DS9 Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 26

Only time for one episode tonight, which is the father-son (and uncle-nephew) camping trip disaster that is The Jem’Hadar.

Honestly, this is what Sisko gets for not letting Jake just enjoy his plants in peace. But he sees it as a chance to take Jake on a camping trip that can double as a science project… and then Jake invites Nog along, because Nog needs to not fail out of school. Honestly, I love the relationship between Jake and Nog. They’re both great kids with a great relationship. But from the adult perspective, I can recognize Sisko’s moment of suppressed eye-rolling. I, too, have been the kid who insisted on bringing along a friend that my parent did not like and only put up with because I insisted on being friends with them. (Thankfully, not something I figured out until I was a grown up and saw it in action from that side of things… and I get the feeling that you think your kid is friends with someone who is bad for them, but also you can’t do anything about it but grin and bear it.)

Anyway, the altered plan is something Sisko could deal with… except Quark, who is trying very hard to suck up to Sisko because he wants to do… something…. invites himself along, too. This goes about as well as you would expect, in that Sisko already doesn’t like Quark, and Quark is not the outdoorsy type. Thankfully their mutual misery is interrupted by a telekinetic space elf lady running into their camp and stunning Sisko, then getting them all captured by the Jem’Hadar, who have always reminded me of humanoid ankylosaurs.

Nog and Jake were out of camp when the grownups get captured, so they have to do the best they can. They manage to get to the runabout on their own, which is good. But they have to figure out how to get anything in the runabout to work, which is a lot harder on them. But they figure it out, and they make it to the wormhole just in time for reinforcements to come through and O’Brien can take over.

Ultimately it’s all a ploy by the Dominion to get a spy briefly on DS9. Though at least Quark and Sisko figure that out right quick and send her packing.

Basically, this is going back to the mention of the Dominion we got with the Ferengi trying (and failing) to establish trade relations with them. And they look a lot scarier thanks to the Jem’Hadar showing up on DS9 to deliver some threats. The Jem’Hadar gets established as a presumably technologically superior threat–they can just walk through containment fields, and destroy the Odyssey with a suicide attack as it retreats–who has staked out the gamma quadrant as theirs.

There’s a bit about Sisko and his relationship with Ferengi, which basically Quark decides is a problem of humans being racist against Ferengi. Because Ferengi greed reminds humans of their past, only according to him Ferengi were never as bad as humans because they haven’t done genocide or slavery. (Him mentioning slavery specifically to a Black man was… sure something.) There’s some “building mutual respect via combat during escape” action, so we can see Sisko and Quark at least figuring out how to work together, even if they still don’t like each other.

As a season finale, it feels like it fizzles a bit. It’s not really the summation of any plotline for the season, and for all that it ends with the death of a starship, it lacked the tension we even got out of the season 1 finale, In the Hands of the Prophets, while still hinting at conflicts to come. And if memory serves, the Dominion and the Jem’Hadar become a MUCH bigger problem than The Worst Bajoran Ever, though I seem to remember it takes a couple more seasons to really get going. It’s a slow burn and a long plan, something that felt like a major departure at the time… though now it seems pretty fantastic that the show has so many episodes ahead of it of cold war before it goes into full hot war.

TV has sure changed a lot.

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