Deep Space Nine's
third season begins eventfully, with Sisko promoted to Captain and being given a prototype warship equipped with a cloaking device, while Odo learns where he came from. In the two-part opening tale, this clever gambit is played to hook viewers into the idea of DS9
becoming an ongoing mystery/conflict show. Why the sudden intense change in format? Mostly it was to ensure the show continued to thrive, when a rather greedy production hierarchy fast-tracked Voyager
onto the air mid-season (cue unnecessary crossover episode with Tuvok). Of greater concern was ratings thief Babylon 5
, which played its counter-Trek cards at precisely the right time. Fortunately the result (initially at least) was a genuine boost for DS9
Cast members seemed to have hit their stride and played off one another more assuredly than before. For example, Odo's character took several additional interesting twists, especially in his relationship with Kira. Rene Auberjonois had a very good year, directing two episodes to boot. Avery Brooks had begun this trend with the previous year's penultimate show. The real surprise was seeing Jonathan Frakes's name working behind the camera on three occasions, because he also appeared on screen in his alternate rogue Riker role, when Thomas dramatically steals the Defiant. Other welcome cameos that aided the feeling of casual camaraderie included the return of Lwaxana Troi, as well as first appearances by Quark's mother, the spooky Founder Leader, the lovely Leeta, and the sneaky Eddington. Clint Howard--a cult Trek figure--was briefly welcomed back, and with the many faces of Jeffrey Combs another was born. Stories advanced the complicated Bajoran/Cardassian healing process, while simultaneously brewing potential conflicts far worse than the behind-the-scenes ratings war. --Paul Tonks
The entire season three of this spin-off series. In 'The Search: Parts 1 and 2' Sisko returns to Deep Space Nine, having been debriefed about his explosive encounter with the Jem'Hadar. His mission is to journey to the Gamma Quadrant and contact the Dominion's enigmatic leaders, the Founders. As the Jem'Hadar attack vessels on sight, Sisko is equipped with one of Starfleet's most powerful ships - The Defiant (originally constructed to counter the Borg threat). Odo accompanies the command crew to the Gamma Quadrant, compelled to go to the mysterious Omarion Nebula, where he will find out the truth of his past life. In 'The House Of Quark' Quark devises a novel way of enticing customers when a Klingon dies as a result of a drunken brawl in a his bar. Every ounce of his cunning is required to extricate himself from an unexpected situation. In 'Equilibrium' Dax is haunted by a mysterious piece of music. When she suddenly starts to experience hallucinations Dr Bashir decides she should return to her home planet. In 'Second Skin' Kira is astounded at evidence that a decade previously she spent a week in a Cardassian prison. Attempting to uncover the truth, she is kidnapped and wakes up as a Cardassian. Against a mountain of evidence, she tries to cling to her sanity. In 'The Abandoned' Quark gets more than he bargained for when he finds a baby. Responsibility is transferred to Dr Bashir who attempts to discover the child's origins. It soon becomes apparent that the boy is growing into a fearsome Jem'Hadar warrior and the only person who can control it is Odo. In 'Civil Defense' a long forgotten Cardassian booby trap is accidentally activated, incacerating everyone on Deep Space Nine. The crew must overide the programme before the station self-destructs. In 'Meridian' Sisko and his crew discover a planet which will only exist in our universe for a short time before returning to another dimension. Dax finds someone for whom it may be worth sacrificing her Starfleet career. In 'Defiant', Stardate 48434.1, a visiting Riker kidnaps Kira and steals the Defiant in the name of the Maquis. In 'Fascination', Stardate 48441.6, passions run high at a Bajoran Gratitude Festival as the crew of Deep Space Nine and their visitors engage in amorous pursuits. 'Past Tense: Part 1' finds Sisko, Bashir and Dax mistakenly transported to Earth in the early 21st century, where America faces a crisis point in its history. 'Part 2' sees the crew desperately attempting to avoid implication in the unfolding civil disturbances, but Sisko finds himself swept up in events, and in danger of rewriting history. In 'Life Support', Vedek Bareil is critically injured when his transport ship suffers an accident en route to Deep Space Nine. Dr Bashir must keep him alive to accomplish a Cardassian peace treaty. In 'Heart of Stone', Kira and Odo chase a Maquis ship to an unstable moon where the Major is trapped in a crystal which threatens to engulf her. In the rescue attempt, Odo faces his feelings for her... In 'Destiny', a group of Cardassian scientists arrive on the station and Sisko is warned by a Bajoran prophet of doom to distrust them. Should he follow his instincts or be the Barjorans' Emissary? In 'Prophet Motive', the Grand Nagus has rewritten the Rules of Acquisition. Quark realises something is seriously wrong when the first rule reads: 'If they want their money back, give it to them'. In 'Visionary', Chief O'Brien suffers an accident which causes him to repeatedly travel five hours into the future, witnessing a different accident each time. 'Distant Voices' sees Bashir attacked by a telepathic alien. When he regains consciousness, the crew seem to be acting very oddly indeed. In 'Through the Looking Glass', Stardate 48601.1, Sisko is kidnapped by the mirror universe and forced to take the place of his murdered counterpart. In 'Improbable Cause', Stardate 48620.3, Garak survives an assassination attempt and Constable Odo is dragged into a Cardassian plot. In 'The Die is Cast', Stardate 48022.5, the story from 'Improbable Cause' is continued. Garak and Odo find themselves aboard a Romulan Warship in an attack on the Founders. In 'Explorers', Stardate 48699.9, Sisko builds a starship from ancient designs, enrolling Jake as crew and setting out to prove that early Bajoran pioneers could have reached Cardassia. In 'Family Business', stardate 48731.2, Quark must return to his home planet as his mother has committed a heinous crime against Ferengi law. In 'Shakaar', stardate 48764.8, Kira Nerys is called upon by the Kai to mediate in a dispute that soon escalates and threatens to plunge Bajor into civil war. In 'Facets', Stardate 48876.3, the personalities of all of Dax's former hosts project themselves onto the senior staff of DS9, but trouble occurs when Odo and Curzon Dax decide that they do not want to be separated. Finally, in 'The Adversary', Stardate 48959.1, Sisko is promoted to Captain and he and the senior staff are sent on a mission in The Defiant. They soon realise that there is a changeling aboard and it is virtually impossible to locate him, but they must before they inadvertently start an inter-stellar war. This episode sets up some themes to be followed in Season Four.