"Rivals" Plot Summary:
A new bar run by a fellow named Martus opens on the Promenade, challenging Quark's with its interesting new games of chance. Bashir and O'Brien compete in a racquetball competition which has the entire station betting on the outcome, until their friendship is strained.
Then the laws of probability change, and weird things happen in the game and in the arcade until Dax figures out that the neutrinos are spinning backwards - something in the new equipment is causing violations of the laws of the universe. She deactivates the machinery to save the station, thus ending the drought at Quark's, and peace is restored. It turns out that a female rival set Martus up.
This episode should have been more fun than it was. I wasn't impressed with the machines that nearly destroyed the station, nor with the Dabo girls, gambling, or ball games - guess I'd be no fun in a 24th century bar. Meanwhile, the compelling scientific issues got submerged but the bright lights and the technobabble. I want more science fiction and less slapstick; the writers took the easy way out.
Moreover, the tone of the atypical incidents - i.e. Kira falling on her butt - seemed mean-spirited. Bashir and O'Brien acted like preadolescents, dopey Martus was even less likable that Quark. The episode wasn't fast, colorful, or amusing enough to justify itself; I kept thinking that the main plot should have been the subplot, and something else entirely should have been going on.
Deep Space Nine Reviews