Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Indiscretion"

**1/2

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

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17 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.

7/10
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.

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