Episode 2.1: The Homecoming

Bajor really struggles with solidarity these first years after the Occupation, particularly after the “death” of Kai Opaka. Culturally, the Bajorans are split between going alone in the universe or partnering with the Federation for defense and administration. The gridlock within the Provisional Government is as much a consequence of the cultural fracture as are the actions of The Circle. As we saw with the school bombing, the fracture between the pro- and anti-Federation is turning violent (foreshadowing…). The Bajoran people were under the heel of the Cardassians for over 40 years. It’s completely understandable that the people would fear the Federation simply coming in and taking the place of the Cardassians as oppressors. Yet, if the Federation leaves, it’s very likely the Bajorans would become truly oppressed again by the Cardassians as they swoop in for the wormhole. Unfortunately, the Bajoran people have become too accustomed to violence solving problems. Kira has an appreciation for the bigger picture now, which motivates here to rescue Li Nalas. Excellent progression for her character thanks to her changes in Season 1. For now, The Circle is clothed in mystery; the origin of The Circle becomes apparent in the episodes to come, to my delicious delight.

I really like how the truth of Li’s story doesn’t matter. Legends never live up to reality, and honestly, that’s ok, in my opinion. The stories of legend teach us about who we could or should be, even if they are a bit unrealistic. As a symbol, he has the potential to act as a force to bring order to the chaotic factions. Luckily, he’s also a man with the good of Bajor in mind. It’s a solid opener for Season 2, but it doesn’t blow my mind. Overall, it’s an action oriented episode that capitalizes on some of the consequences from Season 1, but it doesn’t advance the big theme (Bajor’s struggle with independence) beyond moving some characters around the metaphorical board. But this is just the first act of a three-episode arc.

I noted a lot of small points here that reveal bits about the characters. Kira has a good moment where she has to make a decision for the greater good. Jadzia reads the Cardassians very well, and correctly deduces they would not go to war over the incursion. O’Brien’s hatred of the Cardassians leaks out. Jake has a great moment where he’s rejected by the girl’s father, showing some practical consequences to racism. Quark gets a nice win here, when he declares peace with Odo and truly utterly confuses him. It’s one of the few times where he bests Odo on screen. His criminal nature and connections enable the story to begin, which is a nice element. This is why Odo and Sisko allow Quark to stick around in the beginning. It’s the classic trope about the value of the honest crook, but one I enjoy about Quark. Quark grows out of the trope though rather quickly.

Random Thoughts: 1) The actor who plays Minister Jaro, Frank Langella, is yet another fantastic actor who makes a short appearance. He has three Tonys! Contributions like this by guest actors really help DS9 shine. 2) I like the glimpse into Kira’s faith life. I really appreciate the quiet spirituality she expresses in private. 3) This is a 3-episode arc, which I believe is the first in any Star Trek series. 4) Rom’s non-Ferengi attitude is very strong in this episode. No Ferengi would complain about being unfairly paid. They’d want to be unfairly paid, but in their own favor! 5) 76th Rule of Acquisition! 6) Jake has a great coming-of-age moment regarding girls while talking to his dad. 7) Jadzia’s attitude gets a nice change here in Season 2. Her stature and tone are quite a bit more relaxed, as seen in Sisko’s office, than throughout most of Season 1. In Season 1, she tried too hard to be aloof, to mimic the success of Spock and Data. It came off badly, in my opinion. I’m very glad the character ended up taking a different path.

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~ by Joshua Black on August 10, 2015.

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