Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S04E17 – Accession

In the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Deep Space Nine, THIS SHOW CONTINUES TO BE AWESOME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 


The O’Briens

It would have been so easy to shove this plot into a more cruel sense of dramatics, but I appreciate that the conflict between Keiko and Miles ends as it does: with both characters understanding that their lives are about to get more complicated. At the same time, there’s a direct acknowledgement that Keiko’s return means everything is awkward! O’Brien has to change his daily schedule because he no longer lives by himself. Even that isn’t as it was before; Molly is older, and she’s just spent a long stretch of time with only her mother. It’s not that she loves Miles less, but she’s most likely not used to him being around either.

Oh, and KEIKO IS HAVING ANOTHER CHILD. !!!!!!!! HI HELLO ANOTHER BABY, THIS IS SO VERY EXCITING, please name him after me THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. We see how this news causes Miles anxiety, but thankfully, “Accession” never pushes these characters too far. I prefer the subtlety, especially when the main plot is so much more ridiculous and dramatic. (That’s a good thing.) O’Brien ponders his evenings without Julian and knows it’s only going to become harder to have social events outside of raising a second child. Yet the writers don’t do that thing where they portray the woman as being unreasonable and cruel, and I was super worried they were going to. But she’s busy, too! She has her own job to work on, so there’s no reason why Miles can’t enjoy the free time he does have.

Also, I want Molly to destroy Julian in darts by the end of the show.

The Emissary

I just love SO MUCH that the Bajoran religion plays a huge part in Deep Space Nine. It’s hard to describe this episode outside the context of what’s come before it, and I adore that. Sisko’s role as the Emissary has been awkward at best, but he’s begrudgingly accepted that he’s a religious figure in a religion he doesn’t believe in. I don’t think “Accession” pushes him towards believing in the prophecies; indeed, he sticks to his scientific interpretation more than anything else.

Yet I believe that “Accesssion” is a sign that he’s ready to accept that he’s meaningful to other people. It’s through the arrival of Akorem that he discovers this, and WHAT A TRIP THAT IS. A second Emissary floats out of the wormhole, after having been trapped there for TWO HUNDRED YEARS, and he brings with him a message from the Prophets. Apparently, his story fulfills the prophecy of the Emissary, and technically, it appears to be true. Akorem did discover the wormhole before Sisko did; his life was also literally saved. Sisko is more than willing to step aside, and I completely understood why that was the case. He’s never felt like he belonged, and there was always an obvious reason for that. He isn’t Bajoran! How can he be a major figure in another culture’s religion, especially one he doesn’t subscribe to?

However, upon ceding power to Akorem and allowing him to become the Emissary, EVERYTHING BECOMES A GIANT, SCARY MESS. MY GOD, I now can’t believe I didn’t see it coming. Akorem was from – for lack of a better term – a simpler time. And I know that’s often a really bogus way to describe history because any period of history isn’t simple. Life isn’t simple! Yet compared to the post-occupation world, Bajor was far more organized than in its current state. Thus, Akorem sees this as his mission, his way to bring Bajor back to peace and in line with the prophets. Now, I admit that there never seemed to be a mention of the caste system prior to this episode, so it’s a bit forced into the mythology of Bajor. Still, I saw it as yet another manifestation of the conservatism we’ve seen from the Bajoran people in the past. Certainly, we’ve seen this happen in our own world. As a country or society pitches further into chaos, people latch on to promises of stability and certainty. Thus, the caste system seems promising to those who desire more order.

It’s frightening to watch how quickly some people fall right back into this, though. For some, the caste assures status and prestige, like for Kira, who is compelled to resign and join her proper place as one of the artists on Bajor, despite not having any inclination towards art of any kind. For others, though, it’ll mean giving up everything to exist in a state lower than others. Nothing demonstrates the shifting power dynamics quite like Vedek Porta SHOVING A MAN OFF THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE PROMENADE AND KILLING HIM BECAUSE HE WAS A LOWER CASTE THAN HIM. Porta speaks of the murder as if it is sensible and expected of him, and many who watched him do it don’t seem all that bothered by the act.

And to Sisko, it’s about as wrong as Akorem can be. IT IS THE MOST WRONG. In that sense, Sisko is perfect as the Emissary. He understood that dire state that the Bajorans were in, but he’s also constantly aware of the position he’s in. He’s not Bajoran, and he doesn’t seek to be in power, either. He can recognize when something is wrong, and he fights to right it, yet it’s out of a greater moral sense than something selfish. He doesn’t go to the wormhole for himself! He goes there to find out if the wormhole aliens really did tell this man to bring back the castes to Bajor.

I LOVE THE WORMHOLE SEQUENCE SO MUCH. IT IS SO WEIRD AND STIFF AND MYSTICAL ALL AT ONCE. However, it also establishes the Akorem exists to help Sisko, not the other way around. The Prophets knew what they were doing when they chose him, and I love that Sisko can still exist in a role where he’s a role model, a guide, and yet he still gets to be a Starfleet officer with his own life.

The video for “Accession” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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