For those of you just joining us, for the last several weeks I have been selecting one episode or movie from each of the various incarnations of Star Trek to serve as an introduction to new viewers.
The next series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9 in fan parlance), premiered in January 1993 and was vastly different than the series that came before. While previous Trek had focused on the crew of the USS Enterprise, DS9 was set on a space station positioned near a wormhole to another part of the galaxy. The station, which had been left behind by the Cardassians, a hostile species that once occupied the nearby world of Bajor, was not the pristine environment we were used on a Federation starship. Due to the stationary setting (Yes, I see what I did there.) and lack (until later seasons) of a starship, DS9 heavily developed its environment and characters. By the end of the series seven seasons later, there were over twenty major and minor characters whose fates we viewers cared about.
While DS9 is in many ways my favorite Star Trek series ever, the continuing nature of its storyline doesn’t lend itself to grabbing an individual episode for my Pick of the Week. The episode that springs to mind, Season Five’s “Trials and Tribble-ations,” is a time-travel romp that takes the characters back into the events of the original Star Trek episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles.” This fun and funny episode is a love letter to the original series, but, if you haven’t seen “The Trouble With Tribbles,” it might not be all that effective. Also, I would not say that it serves as a good introduction to the show and its characters. Deep Space Nine itself only appears at the very end. That said, if you have seen “The Trouble With Tribbles,” watch “Trials and Tribble-ations.” You don’t need to know a thing about DS9 to enjoy it, and enjoy it you will.
The series has many other incredible episodes. “In the Pale Moonlight” is a particular favorite of mine, but, as I stated earlier, the arc nature of DS9’s storyline makes many of these episodes difficult for a newbie to follow. So for my DS9 Pick, I have selected Season One’s “Duet.” In this episode, the station’s First Officer, Major Kira Nerys, a Bajoran, believes that a Cardassian passenger on a ship that recently docked is actually a war criminal and worked at a labor camp where many Bajorans died during the Cardassian occupation of their world.
While the episode admittedly doesn’t utilize the whole cast well, it is a good introduction to one of the major conflicts of the series and serves as an excellent episode in the development of Kira, played by Nana Visitor. Harris Yulin, who plays the Cardassian in question, is also fantastic in the role of a…shall we say, complicated man.
“Duet” is easily the best episode of DS9’s first season and one of the finest the series ever produced. It is also an example of Star Trek at its most powerful and well worth a watch.
- Alan Decker
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