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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16 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.

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