Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Darkness and the Light"

***

Air date: 1/6/1997
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Bryan Fuller
Directed by Michael Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I don't care if you held a phaser in your hand or you ironed shirts for a living. You were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets!" — Kira, voicing her uncensored feelings

Nutshell: The "real" Kira returns in another Bajor-oriented show, and a good one at that. This, along with "Rapture," looks like the beginning of a promising trend.

Major Kira is back. And I don't mean the watered-down, passive, underutilized Major Kira from fourth season. I mean the "real" Major Kira from the first three seasons, and particularly the first two—the Kira that was among the strongest and best characters on the show—and one of my favorite characters of all the Trek shows.

As I've said before, I was not at all pleased with what the creators of the series had done with Kira last season. They toned her personality down way too far; they gave her very little to do in many episodes (perhaps because they were giving Worf things to do instead); and the shows where she did have major roles like "Indiscretion" and "Return to Grace" were less about her than they were about Gul Dukat.

But from what I've seen from the fifth season so far I'd say we've had a major turnaround for the better. Though Nana Visitor's pregnancy undoubtedly limited her roles in the opening stretch of the season, what we did see of her was good—beginning with her calmly standing up to Worf's posturing in "Apocalypse Rising," continuing in her prodding some sense into O'Brien in "Looking for Par'mach," and to revealing her troubled thoughts to Odo in "Things Past," and finally being just downright true to character in last week's "Rapture."

And "In the Darkness and the Light" continues the trend with another true-to-the-real-Kira episode, as Kira must track down a murderer who is deviously assassinating her old friends from the Shakaar resistance cell. Like the best Kira shows, this episode finds its success through Nana Visitor's ability to project passion and emotion onto the screen, something I will always welcome.

There's nothing particularly spectacular about the way the actual murder plot proceeds; it's solidly and sensibly written, though there are few real surprises. The events, particularly Kira's and Odo's actions, however, are carried out with precision and skill, and the episode proves that appropriate utilization of characters alone can make a standard premise a good one. What's really important here is the character core of the story, and what Major Kira does in response to these incidents.

The episode opens as a Bajoran monk (a former Shakaar member) is shot in the chest with a planted electronic device that specifically targets him. The same day, Kira receives an anonymous message displaying the monk's face and playing a disguised voice: "That's one," it ominously says, over and over again. Needless to say, the fact that someone from her past is killing her friends is distressing to say the least—but the murderer's messages add the extra elements of sadistic perversion and personal torment to the equation.

Before long, a pattern emerges, involving a particular Shakaar-staged attack from years ago. After the monk's death, Fara (Jennifer Savidge), another member of the Shakaar, urgently contacts Kira fearing for her life. Fara later dies in a grisly transporter accident. A third former-Shakaar member is victim of, as Odo states, "a micro-explosive placed behind the ear."

It's about here that the episode reintroduces some familiar faces from third season's episode "Shakaar": Furel (William Lucking) and Lupaza (Diane Salinger), who secretly come aboard the station to help Kira track the killer. We're given, of course, the obvious "it's so nice to see you again" scene—and it proves effective because these characters have such believable chemistry about them. In fact, I was so distracted that I almost didn't see the blatantly obvious coming: that these two characters were doomed the minute they appeared in the opening credits. In a powerful sequence (with an impetus which admittedly has a touch of manipulation), Furel and Lupaza are killed when an explosive destroys their quarters (or, rather, Chief O'Brien's quarters, where they were staying).

I hated to see these interesting characters tossed away with the wave of a hand, but it definitely made sense. What better way to draw the audience into Kira's lament than to kill likable characters we've seen before? Furel's and Lupaza's deaths do get our attention, and perfectly allow our empathy, as well as add meaning to an extended scene where Kira woefully reflects upon the past.

But Kira isn't just mourning, she's also thinking. Thinking about who committed these murders and what she can do to find him. Thinking about the next step of the investigation. And thinking how she has no intention of sitting idly while Odo investigates a new list of possible suspects.

What happens next is probably "In the Darkness and the Light's" best illustration of the Kira-action that I've missed for so long. Without a word or a hesitation, Kira quietly and confidently beams into Odo's office while he's not there, steals his list of suspects, and beams to a Runabout and slips away. Just like that.

Whether it's luck or contrivance that takes Kira to the isolated house of Cardassian Silaran Prin (Randy Oglesby)—quickly revealed as the killer—I'm not really sure. The episode doesn't enlighten us as to how the fourth of 20 suspects turns out to be the murderer, and the fact that this mystery has such scarcely-utilized clues to its near-arbitrary solution seems to create a bit of a non sequitur. I wondered, for example, how Prin could plausibly carry out his assassinations from his house (or if he carried them out from his house) while still being able to knowingly avoid killing his non-targets. The glaring omission of Shakaar himself in the story is also worth mention. But these minor plot points are not really important. This episode is not really much about its murder plot than it is about the roles of the people involved, that is, Kira and Prin. (For the show to be strictly about plot would miss the point completely.)

