#DS91sttime: Season 3, Episode 15, “Destiny”

May 10, 2013 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

The sophisticated targets of a priest's ire in Season 3, Ep 15: "Destiny"

The sophisticated targets of a priest’s ire in Season 3, Ep 15: “Destiny”

I don’t know if it was in vogue to be in a Trek series back in the 90’s, or if Deep Space Nine‘s producers just believed in a bevy of good guest stars, but either way Erick Avari showed up in this episode. You might recall him from tiny art house productions, like Stargate.

Here, he’s Vedek Yarka, warning Commander Sisko not to allow a group of female Cardassian scientists on board. A prophecy from the show’s enigmatic Bajoran religion is afoot, and the Vedek thinks letting these ladies participate in their joint Federation/Cardassian project–intended to create a way to pass messages through the wormhole–will destroy it.

Kira starts out concerned; Sisko not at all. And thus we have our woman of faith and a ranking secularist, who will see things through different lenses this entire episode. Or will they?

The episode dances around challenging themes–such as questioning Sisko’s continuing skepticism in the face of growing “coincidence”. Exactly how many times, it demands of the character, must he see similarities to the prophecy before he’ll become concerned?

I thought this was brave. Interesting and symbolic, I think, is the way the various crew members handled the dilemma. From Dax, we get the atheist’s approach: completely ignore all this unproven mysticism and forge ahead. From Sisko, an agnostic’s balancing act. From Kira: a true believer’s acknowledgement that though she may wear a uniform, her faith is a greater fabric in her life’s tapestry.

The way the plot resolves is clever, even if I did see it coming, and the side-story, where O’Brien deals with a sexually-charged misunderstanding, was also solid (anything involving Miles usually is). Better is Benjamin Sisko’s reluctance to embrace the mantle of “Emissary”. He doesn’t want to be a religious figure. But will he have a choice?

Finally, I enjoyed this episode’s non-Trek approach to religion. For once, these aspects of the plot resolved down to something with credibility at their core; things that a passing Federation officer can’t simply dismiss with a polite nod. Even if the route cause of the prophecy isn’t supernatural, the show’s warning rings clear: don’t be so quick to write all this stuff off.

One lost opportunity is the ramifications of this all for Kira, and her faith. As nice as the scene with Vedek Yarka and Sisko was at the end, I would have liked to have seen more of Kira processing these events. Perhaps, in a later installment, we’ll see where these revelations take her.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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