Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Maquis, Part I"


Air date: 4/25/1994
Teleplay by James Crocker
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and James Crocker
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The terrorist bombing of a Cardassian supply ship brings to Sisko's and Dukat's attention armed skirmishes between the Federation and Cardassian colonies that reside, respectively, in the other side's areas of the demilitarized zone (due to a recently signed treaty put into effect in TNG's "Journey's End"). The Federation colonists live in constant fear of Cardassian oppression and, at times, blatant assault. As a result, they've taken up arms and formed a terrorist organization called the Maquis—which has led the Cardassian colonies to return hostilities. The terrorism brings one of Sisko's good friends to DS9 to help diffuse the situation: Cal Hudson (Bernie Casey), a Starfleet commander in charge of overseeing the Federation colonies.

"The Maquis" is one of the great examples of complicated political situations that define DS9 as a series. Filled with intriguing plot developments (including weapons smuggling on both sides and the eventual kidnapping of Gul Dukat) and a multitude of characters, "Maquis, Part I" shows all the signs of a slowly percolating situation that will eventually become one of the series' several defining plot lines.

Of particular interest is the extremely interesting role of Gul Dukat in the given situation, as well as his evolving function on the series. Sisko and Dukat are infinitely watchable as reluctant co-investigators, and they have two key scenes in this episode that are marvelous: one in Sisko's quarters, the other in a Runabout. The amount of depth that Dukat's character takes on is welcome and highly commendable, changing his image into something far more subtle and complex than that of a villain. Marc Alaimo's performance is multifaceted—revealing unexpected low-key humor and then turning on a dime to exhibit a menacing persona.

Also of high interest is a great heated argument between Kira and Sisko regarding the Federation colonists' decision to resort to such violent terrorism. Surprisingly, the least effective scenes are the ones between Sisko and Hudson; Bernie Casey's wooden performance misses the mark and somewhat mars some important—and otherwise powerful—dialog scenes of exposition.

Previous episode: Blood Oath
Next episode: The Maquis, Part II

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17 comments on this review

Nebula Nox - Sat, May 19, 2012 - 9:41am (USA Central)
How can you fail to mention the hot young vulcan, Sakanna?
John - Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - 10:36am (USA Central)
One of the series' best doubles. Sisko-Hudson and Sisko-Dukat works brilliantly.
Elliott - Sat, Aug 11, 2012 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
As is the problem with nearly all Maquis-oriented episodes in all three series which dealt with them, the fact that the Maquis are childish, self-centred war-mongers is never brought up, but always circumvented into some other irrelevant "issue" (such as Hudson's loyalty to Starfleet). Typically bad performances from Brooks are amazingly tolerable next to the absolutely dreadful work from Casey. His ranks among the very worst guest stars on any of the Trek series. I would say these factors warrant the loss of at least a star. 2.5 - 3* from me.
Patrick - Sat, Aug 11, 2012 - 11:32pm (USA Central)

Amen. I got so sick of the Maquis on all 3 programs and you expressed exactly what I felt throughout the years they were presented. The writers conveniently sidestep the issue that the people who settled in the DMZ were *warned* that the territory was in dispute before they settled. Hello? Space is vast. Why settle in a war zone when you have a vast Quadrant to choose from?

But we, the audience were always supposed to sympathize with them. And we were supposed to cheer them on as their terrorist activities risked plunging the entire Alpha Quadrant into possible war. We were supposed nod with approval as Eddington browbeat Sisko about the supposedly duplicitous nature of the Federation. Piller and Co. were so in love with this concept that ultimately proved to immediately fizzle out on Voyager and was ended abruptly on Deep Space Nine.

