Enlightenment > Star Trek > DS9
DS9 1-16

DS9 1x16
"If Wishes Were Horses"

Original airdate: 5/16/1993
Rewatch date: 6/14/2013

Imagined characters begin appearing on Deep Space Nine as a growing subspace rupture threatens the entire Bajoran system.

Spoiler-free notes:

The opening banter between Odo and Quark in which Quark tries to convince Odo of the worth of fantasy, aside from being relevant to the themes of the coming story, comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall.

I can't see Michael John Anderson--the actor who plays Rumplestiltskin--without thinking of Carnivale.

Why doesn't O'Brien immediately call an intruder alert?

The annoying Bashir-in-love-with-Dax storyline has almost been worth it for the awkward position it puts them both in here.

I half expect Figment to show up and start singing about the wonders of imagination.

They work to evacuate the station, but nobody mentions trying to start an evacuation of Bajor.

"Perimeter sensors are picking up a subspace oscillation. What the hell does that mean?" Ha!

The title is a reference to an old proverb--"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride"--but the story has no relationship to that proverb. The proverb means that it is better to act than to dream, but the writers seem to allude to it just because "wishes" are becoming real things on the station.

"If Wishes Were Horses" is a well-made bit of stupid. Seriously, despite admirable acting and good production values, the story is just bad, trite, and--sorry for this--unimaginative. The idea of thoughts becoming reality was already done much better in TOS's "Shore Leave" and TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before," and here the most novel use of it is making Bashir's idealized Dax. There is the potential for something surreal and wild, but the writers don't really know how to meet it. I do like that the rupture is just another manifestation of the imagination-run-amok thing, but the solution--"you've just got to believe"--really makes me want to vomit. Besides, the rules never seem to make sense; for the most part, the manifestations are all of people--which makes sense since the manifestations are actually aliens--but then there's stuff like the snow on the promenade, the fire in the lower pylon, and the rupture itself. There's also no logic to the appearances and disappearances of the manifestations, nor is it explained why only some thoughts manifest themselves and why others don't. Worst of all, anything that requires over two dozen utterances of "imagination" in one script--and isn't a kid's cartoon or South Park--is automatically lame.

Spoiler section:

The baseball given to Sisko by the alien impersonating Buck Bokai will continue to be in Sisko's possession for (most of) the rest of the series.

DS9 1x15
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
DS9 1x17
"The Forsaken"
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