Nagisa Furukawa wrote:
I know that some men just wanting to watch the world burn is a common trope in genre storytelling, but did the resolution to the Pah-wraith arc really have to be so cheesy? The Pah-wraiths don't seem to have a purpose other than to be evil and want to kill everyone, and their conflict with the Prophets has no depth to it. It's a black and white tale of a race of evil supernatural beings that hate everything, and a race of friendly supernatural beings that want to stop them. When the Prophets were introduced, they were presented as a truly alien race that allowed Star Trek to explore some harder sci-fi material than normal, as well as the human ability to dwell on past suffering. It wasn't high art, but it was trying to do something more than your standard space opera. It's a pity it all descended into this madness.
Adding insult to injury, the final confrontation between Sisko and Dukat is just lame. Firstly, Sisko's reason for going to the Fire Caves is because his spidey-sense tingled. When he gets there, Dukat magics him up a little while gloating, then they both fall into a fiery cavern. So Sisko's great trial was to lunge at a guy? Couldn't the Prophets have just sent Sisko the message to burn that book 4 years ago? This is an anticlimactic, nonsensical end to a story that had a lot of potential, but which didn't develop properly.
Completely agree. Felt like a total joke to me, especially compared to the Vorlon/Shadow conflict on B5.
I've been thinking about the Prophet/Pah-wraith conflict, and it strikes me that there was
a way to ground it in more complex moral conundrums and the show's prior mythology without altering how either side is presented. It seems to me that the Prophets and Pah-wraiths could be said to represent different aspects of the Bajoran character, symbolically at least - and I don't mean "good" and "evil". In season one, we see Kira Nerys trying to reconcile the anger and violence that the occupation forced her to adopt with her desire to live up to the peaceful ideals of the Bajoran faith. She was caught between two poles. It fits with her people's deities and the mythology surrounding them: the cool blue Prophets as the reflective, introspective insight and the pah-wraiths as the burning anger and will to destroy. During the occupation, we're told many times (by Sisko, by Winn, by Kira, by Opaka) that it was the Bajorans' faith in the Prophets that saved them (because it made them hold on to the better part of themselves, presumably). But wasn't it also their willingness to hate and rage and blow things up that saved them? Didn't liberation from Cardassia owe just as much to the burning anger at the injustice and the will to violence as to the "Prophet" side of the Bajoran soul? And yet the Bajorans reject that part of themselves, insist on only promoting the other side of things, just as the Pah-wraiths themselves have been banished from the temple. From their viewpoint, is that fair?
Why not have the Pah-wraiths be seeking acceptance for their contribution? Tie the Wormhole Aliens/Deities arc back into the original "peaceful culture turned to terrorism" arc that was so important to the show's early seasons and its portrayal of Kira and the Bajoran culture.
The Pah-wraiths could still be violent, hateful, destructive and in urgent need of being stopped, but rather than being EVIL they're seeking recognition
. Bajor needed them, but then turned its back on them, and still aligns everything Prophet blue with "good" and everything Pah-wraith red with "evil" despite using both during the occupation to achieve their salvation.