Fri
Jul 18 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Children of Time”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time“Children of Time”
Written by Gary Holland and Ethan H. Calk and Rene Echevarria
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 5, Episode 22
Production episode 40510-520
Original air date: May 5, 1997
Stardate: 50814.2

Station log: The Defiant is en route home following a week-long reconnaissance mission in the Gamma Quadrant. Dax, Kira, and Odo are talking in the mess hall and Kira reveals that she and Shakaar broke up a week earlier, which is news that hits Odo pretty hard on several levels.

Dax discovers a planet that has a strange energy field around it, but also the possibility of life signs. After a week in the GQ everyone wants to go home, but Dax talks Sisko into a quick survey. However, the field has an adverse effect on the ship, sending a massive shock through Kira, and damaging the ship enough that they’re not going to be able to move for a couple of days. Everyone’s a little peeved at Dax, but then Worf reveals that they’re being hailed by a settlement of about 8000 people, who appear to be mostly human—which is odd in the GQ.

The hail is from two people who identify themselves as Yedrin Dax and Miranda O’Brien. Two days from now, the Defiant’s attempt to go through the energy barrier will fail and send them two hundred years into the past. The people of the planet, now called Gaia, are the descendants of the Defiant crew. Dax scans Yedrin and finds the Dax symbiont in his belly, and Miranda has similar DNA to O’Brien. She’s descended from O’Brien and Ensign Rita Tannenbaum from engineering, whom he married ten years after the crash. O’Brien was the last to give up hope that they’d get home. They encounter a girl named Molly, who’s one of many who’ve had that name in the O’Brien/Tannenbaum line.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

After the crash, they couldn’t send out a distress signal—it was two centuries in the past, the wormhole hadn’t been discovered yet—and they had to convert the Defiant to a shelter to protect themselves from the winter. Forty-eight of the forty-nine crew all lived in the ship’s wreck at first. The forty-ninth was Kira, who died from the energy discharge, which disrupted her nervous system.

However, knowing about the accident necessarily changes history. The crew can now avoid it—but doing so will cause the colonists to, in essence, cease to exist. Yedrin, however, has a plan. He says that the shock Kira received temporarily created a quantum duplicate of her. If they can re-create that effect across the Defiant, it would create a quantum duplicate of everyone. They’d still be free, and their duplicates would go back in time, allowing Gaia to exist and complete the time loop. Sisko tells Dax to evaluate Yedrin’s plan.

Back on the Defiant, Bashir checks over Kira, and also puts Odo in a containment unit—he can’t hold his shape inside the barrier. But after Bashir leaves—Odo walks in. This is a much older Odo who looks more human than the younger version, and who figured out how to counteract the barrier’s effects centuries ago. He also reveals that he loves her, has always loved her, and has regretted never telling her for two hundred years.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

Kira is shocked. She had no idea Odo felt that way, and he admits that he was worried that if he admitted his feelings, he’d have ruined their friendship. Odo doesn’t expect her to throw herself into his arms, but he does want to show her the planet, enjoy the two days he will have with her before the ship tries to leave.

Dax approves of Yedrin’s plan, and informs Sisko, who’s far too busy playing with one of his descendants, an infant. One of Bashir’s descendants is a doctor, and Worf meets “the sons of Mogh,” a group of people, some descended from him, some not, who have to chosen to live their lives as Klingons. They invite him to a feast in his honor. O’Brien is the only one not enjoying himself, as he feels like he’s betrayed Keiko, Molly, and Yoshi.

Odo takes Kira to her own grave, which weirds her out more than a little, and the two hold hands as they go back to the settlement.

Dax discovers that Yedrin faked the sensor logs—there is no way the duplication trick will work, Yedrin was just trying to make sure that the Defiant went back in time like it was supposed to. Dax and Sisko are furious, but Yedrin explains that he’s spent the last two hundred years going from guilty over Kira’s death and the Defiant being stranded—because they only went in due to Dax’s insistence on investigating the planet—to pride in what they’ve built. But Sisko will not ask Kira to sacrifice herself, will not force his crew to abandon their families.

The mood in the settlement is grim. The Sons of Mogh cancel the feast and say they do not wish to die by ceasing to exist, as that is not a warrior’s death. They have no enemies to fight. They ask Worf to take their lives, which Worf promises to do the next day.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

Kira surprises everyone by saying she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save the settlement. Worf is on her side, and Dax is conflicted, but Bashir, O’Brien, and Sisko are adamant that they try to return to the station. The only person whose opinion matters, of course, is Sisko, and his decision is final. They’re going home.

The next day is Planting Day, a very important day in this colony that depends on agriculture. The crew agrees to help till the fields as a final gesture. As an added bonus, Worf brings the Sons of Mogh to the fields, giving them an enemy to fight: time. They need to plant the fields by sunset.

By the end of the day, even O’Brien, who has been the biggest proponent of going home, admits that he can’t just let these people die. The Defiant will go back in time. It’s an emotional farewell. It’s most emotional for Odo, who can’t bear the notion of Kira dying, but Kira herself is adamant. She does, however, favor him with a final kiss.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

The Defiant heads out of orbit on autopilot, the course plotted by Yedrin to guarantee that they’ll go back in time. But at the last minute the Defiant changes course and clears the barrier into normal space. They don’t go back in time, and scans reveal absolutely no sign of the settlement or the inhabitants. Gaia has been wiped from existence.

Sisko and Dax theorize that it was Yedrin who altered the flight plan, but Odo—who is now back to his normal self—reveals the truth. The older Odo linked with his younger self, so he knows all that transpired, including that it was Odo who changed the flight plan. He wanted Kira to live, and was willing to sacrifice 8000 people for her. Kira is devastated, and all Odo can say is that his other self thought it was right.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Yedrin’s nonsense plan to save both the timeline and the Defiant is very similar to what happened to William Riker in TNG’s “Second Chances.” That actually helps sell its believability.

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko is an interesting study here, as he’s impressed by what the inhabitants of Gaia have built, is particularly taken with an infant who’s descended from him, and dives into Planting Day full-tilt—but he also shows no hesitation in saying that trying to get the Defiant back to DS9 is the right thing, up until the last minute.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira is put in the unique position of visiting her own grave. She also for the first time learns how Odo really feels about her.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

There is no honor in being pummeled: The Sons of Mogh try to live as Klingons, mostly by being hunters rather than the farmers that the rest of the settlement lives as, and there’s an impression that the “Klingons” try to live as far apart from the rest of the settlement as possible. Worf’s bringing them to Planting Day bridges the gap between the two aspects of Gaia’s society by reminding them that all enemies aren’t physical.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

The slug in your belly: Dax is one of only two members of the original crew who “survive,” as Yedrin has the Dax symbiont, and carries the guilt of Jadzia’s curiosity leading to the crash and Kira’s death, as well as the greatest attachment to the settlement precisely because he has, in essence, been there for all of it.

