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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 01 E 01 E 02 Emissary

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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Following a 60 year occupation, the Cardassian Empire has withdrawn from Bajor, leaving behind a planet stripped of many of its natural resources and a population scarred by decades of subjugation and mistreatment.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 abandoned 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 of the Saratoga at Wolf 359.
  • Action Prologue: Wolf 359. It does not go well for the Federation.
  • Actor Allusion: Bashir using Odo to clamp a wound references M*A*S*H*, where Rene Auberjonois' Father Mulcahy is forced to do the same thing. note 
  • Affably Evil: Gul Dukat. "Evil" might be a stretch based on his behavior in this episode (later backstory will show he was essentially Hitler to the Bajorans), but he is legitimately friendly and respectful - whilst simultaneously making subtle threats at Sisko.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Overlaps with You Cannot Grasp the True Form in a rather hilarious way when you think about it: Unlike most stories, where the aliens take form so the human can relate to them, when the Wormhole Aliens take the humanoid forms, it's not for Ben Sisko's benefit: the whole story is about them trying to figure out him!
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  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Bleak Border Base: DS9, especially after the Cardassians trashed it. Of course, all that's about to change...
  • Blown Across the Room: Happens to several civilians when the Cardassians attack the station.
  • Call-Back: Doctor Bashir expresses doubt that the Cardassians would attack a Federation outpost. Chief O'Brien, a veteran of the Border Wars, corrects him.
  • Catchphrase: The wormhole aliens have a habit of asking "What is this?" when Sisko tries to explain linear existence.
  • 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.
  • Consummate Professional: Sisko doesn't want this assignment, doesn't want to raise his child here, and certainly doesn't want to be reminded of Jennifer's death by meeting Picard again. But until he does leave Starfleet he makes it clear that he'll be doing his job to the best of his ability.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The whole long sequence, where Sisko explains the circumstances of existing in linear time to the Prophets, is him trying to get them to understand what a navel is.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Wolf 359, as the viewers 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.
  • Deflector Shields: "What shields?" That's never a good sign...
  • Deus ex Machina: Though Bajor spent years fighting the Cardassian occupation, the people have now turned their aggression to fueling old grudges that were unresolved when the occupation happened. Kira says the provisional government will be gone in a week, as will any Federation assistance, and Bajor will be in a civil war. Then the Celestial Temple is not only found, but a Starfleet officer is also chosen as the Emissary of the Prophets. This doesn't solve every problem Bajor has, but it makes them willing to accept Federation aid and to talk instead of fight.
  • 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.
  • Downer Beginning: Anything that starts with the Battle Of Wolf 359 can only be this.
  • 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.
    • The bizarre garden / stormy mesa inside the wormhole.
    • The Prophets are depicted rather differently here to how they would be later in the series, and are shown as a race of isolationist Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who don't particularly care about corporeal beings (much less Bajorans). As the series went on, they were developed into Benevolent Precursors who were revealed to have guided Bajoran civilization, and even certain aspects of Sisko's life. Note that this isn't actually inconsistent, due to the nature of their non-linear existence, but it can come across a little jarring after seeing later episodes, where the show more fully embraced the religious aspects of the Prophets.
    • Sisko talks about his father in the past tense, implying that he's dead. We'll see later that he's still very much alive.
    • The Orbs are introduced in a way that suggests they would be Plot Coupons, with Kai Opaka stating there were nine Orbs which Sisko must reclaim from the Cardassians. This is never mentioned again after this episode, with the orbs eventually finding their way back to the Bajorans once they hash out a peace treaty with Cardassia later in the series.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Even Sisko can't restrain a whistle of appreciation at the new body that 'Old Man' Dax is wearing.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Prophets don't exist in linear time. They don't even have a concept for time, and weren't even aware corporeal lifeforms existed.
  • Ensign Newbie: Julian Bashir, a wet-behind-the-ears, just out of the academy doctor. He's enthusiastic, but also kind of an idiot (pissing Kira off majorly in their first conversation, believing a Cardassian will be reasonable).
  • 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.
      Kira: You are throwing it all away! All of you!
      Representative: You're being a fool!