The final act is wholly worthwhile. It's heavily theatrical at times, but it's quite effective and pretty riveting. Randy Oglesby's performance easily resides on the stylized side of acting, but he's so extremely interesting and compelling to watch. The lighting of the scene (featuring some fresh perspectives by director Michael Vejar), also heavy on style and not mired in practicality or reality, goes a long way to adding mood and intensity, as well as punctuating the ending's motif of, well, darkness and light.

There's some genuinely good writing here. The motivation in particular seems right. This disfigured Cardassian, injured during an attack by the Shakaar members he has now made the victims of his revenge, is a rambling, insane man who feels completely justified in his actions. Scarier yet, his rhetoric, twisted as it is, has some points that don't seem completely unfounded. This man isn't simply evil—he's disturbed and misguided; an example of the wonderful shades of grey that characterizes many of DS9's best subjects. He truly believes his perceptions of guilt and innocence—the fact that he plans to kill Kira but spare her unborn child and "raise it in the light" proves it.

At the same time, Kira, once she comes face-to-face with her tormentor, does not take the experience lying down, which I particularly liked. Nana Visitor comes through with a truth-bearing, fiery intensity—answering Prin's arguments with the statement that all the Cardassians of the Occupation were guilty and therefore "legitimate targets" for assault, whether they were soldiers or not. Herein lies the central puzzle of the episode, which is that in war the guilty and innocent can be blurred, and individual perceptions become confused and uncertain. I'm sure Prin was completely positive that, as a mere servant to other Cardassians, he was innocent of the mass murder and exploitation of the Occupation. But because he was there, history will not view it that way. Conversely, the Bajorans, capable of terrorism and atrocity themselves, to be sure, are the innocent. History would be wrong to view it any other way. But that sure doesn't make things easier for the individual. That's the point.

I must admit that the episode's final line—Kira's somber reflection about the darkness and the light, the innocent and the guilty—is a tad overly cryptic and not as well-realized at it could've been. But it does work in that it shows Kira's regret for a troubled experience and another conflict that could only end one way—badly. Overall, this topic has a tad of the unavoidable sense of "been there, done that," but when familiar territory is covered this well, I won't begin to argue.

The lack of consequences in Kira's questionable actions hurts a bit (particularly seeing that she stole a Runabout and left Sisko steaming). But no matter—I was very happy to see Kira taking initiative again, because that is what the Kira of the past would do. If someone killed five of her friends, she probably would steal a Runabout and hunt down the killer on her own. She would slug every DS9 security guard standing between her and her dying friends. She would blatantly refuse to acknowledge the points of a revenge-hungry Cardassian. She would defy the chain of command. It's nice to see Kira back to doing what she would do under such extreme circumstances. Or, for that matter, that the creators have given her such circumstances once again.

Previous episode: Rapture
Next episode: The Begotten

◄ Season Index

50 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru
Tue, Nov 13, 2007, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Hmm, it would have been nice to see an reaction of the O'Briens. After all - their quarters have been destroyed and Kira risked THEIR baby on a revenge-trip.

Being Miles, I would NOT like it...
Niall
Thu, Jan 31, 2008, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
This is one of my favourite DS9 episodes. Standout direction by Michael Vejar; Nana Visitor brilliant as usual. The growing sense of mystery and foreboding, the focus on Kira, the strong character work and the dark, gothic finale with its Shakespearean flamboyance of language add up to make this a great episode. The light only shines in the darkness.
AeC
Tue, Jun 3, 2008, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
Given the soul searching Kira did in season one's "Duet," it was a little surprising to hear her rather simplistic "There were no innocent Cardassians" speech (although, she WAS under the gun and Marritza, after all, hadn't taken her prisoner and recently killed five of her friends, so I suppose it would have been hard to muster much in the way of good will in this situation).
Straha
Mon, Sep 1, 2008, 5:25am (UTC -5)
I don't think this was a good script. There's much ado about the "that's one", "that's two" etc mystery, but then its investigation does not lead to any real clue about who the assassin is. This is instead later resolved totally arbitrarily. I also couldn't suspend disbelief in all the technical means the script conjures out of nowhere just so that the assassin is unstoppable. I never like it when writers do that. By these rules, the dominion (or anyone else for that matter)could have easily blown up DS9 long ago.
Destructor
Mon, Aug 24, 2009, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Bored the first time, bored the second. One star.
Anthony2816
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 12:04am (UTC -5)
So Sisko wasn't upset that Kira attacked station security personnel, stole and then erased security files, and stole a runabout for a one-woman unauthorized mission...which we saw could obviously have been handled better by the Defiant?

