The 10 Greatest Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Episodes

By Chris Cummins in Daily Lists, TV
Friday, May 27, 2011 at 8:09 am
5) What You Leave Behind
There was a, to put it scientifically, shitload of loose strings that had to be tied up in the Deep Space Nine finale. How would the Dominion War end? Who would finally get to kill Gul Dukat? What would become of Odo and Kira's relationship? What sort of tragedy would befall the Siskos? How many times could Ira Steven Behr reference the Alamo? And so on. Fortunately, the answers to these questions were full of the darkness and complexity that became the series' calling card. There's been some bitching about the fact that Captain Sisko didn't die in the finale (a decision that Avery Brooks played a crucial role in making), but in my opinion the only real complaint to be lobbied about how DS9 wrapped up involves Worf becoming a Federation ambassador. If I could make a nerdy nitpick here, it would have made much more sense to give him his own command due to the fact that Starfleet was nearly decimated and probably in need of good captains. With that said, if you'll excuse me I have to dust my collectibles.

4) In the Pale Moonlight
The episode that gave birth to the awesome It's a Fake meme, "In the Pale Moonlight" is Ben Sisko's journey into Heart of Darkness territory. While recording a personal log, the good Captain relates the toll that his attempts to get the Romulans to join the Federation in their battle against the Dominion has taken. From compromising his most basic values to turning a blind eye to Garak's murderous ways, Sisko reveals that he hasn't so much danced with the devil as done an all-night lambada with evil in order to accomplish his mission. After releasing the weight from his shoulders by clearing his conscience, he shakingly tries to convince himself that he can live with his actions before deleting the log for good. In the process, viewers are given insight into the secret burden that military men must face in wartime -- a message that seems even more timely now than it did during its original airing in 1998.

3) The Way of the Warrior
The introduction of Worf onto the show created friction amongst Trekkies who moaned that his addition was nothing more than a shameful ratings grab that would take screen time away from other characters. Instead, what really happened was that Worf was given a more of a chance to develop than he ever had on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course, none of this was clear from his initial DS9 outing -- which was too busy concerning itself with ass-kicking action sequences and Klingon madness to do much of anything. Come for the groundwork for future episodes that is laid out here, but stay for the glorious Mek'leth-inflicted mayhem.

2) Trials and Tribble-ations
Remember how awesome it was in Back to the Future II when Marty McFly interacted with scenes from the first flick? With that technology perfected, the producers of Deep Space Nine decided to utilize it to place their characters into "The Trouble with Tribbles." Sure, it's gimmicky as all hell. Yet seeing the DS9 cast in classic Starfleet uniforms interacting with Spock and company from one of the original series' most iconic episodes is nothing short of squee-inducing. The best bit? Tough call, but I'm going with Worf's pained reaction to the question about why old-school Klingons look so different from him.

1) The Visitor
This episode was featured on my list of Nerdy Moments Guaranteed to Make You Cry and it rightfully appears here as well because it gets to the heart of what Star Trek is ultimately supposed to be about: the human condition. After the unexpected death of his father, Jake spends a lifetime figuring out how the boy that he was can be reunited with the dad that he so desperately needed. For those unfamiliar or unwilling to watch Deep Space Nine, check out this episode and you'll see that at its core "The Visitor" is not about technobabble or sci-fi. It is a story about love, loss and self-sacrifice that is so powerful that it transcends its genre trappings and becomes television that is truly universally relatable. Watch it, and prepare to be devastated by its beauty.

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