YMMV / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Maquis as pissy and entitled Federation civilians who can't accept that peace comes at a high price, or a group of settlers who had their lands switched out for a supposed peace that is in no way enforced by the Cardassians who used fear and murders to try to scare them away.
    • Section 31. Well-Intentioned Extremist spies who do what it takes to protect paradise from people who don't share its idealistic view of the universe, or mass murderers who grasp at any straw they can to justify despicable and evil actions, be it kidnapping, conspiracy or genocide? It appears it's really hard to find a consensus, as this page has been heavily edited thanks and because of them. Word of God says it is Necessarily Evil, based on the former reasoning, but this interpretation ignores that the Necessary Evil was already the job of Starfleet Intelligence.
      • For an ultra-elite black ops agent, Luthor Sloan isn't terribly subtle. He wanted to recruit Bashir, but kept demeaning his ideals and constantly trying to dominate rather than persuade or coerce him. He also antagonized everyone on DS9, calling a bunch of attention to himself and the rest of section 31. Also, after having Bashir witness his elaborate plans, first hand, twice, he openly gloats about how effective his scheme was. The third time, Bashir is able to outwit him easily. Is Sloan really using sections 31's autonomy to it's most effective end, or is his bruised ego causing him to make stupid mistakes?
    • Major Kira and the Bajoran resistance as a whole can be seen in many ways. It heavily depends on how much you accept the interpretation of her as a Well-Intentioned Extremist or Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters or if you simply view her as an terrorist. Her speech in "The Darkness and the Light" is central to your interpretation of her. If you believe her defense, that every member of an occupying species is a legitimate target, then her actions are acceptable and even good. Otherwise you can view her acts against the Cardassians as anything across the spectrum of unforgivable, to Necessarily Evil, right up to tragic but necessary in a Black and Gray Morality situation. The setting also influences this defense, with the entirety of Bajor steeped in horrific crimes of mass-murder, attempted genocide, torture, rape, and detention camps that would give Auschwitz a run for its money, to name a few, and all of this for 50 years making life beyond miserable for nearly every Bajoran on the planet. When quality of life is that degraded, terrorism becomes much less a violent option that could be avoided. Add in that all this was perpetrated by a Cardassian Occupation Force that was mostly military, with the resistance performing terrorist attacks on its own soil only (i.e. not on Cardassia or against Cardassian territory) and against mostly military targets, and situational ethics really do come into play. Does the Resistance count as guerrilla warfare in an ongoing war for the planet? Terrorism against a governmental entity? Both? Her defense is helped by the fact that the Bajoran resistance won eventually by making the Occupation so unpalatable to Cardassia that they couldn't hold the planet. And the fact that she has shown remorse for actions she considered necessary but horrible. But if you view terrorism as unacceptable under any circumstances, then you're unlikely to find her defense acceptable. It's highly unlikely they would give her such a backstory today.
    • Were Li Nalas' exploits really distorted by retelling? He hated his fame so much it's not hard to imagine him making up the "I shot an unarmed Cardassian in his underwear" story. Even after Sisko convinced him of his importance as a symbol he might have let Sisko continue to believe he was a fraud so that he had someone to talk to who saw him as just a man.
    • Some fans suspect Bashir didn't actually have any health problems, and he simply wasn't progressing fast enough for his parents' liking so they got him augmented. The major evidence is that the Mirror Bashir is presumably not augmented as it wouldn't be available to Terrans, yet he doesn't seem to have anything physically wrong with him.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Early in the show's run it was established that Bashir had missed out on top spot in his class because he mixed up a pre-ganglionic fiber with a post-ganglionic nerve. The wife of Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who wrote the episode, was actually a medical student herself, and pointed out that this was as idiotic as a final-year engineering student not knowing the difference between a wrench and a drill, and so when it came to the third season episode "Distant Voices," Wolfe wrote that Bashir deliberately answered the question wrong because he didn't want the pressure of finishing first in his class. And this was later expanded further as his wanting to hide his being genetically engineered. Siddig hated this abrupt retconning of his character, but in this case his objections were, frankly, irrelevant given how neatly the GE reveals brings the character's hazy five-year history into sharp focus. He changed his mind once the Section 31 plot gave him and Miles more to do.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Ezri Dax. She had to succeed the fan favorite Jadzia and was basically a first-season character in the show's final season (and thus needed a good few episodes to flesh her out), so she already had some big hurdles to be liked - and it certainly didn't help after the way Jadzia died. She's characterized as someone who was totally unprepared for being joined, particularly to the legendary Dax symbiont, and is still trying to find her feet while the other characters have already matured through several character arcs. How well the writers and Nicole DeBoer handle it are still hotly debated. However, it's hard to be 'mad' when they look this cute at conventions.
    • The Prophets, especially concerning "Sacrifice of Angels" and "What You Leave Behind". While some think they were interesting and were another mark of Deep Space Nine's unique flavor, others contest that they acted as a Deus ex Machina and distracted from the Dominion War as the "real" plot.
      • Their omnicidal enemies the Pah-Wraiths, who are presented as "false" prophets who wish to use Dukat as their Anti-Emissary and take back the wormhole. Complete with Pah-Wraith cultists who turned away from the Prophets once the wormhole closed. Unlike the Prophets, who had trouble understanding corporal morality, the Pah-Wraiths were basically presented as cackling fire demons who knew exactly what they were doing. This resulted in a sort of Blue and Black morality that relied on old fantasy tropes rather than the morally grey setting the show had been so careful to construct.
