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Best Episodes Of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine According To IMDb

Launched in 1993, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was the first of several spin-off series for the franchise after the success of the 1980s revival, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Seeking to set itself apart from its brethren, "DS9" broke convention by ditching the exploratory starship setting and laying down roots on a space station. Station commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) was not your prototypical starship captain either, but a disgruntled officer ordered  to take control of a Cardassian station and help the Bajoran people — just recovered from a decades-long war with Cardassia — prepare for membership into the Federation.

On his first visit, Sisko discovers a wormhole to the far-off Gamma Quadrant, also home to the god-like Prophets worshipped on Bajor, who anoint him their emissary. Set against this overtly political and religious backdrop, "DS9" broke new ground as a serialized series, which was unusual for the time. Introducing several ongoing story arcs and adding Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) from "The Next Generation" to the cast, it was a darker "Star Trek" than we'd ever seen too. Yet "Deep Space Nine" also managed to sneak in a unique brand of comedic stories that helped set it apart from other shows in the franchise.

While not as successful as its predecessor, "DS9" is now appreciated for everything that made it unique and considered one of the better "Trek" shows. With over 170 episodes — from grim war stories to mind-bending sci-fi tales to light-hearted romps — these are the 30 best according to IMDb

30. Inquisition (Season 6, Episode 18)

Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig) is called back from attending a medical conference in "Inquisition" under the auspices of an internal Starfleet investigation. Deputy Director Sloan (William Sadler) of Starfleet's Office of Internal Affairs arrives on the station to look into reports of a Dominion spy aboard Deep Space Nine, and isolates the senior staff to conduct individual interviews. As the questioning becomes more cryptic, Bashir realizes that Sloan has zeroed in on him as the prime suspect. 

Insisting that the doctor is an enemy agent, Sloan is convinced that the Dominion somehow brainwashed him into becoming an unwitting spy when he had been taken prisoner. Though Sisko rushes to Bashir's defense, the investigation takes a turn when the Jem'Hadar abduct the doctor and reveal he's indeed been turned into an unwilling operative. But nothing adds up for Bashir, who begins to suspect there's a conspiracy to peg him as a traitor to the Federation, and that the shadowy Sloan may be more than he seems.

29. The Search, Part 2 (Season 3, Episode 2)

Having escaped the Jem'Hadar in the previous episode, "The Search, Part 2" sees Sisko and Dax (Terry Farrell) return to Deep Space Nine to warn of a possible Dominion invasion, only to find their representatives have already arrived. But the Dominion is not looking to conquer, and are in the midst of peace negotiations with the Federation. Admiral Nechayev tells Sisko things are looking promising, but he's leery of an alliance with the Dominion. Sisko doesn't quite trust the peace process, especially when he hears the details of the treaty. 

Meanwhile, back on the Changeling homeworld, Odo (René Auberjonois) is cautious and guarded as he looks to learn more about his people. Kira (Nana Visitor) tries to convince him to be more excited about the discovery of his origins, but he can't help but feel that things aren't what they seem. His fears are confirmed when he makes an unexpected revelation that will change everything for him, for the station, and the entire Alpha Quadrant.

28. The Wire (Season 2, Episode 22)

"The Wire" is our first glimpse into the past of Garak, the mysterious Cardassian tailor living aboard Deep Space Nine. It begins when the "simple tailor" collapses and is brought to the infirmary with painful headaches. It seems Garak (Andrew Robinson) was once a member of the Obsidian Order, the clandestine Cardassian spy agency, and while in their service he was given an implant that is now causing him terrible pain. As Bashir attempts to find a cure for Garak's suffering, the former spy opens up about his past service as an agent of the Order.

Investigating the source of the technology, Bashir is led to the doorstep of the Obsidian Order's feared leader, Enabran Tain. Begging Tain to help, Bashir begins to wonder if Garak has been telling him the truth. A psychological thriller, this episode turned the Cardassian tailor into one of the show's standout characters, who'd go on to play a pivotal role through the rest of the series.

