Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 5 Episode 4

...Nor the Battle to the Strong

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Oct 21, 1996 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
145 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: Unknown Jake Sisko and Julian Bashir are caught in the middle of a battle between a Federation colony and a Klingon army.

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  • Jake not at my back

    This episode shows how the entertainment industry is more than happy to play down cowardly behavior. Jake was a coward from start to finish and throughout. First he deserts Bashir and then when his cowardly behavior traps him in the cavern with Klingons he fires blindly into the air out of fear and gets lucky to cause a cave-in. When Bashir and the others are mistaken and believe that he acted courageously by intentionally causing a cave-in he allows them to believe him in the end to be heroic. Jake is the last person I would want at my back in a firefight or any any type of battle.moreless
  • Jake Coming of Age

    Calling Gene Roddenberry a visionary is hardly original, but when it comes to the television, most people don't know just how far ahead of the curve he was. Back when most people thought of TV as "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners," Gene imagined other possibilities. He came up with the idea of a show on a cruise ship, with regulars as the crew and guest stars as the passengers. Also, seeing the expansion of the travel industry (and having been a commercial pilot himself) he thought a show about travel would be a big hit and could help people better understand how to visit foreign countries. And tapping into his World World II experience, he even had the idea of show taking place during wartime, following a team of doctors and their support staff working just beyond enemy lines.

    TV wasn't ready for these ideas in the 1960s, but eventually other producers were able to turn the concepts into hits, and (ironically) Star Trek reruns would have to compete against them. In fact, the two most watched shows of the 1970s were Star Trek and M*A*S*H. So it's somewhat fitting that in the 1990s the two concepts would be merged for an episode of DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong".

    The biblically named Jake Sisko episode is one of Star Trek's most unique offerings, interspersing medical emergencies with the doctors with one on one scenes featuring Jake and Dr. Bashir or one of the guest stars. The formula provides ample opportunity for drama and character development, also opening the door for especially hammy performances from the guest stars.

    Cirric Lofton (Jake), in the most significant episode of his career, plays it straight and carries the episode with a compelling performance of his own. It's especially interesting to see his interaction with Alexander Siddig (Bashir), with Jake being on the brink of beginning his adult life and Dr. Bashir being about ten years older, serving as a role model of sorts. It's a mentoring relationship that is seen less often than the more traditional father/son story.

    And what of Jake's father? For once, he's away from the action, awaiting the good or bad news. Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko) is great in this unusual B story, perhaps playing off his real feelings. With his minimal part in the episode, he would have been the perfect choice to direct it; and surely he would have loved working with Lofton and exploring the meaty subject matter. Instead, the director reigns go to Kim Friedman, which works out just as well; one look at the episode and it's easy to see how her experience directing "ER" comes in handy.

    It all adds up to a Star Trek installment that breaks new ground while remaining true to the roots of the franchise, honoring the creator along the way.

  • Coming of age for Jake.

    Unlike the other reviewer, I *do* like Jake but was not bowled over by this episode. As with "The Ship" a few episodes earlier, it's about the harsh realities of war and combat - realities that were frequently glossed over in earlier Star Trek episodes. Not only do people die - not always in glorious battle but also painfully and pointlessly in a ditch - but sometimes they live with the scars forever.

    Cirroc Lofton and the writers do an excellent job portraying Jake in a very human, realistic way - like us, he's probably had a very naive view of war in the Star Trek world. But this episode does not have the compelling whatever-it-is that the best ST usually has. Worth watching but not a personal favorite of mine.moreless
  • Riveting stuff.

    When I heard the premise for this episode, I was worried. A Jake Sisko centric episode? Uh-oh. I'm not too fond of Jake. But I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It was gritty and realistic - and that's what DS9 does best.

    At first I thought that Jake's voiceover was a horribly cheesy moce - but without it, the viewer would have been lost, as so much of the episode's storyline focused around what was going on in his head.

    All the one-off characters were well played - the two contrasting Starfleet officers (one who shot himself, one who died of wounds inflicted by Klingons) were instrumental in making Jake's development throughout the episode believeable. Bashir's joke while eating his food was totally understandable, as was Jake's reaction.

    All in all, an exemplary episode, despite the fact that it focused on only two members of the regular cast.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 (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Dax (talking about the pregnancy): It's not up to you to tell Kira what to do.
      Worf: She is carrying his child. He should have some say.
      Quark: As the lessee he does have certain rights. Back home, pregnancy is considered a rental.
      Kira: Rental?

    • Jake (thinking): I keep turning it over in my head. The shell. Losing sight of Bashir. Running. And I keep trying to make sense of it all. To justify what I did. But when it comes down to it, there's only one explanation: I'm a coward. Part of me wishes Bashir had seen me run away and told everyone the truth. They deserve to know what I am. To know they can't count on me. That if the Klingons attack, I'll run and hide, just like I did before.

    • Jake (thinking): Surgery under fire! Now we're talking.

    • Sisko: (to Jake) It takes courage to look inside yourself, and even more courage to write it for others to see.

    • O'Brien: (giving Quark back his latest invention: decaffeinated raktajino) I'm not paying for this.
      Odo: So much for 'Quark-tajino'...

    • Jake: The battle of Ajilon Prime will probably be remembered as a pointless skirmish, but I'll always remember it as something more - a place I learned that the line between courage and cowardice is a lot thinner than most people believe...

    • Jake: Who cares about anomalies? People want stories about something they can relate to.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Ecclesiastes

      The title of the episode is taken from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, in a section which is about making the best with what you have: "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." (Eccl. 9:11)