By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:21 AM GMT

See Also: 'Accession' Episode Guide

A man lost in the wormhole for generations claims to be the Emissary, displacing Sisko who is at first relieved and then alarmed at the new Emissary's conservative bent.


Although it had more impact on Kira, this was really a Sisko episode, and a terrific one at that. It reminded me of "Emissary" and the early episodes with Bareil and Winn, when our commander was trying to decide how to balance his responsibilities to Starfleet and the Prime Directive with his unique obligation to Bajor and its prophets.

I loved him at the beginning with the new Emissary - thought it made sense that Sisko would trust a revered Bajoran poet whom Kira had heard of, particularly as he wanted off the hook so badly himself: "All I have to worry about are the Klingons, the Dominion, and the Maquis. I feel like I'm on vacation!"

Watching this skeptical man trying to balance his distrust of spiritual phenomena with his growing sense that he may have a role to play was a Bajoran spiritual leader was moving and illuminating. This was the first episode about Bajoran spirituality that I can remember which took it completely seriously, and in which Sisko took it completely seriously as well.

I also think this was the strongest Kira episode of the season. I would not call Kira a wimp for falling prey to religious fervor any more than I'd characterize my religious friends that way, even when I want to scream at them for trying to interpret the Bible as a blueprint for American society. Yes, Kira was awfully passive for a lot of this episode, but she's been passive under the guidance religious leaders before; she even went along with Bareil when he suggested that she try nurturing her artistic side, way back in the "The Circle." I wish she were the kind of person who questioned more - she told Bareil that she was, but maybe his death really did change her.

I did have a bit of the problem with Bajor having had such a strict cast system - on the one hand that explains how Cardassia was able to conquer so easily, given that there must have been underlying resentment and people in the wrong positions for their talents, but on the other hand I don't understand how so many centuries of achievement and enlightenment could have come out of such repression and prejudice.

The subplot provided much-needed humor; Quark's comment that he thought females bore human young, Worf's terror at being told that Keiko was going to have another child, and the overabundant male bonding between O'Brien and Bashir - first the holosuite gets used as an excuse for Kira and Dax to dress like bimbos, now it's an excuse for Miles and Julian to forsake real relationships in favor of Let's Pretend!

I get a weird feeling hearing the prophets tell Benjamin, "You are the Sisko" - shades of "You are the Picard" from TNG, and "You are Kirok" which got Captain Kirk in a lot of trouble (does this mean that sooner or later, Janeway will be worshipped as a goddess? I hope so). I had a nagging feeling that the Prime Directive should have been bothering Sisko, but, like that aliens said, he IS part of Bajor now - He IS involved, whether he likes it or not. And I'm glad he's taking that responsibility seriously.

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.