Who woulda thunk it? While this is a serious political episode, and a highly dramatic follow-up to the previous, I wind up smiling: I wish every show could open a season with episodes like this. First Sisko is growling and attacking the Bajoran diplomatic attaché, defending Kira with everything he has: looks, stories, metaphors. Then, while Kira's packing to leave, her room slowly fills with people concerned about her, bearing gifts, oddness and sexual innuendo. Finally Vedek Bariel enters majestically, catching Kira at her most flippant. And what happens is solid acting genius: "These are..." and she realizes, and a soft glow appears. "These are my friends."
The scene is worth describing; this episode is titled The Circle, and it might certainly refer to the terrorist group complicit in the episode, but it also refers to the tight family circle Sisko is building on the ship. This episode has a Kira storyline and a political Bajor storyline, and in what I'm finding out is true DS9 fashion, both meld. Kira has a destiny of her own, in which DS9 is somehow intertwined; her interaction with the Third Orb (how many of these things are there?) prove that. I also think Bariel is muy sexy and it seems appropriate to me for a warrior like Kira to love a mystic like Bareil. Is romance for our favorite First Officer in the cards? I hope so.
The dissidence on Bajor is tragically predictable, but in the historical sense that doesn't detract from actual storyline drama. Enemies taking advantage of internal dissidence for their own profit? Yep. Kira's now been tortured by Bajorans. I was as horrified by what must feel like a total personal betrayal as by what was happening with Vedek Winn; the dialogue between her and Minister Jaro - and his unsurprising revelation as the leader of the Circle - would have been as plausible in the White House as it was on Bajor, and as utterly horrifying. One question remained for me - does Jaro know about the Cardassian involvement at all? And what will these two do if they ever find out?
What will Bajor do to them if it ever becomes public knowledge?
I thought Sisko basically stripping the station of its command crew in a bid to rescue Kira was illogical and exactly what I would expect: he needs the best and it means the people who care the most. Not one of the crew say no. Sisko's circle went up against the dissident Circle and won the battle–but may have lost the war; I think the Prime Directive is an iffy thing to apply in this situation so soon after Bajor begging the Federation for reconstructive help. Isn't protecting the world from the war getting started again part of that? Instead, they choose to evacuate the station. This cliffhanger left so many questions about Bajor's unanswered that my head is still spinning.
Bits and Pieces
Costumery: WHAT THE HELL IS JAKE WEARING IN THE FIRST SCENE? He looks like a dabo person about to start dancing.
Odo shapeshifting into a machine part then again into a mouse. Clever use of just a little bit of special effects for a huge impact - this show is great at that.
Quark's hilarious. He clearly wants to help and be part of the DS9 circle, but it HAS to be done in a way to make him still look, well, Ferengi.
Sisko: For a minute I was thinking to myself "There's a warm wind blowing in from Minicoy."
Jaro: I'm sorry?
Sisko: Just an old saying where I come from. It all started with a famous Ambassador from Minicoy who used to bluster, exaggerate, and dissemble to get what he wanted. Not at all like you or me. He was a bag of hot air and everyone recognized him for what he was.
Quark (entering Kira's room notices a large group, then says to her:) For you I would reduce my catering rate. (Armin Shimerman, ladies and gentlemen.)
Krim: Commander Sisko, you told me about the Kressari before you asked the favour regarding Kira. You could've tried to trade that information for the favour.
Sisko: I wouldn't do that.
Krim: I'll remember that about you.
4/4. I usually hate the middle parts of trilogies - The Two Towers is one example - but this is Part Two done right. Can't wait for the follow-up.