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Star Trek DS9 - Season 5 - Episode 22

Star Trek DS9 - 5x22 - Children of Time

Originally Aired: 1997-5-5

Synopsis:
When the crew of the Defiant become stranded on a planet, they begin new lives ... [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 5.9

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 10 18 7 11 12 11 14 20 27 30

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode is a must-see for the Kira/Odo relationship stuff, all of which has consequences deep into the rest of the series.

Problems
- The entire plot of this episode is undermined by the observer effect. The crew's descendants were doomed the very minute they interacted with the people whose actions presuppose their entire existence. Even if the crew had gone back in time to found the colony, it would not be possible for them to go on to create identical descendants to those they had already met because the very act of meeting their hypothetical descendants would have slightly altered the outcome leading to different descendants.

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Boy: "Are you the son of Mogh?" Worf: "Yes, I am." Boy: "Is it true you can kill someone just by looking at them." Worf: "Only when I am angry."
- Time displaced Odo's appearance. Odo: "I love you Nerys. I've always loved you." About fricken time.
- The sons of Mogh.
- The revelation that Yedrin wasn't trying to help but recreate the accident.
- Brota to Worf: "Last year I slew a Yar bear three meters tall. Your Mak'leth was my only weapon. The beast maimed me and for a time it seemed I would die from my wounds. Now I wish I had. It would have been a warrior's death."
- The whole communal planting thing. A bit too hunky dory for me in Star Trek, but moving nonetheless.
- Sisko: "They existed. As long as we remember them, they always will."
- The revelation that Odo and the other Odo linked and that the other Odo was responsible for sabotaging the flight plan.

My Review
A decent reset button-style episode with a lot of wasted potential. It tries to be like DS9: The Visitor but on a larger scale but unfortunately it doesn't quite work. The two episodes are nearly identical in cause, effect, and implications, but this episode puts the whole experience over the top. Life is full of choices that lead to many other possible realities that will never exist as a consequence of your choice. Which of your lovers will you marry? Should you have sympathy for the children who will never be born because you didn't marry any of your other lovers? Of course not. But that's what this episode is asking us to do. The difference between "killing" and "never existing" is a subtle, but important one. Sisko's crew had every right to want to leave that planet and deny existence to their hypothetical descendants. I don't care if their hypothetical descendants could see, and talk, and feel things as a consequence of a time travel paradox. They don't deserve to exist at the expense of Sisko's crew's suffering. The episode failed to fully explore that moral dilemma, but what's worse is the entire debate is moot anyway because due to the observer effect, those descendants were doomed the moment Sisko met any of them to begin with regardless of whether or not he had succeeded in recreating the time travel and crash landing. The fact that they had already met their descendants would mean that they were slightly different people than the original version of the crew that never had that experience. As such, events the second time around would be slightly different, leading to entirely different descendants. All in all, it was a decent, moving episode, but way more could have been done with it.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-07-09 at 5:25pm:
    This was an awful episode. First of all, the moral "dilemma" was ridiculous. Are we to say that every time we make a decision such as deciding to move to another part of the country we are killing thousands of people who never got the chance to live? Or every time you use a condom you're killing hundreds of people? The whole idea is just stupid and annoying. And I agree about the farming scene at the end. That was very cheesy. This episode felt like a poorly done TNG episode stuck in the middle of DS9.
  • From John DC on 2011-01-14 at 8:04pm:
    This really was just awful. I don't know exactly why I hated it so much, but I did. Perhaps it's because it's a reset-button filler episode in the middle of the Dominion War story arc. Strange thing is, it's filler, but it obviously wasn't cheap to produce either.
  • From Mario on 2012-04-23 at 3:44pm:
    This doesn't make any sense at all. How can they "change" anything that has not happened yet? The present part (or the future from our perspective) only happenes once. Either they travel through time or not. If their descendants are there, that means they did and it already happened and nobody can change that - whatever happened, happened. If they don't, their descendant should never exist at all - not exist and then cease to exist.
    Haven't they watched LOST? I know it aired a few years later, but with time travel, apparently, everything is possible...
  • From GregVB on 2012-08-17 at 11:45am:
    First time commenting.

    For me this is the best episode so far of DS9. I actually think its very interesting that this got a 5 from the host, all the comments are negative, yet...yet... this has almost twice as many 10 votes as any other.

    I believe this episode represents the difference in the hard core Trek fans, and the sci-fi fans. Yes the story has some time travel issues, no great continuity, but for me, you have to suspend disbelief to believe in time travel anyway (or aliens, warp speed, etc...).

    For me this represents some of the best character development i have seen so far. An earlier comment stated that this was like a bad TNG episode, and I agree that it does feel very much like a communal "TNG:Inner Light".

    Another said it was filler. So was "Inner Light", "Tapestry", and "Family". These are only episodes I have given a 10, along with the TOS movie "Undiscovered Country". For me its a nine, and like I said earlier, the best episode (so far) of my DS9 watching.
  • From Bernard on 2012-08-19 at 6:23am:
    Response to GregVB mainly here.

    Firstly, I wouldn't put much faith in the fan rating scores for DS9 as I think our webmaster has suffered some sabotage in that area. Just take a look at the season 7 scores - all the zeroes that have been recorded go way above what you would normally expect. I have already mentioned this in another review response and I believe the same has happened to this episode except 10's and 9's being registered.

