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22
Mar 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Children Of Time (Ep 5.22)

Great episode! It was packed with all sorts of things. The perfect example of where Trek sometimes uses sci-fi as a vehicle for conveying issues, because this episode wasn’t very sci-fi at all, except for setting up the base environment for the rest of the episode. The opening of the episode shows the writers screwing around with time again, but in this case, they don’t expose too plot flaws. Instead, they deal with the paradox. Here’s the episode synopsis I ripped from st-hypertext (I can’t be bothered explaining it :)

The setup is as follows: Returning to the station from a reconnaissance mission in the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant (carrying all the DS9 senior officers, of course), deviates from its course to investigate a planet with some odd energy readings. Dax assures Sisko that the risk of entering orbit is minimal–definitely worth investigating for what may be a rare scientific discovery. The Defiant is snagged in an energy field, and seconds later they receive a hail from a human colony with more than 8,000 people. The crew beams down to the planet, where they’re told by the colony leader (Gary Frank) that the entire settlement’s citizens are descendents of the Defiant crew. According to the leader, in two days when the Defiant attempts to leave orbit, the ship will encounter an anomaly that will send it back two centuries through time. The Defiant will then crash on the planet. With no means to escape (the wormhole doesn’t even exist at that point), the crew will decide to begin life anew. Two hundred years later, this history is revealed to the crew before it happens. The leader of the colony, by the way, is Yedrin Dax–the current host for the still-surviving Dax symbiont.

The outcome actually leads to the episode touching on existentialism – questioning exactly what existance is. If changing the timeline means 8000 people will blink out of existence, and therefore it can be argued that they never did exist, does that make it okay? You may say that if these people never existed, that’s alright, it’s not like killing them. However, is it correct to say they never existed? The crew has memories of them – is that enough to justify existance? The episode also briefly looks at religion, and the concept of destiny. Then of course there’s the issue of Odo and Kira, which I believe was handled well. What seemed as “an easy way out” for Odo to express his love for Kira turned out to only make the situation more confusing and somewhat precarious. We also have wonderful characterisations coming through – of O’Brien (and his weak spot for children), of Sisko (I found it humourous how he sat there listening to the crew debate whether or not they should return home, even though he had already made up his mind), etc. There are probably other things I’ve forgotten to mention, but there was a lot of stuff in this episode, and all handled well and wonderfully character driven.