described this thread as educational, I thought I'd give you young whipper-snappers (most of whom are probably older than me) a history lesson:
Evictions play an emotional role in Irish history, particularly during the notorious potato famine when people that were literally starving to death were evicted from their homes. The right for tenant farmers to own their own homes played a big part of the nationalist movement here in the late 19th century. Once Ireland achieved independence, the first major project the Free State undertook was the construction of the Shannon Scheme, a hydroelectric power station that was intended to be large enough to power most of the country. It was one of the largest engineering projects in the world at the time, constructed by Siemens and involving predominantly German engineers, and it was the largest hydroelectric dam anywhere until the Hoover Dam was completed the following decade. Part of the reason why the project was so big was that they couldn't use the the actual river to build the dam on, they created an alternate route parallel to the original river, about 15km long, through rural farmland. There are obvious environmental issues with this, salmon levels in that stretch of the river are still well below what they used to be, but there's also the question of the people that lived along the route of that new water channel. You have to imagine that some people had to be moved from their homes, and I imagine quite a few of them weren't happy about it. I wonder how the police officers and soldiers, some of whom probably served in the IRA during the War of Independence, must have felt when overseeing the eviction process. The homeowners would probably have been compensated monetarily, unlike the evictions of old, but some of the officers must have wondered if this new Irish government were any better than the British one.
I appreciate that people don't read these reviews for boring history lessons, but rather for my weird yet crappy photoshops. So, as a reward, here's a picture of what it would like like if Community did a DS9 spoof episode:
Forgive me? Good.
My point was that this episode feels real to me, even if it is about aliens and moons. This is an issue that has probably come up in every country that achieved independence from another, the fact that some messy things need to be done no matter who is in change, and some people that are so focused on achieving independence don't plan for the realities that await once it is achieved. Kira's problem is one that I can relate to, and it's one with no easy solution, she just has to hope that she's doing the right thing and that the benefits of this project will outweigh the harm it has caused. I also like Mullibok, even if the writer's intention was that I wasn't supposed to. I liked him because he's a stubborn, manipulative son of a bitch, which are qualities that I recognise in myself.
The problem with this episode is really more of a technical one. Destroying the ecosystem of an M-class world seems like an awfully high price to pay just to heat a couple of hundred thousand homes. For that sort of sacrifice you'd expect much greater returns, perhaps even enough energy to power half of Bajor. But I guess it's possible that the writers didn't want to make it too easy for Kira to justify her decision at the end of the episode and they wanted it to be more morally ambiguous.
The b-story follows Nog and Jake as they navigate their way through the Great Material Continuum. It's a relatively fun diversion from the heavy a-story and a better use of the characters than in the previous episode. I could criticise it if I want to, but I don't.