Episode Review #4 – DS9 “Past Tense parts I & II”

The usual warning for my episode reviews: Spoilers within, I don’t provide a summary so it helps if you’ve watched the episode already.

Wow… I had a lot of things going through my head while I watched this episode. Part of me was nitpicking a bit (like, if Chris Brenner was such a big media tycoon, wouldn’t it have caused some damage to the timeline if he were to lose his interface license? Even if he did get great ratings?), but for the most part this episode really hit close to home on a few different levels.

Quite literally, the episode took place in San Francisco, and I live pretty close to SF. I’ve been there enough times to see all of the problems they have with homelessness, I’ve had plenty of people there ask me for spare change. And it isn’t just in SF either, even over in Berkeley and Oakland, I run into plenty of homeless people asking for change, I don’t have to go far from home to find them. And plenty of them are obviously mentally ill and need treatment and aren’t getting it (As Bashir notices about many of the sanctuary residents).

As far as the timeline goes, 2024 isn’t that far away. While people may wonder if we’re that close to having sanctuary districts and riots in them, it’s worth noting that I once read that the city of Los Angeles was considering starting up something like a sanctuary district. And the story hit the papers about the same time this episode aired. Freaky, huh?

While Star Trek has always been good at exploring social issues by cloaking them in a sci-fi storyline, the writers aren’t usually this direct. They did a great job of using Bashir, the “young” doctor who considered 21st century history too depressing, to ask the questions that we ought to be asking ourselves. How did we let things get this bad? And how do we stop this from happening again? He never presented us with any answers (and I’m not going to either, even though I do have some ideas), but simply asked the audience to consider these questions.

This episode got me thinking, while not so much on the issue of dealing with homelessness, but on improving the world in general. I’m pretty pessimistic about the world today and where we’re heading, and watching this episode reminded me of that and had me asking myself, what am I doing to make the world a better place? When I was in college I was studying to be an accountant, but just before graduation and during my first job I realized that I felt like my job was doing nothing more than helping the rich get richer. After a few other side jobs and a lot of time thinking about just what I wanted to do with my life, I found that I was a lot more interested in teaching and found it a lot more rewarding. Maybe I can’t singlehandedly change the world, but I can encourage a lot of other people to really think about how they can.

So how did this episode affect you? Leave me some comments, I want to know what everyone else thought of this episode!

Live Long and Prosper…



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