Past Tense, Part One

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 11:04 PM GMT

See Also: 'Past Tense, Part One' Episode Guide

A transporter accident sends Sisko, Bashir, and Dax into Earth's past several hundred years earlier, where they inadvertently contribute to the death of a man who put a stop to the horrific police-state mentality and the violence of the inner cities.


DS9 is back with a vengeance, throwing U.S. policy in our faces! "Past Tense" is a terrifying look into the future of Newt Gingrich's America, a disturbing reminder of what might happen if we keep electing public officials who treat the less fortunate of our country like...whoops, sorry, post-election sentiment keeps taking over my brain, although I think what I liked best about this episode was learning that Sisko and Bashir will clearly never vote Republican. I'm sorry the producers have dropped Bajor's political problems as a parallel to our own, but I'm also glad they're placing these issues firmly on Earth, in the U.S. It's about time we got to see how humans worked their way through all the garbage that mires us now to get to the idyllic 23rd century of Kirk's era.

Admittedly the time travel device was goofy; why don't those sorts of power surges happen more often, like when the wormhole pops open right as someone's transporting? Between the mirror universe crossings and incidents like this, I am gaining new appreciation for Dr. McCoy's fear of transporters. Then we got a lame explanation for how the ship remained in Starfleet's version of the future when everything else in history had changed; why didn't they just remain in their time track like in all the TNG episodes about timeline tampering and parallel universes?

OK, they wanted to do "City on the Edge of Forever" and as far as I'm concerned, if they're going to rip off old Trek shows, they may as well rip off the undisputed classics. (I figured Sisko and that Bell guy were going to fall in love and then Sisko was going to have to let him get hit by a truck...heh heh heh.) In this installment, Bashir was unnecessary to the plot except as someone for Sisko to explain "history" to, and I hope there's a good reason Dax's pretty face got her into the ritzy overworld, other than to show us The Utter Insensitivity Of Powerful Corporate Goons like the very Paramount executives who make this show...what, you mean the media has POLITICAL power? Kira wasn't around in any meaningful way, unfortunately, but then again other than in the Bajor/Cardassian episodes, this is the least embarrassing material she has had all season.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.