The mirror universe duplicate of Kira’s dead lover Bareil asks for asylum on the station and begins to fall for Kira.
Plot Summary: Worried that Kira may be lonely, Dax suggests numerous potential dates from Captain Boday to Odo, but Kira doesn’t want to date a transparent-skulled Gallamite and insists she and Odo aren’t anywhere near to romance. The computer indicates that someone is trying to transport to the station, and Kira is shocked to find that the man who materializes is her dead love Bareil. When he seizes her and demands a ship, the crew realizes that this is Bareil from the Intendant’s universe. While pretending to be his hostage, Kira learns that this Bareil escaped from the Alliance brutality, so she declines to press charges when she breaks free and indicates that she’ll help him remain in her universe. Sisko warns that this is no more “her” Bareil than the scientist he met in the Intendant’s universe was “his” Jennifer, but Kira invites Bareil to dinner with Dax and Worf, who find him impressive, and takes him to the Bajoran temple, where he is interested in his late double’s religious devotion. The two find that they have a lot in common and Kira invites him back to her quarters, where they end up making love. Bareil is open to having an experience with the Orb of Prophecy, so Kira takes him to the shrine, from which he emerges deeply shaken. He says he needs to be alone for a while, but is visited by the Intendant, who wants to know the status of their plans. When Quark warns Kira not to ignore the man’s past as a criminal, Kira follows Bareil to the temple, where she finds Bareil about to steal the Orb, which the Intendant plans to use to unite her universe’s Bajor under her control. The Intendant appears, warning Kira not to try to save Bareil’s soul because he doesn’t have one, but when she demands that Bareil tell Kira how he took advantage of her, Bareil shoots the Intendant instead. His Orb vision, he admits to Kira, was of the two of them happy together on Bajor. But he’s certain that he would ruin things, so leaves for the other universe with the Intendant, certain that he can talk his way back into her good graces.
Analysis: I was annoyed when the mirror universe began to make repeated visits to Deep Space Nine, feeling that it was being exploited merely to show us a sexy, dangerous side to characters whom the Star Trek writers couldn’t figure out how to write with so many dimensions. But in “Shattered Mirror” and “Resurrection,” it becomes a much more interesting storytelling device, allowing characters to explore might-have-beens and roads not taken. If the structure of the alternate universe is a bit of a mess – I’m never sure whether the Intendant is trying to lead the Alliance or destroy it, and there’s no logical explanation for how she got aboard the station and stayed hidden considering the alarms that Bareil’s beam-in set off – it’s also irrelevant to this story, which is entirely character-driven and almost entirely about Kira. I was never a big fan of her romance with Bareil, since it always seemed to me that she did more compromising for him than he did for her, particularly where religion was concerned, but the relationship developed believably and his death was genuinely sad. Although “Resurrection” starts with a complaint I’ve had about Kira before, namely the fact that she fixates on controlled, controlling Bajoran men – even Quark notes this – and seems to have prejudices against aliens based on their appearances, she isn’t immediately taken in by Bareil because he looks like her onetime lover. If anything, she lets down her guard only when she realizes how very different he is, and the ways that mean he can relate to her own experiences: he has lived through the equivalent of the Occupation, he has had to commit crimes he isn’t proud of, he has lost people he loved because of his choices. That he’s easygoing and scruffily handsome while Vedek Bareil was always rather buttoned-up and talked like a schoolteacher is part of his charm, and the scene in which he accepts Worf’s dismissal of his skills while deftly stealing Worf’s mek’leth is delightful – for Dax and Kira as well as for the audience.
Philip Anglim gives a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of Bareil on a show that more often rewards big, bold performances like the sort we get from the Klingon actors, who can seem very one-dimensional in their dramatizations. The scruffy Han Solo style and the relaxed mannerisms look good on Anglim, but he’s more impressive in the small gestures that show the differences between the Vedek and the thief, using slumped shoulders and half-finished gestures to show uncertainty and self-doubt, shifting his eyes and twisting his mouth in ways we never saw from the Vedek even when he was lying to Kira to protect Kai Opaka. Poor Nana Visitor isn’t given nearly as much to work with as the Intendant and must resort to what the writers find most interesting about the character, namely how she uses her sexuality, confident that it will get her everything she wants. It’s hard to believe that she isn’t dead in her own universe, given that assassination is an acceptable means of advancement and that she makes stupid choices because she’s overconfident of her desirability. Moreover, she’s a terrible judge of character if she thinks people like Sisko, Kira, and even her own universe’s Bareil will be satisfied with her sleazy promises. Sure, it’s fun to see her in a Starfleet uniform pretending to be Kira, but the fact that anyone could tell in two seconds which is which demonstrates all her failings as she postures and preens her way around. It infuriates me that the writers apparently think everyone would find the Intendant more sexy than Kira, whom even this Bareil associates with the comforts of home and family rather than the passions of the bedroom. Kira may not conform as closely to Penthouse Forum stereotypes in that she doesn’t dress and talk like a dominatrix, but she’s witty and confident, she’s generous and sensitive, she’s vulnerable without being clingy and independent without being standoffish. I’ve never been in the show’s young male target demographic, but if a majority of them prefer the Intendant as a fantasy date to Kira herself, it’s a pretty pathetic reflection of their own limitations.
I’m ambivalent about how much of “Resurrection” is spent focused on the characters’ love lives, since it takes Quark to alert Kira to her new lover’s potential perfidy and since Dax seems to spend more time gossipping than focusing on the station’s scientific issues. Odo is a looming presence in his absence, in part because the possibility of Kira eventually dating him is dangled like a carrot from the very beginning, in part because his retreat is absolute once he allows Kira to determine that the mirror Bareil is not a threat to the station. Given that everyone from that universe has been trouble even when, like Smiley or Jennifer, they’ve arrived seemingly full of good will, and given that Odo is chief of security, it would be puzzling that he doesn’t spend more time investigating the newcomer except that it’s Bareil. We got our first incontrovertible piece of evidence that Odo is in love with Kira when she confessed to him that she was in love with the Vedek, and it’s never been clear how much Odo resented Bareil for that. We’ve long had hints that Kira’s superficial xenophobia may be the biggest obstacle to her falling for Odo – she doesn’t like transparent skulls, third eyes, or shapeshifting – and Odo must recognize that, but at the same time she indicates here that she may finally be realizing that finding someone like herself doesn’t have to mean physically or even spiritually like herself. The power of faith as a source of emotional bonding is explored beautifully in “Resurrection,” making up quite a bit for the idiocy of religion as portrayed in “Prophet Motive,” and we get hints that Kira as well as Bareil may be rethinking what transcendent love would mean. Their parting is bittersweet yet she is firm when she tells him to go. Now Bareil is fully in her past, thanks to the alternate universe letting her get the last vestiges of longing for him out of her system. For the first time after a mirror episode, I want to visit it again, because it’s finally stopped being a titillating joke.