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Top Ten DS9 Episodes June 11, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in television review.
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This was a tough list to make for me, as Deep Space Nine was overall an entirely excellent show. 



Hard Time
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Daniel Keys Moran and Lynn Barker

Wikipedia Says: O’Brien is accused of espionage by an alien race who use a more expeditious form of incarcerating criminals.

Keith Says: This episode is SMART science fiction. The idea that you would serve out the entirety of a prison sentence in a series of implanted memories is very clever, but it also contrasts that clever invention with the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“When we were growing up, they used to tell us… humanity had evolved, that mankind had outgrown hate and rage. But when it came down to it, when I had the chance to show, that no matter what anybody did to me, that I was still an evolved human being… I failed. I repaid kindness with blood. I was no better than an animal.”
“No. No, no, no. An animal would’ve killed Ee’Char and never had a second thought, never shed a tear… But not you. You hate yourself.You hate yourself so much you think you deserve to die. The Argrathi did everything they could to strip you of your humanity and in the end, for one brief moment they succeeded. But you can’t let that brief moment define your entire life. If you do, if you pull that trigger.. then the Argrathi will have won. They will have destroyed a good man. You cannot let that happen, my friend.”
– Julian listens and sets things right with O’Brien


The Siege of AR-558
Written by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler

Wikipedia Says: Sisko and crew relieve Starfleet troops under siege by Jem’Hadar at a key communications outpost.

Keith Says: The real strength of this episode was in the back and forth between Quark and Nog, who provided an opportunity for us as humans to see ourselves from the outside.

“Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people – as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts… deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers… put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time… and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces, look at their eyes…” – Quark


Honor Among Thieves
Written by Rene Echevarria and Philip Kim

Wikipedia Says: Starfleet Intelligence recruits Chief O’Brien to infiltrate the Orion Syndicate to find a Starfleet informant.

Keith Says: The DS9 writers really seemed to like putting O’brien into tough situations. In this one he has to bear the responsibility of setting up a man that he grew to befriend for death. The man, to protect his family from retribution by the Orion Syndicate, ultimately sacrifices his life even after O’brien warns him what is going to happen.



The Wire
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Wikipedia Says: In order to save Garak’s life, Bashir must unravel some of the secrets in the Cardassian’s past.

Keith Says: Garak was such an intriguing character, who we never fully understood. This was the first episode to clue us into the how murky the waters of his past were, and ultimately told us that we would never fully understand.

“Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren’t?”
“My dear Doctor, they’re all true.”
“Even the lies?”
“Especially the lies.”

– Garak and Bashir


Homefront/Paradise Lost
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Hans Beimler &Ronald D. Moore

Wikipedia Says: Sisko and Odo are brought to Earth when it’s suspected Changelings are infiltrating Starfleet . . . they discover a plot to seize control of Earth from the Federation.

Keith Says: This was an oddly prescient two-parter, and it’s really amazing to think that it was conceived before 9/11 and the institution of the Patriot Act and all of that. How fragile is freedom? How far are you willing to go for the illusion of safety? It’s an important question.

“What if I were to tell you that there are only four Changelings on this entire planet. Not counting Constable Odo, of course. Think of it – just four of us, and look at the havoc we’ve wrought.”
“How do I know that you’re telling me the truth?”
“Oh, four is more than enough. We’re smarter than solids. We’re better than you. And most importantly, we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it’s your fear that will destroy you.”
– Changeling and Sisko


Far Beyond the Stars
Written by Marc Scott Zicree, Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler

Wikipedia Says: After a friend’s ship is destroyed, Sisko considers leaving Starfleet. Visions of himself as a science fiction writer in 1950s America affect his decision.

Keith Says: Two things to say about this episode. First, the production design from the 1950’s visions was fantastic. Second, Avery Brooks is an AMAZING actor. He bears the weight of this entire episode on his shoulders.

“Call anybody you want, they can’t do anything to me, not any more, and nor can any of you. I am a Human being, dammit! You can deny me all you want but you can’t deny Ben Sisko – He exists! That future, that space station, all those people – they exist in here! (pointing to his head) In my mind. I created it. And everyone of you knew it, you read it. It’s here. (pointing to his head again) Do you hear what I’m telling you? You can pulp a story but you cannot destroy an idea, don’t you understand, that’s ancient knowledge, you cannot destroy an idea. (becoming hysterical) That future – I created it, and it’s real! Don’t you understand? It is real. I created it. And it’s real! It’s REAL!” – Benny Russell



Call to Arms/A Time to Stand/Rocks and Shoals
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Call to Arms), Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler (A Time to Stand), Ronald D. Moore (Rocks and Shoals)

A three parter.

Wikipedia Says:

Call to Arms: Faced with the realisation that the Dominion are taking over the Alpha Quadrant, Sisko decides to mine the entrance to the wormhole.