27. Hard Time (Season 4, Episode 18)

in "Hard Time," Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) is convicted of a crime he didn't commit on an alien world, but before Sisko can come to his defense he's tried and sentenced. In the blink of an eye, O'Brien is subjected to an implanted memory of two decades in prison, and awakens a changed man. While only minutes have passed for everyone else, for him he's spent the past 20 years in a prison cell, abused by guards and given little food. Returning to the station he struggles to readjust to a normal life.

His return is made more difficult by hallucinations of an apparent cell mate from his implanted memories of incarceration, who begins to act as his conscience. As his friends and loved ones try to help him through his recovery, O'Brien's mental state deteriorates, and his hallucinations urge him back towards sanity. A surprisingly earnest look at mental health, it's an episode that puts the always likable O'Brien through the ringer.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

26. Homefront (Season 4, Episode 10)

After a terrorist attack on Earth by a Changeling infiltrator, Sisko and Odo head to Earth to debrief Starfleet on their knowledge of the Dominion in "Homefront," part one of a two-part episode. As a Changeling himself, Odo is nervous about how he'll be treated, but Sisko's former commanding officer, Admiral Leyton (Robert Foxworth), and his adjutant Benteen welcome Odo with open arms. While Sisko and Odo work with the two high-ranking officers to develop a defense plan, they soon realize the Changeling dilemma may be bigger than they suspected.

Unfortunately, the Federation President is reluctant to put more security measures into place and unwilling to accept how dire the situation is, until Odo convinces him. Back in his New Orleans home, Sisko's father (Brock Peters) becomes a surprise resister to the new measures, causing Sisko to reconsider and even grow suspicious of his own dad. But a sudden attack on the planet's power systems may force the President to take bolder action as they fear an imminent invasion from the Dominion.

25. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (Season 7, Episode 16)

"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" sees the return of Section 31 operative Sloan, who arrives with a covert mission for Dr. Bashir. Scheduled to attend a diplomatic conference on Romulus — alongside Romulan Senator Cretak (Adrienne Barbeau), who's been stationed aboard Deep Space Nine during the war — Bashir is tasked by Section 31 to observe and assess the health of Tal Shiar Chairman Koval. 

Going along with Sloan's orders, Bashir soon learns that his mission may be part of an elaborate plot to assassinate a high ranking member of the Romulan government. Out of reach of Starfleet, and with few people he can trust, Bashir turns to Cretak, and together the unlikely allies must work to unravel Sloan's plot and discover the truth of Section 31. A spy thriller with few equals in "Trek," it's a story that will keep you guessing right up until its final moments. 

24. It's Only A Paper Moon (Season 7, Episode 10)

A heartfelt examination of post-traumatic stress disorder, "It's Only A Paper Moon" shows how young Ferengi officer Nog (Aron Eisenberg) — who lost a leg in a battle with the Dominion — finds that returning to normal life may be harder than being a soldier. Though hailed as a hero by friends and family, all Nog wants is to be left alone, but back on the station he's no longer the upbeat person he was before the war. Bitter, angry, and still suffering, Nog is ordered to undergo therapy for more than just his body.

But things take an unusual turn when Nog chooses to undergo his treatment in a holosuite simulation of 1960s Las Vegas, alongside holographic lounge singer Vic Fontaine. Though the nearly sentient Fontaine appreciates his new life with Nog, he sees that the holosuite is only making things worse for the young officer, who is using the simulation as an escape from reality. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

23. Paradise Lost (Season 4, Episode 11)

Following where "Homefront" left off, "Paradise Lost" begins with Sisko and Leyton now in charge of the Federation's response to a global crisis on Earth. Preparing for a Dominion invasion, Leyton orders Starfleet troops into the streets to maintain order, effectively placing the planet under military occupation. But when Odo learns of some discrepancies in Starfleet orders surrounding the night of the power grid failure, it leads Sisko to some disturbing discoveries.