Yedrin also convinces Sisko that he’s really Dax by mentioning an incident with Curzon and a dancer on Pelios Station. Sisko cuts him off before he can elaborate.

Preservation of matter and energy is for wimps: Odo is the other person who lives through all two hundred years, but unlike Yedrin, he doesn’t seem to have any connection to the rest of the colony. We only actually see him with Kira, the rest of the colonists don’t even talk to him or speak of him, and in the end, Odo’s willing to sacrifice the entire settlement to keep Kira alive.

Rules of Acquisition: When Dax programmed the educational software for the settlement’s kids, she used Quark as the avatar for the math instruction, since he was always good with numbers.

Tough little ship: The Defiant is converted by the crew into the basis of the entire settlement.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Bashir thinks about asking out the woman he was paired up with in Gaia’s earliest days, while Odo finally reveals his true feelings to Kira. Dax also gets a preview of her and Worf’s marriage from Yedrin describing the Dax-Worf wedding on Gaia.

Keep your ears open:“Are you the son of Mogh?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Is it true you can kill someone just by looking at them?”

“Only when I am angry.”

One of the kids meeting Worf for the first time.

Welcome aboard: Gary Frank plays Yedrin while Jennifer S. Parsons, last seen as a nurse in Voyager’s “Caretaker,” plays Miranda. Davida Williams, Doren Fein, and Jesse Littlejohn play the three kids we see, while Marybeth Massett and Brian Evaret Chandler play the “Klingons.”

Trivial matters: The conception of this episode dates back to “The Collaborator,” when that episode’s co-writer Gary Holland saw Odo’s reaction to Kira’s comment that she was in love with Bareil. Rene Auberjonois played it as if he was personally devastated that Kira was in love with someone other than him, and Holland wanted to explore that, so he pitched a time travel story in which a future version of Odo met Kira. But the “Past Tensetwo-parter had just been done and “The Visitor” was on the docket, so they put it off. Then they got a similar pitch from Ethan H. Calk, so they bought both, had each write up a full story proposal independently of each other, and Rene Echevarria combined them into a single script.

The original plan was for Yedrin to be the one responsible, as Sisko and Dax speculated, but Ira Steven Behr insisted it be Odo.

Marybeth Massett, who played one of the “Klingons,” is the wife of Patrick Massett, who played Duras in TNG’s “Sins of the Father” and “Reunion.”

The show will not return to the Gamma Quadrant again until the series finale.

The story of Sisko and the dancer on Pelios Station is told in Steven Barnes’s story “The Music Between the Notes” in The Lives of Dax.

The prologue of Gods of Night, the first book in the Destiny trilogy by David Mack, takes place immediately after the end of this episode.

Walk with the Prophets: “Time is their enemy. We should help them defeat it.” This is a brutal, nasty, tragic episode with genuine emotional stakes. The crew is given an awful choice here. Either they go home and live their lives like normal—but at the expense of a lot of lives. The number 8000 is thrown around a lot, but that’s not actually accurate—it’s not just the people currently living on Gaia, but everyone who ever lived on Gaia. That’s a lot more than 8000...

But if they do go back in time, they kill Kira, Jake never sees his father again (and we already know from “The Visitor” that that’s a bad thing), Keiko never sees her husband again, Molly and Yoshi never see their father again (hell, Yoshi never really knows his father), and so on.

The discussion over what to do after Kira announces that she’s okay with sacrificing herself is an excellent one, the strongest of its type since the Prime Directive colloquy in Picard’s quarters in TNG’s “Pen Pals.” Everyone in the room has a legitimate point, the question isn’t as simple as Kira’s belief in destiny or O’Brien’s (completely understandable) rigidity, and the discussion is an excellent one.

And then Planting Day puts it all in perspective, not just for O’Brien. These are people, and they’ve built something wonderful. That deserves to be celebrated and that doesn’t deserve to die.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

Finally, we have Odo. It’s interesting to me that we never once see Odo interact with anyone other than Kira. Yedrin and Miranda never mention him (except in the abstract as one of the survivors), Odo isn’t there for Planting Day or anything else. He’s a non-factor in the colony, and you wonder if he even considers himself a part of it. Or has he just been sitting around waiting for Kira to come back while feeling lonely and awful?

The episode isn’t without its flaws. There’s a big elephant in the room that is never addressed and needed to be: Rita Tannenbaum is never even seen. She’s an engineer, which means she’s actually in O’Brien’s chain of command on the station. How are they supposed to work together knowing what happened on Gaia? Bashir has the luxury of being able to ask his would-be wife out, and Dax and Worf now know that they have at least a shot at a future together, but O’Brien and Tannenbaum are now going to be awash in a sea of awkwardness moving forward. And they can’t be the only ones. Hell, Sisko obviously paired off with someone (the only way 48 people—47, really, since Odo doesn’t procreate—turn into 8000 is if everyone produces a bunch of kids), which means he was just as unfaithful to Yates as O’Brien was to Keiko. It’s even more difficult in Sisko’s case because it, of necessity, had to be someone under his command. How does he deal with that? How does she?

That this isn’t addressed is frustrating, but not fatal to the episode, which overall is brilliantly done. Worf’s reaction to the Sons of Mogh is particularly compelling, and I like the way that little splinter developed, especially since you know that Worf stayed full Klingon as long as he could. And I love little Molly sassing the chief off, with Sisko’s grinning response, “She’s an O’Brien, all right!”

And the closing scene is just brutal. Kira’s shock and dismay that the older Odo did what he did is palpable. She was just starting to get used to the idea that Odo was someone who might be a romantic partner, and then he goes and does this. And of course the younger Odo is stuck getting the brunt of this, as he’s just the messenger—but it was also him. Kind of.

Ultimately, what makes this episode work is that it’s messy and unpleasant and difficult and makes you think a lot.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Children of Time

 

Warp factor rating: 8


Keith R.A. DeCandido reminds everyone that his new Star Trek tome The Klingon Art of War is out now in bookstores and online (ordering links for the latter can be found here) and that his Sleepy Hollow novel Children of the Revolution will be out in September (preordering links available here).

