3. Kurn should have died defending Worf on the Klingon ship. It would have given him the death he wanted, Worf could have felt guilty that he died saving him and had even more reason to brood a need Jadzia's shoulder to cry on. Problem(s) solved.
I don't like that idea, I think it's too easy. Honestly, I can't think of a good way to end the episode, I just know that I didn't like the ending we were presented with.
Hard Time (***½)
is the best episode of DS9 that should never have been made. It's a devastating story about a man whose life is destroyed by a single act of violence after 20 years of barbarity, and Colm Meaney turns in one of his best performances in the series. In fact, I'd go so far as to say this is my favourite O'Brien Must Suffer episode, even if it is scored lower than Whispers
. It's a great concept, it's well executed, and it all builds up to a powerful scene that would have driven me to tears were it not for the fact that I'm a real man. A really good episode all around.
But it should never have been made. You can't drive a character to the brink of suicide in one episode and then act like none of it ever happened the next week. This is especially egregious because this is DS9, the one Star Trek show that's notable for its character development. Yet O'Brien forgets all about the 20 years of hell he endures here and is back playing dress-up in the holosuite in no time. If they're going to push a character as far as this then bring it up again in the future, but if they have no interest in doing that then don't push the character that far into the deep end. I've seen this episode nominated as the one episode that fans would remove from the canon and it's hard to deny their logic. As bad as some of the other episodes are, they fit in the continuity better than this one. For that reason, I've removed a whole star from this episode.
My only other complaint about the episode is the depiction of the hallucinatory Ee'char. It's such a Hollywood way of depicting an emotional crisis, to have a character imagine another person to have conversations with. Sure, I have imagined conversations from time to time, but I've never actually imagined the person in front of me while doing it. Maybe people with PTSD see such visions, I don't know, but I felt it cheapened the episode a little.