21. Past Tense (3.11, 3.12)

Synopsis: Trapped three hundred years in the past, Sisko, Bashir, and Dax find themselves confronting one of the darkest hours in Earth’s history. With history itself at stake, Sisko must risk all to see that the Bell Riots reach their inevitable conclusion, even if it means sacrificing his life

Memory Alpha Summary: Could be our near future.

Review: A very polarizing episode, as it gets political and preachy about the homelessness and mental illness in the early 21st century. As a social worker, I appreciate that they were willing to take this on directly. Treatment of those who are homeless is still very poor in this country. What bothered me about the episode is that Bashir makes it sound like fixing the problem is as easy as snapping your fingers. He whines about how there are medications that can fix mental illnesses in our time period. It also would have been nice for them to mention the real reason that the homeless don’t get much help: there’s no immediate profit in it. 

I definitely give the writers some props for creating concentration camps for the homeless and mentally ill, especially since just a very short time after this episode aired, the mayor of Los Angeles actually proposed a similar thing.

Non-controversial stuff aside, it’s still a fun episode. Odo and Kira get to travel to different time periods in the history of San Francisco. Avery Brooks gets to bust out his acting chops. And I love that they predicted the 99 Yankees would be one of the best teams in history. The 98 Yankees were, so close enough. London having a team was a bit jumping the gun. 

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