65 comments
Sean OHara
1. SeanOHara
Couldn't Kira have stayed on the planet while the Defiant went back in time and thus avoided her fate?
Jack Flynn
2. JackofMidworld
He says that the shock Kira received temporarily created a quantum duplicate of her.

Been a while since I saw this one, but from the rewatch, it's possible that the quantum reaction that threw the ship back in time wouldn't have happened without somebody being where Kira was to channel it?

Also, since it's been a while since I saw this one, I now want to rewatch it myself. Like, now.
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
I don't know. It's all a bit too contrived for my tastes. The moral dilemma is interesting and reasonably well done, but I can't really get past all the handwaving to create the setup. There are also bits that smack a little too much of "Meridian", about which the less said the better.

And as noted, other than nudging the Kira/Odo relationship forward very slightly, there are no further consequences. DS9 did so well at having consequences and not resetting to the status quo when the end credits roll, that doing that here -- especially this late in the series and in an episode which is explicitly about the consequences of one's actions -- feels flat and sour.
Kirshy
4. Kirshy
@1 I don't think the future settlement had the needed medical technology to fix her either so she would be dead no matter what. Unless knowing how she would die would allow Bashire to fix her before they hit the barrier. But doesn't seem likely as it isn't brought up as an option.

@2 Kira was damaged in their initial pass through the barrier not on their way out of it. She wouldn't need to be there for them to bounce back, especially once they understand what caused it. One person getting hit by the electrical shock can't be the factor that sends them back in time.

Good episode though. I always enjoyed this one.
Kirshy
5. Rancho Unicorno
I don't know how long Sisko waited, but after ten years stranded, I doubt the same command structure existed on the planet as on the Defiant. There is no indication that Miles or Ben were still "senior officers".

Further, by not exploring how their relationships developed, I think the concerns about what-might-have-been were mitigated. There is no reason to think that Rita and Miles will have problems working together - it may be a little strange, it isn't like they shacked up the week after they landed.
Kirshy
6. lvsxy808
There are some other questions about reproduction on the colony that could be asked as well. For example, Bashir says in "Tears of the Prophets" that it will take a lot of medical intervention for Dax and Worf to conceive a baby. Does he have access to the technology to pull that off on the notoriously unscientific Defiant?

Some of the future Klingons at least look a little bit Klingon-y, but they don't look at all Trill. And Yedrin has no hint of Klingon ridges. So were neither of these actually descendants of Worf and Dax? Did they marry, but then both have children with other crew members because they couldn't have children with each other?

And can a presumably half-Trill-half-human body properly support a symbiont? To our knowledge there were no other Trill on the Defiant, so it must be a human (the most populous species on the ship). We know humans can host symbionts temporarily, but this is not a temporary situation. Did this also require medical intervention from Bashir?

How do Trill have babies anyway? Presuming they carry them in the same place as most other humanoids, doesn't that put an intolerable amount of pressure on the symbiont to have both it and the growing fetus crammed into such a limited space? Unless they're like Ocampa and carry their children somewhere else on their bodies.
Kirshy
7. Kirshy
@6 You raise a question I always wondered too regarding the children of Dax and Worf, vis a vis, that it doesn't look like they had children together since Yedrin doesn't look even vaguely Klingon and neither do the Son's of Mogh. Also begs the question of how large a population could get over 200 years if you start with only 47 people. It isn't an even number, and there is no way of knowing if the crew was equal parts male and female. But if you figure that there are approximately 4-5 generations in every century, that would mean they are ten to twelve generations from the crash. It just doesn't seem like enough time to get to that high a number. Maybe I'm wrong though. Also, with that small of a gene pool they would quickly run the risk of eveyone being related. Yikes!
David Levinson
8. DemetriosX
@7
The numbers are even farther than that from adding up. Given the general health of Federation citizens, sound medical knowledge even if most of their medical technology doesn't last, a lack of conflict, the probable lack of disease organisms, and the possibility of longer-lived species in the crew (any Vulcans in the crew could still be alive), you could be looking at 2.5 to 3 generations per century. There was a TNG episode with this problem, where a wrecked colony ship led to tens of thousands (or more?) in about 150 years. It was just impossible.

That said, the group probably is large enough for a healthy gene pool. With Bashir's medical knowledge and the ability to do gene scans in the early years, people shouldn't have to get much closer than second cousins or so.
Kirshy
9. ad
Of course, now that the Defiant has NOT gone back in time, its crew will presumably leave a few thousand descendents hundreds of years into their future, who would not have existed if they had gone back in time instead...
Andy Warta
10. dragontrainer
I was interested in the number of people, and took a real rough estimate to see what could happen. There are plenty of nits that could be picked with this, it's just to give an example.

If you assume everyone couples up, and each couple averages 3 children (or you could say each individual person has 1.5 offspring), and each new generation follows this same number, the 10th generation as a whole would have somewhere around 4000 children.

More people are alive than just the 10th generation (you'll have a range from at least 7, 8, 9, 10 if you assume life expectancy around 80 years and 20 years per generation). All of the people combined from the 7-10th generations would be somewhere in the 9500 range, depending on your exact assumptions. Throw in a 50% chance of still being alive from the 7th generation, 70% from 8th, 90% from the 9th, and 100% from the 10th and you'll have something around 8000 people.

There are plenty of places this falls apart, but I thought it interesting that my first assumption for each of these values (given above) gives you something in the range of what the episode states.

As one example sensitivity to these values, if the average (reproducing) offspring per person is dropped from 1.5 to 1.25 (from 3 to 2.5 children per couple) and keeping other assumptions, your number of people alive in 200 years drops to something between 7000 and 7800 (a decrease of the same 1/6 factor). Increase to 1.75 offspring per person and you have a population somewhere around 10,000 - 11,000.
Kirshy
11. Bob Smoot
Where I live, families of 6 kids are not uncommon. If you're trying to repopulate, or just ensure a supply of laborers, it might be plausible that they would try for that many. I won't speculate on what Bashir would've said about (lack of?) genetic diversity. Did the episode ever touch on the infant mortality rate, or resource scarcity? I only saw this years ago and didn't re-watch. Shame on me.

