Sometimes you’re watching Star Trek and everything is going really well. You’re like, “hell yeah, I love Star Trek! Keep it coming! This is the best!” And then out of nowhere an episode appears to punch you square in the face with its awfulness. This is one of those episodes. It is so bad that, when I’m making lists of bad DS9 episodes, I frequently forget to include it because my brain is blocking out the memory to protect itself. This episode feels like the worst missteps of NexGen, and it’s unfortunately a momentum-killing blemish on what is otherwise an extremely strong season. But the internet is in some ways like God, and content providers are in many ways like Abraham: the internet will call to you from on high to personally destroy something you really really love, like your favorite kid or your favorite Star Trek series, and you will obey, because, internet – and everybody gets a good story to tell later.
Synopsis: We start the episode with a voiceover, and right away we can tell things are going to go badly because it’s a Bashir voiceover. That’s Sisko’s job, and the change-up can only mean that we’re going to spend the whole forty-five minutes on Bashir, and he seriously cannot sustain an episode by himself at this point in his development.
Bashir explains that he and Irishy have been working overtime to make the station ADA compliant for a visiting cartographer named Melora, who is the first Elaysian (eee-LAY-shun) person in Starfleet, and needs everything rigged up real special for her alien needs. Elaysisan people, you see, live on a low-gravity planet, and when they leave and go other places they can’t move or walk around easily.
It’s never a good sign when Star Trek brings on some random person as “the first (random alien) in Starfleet,” it almost always means that they wrote a Very Special Episode so gut-wrenchingly appalling that they had to create a whole new race of people to foist it upon.
On the station, Bashir is riding a HoverRound in circles as Jadzia watches him, amused. Apparently she has not seen a wheelchair in more than three hundred years, so I guess that means we eradicate all lower-body and spinal injuries in the future, good job team. Also I guess it means that none of the Trills who hosted the Dax symbiont ever ran into Captain Pike, who was kind of famously in a wheelchair less than a century earlier. Bashir says that the specifications for the thing weren’t even in the replicator, which I assume means he built it with his own hands at three o’clock in the morning.
Apparently Melora usually travels around with some sort of anti-gravity device that won’t work with Cardassian technology, which is why they had to rig this up. Kira comm badges in to let them know that Melora has docked, and as Bashir and Jadzia walk over, he lectures her incessantly about how it must feel for this woman to suddenly have so much more gravity around than she’s used to, blah-blah-blah. Irishy comes up to let Bashir know that he did his best with the ramps, but Cardassians obviously hate the disabled and there are still a lot of places on the station she won’t have access to. Jadzia asks if they could use the transporter to beam her around to different places on the station, and Irishy says that would be a great idea – if Melora hadn’t already sent word that that was “unacceptable.”
Jadzia is all like, “wait, what?” and Bashir admiringly says that Melora was the exact same way at the Academy, refusing any assistance beyond her basic needs, and she’s extraordinary. Bashir says this in a really creepy, admiring way, which leads me to wonder a couple of things:
1) How much “research” has Bashir done on this woman, exactly? Did he create a hologram version of her to talk to while he futzed around with her wheelchair?
2) Why are we supposed to admire this woman for refusing to let them transport her around the station? All I see here is a woman who forced two men to spend several weeks constructing ramps, calibrating wheelchairs, and basically turning their station upside down when she could have just transported from place to place with already present technology. Transporting her isn’t just not a problem, it’s actually less trouble than what she asked them to actually do. I bet it isn’t a convenience thing at all, I bet she just has some philosophical hippie objection to transporters, like she thinks they give people autism or something. I bet she’s like the Jenny McCarthy of transporter technology.
Bashir goes on to say that he knows she’s extraordinary because he pulled all her personnel and medical files to prepare. Could he be any more Geordi LaForge right now?
In the docking bay, Melora, whose whole body is encased in Forrest-Gump-style braces, is breathing heavy and staggering around like she’s that one kid from The Secret Garden. You know, the one you wanted to punch. She introduces herself to Jadzia and Bashir, and notes that she and Bashir spoke on skype earlier. Bashir is all like, “nice to finally meet you in person,” and pulls this smile that he obviously thinks is really slick. God, ew.
