Wait, you mean to tell me that we got the return of Clint Howard to Star Trek, and they didn’t even give him a scene with Dick Miller, so I could see two older character actors work together? I feel wronged.
But I still got an episode with Clint Howard and Dick Miller, so I won’t complain too much.
To recap, Sisko, Bashir, and Dax found themselves accidentally transported to the past, namely 2024, when the homeless were swept into “Sanctuary Districts” because people with resources didn’t want to look at homeless people anymore. Sisko, a student of history, knows the “Bell Riots” will change that thanks to work of one Gabriel Bell, a man who kept some hostages alive while gaining sympathy for the residents of the District before he himself was killed by law enforcement. But the real Bell died in part because Sisko and Bashir were there, so to preserve the timeline, Sisko takes Bell’s name on during the riots. Dax, meanwhile, managed to stay out of trouble with some quick thinking and a friendship with a tech billionaire type. And, back in the future, O’Brien and Kira are doing some quick time sweeps to find the missing trio because Starfleet no longer exists.
So, that’s pretty straightforward.
What follows works largely because of the three stuck in the past can each utilize their respective skills to keep things working. Sisko is a natural authority figure, and his time in Starfleet told him who he needs to get help from to hold the government center, keep the one rowdy guy in line, and even negotiate somewhat with the outside world by bringing in an older man to be the face that talks to the outside world. Bashir does utilize his medical training when necessary. Dax, for her part, spends a lot of time thinking on her feet, something she’s proven to be very adept at for this story. Bashir also makes a few good points. If Bell is supposed to die, will Sisko? When Dax arrives in the District–after coming in through a sewer–Bashir is the one to state that if the authorities show up and start shooting, Dax better be far away because an autopsy of her will reveal how she isn’t human, and that will really screw up the timeline.
Considering how much Bashir mooned over Dax at first, I initially thought he was just trying to be gallant but then he gave the reason as Dax’s alien nature, and it made a lot more sense.
Meanwhile, O’Brien and Kira are getting mini-glimpses of the timeline, allowing the audience to see them interact with 20s gangster-types and 60s hippie-types. Odo was wise to stay on the Defiant. The hippies in particular took their sudden disappearance in stride.
The ultimate point is the trio in the past, particularly Sisko and Dax, manage to preserve the timeline. Dax’s new friend can easily be talked into helping. Sisko even got the rowdy guy to eventually think of the bigger picture, and it turned out Sisko was right when asked if he-as-Bell had to die. Sisko claimed he didn’t have to die because he wasn’t really Gabriel Bell, and even as Bashir pointed out that no one else knew that, in the end, Sisko took a bullet for Dick Miller’s cop. It’s not that serious–Bashir says on the spot Sisko will live–but it is enough to get the two cop/hostages to allow Sisko to slip away, seeing Sisko might need to, and they can easily plant his “Gabriel Bell” ID on another corpse outside. There are plenty of them.
About the only questionable obstacle is Clint Howard as a paranoid fellow who thinks that aliens are real and he needs Dax’s comm badge to protect himself. How he managed to knock Dax out and steal it in the first place, I have no idea, but he did. However, the hardest part about getting the badge back is finding him. Dax then basically tells the guy he’s right by telling him a partial truth and gets her badge back rather easily. On the one hand, it’s generally fun to see Clint Howard in anything. On the other…what was the point of that interlude? Did they just need to fill some time? I don’t know.
But it’s nice that Sisko got the people of 2024 to fix homelessness. Now, if he could only do that in the real world of 2021…