This episode introduced a holographic projector that basically allowed Sisko to communicate with a holographic image of various people as if they were standing on the bridge. It’s an interesting concept, but there is a part of me that wonders if this was some sort of cost-saving measure. I doubt this series had a huge budget. Oh, I am sure it was bigger than a lot of other sci-fi on TV at the time, but I also doubt it was anywhere near the level of, say, whatever Paramount+ is paying for the current shows.
So, really, instead of having a character at another set on a viewscreen, just stick the guy in the middle of the room in a small square with the implication that the projection can’t go any further than that.
However, this episode deals with Sisko’s Ahab-like obsession with bringing in Starfleet-traitor-and-Maquis-leader Michael Eddington. He was a guy who appeared frequently enough to make sure his face was recognizable, helped out more than once to save the day, and yet never made enough of an impression for me to say much about him here. That arguably made him the perfect traitor. Unless the series was willing to commit one of the regular characters to betray the others and join the Maquis (unlikely), then taking a rather bland guy who was trusted enough to help out but also be easy enough for the audience to overlook, then Michael Eddington was the perfect choice.
The fact that I seem to always type out his full name seems like I need to do that just to make sure everyone involved in this write-up–me as writer and the hypothetical reader as audience–knows exactly who I am talking about.
The thing is, Michael Eddington is still doing the Maquis thing, trying to make a briefly-held-hostage Sisko feel sympathy for displaced Federation folks who lost their homes when the Federation and the Cardassians made a deal that left former Federation colonies in Cardassian hands. Sisko, he won’t have it because there was plenty of time for those people to leave before the Cardassians took over with a lot of Federation help. But nooooo, they wanted to stay and see how things panned out or something. It’s not like the Cardassians weren’t known to run a brutal military dictatorship or anything.
Point is, Michael Eddington seems to have Sisko’s number, knowing what Sisko is going to do before he does it, sabotaging the Defiant with a well-placed computer virus. Guessing Sisko’s tactics before he pulls them off. Even sending Sisko a copy of Les Miserables, supposedly Michael Eddington’s favorite book. Apparently, he thinks Sisko is a lot like Inspector Javert in that he won’t stop hounding an innocent man.
That “innocent man” led a Maquis attack on a Cardassian colony where they seeded the atmosphere with a substance that made the very air toxic to Cardassians and only Cardassians. Yeah, look, my mama always taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right. Besides, the Javert thing only works if you see yourself as the innocent man that is Jean Valjean. That…takes a hell of an ego.
It’s also how Sisko beats him in the end. As he talks it over with Dax (she isn’t a fan of Victor Hugo), he realizes everyone sees themselves as the hero of their own story. And yes, the Defiant is barely up and running with Nog acting as the ship’s communications system, but there is one thing Sisko can do: be the bad guy.
He basically does to a Maquis human colony what Michael Eddington did to the Cardassian colony. He figures the colonists can just switch planets later.
Huh. Maybe two wrongs can make a right…nah!
That was damn cold, but it worked. Michael Eddington is in custody because, well, when you compare a man with that level of determination to the bad guy in an old French novel, you better hope the guy you’re talking to isn’t Ben Sisko, a man who really, really takes it personally when Starfleet personnel disrespect the uniform. Had Michael Eddington not been Starfleet…well, at the least, not pretended to be Sisko’s friend at one time, then maybe Sisko wouldn’t have gone all Ahab on him.
I rather prefer Moby Dick metaphors here. Too bad that was more of a Picard thing in a movie.
By the by, if there was one other member of the main cast that might have wanted Eddington brought it, it may have been Odo. Sure, he didn’t go with the Defiant to bring him in, but he did take it personally that Starfleet insisted on posting Eddington on the station as a security guy because they weren’t sure they could trust Odo…