Jadzia offers to help her into her chair, and Transporter Jenny McCarthy is all like, “I’M FINE,” and staggers over like Frankenstein’s Monster to do it herself. She comments that Bashir has modified the chair, and Bashir obviously thinks he’s about to get a compliment, because he proudly says that he wanted to give her as much mobility as possible. She passive-agressively says that she’s been practicing on the model she requested at home, but it’s fine, really, she’ll just adapt, she guesses.
Jadzia says that she’ll be accompanying Transporter Jenny her on her survey mission, and Transporter Jenny is all like, “because you commander thinks I can’t do it myself, ISN’T THAT RIGHT?” and Jadzia explains that it’s just because Sisko would never let any ensign take a runabout into the Gamma Quadrant by herself right after she showed up, because why would he ever do that?
Transporter Jenny plays her “oh, I don’t want to be any trouble,” card again, saying she’s sure Jadzia has better things to do. Better things than listening to your sorry ass whine, that’s for sure. The arrive at her quarters and she basically slams the door in their faces. God, I can’t stand her. How much longer in this episode? Forty-two minutes, you say? Ulgh.
After the opening credits, we arrive in Quark’s bar where Quark is trying to sell some collector’s pieces, of which he has forty-two. Apparently the customer he has on the hook is trying to return them to the artist’s home planet (they’re the gold rings of something-something), and Quark is going to give him the generous price of only 199 bars of gold-pressed latinum. Just as Quark’s about to close the deal, an alien walks into the bar and scares the crap out of him. He’s one of those aliens who showed up at the Star Trek makeup station at 4:45 on a Friday, and everybody just said, “fuck it, give him a skin flap that attaches his nose to his chin.”
Quark nervously invites him to sit down and asks how long it’s been (eight years), but the alien seems quite surly and uninterested in small talk. Quark asks if he’s lost weight, and the alien says you don’t keep weight on where he’s been, presumably because wherever he was they only had pizza, which he can’t eat because of his prohibitive skin-flap. He came here specifically to see Quark, even more specifically, he confides, he’s here to kill him. Uh-oh!
In Sisko’s office, Sisko, Jadzia and Bashir seem to be discussing Transporter Jenny and her desire to cowboy off into the Gamma Quadrant alone. Just then, Transporter Jenny noisily arrives in her HoverRound, because she heard the bitchiness ratio was dangerously low on in that part of the station. Sisko extends his hand in greeting, and she pointedly refuses to shake it. She snipply references the fact that Jadzia and Bashir are already there, asking if she’s late, because it looks like the meeting has already started. Yes, because everything is about you, Transporter Jenny, we couldn’t possibly have been talking about the day-to-day operations inherent to running this space station.
Sisko says that he just heard about her request, and she says that should have been discussed with her, and Sisko is all like, “I’ll talk to my senior staff about whatever I want, bitch.”
Since she’s clearly in trouble, Transporter Jenny fake apologizes by saying “I’m used to being shut out of the Melora problem. The truth is, there is no Melora problem…until people create one.” How about the problem of Melora being a huge bitch? Because that seems like a Melora problem to me, and it would certainly explain why people shut you out – because that’s their strategy to solve the problem.
She goes on to whine about Bashir being…around her, I guess, asking why there’s any need for a medical opinion. Jadzia says that Julian knows more about her capabilities than anyone on the station, which seems dangerously close to outing him as a cyber-stalker. Transporter Jenny snaps that she doesn’t need a doctor to tell her about her own capabilities, which I have to agree must be impressive because I don’t know how she managed to put all those stupid braids in her hair if lifting her arms is such a struggle.
She says she doesn’t want to be treated like someone ill, and Sisko is all “who is doing that?” and she goes, “TRY SITTING IN THE CHAIR, COMMANDER!” and Sisko does this amazing subtle face change from “I hear you,” to “WHOA there blonde white lady.”
She says no one can understand her, blah-blah-blah, and she tells this sob story about her family making her a cane from a native tree, and how hardly anyone ever leaves her planet, but she loves the stars, and she isn’t going to let some chair get in the way of exploring them. If you didn’t want the chair to get in the way why didn’t you just let them transport you around the station like a ping-pong ball, dummy?
She says it’s easier for her to work alone, because I guess it’s distracting when other people are there to get their feelings hurt, but Sisko says no dice, she has to take Jadzia with her. They agree to leave the next day.
