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Season Five:
-503: "Trials and Tribble-ations"
-506: "Things Past"
-508: "Rapture"
-511: "For the Uniform"
-520: "Children of Time"
-523: "In the Cards"

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season Five (1996-1997):

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)


(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 508)
story by L.J. Strom
teleplay by Hans Beimler

Here we come to the best regular episode from season 5's first half that takes place in DS9's regular time/space arena. And apart from being a good story that involves our regulars and their extended family quite well, it is also an important milestone for many long term arcs on the show.

The most obvious milestone is that Bajor is deemed to be ready for official acceptance into the Federation.... and this seems to mark a first for any filmed Star Trek story, as we've never actually seen this happen before. Hopefully, this should put the last remaining vestiges of Prime Directive "hands off" non-interference issues to rest, and allow any Starfleet member to get as involved in Bajoran affairs as good sense dictates from now on.... if only Bajor had gone through with the ceremony.

As future stories play out, it turns out that there is good reason for Bajor to delay its acceptance. Basically, Bajor maintains a fašade of having a separate agenda from the rest of the Federation in front of certain third parties. This will be maintained right through the end of Deep Space Nine's run on television, and this episode is as close as we ever come to seeing Bajor actually join the Federation, save perhaps from the Starfleet uniform that Major Kira adopts late in season seven.

And so there remains the shadow of Prime Directive concern over a planet left in limbo for the time being, and the situation remains complex.

One has to wonder though, how much sovereignty each planet in the Federation has. One would think that they could and should maintain their own militia if they choose, and not automatically have it completely absorbed into Starfleet as the admiral suggests. Interesting. "Rapture" is setting some precedents for the Trek universe, it seems.

The episode itself fills its screen time with quality elements, the first of which being a cool interplanetary archaeological exercise with some fascinating puzzles to it. On top of this we see Sisko embracing a very involved spiritual role, not only with Bajor but also with himself. Via the character of a visiting Admiral, we see Starfleet's response in detail - that they are still somewhat uncomfortable with the situation, but prepared to go along with it and give Sisko significant rope. It's a very nice response on their part.

What perhaps is more cliché and deserves a bit of a groan near the end is the idea that Sisko's spiritual visions are at odds with his brain health. This element is on tasteful ground at the opening of the story, when it simply looks like two different ways of viewing the same phenomenon, but when the final drama tries to pit one idea against the other and make the characters sacrifice one to choose the other, it winds up feeling a little less evolved, although at this stage it doesn't hurt the story too badly, which remains fascinating.

"I knew who my enemies were. But now, now nothing is certain."
"Makes life interesting doesn't it?"

These are some of the better lines from the story's conclusion, encapsulating the concept that the best dramas are NOT enemy-centered. We will come back to this concept often as Deep Space Nine progresses, and it is nice to see this episode fall on the better side of that particular issue.

As such, many of the characters have a chance to shine in this story. Kai Winn in particular is refreshing in making her desire to better herself very public and open, and I have to say that this is definitely one of her best episodes. The entire DS9 Ops crew also get a nice discussion of faith, highlighting their own differing views on the subject. Jake is also a bit underused in DS9 for someone with his name in the opening credits, but he puts in a good and emotional showing in this story. Kassidy Yates also makes a return, and boosts this story by providing an important emotional anchor.

I was probably a bit disappointed with this one when the ending came down to choosing fear and protection instead of union and exploration and other high Roddenberry ideals, although it is quite respectable in retrospect and definitely one of season five's highlights.

But I will admit that when the next episode dove straight back into dark, depressing, completely unevolved subject matter, with Ron Moore killing off minor characters as though he really doesn't know what else to do with them, I finally quit watching DS9 during its first broadcast run, and only caught up with it again a decade later on DVD. There are some cool and worthwhile episodes in the early part of the season, but most paint a dark, depressing picture that has little to do with high philosophies and striving to better oneself. The concept of territorial battles seemed to take over, with comedy being the chief relief. Thankfully season five does improve, and season six gets really good, but the going is still rough for a while, and the Roddenberry ideals have great trouble coming into focus for these writers.

Rankings for early season five:

    most enjoyable ones:
  1. Trials and Tribble-ations
  2. Rapture
  3. Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places
  4. Let He Who Is Without Sin...

    decent ones:
  5. The Ascent
  6. The Ship
  7. Apocalypse Rising

    too far off-Roddenberry/Trek-topic for me:
  8. ...Nor the Battle to the Strong
  9. The Assignment
  10. Things Past
  11. The Darkness and the Light

(The episodes "For the Uniform" and "In the Cards" can now be found on their own pages.)

This Deep Space Nine Season Five story is 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 Five (1996-1997):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes each.

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

DVD Extras include:

  • Crew Dossier featurette: O'Brien
  • Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends
  • Tribble-ations: A Historic Endeavor
  • "Section 31" episode featurettes
  • promenade tour revealing secrets
  • Michael Westmore's Aliens
  • Photo Gallery

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: "For the Uniform"

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