Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 03 E 12 Past Tense Part II

Stuck in 2024 San Francisco in the middle of a freshly-erupted riot in Sanctuary District A, Sisko finds himself having to take the role of one of his idols, Gabriel Bell, who had been unceremoniously killed prematurely trying to protect him and Bashir from muggers. Now, he must play Bell's role in protecting the hostages. This objective is complicated by the antics of the trigger-happy ghost, B.C., as well as one of the hostages, guardsman Vin, who is looking to play the hero. Fortunately, Sisko has a level-headed ally in Michael Webb, the father of the boy Bashir helped earlier. Sisko tells Webb to gather more gimmes to help guard the hostages, hoping to keep B.C. and the other ghosts from making the situation worse.

Meanwhile, Dax and her new friend Chris Brynner work to find a way to reach Sisko. She eventually manages to sneak inside District A, where he tells her that they have to find a way to get the residents' stories out to the public - it was one of the key components of the Bell Riots that led to the welfare reforms needed to end the sanctuaries. Despite the legal risk to Chris, she convinces him to open up a network line to the inside so Webb and the other gimmes can tell their stories.

Meanwhile, the Defiant crew, having to rely on their own resources, have to Techno Babble a way to send Kira and O'Brien into the past to find Sisko and the others. They fail to reach them in 1930 and 1967, and determine that the divergence came sometime before 2048, as their visit to that year reveals an Earth in far worse shape than even the World War III of their own timeline. They nail it down to three options, but can only take one more shot before they can't use that method anymore, and they luck out by hitting 2024 and successfully hailing Dax.

Sisko and Webb attempt to negotiate with the police, but Sisko knows the SWAT raid is coming, and has to prepare for it. Webb sends his son away, and B.C. (showing a brief semblance of humanity) gives Danny his hat. Shortly, the office is stormed, and both Webb and B.C. are killed, while Sisko takes a bullet protecting Vin. Sisko survives, and Vin agrees to let him go and tell the true story of the riot. He agrees to place Bell's ID on a body, thus allowing the world to believe that Gabriel Bell died protecting the hostages - thus restoring the 24th century for Sisko and company.

Back aboard the Defiant, Bashir treats Sisko's wound, and asks him how things could've been allowed to get so bad back then in the first place, but Sisko, to his regret, doesn't have an answer.


  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: This exchange.
    Sisko: You get on my nerves... and I don't like your hat.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Grady in particular (played by Clint Howard, no less). He genuinely believes he can turn himself invisible. Though he correctly figures Dax for an alien, and a good one at that.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: Averted! Vin's offhand remark about the 1999 Yankees would prove true when they won the World Series in that year, after having one of the best regular-season records in baseball history the previous year. Though played straight with the 2015 London Kings.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Sisko initially doesn't seem too concerned about passing himself off as Bell, reasoning that he's not in danger since he isn't really Bell. Bashir is quick to point out that no one else knows that.
  • Embarrassing First Name: There's a reason he goes by B.C.
    B.C.: Biddle Coleridge.
    Vin: Biddle?
    B.C.: Hey!
  • Guile Hero: Sisko has to strike a balance between acting forceful enough for B.C. to accept him and reasonable enough to get the trust of the reasonable residents.
  • Jerkass:
    • The unseen governor, whose response to the situation is to declare he'll form a committee (which Sisko admits is just refusing to do anything), and is the one who makes the police go in shooting.
    • Vin and B.C., continuing from the previous episode. Vin is rude and confrontational, even when the unhinged B.C. is holding several people at gunpoint.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a very tense and emotional scene with a shotgun wielding Sisko, we cut to... O'Brien and Kira arriving in 1967 and getting flowers from some hippies.
  • Not So Different:
    • As the hostage situation wears on, they eventually engage in some small talk about sports. Sisko, Vin, and Bernardo debate baseball.
    • According to history, the Sanctuary policy collapsed when the inmates were able to broadcast their stories on the national network and prove that they were good people wrongly imprisoned.
  • Police Brutality: The SWAT Team barges into the sanctuary district to "pacify" it by shooting everyone in sight. One of them even tries to shoot Vin as he tells them they're alright.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The police chief tries to be one, but she's hamstrung by orders from above.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Jadzia convinces Brynner that giving a public voice to the injustice of the Sanctuary districts is worth risking his broadcast license.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: After finding that, while history is restored, Gabriel Bell now looks exactly like him, Sisko says that he is not looking forward to the debriefing from Starfleet Command.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Vin is uncooperative and insulting for most of the time he's a hostage, prompting B.C. to comment "I really think we should kill this guy." Sisko has to slam Vin into the wall to make him shut up.
  • Totally Radical: The phrase "check your e-mail" seems to mean "get a clue."