Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 6 Episode 24

Time's Orphan

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM May 20, 1998 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
148 votes
  • Designed to Please No One (but Lonewolf62)

    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.

  • I hated this episode

    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.
  • Attention, Next Generation, Please Reclaim your Episode!

    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.
  • A chart-topper in the pantheon of bizarre Star Trek episodes.

    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.
  • An average episode, saved only by the decent story itself.

    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?!
  • I seemed to be in the minority, but I quite liked this one

    This episode had 'heart', the scene at the end was very touching. I liked the fact that Keiko & Miles didn't just let Molly be confined in some institution and ended up risking a lot to break her out of her cell & take her back to the portal. They showed they were great parents who were willing to sacrifice any chance of ever seeing their daughter again because it was the best thing to do for her- they were willing to put her desires before their own. It would have been very sad from a parent's point of view to have to watch their daughter walk towards the portal knowing they were never going to see her again. Of course, the younger Molly did come back, with the older Molly being erased from the time line which was both a happy and sad ending.