The O’Brien’s must face a difficult choice when Molly grows up unexpectedly. Originally airing on May 20, 1998, this is Time’s Orphan.
Station Log Stardate Undetermined: Time’s Orphan
With his family back on the station, Chief O’Brien takes the opportunity for some much needed R&R. However, Molly accidentally steps through a time portal and is returned as an eighteen year old woman with no memories of who she once was.
Story A: All Grown Up
The O’Brien’s are awakened by their daughter who insists it is time to go on a picnic that was promised her. After getting ready, the family head to Golana for their picnic. Molly soon runs off into a cave and, soon, Keiko and Miles hear a scream from inside a nearby cave. Rushing to help their daughter, Miles is devastated to watch as his daughter falls into a strange shimmering portal.
Soon the crew of the station arrive and begin setting up equipment to determine what the now deactivated portal is. Dax informs Kira that she believes it is a time portal and it seems that Molly may have been transported some 300 years into the past. Dax indicates that, once Miles is able to get the portal back online they plan to transport Molly from the past in an intra-chronological rescue.
Soon, with the portal reactivated, the team begin scanning for Molly across time. Just as it looks as if they are about to lose the field a young woman is beamed into the cave. Keiko immediately recognizes her daughter by the bracelet on her wrist. Frightened, Molly attacks and is quickly subdued.
Back on the Defiant, Bashir indicates that this young woman is indeed their daughter and, even though Miles suggests trying again, they realize that they would be destroying the Molly they have in exchange for the Molly they want. Arriving at the station, Sisko has converted one of the cargo bays as a safe space for Molly to feel comfortable. Awakening from her sedation, Molly immediately goes into defense mode. Miles and Keiko try to communicate with their ‘feral’ adult daughter with little success. She has been without human contact for a decade and finds it difficult to acclimate. Knowing that there is some of their daughter in this grown woman, Keiko brings Molly her favorite doll and the long road to recovery begins. After some time Keiko and Miles begin making headway with their daughter. Bashir warns Miles that he needs to take things slowly or Molly may revert back to her more feral state.
Soon Molly begins acting restless and begins insisting she be brought ‘home’. Taking her to their quarters, they soon discover that this is not what the young lady wants. While she shows familiarity to her surroundings, she soon indicates that she wants to be ‘home‘ by finding a picture of the family on Golana. Using the holosuite, Miles and Keiko arrange to give Molly her home but, when it is time to go back, she reacts violently attacking Quark and causing a situation on the promenade. After Molly stabs a patron in fear, Odo makes it clear that this young lady can not be left free aboard the station. Sisko informs the O’Briens that Starfleet has asked to move Molly to a special facility in order to avoid similar events in the future.
Knowing they have no other way, Miles arranges to kidnap his daughter and return her to Golana in order to send her back to the past in order to keep her from being caged by anyone. Making it to the runabout with his daughter, he is stopped by Odo who indicates he is dissapointed in the Chief. Odo, however realizes why the O’Brien’s are kidnapping their daughter and lets them go on their way.
Back on the planet, Miles and Keiko activate the portal and send adult Molly back to the past. Molly, arriving on the other side, finds the frightened version of herself as a child. Recognizing their shared bracelet, Adult Molly sends child Molly back across the portal.
Just as they are about to shut the portal down young Molly steps through much to her parents delight. Reunited with their daughter, the three return to DS9 where Sisko promises to help with any legal issues that stemmed from the attack at Quarks.
Story B: Worf The Nanny
While the O’Brien’s handle their adult Molly situation Dax and Worf end up taking care if Yoshi O’Brien. Much to Jadzia’s surprise, Worf is open to taking the parenting duties claiming his experience in ‘raising Alexander’ makes him qualified.
Soon Worf finds it more difficult than he believed but, despite his wife’s insistence he take a break, he is determined to succeed in pacifying Yoshi. He believes that Jadzia is judging him on his fitness as a parent and Worf aims to prove that he will be a magnificent father.
After Yoshi is accidentally hurt, Worf takes it hard. Having failed his son, having fail Yoshi and now having failed his and Dax’s future children Worf leaves believing that he is now an unfit parent.
Worf returns to his wife where he is reassured that Yoshi is fine. He is delighted when he hears Yoshi has taken some of Worf’s lessons to heart as the child was reciting ‘gung gung gung’ over and over.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While the episode itself is about Molly dealing with being a feral 18 year old woman, the real story is how Miles and Keiko must deal with this tragic circumstance. We all know the term ‘O’Brien must suffer’. This has become a staple for this series in which at least one episode every season must depict a serious hardship for Chief Miles O’Brien. Whether it be being programmed to kill someone or being jailed by Cardassians, O’Brien suffering has always made for some strong episodes. So, what would be the ultimate suffering for Miles? How about taking it to his very family? In fact, why not let not one but two O’Brien’s suffer upping the ante even more?
The thing that makes this episode so special is that, while it is a filler ‘ship in a bottle’ episode, it manages to really give the sense of family in not just one but two seperate stories. In story A, we have Miles and Keiko attempting to repair their fractured family after not only having their daughter drastically changed but also having been apart for so long. Miles notes at one point how much his children have grown since he last saw them only for that very statement to take on more meaning when Molly is thrust into adulthood seemingly overnight. On the flip side we get a great secondary story, that I called ‘Worf the Nanny’ in the description above. In that story we see the beginnings of a family as Worf tries his best to prove to his new bride that he will be a worthy parent to her children. Interestingly, this is the first time we actually see Worf fully admit that he was a failure as a father with Alexander, giving me the slight belief that deadbeat dad Worf may have a redemption arc in him after all.
By the end of the episode we get a genuine feeling that both Worf’s and Miles’ families are on a wonderful trajectory and one that genuinely gives us hope for these families future on DS9. Unfortunately this hope is cut short in just a few episodes to come but I am getting ahead of myself.
There is one big problem that I have with this episode and that is how Time Travel is used, especially with the advent of the Kelvin Universe and the standard of diverging timelines. When Molly returns her young self to the future, Old Molly (OM) is seen vanishing from the timeline, but should that have happened? Sending OM back to save herself created a paradox as, if OM did indeed vanish, none of the events that took place could have ever happened. Seeing that OM is not the same Molly that was sent into the past, the Old Molly should have created an alternate timeline one where OM is rescued only to be returned and one where Young Molly (YM) is rescued and Old Molly never existed to begin with. So, this is where the diverging timelines should have emerged. Since we see Old Molly in the same time as Young Molly, this indicates that Old Molly is from an alternate future where she was rescued too late allowing Old Molly to create a branching universe where Young Molly was saved. While we do see OM vanish,I like to think she was simply returning to the moment she was beamed out of time. In a way, because of this paradox, the rest of the series may in fact take place in this ‘young Molly is returned universe’ thereby making the end of this season and Season Seven not the same universe as the rest of the series. I’ll dub it the YM-Universe for simplicity’s sake. Seeing what happens in the coming episodes, I think I will stick to this theory.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- This is the last time we ever see or hear from Chester the cat. I wonder what ever became of him?
- It is speculated that this portal is one of the Iconian portals similar to that of the one in the City on the Edge of Forever. Maybe it was a prototype version of this ‘iconic’ portal.
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Late To The Game 4/3/2022 (Originally published 1/29/2020)
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