Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Maquis, Part II"

***1/2

Air date: 5/2/1994
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Corey Allen

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In "Maquis II," Sisko finds that his long-time friend Cal Hudson has sided with the Maquis, intending to destroy a Cardassian weapons depot suspected of supplying the aggressive Cardassian colonies with armaments that have been used against the Federation settlements.

An extremely intelligent and often powerful continuation in the Maquis saga, the storyline benefits from solid plot developments (the dealings between Quark and the Vulcan trader are well-written and sensible) and good uses of the characters. This episode's most fascinating selling point is the way it puts Sisko in the tough bind: He finds admirals breathing down his neck to rectify the situation; he's forced into divided loyalties between his now-Maquis friend Cal and his duty to Starfleet; and the possibility of further violence erupting because of these skirmishes remains a possibility.

An early scene sets the tone when Sisko convinces himself of the reality of the Maquis' motives and frustrations—with a particularly apt observation that Starfleet's blind eye has been masked by the paradise of Earth they see every time they look out the window. Sisko's decisions here make him a complex hero—a man who has to utilize careful decision-making as his tool for dealing with the Maquis threat.

The rift between Sisko and Hudson has a strong emotional undercurrent—though it's once again somewhat undermined by Bernie Casey's wooden, dispassionate performance. On the other hand, there's always the reliable Marc Alaimo, whose turn as Gul Dukat—a man of pride, arrogance, keen observation, and sincere intensity—is a constant pleasure to watch in action. A delicious scene in a Runabout features Dukat dismantling the will of a cargo ship captain by using the sheer power of his attitude. Indeed, Dukat emerges "Maquis" as one of the most fascinating and dimensional recurring characters the series retains.

The finale is also gripping—with the unsettling sight of two Starfleet officers (Sisko and Hudson) firing on one another's ships—and it features some slick special effects. "The Maquis" is really good stuff—and not the last Maquis storyline by far.

Previous episode: The Maquis, Part I
Next episode: The Wire

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10 comments on this review

Nebula Nox - Sat, May 19, 2012 - 9:44am (USA Central)
I agree that the Cal Hudson scenes are lame. If you know another language I suggest switching. The dubbed is better than the original.
John - Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - 10:43am (USA Central)
I disagree on your assessment of Bernie Casey's performance but I do think he was stronger in the first episode.

I also think Dukat gets off lightly here. Given what we know of the Cardassian legal system his helping to stop the Maquis shouldn't be enough to get him off the hook after the Central Command has publicly condemned him.

But at any rate, a fantastic double.
William - Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - 6:30pm (USA Central)
Fantastic two-parter. It tired some viewers, but I always thought the Cardassian/Bajoran/Colonies storylines were among the strongest and informed the whole series, even when the Dominion came to town.
Kotas - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 4:53pm (USA Central)

A solid story episode. Good 2-parter.

6/10
Dusty - Sat, Nov 8, 2014 - 9:59am (USA Central)
I have to say, this would have been so much better if they had a decent guest star playing Cal. Ben Casey is bad enough to make Avery Brooks look like a natural TV actor in comparison.

But once his scene is over, this episode skyrockets into a stunning hour of Trek. Every scene with Gul Dukat is gold, especially his dressing down of the alien freighter captain. Quark, of all people, picks apart the situation and points out the foolishness of Maquis extremism to the Vulcan Sakanna. The finale falters slightly in providing little closure to the situation, but that's just how a realistic political drama should play out, so I won't hold it against them. At any rate, it sets up a fascinating story for the future.
MsV - Thu, Feb 19, 2015 - 1:20am (USA Central)
I think Marc Alaimo is one of the best actors on this series. I have watched him over the years on different programs and he was real good on those too. I remember when he was on Quantum Leap as a police officer, he was good. On the contrary I have seen Rene (Odo) in different programs most recently Criminal Minds, he wasn't as good as people on this site attempt to claim. He played a good Odo but other than that he is a mediocre actor, to me.
SamSimon - Thu, Jul 9, 2015 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
Great episodes! I loved them!