A Time to Stand: Three months into the war, DS9 is still under Dominion control. Sisko and his crew are given a mission to destroy a vital facility deep in Dominion space.

Rocks and Shoals: Sisko and his tired crew crash on a planet where they encounter a band of Jem’Hadar.

Keith Says: Incredibly important things happened in this three-parter that defined the rest of the series. First, the war began. Second, they lost the station. Third, they showed the dark pale that the Federation-Dominion War cast over the galaxy. The images are deeply memorable. Dominion troops on the station, a fleet of hundreds of Federation and Klingon ships going off to war, our main characters gunning down an entire platoon of Jem’Hadar who refuse to surrender.

“I assume Captain Sisko has removed or destroyed everything of value.”
“Not everything.”

(Dukat is holding Sisko’s baseball)
“What is that?”
“A message. From Sisko.”
“I don’t understand.”
“He’s letting me know… he’ll be back…”

– Weyoun and Dukat

“You know, there’s something I just don’t understand. You’re always telling me that space is big, that it’s an endless frontier, filled with infinite wonders.”
“It’s true.”
“If that’s the case, you would think there’d be more than enough room to allow people to leave each other alone.”
“It just doesn’t work that way… It should. But it doesn’t.”
– Joseph and Benjamin Sisko




In the Pale Moonlight
Written by Michael Taylor and Peter Allan Fields

Wikipedia Says: Sisko asks Garak to help him get the Romulans to join the war against the Dominion.

Keith Says: What I said above about a dark pale? Scratch that. THIS is the darkest episode of Star Trek ever. Captain Sisko conspires and ultimately betrays all of the ideals the Federation stands for to save the galaxy.

“So… I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all… I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. Garak was right about one thing, a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it. Because I can live with it. I can live with it… Computer, erase that entire personal log.” – Sisko



Written by Lisa Rich, Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci and Peter Allan Fields

Wikipedia Says: A visiting Cardassian may in fact be a notorious war criminal, and Kira is determined to bring him down.

Keith Says: Two characters, brilliant dialogue, and parallels to the war crimes of Nazi Germany. Powerful.

“What lies? You mean my failure to divulge my true identity? Believe me Major, I yearned to tell you. But I knew how much more satisfaction you would have if you found out for yourself, and that was my only deception. Marritza was a magnificent file clerk. And I, Gul Darhe’el? I hope you’ll not think it immodest of me to say so, but I was a magnificent leader. Oh, you never saw Gallitep at its height. For a labor camp, it was the very model of order and efficiency. And why? For that, you have to look to the top. To me! My word, my every glance, was law. And my verdict was always the same: Guilty.”
“You’re insane!”
“Oh, no, no, Major… you can’t dismiss me that easily. I did what had to be done. My men understood that, and that’s why they loved me. I would order them to go out and kill Bajoran scum, and they’d do it, they’d murder them! They’d come back covered in blood but they felt clean! Now why did they feel that way, Major? Because they were clean!”
– Marritza/Darhe’el and Kira

“Nothing justifies genocide!”
“What you call genocide, I call a day’s work.”

– Kira and Marritza/Darhe’el

“You’re Marritza, aren’t you?”
“You mistake me for that bug? That whimpering nothing? Oh, you stupid Bajoran girl. Don’t you know who I am? I’m your nemesis. I’m your nightmare. I’m the Butcher of Gallitep.”
“The Butcher of Gallitep died six years ago. You’re Aamin Marritza, his filing clerk.”
“That’s not true. I am alive. I will always be alive! It’s Marriza who is dead. Marritza, who was good for nothing but cowering under his bunk and weeping like a woman. Who, every night, covered his ears because he couldn’t bear to hear the screaming for mercy of the Bajorans.”
-Kira and Marritza/Darhe’el

“You have no idea what it’s like to be a coward. To see these horrors and do nothing.” – Marritza/Darhe’el, to Kira



The Visitor
Written by Michael Taylor

Wikipedia Says: An elderly Jake Sisko relates the story of how he lost his father.

Keith Says: This episode is all about grief, and the how the inability to move on from loss will ultimately ruin your life. Jake is dragging his temporally trapped father through time with him like a phantom, and the Jake learns that the only escape is his own death. Tony Todd gives a truly heart-wrenching performance as the elderly Jake Sisko. Maybe the only episode of Star Trek to ever bring me to tears.

“To my father, who’s coming home.”
– Benjamin Sisko, reading the dedication in Jake’s last book




1. Barb - June 11, 2009

I don’t know how you were able to do it, but you picked a most excellent list.

2. Scott Grandison - June 14, 2009

Hey Keith,

It’s Scott here. Just wanted to say you did an absolutely fantastic job of this and the TNG list you did earlier. I’ve no idea how long it too you to do them, but it’s not an easy task.

That said I’m hoping you do some more!


3. Starfleet Germany - February 15, 2010

[…] top ten ds9 episodes […]

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