Nutshell: Some very good moments, but the storyline is somewhat slow, predictable, and even kind of pointless.
I've said it many times before (to the point that it's in danger of becoming a Jammer's Cliche), including last week for "You Are Cordially Invited": The success of a romance almost every time comes down to the believability of the leads' chemistry. Take, for example, this week's installment, "Resurrection," in which the alternate reality version of Bareil (Philip Anglim) from the mirror universe transports across dimensions where Kira finds herself face to face with the counterpart of her deceased lover. Here's a romance that almost works on human terms, because Kira and Bareil work so well together under the quiet, effective performances.
Unfortunately for "Resurrection," despite the believable romance provided by the initial characterizations, there's not much to the story that makes it stand out. There are good shows, bad shows, and neutral shows. "Resurrection" is a very neutral show punctuated with some nice little moments.
The most interesting driving storytelling element in this installment is the idea of an alternate Bareil who wants to start a new life in this universe. As we all know, the mirror universe is not a very comfortable place to live, and the idea of somebody crossing over to escape it has some intriguing possibilities. Considering the alternate Bareil is a thief who has never come close to religion, the differences are sure to prove challenging for Kira, who finds herself falling for this Bareil despite Sisko's warning to be cautious. (Sisko's warning, naturally, comes from his own experiences with the mirror version of his wife in "Through the Looking Glass" and "Shattered Mirror.")
Bareil's subsequent attempt to find spirituality through Kira is among the show's best notions. He respects the strength of these Bajorans' faith, and he wants to take the opportunity to obtain a new perspective on life. Bareil gets more than he bargained for when he encounters an orb and stares into his own destiny. Bareil's descent into confusion over his self-purpose following the orb experience is particularly well-conceived. Philip Anglim is good in the role, and it makes me realize that I've missed his presence on the series.
There's also an amiable scene where Kira brings Bareil as her guest at Dax and Worf's dinner. Not only is there finally some welcome evidence of a realistic relationship between Worf and Dax, but the scene also ends with Worf lightening up—acknowledging (with a reluctant respect) Bareil's theft talents when Bareil gets the better of him. As an only slightly related topic, Dax and Kira's previous discussion about the dinner reveals a lone Kira who, until Bareil enters the picture, would rather attend without a date. Dax recommends she bring Odo, to which Kira comments that neither she nor Odo are "ready" for that.
Speaking of Kira and Odo, I never commented on their lengthy, off-screen discussion in last week's "You Are Cordially Invited." I'm still very neutral about it. I do not think an off-screen discussion is at all sufficient, but since the issue, apparently, is still not rectified I'm going to keep an open mind and hope that it will be dealt with for real sometime down the road. For now I'm considering "Cordially" a stalling technique by the writers that acknowledged a problem exists (which in itself was necessary), but simultaneously delayed any payoff. In other words, the jury's still out. It's too soon to tell—but "Cordially" had better not have been the closing of the matter.
But I digress. Back in this week's storyline, it turns out things are not as they seem when mirror/Intendant Kira shows up on "our" side. She's in cahoots with Bareil to take advantage of Major Kira and steal the orb, which could give the Intendant (who wants to break Bajor from the Alliance) the power she needs to predict the future.
Working against "Resurrection" is that it moves so slowly. I wouldn't say I was bored, but nor is there very much to discuss about this episode because, really, there aren't very many events. The events are skillfully spread over the course of the hour and, in the meantime, the episode supplies us with plenty of reasonable filler. It takes a while for the story to get where it's going, and most of what happens in the story can be predicted well in advance because of the mere inevitability of it all. I don't mean to say that the predictability is a bad thing, because it does seem like a natural outcome of the characters' actions. At the same time, there are other ways this story could've been handled. The ending to "Resurrection," alas, takes the well-traveled road.
The last five minutes of the show could've either (a) taken a risk, or (b) settled into the expected routine of inconsequential, single-episode storyline results. The episode takes approach (b). Bareil's betrayal is understandable given his simple ethics as a thief, combined with the fact that he's hopelessly lodged under the Intendant's thumb. But given his experience with the orb, the creators could've given this guy another way out rather than having him admit defeat, accept his fate, and beam back to the mirror universe with the Intendant once Major Kira finds him out. Yes, he's sorry about his course of action; and he wishes he could begin a new life with the major; and he doesn't let the Intendant steal the orb as originally planned. But for him to simply return to his universe after building up all this potential for his future in a new world strikes me as a twist of fate the creators probably figured would be "unfortunate" or "tragic"—but, really, it's just pedestrian. Story- and character-wise, I suspect much more could've been explored if Bareil had remained in "our" universe. By returning him to where he came from, I'm left with almost no feelings on the matter. It seems a little ... well, a little bit pointless. An hour of slowly constructed setup to a payoff that says relatively little. It could've been much more interesting to examine more daring, long-term possibilities.
In the meantime, Intendant Kira's scenes are certainly welcome. The shallow version of Kira is just so much fun to watch on the screen. The key phrase here is "body language"; Nana Visitor is wonderful as usual, playing the dual roles in a way so that it would be obvious to know which is which, even when she's dressed in Major Kira's uniform and not using spoken dialog. The smug, sultry, in-your-face narcissism is still entertaining. And her manipulation of Bareil is eerily similar to her power over the mirror-Sisko in "Crossover."
I also appreciated some of the small story points, like the use of Quark as the always-open-eared barkeep whose dialog with Bareil offers some insight into Bareil's identity problem. A subsequent scene between Kira and Quark is also intriguing, highlighting Kira's clouded judgment where Bareil is concerned while simultaneously demonstrating the observant skill Quark has for understanding a person who enters his establishment.
Other than the little details, "Resurrection" is a reasonable but ultimately slight episode that supplies few surprises or developments. It's a one-shot piece that has little lasting significance. It's by no means bad, but it isn't particularly great, either. It's just "there."
"Resurrection" is the third offering from Michael Taylor, the writer who brought us the emotionally-gripping classic "The Visitor" and the standout "Things Past." "Resurrection" is a step down from those two far-superior stories, and it doesn't deliver the emotional wallop that I had hoped. But like both of Taylor's previous works, it deals very respectably with the fundamentals of its characters by reopening old wounds.
Next week: Bashir and his band of crazies predict doom for the Federation.