Out with the marginal and in with the bad as we head into the middle of season 1...
Move Along Home (1x10): I think this is possibly one of the worst episodes this season. It's another first contact situation with a species that is really into games. They even have one that can suck 4 of the main cast into itself and use them as playing pieces. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn't it?
I think what the writers were trying to do was craft one of those wacky holodeck episodes from TNG that always made me turn the channel whenever I ran across it, but without a ship to go wacky, or Data to plug in, this is what they had to settle for.
I may be being a bit harsh (there were some good moments with some of the characters) but the aliens were pretty laughable, the choice of Joel Brooks as the main alien was one of those oh-so-very-wrong casting choices that you remember for life, and it really didn't leave me with a satisfying taste in my mouth. I just wanted to move on.
The Nagus (1x11): I'm one of the few people I know who actually digs a good Quark episode from time to time so 'The Nagus' ended up being pretty a pretty welcome change of gears. Unfortunately, it was pinned between two not-so-good episodes and I think it suffers a bit as a result. Usually, the comic episodes feel right when there's been some stress on the show, and you need a little release.
Still, it's the characters who win the day in this story with Sisko and Jake coming together after drifting apart for the last few episodes, Nog and Jake's friendship is made a bit more solid and we get to see Quark be king for a day. A little fun, not too cheeky (other Ferengi episodes have been played far too much simply for the yucks) and some advancement of the situation with the cast on the station.
The Vortex (1x12): Odo is back in the spotlight getting clues to his heritage from a Gamma Quadrant miscreant who they're holding on DS9 for killing another bad guy.
Not a bad episode but the casting of Cliff DeYoung as the detainee Croden was almost as poor as Joel Brooks in 'Move Along Home'. No, that's not fair. de Young may have been doing a decent job and just been hampered by the ridiculous make-up he was required to wear for the role. I don't know if this species makes a reappearance on the show but I hope it's a long way off if they do.
Odo's predicament was well played and, while predictable, the end did have a bit of a reward to it. It was also nice to see Vulcans at the end since, at this time in Star Trek history, Vulcan's weren't showing up with any regularity on either of the two series'.
From what I can tell, the next episode features more Bajoran stuff, Kai Opaka's return and a prophecy of some kind. Looks like the drought may have ended.