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Star Trek DS9 - Season 2 - Episode 10

Star Trek DS9 - 2x10 - Sanctuary

Originally Aired: 1993-11-28

Kira is torn when a displaced alien race arrives on Deep Space Nine and claims Bajor as its people's legendary homeland. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.49

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 18 5 12 17 14 17 10 8 11 10 6

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- This is the second episode to mention the Dominion. Haneek claims that the race which conquered hers was conquered by the Dominion. This, however, is minor trivia. And the episode is so annoying that it's worth skipping over this material and missing the trivia in the process.


- This episode establishes that the station can hold 7000 people, according to Odo.

Remarkable Scenes
- The universal translator failing in the beginning.
- Haneek and Kira discussing the horrible dress.
- The Bajoran minister and Vedek carefully explaining their reasons for denying the Skreeans' request to immigrate to Bajor.
- Jake trying to be nice to the Skreeans.
- The Bajorans accidentally killing the Skreean attempting to land on Bajor.
- Haneek's final words with Kira.
- Morn appearances; 1. Watching the Bajoran play music in Quark's bar. He cries to Varani's playing. 2. Window shopping on the promenade. 3. At the bar when Varani plays for the Skreeans.

My Review
I like the beginning of this episode when the universal translator failed. It's nice to see the technology isn't infallible! Their race's language is too different for it! The issue of a group of people wanting to immigrate to Bajor is interesting, but could have been handled better. The Skreeans demanding to immigrate to Bajor despite a major famine on the planet and despite the fact that Draylon II was more than adequate for the Skreean's needs was incredibly obnoxious. I lost all of my sympathy for the Skreeans very quickly when they started getting belligerent and angry that they couldn't live on Bajor. The climax of absurdity is Kira's final scene with Haneek. The way Haneek walks off the station feeling all smug and superior is total madness. The way it's presented, I think the authors of the episode meant to have us feel some moral ambiguity but there is absolutely none. The Skreeans' request was totally unreasonable. The whole episode reminds me of an irrational kindergarten fight over a toy. Skreeans: "We want your planet." Bajorans: "Sorry, we can't give you that." Skreeans: "No, we want your planet." Bajorans: "How about this other planet? It looks like a better match for you guys anyway and you can have the whole thing to yourselves!" Skreeans: "No, we want your planet." Bajorans: "Err... okay yeah we're not doing that." Skreans, indignantly: "Well screw you then!" Astounding.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-06-01 at 2:24am:
    So how exactly does the universal translator work? I realize that it's just an easy way for them to all speak english on the show, but is there any science at all behind it? Does it just immediately interpret the person's language, and then rebroadcast it in english to Sisko or whoever, and also make their lips appear to be moving with the english words??? This is a rare instance of me siding with Star Wars over Star Trek. In Star Wars they simply have the language 'galactic basic'. If you're civilized, you speak it. Much easier to explain.

    This makes me wonder: So every time the romulans speak to someone in the federation, are they really speaking romulan? And when does the universal translator know when to allow it to stay in their own language, like when the Klingons have certain ceremonies in their native tongue. How does it know not to just translate it for everyone else? This, to me, is a ridiculous device that we have to put up with because of the original Star Trek's limited budget. George Lucas learned from Gene Roddenberry's errors on this one. But Star Trek is still waaaaay better than Star Wars :)
  • From JRPoole on 2008-12-10 at 10:23am:
    Ditto the comment above. I've always sort of assumed that the UT rebroadcasts speech in real-time, presumably through the comm badges, a step we thankfully don't have to sit through every time. It's sort of clunky when Haneek begins actually speaking English (whoops, of course I mean Standard) words.

    A decent, if flawed, episode altogether, though.
  • From Bernard on 2010-10-17 at 6:53am:
    I enjoyed an explanation for the universal translator, further explanation will come in episode 'Little Green Men' of course.

