Episode 3.13: Life Support

Bareil can do what few of us are capable of doing: working with his worst enemy, someone who blackmailed him, for the greater good of his people.  I find it horribly ironic that it is Bareil who completely embodies the Prophets’ words that Kai Winn quotes: “Violence may keep an enemy at bay; only peace can make him a friend.”  While Bareil works to embody those words with Bajor toward Cardassia, he already acts that way toward Kai Winn.  It’s a lesson we all need to learn, both personally and corporately (again, I speak from my American perspective).  The two sides of that phrase are important, I think.  We should not let our fundamental rights or our safety be compromised by enemies.  But constant conflict grinds society to a halt and fosters continued animosity.  Peace is more challenging than war!  Only through peace will society flourish and enemies become friends.  Bareil shows immense humility by being the first to lay down his sword against Winn.

Bashir’s tension with Bareil’s wishes is quite poignant.  He doesn’t understand Bareil’s sacrificial desires.  To Bashir, the obvious choice is to do anything to prolong life.  I think that most of us would want the same path that Bashir advocates.  But Bareil sees himself as a servant to the Bajoran people and anointed by the Prophets themselves to carry out this task.  His choice to have his body function over having a longer life, his right to choose his medical treatment, supersedes his doctor’s advice.  In the crucial moment where Bareil is no longer able to make his choices, Kira is the only one who understands his deep, passionate desire to help his people heal.  It is ironic that Bashir, despite his deep idealism and own sacraficial nature, focuses too much on his doctoring and misses a kinship with Bareil.  I wonder if the difference in spiritual persuasion between the two helped drive that wedge.

Kai Winn is completely out of her element and appears inadequate in this episode.  Amusingly, this is because her task truly is one that is helpful to Bajor.  She will get some accolades if successful, but this peace deal is not a power play for her.  Her political acumen only extends to situations where she is advancing her own position and power.  Her confrontation with Bashir is over the small component where she is maneuvering to protect herself (by having a scapegoat in Bareil).  This further emphasizes the need to make peace with enemies and the strength of humility.  Bareil could not start a peace process with Cardassia without the Kai’s political clout; yet this Kai isn’t equipped ethically to do that.  By making peace with her, Bareil brought about something tremendous for the people.

The subplot with Jake and Nog highlighted how, even though they are great friends with a lot of common ground, there are still cultural differences that cannot be bridged.  Naturally, these irreconcilable differences are romantic in nature.  Sisko was crucial in helping bring Jake and Nog back together.  He admits his own failure at seeing the potential of their friendship; he admits his own racial bias.  He doesn’t let Jake believe that an insurmountable barrier could be erected between him and Nog.  Their differences don’t go away, as Jake and Nog agree to never double date again, but one issue cannot drive them apart.  The solution to get them talking again, by having Odo throw them both in jail, harkened a bit to the Old West feel of prior seasons.  I was amused at how much Odo seemed to love the part he plays.  He really does enjoy being a constable of a small town.

Random Thoughts:  1) In the opening scene, I felt the transition from Jake and Leanne talking to the main plot and the damaged Bajoran vessel was well done.  2) Kira and Bareil’s relationship ends abruptly, and Kira is mostly sidelined this episode.  Bareil is utterly focused on bringing the peace process to fruition.  Bareil hardly acknowledges her.  This underscores, for me, how Kira’s relationship with Bareil was never the one for her.  3) Bareil states directly that multiple orbs are in the hands of the Cardassians.  Number isn’t stated.  4) Lark Voorhies, the actor who plays Leanne, is also Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell.  I had no idea!  5) Kai Winn can have compassionate moments; she calls Bashir to attend Bareil before herself.  One might say this was self-motived by her need of Bareil, but in a later scene she praises Bareil’s loyalty.  I believe her compassion came from a caring that grew while working with him.  6) Bashir is growing in his political acumen.  He offers to Winn something he knows she’ll want: the credit for the peace deal.  7) After the partial brain transplant, Bareil is robotic and has a dimmed spark of life.  No matter one’s philosophical position on consciousness, whether it’s emergent from our neurons or the neurons provide the roadmap for the soul, one must acknowledge the unique, complex, and intricate qualities of the brain.  It isn’t something that can be replicated.  8) Central to patients’ rights is that doctors give patients what they want.  Dax offers some encouraging words to Bashir by reminding him that he was able to give Bareil exactly what he wanted.  He kept him alive against impossible odds to complete a task of great importance to him.  This is exceptional doctoring.  9) I was highly amused at Quark making the Kai Winn cake.  “Kai Winn, allow me to introduce Kai Winn.”  10) Though I didn’t really like Bareil as a partner to Kira, I did find some of his qualities desirable.  During the wake Kira has for him as he dies, she mentions how his serenity comes from his acceptance of his confusion.  I take this lesson deeply to heart.  None of us can control everything, know everything, or predict everything.  Accepting our confusion in this world would lead to a lot more inner peace in humanity.  And more wisdom.


~ by Joshua Black on January 22, 2017.

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