Star Trek 357: Shakaar

357. Shakaar

FORMULA: The Siege + Past Prologue + The Collaborator + Progress + Rivals

WHY WE LIKE IT: Kira's political revenge. Furrel's story.

WHY WE DON'T: How O'Brien gets out of the zone.

REVIEW: Bajoran politics rear their ugly heads when Winn becomes First Minister of Bajor. Because being pope wasn't enough for her. With Bareil gone (and this episode makes a point of burying his memory at last), Winn needs a political foil. It will be Shakaar, Kira's former resistance cell leader, who has since taken up farming and just won't let go of soil reclamators the former government had promised him. Kira is sent in to reason with him, like she's done on previous occasions (in Progress and in a way, in The Collaborator).

There's some nice reminiscing with the old cell, and Furrel's story about why he never got a replacement arm after losing his in a daring raid is a highlight. It reminds Kira that there's an honorable side here, and she isn't on it. But that's easily remedied, and we get a sense of what life in the Resistance must have been like. The story actually jumps weeks ahead, perhaps a bit breezily, but our heroes realize that they didn't fight the Cardassians just so they could start killing fellow Bajorans, and Shakaar positions himself as a folk hero/new First Minister. He's Li Nalas, only with some cohones. And so Kira is truly revenged for Bareil's death.

Because this is at the heart of everything here. Kira was wound so tight, she was bound to snap the next time her Eminence showed up. Winn remains problematic here. She's back to full power after Louise Fletcher's rocky performance in Life Support (she was visibly sick), but past the verge of madness in places. I totally believe she's capable of declaring martial law or asking the Emissary for Federation support, but not that she would start spouting "don't you see?! This way lies chaos!!" rhetoric (my words, not hers). She's always been too smooth an operator for that. Ok, becoming Kai sent her over the edge, sure. Doesn't that a dimension away from her though?

The subplot du jour is about O'Brien being "in the zone", and his winning at darts against everyone. Quark naturally makes en event of it. It's pretty light on substance, and when O'Brien suddenly pulls something and needs emergency surgery, I thought for sure he was faking it to get out of Quark's circus. Alas, it was all true, despite what seemed like overplaying, which left me with an empty feeling, like the subplot didn't really have a point to make. Quark never "gets his", seems like a missed opportunity.

LESSON: Church and State. Separate, people! Separate!!!

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A villain is simplified and a subplot goes nowhere. And that's why I can't give this otherwise excellent Kira story a full High recommendation.

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