@9. ad: I think it is fairly common when discussing ethics to value already existing people far more (infinitely more?) than potentially existing people.
Steve Nicholson
12. SSteve
I don't have a strong recollection of this episode. Reading the rewatch made me feel like I hate it, though. If all those people already exist why should they cease to exist just because this Defiant doesn't go back in time? Their Defiant already did so they exist in this universe. O'Brien certainly spoke for me when he said "I hate temporal mechanics."
Christopher Bennett
13. ChristopherLBennett
I guess the character stuff in the episode is pretty good and dramatic, but I agree entirely with DemetriosX about how deeply contrived the setup is. The temporal physics in this one is a mess. I wrote a whole novel (Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock) in which I tried to concoct a unified theory of Trek time travel and explain how it all worked, and I still can't offer a decent explanation of this one. Don't ask me to talk about it, though -- I don't want to be reminded.

I was also wondering about the Trill biology issues raised by lvsxy808. Would a half-human, half-Trill host be able to handle the symbiont? Did Bashir figure out a way?

Evidently the Trek producers liked this one, though, since they did almost the same story as "E^2" on Enterprise.
Kirshy
14. Mr. Magic
CLB,

Do what the Simpsons taught us: A Wizard did it. :)
Kirshy
15. Mr. Magic
Also, the Stargate guys also loved this plot enough to use in the final episodes of SGU.

It's too bad they got cancelled when they did. I think one of the ideas for Season 3 was for the new Big Bad to be a militant faction of their descendents.
Kirshy
16. Lukeinbmore
I have one big question: why didn't future Odo die from the disease that he was infected with back in Homefront? If he some how was able to overcome it, why didn't he pass knowledge of it to Present Odo when he linked with him?
Also, how would the Dominion war have proceeded without our crew? There may have been an element of moral luck in Future Odo letting them escape.
Kirshy
17. Mr. Magic
Good point about Odo. I hadn't even though about that until now.

The real-life explanation, of course, is that they hadn't come up with the disease yet. Rewatching the show, it's definitely a plot hole.
Kirshy
18. McKay B
Maybe older-Odo is just a hallucination or apparition experienced by the (few) characters who actually interact with him? That would fix the disease plot-hole ... and give the whole story a bizarre new twist.

OK, probably not. In which case, I was another watcher who was more bothered by the contrived situation and the unsatisfying ending than I was fascinated by the interesting moral questions. (I prefer episodes with messy, non-happy endings to be episodes that are part of the overarching plot, not one-offs.)
Kirshy
19. Eduardo Jencarelli
the only way 48 people—47, really

The Star Trek writers have a major fetish with the number 47. Joe Menosky and Brannon Braga particularly use it everywhere.

The show will not return to the Gamma Quadrant again until the series finale.

Easily the best decision Behr and Wolfe ever made. Sealing the wormhole and keeping the Gamma Quadrant off-limits (and later having Prophet assistance) helped the show tremendously by keeping the focus on the Alpha Quadrant and the war for these last two seasons. DS9 was never really about exploring the Gamma Quadrant. It was always about our corner of the galaxy.

As for the episode, it could very well be René Echevarria's best Trek work (and he wrote some terrific TNG episodes). Excellent location work, and great use of the cast. To me, this was the episode that put Allan Kroeker head and shoulders above the other Trek TV directors.

This was a 9.5 to me. Everything about this story is messy. The concept is messy, the stakes are messy and the resolution is even more messy. And it works beautifully. The time travel issues don't even bother me, especially when I get to witness superb character work and development.

I'm surprised this didn't have deeper consequences as far as Odo's motivations go. Would any Starfleet or Bajoran officer trust Odo after what his future-self did? I know I'd reconsider my trust.

As for the Section 31 disease, it's pretty obvious none of the DS9 writers had considered the option at this point. Section 31 didn't even exist on a script, let alone conceiving the disease. They couldn't have known it would contradict this episode. I've said this before. In 1997, the DS9 writers were still getting used to the whole concept of serialization, taking baby steps. That they decided to do a six episode arc the following season at all was a major step forward.
Christopher Bennett
20. ChristopherLBennett
Maybe whatever Odo did to learn to resist the effects of the phlebotinum energy field and regain his form also gave him the ability to overcome the disease.
Kirshy
21. Gary Himes
One of my all-time favorites. Yet I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't have worked better as a VOYAGER episode, with the crew of the that ship having to choose between colonizing Gaia and their long journey home that had no guarantee of success.
Jack Flynn
22. JackofMidworld
Kirshy - thanks for clarifying, now that you say that, I remember it.

I have one big question: why didn't future Odo die from the disease that he was infected with back in Homefront? If he some how was able to overcome it, why didn't he pass knowledge of it to Present Odo when he linked with him?

I thought he was only a carrier? A Typhoid Mary, if you will, who was asymptomatic but would give it to any that changelings that he came in contact with? Would mean he probably was totally unaware of being a carrier in the first place. Or am I thinking of the wrong disease?

I'm surprised this didn't have deeper consequences as far as Odo's motivations go. Would any Starfleet or Bajoran officer trust Odo after what his future-self did? I know I'd reconsider my trust.

Other Odo (I was gonna call him 'Future Odo' but that's not really very accurate, is it?) was a different person than, heck, let's call him Odo Prime. Odo Prime was 200 years younger; Other had decades of different life experiences. It'd be like mistrusting the Riker double for anything Will Riker had done just in the interim.

And, if nothing else, to have a genetically manipulated doctor on board is potentially the only reason they survived as well as they had. Sure, the rest of the crew was smart, but when you've got somebody that smart, it has to make it easier to come up with a spreadsheet detailing who's breeding with whom this week, right? And yeah, that may sound callous, but if you're trying to survive as a species, you kinda have to be at least a little callous.
Jordan DeLange
23. killtacular
I love love love this episode, mostly for the reasons given already.

The only thing that bothered me was all the talk about "this is your descendant", or that just because someone has the last name of O'Brien means they are going to have meaningfully more DNA derived from Miles than anyone else, etc etc. After 7-9 generations, virtually ever single one of the surviving members would be very similarly related to every single one of the original members (at least, those who had kids who then had kids). Bashir's descendants are Sisko's descendants are O'Brien's descendants (maybe not so much for the non-humans).

(This is even more true than it would otherwise be if you assume they originally did all they could to prevent siblings or first cousins from having kids.)

