The Two-Year Mission continues as follows:
“Children of Time”
Hmm, this one was very much in the spirit of classic Trek. That’s good, mostly.
It’s bad in that the basic pretext here felt way out of place, or at least out of chronology: Despite the looming conflict with the Dominion and Cardassians, the entire DS9 command crew decided to go for a jaunt in the Defiant off in the Gamma Quadrant. While it was nice to have an ensemble cast outing in a different context, the idea that they’d all just pile in and leave the station in the hands of, I dunno, Nog? A little far-fetched.
But, if you can stomach that one contrivance, here we have a rarity in this era of DS9: The entire crew together in a naturalistic environment, a time paradox, and a moral conundrum. The Defiant becomes trapped in a strange energy field surrounding a planet, which inexplicably contains a civilization of people who seem to have intimate knowledge of the ship’s crew. It turns out that in escaping the planet, the Defiant fell/will fall 200 years into the past and crashed/will crash, sowing the seeds of a civilization that includes a future Dax symbiont and a relaxed version of Odo with a much better grip on what it means to look like Rene Auberjonois.
Obviously, the Defiant crew is like, “Uhhh, we would like to avoid falling back in time, thanks.” (Although Bashir seems giddy at the prospect of getting it on with the hot new ensign with whom he sired/will sire the future Bashir family line.) Eventually, though, the crew comes to the realization that their own wishes can’t take precedent over the existence of an 8,000-person society, so they allow themselves to be bound into a time paradox. (From what little I know of the series’ outcome, I’m pretty sure this choice would have had dire ramifications for the countless trillions of Alpha Quadrant folks who don’t get saved during the eventual Dominion War by the brave folks of DS9.) Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, because someone messes with the controls… meaning that despite the crew’s best intentions and selflessness, the entire civilization disappears in the blink of an eye. Harsh.
And Kira, whose inevitable death in the future/past of the crash serves as the impetus behind that last-minute course change, has to live with the fact that she caused a planet to be wiped out through no fault of her own. It also keeps the romantic status between Kira and Odo simmering at “it’s complicated,” even though future-Odo confessed everything while now-Odo was bubbling away in a cylinder.
So, it’s all a little contrived, but at least Odo’s love life finally went someplace more interesting than “doomed to be sad again by the end of the episode.”
“Blaze of Glory”
Michael Eddington is such a weaselly, lame character that it’s exasperating to see him repeatedly punk Sisko. It happens here again, but at least it’s the last time it’ll happen. “Blaze of Glory” mostly serves to wrap up the Maquis storyline, and it feels like something of a missed opportunity. They all basically die off-screen in the months that have apparently transpired between “By Inferno’s Flame” and now, and rather than making that conflict a central storyline we instead get a not-quite-buddy flick road movie between Eddington and Sisko in the Badlands as the entire movement’s coda. (Well, that and Voyager‘s Maquis crew coming to terms with the loss a few years later.) Oh well.
The B-plot here felt like less of a missed opportunity, as it continues to depict Nog’s rise to first-ever Ferengi captain in Starfleet. That kid’s come a long way, and seeing him stand up to Martok so soon after we’ve seen Martok remember his killer instinct makes it all the more impressive.