The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Visitor

In 2372, Benjamin Sisko was lost in a subspace accident. Decades later, Jake Sisko, now an old man, explains what happened in the intervening years. Trapped in subspace, Sisko would appear periodically to his son over the course of his life, leaving Jake determined to find a way to get his father back.

I approached The Way of the Warrior with trepidation, because I wasn’t sure if I would still enjoy it. Conversely, I was always looking forward to The Visitor, because this unashamed tear-jerker is, to me, one of the best episodes that DS9 has to offer. Sure, it takes Star Trek technobabble and pseudoscience to set up the story, but what a story.

In the very first scene, we unwittingly see Jake take the poison that will kill him at the end, and from there, the episode doesn’t let up. As Jake relates his story to his visitor, we see a young man at the start of his career, who tragically loses his father right in front of his eyes. it’s a painful loss for the boy who lost his mother just five years earlier, but whereas most of us come to deal with our grief and move, Jake never quite can – because his father keeps reappearing. Jake gets a taste of life as a writer, with a beautiful, talented and loving wife, only to throw it all away in search of a way to get his father back. Of course, because the rest of the series isn’t Jake Sisko’s Lonely Old Age, he succeeds in changing the timeline and putting things back to normal, but it wouldn’t be Star Trek without a bit of positivity to soften the blow.

Life in the Federation

This episode is one of the best for illustrating how life works in the Federation. The lack of economy can actually be seen here – we see Jake and his wife able to follow their artistic pursuits driven only by their respective muses, without needing to worry about finding a market for their work. They live in a house filled with nice things, with no need to fund this lifestyle in any way. At the age of 37, Jake is able to completely change his career, taking time out to complete a masters degree and PhD in science, without any worries about making ends meet during his mature student years.

The Future

  • The uniforms from the alternate future of All Good Things appear again here.
  • Nog becomes a Starfleet captain, whilst Dax and Bashir don’t appear to get promoted at all. Perhaps they left Starfleet and only took up the uniforms again for Jake’s mission.
  • Morn becomes the DS9 barkeep after Quark moves to his own moon, taking Rom with him. Quark always wanted his own moon, since his cousin Gaila already has one.
  • In the future, DS9 is ceded to the Klingons, the Bajorans make a mutual protection pact with the Cardassians, and the Dominion has remained in the Gamma Quadrant.
  • In the present (so to speak), Sisko deems observing the wormhole’s subspace inversion sufficiently important to risk going into the Gamma Quadrant and encountering the Dominion.

Summary – The Visitor: In which Jake Sisko’s temporal manipulations mean that he is single-handedly responsible for the Dominion War and Jadzia’s death. And his father’s going to return to the Prophets in just under four years’ time anyway. Nice one, Jake.

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