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Star Trek DS9 - Season 4 - Episode 03

Star Trek DS9 - 4x03 - The Visitor

Originally Aired: 1995-10-9

Synopsis:
When a tragic accident causes Sisko to vanish before his son's eyes, young Jake begins a life-long obsession to bring him back. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.37

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 38 9 7 5 6 7 6 12 8 21 155

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- This episode is technically filler, but it's some of the best character development Ben and Jake will ever get.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of DS9 Award."
- Tony Todd, who plays the older Jake in this episode, also plays Kurn, Worf's brother.
- Rachel Robinson, who plays Melanie in this episode, is actually Andrew Robinson's daughter. Andrew Robinson plays Garak.
- The future uniforms worn by the reunited crew on the Defiant when Jake first tries to rescue his father are the same as the ones worn in the future presented to Picard by Q in TNG: All Good Things.
- This episode was nominated for the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Remarkable Scenes
- Future Jake telling Melanie about the death of his father.
- Sisko: "I'm no writer, but if I were it seems to me I'd want to poke my head up every once in a while and take a look around, see what's going on. It's life, Jake! You can miss it if you don't open your eyes."
- Seeing Sisko's death.
- Sisko appearing in Jake's quarters briefly out of nowhere, confused, then disappearing.
- Jake talking about all the changes in the timeline due to Sisko's death. The Klingon situation got worse and the Bajorans allied with the Cardassians! Chilling.
- Sisko appearing again, this time in front of other people.
- Future Jake telling Melanie that the Federation gave control of DS9 to the Klingons.
- Sisko appearing to a middle aged Jake.
- A desperate Jake and Sisko pulled into subspace together, discussing the situation.
- Future Jake: "I want you to promise me something." Melanie: "Anything." Future Jake: "While you're studying my stories, poke your head up every once in a while. Take a look around. See what's going on. It's life, Melanie." Melanie: "And you can miss it if you don't open your eyes."
- Sisko appearing in front of his son now an old man.
- Future Jake: "I've been dragging you through time like an anchor. And now it's time to cut you loose."
- Future Jake: "For you. And for the boy that I was. He needs you more than you know."
- Morn Appearances; 1. Standing behind Quark during Sisko's memorial. 2. Pats Jake's shoulder, seemingly sad for him, in Quark's bar in the scene just after the memorial. 3. Not shown, but Nog tells Jake that Morn runs the bar in the future. He talks his customers' ears off and is probably drinking himself out of business. ;)

My Review
This is one of the best reset-button episodes ever done. The biggest reason for this is that Sisko retains a memory of his son's efforts to save him across the decades. The reason this is cool is that many reset button episodes are just that; total resets. None of it actually happened. But the way this one played out, Sisko is left with an extremely profound memory of his son's heroic sacrifice in the divergent timeline. It's a nice ride too. Both actors playing Jake did an utterly fantastic job acting their parts, as did Ben Sisko himself. In the end, the temporal paradox is presented very nicely. Future Jake's sacrifice and Ben's resurrection was one of the most moving scenes ever presented in Star Trek. Ben begging his son not to kill himself on his behalf was very sad and very moving. The episode ends with a deeply moved Sisko who has dodged death thanks to the second chance his son gave him. Only he will ever truly know the pain his son went through in the divergent timeline, and I'm sure it changes his life. Bravo, an unexpectedly brilliant episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Johnny Storm on 2006-05-07 at 7:59am:
    I have to admit that I am mainly a TOS and TNG fan but I would go so far as to say that this is IMHO my candidate for pretty much the best episode of any Trek, ever.

    It beautifully portrays a father's love for his son. It is the only ep of Trek that has ever brought tears to my eyes (and my wife's). It is successful on a number of different levels: the plot, the superb acting, the view of how the DS9 charcters will turn out in future (very like "All good things...").

    Having said that it does not stand up so well to repeated viewings and the view of the future was superceeded by later events.

    Still a great one though.

