Saturday, September 20, 2014

6-8. Resurrection.

Vedek Bareil's mirror universe counterpart
looks into the Orb of Prophecy.


It's a typical day in Ops... right up until the moment that a transporter activates, beaming a very familiar figure onto the station: the late, lamented Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim)!

This is not the Bareil Kira had been in love with, the man who died making (an ultimately temporary) peace with the Cardassians. This Bareil is from the Mirror Universe, and is a petty thief fleeing across the border between realities in hopes of a better life. Much to Sisko's concern, Kira takes the man under her wing, introducing him to Bajoran religion and culture. She finds the lines increasingly blurry between her Bareil and this very different yet strangely similar, man, and the two soon become lovers.

After Kira shows him the Orb of Prophecy, the Bajoran artifact that allows glimpses of possible futures, Bareil becomes moody and starts lingering outside the Bajoran temple. Kira believes he's just wrestling with his first "Orb experience," but Quark has a very different take on his behavior: A thief, casing the site of his next robbery.

After all, who knows a thief better than another thief?


Capt. Sisko: Given that his last involvement with the Mirror Universe involved the Mirror version of his dead wife, he has a strong understanding of what Kira is going through. "I knew she wasn't my wife. But sometimes she would smile at me a certain way, and then the light would hit her eyes, and it was my Jennifer. At least, that's what I wanted to believe." He is the one member of the crew who can really understand what Kira is going through - which makes it all the more disappointing that he's barely seen again after this. I would at least have liked one scene between Sisko and Bareil, as I suspect a conversation between them would have been interesting.

Major Kira/The Intendant: Nana Visitor is terrific, as usual, and does much to keep this weak script afloat. Kira's confusion, then enthusiasm, over spending time with this alternate Bareil is very clear throughout. Though she sleeps with him, and clearly grows fond of him, there isn't much sense that she is even close to loving him. He's an echo of something precious that she lost three years earlier. Like any foray into the DS9 Mirror Universe, we also get to see the Intendant - but in this case, the episode probably shouldn't have bothered, as this script gives us a flattened cartoon version of this previously multilayered villain. Gone is the sense of danger, that she might turn on a dime from kittenish to murderous. Gone also is the sense of need, the craving to be adored and admired. All that's left is a strutting, purring sex kitten - basically, a more violent version of Jessica Rabbit.

Quark: His work with the Resistance seems to have raised him a bit in Kira's estimation. In previous seasons, had he intimated to Kira that her love interest was planning to rob from the Bajoran temple, she probably would have threatened him and almost certainly would not have taken him seriously. Now she does take him seriously, and her following up on his words is what prevents the temple from being robbed.

Bareil: This episode returns Philip Anglim to the series for the first time since Season Three's Life Support. He does a fair job of playing this very different Bareil, a thief who wears the face of a widely respected holy man. It's a concept that could have been richly mined, had this new Bareil been retained in the recurring cast. Sadly, this is a standalone, so we simply get a standard conflicted scoundrel, though Anglim and Nana Visitor still play well off each other and make a convincing screen couple - which strongly highlights what a weak replacement Shakaar was, even on the rare occasions he was genuinely present.


Resurrection is the first "filler" episode since before the Dominion War started. Save for a quick reference to a lack of Dominion activity, this is unconnected to the larger events of the preceding episode. It's also a Mirror Universe episode, one which attempts to do something different with the concept by having a Mirror character come to the "prime" universe.

Sadly, despite a few bright moments, this is the first Mirror Universe episode that I would describe as a failure, and is easily the weakest episode of what has been to this point an outstanding season.

This cannot be laid at the feet of the actors. The regulars are in good form, and Philip Anglim does a solid job of making the Mirror Bareil just enough like "our" Bareil that we can see how Kira sees her old lover in him, but different enough that we never make the mistake of seeing him as the same character. Levar Burton's direction isn't terribly atmospheric, but it is competent for the demands of the episode.

No, the problem is the script. Having established the concept of the Mirror Bareil coming to our universe, writer Michael Taylor's story fails to do anything to capitalize on it. The first half tries to be a character piece, and has some good moments. I enjoyed the dinner scene with Bareil and Kira joining Worf and Dax. Bareil swipes Worf's sword to prove his prowess as a thief, earning Worf's respect (it was probably a choice between that and killing him, and Dax would have likely disapproved of the latter). The relationship material between the two characters works, in large part because of the chemistry between Anglim and Visitor, and Bareil's discomfort at being recognized as a man he is nothing like works reasonably well, though like too much here it is under-explored.

Then, a little past the halfway point, it turns into a caper comedy. A bad one. There's nothing clever about the caper. Bareil's plan to steal the Orb of Prophecy appears to amount to nothing more than "walk in and take it," with no sign of any real security for him to bypass and no sense of danger whatsoever. He is conflicted after looking into the Orb and seeing his "prime universe" self... but nothing terribly interesting is done with that idea, either.

Had the episode been content to be a character piece, with the new Bareil either adjusting to a life in this universe or having to go back to his own, it might have worked passably well. Had the entire piece been a caper story, with a bit more life and cleverness to the caper, that might also have worked. One could certainly imagine Mirror Bareil pairing with Quark and possibly Garak to make a tidy profit. But by trying to be both, it succeeds as neither.

That's not even mentioning the scene in which the Intendant tries to impersonate Kira, not very convincingly, and the Bajoran guard isn't even slightly suspicious. This episode takes place in the context of a war with shapeshifters, and a member of the station's command staff was already impersonated by a changeling. Upon seeing Kira behaving out of character and unable to provide her security code, surely the guard should have responded in some other way than giving her a neck massage?

I could gloss over that bit of stupidity if the episode itself was good. But in an already weak episode, such a poorly-judged moment stands out all the more.

Overall Rating: 4/10.

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