Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"For the Uniform"

***

Air date: 2/3/1997
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Victor Lobl

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
"No."
"Please do."

— Odo and Sisko

Since I originally wrote this review, I've had some minor changes of opinion and now rate the episode at three stars. To see the reasons for this change, find the capsule review in the Fifth Season Recap. Below is the orignial review of the episode, which at the time I rated at 2 1/2 stars.

Nutshell: Not bad, but not great, either. The ending in particular could've benefited from more power.

I like the Maquis. I really do. I think they are among DS9's most interesting and underutilized milieu. They're a group that doesn't fall into "bad guys" or "good guys"—they're simply angry people with a problem who are determined to do whatever it takes to try to solve it. It's an interesting issue that has led to some interesting episodes, like "The Maquis," for example.

However, despite the welcome return to the Maquis storyline, "For the Uniform" is a show that resides in the neutral zone for me. As much as I like the Maquis and the issues surrounding them, the overall results of "For the Uniform" are less than I had hoped. The show certainly isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn't particularly great, either. It's just kind of there, with its various strengths and weaknesses.

The episode is a follow-up to last season's "For the Cause," which ended with DS9's Starfleet Security Chief Michael Eddington escaping the station to join the Maquis which he had been apparently conspiring with for months.

"For the Uniform" centers around Sisko's obsessive need to track down Eddington and bring him in—a back-burner task he has been working on for eight months, and without success. While it seems strange to me that Starfleet would assign one of the busiest captains in Starfleet a task that is so time-consuming, the idea of a cat-and-mouse game between Sisko and a traitor who served under him is an interesting one.

The show is strongest in its early acts, beginning with an undercover Sisko beaming down to a colony in the DMZ to meet a Maquis informant who supposedly has information on the whereabouts of Eddington, only to be surprised and captured by... Eddington.

The show's early polemic is effective, even if familiar; Eddington explains his quarrel is with the Cardassians, telling Sisko that he's on the "wrong side" with Starfleet and to take a look at the starving victims of the struggle. The victims, Sisko retorts, are Eddington's victims—victims who have been sold on a dream that will never be realized. This opening scene precisely highlights a quality of the Maquis that is most interesting—a group with a cause and a higher purpose, but a group misguided led by a leader whose true goals are more sensational and superficial than the cause lends itself.

From here, the episode proceeds into the action, as the Defiant chases Eddington's raider across the DMZ, until Eddington unleashes his flagship of surprises: Complete sabotage of the Defiant computer core, which turns the ship defenseless, requiring weeks of computer reprogramming.

One of the episode's highlights is the way Eddington always manages to remain a step ahead of Sisko and the Defiant. This leads Starfleet to finally take Sisko off the mission and send in Captain Sanders (Eric Pierpoint) of the USS Malinche. Sisko is not pleased, and it's easy to see why. If there's one thing that's completely believable in "For the Uniform," it's that Sisko could and would take Eddington's betrayal personally. It's not simply that Eddington is a traitor that makes Sisko's skin crawl; it's that Eddington betrayed Starfleet under Sisko's watch.

So as one could imagine, as Eddington's reign of terror continues and the Malinche shows no signs of success, it doesn't take long for Sisko to take the initiative and the Defiant to delve back into the thick of the action (against orders, naturally). The only problem is that O'Brien's necessary repairs to the Defiant computers are nowhere near finished; a large variety of common tasks will have to be done manually, putting the Defiant at quite a combat disadvantage.

When O'Brien says manually, he means manually. A simple matter of piloting the ship away from DS9 requires minutes of tedious effort, intensely precise bridge crew interaction, and improvised communication between the bridge and engine room. In a word, this idea of a crippled Defiant is clever. I've never seen anything quite like it. Every crew member assumes their post and reads aloud mouthfuls of tactical information. The acting and directing required to pull this off—with everyone talking simultaneously using such jargon-filled dialog—should not be overlooked. The skillfulness of the execution is dead-on; and watching the crew perform under such bizarre pressure is a fairly neat idea.

On the other hand, this is not really all that effective on a storytelling level. Yes, it puts the Defiant in more hazard and raises the stakes; but the amount of tactical jargon here is staggering, and it goes on for far too long. Given the story potential, it seems odd that writer Peter Allan Fields (scripting his first episode of DS9 since second season) would spend so much time on it when more important and interesting dialog concerning the delicate situation could've been highlighted instead.