Learning that there may be no Dominion invasion after all, Sisko begins to suspect that Leyton's plans are not just about adding new security measures. Odo's investigation seems to confirm Sisko's doubts, revealing that more is going on than he ever suspected. Determined to stop his former commanding officer, Sisko and Leyton head towards to a confrontation that could decide the very fate of the Federation. Moral and ethical dilemmas abound in this dark political and military thriller. 

22. The Search, Part 1 (Season 3, Episode 1)

"The Search, Part 1" follows the shocking second season finale that saw the Dominion finally reveal themselves as a threat to the Alpha Quadrant. Sisko returns from a meeting with Starfleet with a little surprise for his crew: the experimental starship, the U.S.S. Defiant. Equipped with advanced new weapons and a cloaking device operated by a Romulan engineer, he comes with new orders to embark on a diplomatic mission to the Gamma Quadrant. 

At the same time, the arrival of a new Starfleet security officer, Michael Eddington (Kenneth Marshall), riles Odo, whose position as chief of station security suddenly seems tenuous. After Sisko and his command crew head through the wormhole to seek out the Founders — the mysterious leaders of the Dominion — Odo finds himself inexplicably drawn to a nearby nebula. But then the Defiant comes under attack from a squadron of Jem'Hadar fighters, leaving Sisko to fight his way back to the wormhole as Odo and Kira escape in a shuttlecraft, headed for a small planet inside the nebula.

21. The Changing Face Of Evil (Season 7, Episode 20)

Worf and Ezri return to Deep Space Nine thanks to the help of Damar, who has seemingly betrayed the Dominion in "The Changing Face Of Evil." But before there's time to celebrate, word comes in that the Breen – the Dominion's newest ally in their bid to take over the Alpha Quadrant — have launched an assault on Earth. But while Damar begins to make plans to undermine the Founders' vision of galactic conquest, the Breen's power embolden the Dominion, with a devastating new weapon that could cripple the Federation and its allies.

Back on Bajor, Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) begins to doubt her allegiance to the Prophets. Gul Dukat meanwhile, disguised as misbegotten Bajoran farmer Anjohl Tannan, has become her closest confidant, and helps guide her to a new plan for her people. Urging Winn to read from a forbidden text called the Kosst Amojan, she begins to question everything she has always believed.

20. The Jem'Hadar (Season 2, Episode 26)

Sisko, Jake (Cirroc Lofton), Quark (Armin Shimerman), and Nog take a vacation in the Gamma Quadrant and get more than they bargained for in the second season finale. Looking for some leisure on an alien world, the group stumbles upon a woman on the run from the Jem'Hadar — foot soldiers of the Dominion. While Jake and Nog manage to escape, Sisko and Quark are taken hostage with the woman, who doesn't seem too willing to talk. Meanwhile, a Dominion representative arrives at Deep Space Nine and warns the crew not to come through the wormhole looking for them.

In response, the U.S.S. Odyssey is sent to the Gamma Quadrant to rescue Sisko and Quark, and they're greeted by a fleet of Jem'Hadar ships that show them just how ruthless the Dominion can be. The opening salvo in the Dominion War storyline that would dominate the remainder of the series, "The Jem'Hadar" offers a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come.

19. A Time To Stand (Season 6, Episode 1)

The sixth season premiere, "A Time To Stand," picks up where the fifth season left off, with the Dominion and their new Cardassian allies in full control of Deep Space Nine. Led by Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) and the Vorta Weyoun (Jeffrey Combs), their first task is to find a way to disable the minefield at the entrance to the wormhole to get reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. Major Kira, Quark, Jake, Odo, and Rom, who stayed behind, do their best to adjust to life under Dominion rule.

On the run from the Jem'Hadar meanwhile, Sisko and the Defiant rendezvous at Starbase 375 to lick their wounds and receive new orders from Admiral Ross. Planning a new offensive, Sisko is given a fresh assignment, and with the help of Garak is sent on a mission behind enemy lines aboard a stolen Jem'Hadar fighter. But the daring plan proves a costly one, leaving them stranded in enemy territory.

