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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 02 E 24 The Collaborator

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The elections for Kai are just around the corner, but you'd never know that by the way the frontrunner Vedek Bareil is behaving: spending all his free time banging Kira. But Vedek Winn isn't taking the looming election lying down. The slimy Bajoran is back on the station and obviously up to no good.

As Kira and Winn trade accusations and not-so-veiled contempt, an old Bajoran wandering through the station gets recognized as Kubus Oak, an infamous Cardassian collaborator back during the occupation. He's spent the last few years hiding on Cardassia but has decided to return home. Big mistake. A burgeoning lynch mob of Bajorans surrounds the man before Odo steps in and places him under arrest. As he's dragged off, Kubus catches the eye of a nearby Vedek Winn.

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Locked inside a cell, Kubus tries defending his actions, claiming the situation on Bajor would have been even worse without the collaborators. He also pleads his age, claiming there's no harm in letting an old man live his final years on his home world. That's when Kira comes in, reminding him of the countless death warrants he signed while in power. She also notes that he was officially banished by the free Bajoran government years ago, so the matter isn't even up for debate.

Vedek Winn meanwhile is up to her passive-aggressive schemes. She tries to cajole Sisko into a joint appearance in front of the Vedek Assembly, but Sisko calls out her ploy to make it seem like she's got an endorsement from the Emissary. With that scheme squashed, she's onto another one: granting sanctuary to Kubus Oak.

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An outraged Kira investigates and discovers that Winn spent ten minutes talking with Kubus before accessing something on Odo's console. That something was information on the Kendra Valley Massacre, which resulted when a collaborator named Prylar Bek sold out 43 Bajoran resistance members, including the son of Kai Opaka.

Privately, Winn reveals her reasons. She claims that the real traitor was not Prylar Bek as previously thought. Kubus gave her the name of the real collaborator, and it's Vedek Bareil. Kira naturally doesn't buy a word of this. Between a traitor like Kubus and a snake like Winn, she has little reason to. Winn and Kira two strike a tentative deal: Kira will investigate these claims, and Winn will await her findings.

Questioning Kubus in the cargo bay, he claims Bek was just a simple messenger between the Cardassians and the Vedek Assembly. In the time leading up the massacre, Bek became panicked and erratic while in constant communication with a then-unknown source within the Assembly. The day after the massacre, Vedek Bareil visited Bek for several hours, during which time Kubus could hear shouting coming from Bek's quarters. Bek hanged himself on the Promenade shortly thereafter. Based on this, Kubus believes that Bek wanted to confess his betrayal, but Bareil forbid him to do so, which led to his suicide, a theory Kira regards as incredible.

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Kira insists there could be any number of explanations for this, and Winn tells her it's her job to find out. Kira contacts Bareil, who admits coming to the station to meet with Bek on the day in question. While he denies any involvement in the massacre and seems sure Winn will not be able to prove anything, Bareil cannot reveal what he and Bek talked about due to confidentiality between monks and their Vedeks.

Kira tries going for the Cardassians' logs next, but the communications between them and the Bajorans were wiped during the withdrawal. Odo accesses the Bajoran Central Archives for any more info and discovers that the records between Prylar Bek and the Assembly for the week prior to the Kendra Valley Massacre have been sealed. The security seal could only come from a Vedek.

When there's illegal data to obtain, there's only one person to go to: Quark. The Ferengi rather reluctantly assists the two of them, but the file has been blanked. With some assistance from O'Brien next, Kira eventually obtains residual data from a retinal scan. This is pay-dirt. Piecing it together, the eraser of the logs is revealed: Vedek Bareil.

It's time to confront Bareil over this. With as much reluctance as can be expected, Bareil comes clean and reveals why he sold the resistance out. It was either sacrifice 43 resistance members or let 1,200 civilians perish.

Kira relays this information to Winn, but she knows already because Bareil has withdrawn from the choosing. However, something about the situation is still irking Kira.

With Bareil out of the running, the expected happens. Vedek Winn becomes Kai Winn. After some hollow platitude from Winn, Kira confronts Bareil with new evidence: the transit files he forgot to erase. They show that he was stowed away in a monastery in the weeks leading up to the massacre, so he couldn't have been the culprit. Further, there's only one transmission log, made a week after the incident.

Bareil took the fall for the real collaborator, the one person who he cares for more than Kira. The true collaborator in the massacre was none other than Kai Opaka.

Her faith in Bareil renewed, the two of them walk away together to go pay their respects to the new Kai.


