Did you hear? Keiko's gonna have another baby!A 200 year old Bajoran flies through the wormhole, claiming to be the chosen Emissary. Meanwhile, O'Brien finds out Keiko's pregnant again.
—Quark and Worf
This episode contains examples of:
- A God Am I: When Akorem wakes up in the infirmary, he introduces himself as the Emissary.
- Book Ends: The episode begins with Sisko uncomfortably performing a Bajoran marriage blessing. It ends with him happy to attend a Bajoran girl's birthday party.
- Character Development: This is when Sisko starts to accept his role as Emissary.
- Character Outlives Actor: Georgia Brown, who played Worf's adoptive human mother Helena Rozhenko on TNG, died suddenly in 1992, only months after her last appearance in the season 5 episode "New Ground". In this episode, 4 years afterward, Worf says he'll visit his parents on Earth, suggesting that Helena is still alive in-universe.
- The Chosen One: This episode is all about Sisko finally stepping up and owning his distinction as Emissary of The Prophets. Before, he was uneasy about being a religious icon to the Bajorans and feels relieved when Akorem Laan takes up the mantle, but after he witnesses Akorem's reactionary intentions and their logical progression (namely the event detailed in the Dark Shepherd trope below), he steps up.
- Cutting the Knot: When the tensions finally reach a breaking point after Akorem tries to bring back the d'jarras, Sisko decides to settle the matter by just having the Prophets tell them which one is meant to be the Emissary.
- Dark Shepherd: Vedek Porta turns out to be this when he kills another vedek for having an unclean d'jarra.
- Fantastic Caste System: This episode reveals that Bajor had one of these before the Cardassian Occupation. Akorem tries to bring it back, but the results are less than pleasant until Sisko puts a stop to it. You can see the schism it would cause to Bajoran society immediately: Some Bajorans are enraptured by their new Emissary's mission, while others are disconcerted (like Kira). It's also revealed that not having caste-based discrimination is one of the prerequisites for Federation membership.
- Heel Realization: The Prophets make Akorem realize that he was wrong in calling himself the Emissary.
- Irony: Sisko sums it up to Kira—Starfleet doesn't like the idea of one of its officers being the Emissary, but when Sisko steps down from the role, Starfleet doesn't like the results.
- Oh, Crap!: Worf learns that Keiko is having another baby. His reaction is priceless.
- Prophetic Fallacy: Akorem stakes his claim to being the Emissary on the assumption that being the first to find the wormhole makes him the one the Prophets chose. Being beings that exist outside of linear time, he is only first by the perception of mortals. As the Prophets see it, they found Sisko then grabbed Akorem later to teach Sisko a lesson.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Nana Visitor had become pregnant, thus, the writers started a plotline about a Keiko O'Brien pregnancy. Then, once Nana became visibly pregnant, the in-universe child was implanted into Kira later this season in "Body Parts".
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Worf makes some preemptive plans to be far away from DS9 when the O'Brien's baby #2 is due, remembering how he got entangled in the birth of their first child.Worf: Seven months? Unfortunately, I will be away from the station at that time. Far away. Visiting my parents. On Earth.
- Society Marches On: In-universe; the Bajorans abandoned the d'jarras because of the Cardassian Occupation, and never returned to them because of the length of said occupation. The Prophets even say that the caste system is "of the past".
- Sucksessor: Akorem turns out to be this, forcing Sisko to reclaim the role of Emissary.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Bashir and O'Brien never finish any of the beers they order.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Kira has no idea how she can remember Akorem's poem as being unfinished when it's actually completed. Sisko's response: "The Prophets work in mysterious ways."
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: To the Bajorans who didn't care for the return to the D'jarra castes, Akorem as Emissary could be construed as this.
- Vetinari Job Security: Sisko's worthiness to be the Emissary is confirmed.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Akorem isn't evil, but trying to bring castes back to Bajor is rather like having a man from the 1800's show up in a modern society and insist women's rights be rescinded, or slavery reinstituted.
- What Year Is This?: Sisko asks this of Akorem to determine how long he's been out of linear time.