Also, although I don't really remember, I think Yedrin is several generations removed from Jadzi. So he is likely *very* human.
Kirshy
24. tortillarat
I've always felt everyone in this episode was really out of character. The way they off-handedly and callously dismiss the existence of 8000 people is ridiculous. And as others have noted, the whole thing just seems contrived. Not to mention the Klingon thing is just bizarre.
Phil Parsons
25. Yakko
@22

I never considered the retroactive continuity error of Odo carrying the changeling virus either but I agree that Odo was supposed to be a "Typhoid Mary". In fact in the seventh season episode "When It Rains..." Bashir discovers that Odo has had the disease for three years and O'Brien asks why he hasn't exhibited symptoms until now. Bashir doesn't have an answer until he realizes that Section 31 used Odo as a carrier. It's conceivable (though admittedly never explained on screen) that the disease was designed to mutate whenever Odo linked and only began to infect the carrier after he had linked enough times to ensure it had been transmitted. (He does a lot of linking in the opening arc of Season 6). Perhaps the disease lay dormant in Alternate Odo since he never had any interaction with Changelings after the Defiant's crash on Gaia.

This does bring up another morbid notion that will come up when Krad gets to "Chimera" but doesn't this mean that Odo unknowingly condemned Laas to a slow painful death?
Robbie C
26. leandar
There were two things that struck me about this episode, one of them was how the older (past/future, I guess you could say future, he is older) Odo changed the Defiant so it could go out freely and therefore erasing the colony from the timeline, when Odo explained it to Kira at the end, when she asked him why he did it, Odo said to her ''So you could live.'' She asks if that made it right and Odo said he didn't know but the other Odo thought so. Odo's explanation and the other Odo's actions were something that always struck me as something that not only the Founders would say, but something the Founders would do in a heartbeat and shows just how much Odo, deep down inside, really is a Founder, although he doesn't normally subscribe to their way of thinking.

The other thing that I see is a rather missed opportunity. One would think that after the other Odo had linked with the present day Odo, that he would have a better handle on shapeshifting and would make faces better. It sure wouldn't have been anything for them to add a line in there having Odo say when the other Odo linked with him that he a) taught him how to get around the radiation field and b) taught him more about shapeshifting and they could have let Rene Auberjonois look more human-like as Odo from that point on. I think it would have been an interesting way to always be a reminder to everyone what happened here.
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
I still don't see why Odo would choose to look human rather than Bajoran. On Gaia it makes some sense, since he'd grown up mostly among humans (due to the chronic failure of the shows to portray a Starfleet that was as diverse as it should be), but if he'd gained that much control when he went back to live on DS9, surely he would've adopted a more Bajoran appearance.
alastair chadwin
28. a-j
For me the elephant in the room is the fact that none of the 43 other Defiant crew are consulted as to whether to stay or not. Obviously this is because of time and budget constraints, but for some reason it struck me re-watching this last night. A mere quibble however. For me this is a DS9 high point.

Interestingly, here's another DS9 episode that runs with the idea that farming makes for a perfect and ethical life, rather than the grim and exhausting battle that this English city dweller darkly suspects it to be. Of all the the Star Trek iterations, this motif occurs most frequently in DS9. I wonder why? The frontier myth? Thoreau? Someone on the production team really liked farming? A mystery.
Kirshy
29. cy
@26

I'm sure that's what Kira would want to be reminded of whenever she saw Odo's new face, the 8,000 plus people sacrificed so she could live.

What always bothered me about this episode is that you had three aliens on the Defiant. One trill, one Klingon, and one Founder. For an organization that is a Federation of Planets, there sure seems to be a lot of humans.
jon meltzer
30. jmeltzer
Stories like this have to remind me of Joanna Russ' "We Who Are About To ...", where colonization after spaceship wreckage ... doesn't end well.
Christopher Smith
31. Scipio Smith
@ 29: I think it's one of the Titan novels that explains that ships tend to be crewed by the same species, since they share environmental tolerances.
Kirshy
32. Ginomo
I loved this episode when it aired and though it is still one of my favorites, I think the more times you watch it, the more of the plot holes start to surface. Several of them are retroactive after seeing the series through to the end, like Odo's LTD (Link-ually Transmitted Disease).

@ 6. lvsxy808- When the show aired I thought the same thing you did. If Dax and Worf married and presumably had children with one another and were most likely the only ones of their species (though there may have been another Trill or two on board) then all Trill and Klingon DNA would be genetically linked and would always be passed together. Anyone with ridges would have spots and vice versa. With what we learn later on retroactively makes sense as they wouldn't have been able to reproduce with one another anyway. I am guessing that Jadzia is actually the "problem" since we have lots of evidence that Klingons can reproduce with (and genetically dominate) non-Klingons, but I can see the mechanism for joining making Trills incompatible with non-Trills.

Having studied genetics in college not long after this aired, this aspect really fascinated me. Great population analysis, dragontrainer.

Given what we have seen about Starfleet crews, chances are the Defiant wasn't even 50/50 male/female. Probably more like 75/25 and with many species incompatible with others. The only way to ensure success of a colony in this situation is to strictly control reproduction and genetic recombining. If I were Bashir, I would have proposed some type of reproductive sperm and egg bank and "strongly encouraged" anyone able to contribute to it and reproduce from it at least for the first couple generations.

(Why Voyager never addressed this is beyond me because they would have had the same need)

This would also make killtacular's point- there truly aren't any descendants of O'Brien or Bashir or Sisko... after that many generations and with such a small original population, everyone is essentially a descendant of everyone else.
Christopher Bennett
33. ChristopherLBennett
@31: As the person who wrote that explanation in Titan: Orion's Hounds, I should stress that it wasn't presented as a matter of necessity or even an appropriate choice -- just a convenience that makes it easy for people to fall back into old patterns of segregation. Embracing diversity is something that takes an effort, and if people neglect to make the effort, then they can fall back into old habits without even noticing.

In fact, as I remarked above, I entirely agree with cy -- it was lazy and inappropriate for the makers of the modern Trek shows to default to the assumption that almost everyone in Starfleet was human except for the featured alien regulars. Yes, it was cheaper from a makeup standpoint, but that hardly excused it. Especially since the humans populating Starfleet were so overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon. For a franchise that was supposed to celebrate diversity, they really made a token effort.

@32: Really, if you go back far enough, nearly everyone on Earth has common ancestors. There's so much intermixing of lines that it's kind of trivial to say you're descended from, say, Marc Antony or Genghis Khan, because nearly everyone is. But yes, in a small population, that point would be reached much sooner.

