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Star Trek DS9 - Season 6 - Episode 21

Star Trek DS9 - 6x21 - The Reckoning

Originally Aired: 1998-4-29

Synopsis:
Sisko is called to Bajor when an ancient tablet addressing the Emissary is discovered. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.4

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode addresses the "penance" the Prophets wished to exact on Sisko for stopping the Dominion ships from coming through the wormhole in DS9: Sacrifice of Angels. It also explains why the Dominion has not tried sending another fleet through. There's also some interesting foreshadowing about future events.

Problems
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Dax: "I had a pretty good idea what this was the moment I laid eyes on it. That confirms it. It's a slab of stone with some writing on it."
- Kira discussing with Sisko the reason why the Kai doesn't like him.
- Jake talking to Sisko about his worries about the Emissary business.
- Sisko: "I just had this uncontrollable urge to smash the tablet." Dax: "Oh I get those urges all the time. I just never act on them."
- Possessed Kira.
- Prophet Kira ignoring the Kai.
- The Pah-wraith Kosst Amojan taking over Jake.
- The battle.
- Kai Winn ending the battle.
- Morn Appearances; 1. Witnesses possessed Kira.

My Review
A prophecy predicts that if the Prophets are able to defeat the Kosst Amojan at the gate to the Celestial Temple, a golden age of peace and prosperity will be bestowed upon Bajor. The prophecy comes true, and the battle is waged on Deep Space Nine. But just as the prophets are about to win, Kai Winn interferes and stops the fight, revealing just how evil she really is. She claims to walk the path the prophets have laid out for her, but her motivations are purely greed and the desire for respect and power. As Kira said, she couldn't stand the fact that the Emissary had a stronger faith than she did, and that he would sacrifice his son to exact the penance the Prophets asked of him. There are many nice details in this episode, contributing to this overall theme. For example, Kai Winn admits that the prophets have never spoken to her. My favorite detail, however, is when Kai Winn begs the Prophet within Kira to speak to her, it utterly ignores her. It's disgusting and a little sad, but Winn did what she did as a sort of petty revenge against her gods for their disrespect of her. And she did it to protect her power. She said herself, that the golden age of Bajor would no longer require a Kai. She's so incredibly nasty. A great episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From spock on 2007-01-07 at 6:51am:
    Entertaining, but unnecessary. I don't think we needed an entire episode devoted to showing how evil Kai Winn is. The ghostbusters style showdown was truely the worst piece of writing since "profit and lace"
  • From Curtis on 2009-11-28 at 10:53pm:
    I thought this one was pretty awful. That "battle" was pure baloney and, again, we didn't need a whole episode to show that Kai Winn was evil. This one just seemed to heavy-handed to me.
  • From L on 2013-08-12 at 11:23pm:
    This is where my mild dislike of the spiritual/religious theme in DS9 turns to outright contempt and DS9 really loses me. (though I'll finish the last season before starting on Voyager)

    Sisko is willing to let his son be killed for the sake of a ridiculous light and dark battle of some sanctimonious and patronising energy aliens (who don't even exist in linear space and time or understand cause and effect, so how would that even work?), because 'it's the will of the prophets'? Screw that.

    The willingness to subjugate one's will and self to a mysterious force simply because it's bigger than you has no place in Star Trek or any supposedly enlightened future. How many times has something god-like turned out to just be a fallible energy alien that lives on a different scale to us?

    Any sympathy I had for Bajoran culture is gone as all I can see is a superstitious people's brain-washed chanting.

    It is true that our tendency to repeatedly fall for this nonsense and find something to worship so as to ease our tiny little frightened minds is the human condition, and so it is perhaps where the traditional idealism of Star Trek really ends and maybe the writers wanted to take it in a more realistic direction. It can be excused on that level if it's being presented as a common tendency of all sentient beings alone in the universe, but it seems to be presented here as a noble quality with all the talk of 'faith' and so on.

    I thought at least Dax was the one hold-out with her "They'll always just be 'wormhole aliens' to me" line, but even she prays to them in the last episode.

    Maybe the final season exposes and properly condemns this fetishising of the abandonment of rational questioning in the name of 'spirituality' and payment for the granting of favour. I certainly hope so.

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