This, on top of Jakob's observations...well, there's an untold story of the aftermath here.
Nic
Sun, Mar 7, 2010, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Hmmm. Silarin Prin was definitely an interesting character, I especially liked how careful he was about not hurting "the innocent". I was a little disappointed of Kira's claim that "all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty", since she seemed to have learned otherwise at the end of "Duet". I also wish there had been an extra scene at the end for Kira to deal with the consequences of her actions and maybe even realize that in a way Prin may have been right. Unfortunately we get another truncated ending a-la "To the Death."
Elliott
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 4:50am (UTC -5)
This was an infinitely better episode than "Rapture" but I have to agree with Nic that what flopped here was the ending--there needed to be time for Kira to deal with the character of Prin and his words. The scene leading up to his death is one of the best things I've seen on this show and it surprised me for its quality, but then there's nothing learned, not even a chance for Kira to grieve or reflect on the fact that in spite of her character motivations she endangered the life of the baby to satisfy her own blood-lust. These are not commendable qualities. Like all Bajorans, Kira's actions and feelings are understandable and can be empathised with, but they cannot be excused. The fact that Sisko allows this kind of thing to go on adds more fuel to the fire of incredulity that Starfleet not only hasn't fired him, but continues to promote him...but I digress, as a Kira outing, it's very good, but I would have trimmed the "investigation scenes" (as they didn't end up meaning much anyway) in order to provide a proper denouement.
jon
Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Elliot Prin murdered some of Kira's closest friends and urm well Janeway allowed people to get away with complete lunacy like B'lanna in prototype
Jay
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
A couple things...these are some awfully intricate technologies used to assassinate these characters. Still, there should then be security measures in place to detect these I would think.

Also, it's strange that the members of the Shakaar resistance cell would be targeted, but not Shakaar himself.
Captain Tripps
Wed, Nov 2, 2011, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
"Conversely, the Bajorans, capable of terrorism and atrocity themselves, to be sure, are the innocent. "


I would call them the victims, not innocent. They were guilty of many crimes done in retaliation.
Snitch
Tue, May 1, 2012, 4:05am (UTC -5)
Episode did not work for me, the revenge trip, the intolerant message and the deus ex maschina ending, I would give it two stars.
Drachasor
Thu, May 31, 2012, 11:22am (UTC -5)
I didn't care much for this episode. As others have said, the "all Cardassians on Bajor deserved to be killed" is a ghastly and immoral message. Kira still seems to believe this at the end, and the episode leaves no time to examine the implications of such a philosophy. It doesn't have Kira or anyone save the antagonist think about the ethics of the rather indiscriminate killings her resistance group did. After all, they certainly could have used smaller explosions.

Consider the implication that the attack Kira is stated to have performed killed an entire family along with many servants. That very likely includes children. To say nothing of the fact the servants are going to be there likely because they were brought along with the family, being in their employ. I don't see how that warrants their death through an indiscriminate assassination.

Of course, there is collateral damage in wars, which would be the counter-point. But Kira doesn't seem to care about the collateral damage, and if anything she views Cardassian kids and civilians as entirely appropriate targets. It's odd that the episode seems to paint Kira with such an unexamined streak of villainy while seeming to imply she was in the light.

There's also the problem of how this episode implies these acts are relatively easy. There are TWENTY people with the means, opportunity, and motive. That's crazy. How many more with just the capability of doing that? This essentially is the ability to kill anyone on DS9 or almost anywhere else that they desire. It implies a horribly level of security that just doesn't withstand any scrutiny.

On many levels the plot just wasn't thought out or examined as it should have been.
Jasper
Sat, Jun 23, 2012, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
I'll join in voicing the same opinion as the others on this page; the episode just didn't work for me.

In the beginning, I was interested by the clues dropped about the identity of the killer. I, for one, was fully convinced this was being done by someone inside the resistance as they knew who the informant was and they also had all this access which made a lot of sense for someone close to the station. It didn't bother me directly that the this single guy had such extremely sophisticated weaponry, but looking back it raises important issues and I guess it did make me expect something bigger going on.

However, none of the clues led anywhere, and we get a magic answer in a list of people from "Odo's Contacts" (I do wonder what he has been doing that he has such contacts just about everywhere; it wouldn't have been quite so bad if it wasn't for his Klingon contacts a while back) who are just worked down one by one by Kira who gets lucky on her fourth call of the twenty-five.

This meant that by the time Kira found the guy, the show had to work really hard to keep me interested. However, instead of something substantial, we got a raving lunatic speaking in riddles. Yes, they made some back-and-forths about whether every Cardassian was guilty. That too fell flat for me - surely not everyone was guilty, but it mattered little, really. This was a war situation and war is ugly. People died and it mattered little if they all happened to be guilty people. None of this was mentioned, though, and by this point I was actually bored. Honestly, it doesn't happen often that I get bored watching a show - not even when watching rather poor series (I tend to even watch Teen Dramas when they are on (and little else is, which happens surprisingly often here) and not get bored).

Because I was bored at this point, the trick with the sedative was no longer "clever", but became a deus ex machina in my book, as I didn't care enough anymore to be mentally referencing the opening scenes of the episode. After she woke up, I was like "oh yeah..." and then I shrugged and watched on.

However, we haven't come to the real horror of the episode, yet. The real horror was that when the Defiant arrives, instead of anything negative about the crazily reckless thing Kira has done, we get her talking as loony as the lunatic had been. Trying to tell some moral, I suppose, but it was just zany talk to me by this point.
John
Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 11:47am (UTC -5)
I very much enjoyed this one for the same reasons as you Jammer.

But I would also agree with some of the above comments about plot contrivances and the somewhat black and white moral conclusions getting in the way.

And Sisko is still wearing his com badge in the wrong place in a couple scenes!

