Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S02E16 – Shadowplay

In the sixteenth episode of the second season of Deep Space Nine, Odo and Dax help a village discover why people are disappearing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

This is a neat episode, but it’s a little too slow for my taste. Which I KNOW is weird to say because I loved the first Star Trek movie. I REALLY DID. But there’s not much that happens here in the grand scheme of things; I found myself far more interested in quieter scenes and developments than in the main plot. LET US DISCUSS.


I think the flaw of the main plot of this episode is that the disappearance of the villagers is never quite a big deal. For the majority of scenes between Dax, Odo, Colyus, Taya, and Rurigan, all emotion is muted. No one reacts strongly to anything. Even when Colyus is relating the mystery of the missing villagers to Dax and Odo, he sounds like someone who misplaced a tool and is merely irritated by it. At least Taya seemed a little worried about her mother!

I was appreciative of all the scenes where Odo used empathy to reach Taya and get her to speak about her mother. That was rewarding, and I’d argue that’s the most important part of this episode. It’s a real treat to see him find a way to relate to this young girl so readily, especially since we don’t see this kind of tenderness from him very often. (I’m reminded of his scenes with Lwaxana, though. Ugh, SO MANY FEELINGS.) It shows that he’s got a great sense for human nature because he knows that he’ll get more information from Taya if he can get her to trust him. Normally, he doesn’t care to be trusted; he just gets what he wants. At the same time, I don’t want to discount the fact that he does have a way of relating to her. He didn’t have a normal upbringing either!

Yet I can’t help but feel REALLY WEIRD about the solution to this mystery. Aside from one burst of anger, the villagers don’t seem all that bothered upon finding out THEY ARE ALL HOLOGRAMS. Just!!!!!! WHY AREN’T YOU ALL HAVE EXISTENTIAL CRISES? WHY AREN’T YOU UPSET ABOUT THIS? YOU ALL KNOW YOU AREN’T REAL AND NO ONE SEEMS CONCERNED ABOUT IT. I suppose that’s the point of the episode. Since Rurigan created these people, they’re real to him. They’re real to Dax and Odo since they had an affect on the two of them. I get that, and it’s a pretty cool message, but what happens when Rurigan dies in the near future? What happens when the machine that keeps the hologram going runs out? What happens when one of those villagers can’t handle the inevitable moment when they realize how fleeting their own life is?



This is an incredibly full episode, isn’t it? One main plot and two subplots. I liked the subplots more, to be honest, and Jake’s FILLED ME WITH JOY. In a short span within “Shadowplay,” Jake experiences a conflict (his father’s desire for him to enter Starfleet), seeks out help (by discussing the problem with O’Brien), and confronts Sisko with the truth. Each of these scenes are genuine, both in depicting Jake’s fears and Sisko’s reactions. But I must also acknowledge how great it was to watch O’Brien give Jake advice that was honest and helpful. He didn’t try to pressure Jake into joining Starfleet at all! I suspected that Sisko wouldn’t try either because he has THE BEST relationship with his son. I ADORE IT SO MUCH, Y’ALL. I’m just so happy that this show has a relationship like Jake and Sisko on it. GIVE ME MORE.

(P.S.: Holy shit, Jake has grown like half a foot since last season.)


You know, I totally misread Kira’s body language in the first half of this episode. I thought she wasn’t interested in Vedek Bareil, but I WAS VERY WRONG. I’ve long been reluctant of romantic plot lines in Star Trek shows, and I’m happy to say that the nature of Deep Space Nine makes it a lot easier for me to believe that we might actually get to see a romantic storyline develop over multiple episodes. Bareil has appeared numerous times so far; it makes no sense for him to never appear again. And while his appearance here was orchestrated by Quark in order to attempt to distract Kira enough so he could sneak his cousin aboard DS9, it had the unintended affect of… well, possible love! We knew they were both attracted to one another, but I figured that Kira didn’t want to risk their friendship by taking it to the next level. NOPE. I was wrong!

I’m quite interested to see how this is going to turn out.

The video for “Shadowplay” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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