Star Trek 355: Explorers

355. Explorers

FORMULA: Final Mission + Generations + The Jem'Hadar

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Bajoran sailship. Dukat's backpedaling. Jerusalem.

WHY WE DON'T: "Hammock time!" ...uhm, what? And somebody tell the sound guys to go easy on the sound effects when a character points out how silent something is.

REVIEW: Well, I'm a big fan of the Sisko-Jake relationship, so this chance for them to bond again after the distance that had (naturally) grown between them is welcome. It seems that with the acceptance of DS9 as home, Sisko is now more interested in "exploring his pah", or at least learning more about Bajor's history and culture. Doing so through the reenactement of an early Bajoran space flight is certainly interesting, and the sailing ship is a beautiful creation, both inside and out.

Jake has something to tell his father, and it's not that his beard looks fake (a real one will grow in future episodes). No, he's really decided to be a writer, but also to stay on the station at least a year before going to school, not so much for himself as for his father. These two have an incredibly supportive of each other, but realistically so. Sisko doesn't mince words when critiquing Jake's writing, and Jake fears for his widower father's loneliness. First mention of Kasidy Yates, folks! You think THAT might work out?

Aside from proving ancient Bajorans might have reached Cardassia and an accident or two along the way, this episode is thin on danger. But who cares? It's just a joy to get to know these characters better. In the end, there's still a victory, as the ever Orwellian Cardassians must admit the journey is possible, as evidenced by a "just-discovered" crash site. Uh-huh.

Bashir's insecurities are once again explored on the station, this time thanks to a visit from Elizabeth Lense who was first in his class. His reaction belies the mutant business to come, but there's still a lot of light comedy and gentle ribbing surrounding the subplot. Here you'll find O'Brien and Bashir finally becoming true friends during a drinking binge (O'Brien admits to not hating him anymore) of truly Irish proportions. When Lense finally speaks, it's like Beverly Crusher's voice, crying over the lack of medical plots in an exploration show, and jealous of Bashir's opportunity to work on long-term projects. My thoughts exactly. And Leeta makes a cute first appearance! Nice episode overall.

LESSON: Cardassians' hatred of the Bajorans come from a race memory after having them fall on top of their heads long ago.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Heavy on character development and light on tension, Explorers gives us just what Elizabeth Lense is craving.

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