OK, so, given I don’t exactly avoid spoilers, I did know who the big traitor at the end of this episode was well in advance,
What I didn’t know what this episode would actually not follow a completely expected pathway in other respects.
Apparently, the Federation is giving out some industrial-sized replicators to the ailing Cardassian Empire, and the Maquis are expected to at least interfere with the transfer. Par for the course. Sisko gets the brief from Lt. Eddington, a character I have seen many times but rarely mention because he’s one of those guys who so perfectly blends into the background that it isn’t even funny. However, there is a suspected agent on the station in the form of Sisko’s new love interest Kasidy Yates. She is a freighter captain and may have done some smuggling in her time, and her moving onto the station full-time does fit in with whatever timelines Starfleet Intelligence has.
OK, so, as I said, I knew how this was going to shake out, mostly. Eddington is the Maquis agent. He’s been deep cover or he just switched sides or something, and he shows his true colors in this episode, stunning Kira while most of the rest of the main cast are away keeping an eye on Kasidy’s ship in a cloaked Defiant. Eddington’s speech to Sisko, told over long range and after he has successfully claimed the replicators, is pretty ballsy. First he asks why Starfleet and the Federation doesn’t just leave the Maquis alone since they aren’t really hurting anyone but the Cardassians. Then he makes some vague threats about hitting back. Finally, he makes some accusations that the Federation is looking to absorb the Cardassians, but they are actually worse than the Borg in the way they go about things. The Borg, according to Eddington, at least tell you up front that they’ll be assimilating your culture. The Federation tricks people into joining.
Setting aside that this is the first anyone has suggested the Cardassians were somehow being set up to be the next society to join the Federation and that the Federation doesn’t seem to really be against societies keeping their own cultures for the most part, is there anything worse to say to Ben Sisko, a man who lost his beloved wife to the Borg, than to say the organization Sisko proudly represents is somehow worse than the Borg? That’s the kind of thing that makes Eddington’s betrayal all the worse.
But here’s where this episode did something I wasn’t expecting: Kasidy wasn’t innocent either.
True, she’s mostly a sympathizer here, but she actually was transporting goods to the Maquis as well. Considering the episode opened with her in Sisko’s bed–and how often has any Star Trek series ever done any sort of serious, long term romantic relationship of that nature when most such encounters are more along the lines of one night stands?–I would expect the whole thing would throw a more TV traditional monkey wrench into their relationship where Sisko is on a wild good chase and all of Kasidy’s actions are just some big misunderstanding that causes her to break things off temporarily or something along those lines. True, the Maquis set her up to allow Eddington to make good on his own escape, but Kasidy at the end of the episode doesn’t deny helping the Maquis. In fact, she turns herself in because she was doing something that should require some sort of legal ramifications, and despite that, she and Sisko still seem close by the episode’s end. So, really, being in the Maquis may not be the dealbreaker for Sisko as it might have appeared to be at first. He probably gets more upset when uniformed personnel ditch their responsibilities to join up. Really, the uniform is what matters to Ben Sisko far more than anything else.
That said, it wouldn’t be Deep Space Nine without some character conversation about all this. That happens between Worf and O’Brien. O’Brien somewhat sympathizes with the Maquis. Not enough to condone their actions, but at least to empathize with them. Worf sees them as terrorists, and he adds he would have never gone that route if he were in their position. O’Brien just suggests Worf never say as much to Kira. Good stuff.
The side plot is also fun, and a bit lighter, as Garek wonders if Dukat’s half-Bajoran daughter Ziyal is trying to murder him when she asks him to do some stuff with her. Watching Garek twist himself into a pretzel as he tries to decide if Ziyal is out to get him or not is just a lot of fun, especially when Quark makes a stray comment that makes things worse. Ultimately, no, Ziyal isn’t trying to kill anyone. She’s looking for a friend. As a half-Cardassian and half-Bajoran woman, she’s an outcast to both people, but staying on Bajor means no one really cares for her, and Garek is simply the only Cardassian on the station. That works for the former spy, at least for now.
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