"One Little Ship" 
Season Six, Episode 14
Written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Music by Jay Chattaway
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:
Aron Eisenberg as Nog
Scott Thompson Baker as First Kudak'Etan
Fritz Sperberg as Second Ixtana'Rax
Kevin Quigley as Gelnon
Christian Zimmerman as Third Lamat'Ukan


The Defiant is exploring a space anomaly which may enable Starfleet to be able to utilise transwarp capabilities. The runabout Rubicon will enter the anomaly, which will cause it -- and those aboard -- to shrink dramatically. Just as it does enter the anomaly, with Dax, O'Brien and Bashir piloting, the Defiant is ambushed and taken over by the Jem'Hadar. Dax pilots the Rubicon out of the anomaly, but the reverse-shrinking process has not taken effect -- they are still minute. O'Brien manages to take the tiny runabout inside the Defiant, where the realise what has happened -- the Jem'Hadar have comandeered it. The Jem'Hadar need Sisko and his crew to conduct the repairs, but they try to hinder the unwitting Jem'Hadar at every turn. Dax manages to figure out what Sisko's plan is, and having not been detected, they set to work trying to help them, succeeding in stopping the Jem'Hadar and regaining control of the ship. The Rubicon crew are returned to the anomaly, and sucjected to the proper "enlargening" process.

I almost cried when I read the plot description of this episode. "What in the name of the Prophets are they thinking?!!" I choked. "They", of course being a reference to the writers. Now, I'm not really into making derogatory comments about the show's writers (as some people seem to enjoy doing for some perverse reason - particularly the Voyager writing staff) because in spite of the occasional missteps, these people are responsible for what is one of my all-time favourite shows. But, I really began to question their sanity on this one - a runabout shrinks?! Were they deliberately aiming for a pile of steaming dog poo like TNG's Rascals? And, worse yet, from all accounts the premise wouldn't have been out of place in the execrable third season of the original Trek - except, of course, back then they could only have dreamed doing such tricky visual effects. So, I braced myself for the worse - expecting a kind of stinker on the crap-o-meter level of Let He Who is Without Sin

But, I was surprised to see that when it first aired in the States, people were saying it was actually quite good! Oh dear, Paramount must have put in some kind of subliminal hypnosis during the opening credits, I supposed. You know, as the comet passes the screen, the words "you will enjoy this episode" discreetly appear in its tail. And, as the Defiant enters the wormhole the Prophets send out the message "runabout shrinkage is cool". 

A few months pass, and over here in the UK CIC Video release volume 6.7 of DS9. Maybe I shouldn't do this, I thought as entered the local video shop, wallet in hand. What if they really have used this episode to play with people's minds?! Calm down, calm down, came the voice of reason (perhaps my inner Paramount spokesperson?!); after all, the first episode on this tape is Far Beyond the Stars and you gotta see that one! So, I gave our good ol' Paramount buddies the benefit of the doubt and bought the video. 

And, no I didn't see any sign of hypnotic suggestions in the opening titles (or maybe you weren't supposed to!). And I did actually enjoy the episode!! Based on its rather moronic premise the episode didn't really deserve to be this good - but it's redeemed by a nice sense of irreverent fun (mercifully we're not expected to take it too seriously), some engaging characterisations and nice touches of humour. Oh, and the little ship darting about the corridors is...sweet!! 

The special effects were very convincing and Jay Chattaway gives his best score in ages (compared to the marvellous scores delivered by Dennis McCarthy and David Bell of late, I've been rather unimpressed for a while now). Dax, O'Brien and Bashir are a fun combination and I adored the tongue-in-cheek performances of Farrell, Meaney and Siddig (Farrell's understated "that's not good" upon seeing the Jem'Hadar have captured the ship is hilarious!). Sisko gets to be damned cool as he plays his Jem'Hadar captors like fiddles and even Worf gets to lighten up. I just loved the little poetry sub-plot - and the Dax/Worf marriage finally gets (a little) consideration and not before time, either. 

As for the Jem'Hadar; well, the actors behind the make-up are nowhere near as good as the last Jem'Hadar we saw in Rocks and Shoals but the revelation of a new breed of "Alpha" Jem'Hadar and the in-fighting between the pair is fascinating, if a badly handled (the soldiers here act like petty school children). I predict there will big follow-up to this, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see some kind of big Dominion civil war by the end of DS9's run. Something tells me the Dominion's downfall will involve a break-down in "the order of things". 

There were problems, however - as well as the clumsy handling of the Jem'Hadar scenario, the whole episode had the feel of a TNG episode. That's not necessarily bad, but if I want to see TNG I'll go back and watch a rerun. One Little Ship" is good, but it just feels rather too disconnected to DS9 lore and that's in spite of the Dominion involvement. 

But there are some great moments. I loved Odo's cruel joke at the end (what a wicked sense of humour that guy's got) and the Dax/Worf stuff was great (I never thought their relationship would grow on me, but it has!) as well as the O'Brien/Bashir banter. And I adored the end of Act two (or was it three?) where Dax says "If you liked that, you'll love what's coming right up!" And then it cuts to black. Very clever! 

All in all, I think we ought to bow down and worship DS9's writers for succeeding in making such a potentially disastrous premise work. It ain't perfect, but it certainly gets the Scott seal of approval. 

[You may still be scratching your head, baffling over my claims that DS9 uses subliminal suggestions in its opening credits to make one enjoy the episode. I was actually just joking (I've got a nutty sense of humour, you understand), but I've just realised something; wouldn't that perhaps go to explain a few things about Babylon 5's devoted fan base? ;-) ]

Rating: 7.5

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