Eddington's actions and cleverness are far more interesting. He gets the best of Sanders with a surprise attack that disables the Malinche. Then he continues to taunt Sisko with a point that has more truth than Sisko would care to admit: Sisko has made a key error by making the conflict personal and allowing his obsession to get the better of him (Eddington tauntingly labels Sisko "Inspector Javert"—after a literary character who destroyed himself by pursuing for years a man who stole a loaf of bread). Eddington goes on to use a chemical weapon on a Cardassian colony, forcing them to evacuate a planet—then escapes Sisko's clutches by disabling an evacuating Cardassian ship whose hands will die if Sisko doesn't rescue them—turning his attention away from Eddington long enough for the traitor to flee. "They're only Cardassians," Eddington says dryly, before waving a taunting bye-bye and getting away once again.

The unfriendly rivalry, tactical maneuvering, and clever escapes are among "For the Uniform's" strengths, but these events are window dressing for a story that doesn't say enough about its situation (and nothing much new), and has an ending that isn't as powerful as it could've been. Sisko captures Eddington by threatening to release chemical torpedoes on a Maquis colony, forcing evacuation and making it inhabitable for human life. Eddington thinks Sisko is bluffing. Sisko orders the word fire and poisons the planet for 50 years. After seeing Sisko is playing hardball, Eddington finally surrenders.

It's a brutal move on Sisko's part, as he turns thousands of Maquis settlers into homeless refugees. The problem here is that the episode sides with Sisko's notion to become the "villain" and make Eddington's surrender a "heroic" martyr move in the eyes of the Maquis. It's a neat package, perhaps, but a neat package is not what I look for in a Maquis storyline.

The episode doesn't seem to take a real stance on the Maquis issue. On one hand we have Eddington cruising around raising hell, and on the other hand we have Sisko, who is defying orders and risking his crew in a crippled starship in order to satisfy a personal vendetta. Shades of grey are good, but "For the Uniform" is ultimately about the black-and-white issue of the vendetta that sides with Sisko because he's Sisko, the hero of DS9, not because his actions are "right."

That's unfortunate. By simplifying the story to "Sisko vs. Eddington," Fields doesn't push as many dramatic buttons as he could've. A grey-area story steps up to the plate several times in the course of the episode; but the pitch never comes, and that's too bad. (Speaking of pitching, why didn't Fields use baseball as a way for Sisko to work out his frustration? The boxing example comes across as a bit of a cliche, and not really in tune with Sisko's character.)

The real problem with the ending is that Sisko's actions don't have any consequences. The show lets Sisko off the hook far too easily. After all the defiance of orders and the poisoning of the planet, it seems that Starfleet will simply pat Sisko on the back for capturing Eddington. Never mind Eddington's relevant speech: Sisko's obsession has clouded his thoughts on the real issue. What if Eddington hadn't turned himself in? Would Sisko really turn his rages into destroying the Maquis by poisoning all the DMZ planets, or is simply bluffing? The episode doesn't make it clear.

The answers to those questions don't really exist in the first place, mainly because Sisko and Dax are able to psychoanalyze Eddington into predicting his "hero vs. villain" thought pattern. Is that all this is about? Eddington having a martyr complex? Is that the real reason he defected to the Maquis in "For the Cause"? I thought he had perhaps a deeper purpose that would be explained in "For the Uniform." I never understood what exactly led him to get personally involved in the Maquis plight, and after this episode I still don't understand.

On an entertainment level, there's a lot to be said for "For the Uniform," because both Avery Brooks and Kenneth Marshall are engaging in their verbal sparring, and Sisko's turn to villainy at the end is scarily convincing, even if not completely appropriate. The show could've been so much more with a better ending, but, as is, it comes up a bit short.