18. Little Green Men (Season 4, Episode 7)

An offbeat time travel episode, "Little Green Men" opens with Quark finally coming into possession of his own ship, the Ferengi shuttle "Quark's Treasure." But on his first test flight to Earth to deliver Nog to Starfleet Academy, the vessel is found to have been sabotaged and is thrown back in time to Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. With the two Ferengi mistaken for alien invaders from Mars, the military personnel who discover them believe they're an advanced scouting party for a full scale invasion. But one officer and a government linguist brought in to study them aren't so sure.

While Rom and Nog try to convince them that they're harmless, Quark wants to exploit the opportunity to make a profit in true Ferengi fashion. A fun and diverting adventure, "Little Green Men" is a loving homage to science fiction B-movies of the 1950s as much as it is a classic "Star Trek" time travel story. 

17. Rocks And Shoals (Season 6, Episode 2)

"Rocks And Shoals" follows Sisko's successful mission to destroy a Dominion facility in "A Time To Stand," but with their ship damaged, and with no warp drive, they find themselves under attack by the Jem'Hadar. Making their way to a nearby dark matter nebula to hide, they wind up crash-landing on a desolate planet after losing power. On the surface they find another Jem'Hadar ship already crashed there, with a Vorta who knows he won't be able to control his soldiers for long. Offered a deal by the Vorta to lead his own men to slaughter at Sisko's hands, the captain is left with a difficult moral choice.

Back on the station, now controlled by the Dominion, Major Kira becomes disturbed that she is settling into a comfortable life under Dominion occupation. Having become the very thing she used to fight against, Kira has a moment of clarity after a Bajoran Vedek makes her realize all that is at stake. 

16. Favor The Bold (Season 6, Episode 5)

With the Federation alliance badly losing the war and morale slipping, Sisko looks to change their fortunes and puts together a daring proposal to charge into enemy space and retake Deep Space Nine from the Dominion in "Favor The Bold." Though Starfleet brass is hesitant, Admiral Ross backs him. But as they begin to put their plans together, they receive word that Gul Dukat has finally found a way to dismantle the minefield at the mouth of the wormhole.

With Dominion reinforcements days away, Sisko is forced to accelerate the timetable and launch their assault before they have a commitment from their Klingon allies. Back on the station, Odo, Kira, Jake, Rom, and Quark assemble their own plan to sabotage the station to prevent the minefield from coming down. But the arrival of the Female Changeling changes everything for Odo, whose allegiances are tested when Kira puts her plan into action.

15. Improbable Cause (Season 3, Episode 20)

A chilling two-part mystery begins with "Improbable Cause" and opens with an assassination attempt on the life of tailor and former spy Garak, the last Cardassian living aboard the station. With Garak having a number of enemies from his many days working in espionage, it's not easy for Odo to narrow down a list of suspects. But his dogged investigation eventually singles out a Flaxian assassin named Retaya, who was apparently hired by the Romulans and is promptly killed when he attempts to leave the station. 

As Odo digs deeper he finds evidence of an ominous Romulan plot to snuff out former agents of the Obsidian Order, Cardassia's clandestine intelligence agency. It seems the Romulans are up to something big, and the attack on Garak was just a small piece of the puzzle. Discovering that the former head of the Order, Enabran Tain, has gone missing, Garak and Odo board a runabout and set off to get to the bottom of it. 

14. The Siege Of AR-558 (Season 7, Episode 8)

Episodes like "The Siege Of AR-558" are the perfect example of why "Deep Space Nine" has been called the darker of the '90s "Star Trek" series. A grim and haunting tale that showcases the true horrors of war, the episode begins with the Defiant making a supply drop to a Starfleet battalion on the front lines of the Dominion war, on a strategically important but otherwise desolate world called AR-558. When Sisko sees the state of the unit — battered, exhausted, and losing hope — and hears that their replacements aren't coming, he opts for the Defiant's crew to stay behind and help fight off an attack from the Jem'Hadar.

