Walter “Chekov” Koenig’s son Andrew had a guest appearance in this episode. Andrew Koenig tragically died of a suicide in 2010, and his best known work was a reoccurring role on Growing Pains. That is more or less all I have to say about the actor though he does a fine job with the role her has here.
As for the episode itself, once again Deep Space Nine sets itself up as the most morally complex of the various Trek shows with no easy answers.
Station life seems to be running more or less normally. Kira herself is a bit swamped since there’s a bad drought on Bajor and Quark’s agreement to let a Bajoran musician play in the bar is working too well because the guy’s so good, nobody spends money when he’s playing.
Then a beat up ship comes through the wormhole from the Gamma Quadrant. There are four life signs on board, and when the foursome are beamed over, the group seems a bit disoriented. Their language doesn’t quite translate just yet as it will take the universal translators time to figure out what they are saying. One of the four, a woman, seems to be especially drawn to Kira, more or less ignoring Sisko and further insisting Kira, not Bashir, treat a younger man’s injuries. And yes, the younger man is played by the aforementioned Andrew Koenig.
However, eventually the translators figure things out and the language barrier disappears. The woman is named Haneek. Her people are the Skrreeans. And they need a new home. They were a slave race to another race until someone called “the Dominion” took over. Now the Skrreeans need a new home.
All three million of them.
Now, the episode sets up the Skrreeans as being casually sexist towards men when we learn that the women run the whole society back home because the men are often irrational and prone to rash decisions. That sounds a lot like what a lot of men in the real world say about women, but as things play out, it seems the male Skrreeans are rather emotional and irrational as seen when Haneek’s son seems to overreact to Nog hitting them with a stink bomb. They looked like they were about the murder the young Ferengi twice.
Skrreeans also have really unfortunate skin and tend to shed. But that’s probably more to give Quark something to complain about since these folks don’t seem to have any money to spend.
Point is, they need a new home, and Sisko finds a nearby planet that sounds nice for the farmers the Skrreeans say they are. Class M, good soil, more or less uninhabited. Perfect. However, the Skrreeans have a prophecy about needing to settle somewhere that needs them and Haneek, now a leader for her people, figures that must be Bajor.
Now, to be fair, the Skrreeans don’t want to push the Bajorans out. There’s three million Skrreeans. That’s too much for the station, but nowhere near enough to take over a whole planet. Haneek notes there’s a more or less abandoned continent, and they don’t want any help from the Bajorans. All they want is permission to land and settle things.
And Bajor says “no”.
More does happen from here. Haneek’s son commandeers a busted up ship to go to Bajor anyway. It explodes despite the best efforts of Sisko and Kira to get the Bajorans to, you know, keep the kid alive. Heck, the Bajorans agree when they find out what happened. But the ship explodes anyway because, well, it was that beat up.
So, bottom line, the Skrreans go to the planet Sisko found, Kira tries to make nice with Haneek, who opts to point out as farmers they could have used that continent to fix Bajor’s drought problem…you know, maybe lead with that offer next time…
So, here’s the thing: there were no good answers here. Bajor isn’t really in a good place to take in three million refugees. As much as the Skrreeans insist that if their settlement failed that they wouldn’t ask for more help, that isn’t in the character of the Bajorans to ignore that sort of thing. There’s likewise no guarantee the Skrreeans could do much of anything with the state of that continent given it sounds like the Cardassians made a mess of the place. And while it’s wrong for Haneek to blame Kira for what happened since, you know, she saw Kira was doing the best she could and maybe Sisko’s planet will work out fine, it is an understandable reaction since Kira promised help her government was unwilling to give.
As a viewer, I do appreciate that the show did suggest that any refugee crisis is often a complex issue. There’s also a bit of irony given that Bajorans are themselves inclined towards prophecy and then they are perhaps forced to ignore someone else’s. Kira may end the episode in a dark place (somewhat literally), but I think it helps to know that there probably wasn’t a way for her to fix this problem. Bajor has a lot of problems. The Skrreeans have a lot of problems. And as much as she might want to, she probably can’t fix most of them.
To her credit, she is damn well gonna keep trying.
Besides, there is at least one bigger problem on the horizon since we keep hearing about this Dominion…