The story is solid, all characters are used well, special effects are great (the final battle is really well done). Only one thing didn't work well for me: as soon as part I started, it was super easy to understand that Hudson was with the Maquis. Apart from that, really solid episodes.
William B - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 - 8:12am (USA Central)
Part 2 is pretty similar to Part 1 in terms of quality and theme, though the focus shifts (understandably) somewhat more to action. Here, it's clear that Hudson is with the Maquis, and Dukat is even more clearly Sisko's ally than before. Rather than gesturing to the reasons the Maquis might form, as he did in part 1, Hudson is now directly the spokesperson for the Maquis, and the person who Sisko has to harm in order to protect the peace. This makes the iffy writing and terrible acting for Hudson all the more damaging, because it removes the "real" advocate for the Maquis position from the table.

What we do find is that that the Cardassian Central Command really was supplying Cardassian colonists with weapons in the DMZ. On the one hand, the confirmation that it was *Central Command* that was supplying weapons confirms that the Cardassians were treacherous, trying to shut the colonists out in spite of their agreement to the contrary. This provides justification for Maquis retaliation, as strong as it gets, with something like near-absolute demonstration that the Cardassians *started it*, were trying to drive them out, and cannot be trusted. That helps solidify the ground the Maquis stand on. On the other, it is frustrating and a little baffling that this revelation comes and goes with no real change in the overall situation. This is part of the point, of course -- wheels have already been set in motion, It's Too Late, etc. But Sisko's stopping the arms shipments removes the original reason Hudson gave for the Maquis continuing to fight and puts the Cardassians in a corner. I get that Hudson et al. believe that the Federation will protect their treaty At All Costs, and our glance at Nechayev is not all that reassuring in terms of Federation willingness to hear out complaints about the Cardassians, but Sisko now has proof, which results in part from a Cardassian ally, and are the Maquis really uninterested in seeing where this leads?

While I do wish we had an opportunity to hear a similar argument, as fully-formed, from Sisko, I do love that Quark convinces Sakonna that the reveal of Cardassian weapons substantially changes the situation with hard, self-interested logic. Yes, I do think that what he says should be clear to a Vulcan anyway. But part of what makes the show's using the Ferengi, and Quark in particular, as the voice of human(oid)ism is the way Quark's (the Ferengi's) self-interest, at best, is unencumbered by pride or a desire for revenge, beyond the short-term. Quark works with whoever he has to, including old rivals; Quark has no real expectations that other people will treat him fairly, and expects only that people will follow their self-interest. While this free-market model has its limitations, it *does* mean that Quark is not likely to become fixated on old (or even recent) wounds and is genuinely interested in finding the best solution. We know Quark is being genuine because we saw the way he reacted to Rom's treachery in "The Nagus"; that a war would be a costly and fruitless endeavour when the Maquis has already won a huge advantage in having the Cardassians exposed is something that is more obvious to a pragmatist like Quark than an ideologue like Hudson, or even a man like Sisko who is motivated by a sense of duty (to the uniform!) and loyalty.

