Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Visionary   Rewatch 
November 25, 2015 11:00 AM - Season 3, Episode 17 - Subscribe

In which O’Brien meets O’Brien, and all hell breaks loose....

Trivia (cribbed from here)
* Overall, O'Brien experiences six temporal jumps:
- He sees himself talking to Quark.
- He sees the brawl in Quark's.
- He sees himself mortally wounded by a phaser shot.
- He sees himself dead due to medical complications.
- He sees Deep Space 9 evacuated and subsequently destroyed, along with the wormhole.
- He is sent three and a half hours into the future to investigate the disaster, where he dies and is replaced by the other O'Brien.

* The Chief O'Brien that appears from this point on in the series is the one from a few hours in the future.

* The first and only time we see Deep Space 9 destroyed.

* First episode to introduce darts to Quark's, a game which will be featured throughout the rest of the series.

* First appearance of the D'deridex-class Romulan warbird in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

* Ron Moore: "A very cool story because it was a different way to do time travel that we hadn't really played yet, which was going a short distance into the future and returning with that knowledge. Seeing yourself die and the station explode – it just became fun to try and play those scenes out, to enjoy the plot and not get bogged down in 'Oh my God, we're changing history.' You can play the gag of seeing yourself dead and bitching to the doctor because he didn't save your life."

* In the original story for this episode, Odo jumped forward in time to witness DS9 destroyed. According to Rene Echevarria, this was changed because the writers felt that they had done too many Odo stories that season.

* It was Moore's idea to kill the present O'Brien and replace him with a duplicate from the future. Moore was also part of the writing staff for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Second Chances", where the team temporarily considered killing off William T. Riker and replacing him with his own transporter duplicate.

* Bashir's use of hyronalin as a treatment for radiation poisoning is a reference to the TOS episode "The Deadly Years". Another Moore addition to the script: "There's a lot of references from the original series rattling around in my head, because I watched it fanatically as a kid. Somehow it's easier to remember those references than the stuff I worked on a few years ago on TNG."

* Robert Hewitt Wolfe noted that the darts game was useful when plotting the episode: "It gave us a way to establish that O'Brien's time jumps weren't taking any time [in the present]. He could throw the dart, go through a five-minute experience in the future, and then return to see the dart hit the wall."

* When the two security guards walk Bo'rak out of Quark's, he says "Du'cha Kovah! Estah!" which, according to the script, translates as, "Leave me alone! Let me go!"

* Director Reza Badiyi: "The challenge was creating two people. Colm [Meaney] played two parts, which is kind of tough. He is such a wonderful actor, and I really like him, but you cannot keep him on the set. He has to go outside and get a little fresh air. So when he's in every scene twice, and we have to shoot it three times and lock the camera, and then he's coming to do this part and then he has to do the other part, it's very difficult. They didn't want to do it all in blue screen because it's so time consuming, because it would take nine days. They gave us seven, and we shot it in seven and a half days."

* Special Effects Master Gary Monak had Model Maker Tony Meininger pull two new castings from the station's original six-foot mold, which were then destroyed. The duplicates were very similar to the original but lacked any lighting elements. Monak said of the whole process, "We rigged it so that it would go off in about ten stages: ten separate explosions that had to go off within half a second." The explosions were shot with a high-speed camera at ten to fifteen times normal speed; the half-second multi-blast took up five to seven seconds of film. Monak and his partner, R.J. Hohman, rigged the two models somewhat differently, so that they could decide after filming which explosion looked better. On what goes into making an explosion, Monak explained, "There's a little bit of everything: glitter, black powder, rubber cement, sparkle flash, sometimes a little high explosive primer-cord-stuff."

* VFX Coordinator Judy Elkins: "You can't get the same effect with a computer. You don't get the fireballs, the fire effects, the shards, the pieces flying away. When you're working on a big scale like this, there's nothing like blowing up a big model. It's just beautiful."

* The tool Bashir uses to adjust O'Brien's armband is a warp nacelle from a Romulan Warbird model that has been painted gray instead of green. Blinking lights were added inside.

Bashir [to O'Brien]: "Well, you do have one problem...if all you can hallucinate about is Quark's maintenance problems, you do have a sadly deficient fantasy life."

Sisko: "Major, when you're with the Romulans, try to be diplomatic."
Kira: "I'm always diplomatic!" [screen cut] "That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard and I resent the implication!"

Odo: "Commander, there is no careful way to question a Klingon."

O'Brien: "Quark.... Dabo."
posted by zarq (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like O'Brien was very blasé about the whole thing during his darts game with Bashir at the end.

Like, this was a very Rick & Morty episode, and I kind of wanted O'Brien to have some sort of epiphany about how fucked up it really is. I would have liked to see him, at some point later in the series, get really drunk at Quark's or something and just have a super frank conversation with Julian, or Morn, or someone about how messed up his life is.

