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Serialized Deep Space 9 Episode Guide

- /u/Darth_Rasputin32898


The goal of of this guide is to provide an episode order to watch Deep Space 9 (DS9) that will deliver maximum impact of the series’ overall story arcs in a minimum of episodes. My personal motivation in this matter was to introduce someone I know to Star Trek, a person interested in Star Trek who overwhelmingly favors non-episodic story-telling (a fan of HBO’s Game Of Thrones). As such, I decided DS9 would be most appropriate.

Put another way, the purpose of this guide is enable new viewers to quickly ‘rush’ through the DS9 series without losing the benefits of essential plotlines or character development. No prior Trek experience is required, though reference to the ‘Background’ section may be helpful initially. All you need is simply the patience to sit through about the first and/or second seasons, which are quite abbreviated in this guide (since they’re more episodic and generally considered lower quality).

The total number of episodes by my count is 125.

About Spoilers

This is a non-spoiler guide. Spoilers for any given episode will not be used in the Key Points for that episode. Spoilers for episodes may be included in the Key Points for episodes after that episode. These details will be contained in the spoiler code. Here is an example:


So, if you’d seen episode Y of season X, you’d be able to view that spoiler.


The year is 2369. Humans have, over the past three and a half centuries, have made contact with aliens and helped form an interstellar government, the United Federation of Planets (simply, Federation) that is at the time of DS9 one of the major powers of the known galaxy. It is a post-scarcity, democratic, idyllic society dedicated peaceful to contact with other species and other inter-species governments. Its ‘navy,’ so to speak, is Starfleet, a ‘peacekeeping and humanitarian armada,’ jointly operated by its members. It is an exploratory organization, and the main focus of all Star Trek.

Unfortunately, most other known interstellar governments are not as peaceable. The chief rivals of the Federation at present are the Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, and the more recently encountered Cardassian Union. All of these are expansionist military powers, and all of them have been at war with the Federation at some point. (However, the Klingons are now allied with the Federation.)

Anything else important is quite clearly shown in episode 1.

Episode List

Right! On to the episodes at last!

Season 1

Episode Title Key Points
1&2 Emissary This is the pilot of the series. It is often cut as a single feature-length episode, so don’t panic if it’s only shown as one. This episode does have spoilers for one of the best Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parters, but addressing those would far overcomplicate things.
3 Past Prologue Introduction of Garak: a very important character. More development of Cardassian-Bajoran history.
4 A Man Alone Keiko begins a school at DS9, and Odo deals with an odd murder case.
11 The Nagus Background on the Ferengi and Quark. Introduction of Zek.
12 Vortex Odo character development and background and more visitors from the Gamma Quadrant.
13 Battle Lines One of the best early DS9 episodes. Changes up the dynamic in the Bajoran government for future seasons.
19 Duet This is often considered the best episode of season 1. It’s more development of Kira and the Occupation of Bajor.
20 In The Hands Of The Prophets Tensions mount between traditionalist Bajorans and the Federation citizens on DS9 regarding Keiko’s school. Important episode in the SE1EP13.

Season 2

Episode Title Key Points
1 The Homecoming Bajoran extremism and history with the Cardassians. The first multi-part episode of DS9.
2 The Circle A continuation of the story begun in Homecoming.
3 The Siege A continuation of the story begun in Homecoming and continued in The Circle.
5 Cardassians More Dukat development and Cardassian/Bajoran history. An excellent dilemma regarding orphaned Cardassians left on Bajor.
7 Rules of Acquisition First mention of the ‘Dominion.’ Pay close attention to the Gamma Quadrant developments.
8 Necessary Evil Odo and Dukat development and background; includes flashbacks to the Occupation.
10 Sanctuary More visits from the Gamma Quadrant and mentions of the ‘Dominion.’
12 The Alternate Great Odo background and character development. Some more exploration of the Gamma Quadrant.
20&21 The Maquis This is a two-part episode and is hugely important. It establishes a new political force and a new source of conflict between the Federation and the Cardassians.
22 The Wire Garak gets a headache…
24 The Collaborator It all comes down to this: SE1EP13.
25 Tribunal One of the first ‘O’Brien must suffer’ episodes. Development of Cardassian culture and background.
26 The Jem’Hadar The title is self-explanatory: the Jem’Hadar species is introduced. More about the Dominion is revealed.

Season 3

Episode Title Key Points
1&2 The Search The DS9 crew gets a new toy, and a new officer, Michael Eddington. More development for Odo, the Founders, and the Dominion.
5 Second Skin A really mindbending Kira episode. More Cardassian background and development.
6 The Abandoned Extensive background on the Jem’Hadar, Founders and Dominion.
9 Defiant Commander Will Riker (from the Enterprise in The Next Generation) pays DS9 a visit. The Maquis story progresses, and Federation-Cardassian politics become more tense.
13 Life Support The winner of the election for Kai needs the runner-up’s help in important negotiations with the Cardassians.
14 Heart of Stone Odo, Kira, Founder, and Nog development.
20 Improbable Cause Further advancement of the Alpha-Gamma Quadrant tensions.
21 The Die Is Cast The second part to ‘Improbable Cause.’
22 Explorers This episode is more stand-alone then most, but introduces an important new character (Kasidy Yates), has more background on the Bajorans and Cardassians, and has more Sisko relationship development, like in the Visitor.
24 Shakaar Shakaar is introduced. The election for First Minister of Bajor begins.
26 The Adversary Sisko development, and advancement of Founder-Federation tensions.

