Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Explorers   Rewatch 
December 13, 2015 7:48 PM - Season 3, Episode 22 - Subscribe

A major milestone in DS9: the first appearance of Leeta! Also, Sisko grows the beard, Jake tries to set up his dad with a certain freighter captain, Bashir is sort of weird about his past (no big change there), and did those feet in ancient times...?

From Memory Alpha:

- The lightship (and the basic plot of the episode itself) was inspired by the voyage of the Kon-Tiki, a deliberately primitive sailing craft that Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl used to sail from Peru to Tahiti in 1947, substantiating his belief (later disproved) that it was possible that a Pre-Columbian South American civilization could have settled Polynesia by making a trans-oceanic voyage. Production designer Herman Zimmerman and illustrator Jim Martin envisioned the Siskos as "sailors in space" and intentionally made the set of the lightship similar to a sailing boat. René Echevarria told Zimmerman and Martin that he wanted the ship to have a "Jules Verne look, a wooden cabin outfitted with brass." Indeed, some real sailing equipment can even be seen in the background at various points in the episode. As Jim Martin explains, in reality, a solar sail would need to be several miles wide to propel a ship like this. As such, "We needed to take it into the realm of fantasy. But that was a very whimsical idea, and we could be very whimsical with it, and do something that was kind of in a fun fantasy vein."

- The song "Jerusalem", which is sung by O'Brien and Bashir during a drinking binge, was chosen by Colm Meaney and Siddig El Fadil after the producers determined that obtaining the rights to their initial choices "Louie, Louie"or "Rocket Man" would be too expensive.

- In the script, Sisko names his lightship the Baraka and explains to Kira that it means "good fortune" in the Swahili language.

- During the conversation between Julian Bashir and Elizabeth Lense, the writers may have been commenting on the comparison between DS9 and other Trek series. Bashir believes Lense "must've had quite an adventure out there... exploring uncharted space, meeting fascinating new races with fascinating new diseases" aboard the USS Lexington, but she instead describes how bored she got between discoveries. The message especially comes through when Lense claims, "I really envy the opportunity you have to work on that kind of long-term project. On the Lexington, it was collect your samples and then on to the next system." This seems to recall some of the producers' comments about how DS9 was different from TOS and TNG, and how in those two shows, issues raised each week could simply be forgotten about the following week as the ship moved on to another planet.

[One thing that I really liked about this show is that it was a reminder that, even though Sisko has always been shown in the uniform of the command branch of Starfleet, he also has a considerable amount of technical expertise: he was head of the Defiant project at Utopia Planitia, as well as supervising the rebuilding and defense system upgrades of DS9, and later on he'll design his retirement home. Plus, he built that intricate clock in "Dramatis Personae", and even though he was under an alien influence at the time, he kept it in his office and even repaired it as necessary.]

"You're not an in-between kind of guy. People either love you or hate you."
"I mean, I hated you when we first met."
"I remember."
"And now..."
"And now?"
"Well... Now, I don't."
"That means a lot to me, chief, it really does."
"And that is from the heart! I really do... not hate you anymore."

- Miles O'Brien and Julian Bashir (while very drunk)
posted by Halloween Jack (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't comment much in these threads, because I don't have time for a full rewatch, but I read every one, so thanks for doing them thread doers (and commenting in them, thread commentators )

I like the nod to the effects budget with the gravity plating.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:05 AM on December 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

Jerusalem was a fine choice and it's fun to see an Englishman and an Irishman in the distant future get drunk and holler a song from the old times, but Louie, Louie would have been hilarious and Rocket Man would have been one of Trek's great meta moments. Apparently Enterprise almost used Rocket Man as its theme song, and I've long maintained that that would have made every episode like 20% better.

This episode isn't huge in the series arc stuff, but it's pivotal in both the relationship between Jake and his dad and the bromance of Bashir and O'Brien. That solar sail ship is pretty sweet too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:06 AM on December 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

This ep is also the high water mark of Dukat not being a total dickweed.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:28 AM on December 14, 2015 [5 favorites]

That's probably because he's more or less being forced to acknowledge the lightship's arrival in the Cardassia system. (There's this moment right after he makes his little speech where he glances off to the side, as if to say, are we done yet?)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Julian is more English than the Queen, and Miles is probably an old trade-unionist or something, so "Jerusalem" makes sense.