As the enemy steps up their assaults and uses increasingly brutal tactics, the group of Starfleet's finest bravely dig in for the fight of their lives. The officers, including the young cadet Nog — who is buoyed by his first chance for glory — come face to face with the reality of combat, and will be forever changed by the experience.

13. Tacking Into The Wind (Season 7, Episode 22)

Part six of the epic nine-part saga that closed out the series, "Tacking Into The Wind" sees Kira, Garak, and Odo on Cardassia teaching Damar and his rebels how to fight the Dominion. With the trio leading the rebels on a mission to capture the Breen weapon, tensions mount from within when one of Damar's lieutenants refuses to be led by Colonel Kira, a former Bajoran terrorist. With Garak on her side, Damar must choose, and it becomes a battle for the very soul of Cardassia and its future.

Aboard Deep Space Nine, Gowron — the leader of the Klingon Empire — has arrived to take over leadership of the war from General Martok. The political maneuver proves costly though, as Gowron's leadership leads to stunning losses for the Klingons, forcing Worf, like Damar, to make a choice that could decide the fate of his entire world.

12. In Purgatory's Shadow (Season 5, Episode 14)

Part one of a two-part story, "In Purgatory's Shadow" kicks off with the station intercepting a coded transmission from the Gamma Quadrant that appears to be of Cardassian origin. Garak successfully decodes the message and finds it's a distress call from Enabran Tain, thought dead in an attack by the Dominion. Setting out in a runabout to find the source of the signal, Garak and Worf are ambushed by the Jem'Hadar. Learning that the Cardassians have joined forces with the Dominion, they try to warn the station, but are taken captive and brought to a Dominion internment camp.

Worf and Garak discover that General Martok is also prisoner at the camp, meaning that the man who's been leading the Klingon war against the Federation has been a Changeling duplicate. But Martok isn't the only one they find there. Another prisoner in their cell is an old friend whose presence means there may be a Changeling saboteur aboard Deep Space Nine.

11. By Inferno's Light (Season 5, Episode 15)

Held captive in a Dominion internment camp in the Gamma Quadrant, Worf, Garak, and Martok fight to stay alive in "By Inferno's Light." Worf is forced to endure a series of brutal hand-to-hand matches — to the death — against Jem'Hadar soldiers in training, as Enabran Tain lays dying. Garak, meanwhile, must fight his crippling claustrophobia and escape by crafting a transponder out of spare parts hidden in the wall of their cell.

But as Tain slowly fades, Garak must also face up to his past with the former head of the Obsidian Order before he dies. Back in the Alpha Quadrant, Gowron and the Klingons find the combined might of Cardassia and the Dominion too powerful to take on alone and put aside their recent grudge with the Federation in order to survive. Allied once again, the Federation and the Klingons amass a battle fleet to prepare for an all-out invasion. Back on the station, a saboteur threatens the Federation alliance.

10. Far Beyond The Stars (Season 6, Episode 13)

Nominated for three Prime Time Emmy Awards, the sixth season entry "Far Beyond The Stars" puts the crew of the station into alternate roles in one of Sisko's latest visions. It's the 1950s and Sisko is Benny Russell, an African-American sci-fi writer for the pulp fiction magazine "Incredible Tales." The rest of the cast take on similar roles, as Russell fights intolerance and racism as a successful black professional in a pre-civil rights America. When he writes a profound story about the commander of a futuristic space station, his peers laude him, but his story is rejected because its hero is a black man.

"Star Trek" fans will get a kick out of seeing the cast, normally under heavy makeup, playing ordinary men and women in the '50s, but it's the story's message of intolerance that makes it so powerful. Series star Avery Brooks delivers a moving performance while also directing the installment. An all-time classic "Trek" episode (via Star Trek.com), it's science fiction at its best, using flights of fancy as an allegory for real world problems.