What might have been a real classic... Ah well, still lots to like.
Cail Corishev
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
I had an awfully hard time buying that this half-crazed Unabomber type was able to pull off all these killings, which involved circumventing both Bajoran and Federation security systems. Just for good measure, he somehow records Kira's voice and takes the risk of sending her messages for a little more misdirection. And they didn't even try to explain how he managed it all.

Either it's ridiculously easy to kill anyone and get away with it (which makes you wonder how Dukat is still alive), or a servant somehow became the quadrant's greatest assassin. Doesn't really work either way.

I didn't mind Kira falling back on her old "kill 'em all" defenses, when faced with someone bringing up accusations from that time. That's what she thought when she was planting bombs, so that's what came back up. It wasn't the time for nuanced arguments about necessary evil.
David
Tue, Dec 25, 2012, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
In response to the whole "all Cardassians on Bajor deserved to be killed", someone described it as "ghastly and immoral"...it is, but it's perfectly in line with how Kira thinks. While I think episodes like Duet taught Kira that Cardassians have the capacity to be three dimensional, I think she still starts from a place of "you're a monster, prove me wrong". I think that's part of why she's so interesting, even at this point in the show she is deeply flawed. I don't think she ever stops hating them really, she just has a list of exceptions, and she's maybe more open to people being added to that list. It probably is "ghastly and immoral", but I don't really turn to Kira as a guidepost for morality. That's just who she is.
Sean
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
The problem with this episode is that it is a revert back to Kira from season 1 who hated all Cardassians simply for being Cardassian. She's had some serious character progression by this point, Duet of course being the main place where it happened, and this is some backwards regression for her to think that all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty and deserve death.
Dominick Destine
Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 12:47am (UTC -5)
Like most people, I had some serious problems with the large amount of plot holes in the episode. Here are a few that were not mentioned yet;

- Odo really doesn't keep his files secure? Odo, the security chief, the guy that is incredibly methodical does NOT keep his station code-locked? seriously?

- Odo does not keep a copy or a backup of sensitive information ? What?! this is completely inconsistent with Odo's character. His character is not capable of such incompetence.

- Wouldn't the station detect the bomb on the freighter that the two Shakaar members arrived on? I'm pretty sure if it were that easy to assassinate targets on DS9, Sisko and co. would have died long ago.

- What was the point of the "That's one, two three, etc" sub-plot? it wasn't a clue and it didn't really go anywhere...



With that said, I really liked the episode, the direction was superb, the pacing was excellent and the performances were spot-on. Though Kira was out of character in despising all Cardassians, since she had learned better in S1 Duet. Oh well, in any case, I also think 3 of 4 stars is adequate. Terrible plot executed fabulously.
Michael
Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer's review for the most part. This is a very strong Kira episode, especially when she decides to take matters into her own hands. I don't think what she says her negates her growth in anyway. The context is what makes her say that, and she's not entirely wrong either. Civilian or not, Cardassians living on Bajor were complicit in the occupation. They can't escape responsibility. Neither can Kira. But what Kira did was an arguable necessity. Kira was compassionate towards Maritza because he truly felt remorse, and because he was never directly involved in the atrocities.

Prin, while similarly a civilian, accepted no responsibility. That's the point of the show. Even though Prin hadn't done anything directly, he WAS responsible in part for cooperating, whether he admitted it or not. He was there, an occupier. Kira and the resistance were justified. Were the children that died in the attack also complicit? No. But the Bajorans were fighting for their freedom. The Cardassians were the ones who brought them there. This is a rare episode that acknowledges the fact that no matter how noble the cause, war will always lead to unintended suffering by many who are only peripherally responsible. Yet their responsibility remains even so. It is not fair, but it is not entirely unfair either, in all honesty.
Elnis
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode – and I also enjoyed reading the comments you guys made. It’s an interesting discussion.

I’d like to throw this into the Big Bowl of Consideration:

At the very end, in Kira’s cryptic last speech, she’s not just talking about Prin … she’s ALSO talking about herself.

Odo asks why she was given a sedative, and this is what Kira replies, word for word:
”He wanted to protect the innocent … and separate the darkness from the light. But he didn’t realize … the light only shines in the dark … and sometimes innocence is just an excuse for the guilty.”

Cryptic indeed! What does it mean? Well, a speech like that can be interpreted in several ways. Here’s how I see it:
Kira’s talking about how Prin tried to divide the world into black and white, good (or just) actions and evil (or unjust) actions. But that’s not how the world works – the light (good/just) cannot exist independent of the darkness (evil/unjust). In other words, there’s always a grey area … and when it comes to the actions we’re talking about here, “doing the right thing” or “doing what is necessary” is an excuse that people tell themselves to justify terrible actions they feel forced to take.

Think about it for a minute: who proclaims to be innocent? Prin does, that’s right … but so does Kira! “You raped our planet, we were defending ourselves when we bombed you” is her defense for the actions she took while bombing buldings full of people while she was in the resistance.

In the heat of the argument, both Prin and Kira claim to be in the right, to be victims doing what is/was justified – but at the very end, a shocked and contemplating Kira admits to herself (and to us, the viewers) that it’s not that simple … that every party involved here (including herself) was in some way guilty – and using “innocence” as an excuse/a defense.

