Being one of the most boundary-pushing series in an already boundary-pushing franchise comes with its successes as well as its setbacks. Deep Space Nine took the torch from other spin-offs like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager in the '90s and created a daring format that allowed for more dramatic storytelling in a more serialized format. The fact that it took place on a stationary space station instead of a starship moving through the stars also allowed for deeper interpersonal relationships between its characters.
Like most series in Star Trek, it was either belabored or bolstered by its writing team, and many of the concepts introduced in DS9 would go on to become praised elements of Star Trek canon. Despite that, it's still regarded as one of the most divisive spin-offs of the series, and its fans often debate its illogical components while offering up theories of their own. Here are 5 things in DS9 that make no sense and 5 fan theories that do.
10 MAKES NO SENSE: O'BRIEN'S MEMORIES
DS9 had many episodes filled with emotional turmoil and gritty drama, chief among them an episode that revolved around Miles O'Brien getting 20 years of jail time memories implanted into his brain for a crime he didn't commit. These memories couldn't ever be removed, so he had to struggle being reintegrated into his old life carrying around the emotional baggage.
This was before the series took a serial format, so the episodic nature meant that by the next episode, Miles O'Brien was back to his former self. None of the deep ruminations on the trauma that plagued him had any behavioral repercussions, nor did it ever reappear in future episodes, which makes no sense when you consider the man was contemplating ending his life.
9 FAN THEORY: SECTION 31 WAS FUNDAMENTALLY NECESSARY
Though it seems at odds with Gene Roddenberry's bucolic vision of the 24th century, the inclusion of Section 31 in the Star Trek franchise makes perfect sense to fans. In fact, it's fundamentally necessary when you consider the presence of the Cardassian Obsidian Order and the Romulan Tal Shiar.
In order for Earth to have moved past conflict, disease, famine, and a dependency on currency, fans argue that there must be some duplicitous organization in Starfleet to take on the grey cases that don't fit nicely into Federation doctrine. So the Black Ops of Star Trek was born on the philosophy that the universe looks pretty because somewhere, someone is doing the dirty work.
8 MAKES NO SENSE: NOT CLOSING THE WORMHOLE
By the end of the series, the Federation was willing to do whatever it took to stop the Dominion warships from coming through. Except close the wormhole, which was an option discussed as far back as Season 4 with the assistance of graviton particles.
By not closing it, they were forced to send Starfleet officers into battle without proper equipment or weapons, and they put Commander Sisko, friend and observer of Bajoran religious beliefs, in the awkward position of having to block off the entrance to what amounted to "Bajoran Heaven" with a self-replicating minefield.
7 FAN THEORY: THE FEDERATION STARTED THE DOMINION WAR
Like Voyager's mission showed traveling to the Alpha Quadrant from the Delta Quadrant over 75 years, there are incredibly large swathes of space that the Federation has little jurisdiction in. That being said, the Federation is always looking for ways to shorten the gap in Starfleet's exploratory ventures.
With that in mind, many fans believe that it was the Federation that started the Dominion War that breaks out in Deep Space Nine. In Season 2 we watch the Dominion destroy Federation occupied areas of the Gamma Quadrant, warning the Federation to stay away. The Federation defies this, demanding access to the wormhole and what lies beyond, sparking a conflict between themselves and the Dominion.
6 MAKES NO SENSE: CURZON'S FEELINGS FOR JADZIA
In Season 3, we learn that Curzon, friend to Commander Sisko and mentor to Jadzia Dax had feelings for his fellow Trill. Jadzia completed the complicated process of being a host for the Dax symbiont, and when Curzon passed away, was joined with it.
With that, she inherited Curzon's memories, as well as all the memories of the Dax symbiont. This means she would have known that Curzon once had feelings for her, because she knows all the thoughts he had throughout his life. Her surprise at this revelation doesn't add up.
5 FAN THEORY: SISKO WAS SPECIFICALLY CHOSEN TO SERVE ON DS9
While some Starfleet officers would have balked at the idea of being posted on DS9, a giant floating babysitter for the wormhole and Bajor in the wake of the Cardassian retreat, Benjamin Sisko wasn't perturbed. He hadn't been involved in the Bajoran/Cardassian War and so could be a neutral party, and he had a unique way of dealing with alien species.
He was an XO on The Saratoga to a Vulcan, and was mentored by Cazon Dax, a Trill. And later in the series, it's revealed he himself comes from non-human origins. It's for these reasons that some fans theorize Starfleet selected him specifically to be the authority on the station.
4 MAKES NO SENSE: BASHIR BEING A SPY, A DOUBLE, AND A SUPERHUMAN
Perhaps because Dr. Beverly Crusher on The Next Generation and the EMH on Voyager eventually got to be promoted to more central storylines, DS9's doctor Julian Bashir was bound to be given some robust plot points himself. Then he was made into a spy, a doppelganger, and a genetically augmented human.
Bashir was always an exceptional doctor and surgeon, but suddenly it was revealed that's because his parents gave the ok to genetically engineer him to greatness. Then it was revealed he was part of Section 31, then it was revealed the real Bashir had been kidnapped and replaced with a Dominion spy for a month.
3 FAN THEORY: SEASON 8 WOULD HAVE FOCUSED ON SISKO'S PATH
At the conclusion of the series, we discover Benjamin Sisko's true origins, as well as his connection to the Prophets. He's able to sacrifice himself in order to stop the Dominion War, giving the Prophets his life in exchange for them making the Dominion warships vanish instantly before they can get through the wormhole.
Fans have theorized that Season 8 would have focused on Sisko's path as a Prophet, and finally his return with the new knowledge and enlightenment he's gained. Viewers would have found out whether or not he found Kasidy, his true mother, and if he retired on Bajor like he intended.
2 MAKES NO SENSE: JADZIA'S DEATH
Jadzia Dax was the Science Officer aboard DS9 for the majority of the series, until actress Terry Ferrell wanted some time off in Season 6. She petitioned to change her grueling shooting schedule but was not only denied, but had her character killed off in an incredibly unceremonious way.
Jadzia dies for no real reason (other than the behind-the-scenes contractual issues), and is replaced by Ezri, a Trill female who takes on the Dax symbiont. She completely changed the character who deserved to be a part of the series through its last and final season.
1 FAN THEORY: THE EVENTS OF DS9 ARE PURELY IMAGINED BY CHARACTERS ON THE SHOW
In one memorable episode, Commander Sisko gets a vision from the Prophets and assumes the identity of Benny Russell, a science fiction author in the '50s on Earth. All of his writings involve a black commander serving aboard a space station. The episode prompted fans to wonder if the events of DS9 were all imagined by a fictional character or if they really happened.
It's the same logic that made fans wonder if the series wasn't all an elaborate holodeck fantasy of Chief O'Brien's. Shortly after arriving from being in charge of transporters on TNG, he suddenly had an idyllic life being in charge of the operations on a space station, with a perfect family, and was the only crewman with a customized uniform (pockets!).