Anika and Liz sit down to discuss DS9’s “Past Tense”. It’s one of those episodes where we go, “This is really good!” and then talk about its problems for an hour.

  • Everyone knows “Past Tense” is a great two-parter, but what our theory presupposes is … maybe it’s deeply flawed?
  • But seriously, “This is a great episode” is the beginning, not the end, of the conversation
  • The great man theory of fake history
  • The neoliberalism of DS9
  • Anika’s big Reagan rant finally makes it through editing into an episode!
  • Empathy versus apathy
  • This is a really bad episode for Liz to have a total mental blank around the word “complicit” (don’t worry, the long pauses are edited out)
  • The outstanding costume and set design

It’s the episode where we go, “Has this just aged, like, really badly?”

Transcript

Liz: Would you like to talk about Star Trek for a while?

Anika: I guess. Sure. Star Trek and houselessness.

Liz: Yeah. This is going to be cheerful.

Liz: Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext, and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. This week, we’re discussing the Deep Space 9 two-part episode Past Tense. Gosh, what a downer this one is.

Anika: That’s one word for it!

Anika: It’s not happy, that’s true. But that’s partly why I wanted to watch it.

Liz: No, it was definitely worth watching. Do you want to summarize it for our listeners?

Anika: So it’s a two-part episode that took place in the third season.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And basically the crew are on a, you know, vacation to Earth, like you do, for some kind of conference. There’s always some kind of conference that’s going on, that they never get to, in all of these episodes.

Liz: And it’s like, this could have been an email.

Anika: Yeah. It definitely could have been an email or a Zoom call from Deep Space 9. Let’s be honest.

Sisko, Bashir and Dax, basically the Starfleet people, are going to beam down to Earth, and one of those crazy Star Trekhappenstances – there’s a technical name for it. I did not write it down because it does not matter at all what actually happened – but a temporal rift of some kind happens, and they end up in 2024 San Francisco.

Liz: And it is not a happy place.

Anika: It is a terrible place. Bashir and Sisko are basically almost immediately rounded up into a Sanctuary District, which is a zone for the houseless, jobless.

Liz: Yeah, the homeless and unemployed.

Anika: Yeah. Anybody who’s down on their luck,

Liz: Yes.

Anika: Which is most of the people.

Liz: There’s also a significant proportion of people with untreated mental illnesses in there.

Anika: Yes, that’s one thing that they discuss a lot and that’s definitely important, because that’s true to life.

And Dax, because she’s a pretty white lady, is swooped up by a tech bro who owns a media conglomerate.

Liz: Saved by the tech millionaire.

Anika: She is smart enough to get herself a fake identity and go to town. And he provides her clothes – I’m really sad that we didn’t get a little Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman montage there, but I guess they didn’t have time for it.

Liz: I feel like there is an uncomfortable sugar daddy sort of subtext that I expect they were trying to avoid making explicit. Because it was very uncomfortable.

Anika: It’s very uncomfortable, but it’s also like, I’m not joking, Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts … that’s the vibe I got. So if you’re going to go there, you might as well lean all the way in.

Liz: Meanwhile, back in the Sanctuary District…

Anika: Back in the Sanctuary District, Sisko and Bashir are processed, and it’s terrible. They have no prospects. Welcome for Sanctuary District, you’re never getting out.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: It’s just bureaucracy upon bureaucracy, which also is very true to life. And there’s security They get a crash course in what the Sanctuary District is like.

But Sisko – because Sisko is Sisko, and I love this about him, he knows about this time period. He knows about how terrible it was, and about all of the discrimination against the impoverished, the disabled. And – because he’s Sisko – there’s definitely a racial overtone that I, at least, read into it.

Liz: It’s interesting – and we’ll discuss this later – that Sisko is aware of it, Avery Brooks is aware of it. I’m not 100% sure the background extras casting – because, spoilers, there are a lot of white people in this impoverished–

Anika: It is ridiculously overpopulated with my peers, the educated white guys.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah.

Anika: And so, basically they’re trying not to interfere, rah rah, Prime Directive. But they fail. They interfere. They get Sisko’s hero, Gabriel Bell, killed on the streets – good job guys – which means that, back on the little ship, Starfleet disappears. All of Starfleet disappears. Deep Space Nine disappears, Starfleet headquarters disappears. The only people saved are the people on the ship for, again, inexplicable Star Trek reasons.

Liz: And apparently the Romulans are the only people around the neighborhood. So I guess all the other races of the Alpha Quadrant disappeared.

Anika: The Romulans I guess, took over? Like, what I get out of it is, without Earth, the Romulans took over the entire galaxy.

Liz: And we’re meant to think that’s a bad thing.

Anika: Hah.

Liz: I mean, it is. Romulans are not good people, but still.

Anika: So in order to fix this problem, Sisko becomes Gabriel Bell. He takes on the persona of Gabriel Bell, and he does his damnedest to make sure that history goes back to the way it was supposed to be. Which is… Gabriel Bell stopped the rioters from murdering people. People were taken hostage in the Sanctuary Districts.

The, like, authorities were taken hostage in Sanctuary Districts. And Gabriel Bell stopped them from killing people. And because of that, I guess they decided it was a bad thing and they should get rid of the Sanctuary Districts. And then Starfleet came out of that.

None of this makes sense.

Liz: I definitely have questions.

Anika: It is a terrible, very flimsy, explanation of anything.

And this is one of the things that Star Trek likes to avoid. They don’t like setting things in the near future to our society because they don’t want to explain how we went from now to Star Trek utopia.

Liz: Yeah. It’s a really–

Anika: You know.

Liz: It’s a complicated story to tell, and you’re always at risk, with near future SF, of reality catching up to the story. And the reason I wanted to talk about this episode is that it’s very widely acclaimed by fandom as sort of Deep Space Nine at its most social justice-y, at its most sophisticated, at its most woke.

And I’m like, sure, this is a really good two-parter. I really enjoy watching these episodes. I remember watching them for the first time as a teen. I feel like I can say that they are good.

They are also wildly overrated, and I’m here to do that thing of going, “Hey, you know that media you love. What if it’s dot dot dot bad?”

I don’t think it’s bad. I just think that it has a lot of flaws that are worth discussing.

Anika: Right. I think it has a lot of flaws and I think it really falls apart if you start to think about it at all,

Liz: Or if you know anything about politics, or human nature, or if it’s 2021, and you’ve been watching the news for the last couple of years.

Anika: Right?