    You have mentioned that dreaded word... filler. I hate that word used in relation to Star Trek episodes. Star Trek, in the main, is not a serial. It consists of mostly stand alone episodes, although DS9 did write longer reaching story arcs.
    This means, to me, that you cannot have 'filler'. You can have poor episodes that do not reach many levels but since any episode of Star Trek on any given week could be a stand alone episode then we cannot really band around the word 'filler'. So in this respect I agree with GregVB. The majority of TNG is 'filler', you have to accept that it is merely the stand alone nature of Star Trek.

    As for this episode.
    I would rate it fairly highly actually. Probably an 8. The only reason it does not score higher is because of the slightly contrived and forced plot points and also because the episode loses my interest at points.
    There are strong performances that really carry the episode though. In particular Rene Auberjonois and Nana Visitor but also the guest cast, Colm Meaney and Avery Brooks.

    Overall, if this episode had been slightly less contrived and slightly more polished it would be up there as one of the best DS9 episodes.

  • From Inga on 2013-02-05 at 2:51pm:
    Oh, Dax, after five years on Star Trek you still think that going through some weird energy barriers is a good idea...

    Also, if they actually stayed and got thrown back in time, wouldn't they have lived differently anyway? They have the knowledge the original crew didn't have. There's a possibility a great deal of those 8000 people would seize to exist just because they'd be replaced with different offsprings. Well, taking into account that anything would change at all, since this theory does sound silly... It would've made quite a temporal paradox as well.

  • From Xavier on 2013-06-01 at 12:15pm:
    This episode is offensive. Not just we going into Time Trek again, but in such an idiotic way it annoyes me. Everything is "okay", til Dax discovers it is a ploy from "new" Dax and the time travel will not produce a duplicate. Was a wasted potential in a different way made by the reviewer... Let´s imagine they actually had this Quantum duplication happening. Instead of a bunch of BS about the "needs of many", we would see them IN THE PAST. And wondering if the "new" Dax would have lied to them, thinking he did. Maybe they, after a few years in the hardships of the colony, finally realized they weren´t lied by him, the quantum duplication actually happened. But we just see this episode from their point of view, the duplicates we will never see again.

    About they have seen already the colony and it changed the timeline already, well, is not the first time Time Trek happens to have contact with a timeline and had no effect whatsoever, so it doesn´t matter so much. Time Trek is a pathetic concept by itself, but if you´re going that way, at least make something less contrived than telling the same story all over again. And really, rset button stories deserve nothing less than a zero. I want Star Trek. When they derived from it to do a Reset Button, is pretty much fanfiction made by the current hired writer, and that is ofensive.
  • From Mandeponium on 2013-09-06 at 11:07am:
    I agree, Xavier, downright offensive, for several reasons. I can't believe O'Brien, after watching some kids play, has a change of heart. He is being completely disloyal to Keiko, Molly, and Yoshi. I suppose he's thinking, "You know, I guess I could f*** that ensign from Engineering after all."

    The Quantum Duplicate plan disturbed me too. Why does no one think to ask, "But which version of the Defiant will "I" be on? I don't want to be the one stranded on the planet while my duplicate gets to go home."

    They could have done something like TNG's "Yesterday's Enterprise" and made the story about sacrifice: The 8000 sacrificing themselves for their ancestors. Instead Sisko and Friends decide to throw themselves away for a population that shouldn't even exist. Someone has to make a sacrifice here and it's pretty clear who (you know, for the show to continue).

    But then O'Brien lets his emotions get the best of him and the writers get to eat their cake and have it too. Make the "right" choice and feel good about it, but still press the Reset Button.

    I would give it a 0 if not for the absolutely beautiful exchanges between Kira and Old-Odo.


    So 1.
  • From Axel on 2015-05-23 at 11:52am:
    An average episode. The main moral dilemma doesn't bother me as much as other reviewers. Yes, it's ridiculous for us to go through life second-guessing every decision and relationship based on the hypothetical offspring we're stopping from being born. This episode is different though: those offspring aren't hypothetical, they are real. It's harder to make that decision when there is flesh and blood in front of you, and I think that's all the episode was trying to point out.

    I do agree it's not the same as killing, though. This isn't murder or genocide, so evaluating the morality of one's actions on that basis is pretty ridiculous. It's more a matter of denying them the chance to exist given they already do. These kinds of temporal problems only happen in the Star Trek universe. It's interesting to think about, but that's about it.

    What bugs me most about this episode is Yedrin Dax's ridiculous plan. It doesn't make any sense at all, even before they found out it was a hoax. Using the barrier to create a second ship that crashes, consigning that Kira to die and forcing that crew to go through the same anguish runs into the same moral problems that the crew ends up facing anyway when they find out the plan wasn't going to work. There's also the question of how they would ensure that crash plays out exactly like the original did, as the main review points out the timeline has already been altered as well.

    Interesting, but not completely flushed out by the writers. Good acting though.
  • From James T Quark on 2016-02-28 at 10:46pm:
    This episode is much better than most people give it credit for. If you delve too deeply into the whole time issue, you'll drive yourself crazy. With Star Trek, often we have to suspend our criticism over reality and just enjoy the episode. This is one of those cases as it is truly a good story, if you don't start trying to unravel the issue of them affecting their own future by knowing their descendents survive as well as their own fates. Just sit back and enjoy a good story. LLAP
  • From Zorak on 2016-06-11 at 2:19am:
    So much negativity towards this episode. I don't get it. Sure it got the slightest bit cheesy and over the top by the end, but so what? It was a great episode. One of my favorites. This is how drama on Star Trek should be. I also want to add that I love every scene with Rene Auberjonois. I don't mean in this episode (although he was great in it). I mean every scene in DS9. Odo is just the best.

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