No, but life is actually like that. People are dying out there everyday, and some of the time, we are playing dress-up, or the equivalent.
The concept is sound, it's the execution that's off. Modern soldiers watch TV and play video games in their down-time, and if we had holodeck technology today then I'm sure soldiers in Afghanistan would use them for similar purposes. The problem is that DS9 shifts between extremes. One week you'll get an entirely grim, weighty episode, and the next week you get pure fluff with nary a mention that there's a war on. In the Pale Moonlight
being followed by His Way
is the perfect example of that. DS9 is a good show, but the semi-serialsed format makes the show seem unbalanced during the later seasons.
Image in the Sand (***½)
This is a quiet, somewhat sombre follow-up to the events of Tears of the Prophets
, and it has an interesting discordant style. There's three plots in play, each one following up on the events of the previous episode but with almost no crossover with one another. It effectively presents a crew which has been torn apart by recent events and sets up how the show is going to bring them all back together.
The most important of these plots is also, sadly, the weakest. Sisko's decision to return to Earth in TOTP
was such a rushed development that it was difficult to digest, now we learn that he has spent 3 months since them doing nothing but play the piano. After watching The Captains, this isn't hard to imagine, but it still doesn't feel quite right. Then Sisko has a vision has a vision of a woman's face and finds out that she's his real mother, which doesn't mean much right now because we never met Sisko's supposed mother so it all feels kinda pointless, at least until the next episode. Then Sisko gets stabbed by a member of the cult of the Pah-wraiths, which seems to serve no real purpose to the plot at all. Then Ezri Dax shows up, but the episode ends before we learn anything about her.
On the station, Kira gets promoted to Colonel and celebrates by getting a stupid new hairstyle. It's not all good news for her though, because Starfleet seemingly owns the station now and have imposed a Romulan presence on the station against her objections. This leads to a brief, quasi-racist friendship between Kira and a Romulan senator, which blows up with Kira learns that the Romulans have placed weapons on a Bajoran moon. Some tension between the allied races is welcome, just because they're all fighting the Dominion doesn't mean they like each other or work well together, and it's nice that that's being addressed here.
The best plot of the episode is about Worf and how he's struggling to get over Jadzia's death, and how his friends are trying to understand him. Not much happens in this story, but there's some good banter between the characters, and it's nice to know that these characters still care about one another even though the family has fallen apart in recent months. It's also nice to see Worf and O'Brien reminisce about life on the Enterprise, it has been a long time since those two talked about such things.
Meanwhile, Weyoun and Damar act as the episode's Statler and Waldorf, gleefully finding joy in the main cast's misfortune.