Liz: The whole premise behind the Bell Riots is that because this one man saved the hostages and people were so horrified when they learned of the conditions in the Sanctuary District, the whole system was thrown out. And, you know, the Employment Act was reinstated, and people were given jobs and homes and we stopped hating the poor.

And I’m like, just … for the last few years, we have seen video footage of police murdering Black people. And there’s been outcry. There have been riots, there have been protests, and nothing has changed.

Anika: And nothing has changed. It has gotten worse

Liz: I should say very little has changed. Change is incremental, and often it’s one step forward, two steps back. So the idea that these riots, and this one guy saving the hostages…

Anika: Who are, like, four people

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: It’s not even a big thing at all.

Liz: I just think this is a very naive episode in a way that absolutely fits with the nineties and the liberalism and neoliberalism of Star Trek at the time. And that is an interesting problem that is worth discussing, instead of just putting this episode up on a pedestal as hashtag the best.

Anika: I just want to finish my synopsis.

Liz: Oh, I’m so sorry!

Anika: But yes. The riots happen, Sisko as Gabriel Bell saves the hostages, ends the riots. It involves getting Dax and her media pal to basically put it all on the internet so that people know that it’s happening. Which again, hilarious.

Meanwhile, O’Brien and Kira have been trying to find them in the broken timeline through their own weird transporter magic. And they’ve been visiting the wrong decade over and over again. They’re the comic relief of the episode, but eventually they catch up and they find them, and having restored history, they can now go back into the future.

Which, you know, Starfleet exists and everything’s okay. And no, nothing, literally nothing changed – because Sisko is Gabriel Bell, which to me means he was always Gabriel Bell. It’s another case of, Sisko was his own hero.

Liz: Yes. It’s an interesting story, but it’s so simplistic, and much like City on the Edge of Forever, which it references and echoes in a lot of ways. It uses the same ideas, and once again, doesn’t really hold up if you scrutinize them too closely.

Anika: It’s a good story. They were throwing their hat in the ring and saying, “We want to say something about this.” And they said it, and I applaud them for that. It was an attempt.

Liz: It was also the last Deep Space Nine episode that took place without another Star Trek running. There was a brief period in season three where TNG had ended and Voyager hadn’t started yet. And this was the last of them. It’s kind of Deep Space Ninestanding up and saying, “Look, we really are Star Trek. We are proper Star Trek. We have something to say, and our heart is in the right place.”

Anika: We’ve mentioned that one of the reasons we wanted to watch this was because it takes place in 2024, which is less than three years from now. It’s literally September, I think. So it’s now, it’s three years from now.

Liz: This episode will drop around the pre anniversary of the Bell Riots. So congratulations on your timing.

Anika: So it was 30 years in the future when it was written, and they’ve said this in the documentary, and in various interviews and everything, they’ve said that they were inspired by reality, that they were looking around actual San Francisco of 1994 and 95, and this is what was happening. And they could see the future, and it was going to end up like this.

And yes, that is true. We definitely have what amounts to Sanctuary Districts. They’re just not real yet. They’re not official, but they exist in places like California and New York and Chicago and, you know, any big city in the U S that has a houselessness problem, which is all of them.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: My little, tiny city in my little, tiny state, that is well to do comparatively. The homeless have ticked up a lot in the past year, for obvious reasons.

Liz: Yeah, Melbourne too. I don’t think the homelessness problem has gone away in the last 30 years. I think it’s gotten worse. And something that I was reading in preparation for this episode is that the biggest demographics to become homeless are older women and single mothers, which is pretty–

Anika: Heartbreaking.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah, it’s terrible. And a lot of them don’t live on the street. You know, they sleep in their cars, they couch surf. They’re invisible, basically.

Anika: Okay.

Liz: And so the face of homelessness might be men, but the bulk of homeless people are women. Certainly in Australia, it might be a bit different in the US – and this is without complicating factors. Like, I think at the time this was written, Vietnam veterans made up a big proportion of homeless people.

Anika: Yeah, absolutely make up a huge portion, which here we are in the middle of this Afghanistan disaster.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: And the 20-year war that was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end. And we’re going to be dealing with it forever.

And absolutely women, older women and single moms. It’s the fact that we don’t take care of any of these people. We don’t take care of any of the demographics that clearly need to be taken care of. And it’s not just older women, and older men as well, but women tend to live longer, so there’s more of them.

Liz: And certainly in Australia, their marriages fail, and they maybe haven’t worked as long. They don’t have much put away for retirement. They can’t afford rent. Rent is hugely expensive.

Anika: They weren’t paid as much because they’re women.

Liz: No, no.

Anika: They can’t save as much. I know this as a woman.

Liz: Yeah, yeah. It is really easy to become a marginal person in our society.

Anika: And children are ridiculously expensive.

Liz: Stupidly expensive.

The funny thing is, I watched this episode the year I was 13. That was the year my parents split up. And we were actually homeless for a few months after my parents’ marriage ended. And I didn’t realize it because, you know, we were living in a caravan in my aunt’s backyard. And then, when she kicked us out, we were couch surfing for a while.

It’s only just recently – I was listening to the You’re Wrong About episode about homelessness, and Mike was saying, you know, the definition of homelessness includes single mothers and their kids who are couch surfing or living in someone’s backyard. And I was like, “Wait, that – that … that was us. No!”

Anika: Okay.

Liz: So it was interesting to realize that I watched this episode just a couple of months after that period ended, and that now I can so clearly see the absences in the Sanctuary Districts. There are very few women, there are very few Black people. There are very few people of colour at all, and we see children, but very few of them. We also don’t see many drug addicts.

Anika: Right. Absolutely drug addicts. And the thing is that they make a big deal about the mentally ill. But the only thing that they mentioned is schizophrenia. And also, they never say ‘disabled’. And I’m just like, where are the disabled people? Because it is very, very difficult for a disabled person to fit into the little, tiny box where they get disability payments, because they have to have nothing.

They have to have no savings and no income in order to qualify for the disability payments. You know, they have to have very low everything else. So they can’t get a good job or, save up for a house, or something, they’re not allowed to, and yet they have so many expenses that they need those disability payments. I mean, it is a racket.

Liz: Absolutely. and it is designed to be hard to apply for – here as well as in America. It’s really terrible. But overall, you think about all of this, and the Sanctuary District suddenly seemed very, very sanitized.

Anika: Right. So it’s like, where did all those other people go? Where did the quote unquote unpretty homeless go? Because they are not here.

There are two men who are like the face of the Sanctuary District. One is literally a cowboy, like no joke, literally a redneck cowboy guy. And he is more comic relief. He is not taken seriously at all.