Previous episode: The Begotten
Next episode: In Purgatory's Shadow

◄ Season Index

77 comments on this review

Jhoh
Sun, Apr 20, 2008, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Just a little note to everyone, don't ever betray your uniform if Sisko is around. He doesn't like it.
Paul Fox
Wed, Aug 27, 2008, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
I find myself routing for Eddington in this episode. Okay, it's beieveable that Sisco would become obsessive and ruthless. But this is Starfleet, and the lack of consequesences for his actions are seriously implausible - disobeying orders to leave the case alone, poisoning a planet for 50 years. I seem to remember episodes where officers were court-martialed for far less. Prime directive, schmective!
EP
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 3:31am (UTC -5)
To add to the comment above, at the end of the episode, a smirking Jadzia ruefully chuckles at the fact that Sisko had not obtained authorization from Starfleet about his plan to utilize his weapon of mass destruction to force Eddington's surrender. No consequences, no continuity, just a gleeful Sisko reveling in his revenge.
I'd conjecture that this episode does not get written if Gene Roddenberry was alive.
Blue
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 4:57am (UTC -5)
Eddington was the far more sympathetic character in this one. Sisko was barely pretending that this was anything but revenge, and he resorts to using chemical weapons on ex-Federation colonists that they'd just condemned Eddington for using! Wouldn't he be under a war crimes tribunal?
Aldo Johnson
Thu, Aug 6, 2009, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Well, at the end Sisko's log said that the Cardassian colonists moved to the Maquis' poisoned planet, and the Maquis colonists moved to the Cardassians' poisoned planet. This is possible since the poison on the Cardassian colonies are harmless to humans, and apparently vice versa.
Neil
Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 8:01am (UTC -5)
One thing to add to these comments... I thought it was great to see Nog out of the academy and doing something useful. He was acting like a real starfleet cadet, doing everything eagerly and properly.

It would have been easy for them to forget about his story, we haven't seen him for a while, but I enjoyed bringing him into this episode, even if it was a contrived situation.
Elliot Wilson
Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 3:32pm (UTC -5)

To all of the above comments, I personally hated the Maquis. I liked them at first; they had an interesting concept. But then, under Eddington's dictatorship they become nothing more than racists. I was not glad the Jem'Hadar killed them all -- I was GLEEFUL. I was overjoyed. You reap what you sow, and Sisko's right: By contributing to the problems Cardassia faced, you had a direct hand in leading them to the Dominion and killing YOU. Sisko never said truer word. "End of Story." GO TO HELL EDDINGTON!
Tex
Tue, Mar 2, 2010, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else think Sisko was a bit over-the-top while he was raging on the punching bag--"and he beat me...RAWRR!!!" and later on--"YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!" Entertaining overacting, but overacting nonetheless. Also, Captain Sanders was an annoying dick, I'm glad Eddington served him.
gion
Thu, Mar 11, 2010, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
The acting, the scenes, the action, the tension... all good, but the inconsistenties are indeed the size of Jupiter. Even with the darker tone of DS9 (which I like), it's just inconceivable that Sisko would use WMD on a planet and not feel the consequences. Amongst others, the idea that Worf would only demur, just to push the button anyway is very hard to believe. And maybe the episode could at least have done without the premise that Sisko was tasked with hunting down Eddington.
As a final note, the CGI was really nice in here. Not just technically, but also aesthetically. Especially the view of Malinche dead in space.
gion
Thu, Mar 11, 2010, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Oh and this: Major Kira. Does. Not. Belong. On. That. Ship. Why would a Bajoran Militia Major have any business with tracking down a Starfleet traitor?
Nic
Mon, Mar 15, 2010, 8:19am (UTC -5)
I completely agree with your review. If the writers are going to make a bold move like this, it HAS to have consequences and the dialogue in the tag scene which basically said that everything would be back to normal was more cringe-inducing than anything. They didn't even mention the possibility that the poison might actually have KILLED a lot of the Maquis before they got a chance to evacuate.
Lee
Wed, May 12, 2010, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Kira is on the ship because she's in the main cast and she needs a certain amount of screen time. I rather have Kira there without discussion than appear over "holo communicator" (a concept even the writers found so lame, they never bothered again)

I liked this episode, and I felt it stood to reason that Sisko would deploy such weapons. The Maquis have morphed from freedom fighters to interstellar pests. It's time to get out the fly swatter.

Eddington was a smug, self assured hero wannabe. I guess that's why I enjoyed the episode... I found it engaging. Rooting for pissed-off Sisko was fun, and I liked the boxing allegory. This one has a lot of juice.

