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DS9 3-13

DS9 3x13
"Life Support"

Original airdate: 1/30/1995
Rewatch date: 7/31/2013


Vedek Bareil is saved from the brink of death by Dr. Bashir, but he continues to risk his life on dangerous medical techniques in order to help Kai Winn negotiate with the Cardassians.

Spoiler-free notes:

This episode demonstrates that DS9 is no exception to the rule that Star Trek simply does not do medical drama very well. The surgery scenes in this episode are downright painful they are so bad.

I appreciate this episode for its ends, but not its means. Getting rid of Bareil is probably a wise choice on the part of the writers, simply because his relationship to Kira is deeply uninteresting and it stands in the way of the relationship they are clearly trying to build between Kira and Odo. However, killing him off (twice) feels like the cheap and easy way out, especially given the potential in the episode to totally change his identity through crazy interesting sci-fi.

The B-story involving Jake's date is really annoying. It's trying to be fun in a sitcom-esque way, but it just comes across as adolescent and stupid.

As for the A-story, it skips over awesome speculative ideas (like the question of whether or not a person's identity is changed if you replace their brain a piece at a time) in favor of sappy, soapy melodrama and an exceptionally weak political subplot. Apparently, the original plan for the episode was to have a character miraculously revived after death by Bashir only to go slowly insane as the episode goes on, culminating in Bashir making the ethical decision to let the man die. That could have been fascinating, poignant, socially relevant, and a good bit of sci-fi, but the episode that airs has none of that.





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