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Mike

Great Bajoran Episodes

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We have much to thank the Bajorans for — this spiritually aware, crinkle-nosed species has done a lot for Star Trek. After all, their planet's occupation by Cardassia and the resulting epic-scale plight and re-building formed the basis for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Bajoran characters also almost always have the good fortune of being played by dynamic and distinctive actors — Michelle Forbes, Nana Visitor and Louise Fletcher, among others. The result is a rich, multi-layered species, one of the most well developed in all of Trek-dom. Below is a list of great episodes that prove it.

 

Ensign Ro

The one that started it all. In "Ensign Ro," we are introduced to a fascinating new race, an intriguing new character and a prickly situation that would provide much of the groundwork for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As Ro, Michelle Forbes is instantly mesmerizing, an odd duck of a rebel who can't help but feel confined by the rules-and-regulations-heavy Starfleet. Her story makes for a personal way into the broader canvass of the Bajorans and the Cardassian occupation. That story becomes epic in scope over the course of the hour — it's easy to see why it inspired a whole other series. Our only regret: Ro was only featured in a handful of episodes.

 

Lower Decks

On the surface, this might not seem like a Bajoran episode. Still, we're including if only for the squandered promise of one of its central characters. As Sito Jaxa, Shannon Fill provides an interesting portrait of a Bajoran who's a bit different than the ones we've seen before. We first saw Sito in "The First Duty," wherein she participated in an Academy cover-up with Wesley Crusher. Here, she becomes a more fully-realized character, a young officer desperate for a second chance to prove herself. And she does, holding her own opposite such formidable presences as Picard and Worf. Such potential made her a good candidate for a recurring character, but alas, she's killed off as soon as she's redeemed.

 

Duet

This hour is still recognized as one of DS9's — possibly even one of Trek's — finest, and with good reason. As in "Ensign Ro," individual characters are used to illuminate larger conflicts. In this case, it's Kira versus Cardassian impostor Marritza. We see the hatred present on both sides of the Cardassian/Bajoran conflict, and slowly, both we and our characters realize that shades of gray exist everywhere. Both Nana Visitor and guest star Harris Yulin give outstanding performances and the episode's final chilling scene marks a moment of tragic growth for Kira.

 

In the Hands of the Prophets

DS9's Season One finale does what Trek does best, taking a socially relevant issue and transforming it into a thoughtful sci-fi metaphor. In this case, it's religion vs. science and how that affects what is taught in the modern classroom. In addition, it broadens the scope of the Bajoran storyline, introducing two new key characters (Vedeks Bareil and Winn, played by Phlip Anglim and Louise Fletcher) and setting them up for future political intrigue. This hour also focuses on the co-existence of humans and Bajorans and how it is and isn't working. The growth of Kira and Sisko's relationship is neatly highlighted in the episode's final scene, as both parties stand in for their respective species.

 

The Homecoming/The Circle/The Siege

The trilogy of episodes that opened Season 2 still stands tall as one of DS9's greatest accomplishments, and is perhaps the best series of Bajoran-themed episodes to grace the show. We start out with an epic, war hero type episode that focuses squarely on the charismatic Li Nalas (Richard Beymer). Part 2 is mostly from Kira's perspective and provides a personal insight into the growing conflicts on Bajor. The final chapter is the most action-oriented installment and ties everything together. The trilogy offers fantastic insight into a world in turmoil as it struggles to define itself. It also sets up many threads for future storylines, particularly in regards to the delightfully villainous Vedek Winn.

 

The Collaborator

This is another one that juxtaposes key big picture developments with a more personal story. In this case, the big picture involves the upcoming Kai election and the future of Bajor. The personal side is Kira's romantic relationship with Bareil, the leading candidate. Politics brings out the worst in everyone, particularly Vedek Winn, who conducts her own mud-slinging campaign and manages to enlist Kira in the process. The subsequent investigation into Bareil's occupation-time activities and the truths it uncovers are intriguing, but Kira's relationship with Bareil provides the heart and soul of the episode.

 

Shakaar

The fall-out from Winn's election to Kai-dom becomes apparent here, as she decides to appoint herself First Minister and is therefore pretty much in control of Bajor. As one might expect, some Bajorans aren't exactly delighted by this, and a new resistance movement is born. Chief among the protestors is Shakaar Edon (Duncan Regehr), the leader of Kira's old resistance cell. The ongoing machinations inside the still-young Bajoran government are always intriguing, and it's fun to see our Major back in resistance fighter mode. The episode also proves to be historically important, as Winn nearly incites civil war and Shakaar decides to run for First Minister.

 

Accession

A legendary Bajoran (Akorem Laan) challenges Sisko's claim to the title of Emissary, resulting in further turmoil for Bajor. This is an interesting story both from the point of view of Sisko and the Bajoran people. For Sisko, it means stepping away from a role that he's never been particularly comfortable with. For the Bajorans, it means returning to some of the old ways, such as a caste system that restricts people to certain occupations. The resulting turmoil is fascinating on both sides and raises some interesting questions. What if Bajor's caste system had remained in place? Would Kira really have become an artist? In the end, Sisko is revealed as the true Emissary, and is ready to accept the role for the first time.

 

The Darkness and the Light

In this episode, Kira tracks down a killer who is murdering former members of the Shakaar resistance cell. Said killer turns out to be an embittered Cardassian, and while this might not be the most surprising twist, the episode itself is a nice, tense affair that illustrates how much Kira has grown since her days in the resistance. Complicating matters is the fact that the Major is pregnant, yet insists on conducting the investigation in her usual gung-ho fashion, putting both herself and the O'Briens' soon-to-be-born child at risk. This episode also marks the return of always-welcome guest characters Lupaza (Diane Salinger) and Furel (William Lucking).

 

What You Leave Behind

We're using the DS9 series finale as something of a stand-in for the entire Dominion war arc. Though these final episodes weren't completely focused on Bajorans, they did bring about the end of many Bajoran-themed plotlines that stretched back to the series' early seasons and provided a nice showcase for several of the key players. The pairing of Kai Winn with a disguised Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) is especially ingenious, bringing together two of the show's biggest villains and having them cook up all sorts of nasty obstacles for our heroes. The arc also brings the character of Kira full circle, having her fight side by side with Cardassian Damar (Casey Biggs) for the greater good.

 

StarTrek.com

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The Bajorans were an interesting race since nearly everyone who watched could see a part of themselves, their faith, in them. They also dealt with turbulance, with the battle between the Prophets and the Pah-Wraiths. With the seeming destruction of the wormhole, or when Christians, Jews, or Muslims loose faith, the Bajorans turn to the seemingly evil of Pah-Wraiths, who could be represented by some people's interiptation of Satanism. Then, in Covenant, the deception of the Pah-Wraiths and Dukat was revealed, and the misguided Bajorans found their way to walk with the Prophets.

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I have to agree with this as well. All of these episodes prove that bajorians besides Klingons are a great race that respect and value there culture.

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I respect their culture, there are now some places in the world, that have the princples of Bajorian beliefs. All of those are great Bajorian episodes!

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If there is one common thread that keeps the Bajorans together, it is their spirituality. I lked how Kira was spiritual, yet tough at the same time.

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