Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Maquis, Part I"

***1/2

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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7 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)
@Elliott

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.

6/10

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