Liz: Which is weird, because he’s straight up murders Gabriel Bell. As far as you can tell, he is a psychopath, a charming psychopath. And he dies in the end, but he almost gets, if not a redemption arc, a humanizing story.

Anika: That’s the thing, he is either a villain, like you said, he murders Gabriel Bell. Or he’s a joke where he’s like hitting on Dax but he thinks she’s with Julian, and it’s creepy and weird and gross. And I hate everything about it–

Liz: Yeah,

Anika: –but he is the basically – like now looking at it through the lens of 2021, it’s like, okay, so he’s like the QAnon guy. It’s weird how well he represents the QAnon guys when the QAnon guys didn’t exist in 1995. But….

Liz: Yes.

Anika: He really is – like, he is the guy who stormed the Capitol in January.

Liz: I was making breakfast and thinking about what I was going to say in this episode – because I do some preparation – and I was wondering if it was over the top to compare the taking of hostages with the 6 January insurgency.

Anika: No, see, again, this is why I wanted to watch it, because it feels like it’s happening.

Liz: Okay. So one day, when Star Trek has an episode where they go back in time to 6 January, and the captain has to impersonate a Capitol rioter…

Anika: Yikes. No, no bad. Let’s not. Okay. Anyway.

Oh, and also his name is Biddle Coleridge, or something like that. It’s definitely Biddle, and then it’s like Coleridge, but he says it in a weird accent.

Liz: He mostly goes by BC and I would too if I was named Biddle.

Anika: But it sounds like bit o’ courage to me. Like, that’s what they were going for. He has a bit of courage, but not enough. He’s not an actual leader. He’s not a Gabriel Bell. He’s just a QAnon supporter.

Liz: Right!

And then the other face of the rioters is a salt of the earth family man named Webb, who had a job, he was a blue collar worker – or I think he was a factory boss, or something like that. And the factories shut down and all the jobs went.

I guess this is a really nineties understanding of poverty and unemployment. Blue collar jobs were shutting down. The service industry was rising in its place. The tech bros are making money and the older guys are out of work.

Anika: I wrote this down because it was so telling, but Sisko, as Bell, says about Webb, he’s the guy next door and that’s what they need to see.

Liz: Yes. And that was one of the points where I went, Yes, they do have an inkling of the racial dynamic they’re dealing with. And Sisko is smart enough to put the friendly, formerly middle-class white man with the kid that looks like Jonathan Brandis and the wife and daughter we never see because they’re only ladies–

Anika: But he is a middle-aged white guy. Middle-class, and all he wants is to support his family and be a good little worker.

Liz: [sarcastically] He doesn’t want a handout. He just wants a hand up.

Anika: So, this is my main issue with the entire thing. The hostage takers’ goals are to reinstate the Labor Act.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: So basically like they’ve been promised that they will get jobs and then they can, I guess, have a great life because they have a job and an income, and they’re part of the capitalist machine, or something. That’s their demand. Their demand is, give me a job.

Liz: And I kind of get it. Like, I love having a job. I love working. I genuinely enjoy exchanging my labor for money, and I would be really lost if I didn’t have that in my life. But I just think that the lack of the federal Employment Act is not the beginning and end of their problems in this version of 2024.

Anika: I do not see how reinstating the Labor Act somehow creates a society where money doesn’t exist and your job is up to you.

Liz: How does it help the single mothers we don’t see? How does it help the mentally–

Anika: Exactly!

Liz: –disabled?

Anika: So my brother wrote this amazing essay, which is locked to subscribers. So, we can’t – I mean, I’ll link it, but not everybody will be able to see, but it was an amazing essay called Lottery Ticket America, that talks about a woman – and he goes out of his way to not describe her with any racial or even – you’re supposed to imagine her yourself, like, you decide who she is.

Liz: An everywoman.

Anika: An everywoman. But she is poor, and she has a child that she raises alone. She’s a single mom. You know, the dad is bad. Let’s just say.

Liz: It happens.

Anika: The paragraph that is related to this discussion is – I’ll just read the first few sentences.

“Your child is three. Since she was born, you have applied for 163 jobs. You got 12 interviews, three callbacks, and one offer. The job was an hour away. Between daycare and gas and maintenance on your car, the money doesn’t add up. So you don’t take the job. The people at the unemployment office mark you unwilling to work.”

And so this idea that making jobs is going to save everyone in the Sanctuary District is just absurd to me. It does not address the childcare issues.

You know, what jobs are these? How are we training these people? It does not address the people who have a mental or physical disability that gets in the way of them being able to work a 30-hour workweek.

It doesn’t address so many things and it doesn’t address that, yeah, okay. I have a job. I have a full-time job. It barely pays for me and my daughter to survive. Like, forget about fun.

Liz: Right.

Anika: Just keeping my house from not falling apart around me is like a separate full-time job. Doing the budgeting and the math, and talking to all the people to make sure that all of the things that I’m already paying for actually do what they’re supposed to do is such a tangle.

And I am educated, and I am quote unquote, middle-class, at least on some metric. And I’m drowning. So how are these people, who have none of that – that is not the answer. Making sure everyone has a job, like, I’m sorry to all of the economists and everybody out there screaming about how all we have to do is get Americans back to work and then it’ll solve every problem. That’s just not true. There are many other problems that having a job will not address at all.

Liz: They say ‘job’, and I assume what they mean is a union job that pays enough for the male breadwinner to go out to work and support his nuclear family of four, while his wife stays home and looks after the kids. And that will pay the mortgage, and that will run the car, and they’ll get a little holiday every year.

And what I actually picture is just all of these people coming out of the Sanctuary District and being told, “Okay, you drive for Uber now. Okay. You work for Amazon now.”

Anika: Exactly. And that’s the other thing is that in our reality, it has become such a – it’s not like our economy ever was based on helping the laborers over the CEOs, but it’s become even more like that. Again –you cut out my last Reagan rant.

Liz: One day, one day, it will get in.

Anika: Since Reagan, this has been a huge problem. So my daughter is doing a us history for 10th grade. We just recently finished our section on the New Deal and World War 2, and Roosevelt’s, you know, post-depression, that whole thing. It’s pretty depressing in that the only thing that really saved America from the Depression was a war.

Liz: Yes. Yes.

Anika: And then everything that Roosevelt put in place to protect workers and individuals, as opposed to the corporations, since that time period in the 1940s, those people have been working to find loopholes and work around them and change the laws back to something that supports them. And so now, none of those protections are in place anymore. Like they’re there in theory–

Liz: And African-Americans were excluded from the New Deal. So you also have this big demographic who never had that generation of support, which made a big difference to a lot of white families. So, yeah, it’s just, it’s a blip and it’s terrible. Speaking of Reagan…

Anika: Always. Always.

