Picking up where s2e1 “The Homecoming” left off, Jaro describes Kira’s reassignment as a promotion, and suggests Li will be safer on DS9. Sisko is wary on both counts.
Jake finds the sign of The Circle (xenophobic Bajoran extremists) on the door to the Sisko quarters.
In a tense scene that gradually turns comic, Odo confronts Kira as she is packing. In short order, Dax, Bashir, O’Brien and then Quark pile into her cabin, each with their own agenda. Bashir doesn’t understand Odo’s snark, O’Brien is totally overwhelmed, Quark thinks he’s joining a party, and when Vedek Bareil arrives, Kira introduces the crowd by saying “These are my… these are my friends.”
As Li settles in, Kira greets him cordially, then heads to Bareil’s monastery, where she has trouble relaxing. During an encounter with an orb, Kira has a vision of Dax in monastic robes, who then turns into Winn, who asks “Can you hear them now, child?” Still in Kira’s vision, Jaro says that he can hear “them,” but Bareil (wearing a militia uniform) tells Kira not to listen to Jaro. Kira sees herself naked (presumably — we just see her shoulders) as Winn accuses her of blasphemy. The vision takes on another potential meaning when another Bareil appears in a less-than-clad state.
Odo receives an update about extremist xenophobic activity on Bajor, and Quark concludes the provisional government is doomed, because the xenophobic rebels are being supplied by offworld traders. Is Odo comforting Quark, or protecting a valuable connection to the underworld (or both)? For whatever reason, Odo offers him the choice of serving as his deputy, or sitting in a cell. “I’m a deputy,” Quark says, as surprised as the rest of us.
Bareil seems embarrassed to admit that Kira was in his most recent orb vision. Equally embarrassed, Kira denies that he appeared in hers. They hear distant rumbling that she recognizes as gunfire. Winn suggests that Bareil should have consulted the Assembly before letting Kira use the orb, and sweetly, sweetly tells her to “feel free to say as many days as you like; even a week.” (This line has stayed fresh in my memory 30 years after I saw this episode — though I had imagined Winn was talking to Sisko,)
Sisko visits General Krim to discuss his apparently less-than-effective reaction to The Circle, and passes along Quark’s rumor that the Kressari are supplying the rebels. Sisko then asks Krim to help him get Kira reassigned to DS9. Krim notes that Sisko offered the advice first, then asked for help second. “I’ll remember that about you,” he says, impressed.
On DS9, Dax, Li and O’Brien have delayed a Kressari freighter as long as possible, and set in motion a plan to rat them out, thanks to Odo’s talents.
Sisko visits the monastery to check in with Kira, who says she can’t meditate, but still feels isolated from the coup that’s rising around her. Immediately after Sisko leaves, bad guys abduct Kira, and take her to an underground bunker, where she finds a familiar face. “I am The Circle,” gloats Minister Jaro (some dozen years before, in a galaxy far, far away, another two-faced insurrectionist would deliver a similar line).
Quark supplies Sisko with the location of The Circle’s base, and Li talks his way into joining the rescue party.
Much pew is pewed, and Kira is soon back on the station. Odo has produced evidence Sisko believes will end Jaro’s influence on Bajor, but the rebels have taken down the communications link, and there’s no way to contact the ministers.
On Bajor, we see Jaro promising to name Winn as the next Kai, as the two look out a window and scheme to rule the planet. If this were a musical, here’s where they’d sing a showstopping evil duet that’s a minor key variation on Kira and Bariel’s love theme (and which features an extended four-way tango sequence).
Sisko receives orders from Starfleet to withdraw from the station, and immediately plans to evacuate the civilians; but he hints that not all the Federation staff will be finished evacuating by the time the rebels arrive.
“To Be Continued“