Friday, October 1, 2010

Personal Review - The Visitor

Blogger's Note: this post originally appeared at Will's Secure Immaturity blog as part of his most excellent DS9 Week, a tribute to the greatness that is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If you haven't gotten a chance to check out the series, please do so. Whether you are into Sci-Fi or Star Trek (or not), it is well worth the time.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Episode Title: The Visitor
Episode #: 74
Season: Four
Star Date: 49011.4
Original Airdate: October 9, 1995
Written by: Michael Taylor
Directed by: David Livingston

It may sound cryptic, but this one will be hard. Please bear with me. Having been someone who started watching Star Trek (the original series) as a kid, a lot of my memories got tied up with what I've seen on TV. Especially those that intrigued my imagination. When they disturb upon other memories, though, they begin to make an impression on my psyche. Moving from one series to another (whether it's sci-fi related or not) caused not so much disconnects, but cross circuits in my remembrances. When Star Trek: The Next Generation came to an end in May 1994, Paramount had its replacement already in play. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was introduced on January 3, 1993, and was one of the last things conceived before (ST originator) Gene Roddenberry's death.

A spin-off of ST:TNG, DS9 was centered around a space station (a leftover of the former Cardassian Occupation) rather than another Federation starship galavanting its way around the galaxy. Having a wormhole nearby, through which a new and unknown section of the galaxy (the Gamma Quadrant) came within reach, there were plenty of story opportunities for science fiction exploration. Both the personal and the political varieties (including opportunities for commenting on current conflicts) opened up right along with the new series (byway of its new blank slate).

What I found fascinating with this new series (back then in the 90's), besides the ensemble nature of how it used its cast, was that the command chair was now manned by a father. This was a first for the head in a Star Trek series. In this case, he was someone who not only had to lead and attempt to solve the issues of close-quarter politics, religion, and the clashing of multiple cultures (along with their hatreds and schisms) on a frontier outpost, but serve as a guide and lone parent to his son on his journey to adulthood. The backstory was both the father and the son lost the wife/mother unit to The Borg at The Battle of Wolf 359. This dynamic made Benjamin Sisko (and his son, Jake) quite memorable. And one episode in particular really brought that home. When I wrote my earlier, personal blogpost which reviewed the Remember Me episode on Star Trek: TNG, my sub-conscious knew that I'd have to approach the flip-side of that parental memory in exploring another episode in the Star Trek anthology. Secure Immaturity's DS9 Week made me face up to this latency. This was a good thing. In some ways, though, it is just as painful.

This post has been moved and updated to my current blog, which can be found here.


  1. That is a great post. One of the threads in life that I think about is that of opposites. Even though it was a classic relationship, I am not quiet polar opposite of my Father, but in the important themes it seems like it is so. When I was younger, I carried a burden of guilt for having failed my parents. Their values could not be mine, that is mostly in the religion and  I felt I had hurt them. And so it goes, this journey we call life. You wear your love for Family out where all can see, that is fantastic. That's what is important.

  2. I understand your situation, my friend. I am very touched by your comment, and quite grateful you expressed it here related to this post. Thank you very much.

  3. As mentioned over at Secure Immaturity.  Such a touching, lovely, heartfelt piece Michael.  As someone who really loved their father, despite differences, I know this episode will really reach me in tthe way it touched you.  I have not seen it yet L13 but I look forward to it my friend based on your loving tribute to it and your family.  Thank you!

  4. Very kind of you to say, Gordon. I'd really appreciate your thoughts and comments, my friend. And, I'd very much like to know you're experiences with the episode,in particular, and the DS9 series, in general. I have the Season 4 disc set (with The Visitor). If you'd like, I can lend. Thank you very much.

  5. That's beautiful. Thank you for this.

  6. Thank you very much for saying that, Naomi.

  7. An exquisite post, Michael! You are so generous in so many ways and it shines through in posts like these. (I, for one, am always so pleased to see the love you hold for your family being honestly expressed; the world should be so lucky as to have millions of yous for examples!)

    I am especially intrigued by your parent/child posts as these storylines are often lost on me and I enjoy seeing how they reach individuals and how they are interpreted. I have an extremely complicated family history but, luckily, very uncomplicated relationships with my parents. As a devoted non-parent, I will never be one to see that experience come full circle but I enjoy learning more about how stories depicting parents and children are received.

  8. <p>sorry, did not mean to be clandestine on comments as Guest. my bad.
    </p><p>you prob knew

  9. Very generous of you to say, Rachel. For the first half of my life, I thought family could be a detriment. Nowadays, it's my benefit. Family can be quite something, huh? Thank you very much, Rachel.

  10. I thought the words and sentiment sounded familiar, Herb. It makes me doubly glad it was you, my friend. Thanks for this.