I thought Picard was dead on in "Preemptive Strike" when he said that even sympathy has its limits. He would have had a damn good comeback speech to Eddington about his thuggish ways.
David - Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - 7:46am (USA Central)
@ Patrick

I never felt like we were necessarily supposed to "cheer them on". Indeed, and as usual for DS9's morally gray storylines, while they're not presented as clear villains I'd say they qualify as antagonists. The vibe I always got from the Maquis storyline was "here's a complex situation, who's right? We don't know", and I like those stories most of all. I don't like soapboxes, and I didn't think the writers were on one here. Sometimes Eddington's rambling makes some sense, but I was never cheering him on, per se.
ProgHead777 - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 12:08am (USA Central)
Much of Bernie Casey's dialog appears to have been overdubbed. It could be that there was a technical problem during shooting that necessitated this, so some benefit of the doubt should be given to the actor regarding his performance. It must be difficult for an actor to give a dynamic vocal performance sitting alone in a recording studio with a list of sentences to read into a microphone while simultaneously trying to reverse-lip-synch your own performance. And on a tight TV episode production cycle schedule to boot. Maybe it was "wooden" to begin with... but maybe it was fine and the mics just weren't working correctly.

Technobabble nitpick: M-class ASTEROID? Why isn't that an oxymoron?
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 4:52pm (USA Central)

A solid story episode. Good 2-parter.

2piix - Fri, Jul 4, 2014 - 3:06pm (USA Central)
This is the episode (or pair, if you count them that way) of Deep Space 9 where the show steps up the drama about three notches, even more so than the much vaunted "moral gray".

I'm not even a huge fan of the Maquis story-line, but this episode establishes the fact that failure is an option for the Federation. Before now, he had hints of continuity, but here, the Sisko effectively fails to find a technological or philosophical solution to the problem between the settlers and the Cardassians. And it has long term ramifications. The reset button is not hit for a long time.
Yanks - Mon, Jul 14, 2014 - 11:18am (USA Central)
This two-parter is a 3 of 4 stars for me.

As Jammer said, Bernie Casey's wooden performance detracted from this episode.

"Don't make me shoot you Ben"....


But it is a good introduction to the Maquis.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 8, 2014 - 5:56am (USA Central)
A well paced and suspenseful introduction to the Maquis that explores the gray areas of the peace treaty and the interests of all the players involved. The differing viewpoints among the DS9 crew are all interesting, particularly Odo's frustration with Federation protocol. Gul Dukat becomes even more compelling than before and it ends on a fitting cliffhanger. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Andrew - Tue, Dec 23, 2014 - 1:07am (USA Central)
Continuity quibble: Why were the Maquis referred to as Federation citizens? The set-up/prelude in "Journey's End" established that that group of colonists did give up Federation citizenship and claims to the Federation's help or protection and I don't see why the Cardassians would have accepted others staying without those renunciations.
Robert - Tue, Dec 23, 2014 - 7:37am (USA Central)
@Andrew - You are 100% correct. However I can only assume that by this point so MANY colonies had refused to be resettled (on both sides) that both the Federations and the Cardassians backtracked on the "losing citizenship" thing and actually have a formal agreement with actual Federation/Cardassian officers liasing with Federation/Cardassian colonies that are on the "wrong" worlds.

The Journey's End colony was likely the first instance of this happening since if dozens of colonies had already refused resettlement Picard would know this and have offered it from the start. One can infer that after Journey's End all the other colonies filed to do the same thing on both sides and all hell broke loose.
MsV - Thu, Feb 19, 2015 - 1:12am (USA Central)
Avery did a very good job in this episode. I agree that Bernie Casey's dialog did not come off very well. I have seen him in several movies and TV shows over the years he has do great especially for an ex-football player. Avery Brooks is a very good actor.
Teejay - Mon, Jun 15, 2015 - 6:32am (USA Central)
For me, this is the episode where Avery Brooks seemed to really start to get comfortable in his role as Sisko. I found his performance early on in the series to be uncomfortable to grating, especially in season 1. It started getting better about six/seven episodes into season two, but really seemed to hit his stride starting here.

Nathan B. - Tue, Jul 14, 2015 - 1:14am (USA Central)
The highlight of this story, for me, was watching Gul Dukat in action with Sisko. Dukat (along with Garak) is easily one of the most riveting characters on DS9.
methane - Thu, Jul 16, 2015 - 3:17pm (USA Central)
I'm basically just going to echo what Teejay said.

