The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Reckoning"

by David E. Sluss

4 May 1998

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: A mixed bag. On the one hand, we have an interesting portrayal of Sisko as a religious fanatic and true believer in the Prophets, another step in his evolution as Emissary, and we have another piece of the "Bajor puzzle," as far as the exact nature of the Prophets' relationship with the Bajorans and their plans for them. On the other hand, we have a "retro" characterization of Kai Winn as Evil Manipulator, something she supposedly grew out of last year, and we have one of the most ridiculous-looking "battles" I've ever seen.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.0 (F+)

OVEREXPOSURE OF THE WEEK: The Prophets seem to become less mysterious and more ridiculous with every appearance. The mystery of the Prophets is one of the foundations of the series. Their non-linear nature and "mysterious ways" have always been interesting to me. What isn't even slightly interesting is seeing them possess bodies and engage in energy beam warfare. This episode did more to damage the concept of the Prophets than even that old Zek episode "Prophet Motive." And issues like why and how the Prophet and Pagh Wraith were trapped in a stone tablet and why the Prophet says it is "time" for the reckoning, when they have no notion of linear time, only undermine the concept further. With the Prophets, the less they are seen, the better, not because they aren't interesting, but rather because they are, and they become less interesting the more familiar they become.

EXTORTION OF THE WEEK: It's interesting to note that the Prophets have the Federation by the short and curlies. Worf confirmed that the Prophets are still keeping the Dominion out of the Alpha Quadrant, and that argument is what allowed Sisko to convince Admiral Wooden not to defy the will of the Prophets. It occurs to me that the Prophets can now demand anything from the Federation and the rest of the Quadrant. Has the Alpha Quadrant become a "Dominion" with the Prophets as "founders"?

NOTE TO WAR ARGH APOLOGISTS OF THE WEEK: Critics of the Dominion War Argh such as myself have been rebutted with arguments that DS9 isn't all that vital to the war effort, and that's why the effects of the war aren't often portrayed. I note that that argument now swirls the bowl with Worf's comment that DS9 is vital to the defense of the Federation and shouldn't be sacrificed to the Prophets' energy beam battle. Try again, folks.

HYPOCRITE OF THE WEEK: It has to be Dax, chastising Sisko for going on vacation while there's a war on. [As a side note, I got a kick out of the line. I've noted before that every week a character delivers a "Don't you know there's a war on?" line to remind everyone of the oft-forgotten Dominion "War." This time Dax delivered the line almost verbatim. Ha!] Seems to me that Dax, and just about everyone else besides Sisko, was hanging around with Vic Fontaine in the holodeck constantly just last week. And is it just me, or was Dax unusually surly this week? Think Terry's having second thoughts about leaving, or has been talking to Denise Crosby on the phone?

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: Hey, we actually got a bit of followup in the "war" effort this week. The Dominion invasion of Betazed and the Romulan entry are actually having an effect. Granted, we are not seeing any of it, but at least it's getting a mention, which is more than what we got for too long a time.

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: I don't really approve, but you can definitely see the change in Odo and Kira after "His Way." This is in contrast with the Dax/Worf relationship which in its first year was rarely noticeable outside of "Dax/Worf episodes." I don't like the Odo/Kira idea, but if you're gonna run with it, run with it, and at least for this week, the writers are. On the other hand...

IMPROVED STOCK PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: I noticed that the stock prices of several manufacturers of barf bags rose sharply after this episode aired. Analysts believe this was due to the revulsion caused by the over-the-top, sickening sweet talk, nuzzling, etc. by Kira and Odo. I've heard that Rick Berman has quite a number of shares in his portfolio...
   

Previous: "His Way"
Next: "Valiant"
NEXT WEEK: Jake and Nog take a joyride in a Defiant-class ship.

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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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