    • Section 31, mostly in regards to their attempted genocide of the Changelings. Was it justified or not? Cue endless arguments on if it helped or hurt the war effort (would the Female Changeling have surrendered if Odo didn't have the cure or did the illness just make her more ruthless and eager for a Taking You with Me ending), if genocide can be justified if it's against an implacable enemy, if it was crossing the line for Section 31 to engineer the virus at all. While Word of God has repeatedly established the Canon to be closer to the pro-Section 31 sides of the argument (and even the non-black-ops parts of the Federation were pissed at Picard for refusing a similar measure against the Borg) some fans still draw the line at actual genocide.
      • Then the question comes up if wouldn't it have been far more effective and less ethically questionable to infect the Founders with something that made them sick but not deadly and then blackmail them for peace? If the virus is made deadly and Changelings die, then the Founders are less likely to agree to peace out of hate and revenge for the dead. If you make it so they are just sick and impair their shape-shifting ability, this not only makes them less dangerous and in turn the Dominion less dangerous, but makes it so they don't lose anything in agreeing to peace with no loss of life. You can easily give them the antidote with the threat of re-infection if they break their word. It seems a far smarter strategy than genocide, which incites a desire to seek revenge and kamikaze attacks out of sheer anger and desperation. So then you have people who disagree with section 31 because genocide is primarily a dangerous and stupid thing to do, especially when you have smarter options.
    • The addition of Worf. Necessary upgrade to the cast? A little testosterone in a cerebral show? Ron Moore's obnoxious Author Avatar?
  • Broken Base: The Dominion War itself. Darker and Edgier plot arc that breathed new life into a stagnant franchise? Ron Moore deciding to do a test run for Battlestar Galactica (2003), and applying a chainsaw and flamethower to everything that made Star Trek different from everything else on the air by sinking everything to Black and Gray Morality at best? A higher-budget rip-off of Babylon 5's Shadow War arc?
  • Crazy Awesome: The 'Jack Pack', a group of committed human Augments that Bashir has to deal with twice.
  • Creator's Pet: Vic Fontaine. Ira Behr was so stoked at convincing one of his favorite musicians, James Darren, to join the show that he created a part just for him, a holographic lounge lizard. Darren, who was initially skeptical of returning to acting, became very invested in the part and eager to return, so Behr was obliged to keep inviting him back over fans' protestations. His many detractors felt that his constant presence in the back half of the final season (he was given several focus episodes) took screen time away from resolving ongoing plots and character arcs that fans had become invested in over the years. It didn't help that his presence in those episodes that didn't revolve around him often felt shoehorned (characters with no particular nostalgia for the period of Earth history he represents like Quark or Odo would go exclusively to him for advice, despite the fact that the station had just gotten a professional counselor) and many characters (most notably Julian) would go on at length about what a great and insightful "person" he was before the audience had a chance to judge for themselves.
  • Draco in Leather Pants
    • This sometimes extends to the Cardassian Authorities during the Bajoran occupation. Some fans think that Cardassia "had" to invade Bajor because of its limited resources—a story we mostly got from Gul Dukat and other military officers who were pissed that they lost Bajor. Never mind the horrific atrocities that the Cardassians committed—the slave labor, the persecution of monks and nuns, the sex slavery and the murder, and ending the Occupation by salting the earth so the Bajorans couldn't use it—they haaaaad to do that! For the resources!
    • Weyoun, come on. He was programmed by the Founders to be evil... (Except for Weyoun 6, who deserves Woobie status through his Heroic Sacrifice.)
    • The Maquis also get this treatment. Though most are just people in a distressed situation fighting back, some are well aware of the diplomatic consequences and keep up the violence anyway.
  • Ear Worm: It may be in Klingon, but the fight song from "Soldiers of the Empire" is surprisingly catchy. Interviews with the cast reveal that it was this for the cast and crew, as well; the song was sung around the set for nearly a week after this episode was filmed.
    • "Allamaraine, count to four, Allamaraine, then three more..."
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Morn. We nearly always saw him sitting silently at the bar having a drink, but his popularity was immense. Lampshaded in one episode where Morn was away from the station on business and Quark installed a hologram of him because people didn't come to the bar as much when Morn was absent. He never speaks on screen. He is frequently described as talking Quark's ear off every chance he gets, we learn that he has troubles with his mother, and an episode dedicated to his seeming death reveals that he practiced Bahtleth with Worf and used to be a successful bank robber. He also has a lovely singing voice.
      • On his way to Parody Sue, it's also revealed in this episode that Dax wanted to start an intimate relationship with him but he wasn't interested. In Dax.
      • To drive it home, when Star Trek Online launched Morn wasn't there. Massive whining ensued until Cryptic added him.
    • Garak. His impeccable sense of sarcasm, flippant cynicism and contrast with the Starfleets, combined with his Mysterious Past and excellent focus episodes, make him a favorite among Niners.
    • There's also Weyoun, a secondary villain whose great acting and great lines have caused no small amount of gushing even on This Very Wiki.
      • His first job as Weyoun was so impressive, the producers came up with the idea of all the Vorta being clones for the sole reason of bringing him back.
    • Martok was this to the show's creators. His actor did such a good job in 'Apocalypse Rising' that, instead of having him be disposed of by the Changeling impersonator who died at the end of the episode, they decided to have the real Martok show up later on in the season; he went on to become a fairly important supporting character.
    • Grillka, Quark's Klingon love interest, has a fandom as well.
    • The 'Jack Pack' were pretty well liked as well.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: One could think of several.
    • "For The Uniform": Use terrorist tactics against terrorists if you want to beat them.
      • Which is unfortunately true. When dealing with someone who moves around in unconnected cells, uses amoral tactics that focus on loss of life and hysteria, we have the proof in real life that they do not respond to conventional tactics and that they thrive on attention.
    • "Vortex": It's okay to release a known thief and murderer onto an unsuspecting planet as long as he's got a cute teenage daughter.
