Synopsis: We open with a Sisko voice-over in which he laments that it’s been four years today since his angelic wife got blown up to death, and he almost let the day pass without even noticing. He’s up in the middle of the night staring at his 3D chessboard when Jake stumbles out of his room, bleary-eyed and wearing what I presume to be footie pajamas.
Jake can’t get back to sleep after a weird dream, and Sisko eagerly encourages him to talk about it over a mug of hot chocolate. Jake eschews the drink, but Sisko coaxes him to reveal his dream. Turns out Jake dreamed he was on the station, trying to get home to their quarters, but he kept getting lost, and when he got scared and tried to find Sisko he couldn’t find him anywhere, and also the floor kept sloping and making him fall on his ass.
He tells his dad that he loves him, and then brusquely says that he has to get to bed before his calc test tomorrow. As he leaves, he simply says, “Dad, I miss her,” and Sisko says that he does too, and then he returns to sleeplessly pondering his chess set. But I guess that doesn’t keep him occupied for long, because soon he’s out roaming the promenade. I really hope Jake doesn’t wake up again, it has to be alarming to have a dream about not being able to find your dad and then wake up to him not being where he’s supposed to be.
Anyway, Sisko is looking aimlessly out one of the observation windows when a small woman who looks like a pixie sneaks up on him out of nowhere and HOLY SHIT IT IS YOUNG ALLISON BLAKE FROM EUREKA. More precisely it is Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who plays the character of Allison Blake on Eureka, but this is weird because I was just saying the other day that Sisko and Allison Blake would be an amazing couple. Maybe I just like the idea of Jake and Kevin trying to share a room.
Anyway, Sisko and Space Allison Blake talk about constellations, including one the Bajorans call “the runners,” and she says something about “how good it feels to run,” which I can guarantee you would sound pretty much anti-sexy if I said it, but when she says it sounds quite alluring. She engages Sisko in talk about his job, saying that it must be super exciting to have so much going on all the time. Sisko says he prefers quiet moments like these.
They chat for a while longer, and then she goes all mysterious and says, “I like it here, I wish I could stay longer,” and Sisko is all, “where are you going?” and she goes, “I’m not really sure. I guess I’ll just keep going, like the runners,” and all I can think about is Kristen Whiig sexily breathing “red flag.”
Sisko offers to show her around the station, and when he makes the mistake of looking away for a moment, she disappears. Literally. Into thin air. That’s a major red flag.
The next morning, in Ops, Sisko bounds in all perky despite having spent his whole night having sexy, nonsensical conversation with a disappearing woman instead of sleeping. Irishy is trying to fix something that’s giving off sparks, and Sisko teases him that he’d be unhappy if he had to live on a station where everything worked all the time. This is probably true.
Sisko says good morning to Kira so cheerfully that she looks at him like she’s worried for his health, and then he walks over to the replicator and orders tea. Tea! The very idea! Kira shares my concerns, pointing out that Sisko usually orders a Raktajino and refuses to talk to anyone until after his first cup. She demands to know why he ordered tea, and he says he just wanted something different. He maintains his good cheer throughout this conversation, which seems to perplex Kira even more.
Jadzia comm badges up that she’s in the science lab with some dude Sisko’s been wanting to meet, so he might want to head down. He says he’ll be right there, and leaps up with enthusiasm. Kira still looks concerned.
When he gets to the lab, Jadzia says the dude he wanted to meet is in some sort of generator. Sisko is surprised, yet somehow still in a good mood, as he says crawling in the generator could kill you. Jadzia says the guy is a terraformer, and you can’t tell them anything. Terraformers are like the rockstars of space, apparently.
The Terraforming BAMF climbs out of the generator to talk to Sisko, and Sisko says he’s a huge fan. Then everybody laughs about how awesome he is. Sisko says he and Jake went to one of the planets the BAMF terraformed on their way to DS9 when they moved, although they missed the best part, a Mount Everest-sized waterfall. Goddamn, I thought this guy was kind of full of himself, but no, he is definitely a BAMF.
He offers to take Sisko and Jake by the falls sometime, and then they start talking about his new project: he wants to bring new life to a dead sun. He’s positive it will work, Jadzia says it’s a “promising theory.” He says Jadzia is lucky she’s coming with him, because watching it happen is going to be the shit.
