The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Time’s Orphan

When the O’Briens go on a family picnic to Golana, their happy day out is ruined when Molly falls into a mysterious portal. O’Brien is able to reactivate the portal to get her back, but the Molly that returns is a feral eighteen year old, who has spent the last ten years alone on an otherwise uninhabited planet. Can Miles and Keiko help their daughter readjust to life on DS9?

My impression is that this episode is quite poorly regarded in general, but I actually like it, and was looking forward to watching it again. Molly has always been dull at best and annoying at worst, so to have a story that makes her interesting is a real novelty. I enjoyed the O’Briens’ attempts to re-socialise their daughter – my only reret is that we had to restore the status quo at the end. Although there wasn’t really time for it in the remainder of the series, I think developing the character of teenage Molly would have been an interesting direction to take.

The B-story features Worf trying to prove his parenting skills by looking after Kirayoshi whilst Miles and Keiko work with Molly. With Jadzia’s death on the cards in two episodes’ time, it’s clear that the writers are ramping up to make it more poignant by adding in the possibility that the couple might want children – indeed, by Tears of the Prophets they will have actively decided to try for a baby.

Watch out for time portals

  • This episode marks the return of Keiko, Molly and Kirayoshi to the station, after being sent away due to the dangers of the Dominion War.
  • As an enlightened society of the future, one feels that the Federation officials should have more sympathy and resource for trying to reacquaint Molly with contemporary society. Were there no large open spaces they could have used to work with her, and get her used to the idea of living with other people again?
  • As always, Molly’s age is overstated by a couple of years. Chronologically, she should be six years old at this point. Instead, she is said to be eight years old.
  • This episode sees the return of Chester, the cat O’Brien inherited from Bilby in Honor Among Thieves. Keiko shows a distinct dislike towards the cat – boo.
  • Over her various lifetimes, Dax has had nine children.
  • This time, Kira correctly states that she carried Yoshi for five months – not seven, as she said in a previous episode.

Summary – Time’s Orphan: Let’s have a short and ultimately unsuccessful spin-off about the wacky adventures of feral teenage Molly.

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