I agree with those who thought Brooks wasn't very good early in the series, but got better over time.

I thought this was the first really strong performance from him. He wasn't quite as good in the next episode, but I think this may be the turning point.
William B - Tue, Aug 11, 2015 - 9:53am (USA Central)
The two-parter is structured with Sisko, Hudson and Dukat as personal avatars for the overall philosophies and actions of Starfleet, the Maquis and Cardassia, with Sisko's loyalties torn between Hudson and Dukat. This basic structure is pretty clever, in the way it personalizes the overall conflicts: the Maquis, as a Federation offshoot, are people that the Federation are bound to sympathize with personally, but who gradually move further and further from Federation values, whereas the Cardassians are recent enemies who the Federation reluctantly sides with. Along those lines, Sisko loves and trusts Cal Hudson, the best of buds, and initially doesn't even trust Dukat not to have randomly assaulted his son for no reason, but as the two-parter continues Sisko finds himself more and more (reluctantly) sympathetic to Dukat and his worldview and more and more disgusted and put off by Hudson's behaviour. This all happens while Dukat still somewhat repels Sisko personally and he still views Hudson as a friend, which still summarizes the Federation's personal relationships with the Cardassians and the Maquis.

Of course, the balance of this episode is all off, because Marc Alaimo's performance as Dukat and Bernie Casey's as Hudson are very far apart in quality and interest. Dukat's scenes (more on these later) are engrossing, funny, and chilling, with Dukat coming across as a dangerous but complete person, and the Hudson scenes can't even really sell the notion that Sisko and Hudson used to be friends. In principle, it should be easier for me to believe that a man believes that a man who farmed a planet for twenty years should have a right to the fruits of his labour than that a man believes children should be forced into day-long grueling memorization camps because joy is vulnerability, but Alaimo sells Dukat saying the latter as if it's the most natural thing in the world and Casey can't do much at all. Not to lay too much of the problems on the performances, I do think that the episode's portrayal of Cardassian ethos as represented by Dukat really does still run circles around their portrayal of the Maquis' reasons. The Cardassians are an alien, militaristic, Orwellian state, and one which produces True Believers like Dukat and Garak who *nonetheless* are completely opposed to each other, who both seem to believe in some of the same principles yet come at it in vastly different ways. Still, in this episode in particular, when Dukat indicates that he has no desire to see the peace treaty between the Federation and the Cardassians crumble, I believe it. The Maquis stories focus on how they love their land, and also how Cardassians are jerks, and somehow all the arguments fall apart into something like whining.

YES, the Cardassians are oppressive, frightening, and fascistic, which is why it is a bad idea to live in Cardassian space. It is certainly wrong of the Cardassians to arm their people to bully and kill the colonists out. And I agree that the ex-Federation citizens who live on those planets in the DMZ have a right to defend themselves, in the sense of, they have the right not to be shot by Cardassians. However, the "right to defend themselves" always comes up as a way of dodging the fact that the central, inciting act of this episode was the destruction of the Bok'Nor with all hands, over on DS9 *not even in the DMZ*, with no actual proof that the Bok'Nor was smuggling weapons. Whether the Cardassians "started it" within the Cardassian-space-ex-Federation-colonies or not, this was the first act of sabotage on either side which killed dozens of people outside the space. This inciting event is part of what makes many of the episode's arguments hard to swallow. There is a return of the PEOPLE YELLING AT EACH OTHER theatre in Sisko's officer when Kira storms in to yell about how Bajoran oppression gives the Federation ex-citizens the right to defend themselves by, I guess, blowing up Cardassian freighters on the station Kira is the first officer of? And that's the problem in a nutshell: Sisko points out that the colonists chose to live in Cardassian space, and Kira yells "WELL I DIDN'T!" and then proceeds to describe the situations as analogous anyway. But really, my sympathy for the Maquis really is weakened by the fact that there's no real reason they can't just move. If the colonists move, they lose their homes, but the Federation is post-scarcity. The emotional attachment to the land that they have built is real, but Kira forced Mullibok to move in "Progress" to help expedite Bajoran power distribution, let alone to stop a war. It is obviously unfair, and if Cardassians are surreptitiously driving the colonists out through force and fear and killing, they should be held accountable and perhaps the entire notion of colonies existing within the opposite power's space should be reexamined. The choice to go for terrorism, including blowing up ships with no proof they are gun-running, would only make sense to me if they really had no ability to leave their colonies. That Sisko had not heard until now of the Cardassians punishing ex-Federation colonists in the region suggests to me, too, that this is not highly publicized, and I am not sure why; Hudson clearly *could* have reached out to Sisko before joining the Maquis, surely? But it seems to me that Hudson wanted to get his involvement in the terrorist organization started and already going before any alternate channels of dealing with this problem presented themselves.

