Episode 2.24: The Collaborator

Such an innocuous episode leads to series-wide impacts.  Winn becoming Kai determines the tone of many story themes throughout the rest of DS9.  She figures prominently in faith storylines, some regarding Bajor’s sovereignty, and the key Emissary storyline.  The thematic elements of the episode are mirrored by the Orb of Prophecy and Change that Bareil periodically looks into.  In opener, Bareil begs Kira for help (Kira investigates), but she’s the one who pronounces Bareil the dead one.  In a later vision, she stabs him in the back (her investigation leads to his withdraw).  In the visions, Opaka nurtures Bareil through the turmoils to come; I’m convinced this is the actual Opaka.  This would clearly imply that she succeeded in her goal of helping the prisoners on the moon from Battle Lines (Ep. 113) die with dignity.  Just a personal theory though.

The major development here is that Winn becomes Kai by forcing Bareil to withdraw.  The reverberations of this are staggering.  In an ominous tone, Kira wonders where Winn will lead Bajor as Kai.  Winn is a spiritually dead woman who leads the Bajorans nowhere good.  In small ways, her faith leads Bajorans to think the Prophets require honoring before they love the Bajorans (Bareil advocates the Prophets love unconditionally).  In medium ways, she will incite insurrection over the use of soil reclamators (in Shaakar, Ep. 3.24).  But amongst all of her betrayals or power-hungry political moves, her worst moment is how she uses her position as Kai to give Dukat what he needs to release the Pah Wraiths (What You Leave Behind, Ep. 7.26).  How would have these situations have been different with Kai Bareil?  Bareil is selfless in his defense of Opaka, but is it selfless to a fault?  A good man is removed from power in favor of a villain so that he might protect the memory of a great, but effectively dead, woman?  Spock’s refrain about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few comes to mind.  The memory of Opaka is powerful, but wouldn’t a good leader in office be more powerful?  Kira is furious at Bareil for this.  From her concern about where Winn will lead Bajor, she recognizes the big picture that was lost that day.  One can never know what would have happened however, and perhaps this is why Opaka in the vision indicates this is a path Bareil must walk.  However, my preferred speculation is that, since Opaka as the titular collaborator chose to sacrifice her son to save over 1000 people, she was advocating that Bariel do the same.  To sacrifice her own reputation for the good of Bajor as the lesser of two evils.

Kira is easily manipulated by Winn to work for her.  Winn dangles the guilt of Bareil before Kira, and Kira snatches at it to prove his innocence.  Shouldn’t an accuser be forced to prove guilt?  True to her character, Winn ever so slightly distorts justice to get good characters to do her bidding.  Kira was stuck in a hard place; had she not taken up the mantle, Winn would have likely spun whatever story she desired.  Winn is also a vedek, complete with the expectation that they are obeyed.  Winn ultimately had no care for whatever Kira found.  When Kira calls Winn to deliver the news, Bareil had already withdrawn.  That’s what she wanted, so she didn’t even need to hear from Kira.

Kira, Odo, and Quark.  Odo gets a shock here, even to himself.  When Kira declares her love for Bareil, he comes up short and is taken off-guard.  This is the first definitive proof that Odo cares for Kira beyond just enjoying working with her.  In prior episodes, we only see that he has plutonic feelings and knows her well.  It is only when she declares for another that Odo is forced to confront his own budding feelings.  It’ll take him seasons to work this out in himself before he can even broach the subject with Kira.  The slow build makes His Way (Ep. 6.20) utterly exquisite.  As for Quark, he gets ambushed by Kira and Odo to utilize his dastardly skills.  A bit of love/hate is thrown back and forth, as Quark knows they need him to work outside the rule of law.  Quark likes this position.  As much as he battles with Odo on a daily basis (a battle he has fun with), he knows Odo has a grudging respect for him, even if Odo despises how Quark uses his skills outside the law.  Also, moments like this when he can help Odo lets him get away with other things down the line.

Random Thoughts:  1) If one is into the DS9 Relaunch series from Pocket Books, the Opaka in the visions cannot be the real Opaka, as she isn’t dead yet.  2) If her declaration of love wasn’t an indicator, the intimate scene in the beginning is evidence that Kira and Bareil’s relationship is rather serious.  3) Winn hides behind the “will of the Prophets” to justify her rudeness.  4) Odo despises Kubus as a collaborator.  Odo doesn’t see himself as a collaborator, since he strove for fairness and justice outside the Cardassian system.  Kubus worked within the unjust Cardassian system.  5) Rule of Acquisition #285!  This is the highest numbered, official rule.


~ by Joshua Black on October 29, 2016.

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