  • From RichD on 2006-06-02 at 5:16pm:
    I just saw this episode recently. I had not seen it in many years. I'd forgotten how incredibly moving and touching it is. I am a full grown man. I do not cry often watching a tv show or a movie. Maybe ET when I was a boy. This episode gets me every time. Perhaps it reminds me a lot of my relationship with my father. The thing that struck me with this most recent viewing, was Cirroc Lofton's acting. It's like a .150 hitter coming up with the game winning hit in the World Series. Superb. Where did that come from? If he'd only been half as good, the episode would have suffered. This is an episode you can watch and show to someone who doesn't even follow the Star Trek. It's that good.
  • From Pete Miller on 2006-06-24 at 10:06pm:
    You know, as I was watching this I thought "I can't wait to see how low a rating eric gave this reset button episode". When I came to find out that you gave it a TEN my mind was blown. I am sorry, I usually agree with all your ratings but I found this episode to be filler, doubtlessly the producers recovering from the expensive "Way of the Warrior". I couldn't focus on the episode because the whole time I knew that this couldn't possibly be. I knew that DS9 didn't just end with an old man jake kicking the bucket and the Klingons owning deep space nine. Now if I went back and watched it again, maybe I'd enjoy it more. I did like seeing Nog as a CAPTAIN.

    Bottom line, I disliked it. I thought it wasn't nearly as profound as it was trying to be, and I think that TNG "The Inner Light" is a much better executed version of a similar premise. I recognize that I am in the minority, so I won't mess up the fan votes by submitting mine. I, however, would give this one a 3. I didn't care for it at all.
  • From Alex von Treifeldt on 2008-07-07 at 4:25am:
    An absolute cracker! I only saw it 7 July 2008. Your last sentence sums it up perfectly! The series really came alive for me today! I just didn't know what hit me...
  • From djb on 2009-11-08 at 1:48am:
    The concept of a "reset button" episode is not, in itself, bad. Some of the best TNG episodes had that going, to some degree (The Inner Light, Tapestry, Yesterday's Enterprise, and All Good Things come to mind). It's all in the execution. This episode executed the reset button quite well. In fact, you could even say that aspect strengthens this episode, in a way.

    For one, it's obvious from the very start. As soon as we find out that the old man is Jake, it's clear that this is not a typical episode. Then when he refers to his father's death, since we know Sisko doesn't die, it has to be some kind of alternate-reality-type episode.

    One way it which this aspect is a strength is the way it implies how things would have turned out if Sisko weren't around; in other words, Sisko is instrumental in the events that happen over the next 4 seasons. This is clear, but the episode highlights that. Plus, as someone else pointed out, Sisko is left with the memory.

    I always appreciate these small excursions from the normal sci-fi Trek. It reminds us that this show (series of shows) is about the human journey as well.
  • From L on 2013-05-28 at 4:29am:
    Jake and Sisko's relationship has always been portrayed so wonderfully, an openly affectionate father-son dynamic is rarely seen in popular culture or sadly even real-life. This was beautiful and moving.
    My only concern - does losing his father and his consequent bumming around make Jake a great writer, or will he still be one with the timeline 'fixed'?
  • From meinerHeld on 2013-06-02 at 10:57pm:
    Too bad that the poignant exchanges between Jake and Melanie are rendered meaningless. Nonetheless, just the chance to see a sagely Jake in an exquisitely homey setting, dispensing wisdom unto the youngun, was beautiful.
  • From Dstyle on 2013-10-24 at 3:44pm:
    You know how sports teams sometimes wear retro throwback jerseys in certain games? It must have been throwback uniform day on Commander Nog's ship, because there's no way that TNG era uniform was still in use!
  • From Zorak on 2016-05-17 at 4:53pm:
    As good as the acting was by the regular cast all around, I think it was Tony Todd who really made this episode what it was.
  • From Coihue on 2018-10-02 at 12:37pm:
    Made me cry. Every-time-they-get-together.
    This was even better than The Inner Light.

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