Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine



Air date: 10/23/1995
Teleplay by Nicholas Corea
Story by Toni Marberry & Jack Trevino
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Captain Sisko is right ... you are in love with the sound of your own voice." — Kira to Dukat

Nutshell: So-so. The early scenes are outstanding, but then the episode turns a bit trite. Some horrendous attempts at comic relief really hurt, too.

There are some very relevant moments in "Indiscretion," but this episode, alas, does not live up to what it easily could have been. It could've been another great installment, but it falls a little bit short because of its predictable conclusion and lapses of incredulity.

When Kira gets a reliable lead on the whereabouts of the Ravenock, a Cardassian ship with Bajoran prisoners lost since the Occupation, she sets out on a mission to search for it, hoping to find a friend who was on board. Since it was a Cardassian ship, the Cardassians also want to find it, so they send an official to assist Kira in her search. Surprise! The Cardassian official is Gul Dukat.

The most compelling moments in this episode come in the early scenes where Kira and Dukat begin their journey in the Runabout. Kira would be content sitting in silence. Dukat, however, decides to initiate a conversation, and pretty soon the two find themselves debating the Occupation.

This scene rings true all the way. Here are two characters who were on the different sides of a Holocaust-type situation. They're trying to accept each other now that the peace treaty is in place, but it's not that simple. Dukat used to command a slave mining station. How can Kira separate yesteryear's image of a Cardassian slave driver from that of today's newfound "ally"? At the same time, how can Dukat possibly apologize for a genocide that his people don't even want to admit? He tries, nonetheless, in his own way, but not without insulting Bajor at the same time. A lot of this discussion seems like the realistic views people in such a situation would take, and I liked the way the material in this scene was presented: without the dramatic cheats of instant mutual understanding.

Unfortunately, this scene has little to do with the rest as the story. Once they locate the crash site of the Ravenock, the plot thickens when we learn that Dukat is also looking for somebody—a Bajoran lover with whom he had a daughter. He finds that his lover has long since perished, but the daughter may still be alive, marooned on the planet. But since his daughter is half Bajoran, he informs Kira that he has to kill her—or risk having his career destroyed when his peers find out about his affair.

This is where the story slips up. It becomes a predictable tale of the Man who Reluctantly Heeds his Conscience. Will Dukat change his mind at the last second and realize that killing his daughter to save his career and reputation is wrong? Or will he shoot her with his phaser set on vaporize? Can we vote more than once?

Sarcasm aside, this might have worked, but the story ends with his choice played out in overly dramatic terms, and the issues from earlier in the episode fade into background conversation. The writers seem to have sincere intentions here, but the final result is just not that inspired.

Something else this episode does—and more successfully—is show the many faces of Gul Dukat. It makes Dukat into a more fully developed character that we can understand (although there were a few scenes where Alaimo's performance could've been a little bit better).

The big problem with "Indiscretion," however, is some filler which just doesn't sit right. A scene where Dukat sits on a spike and impales it in his rear is all-too-obviously played for laughs. Dukat starts yelping in pain and then shoves his rear into the camera while bending over to run a medical device over the wound. This makes Kira laugh hysterically. But the scene isn't funny. It's just a dumb contrivance to make Kira and Dukat a little more friendly toward each other. It's basically saying "We've had a good laugh, right? Now we're buddies." Thanks, but no thanks. This "comic" scene just feels way too forced and hokey, and doesn't balance very well against the serious tone in the Runabout. Aside from this scene, most of the Kira/Dukat scenes work well, although, aside from the Runabout scene, there's nothing particularly standout about them. Kira threatening to kill Dukat if he tries to hurt his daughter sounds like something which is supposed to make us gasp, but instead borders on being obvious and obligatory.

There's a B-story here, involving Captain Yates taking a job on Bajor which will allow her to be closer to Captain Sisko. She even considers moving onto the station. All Sisko can say is "It's a big step." (That was his first mistake.) The amiable results of this thread are amusing, particularly the series' running gag of Jake being the expert on his father's relationship. Lightweight, but likable.

Overall, "Indiscretion" is a decent episode that could have been much better. Pairing Kira and Dukat has so many possibilities and it's too bad the script doesn't realize more of them. This story shows promise early on, but then settles for less.

