Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S02E02 – The Circle

In the second episode of the second season of Deep Space Nine, Sisko tries to juggle Kira’s new position with the delicate and complicated political situation on Bajor. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Trigger Warning: For talk of terrorism.

WELL, I DEFINITELY DID NOT EXPECT A MULTI-EPISODE STORY ARC AT ALL. What the hell, THIS SHOW CONTINUES TO DESTROY ME! It’s so exciting to get to watch this for the first time because of shit like this, and I am certain that many of you have been waiting for AGES to get to this point with me. I find the deliberately complex narrative to be satisfying to watch, and the fact that the writers are giving it more than one episode to unfold makes it all the more pleasing. This isn’t like a lot of the stories we got on The Original Series or The Next Generation. While it still features moral conundrums within the context of the Prime Directive, there’s something grittier about these stories. There’s shady backroom dealings, backstabbing, and some fairly disturbing political maneuvering that’s rarely seen in this fictional universe.



My primary concern going into this episode was all about Kira. I needed to know how the show was going to deal with Kira being…demoted? Promoted? Largely just moved out of the way? I’m more certain than ever that the third option was Minister Jaro’s entire motivation for putting Li Nalas in Kira’s place. Without Kira on DS9, Jaro would have an advantage over the Federation. Yet what I respect most about the script for “The Circle” is that the writers don’t just shuffle Kira off the station and forget about her. After she gets an emotional farewell from her friends (SHE CALLED THEM THAT, THIS IS TOO MUCH), there’s still a story to be told!

Now, do I understand that story? Not quite, but that’s because I don’t get the point of the vision that the Orb gave her. Did it manifest her feelings towards Vedek Bareil? Is that why he hinted at a similar vision that included Kira? Did the Prophets mean to encourage Kira to get involved in the power struggle between the Circle and the provisional government? If that’s the case, might she actually stay down on Bajor for longer than I expected?

I love that I still get to ask these question, and I love that Kira’s future is uncertain. It’s good storytelling because there’s potential for her to grow in a number of directions. BRAVO, Deep Space Nine.


I think it’s pretty amazing that Odo’s plot seemed kind of insignificant until NOPE. IT’S THE KEY TO THE WHOLE TRAGEDY. However, I don’t want this commentary to come off as if I’m ignoring the VERY IMPORTANT development, which is DEPUTY QUARK. I love absolutely everything about this. Everything! I mean, the show writes Odo blackmailing someone to get what he wants. That’s just what he does. THE END. The moral system that these characters abide by is a lot more flexible than I’m used to, and I think that’s why this feels so gritty. No one on The Next Generation would ever dare to do this! However, it works within the context of Deep Space Nine.

I must admit, then, that there’s a much more superficial reason for enjoying this turn of events: I just adore this trope so much. It always entertains me! THEY HATE EACH OTHER but they must work together. FOR SCIENCE.

I’m a mess.

The Circle

Sometimes I wish I could Google safely without the risk of spoiling myself because unlike when I do Mark Reads, I largely have to rely on my memory of the episode in order to write these reviews. I say this because I’d love to be able to find a copy of the script to confirm whether or not the Circle went beyond beating people up in the capital of Bajor. I suppose that ultimately doesn’t matter because I’m just nitpicking. They’re still terrorizing other people in order to gain power for their movement. What’s so upsetting about this is that I don’t think it’s irrational for Bajorans to want to support themselves and represent themselves! After the Cardassian occupation, it makes sense to me that they’d rather not have to deal with yet another group of people interfering in their government.

And yet, the Circle moves insidiously within DS9 and Bajor, instilling terror in others, grabbing power where they can, and betraying anyone who might even slightly stray from their vision. It’s fitting, then, that Minister Jaro later references the very occupiers that he’s imitating. Aren’t the Circle using many of the same tactics that were once used to oppress them? The supreme irony, of course, is that in their attempt to maintain Bajoran independence, they’ve invited the very same enemy back into their life. Odo discovers that the weapons the Circle buys are all from Cardassians, who have a vested interest in the Federation being expelled, all so they can swoop back in and take Bajor back.

But the leaders of the Circle don’t care about that. Their goals are short-sighted. And look, I don’t think this struggle is even about the conflict between the progressive and orthodox factions of Bajor anymore. It can’t be, now that the Cardassians have a stake in this. To make matters worse, Sisko has no recourse. That’s the case with Major Kira in the first half of the episode, since he can’t find a single solution that’ll get her back to him. But once he goes to the Federation for help with the coup and the possible Cardassian invasion, he finds his hands are tied. Technically, this is a case for the Prime Directive. The Federation aren’t allowed to intervene in an internal civil war, remember?

So what the hell is Sisko supposed to do? Let the Cardassians take advantage of the civil war they helped to arm? I don’t know what his endgame is aside from evacuating the station and taking as much Federation tech with him. But given that he knows that it’ll take more than 7 hours to get everything off the station, I imagine the next episode will feature a gnarly confrontation. How can it not?


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

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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