DS9 Season 1, Episode 19 (Netflix: S1 E18): In the Hands of the Prophets
The best way to have a plot not really make that much sense is to stick in a preachy analogy that doesn’t fit. If you don’t get too carried away with the analogy you may notice some good things: Sisko is cool in this episode, the murder mystery is alright, and I like how the Bareil character is treated.
Winn! She is outraged that Keiko calls the prophets, “wormhole aliens”. Outrageous!
File under: Louise Fletcher (Winn)
Kira suggests there be separate schools on the station. I’m not sure why Bajorans were eager to send there kids to Keiko’s voluntary school to begin with.
Keiko blatantly mentions the connection to evolution. Thats good, because some of the Voyager fans might not have picked up on what this conflict was an analogy for.
There might have been a murder! Murder mystery!
Keiko was teaching the old Galileo folk tale. Sisko points out that the prophets really are kind of prophets, you know, since they see the future and all. This analogy is getting weak.
Sisko goes to meet Vedek Bareil! He hangs out all alone in a giant garden. It would be really easy to assassinate this guy if someone wanted to, as long as they find a way to keep him in his garden, and away from a crowded place like DS9
I like that Bareil is a good guy, but still motivated by politics
Bajoran workers stop coming in? Why? Because they didn’t like Keiko’s dumb school that their kids have probably only gone to for a few months?
Odo mentions that more Bajorans have come to the station to help the kids stay out of school. Is anyone trying to make them go to the school?
Someone blew up the school!
There wasn’t much mystery as to who the murderer was. It was the other guest star. They did everything they could to cover it up though: introduced her purpose for being in the episode as being a temptation for O’Brien, and they had her in the previous episode.
I love when people say “NOOOO!” in slow motion. Also, this is what I look like when I forget I need to fast forward through the intro music in Enterprise
A lot of people really like this episode and rank it among the top for the first season, usually pointing to the analogy presented in this episode as insightful. It seems to be rather bland at best, the kind of analogy people can feel good about recognizing without there being much nuance to the presentation of the idea. The main thing that takes away from this analogy is that both Keiko and Winn are arrogant and obnoxious. Sisko kind of points this out, yet I get the feeling most people who love this analogy aren’t compelled by it because of Sisko’s middle-ground position. Plus it’s supposed to be about religious fundamentalists or something, but that’s not what it ended up being about. Winn was just putting on a show to cause trouble, right? Which leads to my next issue….
The other major problem I have with this episode is Winn’s dumb plan. Its clear that all the components of the plan weren’t to make an effective plan, they were just to function for a specific plot point. If Winn wanted to kill Barial, there had to be a simpler, safer way to carry out the mission. Instead she comes up with a weird convoluted plan to go to Deep Space Nine, cause trouble at a voluntary school, blow up the school, expect Barial to come to make a statement (which served as kind of a surprise in the plot, and there was really no reason for her to expect this), and then get someone to kill him there. She is supposed to be power hungry, and conniving, but this is both a stupid political move with huge risk, and a really stupid murder plan.