Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 5 Episode 22

Children of Time

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 05, 1997 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 50814.2

The Defiant enters a barrier surrounding a planet in the Gamma Quadrant, only to find its inhabitants are the crew's descendants from 200 years in the past.

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  • "Meridian" and "The Masterpiece Society" done right.

    In "Meridian" (season 3), the Defiant encounters a hidden planet that makes departure emotionally difficult. It's one of the show's weakest episodes because it hinges on Dax (in a Troi-esque turn) having a completely implausible romance with one of the thoroughly uninteresting, uncharismatic natives.

    "Children of Time" has a similar premise, but replaces the implausible romance with a real moral dilemma. And it's complicated even more by the sudden revelation of Odo's love for Kira. Unlike "Meridian", the villagers here are actually appealing - future Dax, the children (particularly O'Brien Jr.), the Klingons - enough for us to sympathize with their plight in a way we never did with the locals in TNG's "The Masterpiece Society".

    Ultimately the ending is a shocker because a "moral" character makes a morally questionable - but plausible - decision.moreless
  • What a great episode

    The DS9 crew travel through a wormhole in the gamma quadrant, but get hit with problems and crash land. The people tell the crew that when the DS9 crew try to escape, they'll travel 200 years into the past and have to repopulate. Kira also died by the electrical burst she recieved when they travelled through time. uh oh. this episode is so poignant, as we see odo still alive and reveal he's always loved Kira, and the ds9 crew find out that if they go back to their time, their children will cease to exist, so decide to let themselves travel 200 years into the past, but future odo has changed the controls to let kira live and causes the children to die.moreless
  • The Odo and Kira story is the backbone of the episode

    The Defiant, in the Gamma Quadrant but on the way home, comes across a planet surrounded by a strange energy barrier. After scanning it, they are pulled in and find themselves face to face with people who claim to be their descendants from the crash of the Defiant 200 years earlier. You see, the energy barrier sent the Defiant back in time after they tried to leave--an event that Sisko and crew will experience in about two days. After an abortive attempt to have their cake and eat it too, the crew is left with a choice--do they leave, thus sentencing these people to death by never having existed, or stay and lose any hope of seeing their families again? Things are complicated by the fact that Kira has been fatally wounded and can only be healed at a starbase. The choice they make, and the unknown force that prevents it, are where the episode gains its emotional resonance. It also happens where Odo tells Kira he loves her.

    This event occurs thanks to the surviving Odo's emotional maturity. The Defiant's Odo spends most of the episode in a container, but the Gaian Odo allows Rene Auberjonois to really look at one possible Odo--a more peaceful, more sensitive and more human Odo. The Odo storyline in this episode is the highlight for me--check out the scene where Kira tells him that she wants to go back in time with the Defiant, her own health be damned. The sacrifice that he makes for her is heart-rending, and validates the love story, even if it remains one-sided for another year. The rest of the players acquit themselves admirably, and the story is otherwise good, but the rest of the scenes serve mostly to advance the plot. It is in the Odo/Kira storyline that is complete in and of itself, and that bears repeat viewings.

    This episode continues a streak on DS9 of time travel episodes done extraordinarily well. Past Tense, The Visitor, Trials and Tribble-ations, and this--classics all. Too bad that the potboiler Time's Orphan broke the streak in Season 6.

    P. S. Fans of The Larry Sanders Show might notice the appearance of the Garden Weasel in the planting scene ("What kind of idiot would call their product a weasel?")moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

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

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In 200 years, 48 survivors produce 8,000 decedents. Generously assuming half of the Defiant crew is female (it is more likely a quarter or less) and that each subsequent generation is half female and that each previous generations dies, every woman would have to have an average of 9.2 children over the likely 4 generations to get to 8,000 people.

    • Rene Auberjonois (Odo) appears out of make-up for most of this episode, since his character is aged 200 years and is better at resembling humanoids than usual.

    • This is the last episode to be within the Gamma quadrant until the series finale.

    • This episode is the first episode of Star Trek to feature the use of a freestanding ladder.

    • Nitpick: When the Defiant escapes through the energy barrier surrounding the planet, they realize that they have changed history, likely causing the settlements and their inhabitants to cease to exist. They scan the surface and conclude that neither the settlements nor the people are on the planet. However, when the Defiant first came to examine the planet they couldn't tell if anyone or anything was on the planet, not being able to scan through the energy barrier. How, if they couldn't scan through the barrier the first time, are they able to scan through it now?

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Sisko: And I will not ask Kira to sacrifice her life, for eight thousand people, for eight million. No one has the right to ask that...

    • Brota: Are you the son of Mogh?
      Worf: Yes.
      Brota: Is it true you can kill someone just by looking at them?
      Worf: Only when I am angry.

    • Kira: Praying over your own grave... that's got to be a new one.
      Odo: If the Prophets were listening, they're probably very confused.

    • O'Brien: I'm making Molly a dollhouse for her birthday. The house itself was easy, but the furniture... even with a micro-lathe, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish it all in time.
      Kira: I guess her dolls are going to have to rough it for a while.

    • Sisko: All right. We'll make a quick survey. But if all we detect is some fungus, we're not beaming down.
      Jadzia: But what if it's smart fungus?

    • Bashir: You, on the other hand, are going to have to undergo a complete neural pathway induction as soon as we get back to the station.
      Kira: If you say so. I feel fine.
      Bashir: That's because your neural tissues haven't begun deteriorate. But rest assured... you'll be on my operating table eventually.

  • NOTES (5)


    • Garden Weasel
      In the planting scene, one of the older children can be seen using an implement that is actually that "as seen on TV" item the Garden Weasel.