Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 6 Episode 9

Statistical Probabilities

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Nov 24, 1997 on Syndicado
out of 10
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137 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: Unknown Bashir is asked to help a group of genetically enhanced people integrate into normal society, but working around their personality problems. Soon, they must analyse a proposed treaty with the Dominion and predict its outcome.

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  • Comes off like a stage play - a fun one

    If a Star Trek writer ever got together with Samuel Beckett and Isaac Asimov to write a play, it would probably look something like this. With its simple settings, emphasis on character, and repetitive material, much of "Statistical Probabilities" seems more like what you'd expect to see on a stage than in Star Trek; but it works well as a simple Bashir episode and a nice followup to "Dr. Bashir, I Presume".

    The plot of the episode stems from the arrogance of those who think they know better than others, a cornerstone trait of society. From sports to the economy to technology, there are always those who claim that statistics and past experience will allow them to predict the future with 100% accuracy and get testy with those who doubt what they have to say. Yet even the most intelligent of people inadvertently make assumptions that turn out to be false. It's the contrast between Bashir's "non linear dynamics", where the accuracy of a prediction becomes more reliable the farther in the future you go (like the prediction that flipping a coin over and over will lead to similar occurrences of both heads and tails), and the butterfly effect, where small actions by individuals in the present can have enormous consequences in the future. "Statistical Probabilities" looks at both sides of the issue and has a lot of fun in the process, with Anson Williams (Potsie on "Happy Days") directing the first of his six Star Trek episodes.

    Is it difficult to buy that Starfleet would trust three mentally unstable individuals with detailed intelligence reports or that Deep Space Nine would allow Weyoun and Damar to sneak around the station for clandestine meetings? Sure. Is the episode still compelling? Absolutely.

    The four new guest stars, after establishing themselves here, return for the seventh season episode "Chrysalis".

  • Despite some serious flaws, a likeable episode.

    There are really two stories here. One is about the misfits of the Federation and their relationship to Dr. Bashir; the second is a sort of science vs. humanity story.

    While the misfits are at first annoying, they manage to generate a certain charm as the episode evolves. As far as the second plot, the writers seem to waffle on whether these guys are perfect forecasters or not - if so, then how could they get things so wrong; if not, then why get Sisko and O'Brien up in arms?

    Nevertheless, it's an entertaining episode - particularly once Damar and Weyoun come on to the station. Casey Biggs really came into his own during the show's final two seasons.moreless
  • Is Starfleet is fighting a loosing fight against the Dominion?

    While this episode had it's moments "yum yum!" which is one of the things I love about Star Trek is the subtle humor of things and this episode had it's few laughs, however it's largely a forgettable episode in the long run.

    Dr Bashir works with a group of genetically enhanced people "mutants" who are too eccentric to exist in the everyday world and in the beginning I was just pretty much annoyed with them. However their perception abilities and statistical & analytical strengths begin to shine as the episode progresses to the point where they are given tactical data regarding the war with the dominion in the hopes that they can add a tactical advantage. However trouble erupts when the only solution they come up with is either surrender or loose the war.

    Obviously nobody likes to surrender up front. It's typically only near the end of defeat when it's the only option left that its exercised. However the misfits say an early surrender would save billions of lives. It's statistical logic vs. the "normal" human instinct to fight on even in the eye of defeat. so obviously this presents a problem as Starfleet has just taken back DSN and had their first major victory shoving the Dominion back into Cardassia space. What this episode really serves in the end is to remind us that the Dominion still has the upper hand and has us outnumbered even know we have the home court advantage retaking DSN.moreless
  • Bashir attempts to get through to three genetically enhanced patients from a mental hospital. Unlike Bashir, who has "passed" in society, they possess "quirks" that deem them social misfits. They use their intellect to analyze the war with the Dominion.moreless

