The Good: Plot, Character, Acting
The Bad: Some technical implausibilities
The Basics: Part of the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, there's a lot to enjoy in "The Homecoming," a character-driven, action packed, politically intriguing episode.
Opening the second season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Quark makes "The Homecoming" feel like a homecoming to the fan of the series. When a show has ratings like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did its first season it has a dangerous possibility of being retooled. And the moment Quark spouts out his first Rule of Acquisition for the season, we know that it hasn't been.
Quark acquires an earring by a legendary Bajoran freedom fighter and, upon presenting it to Kira,the Major becomes convinced that Li Nalas is still alive. Managing to convince Sisko, who is being plagued by an extremist Bajoran faction called "The Circle" bent on evicting the Federation, O'Brien and Kira head to one of Cardassia's moons to find Li Nalas.
The episode introduces Minister Jaro (played by famed actor Frank Langella), a slick member of the Bajoran Provisional Government and a politician in every sense of the word. Jaro immediately leaps upon the discovery of Li Nalas for his own political agenda and even personally forgives Kira for her political misconduct throughout the episode.
The characters are interesting, but the episode has the feel of being a first part. That is, by the second act the attentive viewer knows that this is not going to be resolved by the end of the episode. It's a nice change from the cliffhanger season enders of Star Trek The Next Generation.
One of the bothersome things is the implausibility of certain action-oriented events. During the jailbreak (yes, Li Nalas is, in fact, alive), things go a little too smoothly. That and the idea that a Runabout would be able to outrun a Cardassian warship seems incongruent with other episodes.
In addition to a strong supporting cast, "The Homecoming" gives the chance for some of the regulars to truly stretch their acting muscles. Colm Meany has a wonderfully understated role in the episode as his character, O'Brien, tries to aid Major Kira. Meany emotes heavily with his cheerful smile and the contrast between that in one scene and his quiet, serious demeanor in the subsequent scenes vividly creates his character.
The real gem of the episode is Nana Visitor as Major Kira. Visitor is strong-willed and determined throughout the episode and maintaining that is an impressive feat that she seems fully up for. The demands of Kira's character in this episode are achieved by Visitor, suggesting to those watching the show that there is nothing this actress cannot be asked to do.
It's a good first part and watching this arc in one sitting makes for a nice movie. It is followed up by "The Circle."
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season by clicking here!
For other works with Frank Langella, be sure to visit my reviews of:
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© 2011, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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