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Season Three:
-447/448: "The Search"
-452: "The Abandoned"
-457/458: "Past Tense"
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-463: "Visionary"

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 3

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Three (1994-1995):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes each.
Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set from the links below:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K.
Region 2, PAL, U.K. (Slimline Edition)

The Search

(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production codes 447 & 448 - 3rd season opener, 2 episodes)
story by Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe
part one teleplay by Ronald D. Moore, part two teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
directed by Kim Friedman (part one) & Jonathan Frakes (part two)

Along with its partial set-up "The Jem'Hadar" at the end of last season, this turns out to be one of my favourite episodes of Deep Space Nine ever. Unlike the other "big" stories around this time like "The Maquis", the Next Generation's finale "All Good Things...", and the feature film "Generations", this story is a true event in the Star Trek universe, tying up Odo's external search for his home and his people, and launching into a new arena of conflict with three new races to contend with.

Part One of "The Search" employs a lot of successful scripting tactics to build towards both confrontation for our regular characters and revelation for Odo personally. Part Two engages some often seen devices on Star Trek, (and I'll refrain from naming them to avoid spoiling them for new viewers), but rarely are these ideas pulled off so well. I think this episode is far more successful at keeping its secrets until the end than most others. And because long-term developments and consequences are being taken into account, the events and information here seem more important and interesting than usual, while doing a better job of speaking to the logic of all the various characters.

The relationships between so many characters also develop well here in this story, and everyone seems more true to themselves in the end, particularly Odo and his people as we see what they have in common and what differences exist between them. And there's some amazing imagery here as well. Director Jonathan Frakes is absolutely on form getting stand-out performances and devising excellent shots.

If there's anything I would improve, it would be the scene which introduces Eddington and the Romulan Torul. The logic of their characters insists that they both need to come in at the beginning and be full participants in the briefing, rather than just coming in at the end to say hello and then leaving again. It's particularly a shame because we don't really get to know anything about Eddington outside of that scene, and it is a long time before he appears in another story. Incidentally, actor Kenneth Marshall playing Eddington had also played the lead character in the fantasy film "Krull". This is a very different look for him here.

In short, "The Search" is one of the best, and a true "must-see" story for those wanting to follow the mythology of both "Deep Space Nine" and the Star Trek universe in general.

The Abandoned

(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 452)
written by D. Thomas Maio & Steve Warnek

This is, quite simply, an outstanding episode of Star Trek. In the old days, writer/producer Gene Coon made many attempts to pit violent instincts against a more spiritually enlightened intellect, which don't resonate as well as they might have done because (1) he would often portray the violence as man's natural "default" behaviour, and (2) it was seen as a one sided struggle where the enlightened intellect was always the better choice.

"The Abandoned" trumps all those previous episodes quite neatly. By giving the violent instincts to the Jem'Hadar instead of human beings, the writers automatically have far greater creative freedom, particularly right now as they are a newly discovered species that has peaked our curiosity and we naturally want to learn more. Add to that all the details concerning the genetic origin of those instincts, and the fact that those genetics were artificially engineered this way for a sinister purpose, and you've got a rock-solid source on which to base the premise. Coon was always on slippery ground by comparison.

Odo becomes an unlikely champion of the typical trendy New Age response, that of making the enlightened choices of peace, harmony, self-growth, and fulfillment, and the stage is set for an excellent drama centered on one of the most direct and successful examinations of the source of a person's choices. What's particularly nice about the way it's handled here is that there is such a variety of viewpoints expressed by the various members of the cast, and it does all rise above the one-sided conclusions of similar elements of 60's episodes. No matter how often Odo asks the boy to dig down into his soul and figure out what he really wants, the boy always comes up with something that points him back towards becoming a violent enemy of most of the races we have come to know on Star Trek so far, and we know that answer has come from genetics instead of the soul. And most disturbing of all, the boy feels no reason for the soul to triumph over or suppress genetic instinct. The audience is easily primed to expect Odo's philosophy to be vindicated at the story's end, but instead, we get a glimpse of what may be missing from it.

It is perhaps important to acknowledge and honour one's genetic instincts, and not attempt to separate them from intellectual and/or spiritual pursuits. Instinct must also be integrated into the whole if we are to be at peace and in harmony with ourselves, much less the rest of the universe. To me, that is the basic message of this story, and it's a powerful one.

It is a lovely bonus that much of what we learn throughout the exploration of this Jem'Hadar also has such long-term implications for the rest of the Deep Space Nine series, including the introduction of the as-yet-unnamed "White" substance that they are addicted to and the extra control over them that this gives the Changelings. The episode is also allowing Odo to verbalize on screen how he has processed the events of "The Search", which is an important consideration for the series. In short, this story really does a good job of taking care of long-term concerns and feeding continuing interest in the series, another big plus over the mostly stand-alone episodes of the sixties. The third season of Deep Space Nine seems to be a grand improvement so far over season two, and this represents yet another good example of that.

These outstanding Deep Space Nine Season Three stories are available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Three (1994-1995):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes each.

Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set
from the links below:

DVD Extras include:

  • Crew Dossier featurette: Odo
  • The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond
  • Time Travel Files - "Past Tense"
  • Sailing Through the Stars - "Explorers"
  • Michael Westmore's Aliens

Region 1 NTSC

Region 1 NTSC

Region 2 PAL

PAL (Slimline Ed.)

Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read the next Star Trek review article: "Time Travel: DS9, Season 3"

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