33. In the Hands of the Prophets (1.20)

Synopsis: Orthodox Bajorans object to secular teachings about the wormhole in the station’s school, causing tensions between fundamentalists and the Starfleet crew.

Memory Alpha Summary: What worries me is how you’re mother is going to take this

Review: All season long there were hints about tension between the Federation and the Bajoran people. It’s all slammed home in a hurry here, as we’re introduced to the wicked Vedek Winn (Louise Fletcher, who makes Nurse Ratched seem sunshine and roses here) and the more amiable Vedek Bareil. It’s the final episode of season one that was needed.

My one problem with the show is the character of Neela, who was introduced just last episode. She’s focused on here as the brilliant apprentice of O’Brien whom he’s attracted to. There’s a plot on the station to harm somebody, and–gee whiz–could Neela possibly be involved? It’s all a bit too transparent, despite the writer’s attempts to hide her.

Bareil’s character is a bit underdeveloped for us to care too much about his fate, other than he’s the main opposition to Winn, whose fate we immediately do care about (because she’s so easy to hate). This will change next season, at least. 

A solid look at how politics and religion can get messy when mixed together, including a great teaching moment by Sisko for his son, who still sees everything as black and white. 

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