Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deep Space Nine 1x16 "If Wishes Were Horses"


I suppose in some alternate version of Deep Space Nine, perhaps one that only lasted three seasons, like the original series, "If Wishes Were Horses" might be more significant.  It's perhaps more like an original series episode than just about any other Star Trek.

The problem in the long run is that it's not like a Deep Space Nine episode, at least not in comparison to the vast majority of the show's seven seasons.

You could call it "Shore Leave" and some of the more casual fans won't be able to tell the difference.  The one element that more committed fans will still care about is the appearance of Buck Bokai, who was an early manifestation of Sisko's love for baseball, supposedly the last great player the game ever saw.  Bokai's significance ends with his appearance here (Sisko's girlfriend and eventual wife, Kassidy Yates, has a brother who still plays baseball, the whole crew played it in the seventh season, and of course there's the ball that's always on Sisko's desk, all things that ultimately mean more than Buck Bokai), but his presence was a rare instance of Star Trek trying to build something of a history for its own future without worrying about world wars and warp drives.  Making an appearance in one of the more naive episodes in the most naive season of the series is not a way to be remembered by anyone but the most dedicated viewers.  Still, you might consider Bokai to be the forerunner to Vic Fontaine, the holosuite lounge singer who became such a significant feature of the final two seasons.

All considered, though, you can skip this episode except as another odd tribute to a version of Star Trek that Deep Space Nine was never supposed to be.  There's a lot of sweet character moments, including the always charming Molly O'Brien, and a truly embarrassing moment or two for Bashir that only serves to further emphasize how much he needs to grow, but you wish that the series didn't have to find them in a premise like this.

franchise * series * essential * character

Memory Alpha summary.

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