Season 4

Episode Title Key Points
1&2 The Way of the Warrior An old friend arrives on DS9 as the new Strategic Operations Officer. Tensions with the Klingons and the Founders escalate.
4 Hippocratic Oath More development of the Jem’Hadar, O’Brien, and Bashir.
5 Indiscretion Kira/Dukat development. Introduction of Tora Ziyal. Kasidy moves to DS9.
11 Homefront Founders step up interference in the Alpha Quadrant. The crew goes to Earth. Brilliant 9/11 terror allegory, even though this episode is from 1996.
12 Paradise Lost Continuation of Homefront.
13 Crossfire Odo, Kira, and Shakaar development. Follows up on SE3EP24.
14 Return to Grace Further development of Cardassian-Bajoran SE2EP24 and tensions with the Klingons.
15 Sons of Mogh Except for a bizarre and off-putting decision by Bashir and Sisko, this is a very good Klingon-centered episode.
16 Bar Association Rom takes a stand against Quark’s exploitative business practices.
17 Accession Development of Bajoran culture, the Emissary, and Miles O’Brien.
22 For the Cause Is a member of the DS9 crew a Maquis? Garak/Ziyal development.
23 To the Death Introduction of Weyoun. Jem’Hadar tensions escalate. Further development of the Jem’Hadar.
25 Body Parts Quark, Kira, and O’Brien family development.
26 Broken Link Odo and Founder development. Essential advancement of the Klingon plot.

Season 5

Episode Title Key Points
1 Apocalypse Rising The DS9 crew’s response to what they learned at the very end of Broken Link. Advancement of the Klingon plot and tensions with the Gamma Quadrant.
10 Rapture Is Bajor ready to join the Federation?
12 The Begotten Odo development and plot advancement.
13 For the Uniform Further development of the Maquis.
14 In Purgatory’s Shadow Dominion tensions advance. Development of Garak.
15 By Inferno’s Light The continuation of In Purgatory’s Shadow.
16 Doctor Bashir, I Presume? As the title indicates, Bashir development. Very important Bashir development.
19 Ties of Blood and Water Kira and Cardassian development.
21 Soldiers of the Empire Worf, Martok, and Klingon development.
23 Blaze of Glory Maquis and Dominion plot advancement.
24 Empok Nor More of a standalone episode than most, this still sets up a plot device which becomes important later on. Cardassian development.
25 In The Cards Advancement of Dominion tensions.
26 Call to Arms Advancement of Dominion tensions.
  • M-5OPB
    16 months ago

    Season 6

    Episode Title Key Points
    1 A Time to Stand Development of SE5EP26!
    2 Rocks and Shoals Development of SE5EP26!
    3 Sons and Daughters Development of SE5EP26!
    4 Behind the Lines Development of SE5EP26!
    5 Favor the Bold Development of SE5EP26!
    6 Sacrifice of Angels Development of SE5EP26!
    7 You Are Cordially Invited Worf/Jadzia development.
    9 Statistical Probabilities Development of Bashir and SE5EP26.
    10 The Magnificent Ferengi You guessed it, a Ferengi episode. Development of the Dominon.
    11 Waltz Essential insight into Dukat’s character and background.
    13 Far Beyond The Stars Widely considered a favorite episode. Development of Sisko and the Prophets.
    16 Change of Heart Worf, Jadzia, and Bashir development.
    17 Wrongs Darker Than Death Or Night Somewhat disturbing Kira and Dukat development.
    18 Inquisition Exactly what the title implies. Bashir development. Introduction of Luther Sloan. Introduction of ‘Section 31.’
    19 In The Pale Moonlight Development of Sisko, Garak, and SE5EP26.
    20 His Way Odo and Kira development. Introduction of Vic Fontaine.
    21 The Reckoning Development of the Prophets and ‘The Sisko.’
    22 Valiant Development of SE5EP26.
    26 The Tears of the Prophets Development of SE5EP26, Dukat, Jadzia, and the wormhole.

    Season 7

    Episode Title Key Points
    1 Image in the Sand. Development of Sisko, the Orbs, Kira. New main character introduction.
    2 Shadows and Symbols Continuation of Image in the Sand.
    3 Afterimage Development of SE7EP1.
    5 Chrysalis The return of Bashir’s buddies from ‘Statistical Probabilities.’
    6 Treachery, Faith and the Great River Odo, Weyoun, Nog, and O’Brien development.
    8 The Siege of AR-558 Development of Nog and SE5EP26.
    9 Covenant Dukat and Kira development. Helps set up the finale, and is the return of a concept from season 5.
    10 It’s Only A Paper Moon Follow up to The Siege of AR-558. Nog and Vic Fontaine development.
    14 Chimera Odo and Changeling development.
    16 Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges Bashir and the Romulans.
    17 Penumbra The beginning of the nine-part series finale!
    18 'Til Death Do Us Part Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    19 Strange Bedfellows Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    20 The Changing Face of Evil Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    21 When It Rains… Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    22 Tacking Into The Wind Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    23 Extreme Measures Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    24 The Dogs of War Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.
    25 What You Leave Behind Continuation of the finale begun in Penumbra.