Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 01 E 01 E 02 Emissary
Not the smoothest passing of the torch you'll ever see...
Following a 60 year occupation, the Cardassian Empire has withdrawn from Bajor, leaving behind a planet stripped of many of its natural resources and a population scarred by decades of subjugation and mistreatment. The Federation has agreed to help the planet rebuild, and to this end, it will be sharing command of the abandonded Cardassian space station Terok Nor (now renamed Deep Space Nine) with the Bajorans. Commander Benjamin Sisko will be in charge, but he still has issues from the loss of his wife at the Battle Of Wolf 359, and to make matters worse, he also has to deal with his Bajoran first officer, who is deeply mistrustful of Starfleet and even her own government, and the damage done to the station as the Cardassians left. In the meantime, the USS Enterprise has showed up, and while Sisko knows that Picard was not in control of what Locutus did at Wolf 359, he finds himself bitter at Picard for what happened to his spouse and his shipmates in the battle.

Taking a short trip around the Bajoran system in a Runabout, Sisko and his old friend and science officer Dax discover a stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, but on the return journey, Sisko is captured by the aliens who live inside the Wormhole, who dump Dax back on DS9. While Sisko tries to explain the nature of linear time and corporeal existence to the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, the crew on the station must race to move it to protect the wormhole from the Cardassians, who are on their way back with a renewed interest in Bajor...


  • Abandon Ship: Sisko, Jake, and crew at Wolf 359.
  • Affably Evil: Gul Dukat. "Evil" might be a stretch, but he is legitimately friendly and respectful - whilst simultaneously making subtle threats at Sisko.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: During his time interacting with the Prophets, Sisko is repeatedly drawn back to the scene of his wife's death. Despite his insistence that he doesn't want to be there, the Prophets keep asking him one thing:
    "Then why do you exist here?"
  • Ascended Extra: Miles O'Brien ascends to the main cast of this show.
  • Badass Boast: Kira delivers one to Gul Jassad that makes O'Brien vow to never play Roladan Wild Draw with her.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Odo. His default form (which dips into the Uncanny Valley both in-universe and out) is revealed to be a puddle of golden-orange goo. He is apparently able to change size, shape and mass at will. As he's a Founder, this is to be expected; but this early in the show he is apparently unique.
    • The Wormhole aliens later revealed to be the Prophets of the Celestial Temple are so completely different from corporeal, linear life forms that it takes them a while to accept that such a thing could exist.
  • Blown Across the Room: Happens to several civilians when the Cardassians attack the station.
  • The Cameo: Captain Picard.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A very long-range one. O'Brien uses Techno Babble to make it appear that the station is armed with 5000 photon torpedoes and dozens of phaser banks in order to bluff the Cardassians. Four seasons later, the Klingons attack and their sensors show that the station really does have multiple phaser arrays and 5000 torpedoes - and the Klingons initially suggest that the station is really unarmed and that the same Techno Babble from this episode is being used to fake it.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The whole long sequence where Sisko explains the circumstances of existing in linear time to the Prophets boils down to this.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Wolf 359, as the viewer of TNG already knows. All the Federation ships' phaser fire doesn't even scratch the Borg cube. The Borg cube, by comparison, fires exactly three shots on-screen; the first one totally disintegrates the saucer section of an Excelsior-class ship, the second catastrophically damages the Saratoga, killing nearly everyone on-board, setting off a warp core breach and barely leaving the survivors time to escape, and the third (barely visible through the window while Sisko is trying to rescue Jake and Jennifer) One Hit Kills an Oberth-class ship.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Odo and Kira both show extreme skill with this. No surprises, then, that they wind up together by the end of the series.
  • Deflector Shields: "What shields?" That's never a good sign...
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: Kira warns Bashir about this when he thinks the Cardassians are falling for her bluff. A few minutes later, the shooting starts.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • In a couple of scenes, Sisko smiles and laughs in a big way that looks odd to a viewer familiar with his cooler portrayal in later episodes.
    • Bashir stammers awkwardly when inviting Jadzia to dinner. Later he's portrayed as much smoother with women, busily dating many of the single women on the station (though mostly offscreen). According to Alexander Siddig, this was a deliberate attempt at Character Development on his part because he knew the series would likely last several years, so he had time to set up a Character Arc.
    • Kira has long hair. She would grow it back to this length several seasons later.
    • Quark actually has Rom's prosthetic nose, as Armin Shimerman's own prosthetic wasn't ready yet.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sisko essentially blackmailing Quark into staying on the station really sets him up as the most pragmatic of all the Star Trek captains.
    • Sisko's initial hatred of Picard over his role in Wolf 359 (though Picard couldn't control his actions) and their later reconciliation was meant to establish that Sisko would be a very different kind of captain and this would be a very different show.
    • Kira Nerys' first appearance has her chewing out a government representative. Loudly, and not holding back on the invective.
