Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Episode 20

In the Hands of the Prophets

3
Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Jun 20, 1993 on Syndicado
8.4
out of 10
User Rating
181 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Stardate: 46951.7 Keiko O'Brien's teaching about the science behind the Bajoran Wormhole causes a religious uprising among the Bajoran community that threatens to destroy the Federation-Bajoran alliance.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Great First Season Finale

    8.0
    It's a "church versus the school" story - or more broadly, it's the "someone who has no idea what they're talking about and wants to dictate how the school should behave" story, which unfortunately isn't as attractive to most writers as the old, "person who wants to fix the school but is stonewalled by the broken system" story, which is why we usually see the latter, even though it's the former, in the form of parents, politicians, religious leaders, taxpayers, and school board members, that's usually the cause of the problems to begin with.



    The episode is set up with Keiko in the protagonist position, and it's evident from the beginning that the church is in the wrong; therefore the success of the episode doesn't hinge on how effective the debate is between the school and the church, but rather by the effectiveness antagonist's performance. Enter Louise Fletcher, dressed up in a Sydney Opera House hat and portraying perhaps the smarmiest character in Star Trek history. She's deliciously evil and steals the show.



    The B story about Chief O'Brien investigating a death aboard the station makes good use of a seed planted in the previous episode and eventually ties into the A story. As usual, when a religious extremist argues for social change, the real motive is hidden beneath the surface.moreless
  • Great as an examination of the conflict between faith and science, but it is more than that, of course.

    9.8
    I would like to echo the other reviewers--this is an excellent look at the faith vs. science conflict, and it gets a lot right and shows both sides as having a legitimate case, and even goes against audience sympathies (presumably with Mrs. O'Brien, representing science) by showing the religious side (Vedek Winn, played by Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher) as the one more open to compromise. This is yet another case of precognition by the DS9 writers, since the Intelligent Design controversy was in a feral stage at this point. Commander Sisko's speech to his son about science and faith is a great one, as is his phillipic against Winn on the ethnic tensions among Bajorans and the Federation. However, there is one further aspect to this story which also applies to our current predicament: that these situations where faith picks a fight with science are usually a smokescreen for something else--in the case of this episode, it's an assassination plot. (If you're curious about what I see as the real-life equivalent, check out the book What's The Matter With Kansas by Thomas Frank.)



    However, this episode not only introduces the calculating Winn, but also the genuinely good Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim) who tries to reconcile the disparate parties involved. There is a scene in the episode which tells us everything we need to know about Bareil: the assassain has been unmasked and fires a shot at Bareil, who doesn't even flinch as the beam goes by him. Talk about a man of faith. Also, the final moment between Kira and Sisko is well-done and understated, and allows us to marvel as to how far these characters have come in just a season, and how much further they might go.moreless
  • A seeming lecture on science vs. fundamentalist religion evolves into something deeper.

    9.0
    This episode starts out as a seeming "issue show" regarding the battle between science vs. fundamentalist religion, and I suppose if this were TNG it might have stayed that way, with the uber-rationalist scientists winning the day.



    But this isn't TNG, and an interesting concept simply provides the launching pad for an exciting and intelligent thriller. There are strong performances in this episode by Avery Brooks (maybe his best in season 1) and Colm Meaney, but Louise Fletcher's smarmy Vedek Winn really steals the show. As with Andy Robinson, I'm not sure whether the writers planned for her to return - but they clearly hit pure gold with an individual who would become one of the best villains on the show.



    In what would become a pattern on this show, the resolution offers no easy answers: yes, disaster was averted, but the problems remain to return on another day.moreless
  • An ok ending of a bad season. No we look forward!

    7.5
    Right before i started looking at DS9 for the first time in a few years, i saw Voyager. What a diffrence in quality! yes, i know its gonna get better, especially when the war starts. But this season are not good! i have always considered DS9 and Voyager at the same level, but after watching this season and comparing it with my fresh memories of Voyager, its no contest! My main complaints are Kira and Sisko i think. Compare Sisko with any other captain and see the diffrence. also, Avery Brooks are a great actor, but not here. He constantly reads his lines wrong (emphasis on the wrong words and such) and seems like he just dont care. This is the first season so he will get better though.

