2.02: “The Circle”

More Bajoran political and religious intrigue! Also everyone is in love with and/or horny for Kira, which, you know what, fair enough.

Overall, this one is pretty decent — “The Homecoming”, though it had some good moments, was largely about setting things up, and we get a bit more of the story’s meat in this episode and the next.

“These are my friends”

Things I love about the scene where everyone barges into Kira’s room to tell her how much they love her:

  1. Odo’s pep talk, followed by him and Kira each saying that the other “did fairly well once I smoothed your rough edges”. Is this the beginning of Odo’s feelings for Kira?
  2. Odo being appalled that Kira and Dax are talking about skincare “at a time like this”. As someone who has dealt with the last few years’ creeping fascism, in part, by developing an elaborate skincare routine, YOU KNOW WHAT ODO YOU CAN JUST KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE SKIN
  3. When Bashir says he came to give Kira his best and Dax snorts “That’s rather dull.” Like. Is Dax into the prospect of Kira and Bashir boning? QUITE POSSIBLY. See my past comments re: everyone on the station being a messy bitch who lives for drama.
  4. The fact that Kira then says that “dull is a polite word for it”??? YOU MESSES
  5. Bashir, as always, being about three steps behind everyone else and only now starting to realize this might not be something people are happy about, and finally asking straight-out if someone will explain what’s going on to him.
  6. How delighted Kira is to see O’Brien. Because they just went on a rescue mission together? Because he is generally low-key enough that he will not turn her room into a scene from a Shakespeare comedy? Both? It’s probably both.
  7. Quark shooting his shot with Kira and the fact that no one seems to be judging him for it very hard because, let’s be real, at some level each one of them is there to do the same thing.
  8. Kira’s fond, exasperated “these are my friends”, SHE LOVES YOU CLOWNS TOO
  9. When Bareil asks Kira what her plans are and everyone, in unison, turns to stare at Kira.

TL;DR all of it, I guess? That whole scene is just such a delightful little encapsulation of the characters and their relationships.

Also, surprising no one who’s been following along, Kira’s reaction when Sisko says no one could replace her nearly killed me. THEIR FRIENDSHIIIIIIIIP, HELP ME

Let’s talk Orbs

I was a bit curious about the fact that access to the Orbs is so carefully restricted. I had a couple of possible explanations on that front. The first is fairly practical: given how much work the Cardassians put into trying to stomp out Bajoran religion and culture, restricting access to the Orbs is a security measure to prevent their being stolen or damaged. In “The Emissary”, Dukat’s surprised that any Orbs escaped Cardassian seizure. So protecting the only Orb still in Bajoran hands seems like a reasonable priority.

The second possible reason I came up with is that Orb experiences are, uh, pretty friggin’ intense. The restrictions may be as much about protecting people as protecting the Orbs, and ensuring that people are relatively emotionally healthy and ready for the experience. I mean, insofar as one can ever fully be prepared for direct communication with one’s god(s), which is a whole other question.

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, one of the most important holidays — a celebration! it’s largely a happy holiday! — in the Jewish calendar, we read the Akedah, or Binding of Isaac, a deeply disturbing story about revelation from God. On Yom Kippur, the most important holiday in our calendar, ten days later, one of the passages we read, from Leviticus, begins with a reminder that when Aaron’s oldest sons “drew too close to the presence of the Lord”, they were killed, and a command that Aaron “is not to come at will into the Shrine behind the curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, lest he die”, that there are very specific things Aaron must do, no more and no less.

Basically, direct communication with the divine is not necessarily an easy or safe experience! If the Orbs were only objects, physical relics, I would say restricting access to them is mostly a security/preservation thing. But even if you take the Federation point of view that they’re aliens, not gods, the Prophets still have minds that don’t work remotely like those of humanoids, and direct communication with them isn’t necessarily an easy or safe experience, either. As Sisko discovered in the very first episode, what with them making him relive one of the worst moments of his life over and over.

Do I think the writers put that much thought into it? Probably not, but if I’m not gonna overthink things I don’t even know what I’m doing here.

Coup o’clock

First of all, let me just say how perfectly Louise Fletcher plays Winn when she’s being a total asshole to Bareil and Kira, oh my lorrrrrd.

I also like Jaro’s complete misunderstanding of Kira’s priorities and personality? Like. He correctly guesses that she’s frustrated with the provisional government, but is totally wrong about why, and assumes that offering her power — “I’ll send you back to that station; I’m willing to give you the station” — will get her on his side. Or that

Finally, I adore how all the previously-mentioned clowns of the DS9 crew just beam right into the middle of the cave when they go to rescue Kira. Bless them all.

Horniness rankings

  1. Everyone on DS9, for Kira
  2. Winn. She and Jaro are boning, right? I can’t imagine what other interpretation I’m supposed to have of their scenes together
  3. Bareil, also for Kira
  4. Kira, for Bareil, which…you know what, girl, if the worst thing about him is that he’s boring as hell, fine, you could do worse. As long as you’re happy.

3 thoughts on “2.02: “The Circle”

  1. The story moves along at a nice clip, giving us complex Bajoran characters and developing them well. To Winn and Jaro I’d add Krim, who doesn’t get much to do here but showcases shrewd calculation combined with instinct. I really like Krim in the following episode, in part because they set him up well here.

    I do still think the way the Bajoran coup is depicted on screen is really lame. I know, it’s mostly a budget limitation, and it’s hard to show what’s supposed to be a planetwide (or at least capital-wide) conflict and also focus on individual characters, but it felt like they weren’t trying much here. Giving Krim a little more to do might have helped. You can show a broad picture from within a single room if you work at it, and I think the actor/character had the chops to pull it off if they’d prioritized that a bit more. I already was kind of lukewarm on the Li Nalas arc and I wish they’d spent less time on him and more time on that.

    The Kira scene is so adorable in a comedy-of-manners way, something I don’t think they had tried before with this many actors interacting together on the show?

    Bashir gets shot in this episode rescuing Kira and totally fails to make a big deal out of it, which could be read either as him being in Professional Mode or as a major missed opportunity for him to spend most of the next episode reminding people “I was shot, you know. With a phaser. In the lower scapula.” (I don’t know if there is such a thing as a lower scapula, it just sounds medical.) I’m going with missed opportunity.

    ut several years later an episode of Battlestar Galactica portrayed a mutiny using a bottle set and only

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    1. Sorry about the random last lines, I was trying a comparison between this and a BSG episode that I ultimately decided wasn’t fair but neglected to completely delete.

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