An alternate future and a second chance. Originally airing on October 9, 1995. This is The Visitor.
Station Log Stardate undetermined. The Visitor
Years after watching his father die, Jake Sisko recounts the tale of how he has spent his life attempting to locate his Benjamin Sisko.
Opening on a rainy night, an elderly Jake Sisko is visited by a young woman, Melanie, claiming to be a fan of his work. Determined to find out why her favorite writer stopped writing at 40, she asks him for his life story. Old Man Jake begins telling her about the events that lead to the death of his father.
Taking Jake to the Gamma Quadrant to view a stellar phenomenon associated with the wormhole, Ben Sisko tries to get his son to pull his head away from his writing for a moment to see the real world. Upon arriving, the Defiant is struck by a gravity pulse from the wormhole and Ben rushes to engineering. Jake follows his father only to witness the Captain get struck by a warp core plasma discharge causing his father to be vaporized.
As old Jake tells the story, he tells Melanie about the events following his fathers death. It soon becomes apparent that Jake can not pull himself out of a depression and tells Nog that he plans to go to the Pennington School in the fall. That night, Jake sees his father appear in his room for a few moments only to vanish again. Informing Dax about the event, they can not find any evidence of his father’s appearance and Jake dismisses the event as a nightmare.
It seems that the death of Sisko was a signal to the Bajorans that the prophets had no faith in the Federation and the civilians began to depart the station after entering a pact with the Cardassians. Jake, still depressed desperate to stay on board the station, begs Kira to allow him to stay, feeling that it is all he has left of his father. Kira reluctantly agrees and, once again Jake sees his father in one of the stations corridors. Dax and the crew study Ben and discover that he has been knocked out of temporal alignment. Just before they are able to rescue him, Ben vanishes again leaving Jake alone and distraught.
Not long after, Jake is forced to depart the station when the Federation handed it over to the Klingon Empire. Returning to Earth, Jake attended the Pennington School and began his writing career with his first book, Anslem.
Years later, Jake and his wife Korena are visited by Commander Nog who has been assigned to open negotiations with the Klingons and manages to revisit the station. That evening, while working on a new novel, Jake is once again visited by his father. There Ben is shocked to see his son has grown up and has married. Jake breaks down in tears, sorrowful that he had given up on finding his father. Ben assures Jake that he is proud of his son and that there is nothing he can do to disappoint him. Soon Ben vanishes and Jake discovers that, with help from Dax, thinks he has found a way to save his father. Sadly, the time he spent on the project destroyed his marriage with Korena. Pulling the Defiant out of mothballs and teaming up with Captain Nog, Jake pulls the old crew together to return to the site of the accident.
Setting up a special device, Jake is pulled into subspace with his Father as he makes his attempt to rescue Ben. Ben is saddened when he learns that Jake has sacrificed his life in order to rescue his father. Ben insists that his son promise him that he will make a better life for himself and stop chasing the ghost of his father. Returning to normal space without Ben, Jake realizes that he has failed. Studying the events, he realizes that if he dies when his father appears, Ben will remain in the real world. Jake has aged to a point where he is happy to die to ensure his fathers return to the real world. Old Jake informs Melanie that, if she really wants to be a writer, that she needs to poke her head up every so often or she will miss the world around her. She leaves and Jake falls asleep only to awake with his Father staring at him. Jake informs Ben that he has been dragging his father through time and plans to cut him loose. Ben is shocked to learn that his son has poisoned himself but, with his last words, Jake tells Ben to dodge the energy from the warp core. He knows that the boy he was needs his father more than the old Jake does and wants to give them a second chance.
As Ben watches his son die he returns to the present and manages to dodge to blast, preventing the future Ben had seen.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is one of those rare episodes that reminds us of just how good Star Trek is at science fiction. I will admit, Every time I watch it I tear up a little at the end and that just shows you how powerful of a story this is.
It is no doubt that Ben Sisko adores his son Jake and the reverse is also true and, while this episode offers nothing in the way of continuity or development for the overarching story, it does manage to cement the bond between these two characters. It is rare that an episode that ,even though could be considered a filler story, it is so impactful that it could be considered as one of the finest in Science Fiction television.
While Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton do a tremendous job in this episode the real star is that of Tony Todd playing the role of the elder Jake Sisko. Todd is a master and I have been a fan of his since I saw him in the incredible horror film Candyman, but this episode really gives him a chance to stretch his legs. I cant think of anyone better than Tony Todd for this role and he does not disappoint.
All in all, this is DS9 and frankly Star Trek at it’s finest. While there are some pretty solid episodes in the series as a whole, to me, this is easily in the top ten.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Some cool alternate universe events in this one
- Nog becomes a Captain
- Bashir and Jadzia Dax are married
- Jadzia is still Dax…oops spoilers…
- Jake’s book Anslem makes it’s first appearance in this episode, it will be referenced again.
- Take a special note as to the uniforms the future crew are wearing, look familiar?
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Hippocratic Oath
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Late To The Game 7/18/2021 (Originally published 8/12/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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