Later, Sisko and Jadzia are at dinner and Sisko lets her have the last Jalepino popper, which seems like it might be out of character. Meanwhile, his eyes are roving around like he’s looking for someone, and Jadzia notices immediately. Sisko apologizes for letting his mind wander, and Jadzia excuses herself to have a meeting with Irishy about the “reignite the dead sun” mission. She wants him to make the ship they’re using super fast so they can get out of there when/if the sun goes supernova, which seems like a reasonable plan.
Sisko goes to stroll around the promenade some more. He looks out the observation window for moment, and when he turns around, Space Allison Blake is there, a sudden appearance he finds in no way suspicious. He says he was just thinking about her, and she says she was thinking about him too, and she’d love for him to show her “everything” about the station. She offers up the lame excuse that she “had to leave” last night, and she’s sorry for going so abruptly. What, was her runabout going to turn into a pumpkin? That explanation does not make sense. But Sisko doesn’t seem to mind at all.
He takes her to a window waaaaaay high up on one of the pointy parts of the station, so you can look down on the rest of it, and she regrets not bringing a picnic basket. Sisko is all, “maybe tomorrow,” and she says she accepts his invitation, and that he can show her the rest of the station then. Sisko is so charmed by her that he’s showing all of his teeth, which is saying something because I believe that Avery Brooks secretly has more teeth than the rest of us do.
The two of them share several smoldering looks, and then Sisko asks her to tell him everything about herself, but she looks sad and says she can’t tell him about herself, nor can she tell him why she can’t. The she abruptly runs away, and Sisko just seems more deeply intrigued, because that cannot possibly mean she is crazy
After commercial, Sisko and Jake are having dinner. Sisko is listlessly poking at his food while Jake relates a story from the high school trenches: some girl threw up at lunch and apparently it was hi-larious. Sisko isn’t listening at all, and I sort of like the turnaround, here: Jake, the teenager, relating anecdotes he thinks are funny (but aren’t), while Sisko, the dad, is withdrawn and tuning out.
Anyway, Jake notices that his dad’s mind is somewhere else, and, unprompted, says, “Dad, are you in love?” You may be thinking to yourself that that question came completely out of left field, and seems kind of cliched and hackneyed, but it all begins to make sense when Jake says Sisko is showing all three of the signs of love that Nog told him about: daydreaming, loss of appetite, and constant smiling. If it comes from Nog, it makes sense that it’s completely stereotypical and obtuse.
Jake tells his dad that it’s fine with him if he’s in love with someone, and asks Sisko what she’s like. Sisko says she’s “interesting,” so that must have occurred off-screen, I guess. Unless Sisko is one of those men for whom “interesting” is synonymous with “clinically insane.” Jake asks when he gets to meet this allegedly interesting lady, and Sisko says that it might be a little early in the relationship for that, and also that Space Allison Blake keeps disappearing on him. Jake gives him the side-eye like, Whoa, Dad, I’m only fourteen and even I know that this is bad news.
Elsewhere, in the security office, a subplot looks like it’s about to emerge as Odo warns his team to be on the lookout for a short-range telepath who’ll be visiting the station soon. I wanted to hear more about that, but I’m foiled when Sisko walks in to talk about his personal life some more. Gah.
He tells Odo that he needs him to locate someone as a personal favor, but when Odo starts to ask him basic questions he doesn’t know her full name, species, or what ship she arrived on. Instead of rolling his eyes and saying, “get the hell out of my office, I have actual work to do,” Odo earnestly asks Sisko to tell him anything he does know about this woman of mystery. Sisko describes her, and says she was wearing red when he last saw her. He tells Odo he really needs to find her, because she may be in some sort of trouble.
Odo awesomely says, “what sort of trouble? Let me guess, you don’t know.” I am enjoying how businesslike and non-deferential Odo is in this scene. It doesn’t matter that Sisko is the commander of the station, this is Odo’s security office and he’s in charge of this investigation, so he’s going to treat Sisko like everyone else. After all, there’s no room in justice for hand-holding, or whatever it was he said last week.
Odo says he’ll do what he can, and when Sisko leaves he shakes his head like, what an idiot.