"Whats the matter, Captain Sanders? CHICKEN?"
Carbetarian
Sun, Aug 22, 2010, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
I always thought Eddington was one of the weaker storylines on this show. He never impressed me as a character, and I found his motivations for betraying starfleet in the first place to be extremely thin at best.

Still, this episode has some very entertaining scenery chewing from Avery Brooks. I like a lot of the banter between Sisko and Eddington. But, in the end, that whole WMD thing makes this episode a little too over the top. I agree with the above comments about the lack of consequences being a disapointment.

The best thing about this episode is that it gives us the next Eddington episode, which was much better than this one. The next eddington episode is good enough that I forget to question why eddington ran off with the maquis in the first place.
Wharf
Sun, Dec 5, 2010, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
I for one loved the "Defiant leaving docking bay" scene. It made it seem like a real ship, requiring real training and skill to operate, and not the usual "point and fly" thing it is shown as, which looks like any Playstation fan could fly. It reminded me (no doubt deliberately) of a submarine, giving it an extra layer of believability. The Hunt for Red Eddington....
Elliott
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 5:21am (UTC -5)
The Defiant scene : comic-book style "beating the odds" heroics at its...well most mediocre.

Sisko : Brooks outdoes himself here with the overacting--you know, I think he was better in the early seasons. Janeway and Picard (and even Kirk) got better with the seasons. It may be that the problem isn't Brooks but the fact that the writers have made him into a garbage bin for all the running plots (Emissary, Captain, Chef, Archeologist, Engineer, War Strategist, Father of Seshat...professional boxer), but I'm not keen to give him that benefit of the doubt.

The holo-image communicator thing : vaguely interesting from a technological perspective, but ultimately unnecessary--we have seen in this and other series how effective communication over viewscreens can be.

Eddington : stubborn for absolutely no plausible reason. The whole idea of the Maquis makes my blood boil, which would seem to support Sisko's rage, but he never counters Eddington's remarks with something intelligent; he never says, "You're all acting like selfish children. All you care about is your land, your property and the particulars of the lives you have thus far built. We condemn you for abandoning Federation values because, as you should see, without them you've reverted to a state of petty and violent irrationalism." No, instead he gets incensed that Eddington pokes at Starfleet and that stupid allegory to Hugo. When the series' issues with Roddenberry's ideals truly present themselves to an honest debate, the episode diverts attention with some senseless emotionalism disguising itself as characterisation (in this case, of Sisko).
Jacob Sisko
Mon, Jan 24, 2011, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
I HATED this episode and the previous Eddington/Maquis episode as well. We're supposed to believe that some third tier character whose technical competency has never really been shown before these two episodes can fool, out cool, out class, and have complete dominance over the supposedly coolheaded Captain Sisko? Even the situation under which Eddington was captured was dictated by none other than Eddington himself, when he gave Sisko the book. I just can't believe that Sisko, who is always supposed to believe in duty and diplomacy would be bested in every way by some minor character. A final blow, Sisko acts against orders and defiles an entire planet to capture one man, and he isn't even so much as reprimanded for it. In any other military he would have been demoted and possible discharged.
jon
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 11:24am (UTC -5)
The idea of the holo-communicator is a good one and makes sense look at how communication technology has advanced since this epsiode aired so in a century we're supposed to beleive that communications technology has stayed the same and not advanced beyond a viewscreen.