Later, Bashir rings Transporter Jenny’s doorbell, and when she lets him in he asks how the low-gravity field generator he set up for her room is working. She says it’s fine, and then he creepily asks if she was just, you know, floating around, and she says that for her it’s like slipping into a hot tub at the end of a long day. Bashir says “really?” with way too much interest, and it’s awkward for everyone, and he fails to make it less awkward by adding, “I like a shower myself.”
Then, without asking, he picks up a picture of her and some dude and wonders aloud if the dude is her husband or boyfriend. She PowerChairs over to him and says, “Doctor, if you came here for an apology, I apologize.” Um, no. He obviously came to hit on you.
She says she didn’t mean to attack him personally, and then Bashir accuses her of attacking everyone. If I could be sure this scene would end with him punching her in the face, I would cheer, but it won’t. This scene is the beginning of Bashir using Tough Love to Get Through Her Rough Exterior to the Beautiful Vulnerable Woman Underneath, because she’s Only Abrasive Because She Hurts Inside, and I can think of few things I would like to see less.
Bashir is all, “call me Julian because I’m not your doctor anymore,” and she’s all, “bitchy bitchy bitch bitch,” and he’s all, “there you go again, you’re afraid of someone getting too close,” and she’s all “your insightfulness has penetrated my soul in a way no other man ever has!” and he’s all “I want to take you out for Klingon food,” and she’s all tenative smile, and I’m all retch. This whole episode would have been redeemed if Bashir had woken up at the end of this scene. The whole thing is so romantic-comedy improbable that it feels less like an episode featuring the actual Bashir and his actual capabilities and motivations than it feels like a dream he has about wooing teh ladyees.
Back in the B-plot, Quark is trying to sway his would-be-assassin with an elegant meal, which Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy refuses. Luckily, Quark has a backup plan that involves Dabo girls. It looks like it’s working, for a minute, and Quark proposes a toast to “old friends.” “Old debts,” Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy corrects. Somewhere, a producer yells “TOO INTERESTING!” and we are forced to watch Bashir and Transporter Jenny have their date at the Comic Relief Klingon Raw Stir Fry Cafe.
Bashir orders for both, of course, because that’s the sort of douche he is, and asks all kinds of cutesy, flippant questions about his order. I don’t honestly believe that the Klingon guy puts what you tell him to in your bowl, I think you just eat whatever he decides to give you and are grateful he didn’t punch you.
Julian goes to hand Transporter Jenny her plate, and she says, “I’m sorry, Julian, I just can’t eat this.” Bashir starts to patronizingly tell her that Klingon food is better than it looks (which is like worms), when she begins yelling in Klingon at the Klingon behind the counter. Bashir looks kind of terrified, which is priceless, and finally the Klingon laughs. He says he likes a customer who knows what she wants, and pulls up some fresher worms for her. I have to say, this is the high point of the episode, it was almost enjoyable for a second.
Later, Bashir is sucking up what is clearly a gummi worm with relish (by which I mean “gusto,” and not the garnish, because gummi worms with relish, ewww). He and Transporter Jenny seem to be sharing their innermost childhood secrets, because that’s what Bashir likes to do on every first date. Bashir relates the story of how he watched a small girl die when he was a kid and found out the next day he could have saved her by feeding her grass or some shit. Whoa, Bashir, don’t blow all your best stories before dessert!
Then he tries to lighten the mood by backdoor bragging about how he used to play competitive tennis, which is obviously a great topic to bring up on your date with a woman who spends the majority of her time in a wheelchair. Transporter Jenny chuckles as though this was a great story, and they lock eyes like they’re about to have sex, but then WHOOMP WHOOMP BITCH SHIELDS ARE ARMING and she says she has to get some rest so she can go cartograph tomorrow.
The next morning, Jadzia rings the doorbell at Transporter Jenny’s quarters, but no one answers, so she just barges right in. The place is empty, so Jadzia is all, “Computer, locate Transporter Jenny,” and the computer is all, “Transporter Jenny is located between Dr. Bashir’s sheets.” Haha, no, seriously, she’s in the docking area for some reason.
Jadzia runs on down there and finds Transporter Jenny flopping around like she’s pretending to be a a fish in an improv class, and I’ve decided that this beats the scene with the Klingon guy for MVP moment of the episode.
Transporter Jenny came down there to get something, and she tripped, so they have to take her to sick bay. She’s all upset that she isn’t going to get to go to the Gamma Quadrant, and Bashir says she’s fine and she can just go tomorrow, and Transporter Jenny laments that she was “flopping around like a broken toy.” Or a person pretending to be a fish! Don’t forget that!