Previous episode: Hippocratic Oath
Next episode: Rejoined

Season Index

29 comments on this review

Nic - Wed, Mar 4, 2009 - 6:36pm (USA Central)
It's true the scene where Dukat sits on a thorn was not funny, but I don't think it was meant to be. Here's what Ira Steven Behr had to say about it:

The scene when Dukat sits on the thorn is a pivotal moment in the episode and in this process of re-evaluation. Of this scene, Ira Steven Behr comments, "There are moments in life when you can be with someone with whom you have nothing in common, who you have nothing but disdain for, and then something happens: a moment of shared experience, or shared laughter, and it just changes the playing field. And it doesn't mean that you become friends afterward, it doesn't mean that you've broken through to a new level of understanding that'll be with you for the rest of your lives. But something has changed. It's a bonding moment. And though it's probable that neither of them would ever discuss it, after this, their relationship will never be quite the same again. They've started to see each other as people."

This really rings true to me. But hey, suit yourself!
Dimitris Kiminas - Tue, May 5, 2009 - 1:24am (USA Central)
In other words, "We've had a good laugh, right? Now our relationship will never be quite the same again." - Thanks, but no thanks!!
Damien - Sun, Jun 14, 2009 - 8:42am (USA Central)
The thorn issue didn't stick in my throat as much as it seems to have done with others. I liked this one much more than a score of 2.5, though not as highly as the season openers.
Destructor - Sun, Jul 12, 2009 - 7:59pm (USA Central)
We were laughing at Dukat with a stick in his butt before Kira was. Ergo: It must have been at least a little funny.
Vince - Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - 3:39pm (USA Central)
I agree with the other comments. The relationship between Dukat and Kira should never have a comic moment. The tensions should remain throughout the series. I wanted to hear her tell Dukat that the girl's pleading was only making it much easier for Kira to blow Dukat away if he harmed her.

There is a scene I never saw in 7 years of DS9 that would have been very satisfying. Dukat, running through DS9 trying to escape from something, then turning a corner, and being face to face with Kira. He would knock her down as he ran over her, but her hand or foot would stick out and trip him, and then she would pounce, and we can imagine the rest.
Carl - Sat, Oct 31, 2009 - 7:08pm (USA Central)
I loved the scene with the thorn. I agree with you on everything else about this episode but I think you missed the idea of that scene. As Nic said above, it rang very true to me and I felt that it was very well acted - I really sensed that these two characters finally saw each other as people. Just a minute later, however, Dukat reveals that his intention is to murder his daughter. It has so much more impact, on account of the thorn incident, than it otherwise would have done.
Patrick Stewart 4 President - Thu, Dec 3, 2009 - 12:03am (USA Central)
I agree that Jammer may be criticizing the thorn scene too much. First of all, I for one did find it funny (maybe I'm just a lillte more simple-minded than you guys.... then again maybe not). But other than that, I think that the purpose was to show how even enemies can form a temporary bond through a mutual experience, and consequently may gain a new perspective on each other. Again, that doesn't mean that Kira and Dukat now suddenly become friends. It's just a brief insight into each other's persona. Also, I thought it was pretty well acted. I lold.

As for the episode as a whole, I pretty much agree with Jammer that the rescue/killing part was pretty standard writing (i.e. lame). But still, lots of good points brought up during the episode. Maybe 2.8 stars. (But then Hippocratic Oath has to get 3.2)
Jeffrey - Fri, Mar 12, 2010 - 3:28pm (USA Central)
Not that I would want Dukat to get away with killing his own daughter, but I never understood why he would tell Kira that he was planning to do just that. Did he honestly think after telling her this, that Kira would let him do it?

All Dukat had to do was rescue his daughter, take her back to Cardassia and make up any story he wanted regarding her identity and have her killed there. It's not like Kira was going to be visiting Cardassia Prime anytime soon so how would she ever know what happened?

Again, I certainly didn't want to see him become such an overt murderer, but I'll never understand why he confessed his plan to Kira and still expected to get away with it.
Ivana - Wed, Sep 1, 2010 - 9:05am (USA Central)
@ Jeffrey: The implication was that deep down he never wanted to kill her, so in some way he (subconsciously?) needed Kira to be there to stop him if needed. I seem to remember Kira realizing that and saying something to that effect in the end.

