“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” Season 2: The Skip It/Watch It Guide
So after we did the first season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” I’ve been asked by people about the possibility of doing the rest of the series. These people underestimate my laziness! However, vunderbar married people Sam and Terri just so happen to be watching the series from the beginning, and have graciously offered their individual perspectives on the second season. Take it away, guys!
Sam: For the past 9 years, I’ve been trying to convince Terri that Deep Space Nine is the best of all Star Treks. When Liz released Andreanna Ditton’s Farscape guide, I started thinking we could probably come up with a Season Two guide ourselves, with opinions from a longtime fan and a newcomer to balance things out.
Deep Space Nine is somewhat of a strange beast, especially two decades later when the special effects look wonky and the acting can get cringey, but it’s also a precursor to serial, huge-ass-arc storytelling in sci-fi (as well as television altogether). It’s Star Trek with deeply flawed characters that change over time. It’s Star Trek with villains that make you stare evil right in the face without being half as formidable as, say, the Borg.
What I’m getting at here is that as the show progresses, you’ll see the line between “good guys” and “bad guys” get blurrier as the characters fall deeper and deeper into chaos and despair and their victories become exponentially more hollow. Enjoy!
Terri: I was kicking and screaming at the idea for nine years. Believe it or not, for some reason the fact that my mom gets into DS9 convinced me I should watch it. My mother got me into old, grainy, cheesy horror and sci fi, as well as the original Star Trek (I also love Doctor Who, ancient special effects technology be damned!). Her instincts were spot on as far as my initial foray into the genre, so she couldn’t be wrong this time around. So I was led as docile as a dairy cow, in the end. Moo.
1. “The Homecoming”: Must see
Terri: The first episode of any season is a must see, and this one sets the tone for the rest of the season.
Sam: If this is a rewatch for you, you might be tempted to think Bajoran politics isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. You would be wrong (plus it’s a good 3-parter. Just watch it, ok?)
2. “The Circle”: Must see.
Terri: This episode is a continuation of the first episode, and boy they don’t waste time making sure shit goes down.
Sam: Do I even need to add anything? Folks, this isn’t just the first 3-parter on DS9. It’s the first one in all of Star Trek. Why are you even reading this? Just let Netflix autoload the next episode, dammit.
3. “The Siege”: Must see.
Terri: Part three of the “Jeez they just started this season and shit is getting real!” series of episodes.
Sam: “And now, the conclusion.” Enjoy the semi-restored status-quo, kids. It won’t last.
4. “Invasive Procedures”: Watch it.
Terri: Especially if you’re into finding out more about Jadzia Dax, the Trill, and that whole freaky symbiote thing.
Sam: I’m teetering on “must see” for this one. There’s a lot of new information about Trill Joining, but if Dax ain’t your thing, you don’t have to watch it.
5. “Cardassians”: Skip it.
Terri: I literally fell asleep during this episode and missed nothing.
Sam: This is a Skip It episode masquerading as a Must See. Bajoran-Cardassian politics! Bashir and Garak! Post-war Mayhem! Nature vs Nurture! And yet: yawn.
6. “Melora”: Skip it/Watch it.
Terri: Skip it. Unless you want to see Doctor Bashir finally receive a return on investment from turning on the charm at a female.
Sam: Watch it. Bashir’s charm is part of his appeal this episode, but he also has a moment of nift when he calls over-defensive characters on their bullshit. Fun fact: Melora was originally supposed to be in the DS9 cast in season 1, but the studio realized the wirework would cost too much money.
7. “Rules of Acquisition”: Must see.
Terri: I know that Liz would perhaps argue this point with me since it’s very much a Ferengi episode, BUT — I find the Ferengi fascinating, I like Quark quite a bit, and you get to learn a lot more about the Ferengi during this episode. [It’s only Ferengi episodes after Season 2 that I feel you have to avoid, just for the record. –Liz] Plus, there is the first mention of the Dominion, and the first hint that they’re going to be a major problem.
Sam: This is the anti-”Cardassians.” It’s a Ferengi Episode WITH a romantic subplot, which should make it the Skippiest of Skip-its, and yet there’s the Dominion and character building and Wallace Shawn. Damn you, Wallace Shawn.
8. “Necessary Evil”: Must see.
Terri: It goes into a lot of the station’s old history, as well as the history of the relationship between Odo and Major Kira.
Sam: Pretty much anything that delves into station history is a must see. Plus it’s a good primer on why Odo’s chief of security in the first place.
9. “Second Sight”: Skip it.
Terri: I fell asleep about three quarters through and didn’t feel like I missed anything. It’s a bad sign when my Give-A-Damn ™ gets broken.
Sam: Look, just because “Rules of Acquisition” was good doesn’t mean that romance-based episodes early in the series aren’t generally full of meh.
10. “Sanctuary”: Must see.
Terri: I think this is really the episode where, as they say in the industry, things begin to really heat up for this show, as a whole. It also gives a not-so-attractive look into Bajoran politics.
Sam: Nobody is squeaky-clean in DS9. Nobody. This is one of the earliest moments you get to learn that.
11. “Rivals”: Watch it.
Terri: Again, I know Liz would probably take issue with my opinion on this episode since it centers on Quark, BUT Chris Sarandon plays a con man who opens a competing night club to Quark’s. Watching Sarandon is extremely entertaining, and the way the episode unfolds is pretty charming.
Sam: It’s a fun episode and it has Chris Sarandon in it. There’s also more development on Bashir/O’Brien’s budding bromance, which automatically gives it points.
12. “The Alternate”: Watch it/Must see.
Terri: Watch it. I would maybe even hedge on skip it on this one. However, by this point, I had become a solid fan of Odo, and this episode begins to hint at how important it is to him to find his origins.
