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Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S02E06 "Melora"

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“No one can understand until they sit in the chair.”

Bashir is excited that a new officer, Melora Pazlar, is set to arrive at the station. She is Elaysian, from a planet with extremely low gravity, which will force her to use a wheelchair on the station that Bashir is preparing for her. Bashir greatly admires her from what he's read and anticipates that she won't want to receive any special treatment for her disability. Even he, however, is taken aback when Melora arrives and behaves with brusque condescension toward even the slightest insinuation that she needs help.

Meanwhile, Quark is shocked to discover that an old criminal associate of his, Fallit Kot, has arrived at the station after serving eight years in prison. Quark had been Fallit's conspirator in the crime but flipped and informed on him to avoid punishment for the same crime, so Fallit is out to kill Quark as revenge. Free drinks, food and floozies fail to distract him from his murderous intentions.

Bashir confronts Melora on her aggressive attitude, suggesting that she lower her defenses a bit instead of always being on the attack. Then he propositions her for a date. They hit up a Klingon restaurant, where Melora proves an expert in both the Klingon language and the cuisine. The pair swap stories before calling it a night. Later, Melora suffers a fall, and Bashir helps her back to her quarters. She invites him in for the first time and allows him to experience the low-gravity environment she's most comfortable in. Floating above the floor, Bashir and Melora passionately embrace.

When Bashir and Melora next meet, the good doctor has figured out a way to modernize some medical treatments that could allow Melora to function in standard gravity comfortably. They start the treatments, and for a few moments, Melora is able to lift her legs easily, but it fades quickly. With each treatment, the effects will get longer until it becomes permanent. However, the treatment comes with a high price: she cannot return to low-G environments or risk seriously screwing up her nervous system.

While performing a survey of the Gamma Quadrant, Melora chats with Dax about her predicament. She likes the idea of getting freedom from her chair, but she doesn't want to be forever exiled from her homeworld. Dax likens her to The Little Mermaid, who turned her back on the sea for love on land. It didn't work out so hot for her.

While all this was going on, Fallit finally ambushes Quark and forces him to buy his life back with the proceeds of a big sale that Quark is negotiating. Fallit accompanies Quark to the trade and then steals both the merchandise and the payment. He drags Quark to a runabout to make his escape, hijacking the one that Melora and Dax have just landed.

When Sisko tries to stop them, Fallit shoots Melora to show he means business. As the crook and his hostages fly away with Sisko and company pursuing in a runabout of their own, Melora awakens Not Quite Dead and flips off the artificial gravity. As Fallit careens helplessly around the cockpit, Melora elegantly launches herself at him and takes him out, saving the day.

With everyone safe and sound, Melora meets Bashir at the Klingon restaurant and informs him that she's decided not to continue treatment. As the chef serenades them with a Klingon tune, Melora holds Bashir's hand and requests that they sit and prolong the moment so that she can remember their time together.


  • Artistic License – Biology: A lot of it with Melora, in the name of justifying how she is, in practice, a normal human being who is just unable to walk properly.
    • It makes no sense that Elaysians, a species which has evolved on a planet with low gravity, would turn out to be Rubber-Forehead Aliens, physically identical to humans but for a prosthetic bulge on the forehead.
    • Bashir states that it's Melora's motor cortex that prevents her from functioning normally under higher gravity, and stimulating it is all it takes to enable her to walk unassisted. This is ignoring the fact that it's her actual musculature, connective tissue, and skeleton that would be unable to tolerate the increased gravity.
    • Melora's braces only cover her shoulders, arms, and legs, with absolutely not support structures going along her torso. Assuming the lower-gravity evolution deal, her skeletal structure should not be able to handle the weight of her upper body.
    • Melora also doesn't have any support for her neck and head. It should have been difficult to impossible for her to hold her head up without that support structure.
  • Author Tract: Initial script writer Evan Carlos Somers was confined to a wheelchair. He pitched the episode's idea and wrote the first draft, putting a lot of his frustrations into the story.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Julian and Melora's meal in the Klingon restaurant is served, she initially reacts with disgust. However, it turns out it wasn't the Klingon food she objected to, nor the fact that the chef served it with his bare fingers — just that the racht was half-dead.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Melora is pretty hostile to Bashir before they get together.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Fallit Kot has a ridge linking his nose to his chin, meaning his species somehow evolved a trait that hinders the act of eating. The episode even showcases it by having Fallit eat during the episode, something that isn't particularly common on the show.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A variant — Melora's low-gravity background puts her at an advantage over her would-be kidnapper when she disables the artificial gravity on the runabout.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Melora is rude and unpleasant in general, but when she thinks the crew is taking pity on her or underestimating her, she assumes it's because of her physical difficulties and ramps her attitude up more.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Melora initially has a bad case of this, as she basically interprets anyone making allowances for her — or even offering a helping hand — as pity, and reacts with hostility. When she's first told that Dax will be accompanying her on her mission, she snaps that she can pilot a runabout on her own, only to be told that Sisko wouldn't let any ensign take a runabout into the Gamma Quadrant when she's only just arrived.
  • Due to the Dead: Odo says that, if Quark is killed, he'll buy one of his vacuum-desiccated remains.
  • Revenge: Quark is wanted by a man who spent eight years in a Romulan labor camp for smuggling Romulan Ale. Quark turned on him to stay out of prison.
  • Shout-Out: Dax notes that Melora's conundrum resembles The Little Mermaid.
  • Stepford Snarker: Bashir quickly pegs Melora as one; she uses sarcasm and dry wit about her condition to disarm the people she talks to and keep them on the defensive.
  • Zero-G Spot: Bashir and Melora make out when she turns off the gravity in her quarters. It's heavily implied that things got steamier from there.