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Things Past (episode)

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"Things Past"
DS9, Episode 5x08
Production number: 40510-506
First aired: 18 November 1996
104th of 173 produced in DS9
104th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
439th of 728 released in all
Quark Garak Odo Sisko
Written By
Michael Taylor

Directed By
LeVar Burton
Unknown (2373)
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Cardassians guard Bajorans

Cardassian guards and Bajoran workers

Sisko, Odo, Dax and Garak are trapped seven years in the past on Terok Nor, but everyone thinks that they're condemned Bajorans, and only Odo's memory can save them.

Summary

Teaser

Dax, Garak, Odo and Sisko are en route to Deep Space 9, having attended a conference geared towards a "dispassionate historical view" of the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor. Garak indignantly claims the Bajorans present ignored every argument he made, but everyone agrees Odo was the highlight of the conference due to his reputation for fairness despite working for the Cardassians during the Occupation. However, Odo appears uncomfortable with the discussion.

The runabout arrives at Deep Space 9, where its four occupants are found in a comatose state, their life signs weak. Doctor Bashir tries to awaken them, to no avail. In the infirmary, he explains to Worf that the runabout encountered a plasma storm, a relatively common phenomenon. Unfortunately, Bashir cannot explain what has happened and goes about researching the issue.

Act One

Meanwhile, the unconscious crew members have awoken on the Promenade in a time when the Cardassians still controlled the station, then known as Terok Nor. Even stranger, people around them seem to think the Human, Trill, Cardassian and former Changeling are all Bajoran.

Gul Dukat and Odo's predecessor, security chief Thrax survey the area from the second level. Odo begins to hallucinate as the others talk, seeing a dead Bajoran man, shot in the chest with a phaser, walk by. Soon a Cardassian officer arrives to take Dax, who has been "selected". When Garak tries to stop the man, he gets a bloody nose for his trouble.

Back in the infirmary in the present, the comatose Garak's nose begins to bleed.

Act Two

An alarmed Bashir explains that the brain can have a powerful effect on bodily functions. There is some odd psychosomatic activity in Garak's brain, but Bashir cannot risk interrupting whatever is happening for fear that one of the patients will be injured or even killed.

As usual, there is a purpose to everything Garak does; once he, Odo and Sisko are alone, he explains that he "borrowed" a scanning device from one of the guards when they took Dax. He uses it to find their Bajoran identities. Sisko is Ishan Chaye and Garak is Jillur Gueta, but Odo seems to know this already and identifies himself as Timor Landi. Before Sisko can question him about the issue, Quark arrives with a pair of guards and starts to speak to the three of them, treating them with little respect. Quark offers the three of them work at his bar. Odo ponders how much damage to the timeline would there be if Quark had an "accident".

The other soldiers take Dax to Dukat's quarters, where there is awkward silence as he looks her over and has her pour him a bottle of kanar. She gives the name Leeta as her name. He claims he is misunderstood and wants a "friend" with whom to share his innermost thoughts. Although Dax's position is not an enviable one, it is clear her predicament could be far worse.

As Dax learns about Dukat's apparent penchant for Bajoran women, Garak learns what it is like to be a Bajoran laborer cleaning Quark's Bar alongside Sisko and Odo. The experience seems to humble him somewhat, although he retains his Cardassian mindset about the Bajorans being better suited for such tasks. Odo has another hallucination of the Bajoran man he saw previously and two other men, and though he claims his visible discomfort is from the smell of the chemicals he is using, Sisko uses the chance to bring up Odo's apparent familiarity with their Bajoran aliases. It is revealed that Ishan, Jilur and Timor were innocent Bajorans executed for an assassination attempt on Dukat's life.

Act Three

The trio try to come up with a plan of escape, and while they do, Thrax enters to discuss various things with Quark. Garak recognizes a name, Livara, as a Romulan spy; however, according to his stolen data pad, Livara would have been visiting Terok Nor seven years ago, at which time Odo was serving as security chief, not Thrax. This only leads to more unanswered questions.