I don't know what the problem is with the thorn scene, and comic moments between Kira and Dukat in general. Just because Dukat can be funny or silly occasionally doesn't mean that he isn't a real villain or that we have to sympathize with him. People all have silly moments in real life, I'm sure that every despot and criminal has had some of those. And it's not like Kira was going to be Dukat's friend or forgive him just because they shared a silly moment and laughed about it. It just makes the situation more bizarre, in a way, but also more lifelike - how do you deal with situations when you're forced to work alongside people who have committed terrible crimes and haven't repented for their past? It must be bizarre and uncomfortable looking at them acting like 'normal people' while at the same time thinking about who they are.
Jay - Sun, Dec 26, 2010 - 12:04am (USA Central)
My only problem with the thorn scene is the same as any scene where Nana is called uhpon to laugh, because her laugh is like 40,000 cats scratching 40,000 chalkboards.
Connor - Sat, Mar 17, 2012 - 12:54pm (USA Central)
Agreed Jay, for such a great actor I always found Nana Visitor's laugh to be unconvincing. See the Dominion HQ entrance scene in WYLB also.
ArenSilver1 - Sun, May 27, 2012 - 2:10am (USA Central)
I'm going to stay out of the thorn debate because I think my opinion would be unpopular. However, I wanted to mention that this has been and will continue to be my favorite point in the evolution of Dukat's character. It has always saddened me that he could not have become more ambivalently grey rather than evolving into a full fledged villain.
Ian - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 11:00pm (USA Central)
The Ravanok seems a better spelling.
Ziyal was an awful addition.
Cail Corishev - Mon, Sep 17, 2012 - 3:26pm (USA Central)
The key to Dukat is something he said later (I think) in the series: "A true victory is to make your enemies see they were wrong to oppose you in
the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness."

It's important to him that everyone -- but especially Kira -- comes to understand him and agree with him. He considers himself a misunderstood hero, and if he can just explain himself properly, people will understand why everything he did was actually for the good, and ultimately learn to love him.

That's why he told Kira about his plans -- he wanted her approval. (And maybe on a subconscious level he wanted her to stop him.) It's not the last time he'll tell her something terrible, so that he can try to explain his reasons and convince her he was in the right.

The butt-hurt scene was off-key, but in theory, I don't have a problem with the idea that two people who are extremely uncomfortable around each other would go overboard when something funny finally breaks the tension. I think it would have played better, though, if they hadn't seemed so relaxed about it, and if they'd realized what they were doing and cut off the laughter a lot sooner.
Kotas - Wed, Oct 23, 2013 - 12:44pm (USA Central)

I like Kira and Dukat a lot. Another good episode.

NoPoet - Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - 2:36am (USA Central)
When people say TNG was the best Trek, I always wonder: did it ever have characters like Kira and Ducat? These under-appreciated legends of Trek could only exist in DS9, a show which very cleverly remains focused on a single location (for the most part) which actually allows for recurring villains and character development. I never understood the "boldly going nowhere" crap, DS9 is the only Trek to involve character development and it's ironically the only one to really, truly explore the galaxy - by showing us its politics and bringing its characters to life. I love all the Treks, but DS9 feels alive, like it's set in a living, breathing universe. It's not about a sequence of hostile "aliens of the week".
Vylora - Sun, Feb 23, 2014 - 12:04am (USA Central)
I really liked this episode for the continuing character growth and analysis that is one of the trademarks of this series. The one point of contention being the scene with Dukat sitting on the sand spine and the "hilarity" that ensues. For one thing, I don't think at all that the scene was a bad idea. What was bad was its execution. It came across as overplayed and a bit hokey. The other thing is, in agreement with a few above comments, I don't believe that the scene was meant as "all of a sudden we're buddies". It was meant as sometimes unexpected and silly things can happen at any time. Those moments can add a sense of bonding. Not necessarily as in all is forgiven but more as in just showing a commonality that shit happens and can happen to anyone despite being good or evil or whatever.

As for rescuing the prisoners - they don't really need to show how they got the Breen uniforms but obviously they had to have been stolen off of dispatched Breen. If that's the case then that negates the future statements that no one has seen what a Breen really looks like. And I highly doubt that their would be spare uniforms lying about.

The b-story was refreshingly pleasant and had me grinning quite a bit.