As Sisko goes into Ops, Jadzia requests a private discussion in his office. Once there, she also accuses him of being in love, saying she saw him with Space Allison Blake on the promenade last night. She says he used to tell Curzon everything about his love life, and she thinks he didn’t confide in her about this because she’s a lady now. When Sisko protests that that isn’t the reason, she’s all, “THEN TELL ME NAO,” and Sisko says he will as soon as there’s something to tell. He tosses her his baseball and she catches it one-handed and makes a rakish face and OK, I get it, they’re friends, does anybody want to tell me some more about that short-range telepath we were supposed to watch out for?
Apparently not, because we cut to another Sisko voiceover about how Odo is still searching for Space Allison Blake. But things are looking up because he and the rest of the senior staff get to have dinner with that Terraforming BAMF on his ship, so, sweet.
On his ship, he’s talking some more about how awesome he is, and refers to himself self-deprecatingly as a “raging egomaniac” (everyone laughs) and I am definitely wishing that this whole episode was about his crazy terraforming adventures. Bashir asks how he’s planning to reignite the sun, because I guess there wasn’t a high enough technobable ratio in this episode, and the Terraforming BAMF explains that something something proto-mater something something carbon something something hydrogen, nobody but Bashir gives a shit.
The Terraforming BAMF has a little back-and-forth with Sisko about optimists and pessimists and who accomplishes things, and also the Terraforming BAMF paints and has written a nine-volume autobiography, and has been married like a billion times. Fucking seriously, how was this guy not the focal point of the episode?
He assures everyone that they’re going to love his wife’s home-cooked food, and he goes to fetch her. As he exits, Kira sidles over to Sisko to see if she can get a reprieve from what is sure to be a long-winded dinner, and Sisko good-naturedly reminds her that she owes him for all the Bajoran ministers he had to wine and dine. Bashir comments that he thinks the Terraforming BAMF is “remarkably entertaining,” and I agree, but everyone else looks at him like nerd alert.
The Terraforming BAMF reenters the room to introduce his wife, and after all this build-up, I WONDER WHO IT’S GOING TO BE. The reveal of Space Allison Blake, wearing a more conservative get-up, has all the suspense and drama of the unmasking of a Scooby-Doo villain, although Sisko does look like the blood was just drained from his body.
After dinner, Irishy is elaborately praising the food, which sets the Terraforming BAMF off on a tangent about how important it is to really sear meat properly, and I guess I’m supposed to find that boorish and insensitive but it’s a speech similar to one Tim gives every time we have people over for dinner, so I find it rather endearing. Tell me you would not watch a show about this self-absorbed renaissance man zooming about the galaxy with his crazy wife, terraforming planets and breaking hearts wherever they go.
While the Terraforming BAMF is giving Irishy a primer in molecular gastronomy, Sisko leans over and whispers to Jadzia that it’s like Space Allison Blake doesn’t even recognize him. Jadzia is all, “that is the same lady you’ve been chatting up, right?” and Sisko pointedly says that she looks the same. As we return to the conversation at the rest of the table, even Bashir seems to be having trouble faking enthusiasm for the extended recipe-overshare.
Since everyone seems to have finished eating, the Terraforming BAMF suggests the adjourn to the other room, presumably to enjoy aperitifs that he designed himself after spending a summer in wine country. Sisko hangs back with Space Allison Blake while everyone else files out of the dining room. He tells her that it would have been easier if she’d just told him she was married, and she’s all confused. She says she’s never met him until tonight, and Sisko makes this face like, you are one cold bitch, you know that?
He accuses her of lying about her name, and when he says the name, she stops shot just long enough for both us and Sisko to realize that she definitely knows something. She tersely says that he must have mistaken her for someone else, and he storms out.
Later, he tells Jadzia that it was definitely the same woman, and Jadzia, who has some adultery experience as Curzon, says Sisko probably just needs to get her away from her husband to admit the truth. Sisko laments that she’s the first woman he’s been into since his wife died.
Odo comes in and asks for a word, and tells Sisko that there’s no one who boarded the station recently who matches Sisko’s description. Sisko tells Odo about finding Space Allison Blake on the Terraforming BAMF’s ship, and Odo says that that’s impossible, because he checked the logs and no one but the Terraforming BAMF has left his ship and come onto the station.
Later, Sisko is standing by the observation window again, looking melancholy, when Quark, who says he can recognize a stand-up when he sees it, approaches with a drink that is probably not free. He offers to take Sisko to the bar to have a long talk about women, and Sisko is all, “ummmm, no thanks,” and as he walks away Quark creepily reminds him that the holosuites are always open.
