Ok, I've just finished what I believe is the 7th episode of the series titled 'Q-Less', so I figure I should post my reactions to the episodes leading up to it before I get too far ahead of myself.
First up is...
A Man Alone (1x03): I'm assuming this script was completed prior to 'Past Prologue's since they air in reverse order, but since the official site lists them this way, I'm going to assume that it's not a situation like Farscape or B5 where they're just put out of order.
As for the episode itself, I found 'AMA' to be another entertaining story even if it didn't have the most original of plots. Security Chief Odo has been convicted of kiling an old enemy and it's a race against time to discover the truth behind the crime before the situation on the station gets too volatile.
Now, I've seen this done a dozen times before, most of them on other Star Trek franchises, but there's something about how this one plays out that keeps me from abandoning the ep altogether. I don't know if it was the twist ending or maybe getting a bit of a deeper glimpse into Odo and Quark's relationship that elevated this one for me. To be perfectly honest, it could have even been the lack of simple technical flaws that you often see in a first season of a new show that kept it from appearing too obvious that it was a recycled plot. Then again, it could have just been solid writing, directing and performances from the cast. Either way, I enjoyed it quite a bit and didn't catch myself finding other things to do while watching. Considering I've seen this episode three or four times before, that's a good thing.
Babel (1x05): 'Babel' has always been one of my favourite first season episodes and watching it again was just as fun for me as the first time it aired. The crew and civilians of DS9 are subject to an aphasia virus that does something to their brains making them speak like they're out of a William S. Burroughs fever dream.
I kind of took note of who the strongest actors on the show were in this episode. It was pretty easy to single them out because, like Colm Meaney (who did a fabulous job as O'Brien here), they were able to convincingly talk gibberish and make it sound natural and as if it had meaning somehow, somewhere to someone. Many of the cast members were a bit unconvincing with their random language skills and only one (Cirroc Lofton who plays Sisko's son, Jake) couldn't handle it at all. The episode also features Odo and Quark pretty prominently as they're the only ones who are not affected by the aphasia virus and the dynamic between these two is always great when they're forced to work together.
Another typical 'find the cure' episode that was saved by the clever twist at the end, some nice character moments and some strong writing by DS9 scribes, Michael McGreevey & Naren Shankar and Sally Caves & Ira Steven Behr.
Captive Pursuit (1x05): A nice spotlight on O'Brien wrapped up in a first contact from the Gamma Quadrant story by Jill Sherman Donner and Michael Piller. Tosk is a humanoid alien who comes through the wormhole and is welcomed at the station as the first official guest from the Gamma Quadrant. O'Brien is charged with making him feel comfortable and helping him fix his ship and, as a result, a friendship is formed between the two characters.
So, of course, big surprise then that Tosk is actually bred and raised as prey for a group of Hunters who coke looking for him on the station and who are instantly at odds with the Starfleet boys and girls for playing at bloodsports. One of the great strengths of this episode, however, is the fact that Sisko actually gives Tosk back to the Hunters rather than make your typical Star Trek stand against people who don't live like we do. Not something we would see someone like Kirk, Picard or Janeway doing.
Also, I've never been a big O'Brien fan but this episode helped change my mind about that somewhat. The character moments between he and Tosk O'Brien were pretty rewarding. Their friendship felt like it developed naturally and didn't feel forced to fit into the confines of a 44 minute show.
Five (six?) episodes in and we've yet to hit anything resembling a serious speed bump.
Next up, Q and Vash from TNG visit the station and cause some trouble.