To me, Kira saying “all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty!” while arguing with Prin, is fully understandable. She is, after all, restrained to a table by a Cardassian who has assassinated her friends and comrades and is about to kill her. Who wouldn’t be seething with righteous fury under such circumstances?
It’s AFTER she’s had some time to think – while waiting for her rescuers from The Defiant – that we see her as the Kira, who has learned something these past years … the Kira, who is capable of asking herself some tough questions … and capable of coming to the conclusion, that things aren’t as clear-cut black and white, right and wrong, as they seemed when she was in the resistance.

At the very end, Kira realizes that, in a very unpleasant way … and here’s the big, golden point … Prin is a twisted mirror image of how Kira USED to be – or rather, of how she used to think when fighting in the resistance … and, to a large part, still thinks at this point, despite lessons learned (in”Duet”, for example). THAT’s why she looks so shook up, talking in “riddles” to (mainly) herself at the very end.

That’s what I got from this episode – so to me, this was a very, very strong character development episode for Kira.
Never mind all the plot holes (which, as has been pointed out, were abundant).
Kotas
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:45pm (UTC -5)

Another poor episode. It is not at all believable that Kira would run off on her own while pregnant.

2/10
Niall
Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Elnis, I totally agree, that's what I got from it too. When Kira says "the light only shines in the darkness", she's talking about herself (and the baby) as much as anyone else. And yes, the second part of that statement can be read in both ways too.
Ash Pryce
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
I dont comment often, though I tend to generally agree with jammer with some exceptions (I dont think Let he who is without sin... is as bad as many make out, its a lazy episode sure, but nowhere near as bad as The Muse).

But this is one where I wholeheartedly disagree. There are some really nice ideas that just dont come to fruition. The plot of the voice messages was really good, sinister and interesting but didn't really go anywhere. It had so much potential.

I also think the idea of having a renegade cardassian servant as the villain was lazy. I was hopinh that it would be a Bajoran, in fact I was hoping it would be the woman from the records office and that her death was faked- after all, we never really saw "her" body. And that would have been an interesting direction.

It just didn't really feel like much of an interesting route.

also, and as others have said, the whole "25 names" thing with kira getting it right first go (she knocked it down by 3 to start with, so her hunt didnt really begin until then) is just too much of a leap.

Its a good 2 star episode, but 3 is a stretch. I actually enjoyed it less than ...Without Sin... and for me is one of the weakest episodes of the show so far.
Dusty
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Really scary episode, and it brings back the Kira I love. I have no trouble believing she would steal information and take off on a shuttle while pregnant to hunt down the assassin. But the events of the episode are rather farfetched and don't tie together well enough. I get why Prin used Kira's voice for the messages, but how did he record her voice to begin with? Why wait this long to take his revenge? Why wasn't Shakaar himself killed as well? It still has a great ending with a cryptic message, but the rest didn't do it justice.
Vylora
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
The investigative portion of the show, while good, was much too padded to the point of negatively impacting the whole. Add in a few plot-holes that could have been avoided with smarter writing and it becomes a good episode that had great potential.

Not bad by any means, though, and the Kira/Prinn scenes keeps it afloat.

3 stars.
Toraya
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Frankly, as a three-times-pregnant human being, I take serious issue with the idea expressed above that "Kira's risky actions were not believable because no pregnant woman would risk her fetus!"

Fetuses pretty much take care of themselves. While some pregnant women cling to old ideas of "Don't exert yourself honey; you'll miscarry!" most are accustomed to leading their usual active lives unless fatigue or discomfort slow them down. They don't walk around thinking of themselves as Wombs First and Foremost.

I think the fact that she's carrying someone *else's* fetus might have given Kira pause...but with her friends murdered, is she really gonna sit home crocheting a baby blanket? She's still Major Kira! Being temporarily pregnant doesn't change her nature or make duty-to-fetus her only concern.

There was plenty wrong with this ep, but Kira's rash actions were right in character.
NCC-1701-Z
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
I loved Kira's attitude towards Prin - basically amounted to "Screw you! If you were there, you were all guilty!", instead of going the wimpy route of "Oh I'm so sorry, I wish I hadn't had to do that, can't we all get along?" Quite refreshing.

It was nice to see Kira back in action again, defying everything in her way (even knocking out three guards trying to get to her friends), although I would have thought she could have given token consideration to O'Brien's baby at the very least. No matter. I didn't like Kira's last line(s) though - quite frankly, they sucked.

3/4 for me too.
Yanks
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Every time Randy Oglesby delivered his lines I kept thinking of Mr. Gumb in 'Silence of the Lambs'. Nice performance by Randy. I also had some BAB5 running around in my head :-)

Good episode. But damn, it seems about anyone can just jump into a runabout and steal it before anyone notices. Odo??? eeesh...

