May 23, 2020

Underrated Trek:Children of Time (DS9)

Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I love…which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. One of the coolest things about Star Trek is the way it makes you think about an issue. Sometimes, the solution the episode gives doesn’t agree with the way you would choose. Think episodes like “Tuvix” or “Dear Doctor”. There was one from DS9 which pissed me off when I saw it because of the choices made. So much so I never watched the episode since. But today I decided to revisit the episode, and decide if the fact I don’t agree with it means it’s a bad episode. This is…

This is one of Trek’s more unique time travel stories. As we see the effect before the cause!

Plot Synopsis:
When the Defiant is caught in an energy field and is forced to land on a planet, the crew discovery a colony there. Turns out the colonists afe the crew;s literaly ancestors. When the Defiant tries to escape two days later, it would fial amd send the shop and crew stranded on the plant 200 years in the past!

The colonists have a plan to help The Defiant escape while preserving their time line. Which is good news for Kira who siffered and injury and will not survive without a return to DS9. Odo has survived, and visits Kira to reveal he loves her. Meanwhile, Dax realizes that the plan was a scam and all they would do is crash as they should have.

The colonists accept that there fated to end up non existing, though some like Kira can’t accept the colont dying so she can live. O’Brien refuses to go along with it but after spending time with the people they all realize they there only choice is to ensure the colony does survive. The Defiant attempts to the manuever but a change in flight plan saves them instead, dooming the colony. Turns out it was Odo who did that, sarcificing 8,000 people so the woman she loved would survive.

Guest Stars:
A lot of good actors but no one worth singling out.

What I Liked:

Rene Auberjonois is great in this episode playing Odo from years in the future (past?). And the makeup changes help a lot. His acting is perfect here. Of course this is the episode where Kira discovers Odo has had feelings for her. Yeah, the cliche of unrequited love was on full force on this show. It may as well have been Niles and Daphne. But their scenes are all we done, including the last one. I like that she didn’t instantly return his feelings, it’s more real. And the fact that it was Odo that ensured The Defiant did escape, at the cost of the colony, makes perfect sense. Kira’s reaction to finding out Odo basically scarified the colonists for her was well done.

I can’t say the scenes where the crew meet there descendants are bad, they are well done. O’Brien is the last to decide it would be better to stay to save their lives and I like that. All of the other characters decide a little to quickly to throw their lives away for this colony. Even Sisko who does resist at first. O’Brien is the only one who seems to be struggling with the whole issue. The fact he changes his mind eventaully…well, let’s discuss that in the next section.

With the premise it should make Quark absent in this episode. But they managed to give him a funny cameo where he is an animated schol teacher for the kids.  Trust me that’s the only laugh you’ll have in this bleak episode.

What I Hated:

Let’s start with Dax’s need to check out an anomaly that starts this whole episode. Even though everyone elese wants to go home and no on cares. When Dax acts like Wesley Crusher we’re in trouble. To be fair, this does come up in the episode and Dax (the colonist one) points out how the stupid mistake tortuned him.

I watched this trying to remember exactly what I disagreed with when I saw this episode. I mean, seriously disagreed with! The fact that the colonists were scamming the crew into ensuring their time line continues was deuchy. I get their desperation but tricking them was the wrong approach. So they moved to plan 2. That would be what I call the farming scene, where the colonists do everything in there power to guilt the crew into making sure they end up stranded. Yeah not intentionally but still! By helping the colonists plant crops and hearing about their lives, the crew eventually decide that they can’t let the colony cease to be. These are real people who had real lives. And then O’Brien changes his mind in a second….and I guess that’s where is I disagreed with this episode. He was so adamant about going home and then poof changed mind. His turn is faster than Anakin’s turn to the dark side! Sometimes being just an hour long show hurts a good story and I think this episode needed more time to be effective

This is a difficult moral dilemma, which is the right choice? Sisko makes a speech, before he changes mind, about how he couldn’t ask the crew to throw their lives away so that the colonists will have there’s. And the crew has a right to escape and go home to their families. But don’t these 8000 colonists have a right to survive also? These aren’t hypothetical people, their real flesh and blood! I mentioned “Tuvix” above, but the big differnece here is that the choice isn’t being forced onto the crew. The crew decide to make this decision, and I can respect that. When the accident is prevented, thanks to Odo, and the colony vanishes from time it is a sad moment.

I give the epispde credit for letting us spend time with these descendant, but I don’t think it was enough for me to care about them. At the end of the day, I just didn’t which hurts the final product. By the way Enterprise would do an episode almost identical to this one in plot. I may have to check that one out now.

Fast Forward Moment:
I guess the stuff with the kids in the classroom was kind of pointless padding.

Final Thoughts:
So, why was I so mad about this one? I kinda don’t know. I guess the moral dilemma caught me off gaurd. It’s a tough choice, and the episode deals with it very well. At least the final choice makes sense and doesn’t come out of nowhere. There aren’t many episodes that piss me off. In Voyager’s “Living Witness” (which also angered my but I discussed that already) it was the structure that bothered me, here I disagreed with the choices made. I guess that is what Trek or any good TV can do, not only make you think but get an actual reaction out of you. This episode sure did!

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