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The Trek Nation - Image in the Sand

Image in the Sand

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 12:39 PM GMT

See Also: 'Tears of the Prophets' Episode Guide

Kira, who has been promoted to Colonel and has been in command of DS9 for three months in Sisko's absence, worries aloud to Odo at the rise of religious fanaticism on Bajor since the Orbs went dark. Admiral Ross arrives from Starfleet to inform Kira that a delegation of their vital Romulan allies will be posted to the station; Kira is distrustful, but has no choice but to accede to Starfleet's wishes, since the war has been going in Cardassia's favor despite Damar's excessive drinking. The Romulan Senator initially wins Kira's favor by enjoying jumja sticks and asking for permission to build a Romulan hospital on an uninhabited Bajoran moon, but when Kira learns from Odo that the Romulans have been hiding weapons in the hospital while refusing to treat Federation wounded, she brings a message from the Bajoran government that if the Romulans don't leave willingly, they will be forced out of the system.

Benjamin Sisko is playing piano in his father's restaurant when he has a vision of digging in the sand on Tyree and finding a woman's face. When he reconstructs the visage, Jake recognizes her from an old photo he discovered in his grandfather's storeroom. Sisko Senior initially refuses to discuss the woman at all, then admits to Benjamin that she was his mother, who abandoned them when Ben was a baby. Benjamin is furious that his father never told him. To console him, the elder Sisko gives the younger a necklace which belonged to Sarah, his mother. Benjamin recognizes the inscription on the back as ancient Bajoran script, and translates it: "The Orb of the Emissary." The Emissary decides to pursue the Orb in the hope of contacting the prophets, but is brutally stabbed by a member of a pagh-wraith cult who somehow knows his mission. When he recovers, he is joined by Jake, his father, and Dax - in a body he has never seen before - to go to Tyree in search of the Orb.

Meanwhile, Worf is despondent over Jadzia because she is not in Sto-Vo-Kor, the Elysian Fields of Klingon warriors' afterlife. He trashes Vic Fontaine's holographic bar, so O'Brien goes to see him, reminiscing about the Enterprise while he tries to find out what's bothering the Klingon. O'Brien tells Bashir that because she never ate the heart of an enemy, the only way to get Jadzia into Sto-Vo-Kor would be for Worf to win a great battle in her name. Bashir points out that Martok is arriving and will surely take Worf on such a quest...and he's going to go, too. O'Brien says that he will also go if his friend is taking such a risk. Martok makes Worf his first officer on his upcoming mission to attack Dominion munitions.

Analysis:

Deep Space Nine ended last season with a superb episode and picks up right where it left off, building seamlessly on several arcs and adding new characters without neglecting any major characters, plot points, or even relationships. Kira is very much in charge and seems very much in love with Odo though they barely discuss their relationship in the midst of the crises they face. It is so wonderful to see lovers working together on this series, a great antidote to the usual Trek alien of the week syndrome. She stands up to Admiral Ross without becoming insubordinate and it is rather gratifying to see that she was right about the Romulans, though it's not going to be pleasant for Bajor to get rid of them, undoubtedly without Federation help. And Odo has valuable intelligence for once. Nice balance there.

Nice balance, too, in giving us a Sisko who was for once neither a captain nor the Emissary, but a man who isn't sure what comes next...and, as it turns out, isn't even sure of his own past. That the woman would turn out to be his mother was pretty predictable when his father refused to discuss her, but it adds an emotional resonance to his quest. Given that virtually all quests on Trek are for fathers - Worf for Mogh's honor, Spock for Sarek's approval, Odo for Mora's acceptance, Data for Soong's knowledge, etc. - it was a nice change, and I hope they pick up the thread of the concept that Sisko was born on Earth to be the Bajoran Emissary, which his mother was somehow privy to.

We got to see many popular series regulars on the station and the Defiant - Nog, worrying about going into battle, and Martok, arriving to give Worf a post on his next mission - but we also got to see some of the terrific elements added last year, like Vic Fontaine's holographic lounge, which provided musical as well as comic relief (Best exchange: Vic: "My band is threatening to quit!" Quark: "They CAN'T quit! They're holograms!" Vic: "They don't know that!") This episode had a lot of texture because it included references to virtually all of last season's background themes - zealous Bajorans, frustrated warriors on convoy duty, Sisko's playing the piano, O'Brien's friendship with Bashir - not to mention his exchange with Worf about their memories of the Enterprise.

Next week the fighting heats up as we see Kira stand up to the Romulans, Worf attack the Cardassians, and Sisko struggle with the Prophets. But we also find out more about Ezri Dax, and the mysterious Romulan senator, and Sisko's father's unknown past. It's taken seven years, but this series has finally taken the Trek mythos and given it shape and purpose. It's not the optimistic future of Roddenberry's vision, but it's superb storytelling.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


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.