Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Episode 13

Battle Lines

4
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Apr 25, 1993 on Syndicado
7.5
out of 10
User Rating
180 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: 46715.2 Sisko, Bashir, Kira and Kai Opaka become stranded on a planet ravaged by war where the inhabitants can't die and are unable to leave. Kai Opaka is killed and resurrected, only to learn that she can never leave.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • What a slow episode

    5.5
    The apparent love child of original series episodes "The Galileo Seven" and "The Day of the Dove", this plodding installment has plenty of action but not much meaning. "Battle Lines" explores the pointlessness of war, with Sisko, Bashir, Kira, and Kai Opaka in the A story. The trouble is that, despite plenty of action, there's really only about twenty minutes of story to spread out throughout the episode, and the result is a slow and tedious pacing. More specifically, the fundamental problem seems to be that from a structure standpoint, the shuttlecraft story would be better off as a B story. Yet the nature of the plot and the importance of its consequences demand the spotlight of an A story. The ending itself is abrurpt and depressing and gives little meaning to episode's events.



    To help fill out the episode, O'Brien and Dax attempt to locate the Kai and missing officers is interspersed. Their part of the episode, a cat and mouse game with an almost sentient planet full of satellites, is an intriguing idea, but it's not given much time and is mostly loaded with technobabble before coming to its predictable conclusion.moreless
  • This season is awful.

    4.0
    I guess the only reason I'm still going through the DS9 episodes is because (a) the excellent Pilot; (b) "Captive Pursuit"; and (c) the Odo/Quark scenes, which are so great.



    Where to begin? The worst part I suppose is that Kai Opaka dies for no reason. Seriously. She says "Hey let's go check out that anomaly." And then BAM she dies when the runabout crashes. Now let me tell you something - up until this point, every person that has ever crashed in a shuttlecraft has survived. Except now. Then the worst thing is she comes back to life, and she's trapped on this moon full of criminals. The whole death is just so meaningless...as another reviewer put it, it's just as pointless as Tasha Yar's death on TNG.



    And it was part of a prophecy? Bull hockey. Nobody follows a prophecy just to die for NO REASON. Maybe I'm being overly harsh. But it was a serious effort for me to watch this tripe. Having a hard time getting through season 1 to the (what I've been told) better seasons later on.moreless
  • Pivotal events within a ho-hum setting.

    6.5
    This episode comes in about 2/3 of the way through the 1st season, and reminds us where the series takes place. In fact, since "Past Prologue", most of the episodes make little reference to Bajor or its history. (There are the usual Bajoran characters and extras, but they could be ANY alien race.) With the Kai's arrival, that goes by the wayside; in fact, this and the next two episodes spend a lot of time exploring the Bajoran people.



    That said, for an episode with such a pivotal event (the death of the Kai), the story is rather ho hum. I guess the idea of a penal colony where the inmates have to fight each other to the death over and over is an interesting one, but it feels entirely tangential to the more significant Kai Opaka story. And her death - well, it was necessary for the rest of the series to evolve, but feels just as senseless as that of Tasha Yar in season 1 of TNG.



    I guess I'm in the minority here but I think this one is easily skippable.moreless
  • A cruel and unusual punishment episode depicting soldiers that must forever fight to the death, only to be resurrected and repeat the entire process.

    7.5
    I think this is one of the better season one storylines. The punishment that the warriors are forced to live out again and again is a tragic one. The guest actors give great performances that really make you feel sorry for them. Battle scenes in this episode are well-choreographed, and we get to see that Commander Sisko packs a mighty punch.



    Of course "Battle Lines" is also instrumental to the DS9 story because it features the death of Kai Opaka. I thought having her die on the planet where she'd be resurrected forever more with the warriors was a creative way for her to go. Her death will have huge ramifications on the immediate future events on Bajor and on the station. It would have been interesting to revisit this planet in a future episode to see how things were going. The guest actors and even Kai Opaka alone were both significant enough in this episode that I always wondered if anything else happened to them after Sisko, Kira and Bashir left.moreless
  • Episode that made Deep Space Nine's first season.

    7.0
    This episode may had been the one that made Deep Space Nine's first season. The pivotal point of the episode being the willingness of the Kai to exile herself in a Hell like planet in order to help a race she doesn't even know.



