(Star Trek - Deep Space Nine episode production code 545)
story by Harry M. Werksman & Gabrielle Stanton
teleplay by story editors David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Here we get a fascinating episode that sees Sisko embracing his
role as the Emissary of the Prophets, and putting in a good
effort to solve some mystical mysteries that pre-date the
lost city of B'Halla that he rediscovered in last year's
All cool. And Kai Winn returns to up the ante
with both superstitious and rigid thinking, although this is
very well handled today and Winn is presented as a balanced
character that anyone can understand and sympathize with.
Only when the mysterious forces of the past take corporeal form
and begin to speak and act does the episode begin to falter
On the surface, the on-screen visuals representing the external
A-plot battle between the prophet(s) and the pagh wraith
Kosst Amogen depict a very one-dimensional polarizing
struggle... and it is a bit sad to see so much effort made
on the part of the production to put such a less-evolved
third density way of viewing the world
on screen as though that is the reality of these creatures.
They should be more complex if they are anything that a
civilization like Bajor should aspire to. And curiously,
it is an off-hand remark by Kai Winn about who Kosst Amogen is
that seems to trigger Sisko's conviction about how this whole
encounter should play out - thus he winds up amplifying her
superstition and making it his own. Have we not lost our
own common sense to believe that simply getting rid of an enemy
will give us paradise for 1000 years? It seems to me that that
very conceit is what produces war and hell.
This is one instance where Roddenberry's Starfleet training
looks like a better template for what to do in this situation.
We see Prophet Aliens becoming aggressive and adversarial,
their unknown grievances spawned on a plane we can barely
comprehend. Apply enough Prime Directive to not take sides in this
dispute, a dispute that should remain internal to the wormhole aliens.
Don't get sucked into their enemy-centered philosophy, much less
mistake it for anything remotely spiritual,
and just police your station to keep order.
The episode "Day of the Dove" from the original series'
third season comes to mind as using similar ideas to produce
what I consider to be a much more spiritually aligned final message.
But the real joy of "The Reckoning" can be found in all the complex
interpretations in the rest of the castmembers. I don't think
any of them have a viewpoint that can be cast as purely good
or evil here, and that richness is sustained right through
the conclusion of the episode. As for the final debate between
Kira and Kai Winn, I have to say I think Kira is a bit off today,
and a little too easily invested in the simplistic polarity
of Prophets vs. Pagh Wraiths. Give a point to Kai Winn
in this episode for seeing a little further, and in fact being
the one to employ the solution that in the end I think is
the best one after all. Hey, there are
third parties standing by during the big pyrotechnic battle
on the promenade, and Kai Winn steps up to the plate,
gives those third parties a voice, and says "Hey you two,
settle down. That's enough of that." Awesome. Good for her.
Just what the Dog Whisperer
would have done. She claimed her space.
But, in retrospect, does this not just postpone the conflict
until late season seven? Well, since we don't believe this
is something that actually can be resolved with battle,
particularly if it is spawned from a non-corporeal arena
and we don't really know definitively how that could be threatened
or what the stakes really were, the conflict would continue
anyway... as it probably does past the end of season seven.
Much mystery is maintained as to what this is really all about,
which is a cool artistic choice.
And so ultimately it is good that Bajor has a Kai as well as
an Emissary. Today, that balance proved critical.