Anyway, she’s mad at herself for not paying attention, and that she needed Jadzia to come and rescue her, and Bashir tells her – I swear to God – “in SPACE, we all depend on one another to some degree,” like people planetside are just frolicking about completely untethered to communities or other people. She says she just wants them to know they can depend on her, and Bashir says she’s proven that. When? When did she prove that?
Bashir’s all like “how can we prove that you can depend on us,” and she’s all slow, repressed smile, and I’m all gag. Later, they stroll through the halls together, and Bashir asks if she’s ever heard of the work some sciency guy did with low-gravity people thirty years ago. That is so condescending. “Hey, you’re a woman, right? Did you ever hear about what this chick Susan B. Anthony did to advance women’s rights? I’m kind of an expert.”
Apparently that guy did a bunch of work with neuro-muscle-whosiwhatsits, and Bashir thinks one day someone could build on that work and she could “lose the chair.” Oh, this is bad. This is really bad.
Transporter Jenny invites Bashir in to bounce around the ceiling with her. She turns the gravity off and floats around, and then so does Bashir, who loves it, and, yes mid-ninties, I see your Hook-era special flying effects, we’re all very proud, now go outside and play.Transporter Jenny tells Bashir that the guy in the picture from earlier is her brother. Nice misdirect, show, I always carry around framed photographs of me and my brother for just that reason.
Anyway, now we’re cleared to have guilt-free sex on the ceiling. They start making out and float out of the shot and we slow-zoom on a Space Window, don’t tell me that’s not what’s happening. Presumably after they’re finished they’ll smoke some Sector 7s (thank God we invented the whatever device).
The next shot after the commercial break is of the wormhole opening up for a ship. Classy, show, classy.
Transporter Jenny and Jadzia are aboard the ship doing cartography or whatever, and apparently Transporter Jenny, unlike the rest of us, is not partial to the dulcet tones of Al Green or Jermaine Clement after getting freaky, and asks the computer to play a Vulcan etude. Bor-ing. She and Jadzia talk about how pretty the music is (spoiler alert: it is not that pretty), and then Transporter Jenny asks Jadzia if she thinks there’s room in Starfleet for romance. Well, there’s certainly a lot of room for sexual harassment.
Jadzia says that she once had a Starfleet romance work out 150 years ago, which is not, you know, super encouraging. Then she asks – again, I swear to God – if Transporter Jenny is drawn to Bashir’s “bedside manner”. Transporter Jenny says she isn’t sure how it’s going to work, because their species are so different, and Jadzia basically says you can make anything work if you try hard enough (except, apparently, “subspace relationships”). She uses the phrase “love across lightyears,” which I’m going to assume is the name of a popular space soap opera.
Back on the station, Quark is desperate enough to go to Odo for help. Odo already knows that Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy, who spent eight years at a labor camp after Quark ratted him out, is on the station looking for revenge. Quark reveals that Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy wants to kill him, and Odo actually allows himself a rare smile. Quark is all, “not funny, Odo! Do something!” Odo says he’ll do his job, and as Quark leaves, he mumbles, “unfortunately.”
Bashir is bustling about sick bay when Transporter Jenny rolls in. He says he has something to show her: he technobabbled some technobabble, and something something that research from thirty years ago and he can CURE HER non-illness! Or something!
In the security office, Odo brings Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy in for questioning. He says that they have something in common: they don’t like Quark. But, he says, he can’t let Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy kill him. Odo says you can tell a man’s intentions by the way he walks, which doesn’t make sense but is still a pretty badass thing to say, and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy says you can’t lock a man up for how he walks. He leaves cockily, and Quark runs up to Odo for a confab. Odo says Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy has nothing to lose, and Quark should have a comm badge at all times and call him at the first sign of trouble.
“What if,” Quark wants to know, “the first sign is the last sign?” Odo asks if it’s true that Ferengi sell pieces of themselves when they die, which Quark confirms. “Then I’ll buy one,” Odo says.
In sick bay, Transporter Jenny is all prepared for a highly experimental and possibly dangerous elective operation that I suspect Bashir has not run by anyone at all. She says her heart is pounding, and Bashir literally says “I’d like to think that has more to do with me than with the neo-analetic infusion.” Smoooooooth.