Either that, or they sang "Mo Ghile Mear" at some point later.

We also get an interesting glimpse into the non-cash economy of the Federation, when Jake mentions how Sisko must have used all his "transporter credits" during his first month at the academy
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:13 PM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

This ep is also the high water mark of Dukat not being a total dickweed.

Every expedition should be greeted by Salty Gul Dukat on its arrival.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:25 PM on December 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Miles is probably an old trade-unionist or something

We totally learn later on that he's very proud of his unionist ancestor from the Pennsylvania coal country.

I love that DS9 has a passionately pro-union episode about labor at Quark's, I really do.
posted by thesmallmachine at 7:03 PM on December 14, 2015 [5 favorites]

We also get an interesting glimpse into the non-cash economy of the Federation, when Jake mentions how Sisko must have used all his "transporter credits" during his first month at the academy

I'm not so sure. I'd always assumed that was an artificial scarcity imposed by Starfleet Academy on cadets for purposes of discipline/fostering camaraderie/etc.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:12 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not so sure. I'd always assumed that was an artificial scarcity imposed by Starfleet Academy on cadets for purposes of discipline/fostering camaraderie/etc.

That's possible, but OTOH, how likely would Jake be to know that particular tidbit of military minutiae?

I've conjectured that "transporter credits" may have referred to an artificial scarcity imposed by whatever the local Earth government was called (nerd-memory gap here) because otherwise you'd have way too many transporter streams banging into each other in the atmosphere or something.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:46 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd assume, based on how often you see people use shuttles to get around (which is really often just an excuse to let the viewers get a good view of the latest ship or refit of an old ship in orbital drydock, but anyway), that transporters probably have the same status, more or less, that helicopters do in the modern military--good for getting a few people on or off a ship quickly, but generally considered too "expensive" and potentially dangerous to use if it's not really necessary. (Even in the Federation's moneyless and replicator-based economy, they have limits on available resources, and we saw in ST:TMP that, at least in the 23rd century, transporters aren't 100% foolproof.) Apparently, Starfleet Academy lets first-year cadets take leave on weekends, unlike modern service academies that want "plebes" to be immersed in the academy culture, but then their uniformed services generally seem to be less discipline-oriented than our versions.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:30 PM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I thought I remembered this odd but interesting episode, yet I can't recall that Jerusalem scene at all. I can totally imagine those two characters belting it out though.
posted by comealongpole at 6:04 AM on December 16, 2015

If you saw it, you'd probably remember it. It's a real departure, with a lot of low-key father/son tension and eventual bonding on a little steampunk sailboat spaceship. And then Bashir and O'Brien get roaring drunk, holler Jerusalem and basically confirm that they are somehow finally BFFs now. One of those hours that made you say, this is a different sort of Star Trek show, isn't?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:57 PM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

A great fun episode, both stories work well, especially against one another. This also has some quality Sisko Dad/Son stuff - man who wouldn't want Ben Sisko as their dad? And after Ben Sisko has read Jake's story, there is this awesome bit of dialogue:

Ben Sisko: "In a few places you're writing about things you haven't actually experienced, or at least I hope you haven't experienced. Unless you've joined the Maquis without telling me."

Jake: (looks away) I can't talk about it.

Ben: (gives Jake the side eye while staying slient)

Jake: (laughing) I had you going there.

Perfect; and for all the comments about Cirroc Lofton's acting in past threads, he does a good job here.

"On the Lexington, it was collect your samples and then on to the next system." This seems to recall some of the producers' comments about how DS9 was different from TOS and TNG"

Totally agree; there have been several times when the dialogue could be read in this meta sort of way. Even TNG tried it: at the end of "Ship in a bottle," when Moriarty is away, Picard talks about how all this could be "an elaborate simulation running inside a device sitting on someone's table." (And then Barclay says "computer, end program, and the programme ends!)
posted by marienbad at 2:38 PM on December 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

and for all the comments about Cirroc Lofton's acting in past threads

I think that was mostly me, and I tried to take it back later. He was a kid for most of the show's run, and I felt bad for holding him to the same standards as the rest of the cast when they were adults and they had the time and training to become pretty amazing actors... (Well, with the arguable exception of Terry Farrell, and she also got better as the show went on.) Rene Auberjonois was maybe the strongest actor in the bunch, but I bet he probably wasn't so amazing when he was 14 either.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:06 PM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is one of those "Ugh, Bashir" episodes for me.

