Battle LinesBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 4:02 PM GMT
See Also: 'Battle Lines' Episode Guide
A shuttle carrying Sisko, Kira, Bashir, and Bajoran spiritual leader Kai Opaka on a brief tour of the Gamma Quadrant encounters trouble and crashes on a planet. Though Bashir tries to save her, the Kai dies, leaving a devastated Kira and a shocked Sisko trying to figure out how they will break the news to Bajor. Then Opaka rises from the dead, and they discover that people on the planet are resurrected by an alien infection in their blood, but once they die, they can never leave the planet...where the two local warring tribes sent there as a punishment have been killing one another over and over for untold years.
Nana Visitor was absolutely superlative in this episode both as the grieving Kira and as the more stoic, sad first officer explaining to her commander what the Kai meant to her and to her people. I found the scenario very moving, but I think that was largely because of the ability of the actress to make me believe in and share Kira's pain. What a miserable life they have given her: family lost in the war, years fighting as a terrorist, now the one Bajoran for whom she seems to have real filial feeling is taken from her. Maybe this is supposed to be part of her transition to accepting Starfleet as her "family" since that always seems to become a theme of Trek shows, but it can't be an easy shift.
While the concept of hell being a place where one is doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of one's lifetime is not new, it was made extremely compelling here by the young actors playing the eternal soldiers. I find the Kai a very interesting character and was fascinated by her willingness to accept her imprisonment on the planet as the will of the Prophets, but I was also puzzled as to why she thinks Bajor is ready to move on without her. Were the writers simply at a loss as to what to do with the character, or are they planning religious upheaval on her planet?
I rather hope we get back to this planet someday, just so we can see what she has accomplished with these immortal yet soulless people.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.