Date: July 3, 2020
Season 3, Episodes 11 and 12
Musical Accompaniment: A violin suite by Marc Coppey playing Bach
Interstellar News: I watched Hamilton for the first time tonight and it was wonderful.
Chris: Don’t worry, your friends are fine. That’s the whole point of the Sanctuary. To give people in trouble food and a place to stay.
Dax: If that’s all it’s for, then why is there a wall around it?Dax making a damn fine point and Chris giving the eye twitch of the century
Snarky Sisko: “You get on my nerves and I don’t like your hat.”
Doctor’s Orders: “How could they have let things get so bad?”
Bashir: It’s not your fault that things are the way they are.
Lee: Everybody tells themselves that, and nothing ever changes.Bashir trying to comfort Lee, but she knows the truth.
Part 1, “The name is Bell. Gabriel Bell.”: The team is headed to Earth to give a report on the GQ situation. Dax, Sisko, and Bashir beam down but are transported to 2024 and separated. They arrive during a bad spot in American history before the Bell riots, but it’s a pivotal time that eventually gets Earth to where it is as we know it in the 24th century.
Dax is saved by a kind stranger and we can see why she’s so good at gambling because she has an excellent poker face and would make a very good improv artist. She passes off her spots as a Japanese tattoo and cons her way into an ID, some credits, and a place to stay. At a party she finds out that those without IDs get sent to a Sanctuary District and figures that’s where the others wound up. Sisko and Bashir are, in fact, sent to a Sanctuary District and asked to fill out forms. The social worked explains they are “gimmes”, people who actually want to work, but she can’t really help them because of the economy so they just have to fend for themselves. Conditions in the district are appalling and the boys spend the night on the streets but are able to exchange clothes and make some friends. Unfortunately they run into trouble and a man gets killed. The man was Gabriel Bell who was the inspiration for the riots, so Sisko assumes his identity as the riots begin.
Back on the Defiant O’Brien figures out what happened through a shit-ton of technobabble which means he and Kira have to time travel. He figures out how to do it but they lose contact with Starfleet because history has been changed. Dun dun dun.
Part 2, “I can be as eloquent as the next guy.”: Inside the building BC has taken six hostages but Webb and Sisko embed themselves and have some other “gimmies” help out because BC only is out for himself while the other two want to help everyone get back on their feet. Webb and a detective begin to negotiate. Dax and Chris watch on the net and she wants to help so she breaks into the district and is reunited with the boys. She asks Chris to help the district members tell their side of the story and she sets up her combadge to send a distress signal.
O’Brien and Kira travel back in time to the 1920’s, 1970’s, and a few others until the return to the Defiant only knowing it’s sometime before 2050 which narrows it down to three choices. They have one shot so O’Brien picks at random and, because it’s television, they find Dax. Bashir and Sisko are holding things down but the national guard is called in and Sisko is shot. The cops are disgusted by the violence and allow the boys to leave, swapping out their IDs with two of the dead and the timeline is restored as everyone returns.
My Thoughts and Impressions: I guess the Grand Nagus is going to have to wait for his favor. I was warned that this was a social commentary episode and was kind of thrown at the subject matter given it’s a very real problem we are still facing today 25 years later. Sisko and Dax were clearly meant for undercover work but they also have the most experience, poor Bashir is not cut out for a life on the streets. He is the one who wanted to work in “frontier” medicine, however… so I guess he really got his wish. O’Brien has to use so much technobabble I really can’t imagine how many takes it took to get the language down, but I do love that Kira is like anyone who listens to a doctor and then goes “so what does that mean?”. Jargon can certainly be great for relaying a lot of information in a short amount of time, but if those who you are talking to doesn’t understand what you are saying, you have to repeat yourself using other words… sigh. I enjoyed how much this episode highlighted how important it is to have experience and know your history before time traveling, then again Bashir didn’t have any advanced warning so there is that. I will admit this episode was a bit of a downer but knowing that those riots led to some serious change give me just a little bit of hope for the actual future. The year 2020 has not been kind and so much has happened in the first half of the year that I can only hope people start taking things seriously. We’re in a global pandemic, American citizens of color are being marginalized, and we keep taking money away from education and other things that could help our society in favor of more violence. Overall these two episodes were quite solid and are applicable today just as they were when I was but a wee lass, so they get 8 slices of chocolate cake with yummy buttercream frosting.
I’m going to end this post with a phrase I’ve taken from several of my favorite movies: “Be excellent to one another, party on dudes, live long and prosper, and may the Force be with us all.”