Liz: I know, I know, I know. But there’s this whole thing in the two-parter about how everyone wants to care, but they’re just overwhelmed and it’s just so hard, and everyone wants to make a difference and no one is doing this out of hate.

And it’s like, no! America, and the Western world, has been explicitly hating poor people for generations! I mean, probably, you know, on some levels back as far as we’ve had human civilization, but in a more recent context, since Reagan.

Anika: Absolutely. I put this quote from an empathy versus apathy standpoint, which – it’s a review of the episode. And it basically, that recap boils down to what this episode is about is empathy versus apathy.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Which is another thing that is vital to now. I just look at the responses to the climate change report, the recent climate change report. It is either empathy or apathy. It is either, we need to band together to address these things and not care about the economy, and not care about borders and not care about countries and, you know, differences of opinion in how we do things that are otherwise unrelated to climate change. We need to come together. Versus “we’re all fucked anyway, so let’s just give up.”

Liz: Right. Right.

And apathy is such a convenient mask for hatred. A lot of my criticisms about Past Tense are really just things that have aged poorly or, you know, somehow the writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did not realize how bad the 2020s could be. But then you have stuff like this. “Oh, I could understand letting people suffer because you hate them, but just because you don’t care?” No! These guys, these writers existed in the eighties, they existed in the seventies. It just feels like they’re letting themselves and the culture off the hook.

Anika: At the beginning, you mentioned the neoliberalism movement and that’s – it’s like, based on that. Clearly, I’m not a neoliberal. I am – I am a lefty, I guess? I’m woke? Stupid word.

Liz: No, my mother a few weeks ago asked me, “Oh, look, Elizabeth, what does this word mean? Woking?” And I was like, ah that’s how far it’s gotten. So I explained, I said, “Mum, it’s African American slang. And it means being awake to the injustices of the world.” And she was like, “oh, I’m woke!” And I was like, You kind of are. You kind of are.”

Anika: Okay. That’s sweet. I’m proud of her. You know, that’s the first step. If you’re trying, you get points from me. I know that we’re not supposed to give out gold stars for trying, but, honestly, I think we need them every now and again. So I will give her a gold star

Liz: If you don’t respect any effort at all, then you just end up back in this apathetic position where it’s too hard and you don’t do anything. Learning and trying are hard work. They’re not the be-all and end-all, but they’re a start. And I respect the effort.

And I do respect the effort of this episode, these two episodes. I really do. I would not have so many feelings about them if I didn’t think there was something good in the core. I just…

Anika: No, I agree. I just think what you said earlier, that you can’t just call it a good episode and be done. You can’t just say, oh yeah, this is proof that Deep Space Nine is great, and the best Star Trek, or the most woke Star Trek.

Liz: And I feel like stuff like Voyager is not held up that way, and so people are more willing to have conversations about what it does well and what it does badly. Whereas, sometimes, with Deep Space Nine, it’s almost performative. “Oh yes, Deep Space Nine is the best Star Trek. End of story.” And that’s the end of the conversation.

Anika: Yeah. But, absolutely, for my entire life, the society and the government, I’m going to say, I’m going to stay straight out, like we said, with Reagan, has been trying to force a divide between people where the poor people are poor because of their own mistakes, because they didn’t care enough. They don’t try hard enough because they’re not, you know, playing in the capitalist society. They’re not doing the work.

And I just straight up reject that on every level, because I know how hard it is to get out of that. If you are born poor, you have very little – like, it doesn’t matter how hard you try.

Liz: No, it is so hard.

Anika: It’s all of the other external factors that are weighing down on you, and making it harder for you to succeed. Meanwhile, the people who were born rich, all of those same factors are working to make it hard for them to fail.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so precarious.

And I’m really lucky. I went from being homeless with my family at 13 to a point where I’m almost 40 and I just paid off the personal loan that I took out in my twenties. And yet, I had to take out that personal learning in my twenties to do things like move house. And, you know, I also travelled and did indulgent and possibly irresponsible stuff like that.

Anika: It’s not irresponsible, though. That’s the other thing, like, they say that it’s irresponsible to go to a convention or to go to Disneyworld, or to have a vacation at all. Or to write fan fiction instead of trying to sell your work. And I reject that as well, because if you’re not doing those things, then what is the point of any of it? What are you working for if you never take a vacation?

Liz: I have such strong feelings about the monetization of fandom, and the monetization of fan fiction and, you know, putting your fic behind a Patreon, or something.

Because when I was a teenager, literally all I could do was go to the library and check out books, and, once a month, rent a Star Trekvideo, and write fan fiction. That was what I did. That was my outlet. And the only barrier to entry was a cheap computer and my dad’s internet connection at work.

So going, ‘people should be paid for their fan fiction’ just really sets my back up because I know I’m not the only one out there who – you know, there are kids out there now, there are probably adults out there now, who are reading and writing fic on their phone because that’s all they can do.

Anika: I mean, I am the radical person, we know this–

Liz: We do.

Anika: –who says that no one should be paid for anything, that money should not exist. People should just get what they need and do what they want. And I know that that is impossible in our current state of affairs. Like, I know that the way the world is set up right now, that won’t work. But. You know, everyone’s saying cancel student debt, and I absolutely 100000% agree. Cancel all student debt, do it now.

Liz: Absolutely.

Anika: Then cancel all debt, like screw debt.

Liz: I hoped that was where you were going!

Anika: And the thing is that I don’t care if Jeff Bezos debt is also erased because mine will be too.

Liz: And so that will make very little difference to him and all the difference to you.

Anika: And a huge, amazing difference to me and all of the people like me. I have a personal loan that I’m paying off in October, too. And I am so excited to be like done with that loan. I won’t be debt free, but I will be, you know, like one more little check mark on, on my journey to debt free.

Liz: Yeah, yeah.

Anika: It’s just, I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t – it’s just no, just get rid of everything. Money is fake. Money is fake. We decided that it had meaning. No one needs the amount of money that Jeff Bezos or any of the people like him, Elon Musk, all of those people, Bill Gates, none of them need their money. They have more money than countries. Like, billionaire not exist. I’m pretty sure millionaires should not exist. So just stop, just stop.

Liz: Imagine how much America could do for its people, if Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk paid tax.

Anika: Oh my God. Yeah. That’s the other thing, is that I pay so much tax! And I have no, like, I’m nothing, I am so small, and so nothing, and yet!

