Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 6 Episode 24

Time's Orphan

2
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 20, 1998 on Syndicado
6.5
out of 10
User Rating
141 votes
6

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: Unknown While on a nearby planet, the O'Brien family picnic is interrupted when Molly wanders off and falls into a vortex that sends her 300 years into the past. When they re-open the vortex, they try to retrieve her, but a miscalculation causes an 18-year-old Molly to appear. It is up to the crew of Deep Space Nine to try to re-educate her, while trying to find the original.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Designed to Please No One (but Lonewolf62)

    4.0
    Poor Rosalind Chao returns just in time for this lemon based on a failed story pitch (originally meant for Alexander) that was revived to help fill out the sixth season. Give the actors credit: Chao, Meaney, and guest star Michelle Krusiec (18 year old Molly) pour themselves into this O'Brien episode; but the fundamental problem is that no matter how hard the writers try to involve Chief O'Brien and his wife, the focal point of the plot is Molly, and her character hasn't been established enough for us to be as interested in her issues as, say, Commander Riker in "Future Imperfect". (It doesn't help that her story doesn't make much sense either, with Menosky doing his usual outside the box approach. It would have been better to borrow from The Searchers and have Molly raised by another culture for ten years only to come back with different ideas and values).



    The B story (added by the writers after shooting began to fill out an episode running short) features Worf looking after Yoshi, which is supposed to be funny in a "Kindergarten Cop" way. It's about as good as you'd expect, with Worf beating himself up over his failures as a father.

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  • I hated this episode

    2.0
    Yes, I hated this episode. Maybe its because I am a father of five. Maybe its because I am child therapist. But I hated how grown-up Molly was treated by the writers of this show. To get your daughter back after 10 years of isolation and then not let her get the psychological help she needed, and then, return her to this life of isolation because that is what she wanted is unbelievable to me. She has the mind of a child. Would you let your child live by themselves because they wanted to? Of course not. Obviously she was given the age of 18 to symbolize the time when children become adults and leave the care of their parents. But why would you let a child with the mental age of 8 live a life alone. I mean they didn't even give her a food replicator, a med kit, or immunization. All she got to survive for the rest of her like was clothes, a blanket, a backpack and a toy doll. I know I am personlizing this review, but it was appalling for me to see treated this way by the writers of the show.moreless
  • Attention, Next Generation, Please Reclaim your Episode!

    6.7
    The Star Trek franchise has long been a serial abuser of the Time Travel plot device. That being said, Deep Space Nine has probably used it most effectively, either for social commentary (as in Past Tense) or emotional impact (The Visitor and Children of Time). One senses an attempt to do the latter here, but the episode is a mess, from the conceptual level through to the execution, and even O'Brien's use of an Irish curse word can't save this one.



    The idea is high-concept: Molly O'Brien falls through a time portal and is later retrieved, but she is retrieved from an alternate timeline where she has lived away from her family for 10 years. She has the expected trouble re-adjusting to DS9. If you have seen literally any movie about a "savage" coming to civilization, you will be bored with this one. It has little to recommend it. One could see the makings of a good black comedy here: O'Brien keeps trying to pull his daughter back, and keeps getting different-aged Mollys back. Instead, it's melodramatic and overwrought, and it resorts to the cheap narrative tack of the "reset button" to make the episode self-contained. The reset button is a tactic better suited to TNG or Voyager, which catered to the three-times-a-season viewer, but with Deep Space Nine, serialization was built into the show deliberately.



    Ultimately, this feels like a warmed-over TNG reject episode, which is unfortunate, since having a post-pubescent "savage" Molly might have been an interesting arc. It certainly would have been a bold one, and DS9 was usually unafraid of taking chances. Instead, the episode not only misses that opportunity, but also the opportunity to make effective use of time travel.moreless
  • A chart-topper in the pantheon of bizarre Star Trek episodes.

    6.0
    This has got to be one of the strangest story arcs done on DS9, that's saying something.



    It's not that it wasn't entertaining on some level (18-year old Molly is really hot and way, way too well-groomed). I just have no idea how you arrive at this sort of plot. Plus, what the hell is a functioning time portal doing in a Bajoran meadow... and why doesn't the federation take more interest in this obviously advanced technology ? And what is this never-before-mentioned super race from ancient Bajor ? Also, the ending was a total cop-out. It should have ended way more harshly.moreless
  • An average episode, saved only by the decent story itself.

    7.0
    This is one of those episodes where the budget was saved for the finale, or already spent and funds needed to be clawed back.