I guess they already did the procedure, because he asks her if she feels any different. He goes to check on some shit on a computer, and she starts wiggling her toes, then lifting her leg. Bashir says they’ll have her walking within the hour.
In Ops, Sisko and Irishy are working on a software update for the station when Bashir and Transporter Jenny arrive in the turbolift to show off. Transporter Jenny is all, “I brought you the mission summary, NOTICE ANYTHING?”
Irishy and Jadzia ask Bashir how he did it, and Bashir is all demure, saying he just built a little on someone else’s research. Um, welcome to science? Transporter Jenny seems like the gravity is starting to get to her, and she says she may not be able to walk all the way back. Bashir says the first day’s treatment is just wearing off, and he escorts her back to her quarters. Sisko, weirdly, makes a face that says, “have fun, you crazy kids,” and not, “I am concerned about the myriad ethical issues inherent to what just happened here.”
In Transporter Jenny’s quarters, Bashir explains that she’ll get stronger and have longer-lasting effects with each treatment. You know, theoretically, since this whole thing is an untested shot in the dark. She asks if she can turn her low-grav environment back on a float around, and Bashir says regrettably no, because suddenly floating around would confuse her brain and mess up her treatment. Transporter Jenny looks sad, and Bashir tells her that she let him fly for the first time, and he’s going to let her walk, so now they’re even. He takes his leave and she looks sad again.
In Quark’s bar, Quark walks in to find that the lights seem to have been disabled, and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy jumps him in the dark and pins him so he can’t call Odo. He reiterates how much he wants to make some Quark soup, and says that he doesn’t want any more of Quark’s gifts. Quark chokes out that he’s worth more alive, and offers him the 199 bars of gold pressed latinum from earlier. Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy says “it’s a start,” and lets him go, so I guess he wasn’t done with Quark’s gifts after all?
In sick bay, Bashir is giving Transporter Jenny her second treatment as she whines about how uncomfortable her mattress is now that she can’t float. Bashir says she’ll adjust after a few more treatments, but I suspect the station just has bad mattresses. He says the treatment should last a few hours this time, and she slowly asks when the effects of the treatment become irreversible. Bashir suddenly locates his medical ethics and asks her if she’s sure she wants to do this, and she says last night she didn’t feel like herself.
Bashir gently tells her that if she wants to give up her dependence on the chair she has to give up her low-grav frolicking, and that she knew that was the trade-off, and reminds her that she’ll always have her looks, and her pretty face, and don’t underestimate the importance of body language. She protests that it seemed like a good trade, until it really hit her that she couldn’t float about anymore.
Bashir warns her that going back and forth between the two environments could lead to a loss of fine motor control, and Transporter Jenny seems surprised by this information, which means that they didn’t discuss that beforehand. Malpractice suit waiting to happen, that’s all I’m saying. Bashir tells her that the effects will be fully reversible for the next few days, but then her brain should adjust and she will be Part of Their World forever.
Later, Transporter Jenny and Jadzia are back cartographing as Transporter Jenny’s treatment starts to wear off again. She’s beating herself up for having second thoughts, because it would mean real independence, which is what she’s always wanted, but then again it means she would never be able to really go home again. Jadzia, bless her, says it’s just like The Little Mermaid, which she identifies as “an Earth fable by Hans Christian Andersen,” and not as “this old Disney movie.”
Transporter Jenny asks if the Little Mermaid lived happily ever after, and then there’s an awkward silence as Jadzia doesn’t say, “no, she committed suicide.”
Back on the station, Quark and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy are meeting up with the Rings Guy from the beginning to get the 199 bars of gold-pressed latinum. After they hand the rings off, however, Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy pulls a phaser and says he’ll be taking them, too. Hilariously, the Rings Guy yells “they warned me about you!” at Quark, forcing Quark to simultaneously talk down the guy with the gun and explain away his poor rating with the better business bureau.
He is unsuccessful, and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy shoots the Rings Guy and starts pressing Quark into service as his accomplice, making him carry the loot. In his office, Odo, who I guess has seen the phaser fire on his monitors, sends security to their location, and they get into a good-old-fashioned shoot-out. We suddenly cut away to Jadzia and Transporter Jenny returning from their mission, and I do not see how this could possibly end well. Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy, using Quark as a human shield, confronts them and forces them back into the runabout. He says they’re going to get him out of there, and he gets frustrated with Transporter Jenny for not moving fast enough. Jadzia is all, “it’s not her fault, it’s gravity!” and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy looks at them like, “do I look like I give a shit?”