"Did you know that I actually died? I saw myself dead, and then I replaced myself with a version of myself from five hours in the future. I still don't know how to process that. I'm not sure if I'm even actually me. Every evening, I put my daughter to bed, and kiss her goodnight, and think, 'I saw myself die of exotic radiation poisoning.' And not in the sense of a vision of the future or something- I was physically there. And now I can't even tell if I'm still me or not.

And do you know what? That's not even the worst thing that's happened to me."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:21 PM on November 25, 2015 [15 favorites]

I liked it - I can't imagine it having worked as an Odo episode, there's something so perfectly O'Brien about it. Especially the multiple deaths.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

You know, TheWhiteSkull, that's why I don't like the "O'Brien Must Suffer" thing -- like, the episodes are generally really solid and good vehicles for Colm Meaney, but DS9, devoted though it is to honest-to-God character growth, still has limits to its continuity, and O'Brien never seems affected enough in the long term by the shit he's gone through. The old "Inner Light" problem.
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:37 PM on November 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

Frankly, after his experiences in the Cardassian war, he should probably have been demobilized, and regularly monitored for PTSD symptoms, rather than being sent to another posting to have a whole other set of horrible things happen to him.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:19 PM on November 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

thesmallmachine, I feel the same way about the "O'Brien Must Suffer" trope. There are quotes on various Memory Alpha episode entries about how the writers viewed O'Brien as the "everyman" character, a character they thought audience members would relate to. And I wonder if that made them feel like they had to let trauma roll over him without much in the way of continuity. I mean, Odo suffers a lot over the course of the show, but some of that suffering is self-inflicted, because Odo is allowed to be really awful sometimes. I think maybe they were afraid to make O'Brien be too wounded by trauma, or to have him self-inflict some of the trauma, because then he wouldn't be as relatable in the writers' eyes.

That said, for an "O'Brien Must Suffer" episode, I thought it was clever and well-plotted.


I gotta say, while on first watch, the Romulans are the obvious baddies here, it becomes a lot murkier on rewatch. Like planning on murdering everyone on the station was pretty cold-blooded, but if their plan to close the wormhole had succeeded, it could have saved millions of lives, and not just Romulans--Federation citizens, Klingons, and Cardassians especially.

I think if the Romulans ever discovered the truth about the Federation's actions over the course of the show, they'd have a lot of legitimate grievances. Something along the lines of "We correctly identified the Dominion as a major threat, and tried to take decisive action that could have stopped it in its tracks, but you prevented us from doing that. Then when the Dominion threat emerged just as we predicted, you murdered one of our Senators and framed another one to guarantee support for your war on the Dominion. You manipulated us through lies to fight a war we could have prevented and yet you still claim the moral superiority of the Federation."
posted by creepygirl at 8:20 PM on November 25, 2015 [14 favorites]

I also kind of wish they'd brought back Tiny Angry Romulan from the last episode relating to the cloaking device.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:26 PM on November 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

OMG, totally. Tiny Angry Romulan is one of my favorite DS9 one-offs, and I was always sad that the actress' consolation prize was a recurring role on Voyager as Chakotay's evil ex.
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:47 PM on November 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

To be fair, creepygirl, dismantling the Federation's claims of moral superiority is a core running theme of DS9.
posted by dry white toast at 5:05 AM on November 26, 2015

"We correctly identified the Dominion as a major threat, and tried to take decisive action that could have stopped it in its tracks, but you prevented us from doing that. Then when the Dominion threat emerged just as we predicted, you murdered one of our Senators and framed another one to guarantee support for your war on the Dominion. You manipulated us through lies to fight a war we could have prevented and yet you still claim the moral superiority of the Federation."

Damn tha's good stuff. That's like DS9 Season 8 good. I'm stealing this for my Star Trek RPG set in the post-Dominion-War period.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:33 AM on November 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Some great points made here. Especially later on, in a couple of the movies, the Romulans are really in for a bad run of luck.

And I wish that, instead of Keiko and Molly being packed off to Bajor so as not to interrupt Miles and Julian's buddy-buddy time, they'd be around for Miles to come home to. Keiko asks him how his day was, and you can just see it in Miles' face: he's a substitute from a future that no longer exists for a man whose body no longer exists, either; that is not his daughter playing with her stuffed animals, this is not his beautiful wife.

He puts down his toolcase. "Oh, pretty much the usual. Minor radiation leak, the Romulans were being jerks. Same as it ever was."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:57 AM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Like, this was a very Rick & Morty episode, and I kind of wanted O'Brien to have some sort of epiphany about how fucked up it really is.

I had completely forgotten this episode.

O'Brien is really from slightly in the future?

O'Brien is really from slightly in the future?

O'Brien? is? really? from? slightly? in? the? future???

posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:16 PM on December 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

I do love Colm Meaney's tip-o-the-hat reaction to seeing himself in those early scenes, especially when he's got his own back in the barroom brawl. Something very "nice one mate, cheers" about it.
posted by duffell at 11:42 AM on January 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

At the end, O'Brien tells Bashir that Bashir's dart is going to hit 20, outer ring, which it then does. Later development of Bashir's character implies that making the prediction come true was a conscious choice that Bashir made.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:35 PM on February 13, 2023

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