Dukat assassination attempt

The attempt on Dukat's life

Later on the Promenade, Sisko uses a trick he once learned from Major Kira to subtly request a meeting with the Bajoran Resistance, turning over a vase at one of the shops. They then get some soup and sit at a nearby table to wait. Things become even stranger for Odo as his hands are suddenly covered in blood; however, no one else can see it, and it disappears shortly. A Bajoran man from the Resistance joins them and Sisko tries to arrange transport off the station. Before he can finish, there is an explosion nearby where Gul Dukat is walking with Dax and his entourage. As the Bajoran man leaves, Sisko instinctively runs over to see if Dax is okay. However, he, Garak and Odo are arrested and taken to a holding cell.

Act Four

Thrax visits the brig that evening to inform various prisoners of their fate. Under Cardassian law, the verdict is reached before the trial begins, and Sisko and the others are to be sentenced the following day. Odo desperately pleads with Thrax, knowing they are innocent, but the Cardassian officer refuses to refute the circumstantial evidence, claiming the Bajorans need to accept their fate.

Back in Dukat's quarters, he drones on about how lenient he is with the Bajorans and how he sees them as his children. Dax is obviously uninterested but pretends to listen. Waiting for an opportunity, she knocks the Cardassian on the head, rendering him unconscious.

Each of the accused deals with the predicament in his own way. Garak plans an elaborate web of stories as usual in order to try to convince the Cardassians of his true identity. Odo continues to act strangely, but Sisko once again tries to connect the dots, as everything so far has pointed to the constable. Sisko theorizes that Odo knows more than he thinks he does, but once again the conversation is interrupted – this time by Dax, who burns a hole in the door of the brig.

The four of them head for an airlock and Dukat's personal shuttle. Dax reveals that she has used her knowledge of the station to ensure the Cardassians will be unable to stop them from leaving. Several soldiers follow suit and a fight ensues, with Thrax facing Odo. Once the other soldiers have been subdued and Thrax appears trapped, he suddenly turns into a metallic liquid form (the hallmark of the Changelings) and escapes through an air duct. Pressed for time, they continue moving towards the shuttle but find themselves back in the holding cell, two hours prior to their execution.

Act Five

Thrax enters and honors Odo's previous request for an audience, taking him to the security office in the next room. There Odo attempts to reason with him, citing evidence that will prove their innocence. Thrax is more interested in order and believes the Bajorans need to accept their place in history, but when Odo reveals that the four of them do not belong there, Thrax reveals that he knows.

Odo during occupation

Odo sees himself

Suddenly, Odo and the others find themselves on the Promenade. Sisko, Dax, and Garak are lined up and about to be executed. Odo begs Thrax to stop this, but Thrax simply tells him that "It's out of his hands now." Desperate, Odo attacks the Cardassian executioner, claiming he will not "let this happen again". He then cries out loud that he - not Thrax - should be here. Suddenly the scene changes again; Sisko, Dax, Odo and Garak are now dressed normally. A distance away, the three Bajorans Odo saw earlier are lined up for execution – with Dukat and another Odo (dressed in Thrax's uniform) standing nearby. The four of them watch as the three Bajorans are executed. Dukat and the other Cardassians vanish, as does the Past Odo. Only the bodies of the three Bajorans remain.

An ashamed Present Odo reveals that he was the one who let the accused men be put to death, not Thrax. A bombing identical to the one that nearly killed Dukat occurred three days later, and if he had performed any kind of investigation instead of relying on circumstantial evidence, then he would have seen that the three men were clearly innocent. However he didn't know the difference between "order" and "justice" and he allowed three innocent men to be executed as an example. Moments later, the four awake in the infirmary in the "present".

