SanctuaryBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 4:14 PM GMT
See Also: 'Sanctuary' Episode Guide
A refugee ship comes through the wormhole and its passengers beg for asylum in Deep Space Nine from the Gamma Quadrant villains who have decimated their people and planet. Sisko agrees, but is a little surprised at the large numbers of Skrreean refugees who come aboard. The female leader gravitates towards Kira, who becomes liaison for the refugees, with reason: they are a matriarchal culture, and unused to taking men seriously in positions of authority. They also have scaly, flaky skin which some station inhabitants have an irrational prejudice against.
The Skrreeans have been following a prophecy about where their destined homeland should be, and the leader comes to the conclusion that Bajor fits the description - there is even some common prophetic language. But the Bajorans, rebuilding after the Occupation, refuse to allow such large numbers of people to settle there, despite their great skills as farmers and terraformers. Kira is caught between the interests of the newcomers and the Bajorans, and sadly realizes that she must side with her own people after one of the Skrreeans dies in an attempt to make planetfall without permission.
Analysis: So the universal translator has problems when women are in charge? The writers probably thought this was a feminist culture, but they reinforced every cliche about women in charge - unruliness, emotional decision-making, promiscuity, LOUDNESS (even Kira gets called that). On the other had, I liked the female bonding, even if it fell apart in the wake of the political mess.
I was glad to see the narrow-mindedness of the provisional government (and by extension those of certain 20th century viewers) blasted. The Skrreean flaky skin gave the episode a particularly poignant racial/cultural angle, although I was uncomfortable with Quark's expressions of disgust. The Bajorans came off as jerks, but it's helpful to be reminded of Kira's xenophobic side every once in a while.
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.