Actor John Doman has a small role in this episode. It’s an important one, but I was a little thrown off when I saw the guy. I thought to myself, “Hey, you were on The Wire! I wasn’t expecting to see you on any Star Trek!” But then I remembered I have seen him quite a bit on Gotham, and in the past on both House of Cards and The Boys, so clearly this man is a working actor who takes what work he can get and does the best he can with whatever the material is. And that’s rather awesome. No complaints from me. More like, every time I see him, I think of The Wire.
But here, he’s a Bajoran military officer and former resistance leader.
When last I saw Kai Winn, I was quietly impressed. She was trying to finish up some negotiations with the Cardassians that Vedek Bareil had started, but he was gravely injured and stayed alive, with help from the latest in 24th century medicine, just long enough to give Winn the tips she needed to finish everything off on her own. I noted at the time that Winn, for once, was not being an overly awful person and was, in fact, doing right by her own people, not trying to grab the spotlight, and likewise making sure Bareil wasn’t suffering too much in the grand scheme of things. Both Bashir and Kira accused her of doing wrong by Bareil, but I think there was enough evidence on display to suggest Winn’s reputation was hurting her that time unfairly. That time.
Now she’s back, and she’s back to her old behaviors.
Apparently, Winn has been spending her time since her last appearance taking a lot of credit for that Cardassian treaty, conveniently ignoring the fact Bareil did most of the work first. Kira isn’t happy about that as she is still in mourning for Bareil. However, two things happen that will put an end to that. First, the First Minister of the Bajoran Provisional Government dies suddenly, and Winn takes the position on at least temporarily. She intends to run for the seat herself when the next election comes along, but she’s holding the position now on a temporary basis. She’s popular with the majority of the population who don’t know her as well as the cast of the show does.
Second, Winn asks Kira for a favor. Kira’s old resistance commander, Shakaar, is a farmer now, and he has some soil reclamators he was supposed to return. Would Kira go see her old comrade and get them back? The things are really needed in another Bajoran Province. Kira agrees for the greater good of Bajor.
I think by now I would understand that Winn is not the most trustworthy of people, and she’s not going to play fair. Kira gets down there, meets up with other members of her old cell, including one man who lost an arm and decided for spiritual reasons not to get a new one, and apparently, these folks haven’t had the reclamators as long as they were promised, and they still have a lot to do. Kira thinks she can act as a go-between to negotiate a compromise between Shakaar and Winn, and maybe she could if Winn didn’t decide to just have Shakaar arrested for defiance.
Funny thing about resistance leaders: they know how to hide very well. Kira and her old comrades all join Shakaar and hide out in the mountains for, we’re told, weeks if not months. Winn even asks Sisko for Federation help in tracking them down before she sends in the Bajoran militia. Sisko politely declines, siting the Prime Directive. But the scene there, showing Winn at her wit’s end, once again shows she may desire power, but she’s not very good at handling it one way or another. The whole thing is embarrassing.
It gets worse when the militia she sends is led by Colonel Lenaris (that would be John Doman), and he, Shakaar, and Kira all more or less know each other. Turns out Lenaris isn’t interested in attacking other former resistance leaders, and the feeling is mutual. Shakaar then goes with Kira and Lenaris back to Winn, basically to say Shakaar will run for First Minister, and given his record, he’ll win, Winn will lose, but at least she’ll still be Kai.
That’s some good wrangling. The episode demonstrates three things I already knew about Kai Winn: she plays Bajoran spirituality like a harp without seeming to mean it, she’s ambitious, and she’s not really cut out for all the power she wants. It’s kinda nice to see her lose.
Speaking of losing, the B-plot had O’Brien on a big winning streak at darts, with Quark leveling 15 to 1 odds at one point, even cautioning the Chief to avoid the kayaking in the holosuite in case he hurts his shoulder and finds himself out of “the zone”. Then the Chief tears a rotator cuff or something reaching for a drink Quark brought him in the middle of a match, bad enough that Bashir says he’ll need a whole new shoulder that Bashir can apparently fix overnight. Quark loses money, but O’Brien seems to be fine with his time “in the zone” coming to an end. It’s fun, but the way the Chief hurt himself sure did seem…unlikely.