Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Deep Space Nine 1x14 "The Storyteller"


"The Storyteller" is closer to what the first season of Deep Space Nine should have been doing than some other episodes I can think of.  It's basically a filler that doesn't push the series narrative too far, other than being the first time Bashir and O'Brien share an adventure, and features the Bajorans as pretty much the aliens of the week.

Okay, so the first pairing of Bashir and O'Brien is pretty huge.  It's not the best of the early adventures for the two (that would be "Armageddon Game" from the second season), but it's better even on that front than too many other episodes from the season, where you really don't have to watch them to be a fan of the rest of the series.  It's the first link of one of the major pieces of continuity that Deep Space Nine became so famous for, at least within its own fanbase.  

The Bajorans, when featured in an episode, were more often than not subject to fairly dry political maneuvering (other than Vulcans, Bajorans are the Star Trek species least likely to express themselves in something other than hushed tones, unless your name is Kira or Ro).  "The Storyteller" is an exception to that rule, and I think an overlooked one.  It really has no significance to anything else ever done with the Bajorans, featuring a village with a fairly typical Star Trek problem of being tormented by some weird phenomenon.  While spirituality, a common Bajoran theme, is prevalent, it's not the same as the usual Prophets thing that comes up almost every other time.  

Instead we have our series regulars having to handle the situation for the hapless villagers, and figuring out that the problem isn't what it seems.  Again, pretty standard franchise material.

The truly redeeming factor, again, is that it has so much greater relevance the longer you watch the series.  It's the first time since Bashir met Garak that the good doctor has truly come across a relationship that means something, and as such is a good indication that he's going to learn that it isn't the strange wonders he gets to encounter at a posting as exotic as the station (as he originally believed) but the people he meets while he's there that will truly define him.  Since it's more a viewer's implication than something that is made explicit in the episode, I won't mark "The Storyteller" as overtly relevant to the series as a whole, even though that's exactly what eventually makes Deep Space Nine so compelling, and something that writers begin to embrace in the next season.

Still, if you want to see the true potential of the show, this is an episode worth considering.

franchise * series * essential * character

Memory Alpha summary.


  1. Bashir was never a character that connected to me. This episode will probably change my mind.

    1. There are so many episodes to recommend the character. "Crossover," the first DS9 Mirror Universe episode, is a good place to start. Bashir improves the most out of any character from the series, probably entire franchise.


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