Portrait of a Life

Story: Nor the Battle to the Strong
Written By: Brice R. Parker and René Echevarria
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Year: 1996

This is probably the best episode based on Jake in the whole of DS9. Jake has been given a writing assignment on Doctor Bashir, some paper he wrote on amino acids and a conference he went to discussing it…anyhow its all very dry and uninteresting, and Jake is having trouble coming up with a good angle for the story, despite how excited Bashir may be. He wishes they had more action to report on…be careful what you wish for of course.
The Klingons have broken the cease-fire, apparently attacking some Federation outposts, who have put out a call for a medical emergency. Jake is excited by the prospect of writing about emergency medicine while under fire, but of course it isn’t the right kind of exciting. It is scary and traumatic, it is showcasing the horrors of war in a way Jake has never experienced it before.

I think Jake grows up a lot by the end of this episode, and his wishes to never join starlet are probably only reinforced more by the experience. But he got to write a hell of an article on the experience, and how war is never pretty.

This show deals with all the aspects of the bitterness of war so well; this is one of its best achievements in that regard. It is a real favorite of mine, and I am glad that such an episode really gives Jake something good to do, because he was often forgotten in the show (he was never a focus, his job was to give us an emotional anchor for Ben, but it is nice to see the writers recognize the opportunity they had with a character as green and young as Jake).

Fantastic episode.

NEXT TIME: A Pah-Wraith