Star Trek 331: The Collaborator

331. The Collaborator

FORMULA: In the Hands of the Prophets + Duet

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Winn wins situation.

WHY WE DON'T: Too many head trips (and that pun I just made).

REVIEW: As Bareil and Winn campaign to become the new Kai, a scandal erupts. This gives Winn the chance to do what she does best - put her own spin on everything and do a lot of politicking - and Bareil what he does best - unfortunately, his zen monk shtick is never as delightful. We all know how that turns out, and might even easily divine it from Bareil's many visions (more on those in a second). Vedek Winn is a villain to be sure, but as Kai Winn, she's a social force. When Sisko has a duel of words with her from now on, he'll be addressing all of Bajor as well. Allowing the bad guy to win is a stupendous move.

Bareil's visions are well done and even disturbing, but they go on too long. The trouble with this kind of device is that either you know what they mean and they become tedious (especially when you know they're designed to be a red herring), or you don't and they're just confusing. Either way, you want to get back to the story. The truth about who the title collaborator really is paints the usual gray picture of DS9's universe, and makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, Kira has to lay it out for us like an Agatha Christie detective at the end, maybe because we don't have much time left.

Making Kira the investigator here is an interesting play on Winn's part, but the Kira/Winn conflict is far less interesting than Sisko/Winn's. Kira just isn't one for subtleties. Speaking of which, if you're looking for the true start of Odo being in love with Kira, this is it. Though it's been subtly inlaid into episodes as far back as Necessary Evil (where you really need to want it to see it), Odo's awkwardness when Kira admits to being in love with Bareil is a dead giveaway here. I know there's resistance to this idea in fandom, but I personally don't have anything against it. I'll reserve my comments for when it becomes relevant to the plot.

LESSON: Sometimes a noose is just a noose.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A very important episode indeed, but pacing issues do tend to bog it down.


Matthew Turnage said...

Making Winn the kai was a bold choice, one I'm glad the producers were willing to take. Louise Fletcher was so brilliant in the role. I just love to hate her character.

Siskoid said...

Winn is a brilliant creation and it wouldn't really work at all without Louise Fletcher. See is Brilliant with a capital B.

She's one of those characters that can't easily be badly written. Like Garak.


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