    • "Storyteller": If passed over for a job that's rightfully yours, attempt to murder your successor.
    • "Cardassians": When settling a custody battle, don't consider the desires of the child, nor the fact that you're sending him to a military dictatorship and away from a peaceful democracy. (Though to be fair, O'Brien did ask that, and there was some concern that the boy had been abused—he was certainly getting an unhealthy attitude towards his own species. Plus, Cardassians have very different family values.) This one gets savaged in the Expanded Universe novel The Never Ending Sacrifice, told from the kid's perspective.
    • "The Nagus": Attempt to kill your boss, and he'll give you a promotion. Again, though, this is some Deliberate Values Dissonance. Ferengi laud greed and ambition, after all.
    • "The Darkness and the Light": It's perfectly okay to kill civilians to get Occupiers Out of Your Country.
      • Rather: It's perfectly okay to kill every single member of the species that is occupying your country as long as you drive them out in the end. Including completely innocent bystanders who never did a thing to earn their fate.
    • "The Begotten": Reconcile with the person who tortured you and participate in doing the same thing to another person, because you couldn't possibly choose to do anything different and it was for your own good anyways.
    • "In Pale Moonlight": Sisko describes how sometimes the end justifies the means, and how political assassinations, lies, and guilt are all a small price to pay to win a war. This is a fairly deliberate case of grey morality, however, as Sisko's tone of voice shows that he's trying very hard to convince himself, and shows that in war you don't always have the luxury of sticking to your principles if the consequence is the total destruction of everything you hold dear. Section 31 further explores this idea.
    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.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Many felt Jadzia had far more chemistry with Sisko (or even Bashir) than Worf, despite the fact that they were portrayed as Like Brother and Sister and Sisko himself is Squicked out by the thought of Jadzia being even latently attracted to him in one episode. But that's never stopped Shipping before.
    • Both of these met with Approval of God: Ezri admits that had Worf not been added to the mix, her previous host and Julian would have gotten together eventually. In the episode "Shattered Mirror", Mirror Jadzia is confirmed to be in an adulterous relationship with the Lando Calrissian-like Sisko of her universe.
      The Agony Booth: To his credit, Sisko resists her advances for a good three or four seconds before basically saying “what the hell” and giving in, and then we fade to black. I’m pretty sure the writers/producers threw in this bit just to troll the fans, years before “trolling” was even a thing.
    • Garak/Bashir was far more popular than the eventually canon Ezri Dax/Bashir, and it was one of the more popular couples in DS9 period.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Most notably, at the time that the shows were broadcast, there was incredible fandom rivalry with Babylon 5, partly because the creator of Babylon 5 accused Paramount of plagiarizing the show's concept from him. (Just swap out "Centauri and Narn" for "Cardassians and Bajorans", and you're set for Season One.) Nowadays, things are more friendly, with fans of both shows admitting that they both had good and bad points, and that Deep Space 9 responding to Babylon 5 by starting its own long-term arcs was a positive development. Even during the worst rivalry, a lot of people quietly watched and enjoyed both.
    • Keeping up with the Broken Base trope, there was a rivalry between TNG and DS9 fans, for the reasons pointed above. The official website itself saw people grading episodes not according to their quality, but to the show they belonged.
    • As the only Trek series to overlap with not one, but two other Trek series at various points in its run, DS9 got hit by this twice, developing a rivalry between folks who preferred it for being Darker and Edgier and less episodic than previous Treks, and folks who preferred Star Trek: Voyager for sticking more closely to the "exploring the unknown" concept of previous Treks.
  • Fanon: The first names of Dukat, Damar and most other Cardassian characters are not given in the show, but most fans accept the names given in "A Stitch in Time" (written by Garak's actor) as canon.
  • Franchise Original Sin: JMS pitched the entire Babylon 5 series bible to Paramount. They turned him down, and then used a copy of it a year later as the basis for creating DS9. Basically JMS was given a choice: make a case out of the fact that Paramount blatantly stole from him, or do his own show on PTEN. He couldn't do both. He chose to do the show, and we got Babylon 5, but he had to be quiet about it and leave out the major plot elements that had already been incorporated into DS9.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In season 5's "Apocalypse Rising", Worf fights Chancellor Gowron, believing he's a changeling imposter, and almost kills him before it's revealed that General Martok was the changeling imposter. Afterwards, Gowron says to Worf "You should have killed me when you had the chance. I promise you will not get another." In season 7's "Tacking into the Wind", Worf fights Gowron once again and kills him this time.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Most fans agree that the introduction of the Defiant in season three was a very good step. And Worf's introduction in the fourth season happened to coincide with Captain Sisko growing a beard and shaving his head, cementing his unique characterization among Star Trek captains.
    • Most of the first season was full of weak attempts at philosophy and downright stupid episodes ("Move Along Home" anyone?). "Duet" is a solid episode that started the drama, moral searching, and politics for which much of the series is remembered. It also showed the realistic aspect that no single nation is completely evil (or good). Unfortunately, it also set up the start of Kira's Aesop Amnesia.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Mrs. Tandro's request that Jadzia "live a long, fresh and wonderful life" becomes this after the sixth-season finale.
    • The show was made at a time when the word "terrorist" wasn't quite as politically charged as it is now, which can make its open acknowledgement that that's exactly what Kira was during the occupation come off rather strange. Of course, the show should probably have exclusively used "freedom fighter" or "occupation resistance" or "partisan".
    • In the season 2 episode "Blood Oath", the Klingons Kang, Kor and Koloth get their vengeance against the Albino, with Kang and Koloth dying and Kor surviving before finally dying in season 7's "Once More Unto the Breach". In real life, however, John Colicos, who played Kor, was the first to pass on in 2000, followed by William Campbell (Koloth) in 2011 and Michael Ansara (Kang) in 2013.