Liz: And yet.

Anika: And yet I pay taxes, I pay taxes every paycheck. I pay taxes for, for anything. And it is so frustrating, because I’m also that person who’s like, okay, if taxes are going to exist, then fine take, you know, take half, take two thirds of my paycheck and pay for my utilities, and pay for my car and pay – if I don’t have all these other expenses, then that’s fine.

But the thing is that I had the expenses and the taxes, so I’m just screwed. Like, I get nothing, I have insurance and yet I still have to pay so much for my stupid house repairs or going to the doctor. And I have good insurance! It should not be this way.

And that’s like – the bureaucracy of the Sanctuary District, and that poor one – the one black woman who was an employee of the Sanctuary Districts, and she got in trouble for trying to help one person once. And so now she just turns a blind eye to the whole thing. Like, yeah, yeah, lady, I get you because–

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: –that is true. The paperwork is nonsense.

Liz: I would like to talk about Lee, that Sanctuary District employee, and one of the two African-American women in this episode, because I love her. She is such a real person. She is sympathetic to the plight of the people in the Sanctuary District, but she tried to help one once and, you know, overlook her arrest warrants, and she was punished for it. And now she goes along to get along. I guess she’s complicit in the system in a way that most people are, and it’s sad, but I feel for her.

Anika: We all are.

Liz: Well, yeah, we are all complicit. And it was interesting to contrast her against the only other black woman in the two-parter – who is named Female Guest – who is a rich woman at a party Dax attends. She supports the Sanctuary Districts and complains about Marxist rioters in Europe ruining her ski trip.

Anika: Yeah. Okay. So we haven’t discussed at all the Dax–

Liz: No!

Anika: So Dax is over in tech bro world with her sugar daddy. She goes to a party and she – Dax spends the entire episode sort of trying to get this one tech bro to care about people.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: She doesn’t even really try at the party. They’re just all so terrible that she’s like, “Okay, I can’t fix that, so I’m just going to focus on this one guy that I have sort of a personal relationship with. He’s clearly into me, so I’m going to use that and try to get him on my side.” And she sort of does, in that he does help with the whole [internet] blasts or whatever

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: That helps them. The end of this episode is very sudden and it’s very deus ex machina. A media guy, like, helps out and then it sort of ends.

Liz: They wasted a lot of time on the comedic adventures of Dax and O’Brien –Dax and O’Brien? Kira and O’Brien. Like, that was cute and all, but it wasn’t necessary to the plot, and it really destroyed the tension. I wish we had had more time in 2024.

Anika: The very beginning of the episode, like the pre credits scene was completely unnecessary in every way. The entire time, I was like, this is five minutes that you could be using on literally anything.

Liz: Well, they had to pay Armin Shimmerman.

Anika: No one cares why like Quark isn’t in the episode. No one cares why Odo and O’Brien don’t go down on the planet. None of that was necessary. We did not need to know any of it, and it just really bothered me that was there.

Liz: I think just a relic of the way TV was made then, and the idea that if you had this big ensemble, you had to give every character a token scene. But yeah, it was … I was particularly impressed by the structure of episode one, and how tight the story was, but it starts off with this flabby little scene that they didn’t need.

Anika: Right, exactly. Once they get going, then it gets going. I wanted to just jump to that. We didn’t need the prologue. We just needed to get into the action, because that was meaty.

Liz: And once they hit 2024, the story just moves along at a really nice pace. Up until, in episode two, there’s a bit where Dax gets into the Sanctuary District and–

Anika: She’s kidnapped.

Liz: is kidnapped by what’s his face from The Corbomite Maneuver, whose whole shtick in Star Trek, post The Original Series, is to turn up and creep on women. Because he did the same thing in Discovery.

Anyway, she gets kidnapped. Her commbadge is stolen. She has to go back and get her commbadge. It was just filler.

Anika: It was completely filler. It was unnecessary. And then Biddle had this whole weird, “I’m going to creep on Dax but she’s with Bashir thing,” which was like, okay.

Liz: I suddenly understood why there were no women in this in insurgency group.

Anika: Because those men were terrible.

Liz: They sure were. But I love the overall Dax story, because she is such a great con artist. She knows exactly how to say just enough that Brynner will trust her and believe in her. And she knows that she can rely on being a very beautiful woman, and she goes with it. And she does it without shame.

Anika: It was great, because it was one of the few times where Jadzia was very much, like, “I am smarter than all of you, because I have seven lifetimes of experience. So I’m going to actually use them, and I’m going to get my way.” And that was great. Like, she should be like that all the time.

Liz: I was also thinking as I watched it, this is a rare instance of Jadzia having a personality that isn’t Curzon’s.

Anika: Right? Exactly. Jadzia having a personality that is her own, and she’s smart and clever. And just like, Jadzia has so much potential as a character. And they rely on, “I’m pretty and people just sort of like me. And also, I’m Curzon,” like you’re right. Her entire personality is Curzon. And it’s just like why? She is perfectly capable of being her own individual character. And they really just rely on her being cute. I don’t like it.

Liz: In this episode, you know, she is totally relying on being cute, but it’s a choice that she’s making, or maybe it’s a position that she’s taking advantage of.

Anika: And she does that in Trials and Tribble-ations, too. And it’s like, that’s good. It’s like, absolutely, 100%, Jadzia Dax should know that she’s hot. She should know that, and she should use that, and it’s good when she does it. It is not a criticism in any way. I don’t like it when the writers think that that’s all she has–

Liz: Yes. Yes. But no, I think this is a really great Dax episode, and I enjoyed watching her work Brynner. As much as there was this constant tension of expecting him to demand sex in exchange for everything he has given her. But I’ve watched this two-parter a bunch of times. I know it doesn’t happen, so that’s okay. I can sort of relax and we get to see how the other half live.

And yeah. I also want to talk about the only other woman in this two-parter. The cop.

Anika: Which cop?

Liz: There is a police detective who liaises with–

Anika: Ohhhhhh, that – I – she was a cop? I guess she’s a cop. I don’t know. I didn’t think of her as a cop, but, but yes, I’m sure she is. Yeah.

Liz: Oh, she is absolutely a cop.

Anika: Oh my God. She’s hilarious. My favorite part was when she said the governor intends to form a committee. It’s so real. That is the most real thing this entire episode, because yes, that is all governors ever want to do.

See. So that’s why I sort of thought that she was someone from the governor. Like she was like the government liaison of some kind. So I didn’t think of her as a cop, necessarily, so much as a lackey of the government. Which is sort of the same thing.

