It’s an important time for Bajor as the election of a new Kai approaches. Vedek Bareil is the clear favourite, but that doesn’t mean that Vedek Winn has given up – and the arrival of a former collaborator from the Cardassian Occupation might just provide her with the dirt she needs to sabotage her rival’s chances.
I remember being really emotionally invested in this episode the first time I saw it. Bareil was clearly the good guy, and the right choice for spiritual leader of Bajor, so the fact that he had to sacrifice his own chances to protect the memory of Kai Opaka was a real tragedy. Bareil was going to save Bajor, but instead they got Winn, who, as we knew from previous appearances, was a manipulative bitch.
On rewatch, I am an older and more sophisticated being. I still enjoyed this episode, but with the caveat that it is a bit overdone. Winn is almost Cruella de Vil in her levels of villainy – certainly you could imagine her skinning puppies just for the fun of it, and then claiming it was all the will of the Prophets. Bareil is less wooden than before, and his close moments with Kira are decent enough as eye candy, but he still fails to put real emotion into his words. This is a man who gives up not only his own dreams, but also damages the future prospects of Bajor, but if he’s feeling the pain of it all, he does a good job in not showing it. Is it just the inner serenity of regular meditation?
- If Bareil was clearly not guilty because he was on a spiritual retreat, does that mean he never visited Bek on Terok Nor? I wasn’t clear on this point – sure, he could have been lying, but does that mean Kubus was lying too
- Was there no way Opaka and her son could have worked together to trick the Cardassians into thinking they had destroyed the resistance cell? Maybe Opaka was too desperate and short of time to do anything other than betray them.
- Quark is skilled enough to hack into the sealed records of the Bajoran Vedek Assembly.
- When Kira admits to Odo that she loves Bareil, Odo’s hastily covered up shock and disappointment is our first hint that, despite all his scorn for romance, he has feelings for Kira.
Summary – The Collaborator: Bareil didn’t do it.