Above average episode that I'll give 3 stars. I don't have a problem with Kira's development in season 4, but I wouldn't put her actions here past her for a second.
DLPB
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Major? She's be lucky not to be thrown into jail after that. Tired of this GI Jane.
MsV
Sun, Nov 16, 2014, 4:46am (UTC -5)
I apologize to all of you who loved the old Kira. I hated Kira the first 3 years. I like tough women, who take the initiative, but Kira was a miserable B***. I like her softened. She was still tough, but no b**tchy. What I truly hated about her in this episode, she endangered the O'brien's child, which she was supposed to carry to term, thus nurturing until birth. She didn't have to play the hero, all she had to do was let Odo and Sisko in on what she had found and they could have assisted. Maybe the show would not have been as dramatic, but Kira would not have came out as careless and wreckless.
Nebula Nox
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
How is it possible, given the fact that people can be totally remade, that this guy is going around with severe scars?
bc53
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Doesn't work for me at all. Starting with the explosion. Kira just casually assaults and knocks out three security officers and has to be stopped by a placenta-rupture (or whatever) from venting a whole section, killing at least the baby, herself and three unconscious security officers.

Then she steals a runabout, deletes all traces of where she may be going to face her nemesis alone. This guy so far has managed to take out 6 people in such a meticulous, organized, fore-seeing fashion that those who are left of the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order would instantly dissolve their agencies out of feelings of inadequacy.
And Kira just beams down to his compound unprepared, with only a phaser - because that's a good idea.

If the writers wanted me to hate Kira with a fiery passion: well done!
We've had out share of stupidly acting cast members this season, but she takes the idiot cake!
William B
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
The first and only episode to make great use of Kira's pregnancy, "The Darkness and the Light" is riveting and disturbing and, naturally, flawed. The big opposites besides the titular one are death and life. In the past, Kira was with the Shakaar cell (one of the oddities of this episode is the complete absence of Shakaar or even mention of him in the presence), and late in the episode in a very strong scene, she tells Odo how she came to join them, and how excited and happy she was at having joined in combat, and discharged an entire phaser rifle, how she felt like one of them for being able to participate in the righteous violence and killing. In the present, she has an alternate family: she is involved in combat at times, but her role on Deep Space Nine is at least partially generative, to keep the community going. She is one of them, too, so much so that she felt secure enough to offer her body to carry the O'Briens' child to term. The episode opens with "violent man" Latha being gunned down, despite the fact that he has "changed, really changed." The next scene is Kira finding it difficult to adjust to her pregnancy before news of Latha's murder comes in. The pregnancy remains the whole rest of the episode as a symbol of Kira's current life -- generative, life-giving, peaceful, based on her bond with the crew of the station -- and once her old Shakaar crew are endangered, Kira finds the pregnancy more and more frustrating and cumbersome, as if she wants more and more to cast it off and all that it represents and return to the clarity of the teenager discharging a phaser rifle.

The feeling of dread throughout the episode worked quite well for me, and I like that Kira really did spend some time trying very hard to toe the line, and insist on letting authorities deal with it rather than have herself and her Shakaar peeps play vigilante. Those days are over. There's no more Occupation. They one. It's time to build now. But someone is out there killing them off and time is running out. (I just read on Memory Alpha that Bryan Fuller based the plot of this episode on Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," which came to mind.) I thought that the trick of having the "that's X" readouts being Kira's voice was very effective -- the psychological toll here is that Prin wants to convey to her that this is all Kira's fault, and that it is ultimately Kira, at the bottom, who is the killer. Prin is partly goading Kira into becoming a terrorist/vigilante again to "prove" that this is all that she is, and that the life that she has built in the intervening years is false, and once Kira hops in a Runabout to go settle the score personally it starts to seem as if he is "right." By replaying his own personal Occupation tragedy, he is bringing Kira back into the time and ethics of the Occupation, and Kira falls right into his trap, whatever that entails. Kira essentially returns to the terrorist mindset in some crucial respects here, preferring individual action and personal revenge to the rule of law, stealing a Runabout, going off on a mission that is so risky as to almost definitely get her killed, and she does all this with the O'Brien fetus whom she had promised to keep alive in tow. To be fair to Kira, it is not as if Prin is done with her at this point in the story; she is waiting to die, unsure if she can truly be protected. But that a vendetta is a large part of why she goes off is also something she acknowledges.

Once they get there, Prin, Manichean maniac, starts rambling about darkness and light, insisting that Kira is only a creature of darkness; she killed long ago, and that killer identity is all that she is. Kira's willingness to risk the baby now gets its extreme response: Prin is going to cut the baby out of her. It is horrifying, and to me seems like people and institutions who place higher value on "innocent" unborn children than flawed adults, seeing the woman as nothing but a diseased womb. And then/but then, the baby is the one thing that keeps Kira alive at all. It's a symbol as well as a literal element of the story, and Kira's willingness to take on another person's child to raise is the proof of "light" and dedication to life that Prin can't ignore, even though he notably ignored all other evidence (religion, farming as life-affirming occupations), which he really believes he can simply cut out of Kira without killing the baby as a result. I'm sure he'll take great care of the premature human baby while probably won't survive his operation, which he was not even initially going to use a sedative for. In any case, it is the annoying aspects of the pregnancy Kira was decrying in the teaser -- the stimulant effect of the makara herbs -- that saves her in the end even more, and allows her to turn the tables on Prin. Kira nearly dies because she falls into Prin's trap and cannot get rid of her old way of thinking, but the baby and the life she has built on the station it represents helps save her.

