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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Collaborator

Image of Vedek Bareil staring into an Orb.
"The one thing I’ve learned about humanoids is that, in extreme situations, even the best of you are capable of doing terrible things."

When Bajor selects a new Kai to lead the people to the future, ghosts of the past emerge to make Kira suspect her lover, Vedek Bareil, of having been a collaborator.

What would you do if someone you loved was accused of a betrayal which cost dozens their lives? Another Kira-centered episode shows us Kira the detective, leading her crew to figure out a mystery when the battle for the role of Kai on Bajor begins between Vedek Winn and Vedek Bareil.

Vedek Winn, at least initially, is the Dolores Umbridge of Star Trek. Her weaselly lawyer responses drip with venom and insult and she’s easily one of the best antagonists on the show. Her last appearance on the station showed an attempt at Bareil’s life. Her behavior seems motivated more by ambition than by maliciousness, but her machinations have led the crew of DS9 not to trust her. Enter Kubus Oak, a Bajoran who formerly collaborated with the Cardassians. Kubus wants to live and die on Bajor, but his history is in the way – and it's hard not to feel bad for him. He looks absolutely wretched after Kira’s dressing down. Winn's attempt to pardon Oak – and Kira's attempt to unpardon him and keep him on the station – leads to Winn enlisting Kira as a detective to solve a mystery. At one point in the Cardassian occupation, a massacre occurred – the Kendra Valley massacre. In the massacre, Kai Opaka's own son died. So far a man named Prylar Bek has been named as the collaborator who orchestrated the betrayal of the murdered group. But Winn has uncovered oddities in the record which lead her to believe Bareil was involved.

Kira shows her mettle here, investigating no matter what, confronting Bareil where necessary, and generally showing heroic commitment to truth. Bareil admits to the crime, but says it was a dreadful-algebra calculus-of-necessity choice – had they not focused Cardassian attention on 43 conspirators, it would have landed on thousands of civilians. Bareil withdraws from the race... but Kira is not satisfied. It's not that Bareil isn't capable of making such a choice; it's that he wouldn't lie about it. The coverup doesn't fit, and after comparing transport records the truth comes out: it was Kai Opaka who made the necessary choice. But it is too late. Winn is now Kai. And Kira had a major hand in putting her there.

Dream Breakdown

I think that any dream on this series should be examined carefully, and here we have three. Some relate directly to the events of this episode, clearly. But others seem to be far more wide-ranging, and the end seems to implicate that the events of this episode have a long future coming. The parts with Prylar Bek obviously refer to this episode. But when Kai Opaka appears,  she seems to be referring about the future. I initially thought Bareil would have to accept being killed in this episode, but he survives; I predict therefore that the dreams are implying Bareil will be sacrificed for Bajor at some point.

Bits and Pieces

Philip Anglim looks great shirtless in this episode; it's a reason to watch. One is completely accepting of Kira's passion for him.

The Ilvian proclamation sentenced all Bajoran collaborators to exile.

Winn and Sisko are still on the outs, but Winn is trying to repair the relationship – at least until Bareil bows out and she winds up with no competition.

Does Odo have feelings for Kira? When she confesses her love for Bareil, he takes a moment to adjust.


Quark: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.... Okay, okay. Eleven? Fine. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen. And not a strip more. (Watches the Dabo girl leave) I hate payday.

Quark: All right, what's going on? You want something from me, don't you?
Kira: How'd you guess?
Odo: It's simple. We've been here more that a minute and we haven't insulted him, threatened him or arrested him.

Bareil: The Cardassians were determined to eliminate all resistance in the Kendra Valley. If someone hadn't told them the location of that base, they would've wiped out every village in the area. That would have meant the death of twelve hundred innocent Bajorans. I could not allow that.
Kira: There had to have been another way. I believed in you. I defended you. And Winn was right all along. And now she's going to destroy you.
Bareil: No. I've destroyed myself.


What I don't get is why Bareil is still protecting Opaka. I don't think she needs it. She's achieved such a level of sainthood on Bajor that the notion that she sacrificed her own son to save Bajoran individuals would only enhance her status. And Bajor and Bajorans are no stranger to either the rock or the hard place. So while I thought this episode was engaging and and a great story, at the same time, I was dissatisfied by the logic of the wrap-up... although definitely interested in what's coming next.

Three out of five mysterious glowy orbs.


  1. I think it was already obvious that Odo has feelings for Kira at least as far back as "Necessary Evil" (and I know some fans who will argue they saw it well before that).

  2. I always saw it as brotherhood, I guess, or really close siblinghood.

  3. I liked this one better than you. I understand what you're saying about Opaka, but by their nature resistance movements risk mass civilian casualties. Often, they strengthen the resistance. Whether it's right to save lives of civilians by strengthening the hold of the occupying forces is a real dilemma. For example, during the Greek Resistance to German occupation in World War II, tens of thousands of Greek civilians were killed in reprisal killings. Many people likely had opportunities to reveal resistance plans, thereby saving entire villages from destruction. No doubt, collaborators often saved lives. Resistance fighters often killed civilians both directly and indirectly. One of the things I like about the resistance-themed episodes (and also the New Caprica episodes in BSG) is that they're willing to investigate the moral murkiness of these sorts of situations.

  4. This is one of the many episodes that demonstrate that DS9 is not your usual Trek. And I enjoyed how you compared Winn to Umbridge!


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