    • The show's use of O'Brien as the constant Butt Monkey who often goes through horrible pain, after a former reporter named Miles O'Brien needed to have his arm amputated after what at first appeared to be a minor accident with his luggage.
    • The 2-part "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" story became this after 9/11 with many of the same overtones and messages concerning the aftermath present in a story written many years before the event.
    • In "Progress," Brian Keith plays a man who wants to suicidally stay in his home despite the area soon being unlivable. He really did commit suicide a few years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Garak and Bashir. The actor for Garak actually stated he was playing Garak as pansexual in the first episode he appeared in (where he totally came on to Bashir) before complaints made him tone it down. They have lunch together (canonically said to be weekly throughout the years) and have saved each other's lives at least once. They've snarked, given each other gifts, and really sometimes been the only people who can stand the other. Plus Garak wants Bashir to "Take this rod... and eat it." (Actually, it was a data rod.)
    • As can be seen here
    • Alexander Siddig has also remarked that his reaction to Garak and Bashir's first scene together was "Oh, so are we going to be Star Trek's first gay couple? Cool."
    • Also Bashir and O'Brien. There's one episode where Julian spends most of his time trying to get Miles to admit he likes Bashir more than his wife.
      • In the series finale, the main characters are reminiscing on their times aboard the station, and we get to see a series happy flashbacks for each character, with scenes from earlier episodes. All of O'Brien's flashbacks are of him and Bashir doing various things, while Keiko doesn't appear in any of them.
    • Odo and Quark. Season 1 episode 9. Quark asking Odo to blow on his dice.
    • Odo and Laas in "Chimera". Odo and Laas link in private, but Odo declines when Laas wants to link with him in public. Also, Quark remarks that people won't want to see a "Changeling pride" demonstration on the Promenade. Considering that director LeVar Burton said that Odo and the female Changeling's scenes were G-Rated Sex, it's hard not to see their Linking as a quasi-love scene. (Changelings may have a fluid relationship with gender, but that doesn't mean they can't be attracted to anyone.)
    • Female examples are hinted at in the Mirror Universe episodes. Also in the episode "Rejoined", which wasn't directly about same-sex relationships (indeed, none of the characters even comment on that) but which is a pretty clear allegory for homophobia through the Trill taboo on "reassociating" with lovers from past lives.
  • Idiot Plot: "Profit and Lace" is universally loathed for it but the reasons behind the problems are actually more complicated than it appears. The writers wanted the episode to be high farce. Armin Shimerman, the lead actor thought the original script was degrading, if not appalling, and went for a much more serious approach. Same went for the director - Alexander Siddig aka Dr. Bashir, someone completely new to this - who wanted to tackle family issues instead but without making the point clear to everyone. The first result was so disturbing, with incredibly dark scenes following equally light-hearted ones, they had to reshoot some scenes, butchering a script that was already seen as weak to begin with. Shimerman later admitted the half-baked result was the main reason behind the failure.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • The Bajorans sometimes fall into this. While the Occupation was an atrocity committed on their people, there are more than a few episodes that demonstrate that the Bajorans became equally ruthless to get their planet back. Episodes such as "Duet" demonstrate there are still cases of Cardassians being randomly murdered by Bajorans simply because they're Cardassian, and they're as capable of mob-driven racism as anyone else in episodes like "A Man Alone." (To be fair, though, they do get a good share of What the Hell, Hero? when these things happen.)
    • The Maquis also count at the end. They attack both the Cardassians and the Federation, won't negotiate, are constantly attacking any Cardassian because they are Cardassian with indiscriminate terrorist attacks to - in Eddington's words - "make the Cardassian empire crumble." It was their attacks that in part contributed to Cardassia joining the Dominion, and they still don't take responsibility for their actions (or at least, Eddington is incredibly reluctant to, and blames everything on Sisko). Even when Sisko saves the last few Marquis members after a bloody massacre, they still maintain their self-righteous approach.
  • Love It or Hate It: The episode "In the Pale Moonlight." Niners point to it as one of the best episodes of the series because Sisko realizes he must put aside his long-held Federation principles to win the war. Trekkies who hate Deep Space 9 point to this episode and say it's a betrayal of Gene Roddenberry's vision of a better humanity for the exact same reason.
    • Vic Fontaine. People either like him as he genuinely helps the main characters to get through difficult times and either carried or added depth to what are seen as good episodes (It's Only A Paper Moon and The Siege Of AR-558 being the best examples). Or they hate him because of his Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies, taking his sweet time for his stories that could have been used to flesh out more Ezri Dax, the Dominion War, Dukat post-Waltz, etc. Although for a Creator's Pet to be able to reach this point, this is one hell of an accomplishment.
  • Love to Hate: Leaving aside the leather-pantsing they get from some, Weyoun and especially Dukat are extremely popular as villains. Dukat can be very charming and is a very good naval officer, making an excellent Evil Counterpart for Sisko.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Gul Dukat had a certain flair most Star Trek villains lack, at least early on. Garak was a much better example. As stated elsewhere, Cardassians excel at this trope, their culture is based around manipulation with style.
    • Garak's speech to Sisko at the end of In The Pale Moonlight is a beautiful example of the trope. So the plan Sisko thought he'd reluctantly signed up to failed, well that's ok because Garak had another little twist in mind that would involve a few deaths but get the desired result. Then when Sisko works it all out, and beats Garak up in his own shop, Garak unleashes the monologue...
      That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.
    • Weyoun, the most prominent member of a race that was engineered to be this, although he tends to vary. Depending on his particular incarnation, he can twist the other characters around like bits of yarn, or he's a Smug Snake. You have to admire the way he drinks that poisoned kanar, though.