The other big apologist for the Maquis position is Sisko himself, particularly in his famous "IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN PARADISE" speech, which I have mixed feelings about. Part of the problem is that even with TNG's history of evil admirals in general and depicting Nechayev as unreasonable and hard-headed in particular, it's a bit hard to understand how Nechayev is so scatterbrained as to declare that the Maquis are "irresponsible hotheads" whom she acknowledges destroyed a freighter with all hands through sabotage one moment, and then says that they are Federation citizens who will obviously listen to reason the next. Further, we're expected to believe that Nechayev responds to Sisko's point that the Cardassians may not be honouring the treaty with appeal to authority ("are you questioning Federation policy!?") rather than any sort of argument, which I acknowledge is at least plausible given Sisko's somewhat belligerent tone, and, most glaringly, that she leaves a *commander* in charge of a situation which could reasonably escalate into full-out war with the Cardassians, and doesn't even bother to give Hudson, who is *actually* in charge of the Federation DMZ presence, a call. The series does tend to give Sisko increasingly improbable responsibilities, but really? So Sisko's rant about how Starfleet Command just Doesn't Get It is "true," but only because Nechayev is made so unreasonable it strains credulity. In any case, Sisko's speech comes down to the idea that humans tend to make more morally questionable choices when put in difficult situations, and I agree with that as a general principle, but it still doesn't sufficiently explain the fact that these are people who still surely have the *option* of returning to the "paradise" of Earth, or some other beautiful Federation world, rather than starting fights that will drag millions (billions?) into a war.

I also want to add before continuing: I think Sisko's lying to Nechayev about talking to Hudson is a big mistake. I get that Sisko wants to protect Hudson because of personal loyalty, and also that he thinks he can Get Through to Hudson. Still, Hudson is *much more* objectionable to me than, say, Sakonna is, and far more dangerous since he can use all his Starfleet training to help the Maquis, which the civilians can't. Sisko's arresting and charging a bunch of people but hoping to protect Hudson is hypocritical. Further, by not telling Nechayev that Hudson has gone to the Maquis, he is continuing to enable her fantasy that the situation is not all *that* bad. Yes, Nechayev should really know better (as I said above), but given that she has her illusions, I think pointing out that the Starfleet presence in the DMZ has gone over to the Maquis would presumably mean Nechayev allocating more actual resources and personnel to this *extremely* tenuous situation. I get Sisko's reasons: he wants to protect Hudson, and he also has the (somewhat control-freak-based) belief that he can solve the situation in a way that the whole force of the Federation coming down cannot. But letting Nechayev go on believing that Hudson is still a force for protecting Federation values and policy also means that the entire Federation force that can prevent the attack that could spark a war is three dinky Runabouts.

One of the recurring motifs in the episode is Dukat's frustration with Sisko's reluctance to attack ("SHOOT THEM!"), culminating in his angry declaration that Sisko is not strong but a sentimental fool. This particularly is set off, early in the episode, by Dukat's declaration to the Maquis that they do not have the stomach for real killing, not the way he and other Cardassians have. And the episode's emphasis on Dukat's charisma and his ability to Get Things Done with his fearsome militarism does give him a certain aura and make him seem almost admirable at times -- as in the scene where he boards the freighter smuggling weapons, mostly through force of will. And in a lot of ways, I think we're meant to recognize that the Maquis, and Hudson, believe that they have to be as "strong" as Dukat in order to win against the Cardassians, leading to their unwillingness to back down from the fight, even knowing it will cost millions of lives -- and in some respect, it may be that they find themselves a little intimidated and even impressed by Cardassian might. The capture of Dukat and attempt to interrogate him through Any Means Necessary, including forced mind-meld (linked to rape previously), shows a desire to implement Cardassian-style tactics, while stopping short of real Cardassian brutality. Sisko's refusal to blow up Hudson's ship while he's flying away is seen by Dukat as weak, but is also the result of Sisko holding on to some of his humanity and mercy and loyalty even in the face of what duty is "required" of him.