Liz: She’s definitely a lackey of the government, but she’s a cop. And overall, I feel like this two-parter really doesn’t get into – and obviously this is a very 2021 way of thinking – doesn’t get into the way the police are complicit in violence against marginalized people.

You know, the two cops who put Sisko and Bashir – we start off with these two cops who pick Bashir and Sisko up, and they’re assholes. But then they’re redeemed by the end, they let Bashir and Sisko walk away. They’ve learned an important lesson.

Anika: Have they, though?

Liz: Well, Sisko’s like, “Tell the truth,” and what’s his face is like, “I was going to do that anyway.” I just feel like overall … this story is not copaganda, but it had a very rosy eyed view of police forces.

But then, the fact that this woman, the most prominent white woman in the story other than Dax, is complicit up to her eyeballs, and also well-intentioned and absolutely unwilling to put her career on the line to help, felt very real to me.

Anika: Yes, absolutely. She reminded me so much of the woman in The High Ground. I straight up thought it was the same actress. I had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t, and it’s not, but she had that same, like, “I am fully on board with this terrible, like I know that I’m terrible, but I’m terrible for a purpose, and so it’s okay,” kind of deal

Liz: She had cop drama face. I looked up the actress, and her career is not entirely police procedurals, but she’s done a bunch of them, and she has that sort of face.

And I like cop dramas! I am currently watching Bosch. (Season two has Jeri Ryan.) It’s great, but I watch it going, this show has terrible politics. It just tells its stories well. And also, I am an adult and can recognize and dismiss propaganda when it’s put in front of me.

But yeah, she felt like a character from a procedural, and she felt like a well-executed supporting character.

Anika: No, I agree. I think she was well done. And I also liked that the governor was a non-entity.

Liz: Yes,.

Anika: It was Newsom, which is hilarious. Governor Newsom is being – he’s going through a recall right now and it’s of close. So he could lose, and some random Republican – because there are like, no joke, a list of like 30 random Republicans, from, like, YouTube stars to business owners, who are trying to be governor of California. And if Newsom loses and one of these random people –like, it’s bad. It’s very bad.

Every time they mentioned the governor, that’s all I was thinking, it’s either Newsom, or it’s Newsom’s crazier placement. Neither of these things are good.

Liz: Neither of these things are implausible either.

Anika: It’s just like, wow. But yeah, I think that she probably – she was like a plot point when they were writing her in 1995. But again, through the 2021 lens, she’s actually super interesting.

Liz: And that’s why it’s so frustrating to me that there are only two Black women in this story. Because I don’t want to stereo– I’m going to stereotype. But one thing I’ve noticed that about American politics is that Black women are very, very politically active.

And so it totally makes sense that you would have characters like Lee, who are just part of the system and hate it, but can’t do anything. And you would have characters like Party Guest, er, Female Guest, who are actively bad people. But where are the women within the sanctuary district calling for change?

Anika: Right. 100%. You know, let’s go back to the Stonewall riots. If we’re really talking about people who started riots… Obviously Gabriel Bell had to be a black man because he had to be Sisko.

Liz: Right, right.

Anika: And Avery Brooks is political, he made Benjamin Sysco more political, and that is, honestly, an amazing legacy for him. And I think that he doesn’t get enough credit for it.

Liz: And what makes this episode good is a lot of what Brooks brought to the role. His performance is extraordinary here.

Anika: It’s the subtext in every single thing that he does. Because it is not in the text. There’s nothing racial written into this story. And it should be, I feel, again, from a 2021 perspective, but Avery Brooks makes it racial. He puts it into his performance and he makes it very clear.

Again, when he says that one line to the the white, the guy who’s very generic, he is very generic. Middle-aged, middle bodied family man, white guy. And he’s like, this should be the face of our revolution, because then they’ll pay attention. That was such a moment.

And again, I really don’t feel like – obviously the line was there, but I really don’t think it was in the script, the way that Avery Brooks presented it.

Liz: There’s an irony in his line delivery. A slight, I don’t want to say bitterness, but a recognition of an ugly reality. And I think that was Brooks.

Anika: Exactly. It was the way that he delivered the line, made it so much more profound than it was on the page.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And I think that he does that throughout Deep Space Nine. Like honestly, someday we’re going to have to do a Sisko episode.

Liz: Oh my gosh, yes.

Anika: Because Sisko is a really incredible performance. It’s not that he’s an incredible character, is it’s an incredible performance.

Liz: Right, right.

Anika: I can’t imagine anyone else giving it the weight that he does.

Liz: I feel like, also, he came into this show and he was dialled up to 14 from the very first day. And so in Emissary it’s like, ‘wow, this guy is chewing the scenery a bit.’ And then, by now in season three, it’s like, ‘Hmm, I think he’s chewing the scenery just the right amount, actually.’

Anika: We’re on board with it. Yeah,

Liz: I guess my feeling about the lack of Black women in the Sanctuary District is that they’re a demographic that is very easily excluded, and it’s so easy to just let that slide and … I don’t wanna.

Anika: Yeah, we shouldn’t, we shouldn’t.

Liz: No. Can we move on to lighter matters, and talk about the costumes?

Anika: Oh my gosh. There’s so much to say about that. the costumes.

Liz: We could do a whole episode just on the costume design.

Anika: It is amazingly costumed. My first note in my little list here that I put on our outline for the costumes is the beige, because I cannot deal with it.

Liz: Oh my gosh. So 1995.

Anika: My comment,s and this can be taken in multiple ways, and I meant it in multiple ways, but I wrote down, is there, all caps, no color in 2024?

Liz: Okay. I honestly think that they were taking inspiration from Babylon Five, where they had a very limited costume budget, so what they would do is buy off the rack men’s shirts, tailor them to fit the actors, and then remove the collars.

Anika: I cannot handle the lack of color. The ties are hilarious to me. So everyone, everyone at Jadzia’s party – first of all, everyone at Jadzia’s party is dressed like a man.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: They are all wearing very masculine dress.

Liz: Yes. Oh my gosh.

Anika: I can’t tell if it’s a skirt or shorts under her–

Liz: It’s a miniskirt.

Anika: It’s a miniskirt? Okay. It is still super masculine, regardless of the miniskirtness.

Liz: The top half of her outfit is like this … almost a frock coat with a very high waistcoat underneath. And it’s very flattening, and there are shoulder pads. Like you say, it’s super masculine. And then the bottom half is this brocade miniskirt, with pantyhose and high heels.

