"Statistical Probabilities"

Season Six, Episode 9
Teleplay by Rene Echevarria
Story by Pam Pietroforte
Directed by Anson Williams
Music by David Bell
Main Cast:
Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Michael Dorn as Lt Cmdr Worf
Terry Farrell as Lt Cmdr Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys

Guest Stars:
Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
Casey Biggs as Damar
Tim Ransom as Jack
Hilary Shepard Turner as Serena
Faith C Salie  as Lauren
Michael Keenan as Patrick
Aron Eisenberg as Nog


Bashir has agreed to host a group of genetically-engineered institution inmates. But getting through to the oddball "mutants" doesn't prove as easy as he'd imagined. Once they watch a address to Cardassia by Damar, they instantly manage to piece together the events surrounding his rise to power -- all from observing his speech. Bashir gets Sisko's approval to let them assess the current state of the war and they manage to come up with a set of predictions as to how the war is going to unfold. Their conclusion is that there is no way the Federation is going to beat the Dominion, the only option being to surrender. Sisko refuses to accept this and realising that surrendering will save billions of lives, the group, led by the highly-strung Jack, take matters into their own hands and decide to give Weyoun and Damar (who are aboard the station for "peace talks") information that will enable them to put a quick end to the war -- by defeating the Federation. With the help of the mute Serena, Bashir manages to stop them in the nick of time.

Statistical Probabilities is an interesting tale, which begins with Bashir agreeing to look after a group of genetically engineered outcasts. The story soon develops into a fascinating glimpse at the Dominion war and a solid character study of Bashir himself. All in all, this is a pretty impressive episode.

First of all, it's great to see some follow-up to last year's Doctor Bashir, I Presume, where we learned some startling revelations about Bashir - namely the fact he was genetically enhanced as a child. I do remember a lot of people scoffing "you're never gonna hear about this again - they're never gonna follow this up." Happily, this - and a number of other episodes this season - has proven that assumption quite untrue. Indeed, I had a hunch right from the offset, that the writers were setting up something interesting, and were perhaps going to finally get under the skin of the real Julian Bashir. Put it this way - I certainly have a greater feel of who the character is than I did, say in the second or third season. I must actually admit I even found him a little bit irritating in DS9's earlier seasons! No more!

Anyway, onto the episode itself - I must admit I enjoyed those characterisations! I am, of course, referring to the "mutants"! The unstable, twitchy Jack was the most effective - while Lauren was just stereotypically vamp. Patrick was fun and amiable, and the mute Serena was interesting, too. Actress Hilary Shepard-Turner didn't speak a word (obviously!), but she managed to convey a tortured soul quite effectively through her use of body language and facial expressions.

There were a couple of interesting reflections about how these people were locked away for being "too smart". There's a scene where the senior staff gather in Bashir's quarters to discuss this. It was a bit odd seeing them all seated in a circle in Bashir's room, particularly as we've never really seen one of these gatherings before (maybe if it was set in the Wardroom it wouldn't have looked quite so odd). Nevertheless, there were some fascinating points raised. Is it fair to lock them away just because their parents tampered with their DNA? Perhaps as Sisko said, it's a good way to discourage others from trying the same, but it's definitely a gray area, and this episode doesn't offer any conclusions in that respect. It seems a particularly relevant topic even nowadays, what with cloned sheep named Dolly and the possibility of cloning/genetically engineering humans.

Anyway, before the plot delves too deeply into those issues, it takes a turn toward the state-of-affairs between the Dominion and Starfleet. When his guests manage to piece together the whole story of how Damar came to power just from watching his speech, Bashir sees an opportunity to give them something interesting to do. The Dominion is claiming they want to commence peace negotiations, and Damar and Weyoun arrive aboard DS9 to begin talks with Sisko. Bashir manages to get access to recordings of the peace talks, and Jack, Lauren at al come up with some fascinating insight. The Dominion don't really want peace, they just want a key system to develop Ketracel-White for the shortage (nice - if overdue - reference to events in A Time to Stand).

Bashir decides to take things a stage further, and soon he and his genetically engineered buddies start coming up with all sorts of predictions about the future of the war with the Dominion. He takes their conclusions to Sisko, and unfortunately things don't look too good - there is no way Starfleet can ever win the war! The only option, which will save billions of lives, is to surrender! Ouch.

Not surprisingly, Benjamin doesn't take it too well. But Bashir, as a doctor sworn to save as many lives as possible, cannot dismiss it. However, it is the wack-o's themselves who take matters into their own hands, deciding that as Starfleet has dismissed their predictions, they must negotiate with the Dominion themselves. Bashir realises he cannot allows this, and stops them in the nick of time.

Unfortunately, whilst this all makes for splendid drama, it also highlights one if the episode's few problems. Why on Earth would Starfleet agree to give top secret information to a group of institutionalised nutters?! Yeah, well it's probably best not to dwell on that too much.

Otherwise it's a very strong episode, intriguing throughout and featuring top notch performances from Alexander Siddig, the ever-reliable Colm Meaney and the guest cast. It raises some fascinating issues - for instance, who would have guessed that things were quite so grim for Starfleet? And should Starfleet consider surrender? Several hundred billion lives is a hell of a lot! Statistical Probabilities is an episode that really piques your interest when it comes to the current war storyline, not to mention a compelling look at a group of social outcasts.

Rating: 8

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