The episode, for what it's worth, does not advocate taking the Cardassian position. It's not just that the intense militarism is evil, though it is that -- the way Dukat says that several political rivals believe that he should have killed every last Bajoran, and then shrugs and says "too late for that now," is chilling and darkly funny in its casualness, whether Dukat *actually* believes he should have mass-murdered at this point or no -- but also because the valuing of might and the needs of The State above all else can also turn on you at any time. The biggest demonstration is Dukat's proud declaration that Cardassian trials are superior to the barbaric Federation trials because everyone is always guilty, which occurs because Cardassians "don't make mistakes," which is then undercut by Sisko's pointing out that the Cardassian Central Command has scapegoated Dukat for the weapons shipments and said they would execute him if the Maquis didn't, "after a comforting trial, I'm sure." Similarly, Dukat's admiration for Sisko develops at least in part because of Sisko's honour and loyalty which is remarkably un-Cardassian. When Dukat is captured, Sisko cannot quite articulate to Kira *why* it is important to rescue Dukat, mass killer -- and while the rationalization he gives is *true* (if the Central Command wants him dead, that's reason for them to want him alive), and Dukat is very useful as the episode goes on, I think it's more along the lines that Sisko feels some mild sort of loyalty to Dukat, he-may-be-a-monster-but-he's-my-monster, as a result of Dukat's coming to Sisko in the hopes that the two of them can resolve the Maquis issue. When Dukat thanks Sisko for saving him, and Sisko says that he's sure Dukat would have done the same for him, and laughs, Dukat smiles a little after Sisko's departure, as if recognizing that there *is* something to be said for Sisko's weird, somewhat sentimental attitude.

Hudson would say that Sisko working with Dukat is making a deal with the devil to preserve the peace, and Dukat says that Sisko's maintaining sympathy for Hudson the terrorist is weakness. Both are partly right, but Sisko's ability to work with Dukat demonstrates that Federation/Cardassian relations need not end in war, regardless of their pasts and build-up of personal animosities, and Sisko's loyalty and so-called sentimentality even to a "traitor" of the state is part of the value system that allows the Federation to largely hold together while the Cardassian Empire is endlessly slipping into political treachery and murder and violent regime changes. So I think this is mostly a good episode for Sisko. I would say in particular that not telling Nechayev about Hudson is pretty bad, but it's definitely consistent with the way Sisko prioritizes personal loyalty.

Anyway, as the two-parter about the creation of the Maquis the episode's stumbling on presenting the Maquis perspective is not a small weakness, but the Sisko-Dukat stuff is great, I like the Quark-Sakonna material mostly, and there is a good sense of urgency to the plotting. 3 stars.
Robert - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 - 12:21pm (USA Central)
"When Dukat is captured, Sisko cannot quite articulate to Kira *why* it is important to rescue Dukat, mass killer -- and while the rationalization he gives is *true* (if the Central Command wants him dead, that's reason for them to want him alive), and Dukat is very useful as the episode goes on, I think it's more along the lines that Sisko feels some mild sort of loyalty to Dukat, he-may-be-a-monster-but-he's-my-monster, as a result of Dukat's coming to Sisko in the hopes that the two of them can resolve the Maquis issue. When Dukat thanks Sisko for saving him, and Sisko says that he's sure Dukat would have done the same for him, and laughs, Dukat smiles a little after Sisko's departure, as if recognizing that there *is* something to be said for Sisko's weird, somewhat sentimental attitude. "

I love Dukat. He's basically "space Hitler". They never do ANYTHING to counter that point. Yet he's so damned CHARMING that you're literally rooting for "space Hitler". It's amazing, really.
William B - Wed, Aug 12, 2015 - 12:27pm (USA Central)
@Robert, I know! I don't quite know how they get away with what they do with Dukat, but they somehow manage it, especially the way some sympathy for Dukat seeps into Sisko et al., and even Kira, in ways that are largely believable.

I think the best that can be said about Dukat is that he is a product of his culture. And further, that the "personal Dukat" and the "political/military Dukat" are subtly different -- it's not just that Dukat can be charming, but he can even be kind, love his children, care about humans and Bajorans that he is supposed to despise, all while plotting MASS KILLING for political and military gain and not really seeing the contradiction. I just wrote about "Necessary Evil," and the way he writes off Bajorans dead in the mines as casualties but insists that "we can't have Bajorans running around killing each other" is basically Dukat in a nutshell. Of course, we also know that Dukat will murder if it suits his career, but he does have a fragmented enough mind that I don't think he could quite see it that way.

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