As Sisko returns to his quarters, Space Allison Blake runs up like nothing has happened, all “BENJAMIN! I MISSED you! Let’s MAKE OUT!” Sisko is not pleased. He tells her that he just had dinner with someone who looks just like her, and accuses her of being married to the Terraforming BAMF and lying about her name. She denies it, and, wanting to cover all his bases, Sisko verifies that she doesn’t have a twin. He asks her where she came from and why she’s there, and she’s all, “does that even matter?” and he’s all, “um, yes it kind of does.”
He says he needs to know who she is, and she says he does know who she is, which doesn’t even make sense because they’ve had two conversations and he knows nothing about her. She’s all, “I came here looking for somewhere to belong, and that somewhere is you,” and then they kiss and the more I watch this episode the more I think it must be some sort of educational film intended to teach young men who they shouldn’t date.
Later, Jadzia and Irishy are getting the terraforming ship ready to go while the Terraforming BAMF swoops in and out issuing dramatic orders. Sisko comes in and tells Jadzia that he’s going with her, because how often do you get to see a star reborn, and Jadzia looks concerned because Sisko is using his mildly enraged Sidney Poitier voice. He reveals that he’s going primarily because the secret to whatever’s up with Space Allison Blake is probably on that ship.
As the ship gets underway, Jadzia is talking technoabble with the various random crew members manning the bridge, and Sisko is stonily listening to the Terraforming BAMF self-promote some more. The Terraforming BAMF tells him that it is actually rather sad to be a genius, because his whole life he always knew that there was another amazing achievement ahead of him, and this will be his most amazing achievement of all, so then he will have nothing left to look forward to. He begins to quote a Klingon poet, with which Sisko is actually familiar, and he finishes up the quote: “So honor the valiant who died ‘neath your sword/but pity the warrior who slays all his foes.”
Then they get back to talking about how awesome the Terraforming BAMF is, and he drifts to the subject of how he met his wife, the woman who may or may not be Space Allison Blake. She was the daughter of a dignitary, and they met when people were throwing parades for him and shit. She had never been off-world before they married, and he promised to show her the galaxy. It’s clear that he loves her very much, and Sisko looks a little chagrined about the whole situation.
Elsewhere on the ship, whilst he strolls about being melancholy, he finds Space Allison Blake, who is extremely glad to see him. He immediately does what he should have done ages ago – he comm badges to Jadzia to get the hell in there.
He tells Space Allison Blake that she vanished the last time he saw her, and Space Allison Blake is all, “who cares? I’m here now and I’ll never leave you again,” a sentence that should give Sisko serious pause but somehow does not.
Jadzia runs in and starts scanning Space Allison Blake, who, it turns out, has no DNA or cellular structure; she’s just pure energy. Space Allison Blake is all, “what is she talking about? She’s obviously just jealous of what we have,” but Sisko gently escorts her from the room to the ship’s sick bay, where the Terraforming BAMF is frantically shaking his unconscious wife. Jadzia scans her and says she’s in shock, and is dying, and she doesn’t know if she can do anything about it.
The Terraforming BAMF suddenly sees Space Allison Blake, and is all “YOU! I should have known!” He says his wife promised that Space Allison Blake was gone forever, and Space Allison Blake claims not to know what he’s talking about. He forces Space Allison Blake to look at his wife so that the show can use its fancy parent-trap film technology, and Space Allison Blake is all, “she looks like me, huh, that’s a thinker.”
Sisko asks the Terraforming BAMF to explain, and he says that Space Allison Blake isn’t real, she’s an illusion created by his wife’s unconscious mind. His wife is something called a psycho-projective telepath, and she can create illusions like this all day. Space Allison Blake is all “you know it’s not true, he just hates our love!”
Jadzia says that the wife couldn’t survive more than about an hour the way shit is going. Sisko sends Space Allison Blake to his quarters for the time being, and asks the Terraforming BAMF to explain why his wife’s telepathic abilities are killing her. The BAMF looks very sad and says that people of his wife’s species sometimes lose control of their abilities in times of great emotional stress, which his wife happens to be under at the moment. It happened once, three years ago, and almost killed her then, which is when she promised him that it would never happen again.