Anika: The high heels are the best when she’s in the Sanctuary District, and she’s like being pushed along by the kidnappers, and she has these ridiculous pumps. This is like, why did they do this?

Liz: She also has her hair sort of center parted and put up in almost a Victorian sort of style. And then at the party, she wears white feathers in it.

Anika: When I did the Jadzia Fashion Project, I described this as a take on George Washington.

Liz: Oh, I can see that!

Anika: Like, 100%, I really feel like there is like this weird revolutionary thing going on with her hair and her layers. And just the whole aesthetic is very revolutionary. And it’s interesting because everybody in that scene with her, again, they’re all wearing basically men’s suits, even if they’re like tailored to women, they’re still men’s suits.

Liz: It’s a little bit like Hamilton, where they’re all wearing beige undergarments and then the same men’s coats.

Anika: And she is the most extreme of the revolutionary wear. I think it’s on purpose, because she is sort of the revolutionary in that group. Like, to be very one-to-one metaphor, she is the John Adams character, and they’re all the rest of people, and she’s convincing them to rebel against society.

Liz: I love this. I didn’t see this at all. And I love it.

Anika: So that’s interesting. I love what everything about her costume says. I love that it’s stripes on top and a floral brocade on the bottom, but in the same color scheme. That’s kind of great

Liz: I actually had a skirt like that once, and it was as good as it sounds. Also, I would like to propose that if we can ever be at a convention at the same time, we organize with our friends, and we all go as 2024 party guests

Anika: Yes, that would be so good. It would be

Liz: Bonus, if we can do it in 2024.

Anika: Okay. So now I’m going to start planning for that. Everybody hit us up if you want to be in on the 2024 convention cosplay group.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: It would be amazing. Oh my gosh. I want to do this so badly,

Liz: Also, I feel like this is enough notice that I can plausibly, maybe, leave the country.

Anika: Yes, God, I hope so. I want to believe that it’s going to get better. Not good, but better.

Liz: Better will do. Better will do.

Anika: Anyway, but back to the ties. So everybody at the party is wearing these ties that are like … basically it’s an itty-bitty teeny tie that is on its side, but it is still a tie, it still has the shape of a tie, but it’s on its side and tied in a weird little collar thing. They’re very, like, ‘let’s imagine what the future of ties are.’

Liz: So my boss is a very well-dressed man, and he actually has shirts without collars, and I bet that if ties like that came into fashion, he would absolutely wear them.

Anika: I’ve definitely seen the shirts with those collars that would go with these ties. Like, absolutely. That is a thing that is happening already, so I can imagine it, but it’s just really funny to–

Liz: I would wear those ties, too. Like they were cute as hell.

Anika: Meanwhile, in the Sanctuary District, everyone is literally in beige and brown and mud colors.

Liz: It’s the nineties.

Anika: Eventually, Sisko and Bashir get to be dressed in, quote unquote modern clothes. And Bashir has this ridiculously oversized striped outfit. It’s just like,

Liz: I just want to say that this is one of those rare instances where Alexander was as hot then as he has become now, because that whole hoodie layer thing he had going on, there’s like a hoodie, then a duster over it.

Anika: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Liz: It was really working for him.

Anika: He looks scruffy, right? Which is–

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: –like, honestly, he’s very scruffy now, but he is … oh my God.

Liz: Yeah. He’s a very attractive man when he’s–

Anika: He has aged like fine wine.

Liz: I am looking and taking screencaps respectfully.

I thought Sisko’s outfit was also great, but Sisko is often very attractive in Deep Space Nine, so it wasn’t as unusual and remarkable as Bashir.

Anika: So my favorite part of the entire Kira and O’Brien part, again, it was just a side quest of humor. Nothing they did mattered. But they were both wearing their clothes, but they were wearing like their clothes, just sort of casual clothes.

And it was fun. It was fun to see those in different human Earth time periods, and how they fit in. Their little hippie moment is sort of iconic at this point, I feel. And also, Kira has a, a bandage over her nose, which I like, because it makes it an easy cosplay. It’s like, Kira without having to figure it out, that nose issue.

Liz: And you just need to walk around with a flower. Can I just say, I just realized, I have short curly hair, I could absolutely cosplay a femme O’Brien. Cause I really like his teal blazer.

Anika: Yeah, I love their clothes. I love that their clothes are both perfectly reasonable as Deep Space Nine reality–

Liz: Yes.

Anika: –and also the sixties. It’s so good. I really enjoy that.

Liz: I have to admit that I spent some time thinking, what would I replicate if I had to beam down to a bunch of eras in human history from the 1920s to the 2060s. And I was like, Hmm, something black, maybe basic. A skirt? Yes, Skirts are appropriate everywhere. So that was a nice thought experiment. I didn’t really get any solid ideas out of it, but yeah.

But I do have three years to source myself a really high necked waist coat for Jadzia.

Anika: I love her whole outfit.

Liz: It’s so great.

Anika: I have to mention my security guards.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: We didn’t mention that there are three groups of people in the Sanctuary District. All of them are homeless and employed, but there’s the gimmes, who are the people like Bashir and Sisko and Webb, who just want a job. They just want to get back on their feet and get going again.

They’re called the gimmes, which I find interesting. That is social commentary right there. I put in the parentheses, ‘welfare recipients, because’ that’s what people say about welfare recipients, they want to live off the government, and they just want to be given everything. And then the welfare recipients say, “No, we don’t. We want, you know, a floor in order to be able to get the jobs so that we can get off of welfare.”

Liz: Right. It’s an insulting name for people that the script is very kind to, and that’s a great piece of worldbuilding.

Anika: Yes, exactly. So that’s cool.

And then there’s the dims, which are the people who are, are mentally. And again, I listed disabled. We don’t actually see any disabled people, like not counting the mental disabilities. And we actually don’t actually see any of them either, we just sort of hear about them.

Liz: We do. There’s the guy sitting next to Sisko when they’re waiting, who starts drawing on him, and then Sisko stops him and he starts drawing on the woman on his other side.

And then I keep blanking on the actor’s name, but the guy I don’t like. Who was in the Corbomite Maneuver. Clint Howard! That’s him!

I’m pretty sure that he is meant to be mentally disabled, though he’s a character actor playing a mentally disabled person. So it’s actually kind of insulting. But, yeah, it’s interesting that Lee straight up says, “I’m not meant to use this derogatory word, and I hate that it’s come into my vocabulary.”

Anika: Yeah. So those are dims. And then there’s the ghosts.

Liz: Like the criminals.

