In an return to the core of the series' outlook, Kira is ordered to see to the evacuation of an elderly Bajoran farmer named Mullibok (Brian Keith) from a Bajoran moon that is set to be used in a power extraction project in the coming months. The problem is Mullibok has no intentions of leaving; he's convinced that he is destined to die where he has lived his whole life.
"Progress" is a wonderful sleeper episode that gets to the heart of larger issues using small-scaled human drama. Like "Past Prologue," this episode excels by placing Kira in the middle of tough problems with shades of grey. The interesting issue here is how the provisional government assigns Kira to a job she really doesn't feel she can carry out without betraying part of herself. Kira can identify with Mullibok's plight: a loner facing impossible odds—similar to the odds of the Bajorans freeing themselves from the Cardassian oppression. Keith's Mullibok is an engaging screen presence; he and Nana Visitor work well together.
What really stands out here is a poignant scene between Sisko and Kira that simultaneously highlights the show's intriguing theme (that of Kira now being on "the other side" of an issue she sympathizes with) while also bringing the two characters closer together—with what may be a pivotal moment of understanding in their relationship.
The lightweight B-story involving Jake and Nog's attempts to capitalize on a business opportunity is agreeable but hardly relevant—and coming off the heels of the Jake/Nog storyline in "Storyteller," this feels a little too pervasive. B-story aside, this show is a winner, indicating the direction DS9 seems to be heading in.
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