Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Shakaar


"It has been my observation that one of the prices of giving people the freedom of choice is that sometimes, they make the wrong choice."

Now, I know that that sounds like an episode theme, but I'm not sure how much it applies here.

I'm glad that I got this episode. It felt like the end of an arc started in "Life Support," which I also reviewed back in July. (Was it really July. Wow. It doesn't feel like that long ago.) It gave the episode a nice sense of closure to it, especially considering the resolution.

I spent the entire episode really wanting to punch Kai Winn in the face. I don't like her. At all. But I can appreciate that she's a fully realized character, and that these character traits are what led to her downfall. Sisko was right; all she did was consistently make matters worse. You could see it in her face when Kira told her that Shakaar was willing to discuss matters with her to reach a compromise. That was not the answer that she wanted, and she wouldn't do anything that potentially weakened or jeopardized that answer.

What did surprise me was how black and white Star Trek made the issue. At least to me, and I am interested to hear how other people interpreted this. In the beginning of the episode, I thought for sure that they were going to show that both sides had equally valid points: yes, the government was going back on their word by wanting the soil reclamators back before they could finish their work, but doing so would help the planet as a whole. But as the episode progressed, Kai Winn became more and more firmly in the wrong.

It was her meeting with Sisko that really signified the difference to me. She was saying somewhat reasonable things – that no one should be beyond the law, especially in a newly formed government – but it was framed as completely unreasonable. Her inability to compromise due to religious conviction was the main antagonist of the episode.

The way that things seemed to be going, I was sure that Shakaar would die and become a martyr. I mean, his name is the title of the episode. That's a surefire harbinger of doom for a newly introduced character if I ever saw one. But I'm really glad that the episode surprised me by ending things without bloodshed, with cooler heads prevailing. There was something incredibly poignant about the fact that both Kira and Shakaar were unable to bring themselves to kill another Bajoran.

I noticed how the officer that fired that shot was the youngest Bajoran that we saw the entire episode. He probably hadn't fought in the resistance, or at least not to the same degree that the older characters had. His mindset and outlook was completely different. It was very comforting, and I feel very Star Trek, to have that outlook not incite another cycle of violence and bloodshed so soon after the last one ended.

Just a couple of nitpicks that are really minor. I wish that we had gotten more of the main cast. Kira was running around as a fugitive for two weeks. I wanted to see how people reacted to that, especially Odo. Instead, we got this weird filler with O'Brien being "in the zone" that just felt very out of place and poorly plotted. I honestly thought that him getting hurt was a plot devised by him and Bashir to fake the injury in order to take advantage of Quark's greediness. But I guess not.

But overall, it was a very good episode that I really enjoyed. And Kai Winn got taken down a peg! That's always a good day!

Random Thoughts

I did get the timeline a little confused. Kai Winn was acting like she was already in charge of the government, but they didn't have elections yet. Was she elected interim leader?

The events of "Life Support" took place three months ago. Apparently, that's a weirdly long time for Bajorans to still be mourning someone, if Kai Winn's reaction was anything to go by.

I really, really liked Shakaar and his bond with Kira. I hope that he comes back.

Quotes:

Bashir: Commander, is Chief O'Brien here?
Sisko: He's back there. In the zone.

Kira: Shakaar, you have to be flexible. I'm not sure this is a fight you can win.
Shakaar: That's what the Cardassians used to say.

Lupaza: The next time I get nostalgic for the old days, shoot me.
Furel: If you insist.

An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Yeah, Louise Fletcher is so good at making a character hateful. Although I can't look at Kai Winn without seeing Nurse Ratched.

CoramDeo said...

Kai Winn is one of my favorite characters on this show to hate (after Dukat, of course). To this day, I can't hear any character say 'My child' without liking them a little less immediately afterward.

Victoria Grossack said...

There's a big power vacuum on Bajor. The Bajorans, after so many years of oppression, are not used to being in charge. Which is why so many were for Winn.