This episode marked the directorial debut for actor Michael Dorn. It’s about time, frankly. The guy did more Star Trek than pretty much anybody in terms of sheer number of episodes. If anyone could have used that to get some good stuff done behind the camera, it would be him.
Oh, and Jeffrey Combs is back. I didn’t even know what to expect from this episode, and I think I loved it just for those two facts.
However, despite the fact this is a lighter episode, it doesn’t start that way as war seems imminent, and the entire command crew is depressed. Jake and Nog see this over a dinner in the captain’s quarters, and Jake wants to do something to help out his dad. Quark gets his hands on a lot of, shall we say, reclaimed cargo, and when he casually mentions this to the boys so they can maybe bid for some of the stuff at his upcoming auction, there is an item there that catches Jake’s attention: a Willie Mays rookie baseball card. Ben Sisko loves baseball. If Jake and Nog can get ahold of this item, and do so without Ben finding out, it would cheer the older Sisko up immensely.
That’s the basic premise, and the episode works as well as it does because of the friendship between Jake and Nog is what it is. These two guys have complimentary skills that they can use to get what they need, and when Nog is unwilling to part with his latinum stash, something Jake coming from a moneyless society doesn’t have, Jake knows how to needle Nog into using it. And when the auction goes bad and some oddball doctor with a theory on immortality gets his hands on the card, it’s up to the two lads to combine their skills to go on what amounts to a scavenger hunt to get the items the nutty Dr. Giger wants in order to part with the rare baseball card. Giger isn’t so much interested in the card as he is in using it to get what he needs to finish his research into immortality.
Actually, Giger’s theory on what makes people potentially immortal is probably the weakest part of the episode since his theory is literally “your cells get bored doing the same thing all the time,” and he’s building some device to entertain cells. However, at least Jake and Nog seem to realize he’s probably nuts, and they can go off and get the stuff they need to get the card from Giger.
And while all this is going on, Kai Winn is on the station to negotiate a possible deal with Weyoun. See? More Jeffrey Combs.
But that whole thing about the guys working together really comes together. Nog knows how to make an offer to O’Brien to cover for his shift doing repetitive work so the Chief can get some kayaking in. That sort of thing doesn’t work on Bashir, but he just wants his childhood teddy bear back from Leeta. I’m not sure what Worf or Kira’s respective deals were, but Kira wanted some humor put into a speech (Jake the writer’s specialty) while Worf wanted some high pitch noise removed from his Klingon opera (Nog, with his Ferengi hearing, can do that without a problem). Doing both those at the same time is less of a concern, but the big thing is Jake doesn’t want his father to know what he’s doing, and that means getting all this stuff without telling anyone why. That even comes into play when Giger disappears and the boys sort of suggest to Kai Winn that she had something to do with it. That does not sit well with Ben.
But nah, it was Weyoun. He heard noises coming from below his quarters (where Giger was staying), and he knew Jake and Nog were talking to Giger, Winn, and every member of the station command crew save Odo.
Oh, and he doesn’t believe the truth when Jake tells it to him.
Fortunately, Weyoun does think Giger is on to something, and the two hit it off. It helps that Jake’s second story that Willie Mays was a time traveler is so outlandish that Weyoun decides the first story must have been true. Jake and Nog get the card, Sisko is happy, and Jake gets a hug from his father.
Damn, Ben Sisko is a good dad.
It even helps that Sisko realizes the boys, on their quest, actually lifted just about everyone else’s morale, including Weyoun and Giger. The only character who looks upset is Leeta, tearing her room apart to look for the missing teddy bear.
Eh, she probably should have returned it ages ago anyway.
Besides, the sure-to-be-much-darker season finale is the next episode.