Church Versus State
"Shakaar" Plot Summary:
Kai Winn, who is now serving as the First Minister of Bajor, asks Kira to try and persuade her former Resistance leader Shakaar to return soil reclamators which he and his fellow farmers have taken for their lands. Shakaar agrees to negotiate, but Bajoran security sent by Winn arrives to arrest him.
Kira joins Shakaar and the rest of their Resistance cell in hiding, where they become folk heroes. Finally the military tracks the group down, but Shakaar convinces the officers that Bajorans should not kill Bajorans or the consequences will be worse than any transgression on either side. Shakaar then goes to Winn and declares his candidacy to become Bajor's new First Minister.
I'd heard rumors that this episode was going to introduce a new love interest for Kira, and I'm delighted that didn't happen--at least, not yet. Nonetheless, if Kira isn't interested, I know someone else who might be--Shakaar's not quite Li Nalas, but he'll certainly do in a pinch! There's a lot to like here, starting with the fact that Kira DIDN'T throw herself into Shakaar's arms. The relationships among all the former resistance cell members were instead intense, restrained, and utterly believable. The showdown between Shakaar and the military commander was very moving--terrific performances all around. The lovely, understated moment when the Bajorans decided not to shoot one another was DS9 at its best; I don't thing I breathed for a minute after that one fun went off, and the fact that we DIDN'T see the resolution right then and there in a cliched neat package made it all the more powerful.
I thought they did a terrific job presenting the whole problem with Bajor's application for Federation membership. Until more of the internal problems are solved, without outside help, it really isn't in Bajor's best interest to join an interstellar U.N.--and the presentation of the feed-our-own vs. establish-trade conflict was interesting if a little underdeveloped. Shakaar said he would think about whether or not to return the replimats, but we never heard him explain what he thought about the trade issue; he doesn't seem like a hard-core Bajor-for-Bajorans type, but I'd really like to know what his campaign platform is going to be. Obviously we'll all take him over Winn, but I wonder what we'll be getting?
My only complaint (other than the lame subplot about the darts which I'm ignoring) has to do with Kai Winn. When we first met her in the first season, she was tragically misguided but believed passionately that she was acting out the will of the Prophets. In season two, we were given the distinct impression that she didn't give a crap about Bajor OR its religion, caring only for personal desires. She maintained that persona while sabotaging Bareil's chances to become Kai, but once she had the position herself, she swung back to earnest patriot. Now she babbles about being worthy of her position while she sabotages her planet.
Which is she? A totalitarian who genuinely believes in the warped actions she's taking? A megalomaniacal psycho who's incapable of seeing beyond her own self-interest? Or an adept leader with a agenda that, while rather right-wing, might actually accomplish some long-term good for Bajor? I wish the writers would make up their minds. And to ask a dumb question--if Winn now occupies Jaro's position from "The Homecoming," couldn't she simply have fired Kira and given someone else the job on DS9 when Kira joined the rebels, which it certainly sounds like Kira did with Sisko's understanding if not tacit approval?
I hope we get to go back to Bajor more often...
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