Accession(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 489)
written by Jane Espenson
Due to its story content, the best title for this episode might have been "The Emissary", but sadly that was already taken by the series' double-length pilot. Sisko's role as a mythical figure in Bajoran religion is challenged, and he has to deeply examine the dangers of both accepting and rejecting it. This aspect of the story is very nicely done and creates a good television hour of drama.
Of course, the subject matter brings up all the usual Prime Directive questions that are by now a staple of the main situation with Bajor, making me wonder once again if logically Starfleet would ever actually tolerate this situation to begin with. Most of the points I might discuss here already seem to have cropped up in various season one and two episodes, and there seems little point in repeating myself.
However, only at the end does this episode contribute a brand new twist to the problem. It is revealed that the Prophets are of Bajor.... and so is the Sisko. Exactly what that means is left vague for now, and makes one want to get into a few more episodes to find out. Nice. But if Sisko is, perhaps in some spiritual, re-incarnated soul way, indigenous to Bajor, that would kind of put a new twist into the Prime Directive questions and allow him to embrace a more active role in shaping Bajor.... which just might prove more dramatically interesting. Fascinating new twist. I like it.
In retrospect, this episode does seem to mark a bit of a shift on Deep Space Nine and possibly the Star Trek franchise in general. There will still be some Prime Directive considerations to discuss in various upcoming episodes, but the tendency will be for the episodes to handle these things as subtle strands within larger stories, typically not actually mentioning the directive by name. Perhaps of greater interest will be the role that Sisko gradually embraces, beginning here, more directly concerned with spirituality and what it means. To some extent, it is a fantasy that all these races would not be extremely interconnected in ways that make an idea like the Prime Directive impossible to adhere to, and as this show moved further and further away from stand-alone episodes, it became more obvious. Sisko will be involved in Bajoran spirituality. The question will be more of whether his influence will be wise or misguided. "Accession" is a lovely episode marking the turning point, and highlighting the choice.
Of course the real kicker is that we are subjected to a past that is now changed, and in contradiction with Kira's memory. This is just Star Trek wallowing in its own ignorant rut. I'm sorry, did Kira borrow Quinn Mallory's timer to slide to a new branching timeline with alternate history that doesn't match her memory? I don't think so. That line about Prophets moving in mysterious ways isn't going to cut it. I might buy that Sisko came out of the wormhole into a different universe, but that still won't explain Kira, who stayed at home the whole time. Time travel can be so much more eloquent in science fiction if writers would just lose the magic and start thinking instead. For all that this bit of coda did for an otherwise satisfying episode, it would have been better to leave it out. I shake my head in dismay.
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Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page: