The crew of DS9 rescues a family from their heavily damaged ship after it lumbers through the wormhole, and all are dismayed to discover that the computer’s universal translator cannot parse these aliens’ language. The woman, Haneek, gravitates to a stressed out Kira, who, at Sisko’s urging, takes charge of the refugees. Over time, the translator finally works out their tongue, and we learn that these people are the Skrreea – and that three million other refugees are on the other side of the wormhole searching for their legendary homeland, Kentanna.
As Sisko, Dax, and the others search for a suitable world for the Skrreea to colonize, more Skrreean refugees begin to flood the station, and tensions heighten between the new arrivals and the station’s residents. Haneek, who is appointed leader of the Skrreea by the other matriarchs, in the meantime researches Bajor and comes to the conclusion that Bajor is Kentanna. The Skrreea request that they be allowed to colonize a northern peninsula on Bajor, but the Bajoran government refuses, arguing that their resources are already overburdened. Sisko offers Draylon II as an alternative, but Haneek is deeply displeased with this arrangement – as is her son, Tumak, who commandeers one of the Skrreean ships and tries to fly to Bajor on his own. The ship is damaged, however, and explodes before the Bajoran authorities or the station can make contact with Tumak and tell him to stand down. Haneek terminates her burgeoning friendship with Kira before the Skrreea are resettled on Draylon II.
Overall: 4 – Character assassination? No thanks.
I want very badly to like this episode, as it heavily features Kira, whom I love – but I simply can’t bring myself to do so. For one thing, I can’t forgive the writers for their assassination of Nog and Quark. The Ferengi hold to many distasteful opinions, but I’ve never gotten the impression that they were out-and-out racists. Here, however, both Nog and Quark say some very ugly, deeply unlikable things about the Skrreea, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Moreover, the writers do a poor job generating any sympathy for the refugees; the scenes between Kira and Haneek range from awkward to outrageous (I will explain further in a moment), and Tumak acts more like an ill-behaved nine-year-old than like the teenaged boy he clearly is.
Andrew Koenig needs to unclench. And I feel sorry for Nana Visitor here – I think the dress scene with Haneek comes off so awkwardly because she’s being forced to laugh at dialogue that is just not very funny. Try to fake laughter some time – it’s definitely not easy.
This episode was clearly written by someone with an open-borders ax to grind. I’m sorry, no – no one is entitled to admittance into a sovereign nation. It is nice to welcome immigrants – I certainly support legal immigration here in the U.S. because we are large and, even with the recent economic downturn, relatively prosperous. But expecting Bajor to absorb three million more souls is rather like forcing, say, Iraq to absorb a comparable proportion. The provisional government’s refusal to admit the Skrreea is not a sign that the Bajorans are overly suspicious – it’s an acknowledgement that their infrastructure and society are in shambles. Haneek’s reaction to the decision is profoundly unfair to Kira and, well, extremely ungrateful given the amount of trouble Kira, Sisko and the others go to in order to find the Skrreea a suitable place to live. I get the strong impression that Haneek’s final speech is supposed to be received as a stunning insight, but mainly, I just want to slap her.
SISKO: “It's hard to keep a secret in Ops, especially when you've been shouting at a monitor for the last two days.”
KIRA: “I thought I kept it down to an angry whisper.”
SISKO: “Let's just say that your voice carries.” – Heh. Even tempered Kira is not.
KIRA: “When people hear about how wonderful Varani is, they'll come beating down your door.”
QUARK: “What are you basing that projection on? Bajoran intuition? That and a strip of latinum will get you a couple of spins at the dabo wheel.”
KIRA: “You promised me you will try him out for a month.”
QUARK: “If my projections hold true, in a month I'll be out of business!”
KIRA: (out of patience) “Quark, you are going to do this.”
QUARK: “Why should I?”
KIRA: “Because. I. asked. you. to.”
QUARK: “Maybe he could play something with a little more… bounce to it.”
KIRA: (verbal eye-roll) “Bounce?”
QUARK: “For a change of pace.” – LOL!
SISKO: “Ah, Major. Get everything settled with Quark?”
KIRA: “That little toad is this far from doing a three sixty out an airlock.”
SISKO: (amused) “I'm glad to hear everything went okay.” – I think a stress management program might be in order for Kira. :)
JAKE: “It was no big deal.”
NOG: “You go out on a date with a dabo girl for the first time and you sit there and tell me it was no big deal?”
JAKE: “It's wasn't really a date.”
NOG: “Does your father know you went out with her?”
JAKE: “Not exactly.”
NOG: “He doesn't?”
JAKE: “I told him I had to help someone with their homework.”
NOG: “Good thinking. Too bad I won't ever be able to use that lie. My dad knows I never do homework.”
JAKE: “It's not a lie, Nog. Mardah's studying entomology. She asked me to help her out.”
NOG: “A dabo girl who studies entomology? Sure.”
JAKE: “It's true.”
NOG: “What is entomology?”
JAKE: “The study of bugs.”
NOG: “Ah, so she wants to be a chef!” – LOL! Throw away line!