I guess the point is that they've stuck with a patrilineal naming convention, so these are their descendants in the sense that they inherited their names and family identity. It's arbitrary, but since we invest so much in names and labels, it feels like it's a more direct inheritance somehow. I recently got a chance to look into the family genealogy, and I can't help thinking of my predecessor Bennetts as being more directly my ancestors than everyone else, so I think of my family as being originally from Kent even though I have plenty of other paternal forebears from other counties of England, Scotland, Germany, and the like, and even though my mother's family descended from Scottish immigrants. I suppose that's partly just because it's hard to keep track of our ever-branching ancestors if we don't arbitrarily select one main line to follow back -- although of course it's also largely because of societal male bias. (Interestingly, my aunt and her daughters refer to themselves as Bennetts even though their surname is different, at least when they're talking about themselves in the context of the larger clan.)
Kirshy
34. Mr. Magic
@25, That got dealt with in the DS9 relaunch, I believe.

Laas returned to the Link and was cured.
Brendan Guy
35. bguy
@16: Maybe when Odo was transformed into a Solid, it killed off the disease within him, and thus he was disease free during this episode. Here's the timeline as I see it.

-Homefront: Odo is infected with the disease
-Broken Link: Odo passes the infection into the Great Link and is transformed into a Solid. Odo is now disease free as the disease cannot survive in a human body.
-The Begotten: Odo is transformed back into a Changeling. Since the disease died during his transformation in Broken Link though he is still disease free.
-Children of Time: Odo is sent back in time but as he is disease free at this point he is able to live the hundreds of years back to the present day without any problems.
-Behind the Lines: Odo links with the female Changeling (who has been infected since Broken Link) and is reinfected with the disease.

This would also explain why Odo started showing symptoms of the disease so much later than the other Changelings (since for all intents and purposes he was infected a year after they were.)
Kirshy
36. folkbum
Re: Odo and the virus--I thought the answer was that Odo infected the link when they ate him and spat him back out as human, but as he was then human, he didn't have--couldn't have--the virus anymore.

He showed symptoms in season 7 because he'd linked with infected changelings after reverting to changeling form, though I can't off hand remember when that was. Must have been some time in there. And his symptoms showed up late (it seemed to O'Brien) because he became re-infected so much later than the others in the link.


I could be wrong--I finished my rewatch a couple of years ago now--but that's what I remember.
Kirshy
37. Crusader75
The big problem for me was the that Gaia settlers were hosed from existence the moment the Defiant showed up in their present day instead of 200 years ago. Even if their plan to recreate the accident worked, the crews imperfect knowledge of what happened after would have prevented events from unfolding in the exact same way. For instance, O'Brien and Tannenbum would get together because they are predestined to, not because they found comfort in each other after realizing they were getting back to the Alpha Quadrant in their own time. That would mean that the entire dynamic of their relationship is different and the children born to them would be different. Due to the butterfly effect of all the crews relationships, a Gaia settlement may have existed, but it would be populated by an entirely different group of descendents. There was no solution to the problem of saving the Gaians they met at all.
Kirshy
38. Ginomo
That's a very good point Crusader75. I would think in the effort to preserve their timeline, Yedrin would want to keep certain details like who hooked up with whom (beyond maybe Worf and Jadzia which is sort of obvious) hidden from the crew. Because now that they know, maybe it won't take 10 years for Miles and Rita to get together, a change that would therefore alter their entire lineage.

Though Miles' throwaway line about hating Temporal Mechanics kind of hand-waves away all those loose ends.
Kirshy
39. terryp123
the resolution to this episode bothered me so much as a kid. Couldn't they have been shunted off into some other timeline instead of erased from existence? This is one of the few I won't rewatch, because it bothered me that much.
Dante Hopkins
40. DanteHopkins
Well, I loved this episode. That pic with Sisko is my favorite moment. Yes its tragic and messy and sad, and that's the draw for me. It always makes me think for a long time after I watch it. Oh you can pick apart the details, but just taking the episode in and of itself, its magnificent, and a nice way to end the DS9 crew's GQ adventures.
Kirshy
41. Ashcom
What bothers me about this episode, indeed what regularly bothers me about episodes like this one, is that the entire command staff of DS9 have gone off for a week on this mission. The entire command staff? Including Odo, who is essentially a policeman? Last week they were having trouble because Worf was going away for a bit and they had to divide up his duties, this week everybody can go away and apparently the station is going to continue to operate as normal.
Kirshy
42. nrvnqsr
Since no one's mentioned it yet, in the discussion or in the episode, here's what I thought: What are 8000 people compared to everyone in the Alpha Quadrant? Sisko is the Emissary, and his presence alone is likely to make a large difference in the conflict with the Dominion. If he gets marooned on this planet, he can't help with that. There are most likely hundreds of billions of people in the Federation (let's say "at least 8 billion"), who would probably be subjugated or killed if the Dominion won; if you think the presence of Sisko, the Defiant, and the rest of our capable crew improves the odds by even 1 in 1 million, their responsibility to the Federation is the overriding concern.

Maybe I exaggerate the consequences if the Dominion wins; but really I'd say these people are worth at least a 10% chance of victory, so if a victory would save at least 80,000 lives, which seems obviously true , then my conclusion stands: There was no ethical dilemma to begin with, despite what the characters thought.
Christopher Bennett
43. ChristopherLBennett
@42: Eight billion will be the population of Earth alone in a decade or so, according to current projections, so it's one helluva lowball minimum. Given that the Federation c. 2370 has around 150 members and hundreds of colony worlds, the population of the UFP in the DS9 era is probably on the order of a trillion. Star Trek Star Charts put it at 985 billion. This site estimates over 3.6 trillion.
Kirshy
44. The Usual Suspect
@ 37 and 38: I think that question is answered by Spock's statements in "Assignment: Earth" and the implications of the events in "The City on the Edge of Forever" -- events that happen in the past involving people from the future of a timeline remain consistent once the future people come back to the past. Although that's not consistent with other episodes of ST, it could apply here. IF the crew of Defiant go back in time, they will behave in the same way they already did, regardless of what knowledge their descendants give them.

@ 42: In regards to the ethical dilemma of the situation, as someone mentioned above, people already in existence take priority over hypothetical people or events. The people of Gaia are already there. If we know that not going back in time will erase them from existence, then the value of their KNOWN existence and certain extinction should be more important than the POSSIBLE actions and consequences of actions that MAY be taken by Sisko at some point in the future.
Kirshy
45. ad
@11 I think it is fairly common when discussing ethics to value already
existing people far more (infinitely more?) than potentially existing
people.

