The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: The Ascent

Whilst escorting Quark to a tribunal, Odo’s runabout is sabotaged, forcing them to crashland on an inhospitable planet. With their only hope of sending out a distress signal requiring them to carry a heavy transmitter to the top of a mountain, they must embark on a difficult trek. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog’s friendship is tested when they decide to share quarters together on DS9.

This episode isn’t bad, but nor is it particularly memorable – probably because it relies not once, but twice, on an ‘odd couple’ setup. First up are Quark and Odo, in a storyline that only works because Odo is in human form (although I’m sure they could have crashlanded on a planet with an anti-morphogenic field if they’d needed to). These two long-time enemies are forced to cooperate if they are to have any hope of rescue – but don’t let that fool you into thinking they might admit they don’t despise each other.

Meanwhile, Nog has returned to DS9 for the field assignment portion of his Academy training, and Jake is looking forward to moving out of Sisko’s quarters and in with his best friend. Naturally, things don’t work out quite as planned – Nog has picked up an orderly and disciplined routine from his year at the Academy, whilst Jake has adopted a more relaxed and messy lifestyle. Perhaps the best part of this storyline was Sisko and Rom chatting to each other about their sons, with Rom wishing that Nog could loosen up a little, and Sisko wanting Jake to learn a bit of structure from Nog. What a change from season one.

Onwards and Upwards

  • This episode marks the first mention of the Orion Syndicate – as opposed to merely mentioning ‘the Orions’ without referring to an organisation. They are a fiercely loyal group, with a substantial entry fee even to gain membership. Quark has actually been summoned to testify against them.
  • Jake is working on a story called ‘Past Prologue’. This is also the name of the second episode of DS9.
  • If the sophomore year at Starfleet Academy involves going on a field assignment, how come Wesley didn’t return to the Enterprise for his assignment during TNG? Maybe he either decided to go somewhere else for the experience, or he wasn’t allowed to serve on the Enterprise after the Kolvoord Starburst incident.
  • By this point, both Nog and Sisko have commented on Jake’s awful spelling. Do they not have spellcheckers in the 24th century?
  • Odo offers to teach Quark fizzbin, the nonsense card game invented by Kirk in A Piece of the Action.

Summary – The Ascent: “You remember back there, when I told you I hated you, and you told me you hated me?”

“Vividly.”

“I just wanted you to know… I meant every word of it.”

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