***** (5 stars out of 5)
Jobless Kira angrily builds a contemplative rock garden at the monastery. Bariel makes bedroom eyes at her soul and gives the Major her first Orb encounter. She has strange dreamlike future flashes, including flashing the government assembly. Her 'naked in school' dream quickly becomes a 'naked with the naughty bishop' dream about Bariel. What could it presage? Why did he have one too? And talk about your 'heavenly orbs', am I right?!
Quark tells Odo he's ready to run for the hills. "We gotta leave! Well, I do, anyway, you can just turn into a couch." He heard rumours that the Kressari, famed botanic DNA traders, are smuggling weapons to the Circle. Odo, on threat of imprisonment, deputizes Quark. It's clearly a month for surprises. What's next, Rom as Chief Engineer?
Who's that trip-trapping over our bridge? Why, it's that troll Vedek Winn. She's all smiles while taunting Kira and Bareil with innuendo, accusations of discourtesy, and a terribly subtle 'F- Off, Ginger Whore'.
Odo, while pretending to be a shipping label, witnessed the flower merchant buying Cardassian guns. The Cardassians are only too happy to secretly support Jaro in his goal to oust the Federation. Winn and Jaro are only too happy to secretly support each other... in the boudoir! They're uniting her church fundys and his hillbilly hand fishers into a voting block to make them Kai and First Minister. Meanwhile, Jaro's forcing all aliens off Deep Space Nine. It'll be a katterpod in every pot and jumja sticks for everyone! Unless the Cardies came back, and what are the odds of that happening?
Sisko's boss Admiral Chekote (no relation) calls this a civil war and orders peaceful evacuation under the Prime Directive. Or if you prefer, wussing out under the Weenie Directive. Sisko pursues the dawdling approach. Which is to say, he's not going anywhere.
"The Circle" reaches for, and achieves, epic. Right along with Kira, I was starting to like these people at last and growing interested in their cause. Louise Fletcher and Frank Langella are just detestable, aren't they? Great work, all.