9. The Way Of The Warrior (Season 4, Episode 1)

In a move to shake up the series, "The Way Of The Warrior" launched the fourth season and saw the Klingons at odds with the Federation over the emerging Dominion threat. But when the Klingons begin causing problems in Bajoran space, Sisko calls in the only man in Starfleet that knows how to deal with them: the Enterprise's former chief of security, Lt. Commander Worf. Arriving on the station with new orders, Worf sets out to understand why the Klingons are acting so aggressively, but his first meeting with the Klingon General Martok gives him few answers.

Learning from an old friend that the Klingons are planning an invasion of Cardassia, Worf once again finds himself torn between Starfleet and his own people. While the potential conflict threatens to shift the balance of power in the Alpha Quadrant, Sisko realizes that to avert an all-out war he may be forced to help his greatest enemy.

8. What You Leave Behind (Season 7, Episode 25)

The feature-length series finale "What You Leave Behind" wrapped up the show's seven-season run in impressive fashion. The cap on a nine-part story arc, the episode gives closure to every ongoing plotline. Sisko finally fulfills his role as Emissary of the Prophets and defeats the Pah Wraiths, while the Dominion War comes to a dramatic end with the Founders' defeat at the hands of a Klingon/Federation/Romulan alliance. A bold story that sends the "DS9" regulars in different directions at its end, it features the deaths of more than one major character. 

Featuring the biggest battle scenes yet seen in "Star Trek," the finale is both a rousing, epic climax and heartfelt character drama for its mainstays, with a final scene that won't leave a dry eye in the house. Ultimately, the series finale did what most shows could only hope, tying up loose ends and providing satisfying conclusions for everyone involved while still offering up enough possibilities for a sequel. 

7. The Die Is Cast (Season 3, Episode 21)

"The Die Is Cast" was the conclusion to the two-parter that began with "Improbable Cause," which ended with Odo and Garak heading out to find Enabran Tain, who they feared was the next target in a series of Romulan assassinations. But no sooner do they discover a nebula full of Romulan ships than they are greeted by Tain, who reveals he's back in charge of the Obsidian Order and has formed an alliance with the Romulan's intelligence agency, the Tal Shiar. 

Working together, Tain hopes their combined power and ruthlessness can mastermind a plot to eliminate the Founders — the leaders of the Dominion — who they've tracked to a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. Armed with a massive fleet of Romulan and Cardassian ships, they plan to wipe out the entire planet. But Garak, offered a place by Tain's side, must interrogate and torture Odo if he is to earn his way back from exile and into a high-ranking position within the Obsidian Order.

6. A Call To Arms (Season 5, Episode 26)

In the explosive fifth season finale "A Call To Arms," Sisko and Starfleet have grown tired of watching Dominion reinforcements come through the wormhole and finally decide to make the convoys stop. Unwilling to collapse the wormhole entirely, Rom develops an ingenious plan to booby-trap the entrance to the wormhole with self-replicating mines. But just as they're about to put the plan into action, they learn that the Dominion and its Cardassian allies are preparing a full-scale assault on the station. 

Making matters worse, it's learned that the Romulans have signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, further isolating the Federation, while Starfleet is too busy elsewhere to send a defense force. As a Dominion representative arrives to attempt supposed peace negotiations, Sisko must stall long enough to get the minefield in place and prevent the Dominion from taking control of the Alpha Quadrant.

5. Duet (Season 1, Episode 18)

"Duet" gives dimension and nuance to the villainous Cardassians in a story that defies genre convention. When a Cardassian arrives on the station he is recognized as an infamous war criminal named Gul Darhe'el, known as "The Butcher of Galitep" for his hideous treatment of Bajoran laborers. Though he claims to be an innocent file clerk, he's taken into custody, and Kira leads an investigation into his identity and crimes with the hopes of putting him on trial. 