He says that he tends to evoke strong emotions in people, especially in his wives, who all start out loving him but eventually wind up hating him. His other wives all left him, obviously, but apparently women of his current wife’s species mate for life, so she can never leave him however much she might want to. It seems to me that he was kind of irresponsible to marry her, then, jeez.
In his quarters, Sisko patiently listens to Space Allison Blake protest that she’s a real person, despite the fact that she has no memories of her life and doesn’t even know how she got to the station. He explains to her that the BAMF’s wife is dying, and if she dies, Space Allison Blake will no longer exist, but if Space Allison Blake goes back to her, she can be noble and save her life.
Space Allison Blake is all, “but what about what we have?” Sisko finally wises up and tells her that what they have is only a dream, nothing more. They kiss until they’re interrupted by Jadzia letting Sisko know that the Terraforming BAMF has launched the pod to revitalize the dead sun – with himself inside it. Sisko runs to the bridge, where the BAMF is having a skype conversation with the worst actor I’ve ever heard, who gives a completely passionless reading of, “No, professor. Don’t. You’ll be killed.”
Sisko tells the BAMF that they found a way to save his wife, so he doesn’t have to do this. He explains that he’s doing this for his wife, so she can truly be free, and also this way no one will pity him. Sisko tries to get him to come back, but he’s already in the gravity well of the star, and he disabled the tractor beam before he left, so they can’t pull him back.
He tells Sisko where his self-penned obituary is, and asks that he makes sure it gets to the Daystrom Institute for publication, and also to please end it with “he sacrificed himself on the altar of science.” Sisko promises, and the BAMF yells “Let there be light!” and then the camera cuts out and the star ignites, and everybody watches it, enthralled, including Space Allison Blake. Then she and Sisko share a look, and she vanishes.
Later, Sisko notes in a voiceover that the sun thing worked great, and now the wife is fine, but she has no memory of Space Allison Blake’s doings. She meets Sisko by the observation window and says she’s leaving soon to go back to her homeworld, which she never intends to leave again. Sisko stares out the window sadly. The wife tells Sisko that she wishes she could remember what Space Allison Blake did and felt, but she can’t. Sisko gamely says that it’s OK, he has enough memory for both of them. The wife asks him to tell her what Space Allison Blake was like, and Sisko says, “she was just like you,” rather than saying “she was crazy,” which is probably what I would have gone with.
The episode ends with the wife walking away and Sisko looking sad.
Meredith’s Analysis: What did we learn today? If the exciting new woman you’re seeing to get over your wife’s death periodically vanishes into thin air and eventually proves not to be a real person at all, you are almost definitely looking for love in all the wrong places.
This episode does its intended job of humanizing Sisko, I guess, I just wish they had humanized him a little…less? The whole romance feels kind of implausible to me, and the episode is at its best when Sisko is “What’s Going On on My Station” Sisko and its worst when he’s “Cry-i-i-i-ing Over YOU” Sisko. But the episode does show us that Sisko is sick of mourning Jennifer and being a monk, and paves the way for him to get back out there in ways that make more sense. If you think about Space Allison Blake as the physical manifestation of being ready to move on, the episode is less cloying.
Also, it kind of amuses me that there’s so much more to worry about with Space Dating. Like, not only do you have to find someone available who reciprocates your feelings, you have to check that they’re not a hologram or a telepathic projection or a time traveler or some shit.
Tim’s Analysis: It’s average. It’s not really that memorable and it’s not really bad, but it’s kind of meh. Word is that it was originally pitched as a Bashir episode which makes sense, but wouldn’t necessarily be better because, well, we’ve already got a million episodes about Bashir having ill-conceived romances. Problem is, sticking Sisko into a Bashir episode isn’t really that effective. After his experiences in If Wishes Were Horses, I would expect him to be able to spot the telltale signs of illusory friends. It does, however, show that he’s successfully moving on after Jennifer’s death, which is something.
Richard Kiley, the original Don Quixote, is woefully underused. He really puts a lot into Seyetik, but the character just isn’t deep enough for him. His final moments would be much better television if the episode had really been about him and not Benjafenna. Just watch that scene in a vacuum and it leaves you wanting to know all about Seyetik and his history. Watch it after this episode and it just doesn’t fit. Kiley’s Seyetik should have been saved for a deeper episode where Bashir bonds with an aging scientist and learns the true meaning of sacrifice, letting down his guard and being truly hurt by the loss. I have a feeling that would be one of my favorites. This one is not.