Take this exchange about Dr. Lense:

DAX: I take it the two of you were competitive.
BASHIR: Absolutely. We were neck and neck right up to the final exam. And then I blew it. And that's how she wound up on the Lexington. A post virtually everyone in our graduating class was hoping for.
DAX: Including you?
BASHIR: No, this is the assignment I wanted.
DAX: Then what does it matter?
BASHIR: Don't you see? She could've had this post, she could've taken it from me. Somehow no matter what I accomplish while I'm here, that'll always make me feel second best.

So Lense didn't deprive Bashir of anything that he wanted. He got his first choice, and he got to deny everyone else in the class ranked third and lower their first choice, and that's not enough for him. He wanted the ability to deny everyone in the class their first choice. It's an ugly, ugly sentiment, and if anyone else on the show had expressed it, they'd be called out for it.

Not to mention that he's saved dozens of people's lives by now, and he's disparaging that work because of his class rank? Criminy. Reminds me of the old joke:

Q. What do you call someone who graduated last in their class at med school?
A. "Doctor."

Instead of digging deep into how obnoxious and self-indulgent Bashir's self-pity is, both O'Brien and the writers coddle him. O'Brien could have told Bashir that no one except Bashir gives a shit about his class rank now that his career is in full swing. The writers could have let us know that Lense snubbed him because he was such a hypercompetitive jerk in Med School that no one wanted to socialize with him. Instead we get the message, "Yay! He did beat Lense, because she's jealous of his post! He was better at picking posts than she was! Happy Ending for Bashir!" Ugh, Bashir.
posted by creepygirl at 8:13 PM on December 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, again, CG, that strikes me as a really negative read on the situation. I think Bashir is supposed to be seen as obsessing and spinning his wheels. I wouldn't call it ugly, I'd call it minor pettiness, a perfectionist obsessing over a tiny old defeat and finally learning to get over it and be friendly with a person he'd made into the symbol of his own failure. It's actually a really minor story even for a B-plot, but by this point I think the writers figured the audience knew and liked Bashir enough to see him through it. I think his little crisis was mostly an excuse to get to the epic drunken singing with O'Brien.

But this whole plot makes much less sense in light of Bashir's eventual reveal as an augment. Yes, augments can presumably make mistakes on exams, but we're later led to think he's spent his whole life trying to not stand out too much. Fussing over being beaten for the valedictorian spot really doesn't fit that. (And IIRC his "mistake" is later even called out as something he did deliberately.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:27 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just realized that Rocket Man could have been a really poignant song for O'Brien, one that could have taken the scene in a whole other direction. I mean, his wife and kid are back on Earth and he's a lonesome space man, just like the guy in the song.

I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a tiiiiimeless flight

posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

I briefly wondered why no Bajoran had tried to recreate the ship before, but then I remembered about that whole "occupation" thing.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:39 PM on March 8, 2020

One of the things about the early seasons that's underappreciated--especially by people, and I'll admit that I was one of them, who weren't that into the show before the Dominion shows up--is that they're very realistic about the difficulties that Bajor faces post-Occupation: there aren't necessarily enough of everything to go around, even with Federation assistance; Kira ends up having to kick someone off one of Bajor's moons so that they can use it for a power plant; "Shakaar" is about a fight over soil reclamators, which is the second time in the series when there's the threat of a Bajoran civil war; I seem to recall Kira in "For the Cause" complaining about the Cardassians getting a dozen Federation industrial replicators; etc. So, it does make sense that the Federation people would have the luxury of doing a historical recreation while the Bajorans were still working on undoing half a century of Cardassian exploitation and destruction.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:33 AM on October 2, 2022

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