Past Prologue (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 3) A renegade seeking asylum tests Kira’s loyalties; Garak befriends Bashir

Rewatching ST:DS9

The pilot of a Bajoran ship under Cardassian fire requests asylum. Tahna is a former resistance colleague of Kira’s. Kira sees Sisko’s level-headed reaction as a sign of weakness, and on her own she works with Bajor to secure amnesty for her former comrade.

A camouflaged Odo observes a clandestine meeting between Tahna and the Klingon sisters Lursa and B’Etor.  The suspiciously charming Cardassian merchant Garak arranges to have Bashir overhear details about their conspiracy. 

Sisko, not sure of Kira’s loyalty, keeps his cards close to his chest — a decision the script seems to endorse (because Tahna seems to be stoking her resistance-era values). But after a nudge from Odo, Sisko and Kira pool their knowledge and start working as a team.

The script heaps on the “palace intrigue” tropes, such as overheard conspiracies, misdirection and subterfuge. That’s a nice change from TNG plots that hinge on a character waving a tricorder and giving the computer the right order. 

Although there’s no room in this episode for Jake or Quark, and Dax and O’Brien mostly just push buttons, the script delivers layered intrigue, plus space laser pew-pew and a close-quarters fistfight, all in the service of an intelligent plot.

Quibbles:

  • Including the Klingons seems like a ploy to attract TNG audiences — but the sisters aren’t overused and they serve the story well.
  • Sisko seems a bit too perfect; there’s no sign of last week’s grief-tortured cynic.

Overall, though, this first regular episode does a good job introducing Sisko and Kira as a team in the context of factional tensions that drive the major themes of the series.