    • The Founders are nearly an entire race of Magnificent Bastards, lacking perhaps only the charisma that usually goes with the trope. They manipulate politics on a galactic scale and are not afraid to personally take a hand in doing so, disguising themselves as major figures to disrupt other superpowers internally.
    • Section 31. At the end of the series, a whole Star Empire is dancing on their tune. They also prove to be so useful and efficient, even the Federation will tacitly support their attempt at genocide. Sloan in particular achieves this status with his devilishly clever Batman Gambit in "Inter Arna Enim Silent Leges". The genocide plot could also easily be considered a Xanatos Gambit, to be honest.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Benjamin Sisko, who holds the respect of the Maquis, Klingons, Founders and the Jem'Hadar as being a Worthy Opponent and as such, demonstrates he can even make them stand down simply by showing up in some episodes. He also punched Q to the ground. According to SF Debris, if Sisko had been in Star Trek: First Contact, the movie would've only been five minutes long.
      • Well, as the first episode reveals, Sisko did go up against The Borg, and the battle was about 5 minutes long, but...
      • He was serving on Saratoga at the time. As we all know, Saratoga is Starfleet's bitch.
    • In-universe, Federation engineers:
    Vorta: Perhaps you have one of those legendary Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators?
    • The runabout Rio Grande is somewhat famous among fans for how it managed to be the only runabout to survive the series, with only the Rubicon (delivered to the station near the end of season 3) coming close to matching its length of time. In universe, the way that DS9 goes through runabouts got a lampshade, making the Rio Grande notable in its survival.
    • And then there's Morn, the functional mute who basically lives at Quark's onscreen, but offscreen is apparently quite talkative and keeps having these incredible adventures. Fans are convinced that the Borg would run screaming from him.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I hate temporal mechanics."Explanation 
    • "It's a faaaake!"Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In the last episode, the Female Changeling orders the entire Cardassian race exterminated, starting with Cardassia Prime. And that's not even the least of it. She goes on to tell the protagonists that not only will she not surrender regardless of the circumstances, she's sure the Dominion will do as much damage as possible before going down. If her species is doomed to die, she's taking the entire quadrant down with her. Fortunately, Odo does change her mind.
    • Dukat's a jerk, and we know he presided over the slaughter of millions of Bajorans, but then in "Waltz," he picks up a metal bar and attacks an injured and helpless man. And nothing he does can any longer surprise us.
    • Admiral Leyton, the Big Bad of "Homefront/Paradise Lost" seems like a Well-Intentioned Extremist for most of the story, even looking conflicted and regretful when he frames Sisko and tosses him into a holding cell. But he crosses it big time when he tells his right-hand-woman to destroy the Defiant under the pretense that it's full of Changelings—just to kill the other underling they'd caught before they reach Earth and expose the conspiracy.
  • Narm: See the Deep Space Nine section of the Star Trek Narm page.
  • Never Live It Down: To Boldly..... sit on their ass. (They actually visited a lot of places in DS9, if anyone cares. Almost stupidly so in fact. The entire upper echelon of station officers routinely left on a runabout or the Defiant to visit some planet where aliens tried to kill them. Either that or aliens showed up at their doorstep to try and kill them.)
    • Ira Behr hit a note of terror when he predicted his tombstone will read, He who wrote Ferengi episodes.
    • Admiral Nechayev has never been well-liked since her main job is to be an Obstructive Bureaucrat, but in DS9 she goes beyond the pale because she was willing to sell the Federation to the Dominion...! except that was not actually her, it was a hologram/mental simulation that the Founders used to test just how far they could push the Federation. It was a rather large plot point, but apparently forgettable in favor of complaining about her.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Breen. It's a testament to the writing/costume design, etc. of DS9 that the Breen are so unsettling and so memorable, as we learn almost nothing about them. It could even be argued they're less fleshed-out than Voyager's legendarily one-dimensional foes The Kazon... and yet the end result is positively chilling.
  • Older Than They Think: "Extreme Measures" feels like a Whole Plot Reference to Inception, except for one thing: it was made 11 years earlier.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now:
    • The ending of "Sacrifice of Angels". Even the transcript calls it "the ultimate deus ex machina cop-out."
    • "Extreme Measures". Ron Moore succeeded a little too well in creating Sloan. Weren't Section 31 supposed to be big thinkers? To trap Sloan behind a forcefield seems a bit easy (hell, the Jem'Hadar would laugh at something like that!) and introducing a 'Good' Sloan ("thanks, Muffin!") in his dreamscape is even cheesier. Good!Sloan's speech about wishing he were more like Bashir smacks of revisionism; it's as if someone upstairs was nervous about keeping Section 31 in canon, and this episode was a half-measure to appease the critics. But you gotta love Bashir’s simple way of shutting Sloan up: turn off the forcefield and shoot him!
  • Replacement Scrappy: Ezri. In fairness, had she been present from the start of the series (possibly with Jadzia or Curzon as a Dead Star Walking) she would probably have worked well, but given only one season there was just no way she could fill the void left by Jadzia. Making things worse, whereas Jadzia had been smart and extremely capable, Ezri spent the first third or so of the season being literally a worse counselor than the much-mocked Deanna Troi, and a serious contender for the most incompetent Starfleet officer ever seen on a Star Trek show. Fortunately, the novels would go a long, long way toward redeeming her...
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Bashir and Nog in the series itself. The Expanded Universe novels do this for Ezri in the eyes of a lot of the fanbase.
