In the Cards
(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 523)
story by Truly Barr Clark & Scott J. Neal
teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
directed by Michael Dorn
Rarely does a Star Trek episode give me such a wide variety
of interesting but totally unrelated things to talk about.
We tip-toe into DS9's foggy long-term Prime Directive situation with
Bajor, where Kai Winn has a delicate situation to consider
regarding the Dominion, and turns to Sisko as her next best
spiritual source of advice. On the one hand, Sisko feels
more empathetic towards her and her goals than in any of their
other episodes so far, but on the other, he clearly is feeling
uncomfortable with the quasi-religious responsibilities
she is deferring upon him. He knows the Prime Directive
is asking him to walk a fine line here, and with good reason.
I think he finds a good balance, in having some advice to offer,
without necessarily solving her entire problem for her.
As a side note, you have to wonder why the Dominion is meeting
with Kai Winn and not the ministers of the Bajoran government,
who would be in a greater position of authority to grant what
they are asking. Then again, maybe they see Kai Winn as
someone through which they can gain a significant advantage
Today's time-travel notes are less important, since they are less
real. Basically, we just hear Jake spin a tall tale at the
last minute that
hinges on Star Trek's usual abysmal temporal theory.
Yep, it's literally just a writer spinning a yarn,
all starting with the foolish notion that we could all just be
sitting here until "poof" - some form of magic suddenly changes
things all around us, without us having to
"slide" over to the
alternate universe that those versions of past events would create.
I wouldn't buy it. Neither does Weyoun. Thankfully this is
couched in the same kind of frame that similar ideas were in
"Trials and Tribble-ations" earlier this season.
Let's continue to poke fun at it, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.
On a completely separate note, one of the great successes of this
episode is that it runs into the question of how a society
that doesn't use money interacts with a society that does, and then
tackles it head on. Jake quotes a line from the recent
"Star Trek 8: First Contact" feature film,
"We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity"
while he and Nog dig into the question of what that really means.
Though they never really get a definitive answer, or truly
present a complete model of how the economics of the future
can work, the seed of it comes through quite beautifully.
There are still things that everyone wants and needs,
and these things are most easily traded and bartered.
Jake and Nog meet a lot of other characters in the episode,
and get the economy flowing between them, mostly without using
the Gold-pressed Latinum currency of the Ferengi. This is one
of the most satisfying and uplifting payoffs any DS9 episode
has had this season. In fact, some of these small tidbits
are quite priceless.
I was quite surprised to see Michael Dorn's name on the
director's credit - and I think he turned out quite an impressive
episode where the actors gave a little extra. Bonus.
I'm also a little worried about the DVD packaging listing this
episode as having an "unknown" stardate, when Captain Sisko
clearly gives the stardate as 50929.4 in the
CLOSING monologue. It makes me wonder how many other episodes
actually have stardates which the DVD packaging ignores.