It was at this point that DS9
's foundation was laid. The politics of Bajor became a larger focal point, the characters took on new depths, and most importantly, there were whispers of a shadowy force at work in the Gamma Quadrant, and it was turning its attention towards the wormhole . . .
The story arcs began to gain prominence this season, and I welcomed this change. It was good to see the writers taking more risks, and while it didn't reach the point that DS9
would become known for, it was far closer than Season 1. There was a noticeable shift in the layout of the season, however, that is best expressed through the episode 'Playing God'. The title refers to the B-plot, but when the original script was written, it was meant to be the A-plot. It was your standard TNG plot about a proto-universe, and whether they should destroy it or not. The A-plot, however, was a character piece for Jadzia. Neither worked very well, but that's beside the point. It showed that DS9
was moving away from the trappings of its predecessor, and focusing more on character development. In fact, most of the episodes this season were character pieces, a welcome change from the last year.
A noticeable change that helped this was the improvement in the actors. Rom, originally a smug jerk, became the lovable doofus we all remember him as, and the lower deck crewmembers improved as well. The alien guests from the wormhole were rarer this season, but made up for their sparsity with stronger performances, helped by the improved writing. The stand-out in the 'guest' cast, however, is of course Andrew Robinson's Garek. The production team wisely noticed how well he stood out in the first season, and let us slowly learn more and more about him. We don't get every question answered (and we never will, but it's better that way), but we start to get an idea of who he is and what he did to get exiled.
The main cast improved all around this season. Siddig El Fadil finally gets better writing for Bashir, and holds his own when sharing the screen with Robinson. The problem is, it's tough to distinguish where the writers are improving, and where the actors are. The improved writing helps to bring out better performances, thus, everyone steps up.
Overall, this season wasn't the strongest, but it was a major improvement, and further seasons continued this trend.