But questions begin to be raised as to the man's real identity, and whether he really could be the clerk he says. His ultimate admission to being Darhe'el complicates matters, and throws Kira into doubt. Is this really the notorious war criminal, or just an innocent man playing mind games? The truth proves to be more complex, in a moving story of regret and forgiveness that proves to be one of the show's best, with an incredible central performance from its guest star Harris Yulin ("Ozark").

4. Sacrifice Of Angels (Season 6, Episode 6)

Concluding the story begun in "Favor the Bold," "Sacrifice Of Angels" features the epic battle for control of Deep Space Nine that could alter the course of the Dominion War. The Federation fleet is racing towards the station and hoping to arrive before Dukat is able to bring down the minefield and allow Dominion reinforcements to pour out of the Gamma Quadrant. On the station, Rom is imprisoned for sabotage, and Dukat has Kira and Jake arrested to prevent any more attempts to stop them.

As the battle for the station rages, it's up to Quark — and Dukat's half-Bajoran daughter Ziyal — to break Kira and Jake out of the brig before Dukat destroys the mines. But with time running out, it may not be enough, and Sisko may have to call on the Prophets for help. A thrilling conclusion to the Dominion's takeover of the station, it ends with the shocking death of a major character that you won't see coming.

3. The Visitor (Season 4, Episode 2)

"The Visitor" is a touching tale about the bond between a father and son. In the episode's opening moments, a crisis on the Defiant causes a random energy surge that strikes Captain Sisko, vaporizing him right before the eyes of his son Jake. While the station copes with the loss of its leader, Jake struggles to move on from the death of his father. But just as his life begins to return to a sense of normalcy, Sisko materializes before him — unaware that any time has passed — before suddenly disappearing again.

As the crew analyzes Sisko's reappearance they realize that the captain is trapped in a layer of subspace and will re-emerge during rare cosmic windows in time, tied to the physical location of his son. Sisko continues to appear on and off for the rest of Jake's life, until Jake finally decides to devote his entire life to finding a way of rescuing his father. A moving story of love and loss, "The Visitor" is truly one of the franchise's finest.

2. Trials And Tribble-ations (Season 5, Episode 6)

Produced to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of "Star Trek" in 1996, "Trials And Tribble-ations" saw the series mixing remastered footage of "The Original Series" with the cast of "Deep Space Nine" to create an unforgettable time travel adventure. When a man rescued from Cardassia uses the Bajoran Orb Of Time to travel back more than 100 years to assassinate James T. Kirk aboard the original starship Enterprise, Sisko and the crew follow him back to prevent him from succeeding.

Set in the middle of the classic "Star Trek" entry "The Trouble With Tribbles," the episode features original series guest star Charlie Brill reprising his role as Arne Darvin, while archival footage is used to lovingly recreate the original ship and crew of the Enterprise. A fun, light-hearted romp, it successfully plays off nostalgia while still being a strong story on its own merits, made all the more remarkable for its technical achievements that seamlessly integrated the actors into the 1960s series.

1. In The Pale Moonlight (Season 6, Episode 19)

"In The Pale Moonlight" is quite simply one of the finest pieces of pure drama in the series. With the Dominion War raging and the combined forces of the Federation and the Klingons losing badly, Sisko knows the only way to tip the scales is to somehow convince the Romulans to enter the war on their side. For now, the Romulans have remained neutral, but if he can just convince them that the Dominion poses a threat to them as well, he could get them to join the alliance. Unfortunately, the Romulans want proof of Dominion duplicity, and the only way he can think to get it is to manufacture it himself. 

But to do it, Sisko will have to turn his back on everything he believes in. He'll enlist the services of Garak, a former Cardassian spy, and work with ruthless killers and criminals in his bid to deceive the Romulans and turn them into allies. But when the plan spirals out of control, it threatens to turn the Romulans from reluctant bystanders into vengeful enemies. A political thriller and a moral tragedy, "In The Pale Moonlight" shows the personal costs of conscience that people are forced to pay in wartime.