I find the final speech to be a bit of a mistake in terms of execution of the episode, but I think the idea behind it is well articulated by Elnis above, and on that level the episode does have a satisfying denouement. Kira, restrained, her life on the line, and listening to the ramblings of someone who has just murdered her friends, does not allow much nuance in how she responds to Prin's accusations that she brought this all on because he came away with a scarred face and some Cardassian Occupiers died. She says "you were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets," not "you are," and this is not exactly the time to expect Kira to responds with a nuanced approach on what the appropriate actions were *during wartime* (or, the Occupation, since the Cardassians did not consider it to be war) years ago. Prin's basic stance that it does not matter what larger goals Kira had, or the general rightness of the Bajorans' cause, he did not deserve to be scarred for life, and other Cardassians did not deserve to die, for being domestic servants (lower-class!), is actually right -- of course he did not deserve that -- and in some senses is a mirror for Kira's position that the Bajorans had every right to defend themselves regardless of the cost because they should not have been Occupied in the first place. They suffered and they took it out on those who caused the suffering, and the nature of the way they responded to the suffering was the difference -- Kira et al. acted with great breadth of destruction at the time of being actively hurt, whereas Prin acted with laser precision years after the damage was done to him. Kira divided the world into black and white/light and darkness, but was less particular than Prin about who fell into which category, but the moral advantage she has over Prin is that she ultimately *did* grow out of it; after the war was over, after the Cardassians were gone, she let the vendetta go, until Prin came after her and reactivated that part of her. The point is not that Kira's actions and Prin's are equivalent, because they aren't -- in fact, neither Prin nor Kira would initially think to recognize themselves in the other, because one *was* a destructive terrorist freedom-fighter, and the other is a precise revenge/"justice" killer. Prin, despite being an adult presumably with some choices, was in some senses analogous to a child fully dependent on Cardassian society for support (mirroring the O'Brien baby with Kira), and so his options were pretty limited; perhaps he could have gotten another job, but if he was ironing shirts for a living we can hardly be positive that he had many more ethical alternatives, even if he opposed the Occupation (which I think is actually probably unlikely). Indiscriminate killing is wrong -- but really, when the whole Cardassian body is on Bajor, how exactly can a fighting force of inferior strength "cut out" the "innocent," and, again by analogy with the O'Brien baby's low chances of survival, would Prin have even been able to make a new life for himself outside his position in servitude of the Cardassian military machine? I think Kira does recognize in Prin some of the damage that she did as well as some of the damage that was done to her, as well as the desire for revenge that she feels bubbling to the surface, whether it's at an indiscriminate terrorist or a psychotic revenge serial killer. Kira's escape from the neverending cycle of vengeance is because she has started to build a life for herself after the Occupation, rather than stewing on those hurts for years. Prin idealizes the "true innocent," which he sees himself (pre-Occupation?) as, and perhaps sees himself in the present as an avengeing angel, living in the shadows to dispense justice, but the reality is that

The plot holes are pretty numerous. I do think that a longer denouement where Kira discussed these less obliquely, and maybe acknowledged some of her own ambivalent feelings about the people who were hurt by her during the Occupation, would help the episode. And there needed to be some sense of consequences, at least emotional, for Kira's running off at the episode's end, at least/especially from O'Brien. While I generally found the Prin seems very effective, he is a little too Buffalo Bill (from "Silence of the Lambs," not the Old West figure) in a way that was a bit off-putting. The investigation scenes are suitably moody but I agree they are a little padded. So I don't think it is a great episode, exactly, but I think it is very good and one of the series' best Kira installments. 3 stars.
Niall
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
As usual William, an absolute joy to read your erudite analysis, and you've added to my appreciation of the episode (already one of my favourites). Please keep writing about culture this intelligently on whatever platforms are available to you.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Thank you very much Niall! :)
Robert
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
I will also chime in and say your comment increases my opinion of the episode. I never really totally got the whole point of it... it seemed like a mishmash of ideas and poorly done while pregnant.

I don't think they properly showed her thought process about how unsafe she still felt on the station lead her to being so rash (although I'm 1000% sure if she told Odo, "I'm taking the damned shuttlecraft and having a changeling for backup wouldn't suck" that he would have come). I'm still not sold on her and the baby going it alone.

That said, I DID really enjoy the insight that her violent past almost caught up to her and her current ties ended up saving her. It's an angle I never really considered and I like it.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
@Robert -- thanks. I'm not entirely convinced by Kira's actions in this episode, which is part of why I don't quite love it, but I think it mostly fits with what we know of her. That Furel and Lupaza got blown up while in Kira's quarters has got to be a signal that she herself is very unsafe -- though one of the things that bothers me is that Shakaar's status is never really discussed.

That's an interesting question of whether Odo would have gone with her had she asked. A season earlier (pre-"Crossfire") or a season later, I would say definitely...but Odo at this point is in a combination of trying to keep some distance from Kira and also feeling particularly incompetent, despite his bluster. He also isn't a changeling, so that backup wouldn't be great. His usefulness is as investigator, not as vigilante, so Kira wouldn't ask him to come anyway. Though...I dunno. He might still sign on if she asked him.
Robert
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Oh ya, he gets his powers back in the episode she delivers. Totally forget that he was still a mere mortal at this point.
Robert
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Upon further though you are right. Nobody she could turn to would have let her go off in her condition. And Shakaar, for his odd absence wouldn't have either.