High end of 3 stars for me.
Rivus - Mon, Apr 28, 2014 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
Episodes like this are good because they show that the Cardassians, even the most villainous of them, aren't as one-dimensional as they initially come off. I'm surprised the stick in the butt scene got the most comments, yet few people are mentioning the scene where Dukat mentions that the occupation may very well have strengthened the Bajorans in the end, but one can take a lot more from this in light of previous episodes. For one thing, could the power-hungry Kai Winn, almost Cardassian in her ways, have gained such a foothold in the government without the new mindset that Dukat claims? On the other hand, perhaps there's an equal tradeoff, where Bajorans also introduced cold-hearted Cardassians to compassion in matters other than interrogation, totalitarianism, and their own family (though the potential can be argued for that from the start with Duet, and Marritza's attempted sacrifice). Food for thought at the very least.

I'd say this is more hovering around 3 stars... Though last outing with the Jem'Hadar may have arguably been slightly better in its premise, I like the potential underlying messages here more, evening the two episodes out in my mind. (as I've said in other comments, this IS my first run of DS9, so there could easily be more to it later on)
Yanks - Tue, Aug 5, 2014 - 11:49am (USA Central)
Interesting episode. Dukat reveals what an egotistical self-centered maniac he is.

Both "sides" find common ground with respect to the dead.

The "thorn" incident was funny, almost as funny as watching Dukat and his skinny ass legs trod through the sand dunes.

But again, Kira & one easily penetrate a compound that is guarded... really?

The first of 3 Ziyal’s was played very nicely by Cyia Batten.

2.5 stars for me.

Nissa - Sun, Aug 10, 2014 - 10:11pm (USA Central)
I liked all the Dukat/Kira stuff. It's true that their conquest of the mine was too convenient, but that's fine, as it wasn't the point of the episode.

The failure for me was the Sisko/Cassidy stuff. It felt...trite. I didn't like anyone's acting in that at all. I also don't understand why all the blame was on Sisko's shoulders. Clearly he wasn't ready for a deeper relationship with Cassidy, and everyone's mad at him for not squealing with glee because she could be around more often. The only thing he did "wrong" was not express himself clearly enough. For that matter, Cassidy could have communicated better.
Brian S. - Fri, Jan 23, 2015 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
The sand spine moment didn't really strike me as comic relief. In other words, it wasn't really intended to be funny for the sake of audience laughter the way a well-timed Rules of Acquisition quote might be. It was a humorous moment for the characters to share. Except that the "laughter" went a lot deeper than that and actually helped illustrate the relationship between the two.

Up to that point, the two characters had been strategically adversarial. Going along and tolerating each other for the sake of the mission and the larger spirit of the peace treaty, but the tension and contempt for each other was palpable. Nearly every comment was a pointed jab at the other, even the compliments (or as Garak might say, "*Especially* the compliments"). Their entire conversation was a constant power struggle. Dukat's condescension towards Kira trying to maintain his superiority and justify his actions during the Occupation; Kira wanting to lash back at the former oppressor of her people and looking for any avenue to attack him.

When Dukat sits on the thorn, Kira laughs loudly at him. But Kira's initial laughter wasn't jovial. It was bitter. It was basically schadenfreude. She was enjoying seeing him in a little pain. Here was the man who was the taskmaster, this powerful man who inflicted so much pain and misery on her and her people, who ordered death squads to kill dozens of freedom fighters.....and he's hopping around like mad, howling and begging one of his former enemies to help him, because of a simple thorn. It gave Kira the satisfaction of seeing Dukat knocked him down a peg....and Dukat knew it. And had no defense for it.

At first Dukat was just simply dealing with the momentary reaction of the pain. He quickly turns to anger and frustration over losing control of the situation and seeing his air of superiority and authority stripped away. He invested so much time and energy trying to maintain his power in front of Kira, and now she's just sitting back laughing as he makes a spectacle of himself. It infuriates him and he shouts at her. But then he calms down a bit and has no other choice but to acknowledge the humor of the situation. And for a moment, the bravado and the power struggles and the manipulative game-playing are all set aside and they share a brief but genuine chuckle that helps bring down some of the walls between, even if only slightly.

They still don't like each other much (Kira less so), but for one brief moment, they stopped being bitter rivals or cold allies. I thought it was well-done.


As for Sisko-Yates, the part I didn't like is how it's acceptable for her to fly off the handle the way she did. I get that he could have been a little more communicative with her, but Sisko was right....her moving to the station *IS* a big step. Surely she would (or should) have recognized that and understood it.