Sam: Must see. Odo’s background may seem optional this early in the show, but boy does it lead to some serious shit later on.
13. “Armageddon Game”: Skip it/Watch it.
Terri: Skip it. It’s not a bad episode, but it does not contribute to any ongoing storyline. It does establish a bit of a relationship between Bashir and O’Brien, but it’s not that important to anyone new to the series as far as their understanding of the show.
Sam: Watch it. It’s not important for the rest of the show, but it’s a hyuuuge Bashir/O’Brien episode, and I have a soft spot for their bromance. Side note: there is no graceful way to shorthand Bashir/O’Brien, but I write my notes for this guide on my phone, so I eventually settled on “Mulian.” Blech.
14. “Whispers”: Skip it.
Terri: I’m reading the episode list on Wikipedia to refresh my memory and help me write this guide. You can tell it’s not that groundbreaking of an episode in that Wikipedia casually gives the “twist” ending to the episode. Because nobody cares.
Sam: Hey, “Whispers,” M. Night Shyamalan called from the future. He says, “No dude, it’s cool, you can keep it.”
15. “Paradise”: Skip it/Watch it.
Terri: Skip it. This episode doesn’t contribute anything to the entire series and the anti-science vs. pro-science theme felt rather manipulative.
Sam: Watch it. Or I’d say at least watch it if you have nothing better to do on the way to season 3, because this show gave me a soft spot for episodes where Federation citizens go tribal.
16. “Shadowplay”: Skip it.
Terri: Sort of. There’s a lot of cute things that happen with Odo. So if by now you have a soft spot for him (like I do) and you don’t mind a bit of a fluff episode, watch it.
Sam: My favorite thing about DS9 is that they slowly chipped away at Star Trek’s usual “anomaly of the week” formula. Sadly, every once in awhile something like this happens. It’s not bad if that’s what you’re into, but overall it doesn’t add much.
17. “Playing God”: Watch it/Must see.
Terri: Watch it. There’s more background to the Trill in this episode, if that’s your thing, and you learn more about Jadzia Dax.
Sam: Must see. There’s some information about the Trill that comes in handy later on. Trust me, you’ll thank me when you hit season 3.
18. “Profit and Loss”: Watch it/Skip it.
Terri: Watch it. Yes, it’s a Quark episode, but there’s a great deal of Cardassian politics playing out.
Sam: Skip it. Yes, there’s a great deal of Cardassian politics playing out, but it’s a Quark episode. With a forced romance subplot.
19. “Blood Oath”: Skip it/Watch it.
Terri: Skip it. Unless you want to want to learn a bit more about Jadzia’s past as Curzon.
Sam: Watch it. Dax’s history with Klingons in general sets the stage her character development later on. This episode won’t make or break that for you, but it’s still good background and has Klingons and vengeance. It’s good clean fun.
20. “The Maquis, Part I”: Must see.
Terri: The Maquis are a major part of stuff on Bajor, and as an extension, the station.
Sam: You don’t want to miss any episode that adds a new player to the interstellar sociopolitical clusterfuck that is DS9. Also, if you have any plans to watch Voyager, this is a decent primer. Also, if you have any plans to watch Voyager, don’t.
21. “The Maquis, Part II”: Must see.
Terri: If you watched part one, I don’t need to tell you this.
Sam: Um. What she said.
22. “The Wire”: Watch it/Must see.
Terri: Watch it. Leaning more towards must see because it gives some background to Garak, although you won’t get as much satisfaction as you’d like because Garak turns out to be even more of a shadowy bastard than he appears at first.
Sam: Must see. There are two fundamentals when it comes to Garak. The first one is “believe nothing Garak says.” This is the best episode for that lesson, and also a pretty pivotal episode when it comes to Bashir’s friendship with Garak.
23. “Crossover”: Must see.
Terri: I was going to lean towards skip it, but my husband has told me there are more episodes that tie back to this one. He tells me pain is involved in following this plot line. I foresee much gnashing of teeth in my future.
Sam: This is a must see unless you plan to skip every parallel universe episode from here on out, which, honestly, I wouldn’t hold against you.
24. “The Collaborator”: Must see.
Terri: Although you’ll want to punch everything within striking distance at the end of the episode. That includes puppies. No puppies were harmed in the watching of this episode.
Sam: This episode is the worst tragedy to hit Bajor since the occupation. You will yell at your TV. I am so, so Sorry.
25. “Tribunal: Must see.
Terri: O’Brien gets abused by the Cardassians in a way that made me hope the Federation would rake Cardassia over the coals. The Maquis are mentioned again, Cardassian politics and conspiracies. You really don’t want to miss this one.
Sam: This episode is especially important if you’ve never seen the TNG episode “Chain of Command” and learned how seriously twisted Cardassian society is. (PS: you should watch Chain of Command to learn how seriously twisted Cardassian society is. It’s on Netflix. Go ahead, we’ll wait)
26. “The Jem’Hadar”: Must see.
Terri: Season finale. You’ll be glad you’re watching this two decades later on Netflix streaming rather than having to wait for the next season. As it was, I had to go to bed and was bitter about it.
Sam: You can kind of argue this is DS9’s second three-part storyline, as it leads almost directly to next season’s opener, and the conclusion might make you shit several distinct pairs of pants. Liz mentioned on the Season 1 guide that “It takes at least two seasons for the show to really kick into gear”. Well, guess what, fella babies? Those two seasons end here. Strap the fuck in.
Posted on May 21, 2013, in No Spoilers, Other People Telling Liz Stuff, Skip It/Watch It Guide, TV and tagged skip it/watch it guide, space battles are rad, star trek, star trek deep space nine. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.