With time travel, it is not obvious why that should apply. You can visit people in the future, just as you can visit people a long distance away. So why should you value someone nearby, in the present, any more than one a long way off, or in the future?
Sara H
46. LadyBelaine
Huh - I literally have no recollection of this episode.
Kirshy
47. Bob Smoot
In the Star Trek universe, time travel appears to be a far bigger deal than space travel, so I don't think you can draw a parallel between the two for the sake of this ethical argument. While it's no big deal to pop over to Risa for a vacation, popping back/forward in time is still considered something of a big deal--and even mostly forbidden? I can't remember. So this universe already makes a very big distinction between time and space travel. On top of that, even though they are able to time travel their descendants are still hypothetical. They have no idea who they are, how many they are, or what kind of people they are. Saints or sinners, maybe the universe would be better off with them or without them. But Sisko and crew just don't know, therefore they shouldn't matter much at all compared to the definitely existing people right in front of them

Which brings up the matter of why nearby people matter more anyway. This is brought up in a thought experiment by the philosopher Peter Singer. Suppose you see a drowning child and you are able to save that child by jumping in to the water and pulling her out, but in doing so you ruin the nice clothes and shoes that you are wearing. Very few people would argue that you should let the child die so that you could spare your expensive outfit. And yet, there is a child dying of malnutrition right now that could be saved with the equivalent amount of money that is spent on a nice outfit. While many people would consider it immoral to buy expensive clothes before spending money on saving starving children half a world away, the fact is that people do so with no moral qualms whatsoever, even if they'd ruin their same clothes if it meant saving a child right in front of them. Proximity to suffering is a very salient factor in people's moral reasoning. Doesn't mean it should be, but it most certainly is. (Google 'peter singer drowning child' for a rabbit hole of discussion on this topic)

To bring this around to this episode, I suspect that DS9's shades-of-grey morality would absolutely place the proximity (in time and space) of the people of Gaia over the distant people of elsewhere. And that's what Sisko and crew tried to do.
Kirshy
48. Josh Luz
Man, I forgot just how high Kira's heeled boots were in later seasons.
Phil Parsons
49. Yakko
@36

That's as viable an offscreen retcon as any I suppose. I'm just not convinced that Odo was ever really human. In one of the other threads Christopher Bennett suggested that the Founders were able to somehow lock Odo's molecular structure into a simulation of a human with functioning biological systems but that he was really still a Changeling without the ability to shapeshift. If he were completely human (and thus unable to carry the disease) then the dying infant Changeling shouldn't have been able to affect him at all when it entered his body in "The Begotten", right?
Heather Dunham
50. tankgirl73
Timey wimey. Pocket universes. Time can be re-written.

I always understood it that Odo had never been 'truly' solid, but only 'locked' into solid form. Like @49 says, that's the only way the infant changeling would have been able to do what he did. So while that retcon sounds good, I don't think it holds together in the end.

Anyway, I loved this episode. While of course it didn't get into ALL of the sticky issues about who was boinking whom, it didn't shy away from it either. As soon as it was clear what was happening, I was like, "no way, O'Brien would never!" I was prepared to hate the episode because of O'Brien giving up too quickly.

But then he himself is angry about it, and it's told that he was the last holdout, waiting ten long years before taking a new wife.

I know several people in real life who have lost their spouse. Most are re-married or at least in a long-term committed relationship within 2 years. Of course it's different when your spouse isn't actually dead, you're just hoping for a rescue. But 10 years is a very, very long time to hope against all reasonable hope like that.

And so then, I loved the fact that he DID eventually accept reality and take a new wife; it wasn't a grand noble love-through-all-time hack of a story that he never did love again, blech. They went there, and 'our' O'Brien had to face that fact.

And then when so many kids are named Molly? *tears*

The only real problem I have with this episode is that Kira should never, ever, ever have fallen for 'our' Odo knowing that he had this capacity within him. Needs of the many, whatever... he's slime.

(Heh... literally...)
Kirshy
51. Crusader75
@50 - I cannot judge Odo too harshly for foiling a scheme that intended to kill Kira but could not possibly have succeeded otherwise. From what I saw, the older Odo stopped a futile gesture that would have harmed his loved one and al the crew's. But let's assume it could have worked. O'Brien, and any other of the crew that are married are in an interesting moral position. As they were moved through time, their spouses didn't exist when they were and they had no hope to return to the time when they did. Can they be considered married to someone who won't be born for at least 150 years? Or are they effectively widowed or not even married yet?
Kirshy
52. Crusader75
@44 - I don't think we have ever had a time travel situation where people who knew the course of their own future events remained in the past. That's the problem to me, the entire crew knows the general shape of what happened the first time and they cannot recreate it exactly. O'Brien has no reason to wait ten years get together with Tannenbaum (outside of trying to follow a rigid predestined schedule), because the 2nd O'Brien does not intend to go back to their own time in the first place.
Kirshy
53. The Usual Suspect
@ 52 Yeah, I see your point that this may be a different case. I was thinking of how in "City on the Edge of Forever" it turns out that the reason Edith Keeler crosses the street is because of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, which suggests that the original timeline required the presence of all three. History was not complete until Kirk and Spock went back in time, even without knowing what they would need to do in the past. In "Assignment: Earth," Spock notes that the way events played out in the episode reflects what happened in the past, even before the Enterprise crew knew what was going on. This suggests to me that, even though the Defiant crew now have knowledge that they shouldn't have had the first time, they will still act according to the history that has already taken place.
Kirshy
54. DougL
I guess my ultimate problem with Trek, and episodes like this highlight it, unless it's a two parter, or part of the season continuity, it's forgotten about. This was supposed to be brutal for the characters, but next episode we won't see any evidence of it. I won't say the name of the show where this was not the case, and though I have my issues with that show, at least more episodes had lasting impact.
Kirshy
55. TBGH
To me at least, the colonists only potentially exist from the perspective of the current crew. If I catch a glimpse through some wormhole of my descendants in the future, (or even if I talk to them or reach through and shake their hands), that doesn't change that there are many decision points between here and there that can determine if they're born. Not all of them mine. Obviously this is all rampant unscientific speculation since interaction with the future isn't really possible, but to me despite the evidence of their senses, the colonists are only potentially people just the same as their descendants in the federation would be.
Kirshy
56. Mr. Magic
@54, This is why Trek doesn't play well on re-watch or for more modern audiences.

The scope of storytelling's changed so much in the last 20 years. Serailization and story arcs are so common now that we expect continuous storylines.

Not everything has to be a single serialized arc for me. But it's nice to have 'planets/monsters of the week' mentioned againdown the road.

