Weekend Trek “The Maquis Part 1”

Around the time Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were still running, there were some interconnected plot threads.  Not as many as you might think, only that something that happened on one show that suggested a large theme or element at work could get a mention on the other.  That may have started here with the introduction of the Maquis, a, shall we say, terrorist group fighting the Cardassians and made up of Federation citizens or former citizens.  That pops up, as far as I know, here, a bit in Next Generation, and was even baked into the initial premise for Voyager (and then perhaps conveniently ignored much of the time).

But things have to start somewhere.

Here’s the thing:  this is only part one, and it’s mostly there to set up the problem as Sisko and Gul Dukat investigate the mysterious implosion of a Cardassian freighter as it left Deep Space Nine.  The initial investigation shows there was a device placed on the ship that used Federation parts, and while that is going on, a Vulcan woman is trying to buy weapons from Quark.

Much of this is just set-up for part two.  I get that.  Did this one need to be two parts?  That’s debatable, but we’re getting two parts.  It is generally nice to see Dukat up to his oily shenanigans, getting into Sisko’s quarters without anyone knowing he was on the station largely because he used to run it and knows ways around the place the Federation hasn’t figured out yet.  Sisko’s initial reaction, to check to see if Jake is OK, also works, and it turns out Jake’s fine but also not in this episode.

Plus, we do see how Sisko and Dukat sort of work together to get to the bottom of the mystery while Sisko does everything he can to keep Dukat from learning things about Starfleet technology or security.  The thing is, there is something going on in former Federation territory the Cardassians claimed after their war with the Federation.  Former Federation citizens are bristling under Cardassian rule, and one high ranking Starfleet officer, an old friend of Sisko’s played by Bernie Casey, is openly sympathetic with these people, even recognizing one that got caught and died in Cardassian custody.

So, should we be the slightest bit surprised when Casey’s Cal Hudson turns out to be a leader of this group that self-identifies as the Maquis, stepping forward when Sisko, Kira, and Bashir find their base on a planet in the occupied territory?  I know we’re meant to be, but it’s not exactly a shocker.  Beyond the aforementioned sympathy and knowledge that Hudson speaks of, I also have a general idea of how TV works.  For something like this to mean something, the Maquis’s leader has to be someone the audience recognizes.  Casey is a recognizable face if not a hugely famous actor, and it was awfully convenient he showed up just now and was a longtime friend of Sisko’s that was never mentioned before.  Sisko and Hudson do some general bonding, discussing life off and on during the episode when Sisko isn’t off looking for things with Dukat.

And then he is off looking for Dukat when the Maquis kidnaps him.  Why Dukat took the word of the Vulcan woman who wasn’t even wearing a Starfleet uniform that he was needed somewhere I don’t know, largely because Dukat is usually smarter than that.

But the bottom line is the Hudson reveal was a bit too obvious by half.  Again, this was a set-up episode to show why there might be so many Federation-born people joining a terrorist group, showing strife in the occupied area, and even letting Kira remind Sisko she of all people know what it’s like to live under Cardassian rule.  Regardless, that set up is about all this episode is, so part two would be the resolution for this story…probably.

It’s not like the Maquis just disappeared after this.

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