Jadzia pulls them out of the station, and then Ops gets into the act, engaging the tractor beam. The alien gets on skype with Sisko and says that he’ll start killing people if they’re not released, pointing the gun at Quark for effect. But then he decides he wants to kill Quark more slowly, and shoots Transporter Jenny instead. She looks pretty dead to me.
The alien hangs up, and Sisko tells Irishy to beam him and Bashir over to a second runabout, give them ten seconds, and then release the tractor beam. On Jadzia’s runabout, Jadiza lets Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy know they’re good to go, and takes them through the wormhole at his instruction. Sisko and team follow and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy starts panicking and wants Jadzia to go to warp. On the floor, an apparently alive Transporter Jenny starts twitching.
In Sisko’s runabout, Irishy notes that they’re going to warp, and says he “wouldn’t recommend” beaming anyone anywhere at warp.
On the Good Ship Hostage Crisis, Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy is telling Jadzia to fire on Sisko or he’ll kill her, and Jadzia is all, “good luck flying the ship.” Jadzia asks Quark to explain to his little friend that Starfleet isn’t going to stop chasing them, and Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy is all, “then we’ll all die I guess.” Meanwhile, Transporter Jenny has dragged herself over to one of the control panels, and turns the gravity off. Then she flies at the befuddled Can’t-Eat-Pizza-Guy like a battering ram.
Irishy monitors this all from their runabout, and when they decide it’s safe, he, Sisko, and Bashir beam aboard and take the runabout home.
Back on the station, Transporter Jenny and Bashir are musing about why the phaser didn’t kill her, and it’s a side effect of the treatments or something. She breaks it to Bashir that isn’t going to keep going with the treatments because then she’d be walking but she wouldn’t be her anymore, and also she really enjoyed banging him. Then, for no apparent reason, the guy from the Klingon cafe starts parading about singing a Klingon love song, complete with stringed accompaniment.
Transporter Jenny says she wants to remember all of this, and gives Bashir a hand-squeeze. End of episode, thank God.
Tim’s Analysis: You want to know the moment this episode lost all hope of having merit to me? It wasn’t at the beginning when Melora is being unsympathetic. It was when they went ahead and explicitly talked about The Little Mermaid. It was never exactly subtle that this episode is Little Mermaid in Space, but when they went ahead and stated it explicitly, they gave up all hope to actually do something interesting with it. Could you imagine if halfway through The Lion King, Pumbaa had been like “Simba, this reminds me of a story I heard called Hamlet! Let’s have a hamfisted conversation about the similarities for the benefit of nobody in particular”.
I have a really hard time feeling a connection to anyone in this episode. Bashir has some goofy crushes from time to time, but this time he’s being unusually reckless and it actually seems out of character. The B plot is way too thin and just when it starts getting good: Oh, boy Melora is here, joy.
Meredith’s Analysis: I don’t like this episode. I just don’t. It’s so treacly and kitschy and predictable, and has Bashir making crazy decisions on a whim that seem kind of out of character, which is jarring after the good character work the writers have been doing for him so far this season. This whole this really does remind me of a NexGen episode, this totally seems like shit Dr. Crusher would have pulled on a pretty wheelchair-bound gentleman, and everyone could have written off the potential malpractice with, “oh, she’s a woman, you know, they get so emotional.”
I don’t find Melora particularly sympathetic, and the whole Very Special Episode quality of the message about the disabled seems forced. I think that the best stories happen when you let your characters dictate the action, and none of these characters should have been here behaving in these ways. Let’s not even get into the fact that Melora is an ensign and Bashir is a lieutenant, so their sexytimes definitely seem like they should cause some concerns chain-of-command wise if nothing else (although as we have seen, Starfleet is not very strong on sexual harassment policy).
I also, as a rule, hate the “random guest star appears and a main character falls in love with them over the course of the episode and then it doesn’t work out for them for some reason” device. It’s lazy writing, making characters build meaningless relationships with no consequences in the larger show just so you can have an emotional climax at the end of the episode. It feels cheap to me, and I don’t like that the B-plot is so weak and brief, giving me no distraction from this eye-roller of an A-plot.