Star Trek 375: Accession

375. Accession

FORMULA: Destiny + Emissary + 1/10(Explorers + Equilibrium)

WHY WE LIKE IT: Sisko is of Bajor (and related Emissary business).

WHY WE DON'T: If you were Bajoran, would you believe that ending?

REVIEW: When a new Emissary comes out of the Wormhole, Sisko is finally forced not only to accept his role as Emissary of the Prophets, but fight for it as well. It's an extension of the Bajoran arc that's been building too slowly, but it's back with a vengeance. No longer content to sit in their Temple, the Prophets are taking an active part in Bajor's affairs now, sending their Emissary ("The Sisko") reminders that he has a role to play, a veritable test in the form of Akorem Laan, and then even an "orb shadow" hallucination. In the end, we are cryptically told that the Prophets "are of Bajor" and that Sisko "is of Bajor", and I don't think we ever find out what that really means. On the one hand, you've got the non-linear possibility that Sisko is a Prophet right this minute (so he is ALSO "of Bajor"), but could it be that the Prophets are hyper-evolved Bajorans from the far future?

Akorem Laan is as misguided as he is old-fashioned, but not a bad man by any means. His advocation of a return to the d'jarras creates the various dilemmas driving the episode (in addition to being anthropologically interesting). On the one hand, you have the danger to DS9 and Bajor themselves, because the Federation cannot abide a caste system. What Akorem is proposing would end the show right there, with our Starfleet characters leaving DS9 and probably the Cardassians or Dominion swooping in weeks later. In the personal scale, there's Kira, who must now learn to become an artist (and it's already been established that she has no aesthetic bone in her body). She's at odds with her own faith, but at least she tries, and there's a rather moving goodbye between her and Sisko when she talks of a replacement officer. Sisko too has a dilemma, and his comically professed vacation doesn't last long.

Though Akorem's finished poem could be seen as a kind of proof of what happened, the way Sisko deals with his dilemma has some serious flaws. Put yourself in a Bajoran's place (or Winn's place, if you really want to stir up trouble): He challenges Akorem's claim. He takes him into the Wormhole. He comes back and tells the story of how the Prophets chose him and sent Akorem back to his own time. If that happened today, the media would have a field day.

If Akorem was a surrogate Emissary, Bashir is O'Brien's surrogate wife, and when Keiko comes back to the station, ending O'Brien's bachelorhood, a comic subplot ensues. Keiko is actually fairly sweet here, getting the two pals together again. She's pregnant again, and the episode is of value to TNG fans if only for Worf's reaction ("Now?!"). Good times... good times...

LESSON: I know you were all on the edge of your seats since at least Starship Down, if not Chain of Command, but it's official, 4-shift rotation is better than 3-shift rotation.

REWATCHABILITY - High: The subplot is mere distraction, and the ending could have done with a corroborating witness, but the core of the episode is quite solid and at times even sweet and touching. The relationship between Sisko and the Prophets reimagined here will drive the series to its conclusion.

8 comments:

Matthew Turnage said...

I'm a big fan of the Emissary arc, so I really enjoyed this episode as well. In terms of number of episodes, this episode kicks off the second half of the series, so I like the idea that the first half begins with Sisko discovering he is the Emissary, and the second half begins with Sisko accepting he is the Emissary. I doubt the producers had that sort of symmetry in mind, though.

The "of Bajor" line does open itself up to many possibilities, but I personally like to think it simply means that Bajor is the home of Sisko and the Prophets, emotionally if not physically.

Siskoid said...

The "of Bajor" line does open itself up to many possibilities, but I personally like to think it simply means that Bajor is the home of Sisko and the Prophets, emotionally if not physically.

Which was always my interpretation until Season 7 made things a bit more complicated.

billjac said...

The Prophets could be corroborating witnesses if they want. And since they have an interest in the Sisko being accepted by Bajoran society they might want. Of course, being non-linear, they won't be very good at it, but I could see orb visions across Bajoran history being peppered with mystifying asides about the event (that's in the new timeline created by this episode). How's that for a no-prize winning explain-away?

Siskoid said...

Excellent.

I'll no-send one right away :)

Madeley said...

How about: Super-evolved Vorlon-style humans opened a wormhole inside Earth's sun at the end of Babylon 5 to create the DS9 wormhole and become the prophets in that universe?

Anyone? Anyone?

Guys?


Hello?

cardboardjudas said...

I think that there is enough evidence there to support Sisko's 'story' that he is the true emissary.
I assume that everyone experienced the time shift in the same way that kira did, so everyone knows that until Sisko and the new emissary entered the wormhole that the poems weren't completed.
So there would probably be the usual conspiracy theories, but his story would stick pretty easy.

snell said...

Well, I always assumed that that Sisko being "of Bajor" was explained by the season 7 revelation that his mother had been possessed by one of the Prophets, so they could ensure he would be born, and save the Celestial Temple. As the spawn of a Prophet, he would be seen as just as much "of Bajor" as themsaelves...

Anonymous said...

And another reason why people would have believed Sisko's explanation: because, in his own quiet and humble way, he's been winning over the Bajoran people for years. Day after day, week after week, he's been nothing but benevolent and helpful, and even the most black-hearted Bajorans couldn't help but recognize that at some level. When Cardassian-backed Bajorans tried to push the Federation out, Sisko stood his ground and exposed the plot. When other races were trying to lay a claim to Bajor, Sisko found them another world to live on. The man has built up nearly infinite good will through unselfish acts, and that has got to lend credibility to what he says.

And also the fact that whatshisname managed to finish his poem in the past and also probably even composed new poems about the time he visited the future and met the true Emissary.

 

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