Don't get me wrong, though; obviously there are Cardassians who are betraying the treaty, though it's not clear whether the Bok'Nor was part of that plot. I like that Dukat uses all his power and authority to try to discourage the Cardassian ships from attacking that Federation one, and that Dukat seems genuinely just as confused and distraught as Sisko about the situation. That Dukat and Sisko, as our episode's representatives of the Cardassian and Federation establishment *near*, but not in, the DMZ, are both confused and both want to get to the bottom of this suggests that the situation perhaps has gotten out of control. While I think that the episode fails to make sufficient case for the Maquis, I do very much like that there is the sense that both Sisko and Dukat feel out of the loop in terms of what has been happening in the DMZ, and are equally confused and chagrined by the activities that take place; there is the sense in which having left the region alone, conflicts have "naturally" arisen without any cooler heads to resolve them through anything but increasing levels of terrorism on both sides. This is pretty realistic, overall, and a believable development, in a vacuum -- I say "in a vacuum," because I'm still not so sure about the Maquis' reasons for not getting out of there. I like, further, that the episode parallels Evek and Hudson, in that Evek's kidnapping/"apprehension" of Samuels and extraction of information is followed by Hudson's kidnapping of Dukat for "proof" of Cardassian weapons smuggling.

On Dukat/Sisko interactions personally: these are such a joy. I love Dukat's confusion and emphatic "You wound me!" when Sisko shows concern over Jake's presence, which I think is both sincere shock and a played-up dramatization of his suffering which we will come to see from Dukat often. The Runabout scene, though, is the real highlight: Dukat's needling Sisko about his panel being off, his smugly stating that Cardassian models are years ahead, and his "knowledge is power, joy is vulnerability" and hilarious follow-up statement that Sisko is the most joyless man he's ever met (and among the least vulnerable). I love the way for Sisko's various walls against Dukat, he immediately lets Dukat use the comm channel when the Cardassian ships are attacking a Federation one, and even gives him access to the photon torpedoes (at which point Dukat drops the pretence of not knowing about the Runabout controls!). Part of what makes Sisko/Dukat a fascinating pairing is that they actually *do* work very well as a team, both here and in "Defiant," as long as their interests are aligned. Dukat's calling Sisko on the superior Federation morality seems to me to believably represent an outsider's reaction to the Federation, ESPECIALLY when Sisko himself has demonstrated quite a bit of less-than-ethically-superior behaviour (admittedly not that Dukat has witnessed) and further when the inciting event for the episode was the random destruction of a Cardassian freighter at Sisko's station. That Dukat can talk about believing Sisko to be an honourable man suggests that Dukat has his own code of honour, too, and while I think Dukat eventually breaks most of his codes and beliefs, I think that at this point he genuinely believes himself to be a good person, and even perhaps has reason to. His value system is based on domination and control, and he plays games, but he is honest to Sisko throughout this episode about the important things. And I suspect that Dukat recognizes that keeping DS9 functioning properly is not such and easy job.

The Quark/Sakonna stuff is fine, though a tiny bit laboured at points.

It's hard to evaluate this as an episode in and of itself, but overall I think it's a 3 star show, especially for the fantastic Dukat scenes.

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