Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Resurrection" Has Kira Played By An Unlikely Conman: Bareil!

The Good: Moments of humor, Interesting character presentation
The Bad: Exceptionally predictable, Feels ultimately gratuitous/pointless
The Basics: When the alternate universe version of Bareil appears on Ops, Kira has a second chance at love, despite knowing that the conman she is attracted to is not the religious leader he is on our side!

As Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came back from its ambitious Dominion War arc at the beginning of the sixth season, it began to play with more episodic stories than the usual serialized ones. Even though they would continue to have serialized elements, for several episodes following the initial six-episode arc in the sixth season, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had a stint of decidedly more stand-alone episodes. The first was “Resurrection.”

“Resurrection” saw the return of Bareil Antos. It is worth noting that it is not the return of Vedek Bareil. Vedek Bareil Antos, killed rather gruesomely in “Life Support” (reviewed here!), remains dead even in “Resurrection.” The appearance of Bareil, however, is that of his Mirror Universe persona and this is the least integrated episode of the Deep Space Nine Mirror Universe subplot episodes. That does not make the episode unenjoyable, though it is a much tougher sell episode than most Bareil episodes or Mirror Universe episodes.

While Dax frets about having Kira over for dinner, by suggesting that she bring various personnel or station residents, Kira tries to keep focused on her day. Arriving at Ops, though, they are surprised when someone beams in when there are no ships nearby. Kira is the closest to the transporter pad and she is immediately held hostage by Bareil, a fleeing thief. After she takes Bareil for a walk and disarms him, she suggests to Odo and Sisko that they show him some leniency. He admits to being a thief in the Mirror Universe, but claims to want to reform.

After informing him of the role Vedek Bareil played in the peace process, Kira had Antos Bariel join her for dinner with Dax and Worf. Charmed, Kira begins to see the simple joys in life – time in bed, food, etc. – through his eyes and starts teaching Bareil about the Prophets, despite his resistance to being compared to Vedek Bareil. After he has an Orb experience, Bareil seems prepared to lead a better life, though he is soon joined by an unexpected visitor and Bareil’s agenda becomes clear!

“Resurrection” is a notable example in the Star Trek franchise of “be careful what you wish for.” Far too often in science fiction, plots have little consequences because no one truly seems to ever die in most science fiction or fantasy works. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine tried to change that quite a bit by being gritty, dark and realistic. Unfortunately, Philip Anglim’s Vedek Bareil was such a popular character, many fans wanted to see him again. “Resurrection” was the result and it is a mediocre bottle episode that fulfills that basic fan desire without actually providing anything overly significant to the series as a whole.

That said, “Resurrection” continues the interesting trend of twisting established characters and Vedek Bareil’s alternate is an interesting character in his own right. More energetic and forceful where Vedek Bareil was quiet and reserved, Antos Bareil bursts into the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe with no fanfare and little flare. His arrival is interesting and it is amusing to see Bareil out of breath from all the stairs, making it perfectly plausible that Kira could lay him out. “Resurrection” is immediately disarming (lame pun intended).

In the tradition of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the show is not at all about the guest star. Bareil’s appearance provides the opportunity for character growth for both Kira and, in an unlikely enough fashion, Quark! Quark interacts with Bareil and his exchange with Bareil and ultimate conversation with Kira illustrates just how far Quark’s character has come. Not simply a sleazy information broker, Quark actually helps out in “Resurrection” in a way that takes Kira by surprise.

That interaction also allows the viewer to see how Kira still has some interesting character flaws and blind spots. What Quark is able to divine is intriguing and when he shares it with Kira, her reaction is not one that indicates she entirely believes him. That is a great character note! Instead of simply trusting Quark’s perspective, Kira plods along until she is forced to accept the consequences of not acting sooner. Personally, I like that. It illustrates both a character vulnerability for Kira and character strength; she is not simply characterized in “Resurrection” as a gullible character and just because one con man pulls the wool over her eyes does not mean that every con man can! That’s a decent character exploration.

As with the other Mirror Universe episodes, “Resurrection” affords many of the actors a chance to truly stretch and develop their performances. Philip Anglim’s return is a delightful chance to play Bareil a very different way. While I object to the way the writers characterized Vedek Bareil as very self-controlled, disciplined and other terms that make the liberal religious figure seem ridiculously conservative (which is anything but his passionate, often ironic character), Anglim’s performances were often subtle and sometimes somewhat stiff. In “Resurrection,” he is anything but. From the first moment when he appears hunched over, Anglim is given a more physical and expressive role than he ever was before on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!

As always, Nana Visitor is wonderful in her roles as Kira. She is given the chance to play a somewhat lighter romance than she had opposite Duncan Regehr. The dinner scene gives Visitor, Dorn and Farrell a nice chance to actually appear like they are all having fun while maintaining their characters nicely.

In the end, “Resurrection” feels like a filler episode and like the creative team did not truly get the character they were altering for the Mirror Universe. As a result, Kira comes across sounding like she remembers a very different Vedek Bareil than the one viewers saw. Even so, the episode holds up fairly well as an interlude within the Mirror Universe subplot that provides another chance to cause stress for one of the recurring villains.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Sixth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the penultimate season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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