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Star Trek DS9 - Season 1 - Episode 20

Star Trek DS9 - 1x20 - In The Hands of the Prophets

Originally Aired: 1993-6-20

A Bajoran spiritual leader threatens to destroy the alliance between Bajor and the Federation. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.6

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 1 2 2 2 6 4 22 35 22 10

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This is the first episode to feature Winn, a character who will become increasingly important throughout the series.



Remarkable Scenes
- Keiko appearance.
- Keiko defending herself against Vedek Winn's religious zealotry.
- Vedek Winn stating that she told Kai Opaka that she would do anything to look into the eyes of her gods.
- Jake talking to his father about the parallels between Galileo and the current situation.
- Vedek Bareil: "I'm sorry commander. The Vedek assembly will not see you." Sisko: "Why not?" Vedek Bareil: "Some fear you as the symbol of the Federation they view as godless. Some fear you as the emissary who walked with the prophets. And some fear you because Vedek Winn told them to."
- Sisko's speech about DS9 as a symbol of successful cooperation between the Federation and Bajor.
- Kira: "I envy Vedek Winn because she's a true believer."
- Rules of Acquisition; 7. Keep your ears open.
- Morn appearances; 1. Passes by Keiko and Miles in the first Jumja scene. 2. Passes by Keiko and Miles in the second Jumja scene when the vendor refuses to sell to them. 3. Keiko and Miles walk by him as they leave the uncooperative vendor. 4. In the crowd when the school explodes. 5. In the crowd when Vedek Bareil arrives on the station.

My Review
This is the expected outcome of the premise of this show. The Bajorans are a spiritual people, deeply held in their beliefs. The old Kai was essentially killed earlier in the season, and a replacement is now necessary. Finally, an episode that outlines the political structure of Bajoran society was definitely something that needed to happen. Expectations are of couse satisfied, but as a season finale it leaves much to be desired. DS9 has gotten off to a very slow start. But what this episode lacks in excitement it makes up for in its message. I'm very fond of the religious issue and how it's handled. I like Sisko's conversation with his son about how since the wormhole aliens are indeed powerful supernatural aliens with technology and abilities far beyond the understanding of either the Federation or Bajor that they could easily be interpreted as gods. Or that their abilities to see beyond linear time could easily make them prophets. I like the look on Winn's face when Kira accuses her of attempted murder. The look screams of "damn, my plan failed." She then just walks off in disgust. A fine episode, if not a particularly good season finale. I feel like we should have gotten more stuff like this throughout the first season.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From JRPoole on 2008-12-01 at 11:09am:
    I give this one a 10 because it exemplifies everything that Trek is about. I love the paralells between Winn's scheming and the intelligent design debate, I love Sisko's calm mediation, and I love Keiko's resolve. Vedik Winn's character is great, and the actress (I can't remember her name to save my life) is perfect for the role.

    I like to contrast this one with the TNG episode "The Devil's Due." You see that DS9 is not only grittier than TNG, but it's also a little more nuanced in its approach to science vs. religion. Sisko, while uncomfortable with his role as the Emissary, at least understands the importance of the Bajorans' religion.

    In the end, I think this one actually works pretty well as a season finale. The Winn/Bareil feud, which heats up as the series progresses if memory serves, gets introduced here, and this one sort of functions as a capstone episode for Kira and sets the stage for the political tensions to come. Nice work.
  • From Bernard on 2010-01-19 at 7:08am:
    I was very surprised to see the fan average below 8 for this one.

    Perhaps like the reviewer they were rating it against what they expect of a season finale? I don't find that a particularly balanced way of looking at what is a stand alone episode whether it comes in the middle or at the end of the season.

    I really like this one, Louise Fletcher is brilliant as the scheming Vedek Winn. The main theme, science vs. religion is nicely highlighted and the tension is built nicely throughout. I really like the way they had Major Kira finally 'adjust' to her new life and accept Sisko. That seemed a fitting way to wrap up the season.
    Now I've come to the end of my revisit of season one I feel great optimism based on the content of the final two episodes, without which Season one comes dangerously close to being average.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-18 at 12:42pm:
    To answer the question posed by JRPoole, the actress is Louise Fletcher, best known (aside from her role as Vedic Winn) as Nurse Ratched from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson.
  • From Wes on 2012-11-30 at 5:21pm:
    I was so dissatisfied with the end of the episode as it relates to Winn. Who cares if girl won't admit to being in league with Winn! That has never stopped Odo before. He would be able to get to the bottom of this. It would just take some time. It makes me think to the end of the series and Winn's involvement; it's quite frustrating. If they had stopped Winn now, the series would have ended quite differently. I just hate how evil Winn is. I guess that means she is an excellent villain.
  • From alphabeta on 2013-07-10 at 6:30am:
    Additional Morn sightings; in the middle of the episode during first Odo's/Quark's conversation and then Odo's/O'brien's conversation, Morn can be seen walking by in the background twice, counterclockwise, the 2nd time with what looks like a Jumja stick. Guess he's just out for a snack and a walk around the promenade!

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