Deep Space Nine: s07 e04 – Take Me Out to the Holosuite


Who da man?

After the heavily intense episodes of the past few weeks, it was obvious that we’d get a lightweight story for a change of pace. There’s usually one quite early in every season of DS9. And ‘Take me out to the Holosuite’, which was all about having a game of baseball, was as lightweight as they come, despite the attempt to back it up with a psychological angle. In fact, it was so lightweight, you practically had to tie an iron onto it to keep it from floating away. I was prepared to be rather bored, but in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The set-up is that the Vulcan-manned Federation ship T’Kundra has docked at DS9 for two weeks of overhaul and upgrade. It’s commanded by Captain Solok who is a hate figure for Benjamin Sisko, and indeed he’s a right snotty superior pain-in-the-arse from the get-go, niggling all the time about not so much Vulcaan superiority as human inadequacy.

Solok’s done this since the pair were cadets and a drunk Sisko challenged him to a wrestling match and got whupped. For a supposedly emotionless Vulcan, Solok is a seriously vindictive shit, endlessly rubbing it in on Sisko, and now he’s brought a baseball holosuite game to challenge the Captain at his own personal sport. Sisko immediately orders the senior staff – which now appears to include Nog (?!) – to form a team and win.

That’s basically it, really. The team is swelled out by Rom, Leeta, Quark and Kasidy Yates. Rom is completely inept, which is a laugh because Max Grodenchik was a semi-professional baseball player and had to play left-handed to look authentically crap. Sisko throws him off the team, which causes the others to threaten a strike unless he’s reinstated. But there’s one of those little scenes that remind us, fourteen carat klutz that he may be, Rom is a truly good bloke: he only wants to be in the team on merit and he recognises he clearly hasn’t got any, so he won’t accept a false position.

Now, you’re all expecting that, on the day, the ‘Niners’ will pull off a victory all the more stunning for being so completely unexpected, and so did I. But this episode is more subtle than that. Basically, the DS9 team get thoroughly and deservedly whupped, 10-1, and Sisko gets thrown out for touching the umpire (Odo). But the episode shapes itself around that one, consolation run, which comes about through Sisko chucking Rom in as a pinch-hitter, his accidentally ‘hitting’ the perfect bunt and Nog stealing home, producing an ecstatic response from his team that carries over into Quark’s.

Solok doesn’t get it. He blames human emotionality (Ezri pipes up with ‘Did I forget to wear my spots today? He doesn’t even know what humans look like!’), suspects an artificial attempt to turn abject defeat into moral victory, but has to exit as everyone taunts him over his emotional investment in getting one over Sisko, but really they’re just celebrating having had fun, lots of fun, and that’s what makes this episode delightful, the copious amount of fun everyone’s clearly and genuinely having.

It still doesn’t turn me into a baseball enthusiast, cricket will always be a far more subtle, complex and involving game for me (and you couldn’t fake that onscreen as easily as DS9 does), but this was fun with its boots off, and I loved it.

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2 thoughts on “Deep Space Nine: s07 e04 – Take Me Out to the Holosuite

  1. I loved this episode and one of my personal favorites. I’ll admit to being biased as a baseball fan. I feel it continued Sisko’s love affair with this ancient game. Just the little moments made this, Odo practicing his umpire calling.
    And real world I don’t know how soon they planned/wrote this, but it was right in the time frame of the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa home run chase, which brought a lot of rejuvenation to the game.

    And the outcome is one of those you never see, it’s always the rag tag team comes together and beats the evil empire. But as Sisko points out, the Vulcans in addition to being stronger, more athletic, had time practicing, even with the Siskos’ familiatry with the game and Bashir and Worf’s strentghs.

    You also hit on one of the key points, Trek writers have never been great with Vulcans. When one gets focused on in the other series, it’s always them losing emotions/going crazy. Solok’s has a superiorty complex and ego, but even he can’t control his pride and gets tossed. For a race that supresses those emotions, they all tend to get pretty emotional.

  2. Yeah, what else can you do with a Vulcan except make them lose their rag? Despite all their physical and mental superiority, they’ve got to be brought down to, and below, human’s level and there’s no other way.

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