Episode 1.15: Progress

There are two episodes here near the end of Season 1 that really shine, both of them centering on Kira.  First is Progress (current episode), then later Duet (Ep. 1.19), likely my favorite episode in Season 1.  Both deal with Kira’s struggle to break old habits she grew up with during the Occupation, and both end with her seeing herself as a betrayer and failure.  Both highlight very plainly the two selves that constantly battle within Kira, her old self and her new self.  She wants to reject her old self, the self Opaka identified in Battle Lines, the self mired with anger and violence.  As we’ll see here and in Duet, Kira must choose: does she lay down her sword, thinking of the greater good for Bajor, or does she cling to her painful past, unable to help bring Bajor out of the darkness that was the Occupation?  Kira was faced with this same question in Past Prologue (Ep. 1.3), which set the stage for these two episodes.  In a quick sidebar before launching into the episode, I find Kira a fantastic analogy for a Christian walk of faith.  Her struggle with the old and new self authentically mirrors the new creation one encounters after choosing to follow Christ.  As with many things, this analogy carries throughout the series.

In Progress, Kira’s given a task of moving residents off a moon so that the Provisional Government can tap the moon for energy, powering hundreds of thousands of homes.  Unfortunately, there’s a single residence that refuses to leave.  Mullibok, the home’s primary resident, would rather die on the planet than give up his home.  He doesn’t trust uniforms, which is his way of saying he doesn’t trust organized governments.  This is a man brutalized by the Occupation like many other Bajorans, but his response has been to give up the Bajoran people entirely.  This is starkly contrasted against Kira’s response (helping to build a new Bajor) and the response of more violent Bajorans like the Kohn’Ma (Ep. 1.3).  Kira repeatedly delays her actions, being visibly torn between her desire to build a better Bajor and evicting this man from his home.  Mullibok tries to tap into her old self; he paints himself as a lone fighter against the massive, unstoppable force.  And this almost works.  Kira can’t help but see herself as a Cardassian trying to occupy Mullibok’s home for her own gain.  I expect memories of her perceived betrayal of Tahna (again, Ep. 1.3) played through her mind as she wrestled with this.  Thankfully, as much as Mullibok tries to appeal to Kira’s old self, Sisko is appeals to her new self.  Bajor needs women like Kira.  Siding with Mullibok means Bajor stays as a post-Occupation culture: spiritually broken, untrustworthy, and self-centered.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, something Mullibok refuses to embrace.  With a bitter taste in her mouth, Kira ends up forcing Mullibok off his land and burning his home to the ground.  While every man should have a voice, Mullibok represents the broken Bajor, a Bajor that needs to pass away.  So Kira does betray something in this episode: the old Bajor and her old self.

The second story of this episode is another look at Jake & Nog coming of age.  The light nature of this plot is a good contrast to the heavier topic with Kira.  As I said in my post on The Nagus (Ep. 1.11), one of the key aspects of  becoming a man is acting independently and showing we’ve got what it takes.  For Nog in particular, “it” is making profit.  Starting with yammok sauce moving to self-sealing stembolts then to land then finally latinum, they maneuver rather hilariously through the business transactions.  I don’t see many intriguing details here, only the big picture of independence.  Like I said before, this isn’t independence for independence’s sake.  This is boys becoming confident that they can succeed in the larger world.  Neither of their fathers/uncle played any role in the success; they obtained something valuable completely independently.  It isn’t perfect, and the first time never is, but it does succeed.  When Quark realizes that Jake and Nog were able to acquire such a valuable piece of land, his surprise is precious.  And I detected a bit of pride in Quark as well.

Random Thoughts:  1) Morn asks Jadzia out!  And Jadzia sees the beauty in him where others cannot.  This is one of her greatest strengths.  2) Ferengi instinct (lobe tingling) is shown in a very positive light once again.  Even Jake has it.  3) Bashir and Sisko again bend the rules for the greater good.

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~ by Joshua Black on September 12, 2012.

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