    Kira are just plain anoying, with her constant attacks on everyone. I would hate to have such an angry and rabid workfriend, who just cant compromise and always think she is right. same here though, she calms down a little as the series goes on. i guess it was hard to find a good tone of her character in the beginning. Anyway, this episode and the last one are really the only good episodes this season. Winn are just sooo evil! she is so evil that i want to punch her in the face, i actually get angry at a tv-character (perhaps because i know what she will do in the future too...). I guess that has to be a good thing! And it is only getting better from here! I give the season one a 6.0 in grade and this episode a 7.5.moreless
  • Deep, complex, multi-layered and sophisticated: like the episode that preceeded it, this is simply great television.

    9.9
    DS9's first season was largely uneven and all-too frequently rather mediocre. Of course, it's still miles better than TNG's first year (and I'm not even going to bother mentioning Voyager and Enterprise), but it simply didn't hit the heights it was capable of...until the final two episodes. It's just unfortunate that a lot of the audience had dropped off by then...and unfortunate also that these two brilliant episodes were quite frankly too sophisticated for a large portion of the audience.



    But anyway...some time before DS9 was re-tooled to ease out the politics and up the action quotient came this riveting political thriller that works on just about every level: as a character piece, an ensemble drama, a murder-mystery and a disturbing exploration of religious fundamentalism it's just excellent. Deep, complex, multi-layered and sophisticated: like the episode that preceeded it, this is simply great television.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman

Quark

Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Robin Christopher

Robin Christopher

Neela

Guest Star

Louise Fletcher

Louise Fletcher

Vedek Winn

Guest Star

Michael Fairman

Michael Fairman

Vendor

Guest Star

Rosalind Chao

Rosalind Chao

Keiko O'Brien

Recurring Role

Philip Anglim

Philip Anglim

Vedek Bareil

Recurring Role

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Kira: Some might say pure science, taught without a spiritual context, is a philosophy, Mrs. O'Brien.

    • Bareil: The Prophets teach us patience.
      Sisko: It appears they also teach you politics.

    • Sisko: It is my philosophy that on this station there is room for all philosophies.

    • Sisko: You claim the Prophets as your personal constituency, Vedek Winn. I'm not convinced that's justified. Who do you speak for? An order that is barely listened to in your assembly. So you come here looking for a more receptive audience. (Winn turns, declaring war, cold as ice...)
      Winn: Is that what your friend, Vedek Bareil, told you? He's as misguided as you are. No, that's not fair. You are not simply misguided, as I once thought. Now I see that you want nothing less than to destroy us.
      Sisko: Destroy you?!
      Winn: You live without a soul, Commander. You and your Federation exist in a universe of darkness and you would drag us in there with you. But we will not go.

    • Sisko: It's easy to look back seven centuries and judge what was right and wrong.

    • Winn: I admire you for standing by your convictions. Even though I disagree with them. Please believe me, I want to find a way to allow these children to stay in your school...
      Keiko: I'm sure the children and their parents are happy to hear you stay that.
      Winn: Let me be the one to make the first concession. I will no longer request that you teach anything about the Celestial Temple. Just don't teach anything about the wormhole at all.
      Keiko
      : Ignore it...?
      Winn: Find other things to teach the children.
      Keiko: And when we get to theories of evolution or the creation of the universe, what then?
      Winn: We'll face those issues when we come to them.
      Keiko: I'm a teacher. My responsibility is to expose my students to knowledge. Not hide it from them. The answer is no.

    • Odo: This is not what I wanted to talk to you about. What do you know about the murder of Ensign Aquino?
      Quark: You wound me! All these years together, I thought you knew me. Odo, I am not a killer.
      Odo: No, but most of your friends are.
      Quark: True. And I would gladly sell one of them to you if I could.

    • Odo: I checked the turbolift records the night of the murder. Aquino did take a turbolift to level three, but not to the power conduit where he was found...
      Jadzia: Where did he go?
      Odo: Runabout Pad C...
      O'Brien: A runabout...? What was he doing at a runabout at four in the morning?
      Odo: Apparently, he was getting murdered.

    • Vendor: Seek the Prophets!
      Odo: Huh. Seek them yourself.

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

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