Looking at Eddington's choice of novel he sends to Sisko is a clue to his reasoning and motivation he sees the Maquis as an oppurtunity to indulge his romantic and heroic streak as well as watching Blaze of Glory and The Adversery
Travis
Fri, Feb 18, 2011, 9:52am (UTC -5)
The Maquis stopped being freedom fighters or "defending their homes farmers" as soon as The Maquis episode was over. Cal Hudson told Sisko they formed the Maquis in order to protect themselves from the Cardassian colonists. Sisko and Dukat exposed the situation and got the arms smuggling to stop. When that was revealed to Hudson, he just whined that it's too late and he intends to win this war. The Maquis became nothing more than terrorists at that point.
Jack
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Sisko destroyed the biosphere of a planet in nothing more than a fit of vengeance...there's no two ways around it. Kind of makes his struggle in "In A Pale Moonlight" a bit absurd.
Krysek
Thu, Oct 27, 2011, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Eddington made me mad the first few minutes then the whole "verbal sparring" just got annoying especially when he started calling him Jeviere or whatever. I guess Les Miserables was playing back then.
Combined with the annoying full 3D body messaging what is the point of that? But you guys he only threatened to poison the atmosphere that's what got Eddington to surrender himself and weapons. According to what they said anyway, could easily change next time. Not too bad.
Justin
Fri, Mar 30, 2012, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Great episode, great ending. If you ask me, Sisko should have carried out his threat anyway of making the Maquis worlds in the DMZ uninhabitable for humans. Admiral Necheyev put it best when she said the Maquis were a bunch of irrational whiny hotheads. The Federation has virtually inexhaustable resources and worlds on which to resettle a few displaced colonies. Instead of taking the offer they turned into a threat to the security of the Federation by attacking the Cardassians. It wouldn’t have been a popular decision politically, but it would have worked and saved a lot of lives in the process.
Mario
Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Wow, what the hell was that?!!
Sisko really became a villain here and a bully. I don't know if I can ever again route for this guy. During this episode I hoped the Maquis would win and Sisko could have overcome his petty thirst for vengeance and have some character growth. But no, he goes for revenge and the show seems to try to justify that. If the Dominion comes - or someone else - who is a bigger bully, I would not really care if they killed Sisko and his crew (allthough I know that will not happen anyway). I know that the Maquis did also poison planets, but from people who are supposed to be the "heroes" of the show I expect not to behave like the bad guys. But Sisko is even worse than them, because he does it only for himself, whereas the Maquis are fighting for a whole population.
Snitch
Tue, May 1, 2012, 4:23am (UTC -5)
Lets use some some biological weapons to show them dirty Marquis. Wow, what a character assassination of Sisko. And everybody follows these orders that obviously go against everything the federation used to stand for. But one thing is sure, its not up to Sisko to make a call like that. Oh well weird episode.
2 stars
Jock Strapp
Tue, Aug 28, 2012, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
For all those believing there should be consequences for Sisko's actions, I just have one thing to say.

"The end justifies the means!"

What has Starfleet wanted to do for the federation colonies from the get-go? Resettle them somewhere else. What did Starfleet want Cpt. Sisko to do? Capture Eddington and bring him to justice.

Well both those things happened. An no one was hurt or killed. Sure they would want to chew Sisko's ass out for disobeying orders and for poisoning an entire planet. But at the end of the day the mission accomplished.

So I could very easily imagine them LOUDLY disapproving of his actions but then QUIETLY forgetting about it until its a distant memory.

I say again, the ends have justified the means. When you are extremely good at your job some things can and will be looked over.
Mister P
Mon, Sep 3, 2012, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
I really like this episode. The scene of the "manual launch" of the Defiant from DS9 is well done - it gives you a more realistic sense of everything that would be involved to launch a spaceship. (well, at least a HINT at realism.)

I would have liked one more episode with Eddington before this one. Something where Eddington again fools Sisko and slips through his fingers. That would have given Sisko's obsession a little more bite.
John
Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 4:46am (UTC -5)
I always kinda loved this one, as ridiculous as the ending is.

Welcome back to the brilliant Peter Allan Fields.
Cail Corishev
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Is a weapon a WMD if it doesn't cause any destruction? Apparently, resettling entire planets of people is a doddle for the mighty Federation (though that begs the question of why their best buds on Bajor are always near starvation), so we're told that Sisko's actions caused the inhabitants some inconvenience at worst. Kind of an easy out, but it does explain why he wasn't court martialed over it. And as Jock said, Starfleet wanted them moved anyway.
Travis
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
"Is a weapon a WMD if it doesn't cause any destruction?"

Yes. He used chemical warfare against those colonies. They would have died if they didn't evacuate.
Jay
Sat, Oct 13, 2012, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Even if the planet lacked sentient life of any kind, colonial or indigenous, or even only had plant or microscopic life, a weapon capable of destroying a living biosphere is a WMD by any definition.
Chrissy
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 5:15am (UTC -5)
First off all after this episode i really had problems feeling any sympathy for Sisko and his crew in the rest of the episodes.
The episode itself is very inconsistent wih what was established before in the whole star trek universe.
1. evacuating a complete colony within minutes ?
After the Chemical attack it seemed all colonists already waited with all basic things packed next to the entrance of the escape ships, everyone was accounted for none at a place where he wasn't reachable.
2. No one in the "heroic" crew is ready to stand up against an order of on obviously vengeful, bugged out Captain that goes against everything their uniform stands for ?
Not even Kira who felt the cardasian way to treat people herself ?
3. The Starfleet does nothing to to punish this ?