Anika: The criminals. They’re the people who are our troublemakers, insurgents, the rioters, the protestors. I’m not really against the ghosts because they seem to be on the side of good. But they’re called ghosts, and no joke, the security guards are dressed like ghostbusters.

Liz: I saw your note there and I was like, oh my God! But I wanna walk back your suggestion that the ghosts aren’t that bad, because they run the place like a protection racket. They steal food cards–

Anika: True.

Liz: They murder Gabriel Bell, you know, they’re not good guys, but they’re–

Anika: I guess my, my point is that all of these terms are very stereotypical. They’re very generalized. So Gabriel Bell and Biddle are both ghosts.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: I feel like Gabriel Bell is a ghost who’s a protester.

And then Biddle is like a QAnon crazy person rioter guy. Like, he’s terrible. And I hate him.

Liz: Do we think that all the ghosts would be criminals outside of the Sanctuary District? Or is this how they have learned to survive in what is essentially a prison?

Anika: I feel like in the Sanctuary District – and, in reality, most of the people in prisons – they’re the marginalized, the people who were not only not given a leg up, but they were given a kick down.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Obviously, I’m against murder. I feel like it should be obvious, I am against murder, but I think that we need to address the situations that create criminals, instead of punishing criminals.

Liz: And the problem with a carceral justice system or a Sanctuary District is that it doesn’t distinguish between the person who is in prison for murder and the person who is in prison for possession of a street drug.

Anika: Right.

Liz: You know, one of these things is not like the other.

I had one final observation, and I’ve forgotten what it was.

Anika: Oh, can I talk about the eagle patch?

Liz: Yes. Because I remembered what my observation is, and it ties in with that.

Anika: So all of the people who work in Sanctuary District A wear an eagle patch with a big A on it. Obviously, this is an American thing. Like clearly that’s a US–

Liz: You guys love your eagles.

Anika: We love our eagles. But it is a bastardization of the Captain America logo. And I kind of like that.

Like, the thing is that, again, these QAnon people and these alt-right people have appropriated Captain America, and they get really upset when like Captain America in the comics or in the movies, you know, stands up for the poor people and the marginalized and the immigrants.They like get really angry about that. And they’re like, “Not my Captain America!”

And it’s like, okay. So Captain America was created by two Jewish men who wanted to fight Nazis and were immigrants, and 100% would agree with everything that modern Captain America is doing, and would be against everything that you, alt-right guy, stand up for.

Liz: It’s very much like the guys who complain that Discoveryis too woke, and why isn’t Star Trek good, like when Deep Space Ninewas doing episodes like Past Tense, which allegedly did not hit you over the head with the message.

Anika: So I really like the fake Captain America logo.

Liz: The graphic design and the set design for this episode are great. The waiting room in the Sanctuary District has the same feel of the waiting area of a Centerlink, which is our welfare office here in Australia.

And the machine that they use to take Sisko’s fingerprints and photo looks exactly like the devices which are now used to take your details when you come into America. I stuck my hand into one of those things at LAX last year. (Remember travel?)

Anika: It is all very good. I love the time keeping device. I guess it’s a clock. It’s really big, and it’s very like foreboding.

Liz: Yes. But without looking out of place.

Anika: The whole concept of Sanctuary Districts and the way that they were – it’s like they’re slums. They’re buildings, not tents or military barracks or internment camps. They’re full-on buildings. It’s like they put money into creating a homeless person prison.

But you don’t just get assigned to a building, like, the people who are already in the building get to decide if you get to come in. So Sisko and Bashir can’t find anywhere to live. Like, that’s one of the issues. So that’s interesting.

Liz: It seems fantastically American to set up this authoritarian system, but also you have to bootstrap your way to survival within it.

Anika: Absolutely.

Liz: My last comment, and this was what the eagle patch reminded me of – I don’t know much about guns, but I think it would have been shocking in 1995 to see police on the street, carrying what amount to assault rifles.

And I am impressed that the design of the guns used by the police makes them look like sewn off shotguns. Or maybe it’s just the way Biddle and Sisko handled them. But it was impressive to me how they go from being the terrifying weapon of the police to something even scarier in the wrong hands. And it’s the same prop!

Anika: And again, when held by the security, it straight up looks like the ectoplasm whatever that the Ghostbusters carry around.

Liz: Man, now I really need to know if this was intentional.

Anika: It’s just really interesting to me that – absolutely, that prop is sort of goofy, and then menacing. And it depends on who’s holding it.

And when Sisko is holding it, it is always terrifying. Like, I am afraid of Sisko every time. Because he would never use it. But you have this belief that, if he did use it, it would be important. It would be significant. It would be like, you know, Sisko holding up the glass and saying, “I’m okay with being bad every now and again.”

Liz: I was thinking about that scene and that episode, because the way Brooks plays him, Sisko is such a thoughtful, gentle, intellectual man. And yet he has this terrifying streak of violence.

And even though I’ve seen this two-parter and I know that Sisko never hurts anyone, there are still scenes where I’m afraid of him, and I’m afraid for him. Without ever not being on his side.

Anika: Right.

Liz: This performance is extraordinary.

Anika: Absolutely. He just has this way where he becomes the leader immediately. And that’s why I stand by my ‘Sisko was always Gabriel Bell’ belief. He has the confidence of knowing the way that it has to play out.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And that allows him to really push the envelope all the way to the edge, but not go over it.

Liz: That’s the thing, he plays it with his confidence, but it never becomes a Messiah complex.

Anika: Right. Like, I’m never afraid that Sisko is actually going to murder anybody the way that Biddle is definitely gonna murder people.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: And Biddle becomes lesser in Sisko’s presence just by the way that they stand, you know, the way that they interact. It’s incredibly well done.

The performances, the direction, the production design, the costumes, all of that is really good. It really rises to the occasion and elevates the story, which, again, it’s a good story, but the execution required them to all come together and make it happen. And they did. And that’s why it’s remembered as being so good.

Liz: Absolutely. And deservedly. I’m not saying it’s a bad episode. I just think that it has problems that are worth exploring. And we have. So well done, us.

Anika: Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. You can find our show notes at antimatterpod.tumblr.com, including links to our social media, and credits for our theme music. And a lot of the episodes now have transcripts.

Liz: Oh yeah!

Anika: You can also follow us on Twitter at, @antimatterpod and on Facebook at Antimatter Pod. There’s a theme

If you like us, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you consume your podcasts, because the more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find us. And we love reading them, even if we never talk about it.

Liz: We’ll try and talk about it more.

Anika: And join us in two weeks when we will be discussing the first half of Lower Decks season two.

Liz: Yay.

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