Episode 1.3: Past Prologue

The Occupation of Bajor was extremely brutal.  The Cardassians stripped the land of it’s value and enslaved the Bajorans to do the work of it.  They considered themselves better than the Bajorans in all aspects, and treated the Bajorans like sub-sentient creatures.  This Occupation was a horrible injustice inflicted upon a once-peaceful people.  So the Resistance, while on Bajor during the Occupation, was justified.  It was extreme, but it had to be in the face of Cardassian tactics and attitudes.  Violence is a messy, last resort kind of option, but it can be justified in the defense of the weak.  Now though, the Occupation is over.  The Resistance won, in a sense, both in driving the Cardassians out, and (along with the Faith) keeping the spirit of the Bajorans strong.  Granted, the wounds are very fresh, but the fighting across Bajor is done.  Should the extremism of the Resistance die with the Occupation?  This episode takes a very dim view of extremism, which I see is the heart of this story.  Kira struggles with the intentions of the Kohn-Ma and their desires for the new Bajor.  They are her people, and their rage is completely justified.  She recognized the need for the violence during the Occupation when she realizes the enemies were easy to identify then.  But now, the picture is more complicated, and she realizes this as she hears Tahna speak her own words back to her in his quarters.  Kira can see the value of the bigger picture where the Kohn-Ma cannot.  She can see what the wormhole can bring to Bajor (in commerce, in traffic, in respect), and she can begin to see Bajor’s need for the Federation (the value of allies).  A Bajor with the wormhole can cultivate an abiding peace, and it gives the Bajorians something to unify behind that isn’t an enemy.  This is not a time for violence, and she knows it.  Layered onto this is Kira’s lack of trust for outsiders.  Her instincts tell her to stick with her people, but her pagh knows the wrongness of the Kohn-Ma’s actions.  She certainly doesn’t trust Sisko (goes over his head), and Sisko echoes her distrust.  Ultimately, her disquiet pagh is what drives her to Odo who, like any good observationalist, tells her nothing she doesn’t already know herself.  Of everyone on the station, Odo is the one she trusts just a little, and that opens the door for her to trust her new Federation allies as well.  In the end, she works with her new allies to maintain the tenuous peace the wormhole has brought to her world.  Tahna’s final barb, calling Kira a traitor, is everything Kira is feeling about herself, despite her making the right decision.

What we see here is the failed position of extremism.  It relies on violence, which should always be the last resort option to protect the weak, and it is very, very short sighted.  The parallel to modern life is chilling.  Using an example from my own religion, consider extremist Christians who bomb abortion clinics.  They fail utterly to see the pain the abortion decision causes to the mothers and fathers involved.  Beyond the final decision the woman makes, the emotional pain inflicted upon a family (both mother and father) is immense as they consider the options and permit the reality of those options to hit home.  This is more than just closing the clinics (which is all the extremist sees); this involves a deep emotional and spiritual struggle.  I could make a similar argument for the extreme pro-choicer who distills the situation down to nothing but a ‘choice,’ as if this is the same as selecting which old shirts to keep and which to throw out.  This has always bothered me about the “Abortion Debate” because the sides end up being so extreme, they fail to realize the big picture.

Moving away from the heavier topic, I need to take a paragraph to talk about Garak.  A most excellent entrance, and a very fun way to begin the Bashir & Garak friendship.  Garak enjoys the game he plays with Bashir.  He loves misdirection and being able to imply complex ideas with very simple phrases.  Conversation is both his joy and his weapon.  I feel he honestly desires the company as well.  He is lonely and desires the companionship of fresh conversation.  Bashir hates Garak’s doublespeak, but Garak finds it a fun challenge.  Garak also sees the bigger picture of the episode and begins to use the doctor for his own plans.  I don’t think this is a one-way manipulation of Bashir either.  He invites the doctor, who always has the option of saying no to Garak.  Bashir is thrilled by the prospect, in a nervous sort of way.  Bashir is still wrapped firmly in his idealism, granted, but part of Bashir’s journey is to find the truth in idealism, not be completely broken of it, as Garak will try to do repeatedly.  This sets the stage for them being foils of each other (idealism and pragmatism).

Random Thoughts: 1) Again we see Odo valuing justice, not law.  2) Garak is never actually confirmed to be in contact with Central Command.  3) Odo already knows Kira very well, and is fertile ground for their future.  4)  Runabout #3 is revealed, the Ganges.  Total destroyed: 0.  5) The production code for this episode, 404, indicates it was made after A Man Alone (Ep. 1.4).  Possibly originally intended as the 4th episode.

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~ by Joshua Black on July 13, 2012.

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