In the twenty-fourth episode of the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, this is a weird one. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Well, there are things I like here, but by the end of “Time’s Orphan,” I was left feeling as if this show had been shoved into a portal and transported back to season one. LET’S TALK.
I am utterly in love with the Worf subplot here because it is so pure and good. He is the embodiment of that whole cinnamon roll meme because he tries so hard to be the perfect parent to Yoshi while the O’Briens deal with Molly. Of course, no one can be a perfect parent; that’s sort of the point of this story! Even if Worf is attentive, loving, and caring – all of which are exhibited here – accidents still happen. What I know of parenting from all my friends and loved ones who are parents is that it’s basically chaos most of the time anyway. You can predict some things, but most of it is like a giant gamble. Add in the uncontrollable nature of children and IT’S A NEVERENDING GAME. So you do the best you can, and that is precisely what Worf does.
And my gods, it’s so adorable. Not only is he fantastic with Yoshi, but he does it to prove to Jadzia that he’ll be a great father. HAS YOUR HEART EXPLODED YET FROM THE SHEER CUTENESS OF THIS IDEA? Because seriously, it’s a fantastic little story, and now I want Jadzia and Worf to have babies, and CAN THIS SHOW GET ON WITH THAT THANKS.
For a while, I was convinced that Deep Space Nine was giving me a story more in the vein of the last few seasons. “Time’s Orphan” was an absurd scenario, and yet I felt like the show as treating it seriously. What if Molly had somehow survived for ten years on Bajor by herself, hundreds of years before the first settlers arrived? What would that be like? What would she be like? And for a while, the writers commit to this story, having the crew reconstruct an area for Molly in one of the cargo bays to help acclimate her to life on DS9. This is not an easy thing to watch, and it’s not rushed either. The writers take their time portraying Molly’s slow growth. She gets used to her mother and father again. She learns to speak rudimentary concepts. She figures out that there’s a difference between the home she recognizes on Bajor and the one where her parents think she should live.
Michelle Krusiec does a fine job with what must have been a strange script for her. Like, this is definitely a weird episode! It was awkward to watch not only because of the content, but because Molly, Keiko, and Yoshi had all been absent this season. They came back and this is the story they got? But hey, the O’Briens suffer a lot on this show, so I was willing to see it through. And once Molly reacted poorly to being forced out of the holosuite (where she was finally happy!!!), I thought the writers were committing to the rules they set forth again. Molly seriously hurt someone, and it made sense to me that most people were unwilling to have any sympathy for her and what she’d been through.
Deep Space Nine is full of tough decisions, so even if the idea of Keiko and Miles sending Molly back in time and leaving her there was horrifying, at least there was an emotional logic to it. They would rather set their daughter free and let her live her life in a place she was used to than see her taken and confined. Given how she reacted to confinement in the present time, it seemed a fair assumption that she would react poorly to institutionalization. So, this felt like an agonizing decision these parents made because they thought it was the best way for them to be parents to Molly. They were going to let her go.
Aaaaannnnddd then the entire thing is undone when the older version of Molly finds her original self and sends her back. It’s not necessarily a terrible ending, but it felt so much like something I experienced in the first season of this show. Or over on The Next Generation. It’s just so neat and organized, you know? Worf gets more character development than Molly, Keiko, and Miles combined, and this episode isn’t even centered on him. Not that I was necessarily thrilled to see the O’Briens devastated by their sacrifice of Molly, but still. It just felt weird to see this so late in the show’s run.
The video for “Time’s Orphan” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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