Aliens arrive on DS9 and involve the station’s crew in a game of Jumanji! Wow, what a muddle. It all starts off well enough with a lovely father-and-son scene between Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton who we haven’t seen much of since the episode “Babel”.

We soon learn that a formal delegation from a race in the Gamma Quadrant will be arriving on the station. Sisko is in his dress uniform, but Dr. Bashir… can’t find his. So Sisko gives him a dressing down (no pun intended), which he punctuates by barking “clear!” Bashir murmurs his assent. What I find interesting is that Sisko did this in the last episode too. He was chastising the very temporary (two episodes!) Starfleet security officer Lt. Primmin about being guests of the Bajorans and about learning a thing or two from Odo. He was actually talking in a perfectly normal tone of voice until the end, when he abruptly barks “CLEAR!” Not “clear?” or “is that clear?”, but “CLEAR!” What show does he think he’s on, E.R.? Maybe Avery Brooks is trying to give Sisko some catch phrases, like Picard’s “make it so.”

Anyway, in walk the aliens, and you’re thinking, “I’ve seen him before!” It’s character acter Joel Brooks! I looked him up and was surprised to find that this is the ONLY Star Trek episode he’s ever been in. His face looks so familiar that I could have sworn he was in others (as different characters of course).

I find this episode frustrating because it is set up like a mystery, but solving it isn’t any fun. Where exactly ARE Sisko et al when they are trying to find their way out of the game? Are they in a holodeck on the alien ship? Are they somehow IN that inverted pyramid in Quark’s? Does it matter? Probably not. After all, it’s “just a game!”

You know how pissed off Sisko and the others are when they find out it was all a game, and they weren’t in any real danger? You know how irritated they look because they just had their time wasted? That’s how I feel after watching this episode.

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