like a DS9 episode, and relive the excitement of banging a sphere on a table, Dax’s decorating style, and the scars that never go away!
A sinister criminal sneaks aboard DS9 in the mind of Dr. Bashir! While “The Passenger” features excellent character work and further establishes the DS9 universe, it also features some horrible acting and an anti-climactic ending. The show continues to struggle melding its new characters with new story lines, and The Passenger is an unfortunate example of that issue. Join Wes as he discusses slow talking, using the transporter in surgery, and stroking Odo’s ego!
When an alien delegation from the Gamma Quadrant visits DS9, some of the senior officers are trapped in a game where Quark controls the outcome! And Quark rolls some dice! Widely regarded as one of the worst episodes of the first season, “Move Along Home” is also one of Avery Brooks’ least favorite episodes. Clay joins me to discuss games without rules, improv acting, and how to make a story completely pointless.
We’ve been clamoring for a deep dive into Ferengi culture, and finally! Our wishes have been answered! When The Grand Nagus visits DS9, Quark is pushed into a position of power in the Ferengi Alliance. But will those who would wish him harm win out in the end? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 as a whole, turning the Ferengi into mobsters, and how to find the best holosuite in your town.
When an alien from the Gamma Quadrant shows Odo a shape shifting necklace, the DS9 Chief of Security begins to wonder if he’ll ever find another shape shifter like himself. “Vortex” is an interesting character story built around Odo, and it likely plays very differently for DS9 veterans and newbies! Modi stops by to discuss shape shifters versus changelings, long character interactions, and Vulcans in the Gamma Quadrant!
When Sisko, Kira and Bashir take Kai Opaka on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant, they discover a prison planet where the inmates are forced to endlessly fight each other. “Battle Lines” features Jonathan Banks in a stand out guest spot, and it also does a good job of examining some of the DS9 plots that have been on the back burner for a while. Modi joins me to discuss having good actors in your TV series, the nuance of Ben Sisko, and new information about the Bajoran religion!
O’Brien and Bashir try to save a Bajoran village from destruction, while Jake and Nog befriend the young leader of a faction involved in a land dispute. The Storyteller kick starts the O’Brien and Bashir relationship, and it also bears a lot of the hallmarks of TNG’s first season. I wonder why? Wes is alone to tell this story, and he gives his thoughts about DS9 versus Discovery, the religious implications of the episode, and the pleasant dullness of land disputes in Star Trek!
A stubborn farmer living on a Bajoran moon gives Kira a hard time, and Jake and Nog go about trying to turn useless items into gold pressed latinum! In “Progress”, Kira is forced to confront how her responsibilities to her people have changed when she’s placed into a situation where she has to play the role of the authoritarian. Also, Jake and Nog go into space business and end up extorting the newly formed Bajoran government. Amy joins me to discuss getting older and becoming “the man”, the attractiveness of Morn, and what to do with self-sealing stem bolts!
When a trio of imaginary characters (Rumpelstiltskin, Buck Bokai, and a horny Dax) appear on DS9, the station suddenly finds itself in danger of being destroyed by a subspace anomaly! Featuring a mysterious alien race of unknown powers, “If Wishes Were Horses” continues the DS9 trend of repackaging TNG episodes with a new cast. Modi joins me to discuss the downfall of baseball, having your sexual fantasies out in the open, and sacrificing your firstborn!
Ambassadors visit the station, O’Brien gets a digital puppy, and Odo melts in the loving hands of Lwaxana Troi! The Forsaken brings back the beloved(?) character of Mrs. Troi and sticks her with the gruff character of Odo, and DS9 continues its first season trend of using TNG story structure: this time it’s a character piece with a sci-fi B plot in the background. Wes reads some patron thoughts and gives his own take, which includes breaking down the character of Odo, Mrs. Troi without her daughter, and the cleverness of Dr. Bashir.