    • The Ferengi. The show features three regular Ferengi characters who are portrayed sympathetically to varying degrees. Nog and Rom show that the Ferengi are good at more than just business and Rom and Quark show that being good at business has it's benevolent side. They show that capitalism, when used right, is about helping people meet each other's needs.
      • Quark gives an epic speech to Sisko about how Humans used to enslave and denigrate people while the Ferengi just want to make money. It distinguishes them from the "Yankee Trader" analogy of TNG and gives them their own morals.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Section 31 gets this treatment. Well-Intentioned Extremist types? Sure, pragmatists who are willing to subvert Federation principles in order to expand its influence? Probably. Obviously Evil forces of darkness? That rather misses the point they raise of whether or not any great power can exist without such a group and how far people can go to protect themselves in a desperate situation like the Dominion War. Word of God even states that they were intended to be a necessary evil of sorts, to allow an idealistic society to exist in a universe where more pragmatic races would take advantage of its high idealism. There's also the fact that they get bashed on for their underhanded tactics and attempt to wipe out the entire race of changelings, but rarely get any credit for how these things are largely responsible for the allies winning the dominion war. Not to mention how many innocent lives were saved.
    • Sisko gets this sometimes as well. While he's certainly not a Federation ideal like Captain Picard, he still does plenty of good things over the series. You don't have to like him or everything he does, but there's a contingent of Trek fans who paint him as an immoral and violent person who doesn't deserve to wear the uniform, even going so far as to call him genocidal. (This last is mainly from "For the Uniform, when he uses a bioweapon to make a Maquis planet uninhabitable for humans—a weapon that operates on a long enough delay for everyone to get away safely, and an idea he got from the Maquis when they did the same to a Cardassian colony.) While Sisko is definitely a fighter, he's also dealing with many more violent situations and is still quite a Guile Hero.
    • Kira has gotten this post 9/11. Her history as a terrorist just didn't win her any favors in a world where terrorists have become more hated, especially since she explicitly defends having bombed civilians in "The Darkness and the Light."
    • The Bajorans as a whole as well. It doesn't help that many parallel modern religious extremists and/or the war hawk right. People who give the Draco in Leather Pants treatment to Dukat and his ilk are extremely prone to this.
    • The Cardassian people are sometimes hit with this because of their ruthless, totalitarian government (who usually represent them onscreen). There are still plenty of Cardassians who recognize that the government is horrific and committed incredible atrocities on the Bajorans (and themselves). There's even a resistance and an overthrow of the military dictatorship partway through the series.
  • Seasonal Rot: Seasons 5 and 7, while not exactly regarded as bad, are considered noticeable steps down in quality from Seasons 4 and 6. Season 5 features a number of universally despised episodes (most notably "Let He Who Is Without Sin...") and spends a lot of time spinning its wheels and resetting the Klingon War and Maquis arcs in order to make way for the eventual Dominion War story line, while Season 7 suffers a combination of the show's religious symbolism becoming overwhelming, Gul Dukat being turned from a complex villain into a straightforward Omnicidal Maniac, and Ezri Dax... just being Ezri Dax.
    • It doesn't help that the Prophets/Pah-Wraiths plot is resolved almost as quickly as it starts. Almost as if they were planning for a season 8 with which to resolve it, and found themselves forced to do it within the latter half of the 7th season instead.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The episode "Blood Oath" has a standard, almost cliched plot; three Klingons who knew Curzon Dax have Jadzia aid them in their quest for vengeance. The thing is, though, this episode takes place in the show's second season; before the Klingon war, before Worf joined the crew, and before Ron Moore signed on. After seeing the later seasons, it's almost impossible to recognize what an oddball episode this was when it first aired.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Armin Shimerman (Quark's actor) has a fondness in his heart for "Move Along Home", and whatever else may be said about it, it's pretty easy to get a chuckle out of a DS9 fan by using one of the show's abortive attempts at a Catch Phrase ("Allamaraine! Third shap!" or the title as spoken by Falow in the simulation, for example.)
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "The Siege of AR-558." A lot of people didn't want to make the episode but the writers (and the director, a Vietnam veteran) pushed on because they wanted to make an episode showing the horror and dehumanizing trauma of war. Unsurprisingly, the Ferengi actors are big fans of this episode because they got to do something different and be the moral conscience of the show for once.
      Ira Behr: War sucks... You win, but you still lose. And we needed to show that as uncompromisingly as possible. War isn't just exploding ships and special effects.
    • "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang". The A-plot grinds to a halt just so Sisko can blast Vic Fontaine (and, by proxy, the writers) for white-washing history. Ira Behr wanted to make sure an episode of Star Trek didn't betray its core principles, and to remind audiences that Vic's is fiction, and 60's Vegas "was very, very, very, very white"
  • Squick:
    • Quark as a Ferengi female in "Profit and Lace". He even shows his (her?) parts off to a lecherous future business partner and a horrified Brunt.
    • Dukat took Kira's mother as his mistress during the Occupation, and goes on to be pretty obviously interested in Kira herself.
      • This gets worse when you learn the writing staff actually did want to make them a couple, until both Nana Visitor and Marc Alaimo flatly refused to go along with it.
    • Once Kasidy Yates shows up, Jake seems rather disturbingly invested in getting his dad laid.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Worf and Jadzia sometimes didn't seem to have much in common with each other, besides their Klingon connections. Many thought Jadzia had far more chemistry with Sisko. There are plenty of others who do feel that they do make a good match with some fun UST, of course.
