The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Accession

When Bajoran poet Akorem Laan emerges from the wormhole 200 years after he went missing, he believes that he must be the Emissary of the Prophets. Having never been comfortable with the role, Sisko is only too happy to turn the title of Emissary over to Akorem – but when the new Emissary starts instigating sweeping reforms to Bajoran society, Sisko begins to question the wisdom of stepping aside. Meanwhile, O’Brien’s bachelor days with Bashir are over when Keiko returns to the station – with an announcement that a new baby O’Brien is on the way.

In other circumstances, a story where two people are both potentially a messiah could be quite a long and involved story. There would be rifts and schisms, with different factions forming behind each one. Since this is DS9 and we only have 42 minutes to tell the story, what we get is a far simpler tale. It’s the old “person hates their role, person willingly gives it up to someone else, new incumbent makes a mess of the role, person has to take back that role, with new appreciation of what it means”. Even though we only see it impinge on his life in episodes like this where the plot demands it, Sisko has never been comfortable with being the Emissary, but when he sees the damage Akorem is doing to Bajoran society, he has no choice but to step in.

Who is the real Emissary?

  • Back in Emissary, the Prophets seemed unaware and unconcerned with the universe outside the wormhole. Here, they go to some effort to make Sisko accept being their Emissary, and even refer to themselves as “of Bajor”. It’s unclear whether they mean that they once originated from Bajor, or that they consider their fate interwined with that of the planet. In Emissary, they certainly didn’t care.
  • In this episode, Sisko seems fed up with having to give blessings and such to Bajorans, but it’s not like we see this happening all the time. I guess we as viewers might get a bit fed up if it was shoved in our face every week.
  • Is everyone on Bajor really so obedient that they would go back to the caste system without a word of protest?
  • O’Brien is disappointed that it only took one night with Keiko to conceive their second child. This is a tiresome stereotype based on the idea that women don’t like sex that much, and besides, is sex purely for the purpose of conceiving really so great? It sounds rather functional and not very spontaneous to me.
  • O’Brien and Keiko’s child will ultimately be carried to term by Kira, allowing Nana Visitor’s pregnancy to be written into the show.
  • Kira’s d’jarra is to be an artist, which seems to follow on from her mother being an icon painter (her father was a farmer). Of course, by the time Kira’s parents were born, the d’jarra system may have already been in decline due to the Occupation, although icon painter does sound like a peacetime role. It remains unclear whether, in general, a Bajoran’s djarra and/or family name is inherited from their mother or father. Or perhaps there are some complicated rules of precedence.
  • The Bajoran calendar is well into its tenth millennium – as we already knew, they are an ancient people whose civilisation predates that of Earth.
  • Akorem leaves the wormhole in a solar sailing ship of the same design as the one Sisko built in Explorers.
  • Kira reports to Sisko on the adoption of the four shift rotation pattern she initially suggested to him in Starship Down.

Summary – Accession: Sisko accepts being the Emissary, and O’Brien has to tone down his bromance with Bashir.

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