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Star Trek DS9 - Season 1 - Episode 01

Star Trek DS9 - 1x01 - Emissary, Part I

Originally Aired: 1993-1-3

On a distant outpost at the edge of the final frontier, an untested crew embarks on an unprecedented journey. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.87

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Not filler by virtue of being the pilot.

- This episode heavily retcons the Trill species originally introduced in TNG: The Host. Most notably, they look completely different on TNG, sporting the built up forehead instead of DS9's spots.
- Also why did the Federation know so little about the Trill in TNG: The Host? Dax seems to have served the Federation for a long time. And Sisko seems to have known him/her for decades. Maybe Sisko had some kind of insider knowledge of the Trill through this friendship that most Federation citizens don't normally have access to?

- This episode introduces a new uniform style.
- Cardassian architecture maintains a tradition that the Prefect's office is in a central and higher location in bridge or ops settings, so that all under his command must look up with respect.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seeing Sisko as first officer of the Saratoga fighting the Borg.
- Viewing the destruction of the Saratoga from the escape pod.
- The first sight of DS9, orbiting Bajor.
- The DS9 intro, my favorite of all the Star Trek intros.
- O'Brien and Sisko discussing the poor state of the station.
- O'Brien asking Sisko if he had ever served with Bajoran women. O'Brien remembered how feisty Ro Laren could get. ;)
- Kira's adversarial first meeting with Sisko.
- Odo's first scene; a shape shifter!
- Odo's first line to Sisko: "Who the hell are you?"
- Picard: "Have we met before?" Sisko: "Yes sir, we've met in battle."
- Picard disturbed, trying to ignore Sisko's angry attitude.
- Quark complaining that he can't run his establishment under Federation rules, and Sisko telling Quark that he'll bend the rules because the station is owned by Bajor, not the Federation.
- Sisko's meeting with the Kai. Opaka: "Ironic. One who does not wish to be among us is to be the Emissary."
- Sisko's first orb experience, freaking out about meeting his wife again for the first time.
- Jennifer: "Do you use this routine a lot with women?" Sisko: "No. Never before. And never again."
- Opaka's confidence in Sisko.
- Bashir's first scene... trying to seduce Jadzia.
- Sisko's first discussion with Dax.
- Bashir's faux pas with Kira.
- Sisko's first use of the nickname "old man" for Dax.
- Dax having an orb experience, flashbacking to Curzon's death.
- Dukat's first scene.
- Dax discovering the wormhole.
- Odo sneaking aboard the Cardassian shp, as the bag for the Cardassians' game winnings.
- The first sighting of a runabout class vessel.
- Morn appearances; 1. When Sisko enters Quark's Bar for the first time. 2. gambling with the Cardassians at the Dabo table. 3. In the crowd Odo is moving when the station is attacked.

My Review
Probably the most remarkable first episode for a Star Trek series ever. This is a complex episode with oodles of internal continuity and nice small details. It opens with an absolutely stunning flashback scene of Sisko fighting the Borg as first officer of the Saratoga, in which Sisko's wife, Jennifer dies. There are some small things I liked a lot about this scene. The whole scene was perfectly tied into the look and feel of TNG. They could have inserted the whole scene into TNG: The Best of Both Worlds and it would have fit in seamlessly. That said, this episode plays well into modern (season 6) TNG as well, since it picks up on the story displayed in TNG: Chain of Command. Cardassia has withdrawn from Bajor, and they need help from the Federation. So Sisko is assigned to take command of the ore processing slave labor station in orbit of the planet, which they planned to convert to a center of interplanetary operations to oversee the rebuilding of Bajoran society. Since the station is under Federation control, despite now being owned by the Bajorans, it has been designated Federation Deep Space Station 9, or Deep Space 9. This premise is complex, but not overly so. Additionally, the smaller TNG continuity bits are great. O'Brien gets promoted to Chief of Operations of DS9, so both O'Brien and Keiko move the DS9 show on which O'Brien becomes a main character! Also, Sisko's confrontation with Picard adds some flare to the episode. Finally, this episode ends with a marvelous cliffhanger; Sisko trying to investigate the Celestial Temple on behalf of the Bajorans. But to do so he must elude the maliciously close-by Cardassians.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Captain Keogh on 2013-05-05 at 1:45pm:
    The one problem I have with this episode is the beginning, very trivial, when the USS Saratoga is hit by the Borg vutting beam, it hits the sensor dome, but when Sisko asks for the damage report, the tactical officer says it hit Decks 1-4, I will be looking forward to any insight into this.
  • From James T Quark on 2015-08-15 at 10:28pm:
    A good start. On my first viewing I had hoped that the whole "spiritual / emissary / religious" aspect wouldn't be a pivotal plot point, but I sure was wrong!

    As well, I'm not too fond of the whole Bajoran back story ie the Cardassian Rape of Bajor, so one might as "why watch?" Simple.

    The stories are excellent. If you can tolerate the religious overtones and perhaps skip over a few of the less important "Oh those poor, unfortunate Bajorans" episodes, this is a great series.

    While TNG will always be my favorite ST series, this would a close second, or maybe even first if they had made the Bajorans a stronger species, and not so deluded by the wormhole aliens magical powers. Imagine the series if it wasn't Bajor that was invaded and occupied but a race like the Romulans or the Klingons! Now THAT would be some good, albeit most likely DARKER, Trek.

    All in all, a very good addition to the franchise and a must see for any Trekerie!

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