Baffled and intrigued, Bashir explains that some of Odo's morphogenic enzymes were apparently left over from when the Founders forced him to remain a Solid. The events were triggered when the runabout flew through the plasma field which triggered the enzymes causing Odo to (subconsciously) reach out for others with whom to form a link, the end result being a telepathic experience brought on by Odo who was thinking about the three Bajorans at the time. "It would make a fascinating paper," he observes, but seeing Odo's reaction, adds, "although I don't intend to write one." Just then Kira walks in, and it's clear to Bashir that he should leave the two alone. After he leaves, Kira tells Odo that even though it's been two days she still can't believe what she read in his report. She tells him that as far as the Bajorans were concerned, he was different. He stood apart from the brutal Cardassians and that made him special. But she also knows that she did things during the Occupation she'd rather forget, but she needs to know from Odo that no other innocent people died on his watch. Odo honestly replies that he doesn't know... but he sincerely hopes not.

Memorable quotes

"Giving me a name tag that read, 'Elim Garak - Former Cardassian Oppressor' was hardly polite."

- Garak, to Jadzia Dax on the Bajoran conference


"How much damage would it do to the timeline if Quark were to suffer a mysterious 'accident'?"
"I'm not sure. But maybe we should conduct a little experiment and find out."

- Odo and Sisko


"You'd think they'd put us in our own cell block instead of with the common criminals - after all, we are accused of attempting to assassinate the station commander. That deserves SOME respect!"
"Maybe they'll salute when they execute us."

- Garak and Sisko

"This is the fourth assassination attempt I've survived."
"Maybe you should find another job."

- Gul Dukat and Dax


"Bad manners are the fault of the parent, not the child. My weakness is that I'm too generous, too forgiving. My heart is too big–"
(knocking Dukat out) "And so is your ego."

- Dukat and Dax


"We are talking about the attempt on Gul Dukat's life, not the socio-political ramifications of the Resistance!"
"It's all part of the same problem! When your people resort to terrorism and violence... they are fighting against order, against stability, against the rule of law, and this must be stopped."
"There is more to life than the rule of law."
"It has been my observation that only the guilty make that kind of statement."

- Odo (as a Bajoran) and Thrax (as Odo's former self)


"You were special. You were the one man who stood apart from everyone else, the one man who stood for justice. Now what?"
"Now I'm just another imperfect solid."
"Okay. The Prophets know I'm not perfect. I guess the truth is that anyone who lived through the Occupation... had to get a little dirty. But I need to know that no other innocent people died on your watch, Odo. That this was the only time."
"I'm not sure. I hope so."

- Kira and Odo

Background information

Story and script

  • According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the producers had wanted to do another Terok Nor show ever since the popular reception of "Necessary Evil" in the second season. However, they weren't keen on doing another memories/flashback show, and the only other thing they could come up with was time-traveling, which they also wished to avoid. Ultimately, it was Michael Taylor who came up with the idea of using the subconscious of a character as a 'gateway' of sorts into the past. However, his original pitch differed substantially from the finished form of the episode. Initially, he had Sisko, Dax, Garak and Odo waking up from a dream to find that they are all still in a dream, and are actually in one another's dreams. The denouement of the episode would reveal that Odo is actually having the "master dream" and that everything they experienced was from his past. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The impetus to create a dark past for Odo came from the writers' desire to sully his character to a degree. As Ronald D. Moore explains, "one of the things that always drove the writing staff nuts was the idea that Odo had been a policeman during the Cardassian Occupation, but had never gotten his hands dirty, that he had been above it all, and that everybody had trusted him. We never bought that. it seemed to me that if I were a Bajoran, I wouldn't trust the cop who's still on duty from the Occupation. Somewhere along the line something bad went down on Odo's watch. And "Things Past" was the show to say it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Interestingly, part of what Moore addresses here had been covered before. In the first season episode "A Man Alone", the character of Zayra inquires as to why the man appointed security chief of the station by the Cardassians is still security chief under the Bajorans.
  • While some fans felt that this episode was another stage in the process of making Dukat something more than a villain, thus building upon episodes such as "The Maquis, Part II", "Civil Defense", "Defiant", "The Way of the Warrior", "Indiscretion", "Return to Grace" and "Apocalypse Rising", Ronald D. Moore argues that that was not the intention at all; "He wants to be loved. He's the kind of dictator who thinks, 'It's not enough that I put my foot on the throat of the people I'm oppressing, I want them to love me for it.' Dukat believes he's the hero of his own story." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The writers hoped that the explanation at the end of this episode as to how Odo developed telepathic-like abilities ("residual traces of morphogenic enzymes") would indicate to viewers that his status as a solid wasn't actually permanent. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • According to a line from the script that was cut just before filming, Bajorans on Terok Nor were known to burn malaba drums in order to keep warm and months later, Dukat claimed that he extended environmental controls into the Bajoran sector to improve the quality of life. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)

