3. Heart of Stone
On a mission, Kira gets trapped in some mysterious kind of rock that gradually grows and covers her body and Odo tries everything he can to get her out. It is entirely possible that this episode is on my list because I have major feels for Odo's unrequited love for Major Kira. I did not expect this character development for Odo, but I'm more than happy with it, because although it seems like an incongruous pairing at first but with what they've shown from their past and their interactions now, it's such a sweet romance. It seemed like they weren't going to draw out the will they/won't they tension with this episode but that was quickly reversed, so I'm glad to wait and see how it will work out.
Riker is back! Although it's unclear who he is exactly at first. I did know that Jonathan Frakes makes an appearance as a certain Riker in DS9 after watching a lot of convention panels on youtube, but I didn't know when, so I was so happy to see it was this early in the run. I was tempted to google him after this to see if he returns, but I restrained myself. And I kinda think I was spoiled for that anyway from a convention panel question. But anyways - it was interesting to see Jonathan Frakes take on something familiar yet different as I would have loved to see Will Riker on the show, but instead we got this complex, yet intriguing Riker who has a lot of shades of gray. I feel like his fate ultimately was unfortunate and not entirely fair, but it was great to see him face his fate.
1. Past Tense Part 1 & 2
In my opinion, every episode this season paled in comparison to the scope and the storytelling of this epic two-parter. It laid down some interesting history for how the Federation came to be, and for how far society has come on Earth compared to the show's present day. And it features time travel - always cool. I thought the beginning was a little slow, but by the time we realize that Sisko is going to have to play an active role in maintaing the timeline, I was very much caught up in this. I loved the Sisko and Bashir team too - it was wonderful to see how well they worked together. This was a fantastic story with terrific performances and it gave me a wonderful feeling seeing humanity triumph after all the terrible things that happen to the people in this story.