the story: Sisko fields an unlikely baseball team against an old Vulcan rival.
what it's all about: Of all the episodes set during the Dominion War that didn't seem to notice that, y'know, a war was going on, it seems "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" would be the most egregious example of wasting such a unique platform, doing the exact opposite of what the producers should've been busy doing. And granted, they were always going to have to shuffle in some episodic material with the hope of roping in casual fans, but this?
Well, yes, this. It's such an unexpected episode and flies in the face of everything Deep Space Nine was supposed to be, that grim and nasty and dark series most fans probably didn't really have to worry too much about as they ignored its existence...But it was always the series with the most range, too. I mean, it was always standard, from the very stark, to let loose a little. "The Trouble with Tribbles" is the classic of all classic examples, surely. But "Take Me Out" goes well, well beyond that. And it's not technically a "Ferengi episode." It does pivot around Rom's participation in the climactic ballgame, but it's really an episode for the whole cast, centering around Sisko, naturally.
Sisko's obsession with baseball goes all the way back to the very first episode ("Emissary") in which he actually explains linear existence to the Prophets with a baseball metaphor. He had a baseball sitting on his desk throughout the series! So at some point, the series was actually going to have to feature baseball. Directly. So that's basically what "Take Me Out" is.
It's also a kind of morale story, which is definitely a war story, a way to take weary minds off the heaviness of the conflict. Only to redirect it to learning a game that in the future has almost entirely died away. So it's a funny, fun episode as Sisko tries to explain how to play it to people (Worf's "Death to the opposition!" rallying cry is of course a classic) who couldn't possibly appreciate it as much as he does.
Including their Vulcan opponents. Having Vulcans as the "bad guys" is pretty interesting. Until Enterprise the franchise never really got around to exploring just how humans and Vulcans actually get along. Aside from Spock and Tuvok (Voyager), who pointedly were always pretty isolated from other Vulcans, Star Trek never really got around to exploring Vulcans. Until, of course, Enterprise. A lot of fans got very angry about how Enterprise presented them, but the roots of that were planted in "Take Me Out." Is it really wrong to suggest Vulcans are arrogant, condescending? How would you expect them to present themselves? To my mind it's an entirely logical (heh) interpretation, so I think the episode nails that, and this depiction in it is a creative breakthrough worth celebrating as much as Sisko getting to celebrate baseball itself.
I'll admit that other fans will probably dispute a lot of my conclusions for "Take Me Out," but that's true for any episode. This is merely my case for its credentials.
- franchise - Between the spirit of the episode and the presence of Vulcans, I think casual fans should be interested.
- series - Presents a look at how to blow off pressure during wartime.
- character - Sisko! Baseball!
- essential - An episode that in hindsight seems completely inevitable.
Max Grodenchik (Rom)
Penny Johnson (Kasidy)
Aron Eisenberg (Nog)
Chase Masterson (Leeta)