Cast in point: Xander's transformation into a soldier during early BTVS Season Two. They got a lot of mileage out of that.
Kirshy
57. DougL
@56. Mr. Magic

Yes, but if wasn't for the strength of the cast here it would fall way, way behind B5 for me because of this one issue. I am 39 years old, I didn't expect it for every show. I liked DS9 a lot or I wouldn't be here, but these are the eps I just skip on rewatch because they have no lasting impact whatsoever. DS9 had more arcs than Voyager (other than the getting home thing), or Next Gen, but way less than B5.
Mike Kelmachter
58. MikeKelm
@56 Mr. Magic...

At least DS9 holds up better than TNG, which was all over the map in terms of story telling. Some episodes were great, some were pure kludge. But yes, the psychological impermiability of Star Trek characters is something rather aggravating. So many characters have what would be serious psychological trauma inflicted upon them and yet they are okay the next week. DS9 did have some more permanent impact (Nog for example, or the fact that the seeds of the Odo-Kira relationship date back into the early seasons even though they don't get realized until later. I do always wonder though what a TNG or DS9 reboot would be like in modern storytelling format.
Raymond Seavey
59. RaySea
There's one problem I can't get over. The Gaia colonists evidently want to preserve their timeline. Got it. So why, then, do they so dreadfully poison it? Just knowing the fact of the colony's exsistence would be pretty damaging, but they go and share seemingly every detail: what happens when who marries who, how many kids they have, and so on. Based on everything Star Trek has told us before about time travel, even if the Defiant crew did go back in time and found the colony, wouldn't the timeline (and thus, the colony and the people) be radically differant by the 24th century? I understand if they may have felt the need to tell them somethings, since obviously the Defiant can tell the colony is there (of course, that raises the question of why they didn't detect the colony in the Gaia colonists' timeline, but that's a whole other kettle of fish) but giving them such a wealth of infromation seems to run somewhat counter to their goals.
Kirshy
60. Mr. Magic
@57, VOY should have hard more arcs and this still frustrates me to this day. I can only imagine what would've happened in the Kazon/Seska arc's failure hadn't put a moratoirum on a more serialized approach for VOY.

That's why I loved SGU. It was, in many ways, a second chance to see what VOY could have been like (albeit in the Stargate world).

@58, Tell me about it.

DS9 would fare well in modern storytelling since it's approach is more common these days. TNG would have the benefit of no Roddenberry and his insane Kumbuya edict.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
61. Lisamarie
@41 - hah, I said the same thing to my husband. Whose operating the station now? Why would the entire senior staff end up on a mission where (invariably) something will go wrong?

I also felt that it made more sense that there would just be an alternate timeline, not them just ceasing to exist. After all, the timeline is already different -the first time the Defiant crashed, they weren't greeted by settlers. And even if they all marry/mate with the same people, are you honestly going to tell me that in every single union the exact same sperm and egg met, and the exact same chromsomal shifting occurred? And that their descendants are going to all marry the exact same person, and so forth and so on? They were doomed from the start.

It also bothered me that the leaders of the settlement TOLD the others that they were going to cease to exist. Why would you even tell them? There is literally nothing they can do about it, and it would probably cause mass hysteria. While I am typically a person who is for the truth/disclosure in all circumstances, it just seems like there was really no need to burden the settlers with this knowledge.

I will say I tend to dislike trying to determine who is more important than others (such as the 8000 vs what could happen in teh Alpha quadrant if Sisko doesn't make it back) especially as, at that time, they have no way of truly predicting that they are essential to the victory in the DOminion War (and even so, you can't say there couldn't be other ways they could win). I definitely was quite conflicted about it. I was totally with O'Brien in wanting to get the hell home. I've got two kids and I occasionally travel fo business and it's nice for a day or so, but after that it sucks. I have found myself feeling slightly panicked/agitated when I have to deal with something like a flight delay on my way back to them. It's a very primal, intense feeling - not that I would actually ever do anything to anybody in that kind of circumstance, but it does make me think, what would I be willing to do if somebody were truly trying to keep me from my children, especially if I acted purely on emotion and not values I have internalized in a more intellectual way. Like, I'm pretty sure I'd have no qualms emotionally about ripping somebody's face off (although I would intellectually, so no worries, you're not likely to see me in the news for face-ripping). So the thought of just not being able to get back to my family is honestly one of the most horrifying parts of this episode for me (not to mention nobody ever bothers to ask the other people in the crew of their opinion), and since those 8000 people weren't even meant to exist, screw them, I have an obligation to my family. Except that don't *truly* believe that is the ethical thing to do since, whether they were accidents or not, they DO exist, so at that point there is an obligation to protect them as well. (Even though, again, I personally do feel that a)there is no way that colony is going to be perfectly replicated again, and b)it seems than an 'alternate timeline' makes more sense than a completey erased one, but when has any of this ever made sense???)

As for Odo, I called it the second the ship veered off the autopilot and I kind of think it would have been cool to leave it ambiguous...but Kira's reaction nailed it.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
62. Lisamarie
@50, I had the exact same reaction about O'Brien. The time travel, etc, I was willing to buy but once they were trying to say he had descendants in the colony I was just like, "Nope, not buying it!" But like you said, they did a good job explaining it.

Although, I completely wanted to smack Bashir when he was trying to joke around with O'Brien about the whole thing (basically, the fact that he's never going to see his wife and children again and will have to remarry), while it is obviously still a very raw wound for O'Brien.

Oh, and you'd think with 8 lifetimes of experience, Dax would be smart enough not to say things like, "Any relationship can work as long as both people want it to", etc. I've been in a relationship like that, we're both reasonably good people, we both wanted it to work, but it just wasn't ther right thing. To say nothing of people struggling with things like addictions or disorders that, as well meaning as they may be, just are not conducive to healthy relationships.
Rob Rater
63. Quasarmodo
I liked how at the end of the episode, they're flying away from the planet and they detect an anomoly in front of them, which they know is what will send them back in time. But that means in the other timeline, they were flying away from the planet and detected an anomoly, and then apparently chose to fly straight into it!
Stefan Raets
64. Stefan
It would make no sense for her to be there, obviously, but the actress who hands Sisko a baby in the 17th minute of the show looks remarkably like Kasidy Yates, doesn't she?
Kirshy
65. Ronaldo
I've been rewatching DS9 on my own, and this is one of only a handful of episodes that have approached TNG quality in my opinion. The ethical dilemma is real, and the characters behave in ways that actually make sense. It also reinforces my thinking that Odo is actually a fedora wearing "white knight".

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