Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a sci-fi series that ran from 1993 to 1999, spanning 176 episodes. It was the third sequel to the original Star Trek series, after The Animated Series and Next Generation. It takes place in the years 2369-2375 and takes place primarily on a space station as opposed to aboard a star ship. The show follows Commander Benjamin Sisko, Major Kira Nerys, Constable Odo, Chief Medical Officer Bashir, and Quark.
Critics and audiences loved that it explored lengthy serialized storytelling, as well as religious themes—ideas that Rodenberry had forbade in the original series and Next Generation. But every series has its bad episodes. Here are the ten worst episodes of DS9.
10 The Passenger (6.4/10)
This early episode is generally disliked because fans think it either dumbs down the crew too much or because the execution of the story is boring.
The DS9 crew respond to a distress call aboard a ship and find captain Ty Kjiada and a dead prisoner Rao Vantika. Kjiada repeatedly warns the crew that Vantika is too wily and determined to extend his life to have allowed himself to die so easily. They don’t believe him until it turns out that he has managed to transfer his consciousness into another character.
9 Fascination (6.3/10)
This episode in season 3 focuses on the Barjoran Gratitude Festival. The plot line focuses almost exclusively on romantic and lusty stories. Jake is moping, O’Brien’s wife is upset about things, a Betazoid ambassador arrives explicitly to start a romantic relationship with Odo, and Dax is obsessed with Sisko to a dangerous amount. It has a strong Midsummer’s Night vibe, and things go very strange before they’re righted.
According to fans, the episode is filler—unwatchable filler, at that. In a show with 176 episodes, there are bound to be a few that feel like filler, and “Fascination” is one of them.
8 Second Sight (6.2/10)
Commander Sisko meets a woman who he finds himself intrigued by—she seems to appear and disappear randomly. He asks Odo to investigate her so he can learn her secrets. Meanwhile, Dax works with Professor Gideon Seyetik, a brilliant scientist known for his ambitious terraforming projects. He’s arrived to complete his most ambitious project yet: relighting the star Epsilon 119. He invites the crew over for dinner so he can expound upon how brilliant he is, and the two storylines finally come together.
Fans see the episode as northing particularly special. Seyetik’s arrogance made him a frustrating character and his final sacrifice less meaningful.
7 The Storyteller (6.1/10)
Chief O’Brien is sent to Bajoran village with Bashir in order to help out with a medical emergency that endangers the entire community. When he arrives, the only sick person is Sirah, a spiritual leader who controls a monster, the Dal’Rok. He indicates that O’Brien is the successor, and people are immediately devoted to him. Meanwhile, back at the space station, Sisko mediates between two Bajoran tribes who are having a conflict about a border that changed due to the Cardassian interference.
Fans found both plots boring, and some criticized it as being too ‘feel-good’ rather than a real adventure.
6 Move Along Home (6.0/10)
The DS9 crew is awaiting a visit from Wadi, a Gamma Quadrant species who are trying to make official first contact. However, when they arrive all they want to do is go to Quark’s place so they can drink and gamble. They have unfamiliar and advanced games, and somehow the command staff end up inside a live action game that they have to be guided out of.
Fans who dislike the episode complain that the Wadi simply leave at the end of the episode. They are not punished, nor do they attempt to maintain diplomatic relations. At the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, this episode made the list of 10 Worst Episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise.
5 Resurrection (5.9/10)
The Star Trek mirror universe was first introduced in the original series. In Deep Space Nine, the crew interacts with the mirror universe several times; “Resurrection” marks the fifth episode exploring the universe. It begins with Bareil beaming into the ship—but Bareil died over a year before. Major Kira, who had loved the original Bareil, immediately begins to trust this Bareil, even though their experiences of the mirror universe have been with criminal versions of themselves. Naturally, he and Mirror Kira are up to something.
Fans find the episode dull and the writing lazy.
4 Profit And Lace (5.9/10)
The Ferengi leader Grand Nagus arrives on DS9, we learn that he has been deposed for giving equal rights to the females. The evil Brunt is going to take his place, so Quark and his family decide to do whatever it takes to reinstate the rightful Nagus and keep the new equality in place. They invite Nilva, a member of the Ferengi Trade Commission, to DS9 to see that a Ferengi female can be just as competent as a Ferengi male. However, Quark’s mother—the only female Ferengi available—falls ill at the last second and Quark must disguise himself as a woman to try to convince Nilva.
3 Meridian (5.7/10)
Sisko wants to explore the Gamma Quadrant, and the crew discovers unusual distortions in a system without planets. When a surprise planet appears, an inhabitant explains to them the Meridian’s shifts between dimensions. It only exists in this dimension every sixty years. Jadzia falls in love with a resident of the Meridian, while the wealthy creep Tiron pressures Quark to create a holosuite program of Major Kira after she rejects Tiron.
Boring is the most common criticism of this episode. A lot of people also would have liked to see the Tiron/Quark/Kira plot take the main focus as it had a lot of untapped potential.
2 The Muse (5.7/10)
Lwaxana Troi returns to DS9 to beg for Odo’s help. Her husband wants to take their son from her to raise him separate from girls until he’s 16, as is traditional in the Tavnian culture. Odo promises to help her and they ultimately come up with a strange but ultimately kind solution to her problem. While this is happening, Jake meets an older woman who is fascinated by his writing and encourages him to keep writing more and more. Her presence serves as a muse to him and Jake writes great things while she’s there. However, it appears she’s a succubus because the more he writes, the weaker he gets.
1 Let He Who Is Without Sin… (5.6/10)
This season 5 episode is the lowest rated episode in the series and the reviews of it are full of people who vehemently hated it. It reads as sensationalist—the team goes to Risa, a pleasure planet of the Federation, where Dax looks forward to letting loose with her Klingon boyfriend Worf. Suddenly, conservative protesters show up who are calling the Federation soft. Worf, who has become increasingly abusive, supports them while also treating Dax horrifically.
Fans hate that Dax and Worf make up at the end. No one likes that Risa has been made dramatic when it was always a place for light and fun episodes. And most think it’s worth skipping.