Netflix description: Aspiring writer Melanie wants to know why Jake Sisko stopped writing at 40. Jake explains how his father died in an accident and then reappeared.
After the terrible description for the season opener, Netflix bounces back with this accurate summary.
What can I say about this episode? It’s difficult to talk about an episode as emotional as this one. The thing about “The Visitor” is that while it’s a tearjerker the first time through, it really just feels like a punch to the gut when re-watching the show, given the events of “What You Leave Behind.” Jake does eventually end up losing his father at a young age, and we see in this episode what kind of damage that does to him. Also, one of the scenes in “The Visitor” is of Jake and Kira dealing with the loss of Benjamin Sisko and looking out a window on the station. This is, of course, the way the series actually ends. Wow, fuck you, DS9 writers!
I’ve never gotten really personal in these reviews, but it seems necessary to do so with this one, because I understand older Jake’s motivations on a deeply personal level. Both of my parents died at fairly young ages. I lost my mom when I was 19, and my dad seven years later. Like Jake, I’m an only child. Losing a parent at any age is awful (particularly if you were close), but losing one at a somewhat young age is really terrible. Losing both is devastating. I’m not going to lie; it can really mess you up. In Jake’s case it ends up manifesting itself as obsession with bringing his father back, since he isn’t dead, just stuck in subspace. Believe me, if I felt there was any way to bring one of my parents back, I, too, would devote my life to figuring out how to do so (but, you know, not in some creepy, Herbert West/Re-Animator way). I would do it for “the girl that I was,” to paraphrase old!Jake.
- Even Quark is nice to Jake after his father is gone. You know it’s bad when Quark is feeling generous toward you.
- Old!Jake has a DS9 model on one of his shelves. He also has his dad’s baseball. Excuse me while I sob about this forever.
- I love that Jake married a Bajoran woman. Something about that just feels right to me. (I’m told he also married a Bajoran woman in the novels, so that’s cool.)
- Adult Jake dresses a lot like Jake in later seasons of DS9. I doubt that was intentional (since this was the height of Jake’s bus seat fashion), but it turns out to be a nice touch.
- Every time I re-watch this, I just stare at Rachel Robinson’s (Melanie) face. She definitely bears a resemblance to her father, Andy Robinson. They have very similar eyes. Then I start thinking about what she would look like in Cardassian makeup. Would she look like a young Garak?
[All images from Trek Core]