    • The opening scene itself. Every other installment of the franchise opened with an okay situation which eventually goes south. Here, it opens right in the middle of the devasting Wolf 359 battle, signifying a Darker and Edgier take on the mythos.
    • Odo and Quark establish their confrontational yet comic relationship by snarking and snapping at each other.
  • Fan of the Past: Sisko, due to his love of baseball, which had previously been established in TNG to have died out of the mainstream by the 24th century.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Averted - The station is in orbit around Bajor at the beginning; its move to the wormhole entrance is reflected in the opening credits of every episode except this one.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Kira thinks that Starfleet will just take over the same role as the Cardassians in the newly liberated Bajor.
  • Game of Nerds: Sisko's love of baseball is established when he uses it as a metaphor to explain linear existence to the Prophets. Receives a Call Back later in the series when they refer to his life as "the game."
  • Have We Met?: Picard asks this of Sisko.
    Sisko: Yes, sir. We met in battle. I was on the Saratoga at Wolf 359.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Sisko spends two years in one until the Prophets help him get back on track.
  • Humanity on Trial: Not just humanity, but all corporeal beings. Sisko makes the case, and is thus deemed the Emissary.
  • In the Original Klingon: Sisko calls plea bargaining "an old Ferengi legal tradition." Maybe blackmail really is part of the standard Ferengi version.
  • Irony: Sisko has to explain the concept of linear existence to the Prophets, but when they understand it, they point out that he is not linear, because he is still living in the moment of his wife's death and has been unable to move on.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: A variation; when O'Brien leaves the Enterprise (where he had served as transporter chief for many years in TNG), Captain Picard operates the transporter himself to beam him over to the station.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Gul Jassad's subordinate suggests withdrawing and waiting for reinforcements to retake the station, which he refuses because Starfleet can also get reinforcements in a short time.
  • Manly Tears: Sisko over his wife's death.
  • Mind Screw: The Prophets sequence looks like one... until you understand the argument and why it is presented as a conversation superimposed on events of Sisko's life; it's how the Prophets are able to communicate with and relate to this alien human.
  • My Greatest Failure: Sisko finds it impossible to get past the death of his wife, and requires outside intervention from the Prophets to move on with his life.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Captain Picard of all people exhibits a restrained one once Sisko tells him how they met.
    • This is Kira's reaction when O'Brien tells her that DS9 doesn't have shields.
  • Opening Scroll: The episode begins with one regarding Wolf 359.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The baseball scene with the Prophets.
  • Percussive Maintenance: How O'Brien gets the transporter to work when pushing buttons does nothing.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Bashir, when Odo gets squeamish about using his bare hand to clamp a woman's damaged artery: ""
  • Put on a Space Station: Chief O'Brien and family (at least from the Enterprise Crew's point of view).
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Kira has been assigned as Bajoran liaison officer to Starfleet, a job she is completely unsuited for given her lack of diplomatic tact. Which is probably why she was sent to Deep Space Nine in the first place. Inverted with Bashir who willingly chose the assignment, hoping for a life of adventure. Kira is not amused.
  • Retcon: A minor example; the USS Melbourne (the ship Riker was meant to command) was a Nebula-class ship in "The Best of Both Worlds" but changed to an Excelsior-class one in this episode, as the model was more detailed for the closeup where the Borg destroy it. The ship was never definitively identified as any particular wreck in the original episode, so it's not a major issue.
  • Scenery Porn: Even though the buildings are wrecked, Bajor is still obviously a beautiful planet in spite of the horrors of the Cardiassian Occupation.
  • Scotty Time: Exaggerated—moving the station across the Bajoran system would take two months, but O'Brien has to make it happen in just one day. Explained by technobabble about reducing the inertia of the station- making the six operational maneuvering thrusters sufficient to move it.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: Gul Jassad gives Kira an hour to surrender the station. An hour later, Kira responds with six photon torpedoes.
  • Sincerity Mode: Sisko negotiating with Quark.
  • Spinoff Send Off: The episode starts with The Enterprise-D docked with the eponymous station. Captain Picard appears and the new Commander Sisko promptly tells him how much he hates him. Sisko has some epiphanies, makes peace with Picard, and Picard gives him his blessing. It literally happens to TNG semi-regular Chief O'Brien, when he's sent to DS9 by Picard himself, who wishes him well on his new assignment.
  • Welcome Episode
  • Wham Episode: The Federation discovers the first known stable wormhole known to exist, which links the Bajoran system to a point in the Gamma Quadrant 70,000 lightyears away. This discovery significantly affects the course of this series and the Star Trek universe as a whole.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sisko pulls this on Picard when they meet due to his lingering bitterness over Locutus' involvement in his wife's death. He later realizes his mistake and squares things with Picard.
  • White Void Room: With an closeup on Sisko's head... then his face... then his eyes... then just one eye.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: In-Universe—Sisko and Dax comment on how different the Bajoran Wormhole is compared to all the others.