Past Tense pt 1 & 2

A transporter accident sends Sisko back in time to 2024.

Part 1 = B+

Part 2 = C-

I’m on their side here because they use Time Travel to show us a look at OUR OWN future. I always found it rather boring when TNG would play dress-up in the 19th century all the time. Any TV show can do that.

It seems like the crew of each Star Trek series has a transporter accident every year or so. These accidents cause Death, Time Travel, Molecular Phasing, Psychosis, Dimensional Shifting and even the amalgamation of two people’s DNA. If these accidents happen throughout Starfleet with this kind of regularity then I think it’s safe to say this is the most dangerous form of travel ever conceived.

The story begins with Sisko and his ENTIRE STAFF travelling to Earth to brief a group of Admirals about security concerns with the Dominion. So let me get this straight… DS9 and therefore Bajor and therefore the Federation and therefore the Alpha Quadrant are all at risk due to the Domion. So let’s leave the crucially important DS9 with no senior staff on hand whatsoever so we can hold a meeting about how important DS9 is. I’m going in circles. Apparently even four centuries in the future humans haven’t realized you can save a lot of fuel with a decent teleconference.

Part 1 is far from perfect but it works. The conflict is clear and Sisko creates a foreboding atmosphere as he talks about the historical importance of what’s happening around them as well as how crucial it is that they don’t interfere.

The reason I don’t like Part 2 is that the story stalls badly. It’s just a lot of sitting around during a hostage crisis. I think the story would have been better if they hadn’t killed Bell until part 2 and we’d seen a lot more of the build up to the riot. As it stands the riot seemed very unriot-like. Also, onboard the Defiant (in the 24th century) I didn’t like that they were so lazily vague about what Earth was like sans-historical-riot. They clearly state that there is no Starfleet and it’s annoying that they don’t tell us more. Is everyone on Earth dead? Are 99% of us in Sanctuary Districts? Really seems like they could have been creative and shown us the consequences of a world without social reform instead of just being preachy…

Doctor Bashir: You know, Commander… having seen a little of the 21st century, there is one thing I don’t understand: how could they have let things get so bad?
Commander Sisko: That’s a good question. I wish I had an answer.

So here is the tragedy; despite how ham-fisted this story is with its messages it’s actually RIGHT on the money. “Past Tense” was written in 1994 and takes place in 2024. I’m writing this blog in 2013 – seems that we’re about two-thirds of the way there, both chronologically and socially.

You know, when I think about it, this whole episode felt a bit like an early draft of Star Trek: First Contact… oh, and part 2 was directed by Jonathan Frakes… hmmm.


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