S2E3: The Siege

There's a change in the Bajoran government and it immediately expels all aliens from the system. The station is evacuated but much of the crew stays behind to stall the Bajoran soldiers taking over control. The plan is to buy enough time while one of the ships drops Kira and Dax off at one of the moons where they hope to find an old abandoned attack fighter hidden there during the occupation, that can take them to Bajor to present the evidence of Cardassian involvement to the government.

During the evacuation, Quark tries to sell seats on the ships to Bajorans who worry about being imprisoned for having worked with the Federation, and it takes Li Nalas to calm down the crowd and restore order. Quark ends up missing the last ship leaving because he's dragging his big box of latinum and the passenger list said everyone was already on board. Turns out Rom sold him out and gave his seat to a dabo girl.

A Bajoran assault team arrives at the station and meets no resistance, but finds that all security systems have been sabotaged. The general who Sisko had been meeting on Bajor is in charge of the opperation and he immediately suspects that it is all a trap. The crew hiding in the maintenance tunnels ambushes several soldiers across the station and takes them prisoners. The Bajoran second in command gets trapped with his team in one of the holo suits, where Sisko calls him over intercom to tell him about the Cardassians having planned the coup on Bajor. The officer then gets beamed to ops, but tells the general that Sisko didn't say anything of importance and that he was released because he offered Sisko amnesty. The general shows doubt about that but is busy with other things that need his attention.

Kira and Dax find the small ship and get it somewhat running. Dax is very unhappy with working under these conditions and responds to it by going into full snark. As they approach Bajor they are intercepted by two ships and manage to shot one down, but then crash in the forest. Kira is injured but Dax thinks they will need a Bajoran to deliver the evidence to make the government look at it. So she drags Kira along for a bit, but she soon passes out. When she wakes up she's at Bareils monastery with her injuries fixed, and he offers to get them to the chamber of ministers disguised as priests.

Sisko and Li sneak into Sisko's office and when the general walks in they capture him to tell him about the Cardassians. Kira and Dax make it to the council chamber with the proof that Odo got from the weapon smugglers. The minister, who has taken over the government, says those accusations are nonsense, but Winn is really unhappy with this possibility and the one who takes charge of checking the evidence. (And only on the probably fourth or fifth time I watched the episode, I realized that the end of the scene matches Kira's vision from two episodes back of being in the chamber of ministers, surrounded by politicians and Dax dressed as a priest and Bareil being there.) On the Station, the soldiers get the orders to stand down and the general is very unhappy with his lieutenant having lied and not having delivered the message that the Cardassians have planned everything. For no apparent purpose, the officers tries to shot Sisko, and also not having any purpose anymore, Li throws himself in the way and gets shot dead instead.

--

Bajoran reconstruction episode #7

Hm, I am somewhat conflicted on how I want to rate this episode. Overall, I really like this three episode (or four episode?) arc. But when looked at individually, none of the episodes are really that great. There are good moments, but nothing stands really out. I really appreciate this first attempt at getting somewhat of a metaplot going, and I think they did it pretty well. But this is one story split into three parts, with no part really having that much to offer by itself. Later multi-part episodes handle this a lot better, from what I remember.
I wonder how long ago all of this was planned? The three episodes are a different story, but very clearly and strongly build upon the last episode of the previous season. Was that already planned when S1E19 was being written? Would be interesting to know.

Among the various minor things, we once more have Rom make a small appearance, and once again he does something that has a good chance of getting Quark killed. And speaking of Quark, him being left behind on the station ultimately served no purpose. He doesn't really do anything after that. That was one good joke, and there's another much weaker joke about it later on, but that's really it. Li having to calm the crowd after Quark sold fake tickets to Bajorans was the main thing that did come out of it.
And yes... Li Nalas. I am not sure what they intended with having him as a character. Did they want to try out adding him to the cast? His death at the end feels totally tacked on and pointless. Since he never wanted to have the job, and being forced into it by the minister whose takeover of government had just failed, he could simply have gone back to Bajor and that would have been it. This ending is just cheese, and since we never got to know and like the character, it feels completely meaningless and empty.

These are good episodes. They are not great, but a significant step up from much in the first season. I think having had a Cardassian sponsored coup on Bajor contributes some additional context that later episodes can build upon, which makes them a valuable part of the series. But judged on their own merits, they are not among those that makes this an amazing series.