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Star Trek DS9 - Season 6 - Episode 13

Star Trek DS9 - 6x13 - Far Beyond the Stars

Originally Aired: 1998-2-11

Synopsis:
After a friend's ship is destroyed and Sisko considers leaving Starfleet, he begins having visions of his crew as 1950s Americans. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 7.19

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 20 24 2 3 1 4 4 15 17 24 99

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This is one of DS9's most famous episodes, but strictly speaking there is not much here that's relevant to the overarching story. There is a small connection to this episode in DS9: Shadows and Symbols, but it's pretty minor.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Armin Shimerman, who plays Quark, has said that this is his favorite episode of Deep Space Nine.

Remarkable Scenes
- It's a lot of fun figuring out which actors are which character with their make up off.
- O'Brien, who has trouble choosing his words.
- Quark, constantly complaining. No change there.
- Odo, the editor, and control freak. Not much a change there either.
- Kira, discriminated against because she's a girl.
- Sisko, discriminated against because he's black.
- Dukat and Weyoun. Fascist police officers. Not much a change there.
- Worf, a slick baseball player.
- Dax the secretary.
- Dax: "Oh! She's got a worm in her belly! Oh that's disgusting. Interesting, but that's disgusting."
- Odo, referring to Quark: "Herb's been angry ever since Joseph Stalin died."
- Sisko's breakdown.

My Review
Another fantastic episode in a season that's shaping up to be phenomenal. Far Beyond the Stars is an episode exploring perseverance in the face of insurmountable opposition. A war weary Sisko receives a vision of the prophets in which he is the main character in a story of racism in 1950s America. If Bennie the writer can persevere, then Bennie the soldier can persevere as well. There are drops of humor in this episode with regards to the odd behavior of the displaced crew, O'Brien was my definite favorite, but the subject matter is quite serious and Sisko's performance during his breakdown at the end is marvelous. Up there with the kind of performances we've seen from Patrick Stewart as Picard in TNG: The Inner Light or TNG: Chain of Command. This episode is a fan favorite for these reasons, but I'm slightly more critical. I'm not fond of "it was all a dream" plots, as I've noted in DS9: Distant Voices and Voy: Waking Moments. Despite my objections to the premise though, the episode is well done and very original. Another shining star of a spectacular season.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From MJ on 2011-02-02 at 11:59am:
    This episode is one of the things that sets DS9, and Star Trek in general, apart from other TV series. The powerful social message and creativity of this episode is so rarely seen on TV these days. This episode also convinced me that Star Trek has found some of the most talented actors in the business. In this case, Avery Brooks!

    His mental breakdown as Benny Russell is breathtaking in its intensity. Had I been on the stage during the filming of that scene, I probably would've neglected my job because of being drawn into his performance. Sometimes Brooks overdoes the emotion just a tad, but in this episode it was stunningly real. It reminded me of "The Ship" when he contemplates his dead comrades at the end.

    The concept of the episode is well executed. I share the webmaster's dislike for "it was all a dream" episodes. In TNG's "The Inner Light" for example, I couldn't believe how the Kataan aliens could reconcile abducting a person, making him live his entire life in their world having doubted his sanity, only to reawaken him back on his ship to once again doubt his sanity. But in that episode, Patrick Stewart's performance helped overcome this glaring problem. In this episode, the performance of Brooks and all the others does the same. And the ending is a nice twist in the sense that DS9 is sort of getting in touch with its roots. Gene Roddenberry lived in a time of social upheaval, and dreamt of a future where all humanity is united regardless of petty differences. Benny Russell shares that same dream.

    This episode reminds us that Star Trek is more than just another TV series. It's a form of social commentary. It forces us to look at ourselves in new ways and keep our imaginations going. This episode is a gem for sure.
  • From djb on 2011-04-15 at 4:11am:
    This episode was painful to watch, but very powerful, and still enjoyable. Viewers in the 90s, especially younger ones, can easily take for granted that a popular show could depict a "negro captain." Just 50 years previous, this was unthinkable, and it is good to be intimately reminded of how hard it is to be an oppressed minority. Sisko, a 24th century man in the Trek universe, most likely has no direct experience of racism, and probably doesn't appreciate what his ancestors were up against. The experience probably gave him some good perspective.

    It was great to see all the actors without their makeup! It was also a pleasure to see them playing different characters. I'll bet it was refreshing for all of them. I liked how each character had some similarity to their corresponding DS9 character, but was also markedly different. Michael Dorn's character was very different from Worf, but like Worf, was very good at a physical skill and competed in it. Marc Alaimo and Jeffery Combs still played villains, but their villainy was much more overt. Shimmerman's character may have been annoying, like Quark, but he was also very idealistic and principled, very unlike Quark.

    A unique and fascinating episode.
  • From Jay on 2013-02-26 at 1:36am:
    I had half a mind to stop watching the series after this episode, because after Sisko said, "I'm a human being" I knew the series couldn't possibly get any better. Honestly, maybe the best acted anything I've ever seen. Definitely a performance deserving of an Emmy.
  • From L on 2013-08-06 at 3:48am:
    I couldn't work out if the pulp artist was an un made-up regular or not, he looked familiar but I couldn't place him.

    The rocket model on the table in the writer's office seems to be inspired by the Tintin on the moon books, which came out in the early 50's.

    I loved Jake's character, he played it well. The two cops were really disturbing.

    'You are the dreamer, and the dream.'
    Powerful episode.
  • From Dstyle on 2013-12-02 at 7:53am:
    L, the pulp artist was Martok. I admit, I had to check IMDB, but he was so familiar and it was driving me crazy!
  • From Zorak on 2016-06-23 at 5:38pm:
    I both like and dislike this episode. On the upside, the acting was great, the sets were well done and it was definitely powerful and expertly written and directed. On the downside, there's just something about them doing an episode like this that just doesn't seem right. Focusing on Sisko being black feels very out of place to me. I can't quite articulate why this felt cheap, but it did. That being said I still really enjoyed the episode.
  • From McCoy on 2017-02-26 at 3:37pm:
    11/10 and a winner of my personal Best Trek Episode Ever. It's not only a story about racism. It's a story about how other people and ideology can destroy you (but not your idea). I've experienced something similar in my life, so I'm taking it probably more emotional.
    One more thing - it's not "it was all a dream". It's more meta-level. Similar to Dick's "The Man in the High Castle". A character, who suspect, he's fictional.
    Masterpiece!

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