    • Ezri and Julian. Their pairing was disappointing to fans who took it to mean that Julian really hadn't gotten over Dax after all, and that the relationship amounted to going from friendship to high-school-crush displays of awkwardness—and therefore, was a waste of forced comedy. Said fans also felt that their relationship lacked chemistry or character development, or had any point in the plot arcs that were going on at the time (when everyone was concerned with the very serious events of the finale, the only reason these two seemed to be together was to introduce artificial "breather moments"). This seems to be why the Expanded Universe writers seemed obsessed with making their relationship fall apart.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Quark in "The Siege of AR-558." Quark's mercenary and cowardly nature suddenly doesn't seem all that bad compared to the Federations' brutality in the name of idealism. In fact, Quark comes across as the Only Sane Man. And later he guns down a Jem'hadar soldier as he busts into the infirmary Nog is staying at, undermining Quark's own statements in the face of having to do what's necessary to protect one's own, but from the look on his face after he fires the phaser, he seems to realize that himself.
    • Worf in "Let He Who is Without Sin." Yes, he should ease up a bit, but with how much Jadzia keeps shrugging off his requests to discuss their relationship, which was the reason they were going to Risa to begin with - which was also where she wanted to go, by the way - it's hard to blame him for finally losing his cool when he does.
    • Dukat may have gone completely Ax-Crazy evil insane in "Waltz", screaming about his hatred of Bajor and wanting to kill all Bajorans right after rationalizing why he was trying to help them despite killing them... However, even through all the insane Jerk Ass craziness of his, he does make one good point (although this also doubles as Jerkass Has a Point). Benjamin doesn't have the right to judge anyone except in a Courtroom Episode where it becomes part of his job. It's a simple human flaw, but it shows up every now and again.
    • That's the entire thrust of "Waltz". Sisko begins the story with an ambivalent attitude about putting Dukat in a Federation Court, and ends it regretting he didn't kill Dukat during any point in the last six years and let him elude their grasp. It's about an individual coming to the conclusion that they are the arbiter of right and wrong in the universe, and rejecting moral relativism. Or maybe it's Ron Moore telling the fanboys to shut up and watch and stop sending him letters. That's more or less the message of every Dukat story post-"Indiscretion". ("You not supposed to LIKE him, nerds!")
  • Take That, Scrappy!: A gun-toting Vic Fontaine appears in the final Mirror Universe episode, "The Emperor's New Cloak". But it seems this version of Vic is some sort of traitor to the Terran cause, because moments later he gets gunned down by Mirror Bashir and his wig. Whether this was a request by James Darren, a reference to his role in The Guns of Navarone, or just plain self-deprecation by the producers is an open question.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: On the level of a whole organization. The Maquis were created entirely to set up the situation on Voyager, with little thought to what role they could play on Deep Space Nine. The result is that besides Eddington they never become more than generic terrorists despite their quite understandable motivations. And when the story reached a point where they might have an interesting role to play, they were unceremoniously wiped out between episodes.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Looking For Par'Mok In All the Wrong Places". It's the return of Quark's Klingon ex-wife (and fan favorite) Grilka! And she's starting to show romantic feelings for Quark! Unfortunately, Worf falls in Love at First Sight with her. Even more unfortunately, the plot's basically a rehash of Cyrano de Bergerac with Worf in the role of Cyrano for Quark. A couple of problems with this: 1) Quark and Grilka already know each other, so one wouldn't think he'd really need a Cyrano, and 2) Worf has always despised Quark and continues to do so at the end of the episode (the last thing Worf has to say about Quark here is, "What does she see in that parasite?" Worse still, the whole Quark/Grilka story is sidelined just to bring Worf and Jadzia together. Even worse, Jadzia actually insults Grilka (albeit not to her face), contemptuously referring to her as a "statue", which combined with Worf's sustained contempt for Quark, puts a really ugly spin on Worf and Jadzia helping Quark to get together with Grilka. Worst of all, just a few episodes later in the abysmal "Let He Who Is Without Sin", Quark's back to chasing women on Risa, and Grilka's never seen or mentioned again.
  • Uncanny Valley: Several Changelings who assume humanoid form, such as Odo and Laas. Because Odo has difficulty mimicking humanoid facial details, his face has blunted features with unnaturally smooth skin. The fact that Laas, the Female Changeling, and a Changeling infiltrator also look this way suggests that it may be a default Changeling facial template.
  • Values Dissonance: The good guys include former terrorists and a new terrorist group formed during the series is portrayed as having some reasonable motives. Yes, this series was made before 9/11.
    • In a very odd way, watching this show after 9/11 actually makes it far more poignant and the moral arguments far more important. That the arguments raised in this show have often been ignored in the political climate of the last decade would be tragic if it wasn't so ironic.
    • In the episode "Homefront", Quark tries to sympathize with Chief O'Brien and Doctor Bashir's fears for Earth's safety in the aftermath of a Changeling terrorist attack by sharing his past fear for Ferenginar during an economic panic. Chief O'Brien proceeds to mock him about it, with the implication that it's petty to panic over things like money. Now watch this episode in the aftermath of Great Recession which has people fearing for their families and even countries in the face of one of the worst economic situations in decades.
    • A minor example in Sanctuary. Jake tells Nog that a Dabo girl is studying entomology, and explains that this is the "study of bugs." Nog responds "You mean she wants to be a chef." This seems to be an example of the Ferengi as a bizarre alien culture. In the 21st century the taboo against eating insects, particularly grasshoppers and crickets, is starting to fade, and major food companies are looking to them as a more efficient source of protein than livestock.
  • Values Resonance:
    • The two-part episode "Past Tense" has proven extremely relevant throughout the post-2008 Great Recession.
    • After the whole NSA/PRISM/Xkeyscore thing went down, the events of "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" become a LOT more scary, and Sisko's problems with Leyton make a whole lot more sense. Not to mention all the security measures Starfleet implements on Earth that end up doing nothing except invade people's privacy. Sound like any airport security agencies you know?
