Wait a minute. Hold the phone. Bryan Fuller wrote for Deep Space Nine? OK, Wikipedia tells me he did more writing for Voyager, but the man who created a network TV version of Hannibal and the first brilliant season of American Gods (he was not around for the succeeding two intermittent seasons of said show) wrote for 90s-era Star Trek? I had no idea. I mean, everyone has to get their start somewhere, and there is something about this episode that seems very…Fuller-ish, but I am pleasantly surprised to learn this and am now looking forward even more to when I move on to Voyager.
Yes, I will someday move on to Voyager.
In the meantime, I have a story about…murder.
See? Sounds just like something of Fuller’s already.
The episode opens on Bajor at a religious ceremony when a beam shoots out of an altar of some kind and kills the officiant. It turns out the man was part of a resistance cell that included Kira. The blast only killed Kira’s one time comrade, and it goes from there. Kira, still pregnant with the O’Brien’s child and living in their spare room, is involved in looking into it, particularly when she’s sent a message of a distorted voice saying “That’s one.”
A warning comes out in a similar fashion for the next target, a nervous woman who fed the cell information since the Cardassians always overlooked the cleaning lady. Worf and Dax try to pick her up, but she is killed by interference with the transporter beam. A third person, an academic, is killed off-screen and doesn’t even get any dialogue. And each time, a new message comes along adding a new number to the total.
The culprit turns out to be a lone Cardassian recluse, a former laundry room attendant to a Gul killed in an explosion set by Kira’s cell. He was heavily scarred and believes he and others were targeted by murderers despite being innocent. Kira finds him alone after stealing Odo’s suspect list. That comes when she’s the last one, and most of what I want to talk about comes in the back half for this episode, and that doesn’t include the fact that Nog’s very precise hearing helps Dax interpret the mystery voice. It turns out someone scrambles Kira’s own voice. The Nog stuff is fun, and I like the way the series of late has been utilizing the idea that Ferengi hearing is that good, but the stuff I liked best was other things.
For starters, the last two members of Kira’s old cell break into the O’Brien’s room before being killed themselves by a very localized bomb. These two, a couple that stuck together after the occupation ended, were a very lively pair. For a pair of characters that never appeared before and would not appear again, they made for a lively and fun presence. That was a lot of personality to put into a pair of bit players, and I appreciate that Deep Space Nine was willing to go there.
Next, there was the killer, and his way of speaking, referring to Kira as an “it” when he has her in his power but before he can go in for the kill, sure did make the guy sound like a deranged serial killer, and that seemed even more appropriate considering some of the shows Fuller would go on to create.
But then there’s the moral implications that the episode brings up. Prin, the Cardassian, insists he won’t kill innocents, and his attacks were localized to take down only the Bajorans responsible for hurting him. That actually helps Kira take him down: since the O’Brien’s unborn child is an innocent, he’ll need to remove it before he can kill Kira, and one side effect of some drugs she’s taking is a general immunity to anesthetic. However, Kira insists that her cell didn’t kill innocents, and any Cardassian participating in the occupation of her home world was guilty of exploitation. Given her general demeanor afterwards, she may be doubting that herself.
That’s an interesting question when it comes to guilt. Are all Cardassians guilty? Or just the leaders? Did Kira’s dedication to her mission cause her to make excuses for what happened to people like Prin? Does she still believe that now? These are the sorts of the questions that an episode like this brings up, but of course doesn’t answer. Questions like this, maybe, aren’t supposed to be answered. Kira needs to think about this, and perhaps the audience does as well.
That is the way Deep Space Nine seems to roll anyway. Leave the less complicated moral implications to the other Trek shows. Deep Space Nine, like a lot of Fuller’s work, seems to want to make you squirm a little.
Titans “Caul’s Folly”
Comic Review: The Judas Coin
Noteworthy Issues: Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow #5 (November, 2021)