Production

LeVar Burton directing 'Things Past'

LeVar Burton directs Terry Farrell and Avery Brooks on the set of "Things Past"

Reception

  • As with "Necessary Evil", this episode is another favorite of Rene Auberjonois's; "I loved the script. Odo's a character whom we've come to believe always tells the truth. In fact, in the pilot he says to Dukat, 'There's one thing that you know about me - I never lie.' We've tried to be consistent with that. But that doesn't mean he doesn't lie to himself. He is this wonderfully contradictory character, in that he's made of liquid, but he's very rigid." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • LeVar Burton commented that he found "Things Past" "a lot of fun because we had an opportunity to experience a different visual style for Deep Space Nine. We had an opportunity to get darker, really gritty. I know it was a lot of fun for Jonathan West, the Director of Photography". ("Directing DS9: LeVar Burton", The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine Vol. 20)
  • Kurtwood Smith commented that he thought he was cast as Annorax in VOY: "Year of Hell" due to his performance as Thrax: "I guess the producers liked what I did on Deep Space Nine. Because Thrax was actually in the imagination of another character [...] he wasn't quite as interesting to play as Annorax. He didn't have nearly as much to do." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)

Trivia

  • This episode has thematic resonance with the second season episode "Necessary Evil". Both evoke Odo's memories of life on Terok Nor to reveal a dark secret from the Occupation; while "Necessary Evil" explored dark deeds of Kira's that she had kept hidden from Odo, "Things Past" reveals a shameful guilt of Odo's that he had kept hidden from her. The final scenes of each episode, both depicting Kira and Odo standing at opposite sides of Odo's desk with one trying to come to terms with the actions of the other, are hauntingly similar.
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) and Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) do not appear in this episode.
  • The identity of the Bajoran woman whom Dax assumes is never revealed.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Special guest stars

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunts

References

assassination; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran sector; Bajoran wormhole; Benten Vek; blood vessel; bone; brain; Brin Tusk; Cardassians; Cardassian comp-link; Cardassian Military; Changeling; class 2 plasma storm; comfort woman; cross-dimensional transfer; dabo girl; Federation; Ferengi; Gramm; Great Link; heart; holosuite; Honshu shuttlecraft; Horis; Ishan Chaye; Jillur Gueta; kanar; Kara Polus; latinum; Livara; Lobo; malaba; maraji crystal; Marat Kobar; medical tricorder; morphogenic enzyme; Musilla Province; Obsidian Order; Occupation of Bajor; "Old Man"; Pelin; pickpocket; plasma grenade; Promenade; Prophets; psychosomatic response; Quark's; Rakantha Province; Romara; Romulans; rule of law; runabout; soup; space plasma phenomena; "spoon head"; Starfleet; Talavian freighter; temporal displacement; Terok Nor; time travel; Timor Landi; tri-nitrogen chloride (TNC); tumor; warp engineer

External links


Previous episode:
"Let He Who Is Without Sin..."
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 5
Next episode:
"The Ascent"

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