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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Search, Part II (Review)

The September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

In a way, The Search feels almost like a parody of the classic Star Trek season-bridging cliffhanger. It is a story told under the same title, but with both halves of the story feeling distinct enough to stand on their own two feet. Written by two different writers and directed by two different directors, it very much feels like two very different stories linked primarily by an efficient cliffhanger.

It’s not radically dissimilar to the two-parters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Redemption and Descent come to mind, two-part adventures that very much feel like two different stories melded together rather than one single over-arching story. This disjointedness makes a great deal of sense, given the standard operating procedure when it came to Star Trek cliffhangers, as established by Michael Piller with The Best of Both Worlds, Part I. The logic is simple: write part one; go away for a few months; return and try to write part two.

Of course, The Search very clearly isn’t a season-bridging cliffhanger. It’s a season-opening two-parter. And it’s so cleverly and consciously structured as two very different episodes that it can’t help but feel like a sly nod at the inevitable outcome of that approach to writing – playfully self-aware of how disjointed the whole experience feels as a single story.

A whole new Vorta problem...

A whole new Vorta problem…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Search, Part I (Review)

The September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Search, Part I is interesting. It is an episode that, in effect, serves as something of a second pilot for the show. It’s an episode that re-conceptualises the show, while taking a great deal of trouble to ensure that any new viewers will be brought up to speed. In fact, The Search is a rather disjointed two-parter as a whole. The first part feels like a lot of set-up with a cliffhanger tacked on to the end of the episode, while the second part is very clearly its own story.

It makes sense. At this point, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the only Star Trek on television. It’s a period that doesn’t last, and which is really just a scheduling fluke. The show’s second season continued on past the airing of All Good Things…, the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The third season began broadcasting before the airing of Caretaker, the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager. Star Trek: Generations was released somewhere in the middle. So the stretch where Deep Space Nine was “the only Trek on television” feels largely illusory.

Still, The Search, Part I feels like a conscious attempt to welcome any wayward Star Trek fans. Including, appropriately enough, new staff writer Ronald D. Moore.

Staring into space...

Staring into space…

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