Far Beyond the Stars (***½)
Some of you may look at that score and think that it's a little on the low side for what some consider to be DS9's finest episode. If this episode had been just the 1950s material, the social issues, the characters out of makeup, the trials of early science fiction writers, and the wonderful production work to make it all look authentic, this episode would have earned a much better score. It's the framing story that holds this episode back for me. The writers wanted to do a story about racism in the 1950s, but they unfortunately found themselves working with a post-racism society in the 24th century, so that necessitated some creative thinking. But I personally feel that what they came up with doesn't mesh well with the Benny Russell story, and since the framing story is the entire point of the Benny Russell story, it hurts the entire episode.
Spot on TheGodBen. This episode would have only worked out if it solely focused on the Benny Russell story but then it would not, could not, fit in with DS9's continuity which is great until it hints that the whole DS9 universe, the whole Star Trek universe, is perhaps nothing more than the imaginations of Benny which is something totally outrageous. It sort of kicks you in the teeth really about how one perceives Star Trek.
The way I see it, there was no real Benny Russell, giving the non-linear nature of the Prophets I'm sure they conjure up any old past for their Emissary to have a vision about. The story's botched period and it's a bold experiment that did not work out.