    This is of course a pivotal episode as well in the sense that this is the end of Opaka's reign as Kai. Given the importance of her character (she is referenced many times later in the series) and her importance to her people, I would had expected her and the conflict of this planet to be revised at some point. Surprisingly it never was in the series, although it was in apocrypha. Did Sisko and the others keep the whereabouts of Opaka's planet moon? If not, I would had expected it to become a place of pilgrimage for Bajorans or settlers wishing to help her in her plight to convert the warring convicts to the teaching of the prophets.



    Although its not spelled out at this point, its probably safe to assume that the power that set up with penal moon was the Dominion. I say this because it is shown later that the Dominion has a precidence of setting up bizarre punishments for races that oppose their will.



    One thing about this episode that I found accept to fathom was the total inability of the convicts to kill one another. Although the explanation of the microbes was nice, it still doesn't explain how they could prevent the total destruction of a humanoid body by disintegration by a phaser for instance, or even incineration by fire. Would the microbes be able to regenerate a body that had been so completely devastated? This is never made clear. Furthermore how would this affect beaming? My understanding of beaming involves a process by which the target is copied and the original is then destroyed. (Opinions vary widely on this in fanon) Would the microbes actually prevent transportation, or would they create a new copy of individual on the moon. If a new copy is always created perhaps it impossible for the inhabitance to die even if they left the moon? Although their original bodies would cease to function when the microbes did, perhaps a new copy would be generated on the moon below? Of course this is all speculation, but it does start to make the episode look silly once one starts to analyse it and with the technology that the Federation has, these are very valid questions indeed.



    Finally I don't like the line where Bashir says the microbes are programmed not to function outside of the ecosystem of the moon. Perhaps the those satellites in orbit have more uses than just defence. I would had much preferred the idea that the satellites are responsible for keeping the system working. They could perhaps use the same technology that prevent the moon's inhabitance for dying to prevent themsleves from being destroyed? Perhaps if the crew had beamed over to one of the satellites to investigate it might had made the episode more entertaining. Just some food for thought.moreless
Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Chief Miles O'Brien

Jonathan Banks

Jonathan Banks

Shel-La

Guest Star

Paul Collins

Paul Collins

Zlangco

Guest Star

Camille Saviola

Camille Saviola

Kai Opaka

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Computer Voice

Recurring Role

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • This episode marks the last appearance of Kai Opaka in the flesh. She will reappear in orb experiences/shadows.

    • Goof: After the Yangtzee Kiang crashes, the ship can be seen lying in the sand with some debris around it. One of these pieces of debris is a warp nacelle, however it from a Type-6 shuttlecraft (those seen throughout The Next Generation); totally different from those found on Danube-class runabouts such as the Yangtzee Kiang.

    • Goof: When the runabout starts getting shaken by the satellite bombardment, Kai Opaka is seen sitting next to Sisko; then in the next shot, she is behind him.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Sisko: (explaining what the Federation is)...is made up of over a hundred planets who have allied themselves for mutual scientific, cultural and defensive benefits. The mission that my people and I are on is to explore the galaxy

    • O'Brien: (referring to the satellites) They're putting out a mutual induction field, and that would block out ninety-nine percent of all transmissions to and from the surface.
      Jadzia: Is there any way for us to get a com line through the field?
      O'Brien
      : Well, I've got one percent to work with, don't I?

    • Jadzia: The magnetic deflection of a runabout's hull is extremely weak. The probes will never be able to detect it.
      O'Brien: They will, if I can outfit them with a differential magnetomer.
      Jadzia: A differential magnetomer?!
      O'Brien: Um hm.
      Jadzia: I've never heard of a differential magnetomer. How does it work?
      O'Brien: I'll let you know as soon as I finish making one.

    • Kira: (repeating the contents of the Cardassian file about herself) A minor operative whose activities are limited to running errands for the terrorist leaders?!

    • Bashir: I've discovered we can't afford to die here. Not even once.

    • Opaka: They don't know how to do anything else but die... they've forgotten how to live.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This is the first Deep Space Nine episode to feature the destuction of a runabout. Here, the Yangtzee Kiang is lost. Later vessels to be lost will include the Mekong, Ganges, Orinoco, and Yukon.

    • Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) do not appear in this episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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