      Kira: Well, then don't ask my opinion next time!
    • 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.
    • Odo's first appearance has him using his shapeshifting abilities to avoid a flail thrown by a thief he is chasing, then chewing out Sisko for firing a weapon on the Promenade; he doesn't give a damn if the person firing it is the station's new commander, them's the rules!
  • Explosive Instrumentation: When the Saratoga is hit, almost every console on The Bridge explodes, killing everyone except Sisko and the Bolian tactical officer.
  • 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: The wormhole's existence.
  • Foreshadowing: Odo wonders aloud if the answers to his questions (where he came from, what he really is, etc.) can be found on the other side of the wormhole. He finds out a couple seasons later.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • The Prophets' true appearance isn't shown (nor is it ever in the series): when Sisko encounters them, they appear as various people in his life, from Kai Opaka to the crew of the Saratoga, his family, Captain Picard, and Locutus.
    • This also applies to wherever Sisko and Dax find themselves while traversing the wormhole. They each perceive it in different ways — Sisko sees a rocky, stormy cliff, while Dax sees a beautiful sunlit meadow. Sisko is completely confused when Dax talks of how beautiful it is.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Kira thinks that Starfleet will just take over the same role as the Cardassians in the newly liberated Bajor.
  • Funny Background Event: When Sisko explains to Jake that they'll have to rough it for a while (and gets a very unenthusiastic "Okay" in reply), O'Brien is looking out the window and doing his best to look like he's not eavesdropping.
  • 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 BSoD: 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.
    • As Opaka points out, "One who does not wish to be among us is to be the Emissary."
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: Sisko and Picard are both severely traumatized by the Borg and Wolf 359. Picard was assimilated and forced to share his Starfleet knowledge, which was subsequently used to annihilate the armada at Wolf 359, where Sisko loses his wife.
  • 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.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Bashir's "frontier medicine" comments, as well as referring to Bajor as "the wilderness", really rub Kira the wrong way.
    Kira: This "wilderness" is my home.
    Bashir: (awkward stammering)
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The baseball scene with the Prophets.
  • Percussive Maintenance: How O'Brien gets the transporter to work when pushing buttons does nothing.
    O'Brien: Dammit, what's the problem? (kicks the console, and Odo materializes on the pad)
  • 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).
  • Rapid-Fire "Yes!": Heard in the background at Quark's. Apparently, somebody had a good game of dabo.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Benjamin Sisko views being assigned to Deep Space Nine as this. He's still recovering from the loss of his wife, and now Starfleet wants to put him on a defunct space station on the frontier, formerly run by Cardassians to help the survivors of a brutal occupation. It's far from the ideal environment for a widowed father to raise his son, and he's very displeased about it. Sisko openly considers his resignation from Starfleet in protest when speaking about it with Captain Picard.
    • 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 out in the wilderness. Kira is not amused, especially at hearing her homeworld being called "wilderness".
  • 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.
    • Also, "The Best of Both Worlds" strongly implied that the Borg left no survivors. This episode shows that a handful of people were able to get away.
  • 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: When Sisko is negotiating with Quark, the latter minces no words in why he's anxious to leave.
    Quark: The Bajoran Provisional Government is far too provisional for my tastes. And when governments fall, people like me are lined up and shot.
  • 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.
  • Spoiler Opening: 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.
  • Time Dissonance: Big time with the Prophets: they believe that which is is no different from that which was or that which will be. The first time they encounter Sisko and are introduced to the concept of corporeal life and linear time, they are completely confused and think Sisko is bullshitting them.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sisko is just barely restraining his hatred for Picard when they first meet.
  • Trojan Horse: Odo disguises himself as the bag that Quark gives the Cardassians so they can take their winnings back to their spaceship.
  • Welcome Episode
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Inverted. The wormhole aliens consider Sisko, and other corporeal lifeforms, destructive pests when they first meet.
    Prophet!Picard: We seek contact with other lifeforms, not corporeal creatures who annihilate us.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Prophet!Opaka asks Sisko this when he first enters the Celestial Temple.
  • 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. This becomes a major plot point when they find out where the wormhole came from.


Example of: