I’ve seen many sides to Captain Benjamin Sisko over my time watching this show, but I have to say, I think religious fanatic Sisko is my least favorite Sisko.
To be fair, I don’t think Sisko is an actual religious fanatic in this episode. It’s just the closest I can come to describing what happens to him in this particular episode. The Cardassians returned a Bajoran artifact, one that supposedly points towards a lost Bajoran city, and Sisko likes a good puzzle. He has a little bit of time to look the thing over, and he finds a clue in the form of a reflection in some glass. That leads to a recreation in one of Quark’s holosuite’s, and that somehow leads to Sisko’s getting electrocuted.
Oh, one small episode highlight may have been Quark, under arrest by Odo for negligence, says he needed Rom to fix the problem, and since O’Brien had Rom working on other things that any technician could do but only Rom could fix the holosuite, it was really O’Brien’s fault this all happened. Then again, that’s more attention than Odo or O’Brien get in this whole episode, so draw your own conclusions.
OK, but, good news: Sisko soon wakes up. But he’s not quite the same. He suddenly has some insight into things about Bajor, the lost city, and the like. He is the Emissary, whether he likes it or not, but he seems to really take to the role here. Bajor is about to join the Federation, and that should be good news. Plus, Kasidy is back from her time in the penal system. Sisko should be glad to see her. He is, but he also seems distracted, and somehow I don’t think her idea of a nice reunion is to go off and find a lost city. True, it got him out of the holosuite, but it does seem as if the worst thing that could happen is what did happen: he found the lost city.
Apparently, Sisko is having visions, and he’s getting a bit fanatical about them. Like, he has to keep experiencing them, and given how spiritual the Bajorans are, they seem inclined to encourage them. Kai Winn is back on the station to see that more of that sort of thing happens. Bajorans are consulting him. And when it comes out that there’s something not-quite-right about Sisko’s brain, something that Bashir can fix if the Captain will just give him the go-ahead, Sisko declines to Winn’s general approval.
The whole thing is a bit fascinating in how it plays out with the crew. Dax thinks relying on faith is not a good idea, but she’s a rationalist science officer. Worf actually thinks faith is what leads people to their best ends sometimes and it’s important. Kira approves of Worf’s line of thinking, and Worf explained once the Klingons murdered their own gods, so he definitely has a different idea on “faith” than most.
Winn, meanwhile, says faith is the one thing that kept her going during her five years in a Cardassian prison camp. It’s useful to remember Winn is not a straight-up villain sometimes.
Sisko’s search to see, well, everything, involves a little trip (with Winn’s help) to consult the Orb of Prophecy, and then a prediction that locusts would devour Bajor if they joined the Federation at that moment. That came out at the signing ceremony just before Sisko passed out and nearly died. The Bajorans declined to join the Federation (for now) and Jake had to sign off on Bashir’s treatment. Sisko is going to live, but he’s not happy that he didn’t see whatever it was he was looking for. He’ll have to make due with having Jake and Kasidy in his life.
Though that locust thing…that might be something I’ll need to remember later.