Friday, May 10, 2024

Star Trek: Life Support

Episode: "Life Support"
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 3, Episode 13
Original Air Date: January 31, 1995

Vedek Bareil has been badly injured in a transport accident on his way to the station.  Doctor Bashira and Nurse Jabara work desperately to save him but to no avail.  Bareil dies.  But during the autopsy, brain activity is detected and they are able to revive him, for a time.

More than just a man's life is at stake through all of this.  Bareil has been the point man in peace treaty negotiations with the Cardassians.  So while Major Kira, as Bareil's lover, has obvious personal interest in his survival, Kai Winn has diplomatic and political reasons for wanting the same.  

"Life Support" is an interesting story for many reasons.  Obviously, there is the loss and grief angle for Kira.  There's meaningful development for Winn, too, putting her in a more sympathetic light than we've seen to this point.  Bashir imagines Winn's interest in Bareil's well-being is motivated by ambition but Winn expresses genuine gratitude for Bareil's work and her own believable regret - for herself and for Bajor - at the loss.

Medical ethics are important to the tale, too.  Bashir manages to keep Bareil alive for a while with organ transplants but things get complicated once he starts to replace parts of the brain.  At what point are you preserving a life and a consciousness and not just a physical body?  Eventually, the doctor makes the tough choice and the merciful one. That doesn't make the loss any less painful.

Food Notes

Quark invents a soufflĂ© called a Kai Winn.  Food Replicator has a recipe.

Acting Notes

via Wikipedia

Aron Eisenberg played the important recurring character Nog, Quark's nephew and Jake Sisko's best friend.  In this episode's secondary narrative, Jake (Cirroc Lofton) and Nog go on a double date.  For lack of better terminology, Nog behaves like a chauvinistic asshole, unfortunately typical of Ferengi males.  He embarrasses both of the young ladies and his buddy Jake horribly.  The story ultimately becomes one about cultural understanding - a clumsy one.

Nog is pretty obnoxious in the early going but improves a lot over the course of the series.  In Season 7, he gets the lead in one of DS9's finest episodes.  All together, Eisenberg made 45 appearances as Nog.

Eisenberg was born in Los Angeles, January 6, 1969.  He was born with only one partially functioning kidney, a condition which limited his growth.  He was five feet tall as an adult.  Nog was the most prominent role of his career.  He had guest appearances on other shows including Tales from the Crypt, The Wonder Years and General Hospital.  Films include Puppet Master III, Streets and The Horror Show.  As discussed here, he and Cirroc Lofton co-hosted a DS9 re-watch podcast, The 7th Rule.  I was curious so I checked.  The 7th Rule of Acquisition is "Keep your ears open."

Beyond acting, Eisenberg was a professional photographer.  He passed away from a heart attack in 2019.  He was survived by a wife and two sons.


  1. This sounds like a very interesting episode. Ot reminds me of people who spends thousands on their pet to keep them alive without thinking how hard it is on the pet. Usually the dog or cat is suffering. What a shame that he died so young. It probably is part of the health issues from his lack of growth.

    1. Sadly, a lot of people take the same approach with their human loved ones, too. I know it's a sensitive subject and I mean no offense. But I think it's fair to ask, at some point, for whom any life is being preserved.

      That's why having an advance directive is important, folks!