Previously: A primer on the series, and a guide to season 1.
At first glance, the second season seems like a bit of a mixed bag. For good reason, though! The first season introduces you to the cast, the governments, and the societies of the show. The second season asks you to question your assumptions about them. Cowardly Bajorans, socially progressive Cardassians, brave Ferengi, and at one point Jake wears a good-looking jumpsuit.
It’s gonna blow your mind.
2×01-03: The Homecoming, The Circle, and The Siege
Internet, I tried. I watched them again with an eye to “can I let the Internet skip these? Can I really?” And I couldn’t decide. I leave you to make your own choice, but I want it to be an informed decision.
- Garak isn’t in these episodes.
- You have to watch Vedek Bareil, and he’s really boring. Plus he wears a lot of orange. He shouldn’t do that.
- Bajoran politics and Bajoran religion are deeply intertwined, and Bajoran religion is insufferable.
- The events in these episodes do not permanently affect the status quo on the station. Things end up pretty much where they began.
- There are some Cardassians.
- Hollow folk heroes are the best folk heroes! I’m a big fan of the way these episodes deal with the willful misinterpretation of history.
- The Siege is an actual siege, and a siege episode is always fun.
Choose wisely. If you only watch one of them, I’d say watch 1×03. It’s got the least yadda yadda and the most action.
2×04: Invasive Procedures
Also known as The One Where Lionel Luthor is a Trill. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then consider me duly embarrassed for admitting to you that I watched Smallville.
If you don’t have the benefit of years of Smallville knowledge and experience, then you may not realize that this episode establishes many of its themes and life lessons. Namely:
- Don’t date a Luthor.
- Don’t allow a Luthor to undergo any sort of medical procedure whatsoever.
- Your friends will one day shoot you.
I swear I’m gonna skip some episodes soon, but come on. Come on. It’s called Cardassians. I’m constitutionally incapable of skipping it, and furthermore it’s rather worthwhile.
I want to point out two important things about this episode. First, the people who are milling around in the background during the opening scene.
This is why I love you, Star Trek.
The second is the fact that you should never, ever bite Elim Garak. There is an entire book written about why you should never do this.
In any case, this is the first of many episodes about why Garak is the best. He survives a biting, conducts political shenanigans, changes out of his watermelon outfit, does volunteer computer maintenance for an orphanage (what a guy!), surreptitiously trains Dr. Bashir to be a vicious political operative, and then he changes back into his watermelon outfit. It’s a busy day for him.
2×08: Necessary Evil
This is about how Odo got his job during the Cardassian occupation. I don’t consider it a particularly strong episode, but if you’re super into Odo (he has his puddingy appeal), then this is an episode for you. But, to be frank, you should really just skip to 2×12.
The “Dominion”, you say? Why, that does sound menacing!
2×12: The Alternate
In case you didn’t guess this within one minute of meeting Odo, I’ll spoil it for you: Odo’s pseudo-dad is a creepy asshole. In this episode we meet creepy dad, and Odo’s distant cousin, Plant-Mold-Thing! Plant-Mold-Thing is reportedly silicon-based, canonically proving that Odo is related to the Horta.
Captain Kirk meets Mrs. Odo.
2×17: Playing God
You don’t absolutely have to watch this one, I just want you to know how cute Cardassian voles are.
Okay but for real, this is an episode about how Jadzia Dax would be the best, were it not for Garak. As it stands, she is a very, very close second best.
Oh, also the station adopts a baby. A baby universe. As you do.
2×18: Profit and Loss
You need to believe me when I tell you that Quark is the romantic lead of this series. The main event of this episode, however, is Cardassians.
Because, while Bajoran politics are as much fun as single barrel of dead monkeys, Cardassian politics are twenty barrels of AMAZEBALLS.
Whatever, Garak, you know what I mean.
Romance! Dissidents! The threat of imminent interstellar war! Subterfuge! Garak hitting on Sisko! Betrayal! The longest, most stretched-thin fashion-as-politics metaphor you will ever witness! Garak doing things! Garak saying things! Garak standing around silently! Speaking of which…
2×22: The Wire
This episode is better than the entire television series of the same name. [Ed. note: Gabby has never seen the HBO series "The Wire".]
When beginning this post, I was aware of the danger of writing a thousand-word love letter to this episode. So I’m just going to tell you to focus on the way Andy Robinson (Garak) enunciates “stimulate”.
Watch this or else, Internet.
If you’re new to Star Trek, then you may not be familiar with something we locals call The Mirrorverse. It’s a lot like the universe you’re already familiar with, only with more dramatic lighting and orgies. Ever seen the episode(s) of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer in which they visit an alternate universe where everyone is really slutty? It’s like that. Everyone is really slutty in Mirrorverse.
I care about Miles O’Brien once a season. This episode is that once.
2×26: The Jem’Hadar
Second time I’m gonna say this: a strange choice for a season finale. I promise the third season finale makes more sense in tone. Except for Jake’s outfit.
Spoilers: nobody knows wtf is wrong with Jake.
Technically speaking, you should watch this episode. It explains some basic Gamma Quadrant stuff, and Sisko and Quark are forced to hang out together for an entire episode. There is some space battle, and you get to see ships shaped like beetles. It’s okay. It’s the gateway to the third season.
In the next post: Planet: Pudding! Quark’s wife! Species-swap! Sex pollen! Time travel! Dreamscape! Moar Mirrorverse! Garak’s daddy issues! Quark’s mommy issues! Jadzia’s Curzon issues!