The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Destiny

In the wake of the new Bajoran-Cardassian peace treaty, two Cardassian scientists come to the station to assist on a scientific mission to enable subspace communications through the wormhole. But when a Bajoran Vedek arrives to warn that these events will trigger the catastrophic events predicted by a Bajoran Orb prophecy, Sisko finds himself caught between science and the religion that considers him its Emissary.

In terms of story, Destiny seems like a standard instantiation of an age old plot device. Sceptic is warned of dire prediction, sceptic pooh-poohs prediction, prediction seems to be coming true, more religious-leaning character starts believing prediction – and then everything works out according to the prophecy, but turns out to not be doom and gloom after all. So in that sense, this is a textbook episode – reasonably entertaining, but nothing amazing.

On the other hand, Destiny also marks an important turning point, and one which is only really noticeable during a rewatch. So far, Sisko’s status as the Emissary has been fairly minor, whilst Kira’s thoughts on having to work for an icon of her religion have never been explored. This is the first time that we touch on what it’s like for both of them – for Sisko, a man raised in a secular, scientific society, now thrust unwillingly into the role of a religious figure; and for Kira, who knows and respects Sisko the man, but also values her religion, and his place in it. By the end of DS9, the Emissary theme will be hammered home so hard that it’s hard to forget that it took a backseat for the first two and a half seasons.

Cardassian fact file

  • Cardassians flirt by being prickly and argumentative towards the object of their desire.
  • Cardassian women dominate the sciences, because of long-held stereotypes that men just don’t have the same quality of logical mind as women.

Other points

  • Back in Emissary, the Prophets said it was painful to them when the wormhole was opened, because it exposed them to linear time. Obviously this fact was conveniently forgotten from episode two onwards, but it’s worth mentioning again now that the wormhole is permanently wedged open a tiny crack. It’s like the Prophets now have a draught constantly blowing through their house, and that can’t be comfortable.
  • Starfleet computing requirements demand two backups, but even that doesn’t seem to help reduce the number of general computing malfunctions.
  • Ulani and Gilora claim to hate Cardassian cuisine – is it really that uniform? Imagine hating all Earth cuisine – fine French cookery, delicious Italian dishes, curries, Asian food, to name but a few of the most popular.
  • Dax seems to enjoy Cardassian literature, whereas Bashir has previously not gotten on with any of Garak’s literary recommendations.

Summary – Destiny: Character actor Erick Avari appears as a prophecy-obsessed Vedek.

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