    Nothing incredibly interesting happens in this episode. Basically, this episode attempts to develop further the whole idea of Bashir being genetically enhanced. By using three genetically enhanced but flawed characters as foil to Bashir, the episode attempts to show that science and math are inadequate because the human factor is unpredictable. At the same time, we are also supposed to realize that Dr. Bashir, although genetically enhanced, is more "human" than "science" because of this very unpredictable and unique human factor. But it's confusing how this lesson applies to the other three characters. Are their individual quirks a result of that unpredictable human factor or shoddy science? The show suggests the latter, but not convincingly. What if science really did what it was supposed to do, but their flawed personalities got in the way? Instead of exploring the complexity of the role of science in our lives, the show merely waters it down.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 (2)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Jack: They're going to cut us open, see what makes our brains tick!

    • O'Brien: Look, the way you're acting, you think nobody with half a brain could possibly disagree with you.
      Bashir: Frankly, I don't see how they can.
      O'Brien: Well, I can see two possible explanations for it. Either I'm more feeble minded than you ever realized, or you're not as smart as you think you are!

    • Jack: Did you hear that? He used the passive voice transitive.
      Bashir: Since when do you speak Dominionese?
      Jack: Since this morning.

    • Sisko: Surrender to the Dominion? Not on my watch.
      Bashir: If we fight, there'll be over 900 billion casualties; if we surrender, no one dies. Either way, we're in for five generations of Dominion rule. Eventually, a rebellion will form, centering on Earth. It will spread and within another generation they'll succeed in conquering the Dominion. The Alpha Quadrant will unite in a new stronger Federation that will rule for thousands of years. Since we can't win this war, why don't we save as many lives as we can?
      Sisko: Surrender is not an option! I don't care if the odds are against us. If we're going to lose, then we're going to go down fighting, so that when our descendants someday rise up against the Dominion they'll know what they're made of.

    • (after showing Sisko the Federation should surrender)
      Bashir: Sir, if you don't add your voice to this, they'll reject it out of hand.
      Sisko: I'm counting on it.
      Bashir: So we go down fighting... how terribly courageous of us.

    • Bashir: It's not our place to decide who lives and who dies. We're not gods.
      Jack: Maybe not, but we're the next best thing.

    • Jack: Bashir, was it? Rings a bell. Bashir, Bashir, Bashir. Got it! Singh el Bashir, fifteenth century poet. Any relation?
      Bashir: Yes, actually.
      Jack: His work was totally derivative. He was a plagiarist. You knew that - you had to know. But you came in here bragging about it anyway!

    • Jack: There are rules! Don't talk with your mouth full. Don't open an airlock when someone's inside. Don't lie about your genetic status!

    • O'Brien: After being around them, I can see how the rest of us might seem kind of... uncomplicated.
      Bashir: I wouldn't say that, exactly. More like... slow.
      O'Brien: Must be frustrating for you.
      Bashir: I don't mind. It makes me feel superior.
      O'Brien: Glad to be of service.
      Bashir: I appreciate it. But even so, it's not always easy to walk amongst the common people.
      O'Brien:It's probably best to keep your expectations low.

    • Bashir: Would anyone mind if I turned on the lights?
      Jack: (imitates Bashir sarcastically) 'Would anyone mind if he turned on the lights?' Go ahead. We're not mole people, you know!

  • NOTES (5)


    • Party Music
      The music played at the "party" is Johann Strauss the Younger's An der schönen blauen Donau, more commonly known in English as The Blue Danube, a waltz written in 1867.

    • Foundation Trilogy
      The storyline was based on Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation Trilogy. The basic plot involves a scientist who calculates that the galactic civilization is doomed to fall, leading to 30,000 years of darkness and barbarism. Terrified at this prospect, he takes action to attempt to minimize the oncoming "dark ages" to only 1,000 years, but his plan fails to foresee that the actions of a single individual could render his predictions invalid.

    • Jack: Methought I heard a voice cry, 'sleep no more! Damar does murder sleep!'.

      After quoting Henry IV, Jack goes on to quote a slightly altered version of the famous line from Macbeth.

    • Jack: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

      This line that Jack uses is from Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part II.