Hmm. I…don’t really have much to say about this one? There are some good Kira moments, and it’s overall a pretty solid episode, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t really do much for me; most of my notes are just about specific lines or interactions I liked.
There are some interesting subplots and themes going on, but the pacing seems a bit odd — like three or four different things involving the Skrreea felt like they could have been entire episodes of their own: the initial translator issues, an already-swamped Kira being looked to as the main person to handle a first contact situation because the new race views women as best-suited to leadership, Tumak’s desperate ploy with the stolen ship — any one of those things could have been its own episode, let alone the mere fact of the refugee crisis. In general, it just felt like there was so much going on that none of the various subplots had a chance to really breathe.
(I also wondered briefly whether the musician in the opening, Varani, would end up falling in love with Haneek and becoming one of her husbands/leading the movement to let them settle on Bajor?)
In general, though this episode was pretty Kira-driven, we never really got into her head the way we did, say, Odo’s in “Necessary Evil“. The opening scene with Sisko and Kira talking could have been echoed a couple of times, for instance, with him offering her moral support as she faces a difficult situation that she really hasn’t been prepared or trained for in the way that he, as a Starfleet commander, has been, for instance. Hell, we could’ve had a couple of log entries from her! And while there are some great moments between Kira and Haneek, and oof, Nana Visitor just plays the hell out of their parting, I don’t feel like their interactions did nearly as much as they could have to tell us more about Kira.
Or maybe it’s just hitting too close to home!
Apparently the moment at the end, when Haneek points out to Kira that her people are farmers, and Bajor has a famine, and they could have helped them, was actually the original plan for the episode’s ending — that the Skrreea would settle the Trilar Peninsula and help end the famine Bajor was dealing with. Michael Piller was the one who changed it to have the Bajorans refuse to let the Skrreea settle on Bajor, because he felt it was more realistic that people wouldn’t welcome refugees with open arms, and…he’s not wrong!!!! Like, whew, uncomfortable but not inaccurate.
Hell, my main reaction to the ending is that, frankly, finding a planet that can support humanoid life, near Bajor, that doesn’t already have people on it, is also kind of a cop-out. (Also, it’s…kind of surprising that the Cardassians hadn’t already gotten to Draylon II. Wasn’t a resource shortage part of the reason they were expanding so aggressively in the first place? How did this planet escape their notice?) It’s also, perhaps, a bit optimistic to attribute the Bajorans’ unwillingness to let the Skrreean refugees settle on their planet to cultural fear and trauma caused by the Occupation, because on the one hand, that is 100% believable, but also…uh, the people who were on the MS St. Louis would like a word. Or, you know, the refugee children in U.S. government concentration camps right now.
I also can’t decide whether it’s an annoying oversight on the writers’ part or depressingly realistic that all the simulations and projections the Bajorans ran to decide whether the Skrreea would be able to farm the region they proposed to settle without actually consulting the Skrreea about their agricultural practices.
I’d have liked to have seen more of the Skrreea later in the show, too — will they end up joining the Federation later? How did the Dominion war affect them? That may be part of why this episode leaves me a bit cold — after it’s over, there really isn’t any mention of the Skrreea or this incident again. Although, of course, something Haneek mentions does come up again…
Shit’s starting to get real
CRIIIIIPES, this is the second mention of the Dominion in the series, since the first in “Rules of Acquisition“. As I mentioned then, I really like that the show does a relatively gradual reveal of the full scope of the Dominion and the potential threat it could pose to the Federation. In that episode, they seem to be some kind of trade guild, or maybe a crime syndicate; this one makes it clear that they’re powerful enough to overwhelm the people who had initially conquered and enslaved the Skrreea.
Uhhhhh why the hell is Jake dating a dabo girl? He’s, what, fifteen at this point? Maybe sixteen? Unless Quark is hiring sixteen-year-olds, which I feel like the Federation would have a problem with, Mardah needs to get her life right. AN ADULT DATING A CHILD IS NOT OK JUST BECAUSE THE ADULT IS FEMALE AND THE CHILD IS MALE, STAR TREK, GOOD LORD.
I did, however, enjoy the minor cultural misunderstanding around Mardah studying to become an entomologist and Nog, who comes from a culture where insects are a major part of the diet, taking that to mean she wants to be a chef? IDK, Jake and Nog are just delightful in general.
- The looks O’Brien, Bashir, and Odo give each other when Haneek says that men are too emotional and quarrelsome to be good leaders. (Which, honestly, given the state of the White House currently…big mood, Haneek. Big fuckin’ mood.)
- “It’s hard to keep a secret in Ops, especially when you’ve been shouting at a monitor for the last two days.” “I thought I kept it down to an angry whisper.” I LOVE SISKO AND KIRA’S BROMANCE SO MUCH
- Nog looking first to Quark, then to Odo, when asking if he can leave Security after Odo brings him in. His two other dads!
I really liked Odo trying to keep track of everyone during the initial walk through Ops, before the translators started working. Also the fact that Sisko was clearly enjoying the whole situation once it became clear that there was no immediate danger to anyone involved. In general I just appreciate that some days Sisko loves his job, and other days he fantasizes about chucking the whole thing and going back to Earth to work in his father’s restaurant; it just feels very realistic and human to me.
There actually isn’t much horniness in this episode, which is a change of pace after the last few weeks. Except possibly for Jake and Mardah, which, see above re: Y I K E S.