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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Time's Orphan

"I am a Klingon warrior and a Starfleet officer. I have piloted starships through Dominion minefields. I have stood in battle against Kelvans twice my size. I courted and won the heart of the magnificent Jadzia Dax. If I can do these things, I can make this child go to sleep."

Another moment to breathe before we get into the end of the season.

While I usually like episodes that focus on O'Brien, this one didn't do a lot for me. It was fine. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, although there could be some uncomfortable implied messages about raising a child who is neurodivergent and putting them aside once they cause problems. Watching Molly run around as a feral child was also occasionally unintentionally comedic, if you're feel a little uncharitable.

But the emotional core of the episode was sound. Having your child wander off and not being to find them is any parent's worst nightmare. Getting your child back only to realize that you can't connect with them in the same way and that you missed huge portions of their life isn't easy either. It's this core that lets most of the scenes with the O'Briens work as well as they do. I believe in their grief and determination to do what's best for their daughter, even if that's letting her go.

I had a fairly large problem with the episode's final resolution. I understand that Molly couldn't stay on the station. They didn't have the resources to help her there. But how was sending her back through the portal the best answer? Yeah, she had survived for ten years, but they were damning her to a life of complete social isolation. At some point, she was going to get hurt. She was going to get sick. I just can't understand the thought process. Were there really no facilities on a planet somewhere that she could be sent to? Even if they had to sedate her for the shuttle, why was that not the solution?

Not that it ended up mattering in the end. The portal, for some reason, sent Molly back only a few minutes after she initially arrived in the past, allowing her to prompt her younger self to return home. It led to a very neat and tidy ending, and it was nice that O'Brien and Keiko didn't lose their daughter. I don't understand the rules of the portal and when it sends people to the past versus when it sends people to the future. At all. But I don't think that there were any set, established rules so, all I can really do there is shrug it off. It just put a slightly sour note on the episode, reaffirming that it really was meaningless filler as we gear up for the final few episodes of the season.

My favorite part of the episode might actually be the relatively brief B-plot of Worf trying to take care of baby Yoshi. There was just something so sweet to it, and also something so incredibly human and relatable. Worf wants to prove himself as a father, something that we already knows that he struggles with through his relationship with Alexander. He has this relatively new relationship with a woman that he clearly adores, one that he knows has raised multiple children herself as both a mother and a father. Even though Dax insists that she's not evaluating his parenting skills and that it isn't a concern, it is something that can be felt lingering on the edges of their scenes.

Was the arc of those scenes more than a little predictable? Yes. Did I care? No. Worf's pride at the fact that Yoshi kept repeating "Gung, gung, gung" just made me smile, and it struck me just how much Worf loves Dax in a way that most episodes haven't managed to convey.

Random Thoughts

Chester the cat! Chester the cat! Chester the cat!

The science behind Molly's loss of language is apparently sound. I stopped to research it about halfway through the episode. Not the best sign in terms of being engaged or interested, granted, but it was fun to dive into on a personal note.

How did Molly get so far into the cave system before anyone found her? You would think that a kid her age wouldn't go that far.

An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

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