After a Klingon ship explodes and beams a single survivor aboard DS9, the crew start acting in peculiar ways. Kira, in particular, seems to have developed a mutinous streak! Dramatis Personae features telepathic alien orbs, and those always lead to the best episodes of Star Trek, so buckle up! Wes discusses the episode and reads patron thoughts, and tries to figure out why you’d build a clock, why Odo doesn’t melt when he’s unconscious, and why explosive decompression isn’t so bad.
After a Cardassian arrives on DS9, suffering from a rare disease that could only have been contracted at a Bajoran labor camp during the Occupation, Kira tries to determine if the man is a notorious war criminal. Frequently heralded as the first great episode of DS9, Duet features terrific performances and a script that finally attempts to make use of the establishing setup that developed in the pilot of the series. But… is it great or just better than the dregs of season one? Clay and Zack join me to discuss the brutality of the Cardassians, the value of being a good actor, and the ethics of apologizing!
To wrap up season one, DS9 looks all the way back to Emissary! After the Bajoran religious leader Vedek Winn discovers that Keiko O’Brien is teaching secular values to her students, the entire Federation-Bajoran relationship looks like it may crumble. Commander Sisko is hesitant to push his values on anyone, but he may need to take a stand before people end up dead. In the Hands of the Prophets finishes the first season of DS9 and moves us into the second season with an examination of the dark side of the Bajoran religious movement. Clay joins me to discuss meeting new characters, O’Brien’s temper, and the confused ethics of Roddenberry’s universe.
We’ve finished the first season of Deep Space 9! In this episode, Wes gives his final thoughts about the premiere season of the series, discussing both the stories and characters that inhabited the up and down year. Was it 19 episodes of C-grade TNG, or did the series manage to create something unique? Wes also hands out some goofy awards and lays out the start of season two.
In “The Homecoming”, Kira rescues a legendary Bajoran freedom fighter, and an extremist group known as The Circle begins to terrorize Bajor and DS9. The first of a three episode arc, The Homecoming certainly feels like a new show: the rejuvenated budget has worked wonders. But is it the same old stuff we saw in season one? Clay joins me to discuss abandoning TNG, the ease of breaking into a prison camp, and becoming The Bajoran Batman.
Kira has been sent back to Bajor, and Li Nalas is the new Bajoran liaison aboard DS9. Meanwhile, Odo tries to solve the mystery of who is arming The Circle. In the second episode of the Bajoran Coup arc, things slow down and start to unfold. Can it match the heights of the previous episode? Clay joins me to discuss Bashir not following orders, the charm of wet cardboard, and the vague nature of the Bajoran religion.
In the third episode of the Bajoran Coup arc, DS9 is under attack from The Circle and Kira and Dax have evidence to prove Cardassian interference in the whole messy affair. Clay joins me to discuss the possibly pointless third act of this serialized story, and to examine what the definition of “siege”might be. We also discuss military rations, the domestic turmoil of the O’Brien’s, and Steven Weber!
A meek Trill stages an attack on DS9, with the ultimate goal of stealing the Dax symbiont. We’ve been complaining that the Trill have been underdeveloped since they originally appeared in TNG, so Invasive Procedures seeks to flesh out this mysterious species. Does it work? Amy joins me to discuss scowling at the television, Quark as a bad guy, and what it means to be “joined”.
Dr. Bashir and Garak try to solve the mystery of Cardassian orphans on Bajor, and the podcast tries to solve the mystery of the mystery! Dr. Bashir finally gets his hands dirty when he helps Garak uncover the truth behind a Cardassian boy who has been raised on Bajor. Clay and I discuss the best case scenario for Rugal, Gul Dukat’s skinny neck, and clinking your plates together!
In Melora, Bashir learns all about the pros of zero gravity, and Quark learns the cons of being a con. Ensign Melora is from a species that developed under low gravity, so getting around DS9 proves to be difficult. Fortunately, Bashir has taken an interest in the young ensign and is willing to push aside those pesky medical ethics in the name of… something? Modi joins me to discuss wheelchairs in the 24th century, chips on the shoulder, and Bashir’s desires!