Past Tense, Part 1 (***½)
In this week's very special episode of Blossom, Captain Sisko and friends travel back in time and take on the complicated issue of homelessness and rising poverty that resulted from the 2008 financial crash and the eventual implosion of the euro. Well, that's the way this episode is portrayed these days, as yet another sign of the prescience of DS9 or whatever. And I suppose it's a fair point, these are issue that we are struggling to deal with right now. Unemployment is high, the middle class is being squeezed, and income inequality is rising. It's a timely episode, which appears to be one of the problems some people have with it. Some criticise the episode for being too simplistic and not providing any solutions to the problems. Okay, yes, it is too simplistic, and it doesn't provide any answers, but it's not the place of a sci-fi show to provide answers to complex economic and social problems, but it can make us think about an issue. Whatever about this episode's failings, it does try to spark a debate.
The fundamental problem from the episode's point of view is that ordinary people can't be bothered to care about the disadvantaged. But there is a grain of truth to that. It's not so much that we don't care, but that we care about other things more. We might donate money to charity if we have some available, but the majority of us are more interested in spending our time discussing sci-fi shows from the 90s that dealt with issues like homelessness on the internet than we are spending that time trying to sort out the actual problem. Not all of us, some of us may volunteer our time helping the poor whenever we can, but a lot of us (including myself, I must admit) look at the problem, occasionally throw money at it and then go back to watching Minecraft videos on Youtube. And when they threatened to take away our Youtube? By gods did people act then.
So yes, the episode is simplistic, but it's not entirely untrue, it just needed to be more subtle about what it was trying to say.
Other issues with the episode? Well, I'm not a fan of the casual use of time travel, and this one has such a random use of it. The cloaking device emits chroniton particles which got stuck in the ablative armour and there was a micro-singularity which passed through the Sol system, then it exploded releasing temporal energy at the precise moment of the transport and boom... time travel. That's another issue, the amount of technobable O'Brien is forced to say goes beyond the norm, and the norm is high enough as it is.