    At its hearts is an endearing story with a what-if theme. Its deeper meaning perhaps goes to show the loss of a child and their recovery, focusing on the journey of hardship those involved must go through.

    Some of you may enjoy its tender and deeper meaning. Those of you who prefer their DS9 with an edge - should move along. I fall in the first catergory. I actually enjoyed the episode. The story is logical. At its heart is the agonizing story of the loss of a child and the journey that must be taken for reconcilation. As well as the problems that must be overcome to return to some sembelance of normality. Sure its not heavy, this is Star Trek, afterall.



    Its packed with a fair amount of emotional drama. There is warmth in the initial setup scenes. Panic and despair when Molly is lost and joy and resolution when she is recovered. Which changes to resignation and an overwhelming sense of loss when Miles and Keiko realise what they must do to save their girl. I would give both actors the credit of doing a decent job in convey what needs to be.



    There are number of nice little twists along the way, which drive what little conflict there is and the action that accompanies it. There is a good dose of action in the third act which leads to a resonance filled perfect ending. Where the paradox is explained to a satisfying degree.



    Of course you can see it would have been better suited to the more moralistic regimen of ST:TNG, but this episode makes a nice break from what is a non-stop plot-arc for season 6. Yet I can see why some would not like it. The thing is that tv series need to balance the books and that mean's stories with as few cast and little special effects, so that the epic space battle episodes can be made. This is one here. I was in two minds as where I should give this a 6.5 and 7.0. I opted for a good because for the lack of hardcore ingredients, I rather enjoyed this tender story. Perhaps you will too?!moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman

Quark

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

Shaun Bieniek

Shaun Bieniek

Deputy

Guest Star

Randy James

Randy James

Security

Guest Star

Rosalind Chao

Rosalind Chao

Keiko O'Brien

Recurring Role

Hana Hatae

Hana Hatae

Molly O'Brien

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Since Keiko turned down doing an arboretum in "The House Of Quark", where did the O'Briens get the tree and grass for the cargo bay? Did they make a special trip to Bajor or back to the picnic planet for them?

    • Dax says that Alexander was 4 years old when he moved onto the Enterprise with Worf, despite the fact that he was only conceived 2 seasons previous. A possible explanation is that Dax was referring to Klingon years, which would mean Kronos circles its sun once every six Terran months.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Worf: (shaking a rattle at Yoshi as Julian and Miles come in) Gong, gong, gong.
      Bashir: Gong, gong, gong?
      Worf: I was instructing your son in Hech Dup.
      Bashir: Hech Dup?
      Worf: It is a Klingon exercise designed to teach children hand-eye coordination so they will grow to be warriors.
      Bashir: Oh, I get it, it's like the rattle's baby's first bat'leth, kind of thing.

    • Jadzia: (volunteering to take over with Yoshi, who won't sleep) Worf, you're exhausted! Get some sleep.
      Worf: No. I am a Klingon warrior and a Starfleet officer. I have piloted starships through Dominion minefields, I have stood in battle against Kelvins twice my size! I courted and won the magnificent Jadzia Dax. If I can do these things, I can make this child sleep.
      Jadzia: (incredulous) Talk about losing perspective!

    • O'Brien: We pulled her out ten years too late.
      Bashir: It's a miracle you managed to get her back at all, Miles.
      Keiko: Maybe if you tried again, you could pull her out when she was still a little girl.
      Bashir: If you do that, there'll be no one to grow up and become this Molly. You'll be erasing her existence.
      O'Brien: Yes, but we'd have our Molly back!
      Keiko: Miles, this is our Molly. Just because we missed the last ten years of her life doesn't give us the right to take those ten years away from her.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Children Of Time
      This episode is similar in some ways to the 5th season episode "Children Of Time", and has, essentially, much the same answer for the question of 'time developments', the paradox of what do you do if you change events and alter the results that produced people and lives that depended on the event. In this one, they pluck an 18 year Molly from 10 years after she was accidentally deposited into an Eden-like place. Instead of continuing to fish for the 8 year, they elect to attempt to bring the now somewhat feral child back to civilization, arguing, basically, that the 18 year has as much right to exist as the 8 year they would be bringing back (thus destroying the 18 year variant who would never have developed). In the end, the feral Molly, who is failing to adapt, is being returned to the place she came from. An anomaly in the portal sends the 18 year back, instead, to shortly after she arrived, and she winds up face to face with her 8 year self. She sends the 8 year back through the portal she came from, and fades from existence, her history eradicated.

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