Tropes

  • The Alibi: Comes out too late, but Bareil had an ironclad alibi - transit logs show he was secluded in a monastery for weeks before the massacre, and the only communication log from that monastery during that time was after the massacre occurred. Bareil either forgot to erase them, or did not have access to them.
  • As You Know: Kira describes the Kendra Valley Massacre to Odo, ending with "You were here, you must have read [the suicide note]."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Treacherous, backstabbing and manipulative Vedek Winn becomes the new Kai.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Winn has a biting one when Bareil offers a different viewpoint on whether the Prophets' love is conditional or not. She thanks him in her usual saccharine way for reminding everyone how easy it is to misinterpret prophecy.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Kira says that if she had known Vedek Winn was on the station she would have told Odo to increase security. When Winn assures her she feels perfectly safe, Kira says she wasn't referring to her, and makes a not-so-subtle mention of the attempted assassination of Bareil by a fanatical follower of Winn.
  • Beneath the Mask: After Kira angrily confronts Winn and eventually agrees to work with her, Winn allows her mild, passive-aggressive facade to slip for a moment to snarl a warning at Kira to never disrespect her again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Winn wins the position of Kai, but Bareil is exonerated, and he and Kira maintain their relationship. The episode ends with them both arm-in-arm going to "congratulate" Winn.
  • Call-Back: When meeting Winn, both Kira and Sisko make pointed reference to the events of "In The Hands Of The Prophets".
  • The Exile: Many Bajorans who collaborated with the Cardassians fled with them to Cardassia Prime.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Kira expresses her feelings for Bareil to Odo, his body language betrays his shock, although he quickly covers himself by claiming he already knew. This is the first time we've gotten any indication that Odo's own feelings toward her aren't strictly professional.
    • Odo observes to Kira that, in extreme situations, even the best of humanoids are capable of terrible things. Boy, is he proven right by the end.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: When Odo sardonically notes that Gul Dukat called Kubus "his favorite Bajoran," Kubus snaps "I never could stand that arrogant tyrant."
    Odo: You hid your feelings well.
    Kubus: It kept me alive.
  • Honor Before Reason: Bareil's actions provide a rare example of someone not upholding his own honor; instead, he protects Opaka's by Taking the Heat for the massacre, even if that ensures that Winn becomes Kai.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Kubus lives with his actions working for the Cardassians. Notably, he clearly is just hanging onto this rationalization.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Several Bajorans worked for the Cardassian government during the occupation. Their punishment for this is permanent exile from Bajor. Kira thinks that's way too generous.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Winn wins again. She gets Kubus to return to Bajor by offering sanctuary, gets his allegations investigated by people who have no connection to her, then forces Bareil to pull out of the race, achieving the same goal she wanted at the end of Season One without even having to kill him.
  • Meaningful Look: As Odo leads Kubus away after arresting him, Kubus and Vedek Winn exchange a look. It's no surprise when Kubus turns out to be Seeking Sanctuary from Winn in exchange for revealing compromising information on a rival.
  • The Needs of the Many:
    • Between 43 resistance members and 1,200 innocent villagers, Kai Opaka made the hard choice — especially hard, given that one of the former was her son.
    • This also applies to Bareil Taking the Heat for Opaka, as he decides that her legacy is more important to Bajor than his reputation.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Rule of Acquisition #285.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: As usual, Winn dispenses insults with a thick coat of false politeness.
  • Persona Non Grata: Under the law following the Cardassian withdrawl, any Bajoran who collaborated with the Cardassians is exiled from the homeworld.
  • The Power of Legacy: Bareil believes that it is more important that the Bajoran people's belief in Kai Opaka remain unshakable and unblemished by a scandal than prevent a politically-motivated rival from becoming her Sucksessor.
  • The Quisling: While the episode discusses a number of collaborators of various types, Kubus was highly placed in the puppet Bajoran government and was not participating in any resistance.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Once she realizes why Bareil did it, Kira admires his willingness to sacrifice his own good name for the greater good.
  • Taking the Heat: Prylar Bek and Vedek Bareil both do this to protect Kai Opaka — Bek because he was already a collaborator, and Bareil to preserve Opaka's memory as unblemished.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kai Opaka knew the location of the resistance base because her son was a member. The logical conclusion is that her son told her of his whereabouts, which is a huge no-no when fighting a guerrilla war.
  • Undying Loyalty: Bareil to Opaka, so much that he takes the fall to preserve her legacy.
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