Back when DS9 and Voyager were on the air simultaneously, I remember reading an article in TV Guide which postulated that, in the future, Deep Space Nine would be remembered as the best of the (then) four Star Trek television series. The writer made a compelling argument for his case. I don’t remember his specific reasons, but I can tell you this: I have seen every episode of DS9 once, and once only… with two exceptions: I have seen “Blood Oath” (with the three TOS Klingons) and “Trials & Tribble-ations” multiple times each. Because I am less familiar with DS9 than I am TNG, I will probably spend a bit more time summarizing the episodes than I did with TNG, starting with…

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MERIDIAN: A planet in the Gamma Quadrant appears from nowhere. It appears for a short time every 60 years. The rest of the time, its inhabitants exist as beings of pure consciousness. Dax falls in love with one of the natives. He cannot leave the planet because reasons. She attempts to jpoin him when the planet phases, but it doesn’t work out.

DEFIANT: I didn’t recall Commander William Riker making a guest appearance on DS9 at this time, but as soon as he began behaving out of character, I remembered it was Lt. Thomas Riker, the Commander’s doppelganger created during a transporter accident several years ago. Unable to forge a niche for himself in Starfleet, Thomas Riker has joined the Maquis.

FASCINATION: Lwaxana Troy visits the station for the Bajoran gratitude Festival, and suddenly everyone gets the hots for everyone else. Turns out she’s going through some kind of “Betazoid menopause” in which her amorous feelings (toward Odo) are projected onto anyone in her vicinity while she’s having a flash.

I'm now remembering that the early years of that show were occasionally kind of odd.  It was still kind of finding its own voice separate from TNG.

None of these last three episodes were particularly engaging. In "Meridian" I would have expected Sisko (or any of Dax's friends, really) to raise more objections about her intention to leave the universe for 60 years. "Fascination" was pretty much of a cliche, plus it was predictable that Lwaxana was the cause. "Fascination" begs for a follow up, but I think this is the last we see of Lt. Tom Riker.

I think the first two seasons (when new characters and concepts were introduced at a rapid clip) is better than the third. As you say, it's still trying to find its own voice,

Brigadoon?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

MERIDIAN: A planet in the Gamma Quadrant appears from nowhere. It appears for a short time every 60 years. The rest of the time, its inhabitants exist as beings of pure consciousness. Dax falls in love with one of the natives. He cannot leave the planet because reasons. She attempts to jpoin him when the planet phases, but it doesn’t work out.

PAST TENSE, Pts. I & II: Not only dis I not remember anything about this two-parter, I didn’t remember this time travel story at all. A chronal anomaly throws Sisko, Bashir and Dax back into Earth’s past. What gives this story immediacy now is that it takes place in the near-future world of 2024. I know Star Trek reality diverged from ours at least as early as the 1970s, but I can’t help seeing the parallels with what might happen in “four more years.”

Sisko and Bashir end up in a “sanctuary district” while Dax finds herself with a “Bill Gates” type among the “1%.” Sisko and Bashir are partially responsible for the death of the man who brings about social reform, so Sisko is forced to take his place. The plight of the “refugees” is brought into the public eye when they gain access to the “internet” to record short bios. I wonder what would happen if such a thing were to happen at the U.S./Mexico border today…?

LIFE SUPPORT: Vedek Bareil suffers traumatic brain injury in an accident on the way to peace talks with the Cardassians. Kai Winn is afraid the talks will fail without him, and keeps insisting that dr. Bashir keep him conscious. Soon, the left half of Bareil’s brain fails entirely, leading Bashir to keep him alive using positronic neural implants. He loses all feeling for Kira after this procedure, but does bring the talks to a successful close. When the right side of his brain fails, the doctor refuses to use another implant, and Bareil dies.

This episode could have been better if they had focused on the themes of the patient making choices against his own best interest and of others making choices against the patient’s own will. I preferred the B-plot, concerning Jake setting up a double date for Nog at Nog’s insistence.

HEART OF STONE: In pursuit of a Maquis ship, Odo and Kira end up in a cave on an barren moon. After being separated for a moment, Odo finds Kira with her foot trapped in some sort of crystal. As Odo attempts to free her, the crystal continues to grow over her entire body, threatening to suffocate her. The situation grows increasingly dangerous, and Odo confesses his love for Kira. Something she says tips him off that not all is as it seems, though, and “Kira” (as well as the crystal itself) turns out to be one of the Changeling Founders.

As is often the case, I preferred the B-plot to the A-plot: in this case, Nog petitions Sisko to sponser his application to Starfleet Academy.

TRIVIA: Odo’s full name is Odo’ital, “unknown sample” in the language of the scientist who reared him, but which the Cardassians reinterpreted as “nothing.”

DESTINY: A series of events seems to support and old, Nostradamus-like prophecy that the wormhole is about to be destroyed. A Bajoran Vedek petitions his case to the “Emissary” (Sisko), and circumstantial evidence seems to support the Vedek’s interpretation of the prophecy. He’s full of $#!t, of course. Sisko ignores the prophecy, follows his gut and saves the wormhole from collapse.

PROPHET MOTIVE: Grand Nagus Zek arrives on the station with an Orb he plans to gift to the Bajoran people. To Quark’s horror, the Nagus has also rewritten the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to promote benevolence over greed. It turns out that the Prophets (i.e., “wormhole aliens”) from whom he received the Orb modified his behavior in keeping with what they learned of human nature from Sisko. Quark kidnaps the Nagus, takes him into the wormhole to confront the Prophets and strikes a bargain to return him to normal. The Nagus then sells the Orb to the Bajorans at a tremendous profit.

Now that I know the Grand Nagus is played by Young Sheldon’s Wallace Shawn I enjoy the character more. I used to just find him annoying.

VISIONARY: O’Brien keeps time-slipping five hours into the future. His visits are brief, but while he’s there he is able to see and be seen by others, including himself. He interacts with the “future crews” and makes changes in the present to avoid certain outcomes, including his own death. I didn’t remember this one at all but I liked it quite a bit.

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