She needed to be the hunter instead of the hunter, it fits her.

It would be one thing if there was only 2 or 3 names on the list. She could have picked the most likely one and contacted Sisko when the runabout was over the planet so that she'd have backup.

But she needed to tick through 22 names without Sisko coming after her. It didn't FEEL right while watching... maybe the direction/acting just didn't sell it. But logically it makes sense.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
You know, it's worth noting that Prin even seemed to be expecting Kira to come find him at the end of the episode. One other flaw of the episode is that Prin's criminal mastermind thing is kind of hard to swallow, especially given his previous career. But if we accept it, it is worth noting that he really wanted Kira to be there, and so it would have made sense for him to make it easy for Kira to find him, but also hard for the rest of DS9/Bajor/whomever to find him. So it doesn't really make sense that she had to randomly pick one name off a list while evading the Defiant or whatever and just happened upon him; it would have made more sense if Prin had wanted her to find him, perhaps by leaving some clue that only Kira could interpret, without Kira realizing until she was there that she was walking into a trap. Maybe Kira could even know it was a trap and go anyway, thinking she could turn the tables or some such. I'm not quite sure how this would be done, though.
Niall
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Yes, it's a great episode for the mood, ideas, dialogue, details, and Michael Vejar's typically auteur/outstanding direction, rather than the plot nitty-gritty or the less credible aspects. And yeah, the fact she put herself in a situation where she almost lost someone else's baby is an issue. (Imagine if she had.) It's also a shame Furel and Lupaza were written out here (and a shame Shakaar made hardly any appearances in the series). For me, Kira's best relationship was with Bareil, they were each other's true love and I totally bought it and felt it - whereas I never fully bought into the Kira-Odo romantic relationship despite the great performances (both actors were against the relationship, notably).

Randy Oglesby is also great in this. He was the saving grace of season 3 of Enterprise too.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Jan 21, 2016, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
I'd agree with a comment made earlier that this seems something of a throwback to an earlier Kira's view of the world and that instinct suggests the character might have moved past the views seen here. It feels more like a Season 1 ep - but nevertheless the unrepentant Kira makes for an impressive conclusion, even if it feels a little off.

In essence this is neither here nor there. The murder mystery element never really resolves itself, except through a massive contrivance that leads here to the correct killer right off the bat. And then we get the grand Phantom of the Opera conclusion that actually comes off as slightly too cryptic for its own good.

Interesting to see the resistance were not averse to using child soldiers. I wonder if that would have written the same way with today's sensibilities? 2.5 stars.
Brockston
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
This episode lost me when Kira went back to the old "you killed X million of us line." Hard to see how any portrayal of a race of people being killed by the millions could leave me with nothing but apathy, but I just don't care about the Bajorans. How does a culture that has lasted for 500,000 years just get their butts kicked by the Cardassians and enslaved? Has this ever been explained? Why are they so primitive? How has Bermam left me not caring about space genocide?
Niall
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 3:30am (UTC -5)
Think of Bajor as Poland and Cardassia as Russia. One's just a single planet/country, the other's an empire. Poland has a wonderfully rich culture, proud history and fascinating language, but that's never helped it when it comes to defending itself against Germany and Russia - it's just in a bad location.
Brockston
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 7:54am (UTC -5)
That analogy still doesn't address the elephant in the room: why they so primitive. The Bajorans should be more technologically advanced, but the show never gave us a hint that they are. Like do their brains function at a lower capacity to not develop technology at a similar rate to other alpha quadrant species? If their civilization has been around for half a million years I expect their tech to be BETTER than the federations they did have a big heads start after all. It seems like sloppy writing. This is my biggest gripe. If they were a shorter lives civilization I'd buy it, but in the context of the show they should be very advanced.
Brockston
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Also, I'd prefer a French/Vietnam analogy more, because when the Dominion comes it'd be like the US. Have to make it a more inclusion analogy.
JC
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Wow. Kira sucks. Where was Miles when she decided to take his baby on her revenge mission? And no regret on her part.
JC
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Also, they really should have picked a more accessible and available actor for the role of Shakaar, who hasn't appeared since his installment in office.
William B
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
I think it's worth distinguishing between what Kira does here and "revenge mission." Kira was dangerously reckless and foolhardy and nearly got herself and the O'Brien baby killed. But it was not actually a revenge mission as such: Kira went after an unknown assassin who was in the process of still murdering people, and it looked very likely that Kira would be next. People around Kira keep dying -- and Kira had no way of knowing that in fact Prin had no intention of killing anyone not connected with that particular attack. Prin *did* intend to murder her, and I think it's likely the baby wouldn't have survived despite what Prin claims, so that the continued threat to her and the baby was actually quite real. So while revenge motivated Kira, I don't think that's the main reason she went after him. Vigilantism, yes; taking matters "into her own hands," yes; but it was also in great part a defensive action -- Prin was still a threat to her, and she thought she (and whoever else Prin was going after) had a better chance of survival if she went after the unknown assassin than if she sat around waiting for someone else to solve the problem. As it turns out, of course, this was totally wrong -- Kira fell into Prin's trap right away.

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