This is his first real serious relationship since his wife's death. The possibility of her moving to the station was pretty sudden (not something they had talked about at length for months before). It's understandable that he might still have some reservations or hesitation before such a major change in their relationship status. A more compassionate partner would have been more understanding of how big a step this was and how Sisko might need a few days to process this new development and figure out if he was ready for it. Storming out and stonewalling him because he displayed a reserved response is detrimental to a healthy relationship where the feelings of BOTH partners are valued.

If my wife had basically asked to move in with me after only 6 months, I would have hesitated, too. And I probably would have rejected it as being too much too soon, even though I loved her.
MsV - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 - 5:34am (USA Central)
Maybe I am the only one, but I never liked Kasidy Yates. Butttt, in this b-story, I thought her reaction was wrong. She decides on making changes in their relationship that she had never talked with him about. She reacted as if he had an answer about something he had not given any thought to. She should have stepped back and gave him a chance to think about it. It would have been funny to me if he had said I don't want you to move to the station.
Icarus32Soar - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 - 9:19am (USA Central)
FAB episode, more nuanced and unpredictable than Duet. Visitor's voice and laughter are a few decibels too high but so what? The tension in Dukat's character and the ambiguity of the relationship is what makes enthralling viewing. Hamlet scores laughs in the graveyard before Ophelia's funeral, the dramatic and the comic together is what makes great art convincing, the thorn scene is part of that blend and it's effective.This episode is off the scale, 6 stars out of 5.
EggNog - Sun, Jun 7, 2015 - 7:13pm (USA Central)
Let's be real here. Cassidy moved to the station to help commit terrorist acts for the Maquis. She had no right to get mad at Sisko for not being honest with her about anything. I wish the writers would never have brought her back after she was arrested. She was probably still up to no good somehow. If there would have been a season 8 we probably would have found out she was a dominion spy or was working for the wormhole aliens who live in firecaves
Ben Franklin - Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - 2:18pm (USA Central)
For me, the biggest annoyance of this episode was Dax butting her way into Sisko and Cassidy's relationship. When Dax jumped in and suggested Cassidy move to the station, her smirk betrays the fact that she was doing this specifically because of her conversation with Sisko about their relationship. How obnoxious. It was probably the turning point for me regarding Dax. At first I just didn't really have a feel for Dax but after this little move, I just have a dislike for her character.

The rest of the episode was pretty good (except for the thorn scene). Whether or not it was meant to be comedic, it just didn't jive. The laughter seemed disingenuous which is rare for Visitor and Alaimo. Gotta agree with Jammer, though, in that the confrontation between Kira and Dukat wasn't really as powerful as the writers intended it to be.

2.5 stars is probably a fair judgement. But I'll admit Dax's stupid little relationship manipulation was worse than the rest of the issues lol.
Robert - Tue, Sep 22, 2015 - 3:02pm (USA Central)
I read the Dax stuff a little differently. Dax is his best friend, his mentor and in theory knows him better than anyone.

To quote Cal Hudson in "The Maquis, part I"

"HUDSON: That woman knows more about me than any woman ever has. More than my wife, even.
SISKO: Tell me about it."

We've had multiple episodes now where it's been clear that Sisko is having trouble fully moving on from Jennifer. Could it be that wise beyond her years Dax knows that it will work out and that her protégé needs a push?

You COULD just assume she's stirring up trouble for her own amusement and the sake of being an ass... but I prefer my head canon.
Ben Franklin - Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - 3:51pm (USA Central)
I get where you're coming from, but at the end of the day, it's not her decision to make but she nearly made it for him. I have several friends that know me extremely well (one even better than my wife). If they ever pulled that kind of crap, I'd have given them what-for.

I don't even think she was doing it for the sake of her amusement and I actually agree with your headcanon. That still doesn't change the fact that she, in classic Jadzia Dax fashion, shoves herself into a place she doesn't belong.
Robert - Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - 5:08pm (USA Central)
I don't disagree, but old people usually think their experience means they know best and nobody is older then her :P
Del_Duio - Wed, Oct 7, 2015 - 10:56am (USA Central)
I randomly watched this episode again last night. I really thought the "A" story with Kira and Dukat was awesome, but the show gets bogged down by WILL KASSIDY STAY???

I think it still would've been so great if they'd had made Ziyal Kira's half sister, a missed opportunity to be sure.

And man, Dukat is such a great & complex character. At least for the first 6 seasons he was.

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