    This episodes falls down at the point when the Skreeans lose the viewers sympathy as Eric already pointed out. Otherwise I'm sure it could have scored more highly as, like the last episode, it was fairly original.
  • From Tallifer on 2011-03-19 at 1:45am:
    The most unrealistic part of this story is that they can find an empty, freely available and hospitable planet nearby. With all the countless races and cultures in this quadrant, with all the sexual fecundity of those races, with all the military, commercial or imperial ambitions of these races: how could a perfectly good planet remain unclaimed and unsettled?

    (Which brings us to another perennial problem with Star Trek: the overabundance of habitable worlds.)
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-19 at 2:30pm:
    This comment affects many episodes where Bajor and its situation are discussed, including this one.

    In this episode and many others we are told that Bajor is devastated, its citizens are starving, and so forth. I have been privileged to travel the world and have seen many areas where poverty, starvation, and disease prevail.

    Whenever we see an image of Bajor, we see none of this: We see prosperous, well fed, well dressed, clean, healthy Bajorans in idyllic, beautiful surroundings. The Bajorans who show up on DS9 are similarly prosperous looking. I am left to wonder: Where is all the devastation folks keep talking about? Where are the naked, starving, filthy, diseased children I have seen in places like India, China, Africa, and Latin America?

    It's kind of like the DS9 writers and editors did not have the stomach for it. They did not believe that their viewers could withstand a realistic depiction of a devastated society. Certainly, there is no indication within the frames of DS9 that this is the state of Bajor, at least from what we are allowed to see.
  • From Selador on 2013-01-20 at 4:51pm:
    The scene directly after the one where the terrible famine on Bajor is mentioned we see Skreeans queuing up to use a replicator. Ridiculous.

    This episode also is a good example of why the universal translator is such a flawed idea.
  • From Axel on 2015-06-23 at 11:22pm:
    Some interesting comments on this episode.

    In response to Tallifer, I don't think it's unrealistic for a planet like Draylon II to be available. The Kepler spacecraft recently searched a tiny total portion of the sky for planets. If there were 8 Earth-like candidates found out of 1,000 identified planets and 150,000 stars, that extrapolates out to billions of potentially habitable planets orbiting their stars in this galaxy even by a pessimistic estimate. This is also why I've never been *that* annoyed by Star Trek's "alien of the week" stuff, although it's always nice when they actually develop an alien race over the series.

    As for the Bajorans not being shown living in squalor all the time, I guess I disagree here too. There are quite a few people in places like India and Latin America living in material comfort despite poverty and famine there. Or take post-WW2 Germany. Its cities bombed and in ruins, people broke and often starving, and itself under military occupation. It certainly rebounded quickly, at least in West Germany. Bajor has probably had significant help from the Federation and maybe others in rebuilding, too.

    All that said, the Skrreans were crappy guests/refugees. Haneek probably felt under the gun to find the Kentanna planet for her people, which is understandable. But I like how in the meeting with the Bajorans, Sisko keeps on throwing out Draylon II. The Skrreans *never* come up with a good reason to reject it, and their insistence on Bajor makes no sense at all.

    A decent episode with some nice moments, but that's about it.
  • From Harrison on 2015-07-17 at 8:58pm:
    I'm genuinely surprised the reviews for this episode are so poor. Of course it is easy to dislike the Skreeans -- they were not intended to be completely lovable characters, with their flaky skin, their ingratitude, and their inconvenient needs & beliefs -- doesn't reflect badly at all on the writing or acting, both of which I think are excellent.

    In truth I found the episode refreshing, and pleased that the writers found the courage to depart from the politically correct.
  • From Andy Mu;oz on 2018-08-28 at 8:36pm:
    As Peter said, this is an unusual episode. Me as a non trekkie, this is a weird episode. Showing how a relationship between collegues, not even friends, could meant a lot, a huge lot, becouse you are tied with an idealogy (of justice) instead good or bad, its huge in itself for television.
    And this early in the series. My friend, a trekkie begs me to wait to season 3, but Im already an adept. And this is like that like in a lot of episode from this season. As people told me, Im awaiting for the best to come

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