  • Vindicated by History: At the time the series faced a lot of scorn from Trekkies, complaining about the stationary setting when the franchise was supposed to be about exploration. But with television now having moved much more toward the kind of long term character development that DS9 favored (and Enterprise was roundly derided for ignoring in favor of more exploration) it now seems quite ahead of its time.
  • Wangst: Sisko gets a lot of it, especially related to his status as Emissary.
    • Some fans also think that it also applies to his personal log in "In the Pale Moonlight," when he is upset over trading his personal sense of honor for a Romulan alliance via lies and assassination. Although it's well-established that Starfleet places a lot of value on honesty and personal integrity and not being involved in clandestine murders, some viewers think the decision was a no-brainer in the first place.
    • Kira arguably wangsts far more than Sisko throughout the entire series.
    • Bashir! For a genetically enhanced, super doctor, you'd think he'd be better at walking the balance between principle and practicality. Instead, he whines incessantly every time someone doesn't go 100% towards the former, no matter how right they are, how sound their reasoning, or how much their pragmatic decisions keep proving to pay off.
  • What an Idiot: Lieutenant Primmin, Odo's short-lived Starfleet-appointed security counterpart gets hit with this in his last appearance, the infamous season 1 episode "Move Along Home". When the entire senior staff of DS9 (save Chief O'Brien, who is on Earth with his family) doesn't show up for duty the day following First Contact with the Wadi, a species from the Gamma Quadrant, Primmin, whose job is to assist with station security merely shrugs it off and assumes they're all busy recovering from the party that was thrown at Quark's without ever actually checking to see if they were in their quarters or even still on the station (which he could have done in less than a minute via his combadge or even just asking the computer). When Odo finds out he is visibly pissed off at Primmin, but decides to focus on finding out what happened to Sisko and the others. Given that Primmin is never seen or even referred to again after this episode, it's not hard to imagine that his gross negligence cost him dearly.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: There are many contemporary readings on the occupation of Bajor. Some people say the Holocaust, some say Gaza. Ira Behr once likened Dukat's tenure to Richard Nixon's 'exit strategy' for Vietnam. While this isn't true of Dukat's portrayal generally, you can definitely see it in his 'trial' in Waltz.
    • The episode "Children of Time". The crew of the Defiant finds out they're supposed to crash and found a colony. A huge point is made out of the seeming necessity for them to give up their lives and everything they care about in the present so they can have these descendants, even having one of them die from illness rather than survive. Yep, just people who have to give up their careers, personal lives, and even health to have kids, and almost no one seriously objects to the necessity of this. It all sounds very pro-life.
  • The Woobie:
    • O'Brien, who's suffered such indignities as abduction/replacement, arrest and trial, death, arrest and 20 years imprisonment in 20 hours, threatened by his possessed wife, etc. Kira's suffered just as bad, if not worse. And Odo gets his fair share of suffering as well.) The writers even said "O'Brien must suffer" at least once a season because they thought Colm Meaney was great in that kind of story.
    • Dukat also gets this treatment in one episode, at the end of Sacrifice of Angels and the beginning of Waltz. Sisko's log, at the beginning of Waltz puts it into words: He lost an empire, he lost his daughter, and he nearly lost his mind. Whatever his crimes... isn't that enough punishment for one lifetime? Of course, since it's Dukat...
    • Ziyal, much more so. Poor girl.
    • As if dealing with 8 lifetimes' worth of memories without 1 lifetime's training wasn't bad enough, Garak makes Ezri cry by saying she doesn't deserve to be a Dax.
    • Marritza in "Duet". He feels horrible knowing he saw massive atrocities committed against the Bajoran people and could do nothing to stop it. His tragic murder by a Bajoran in the end makes it worse.
    • Garak becomes one too at the end of the series. His father died, barely acknowledging him. His mother was murdered in cold blood by Jem'Hadar. Most of his contacts/friends were dead. The defeat of the Dominion was a Pyrrhic Victory for Cardassia, and he knows it. He didn't get to kill the Female Changeling who started it all either, which would not normally be something to feel sorry for him over, but by this point, she had killed hundreds of millions of innocent people, most of them Cardassians. The fact that he had previously come real close to killing off the changelings, albeit at a cost, probably just made this worse.
    • Damar is a good candidate as well, considering that he not only desperately tried to make the best of the terrible situation that Dukat had put Cardassia in, but that he stayed absolutely loyal to Dukat despite how he screwed him and everyone else in the Alpha Quadrant over. What's more, because he had a conscience, trying to work with the Dominion (despite being effectively conquered by them had him Drowning My Sorrows) with a diligent resolve that would make any Klingon proud. He suffered through the entire war, tried to protect Cardassia as much as possible, and then when he tried to resist and stop the bloodshed, millions of Cardassians died. That has got to hurt. Sad thing is, he would have made a brilliant leader for the new Cardassia if he hadn't been Killed Off for Real.
  • You Look Familiar: Jeffrey Combs as Brunt and Weyoun, among others.
    • Armin Shimerman and Max Grodenchikhad previously played Ferengi in TNG's "The Last Outpost" and "Captain's Holiday". Marc Alaimo also played the very first Cardassian, Gul Macet, in TNG's "The Wounded". (Word of God said that Macet and Dukat are cousins.)
    • J.G. Hertzler, most well-known among DS9 aficionados for playing Martok, also played Sisko's soon-to-be-dead commanding officer, the Vulcan captain of the U.S.S. Saratoga in the pilot. He also later played changeling Laas in Season 7's "Chimera". This earned him the distinction of playing two Changelings in the show: Several times in the guise of Martok (before we meet the genuine, one-eyed one), and again as Laas. This also meant that he died twice, and possibly a third time after Laas contracted Section 31's virus.

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