After looking this episode i had to look at the air date because i was relatively sure it had to be short after 9/11 but it was 3 years earlier.
Honestly i think that the author of this episode where in the mind setting that "we are the good guys and all we do is right". Unfortunately a very common fault in our western world today.

Chrissy



David
Thu, Dec 27, 2012, 5:34am (UTC -5)
I just rewatched this and really forgot how engaging it is. Vengeance is a powerful force that pushes Sisko just slightly over the edge. I would have liked to have seen the fallout over the trilithium resin poisoning, but I suspect it wouldn't have been much. From Starfleet's point of view, there probably would have just been a quick investigation for show, followed by a secret pat on the back.

Also one person pointed this out here but I think it's worth repeating again: the trilithium resin was poisonous to humans, not Cardassians. If not for that fact, while Starfleet might have been happy with a show trial, the Cardassians would have been a different story, given he poisoned a planet that had been ceded to them. Not that that makes Sisko's decision any less potent.

One final point...given what happens to the Maquis colonies in the next few episodes, these guys got out just in time.
Herman
Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
I liked how this episode was used to bolster Sisko's aggressive masculinity, which I found was a bit lacking until now. The villain stuff discussed above fits right in, not to mention the scene in which he goes at a punching bag all growling and sweating.

Enough about masculinity. I also liked Jadzia's new, tight uniform.
Shawn Davis
Tue, Apr 30, 2013, 4:08am (UTC -5)
"He played me all right. And what is my excuse? Is he a Changeling? No. Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No. Is he a wormhole alien? No. He's just a man, like me. And he beat me!" ~ Sisko.

I like this episode. I do agree with some the flaws in this episodes that many of you mention such as Avery Brooks overacting in some scenes when his character Sisko is venting his frustration over being fooled by Eddington and the fact that there is no episode that follows or at least mentions the consequences for Sisko's actions for poisoning the atmosphere of a planet only to catch Eddington.

However, the pros outweight the cons thankfully. Sisko was overacting, but it is understandable. I would be made if someone betrayed me for any reason too. The plot about Sisko becoming the villian to catch Eddington based on the story that Eddington send to him made perfect sense and is used perfectly in this episode. I give it 3 stars too. :-).
Captain Olli
Thu, May 9, 2013, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
OMG! What have they done to the show, to Sisko, to the federation, to DS9. I wish that I had never seen this episode!

The end is a desaster! Captain Sisko really did order the use of weapons of mass destruction on a populated world. Whitout beeing mind controlled by some alien device! He didn't just pretend to act like the terrorist he was chasing, he did. "Hey Admiral, I am sorry, he nuked a planet and I nuked a planet, lets call it quits?" And nobody on board objected! Worf? Jadzea? Kira? How about: "Sir? Are you serious? There are humans on that planet! We don't know how many can be evacuated in time...". Or plain and simple: Sir, are you nuts, Sir?"

To make things worse, at the end Jadzea jokes that they forgot to ask Starfleet for permission... Haha! But does ist matter? We'll ask next time, we plan to murder some folks!

Sisko and everyone else on the bridge of the Defiant needs to be court marshalled... or at least the author of this episode.
Kotas
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:47pm (UTC -5)

Solid episode. Season 5 getting back on track.

7/10
eastwest101
Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 1:43am (UTC -5)
I was not overly impressed by this episode for two reasons.

The terrible overacting by Avery Brookes whether his lines are beleivable or just silly, they come out silly anyway.

The lack of believability for the abscence of consequences from Star Fleet for launching the chemical/biological weapon on a civilian population by Sisko really started to stretch credibility just too far for me. It would have been more credible if someone on the bridge disobeyed orders, or Sisko had at least faced some sort of disclipinary panel or court martial from Starfleet. I totally get that he had to be the "bad guy" to outsmart Eddington and exploit Eddingtons matyr complex but it could have been written better...
NCC-1701-Z
Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 4:24am (UTC -5)
I really liked seeing the Defiant disabled in the way it was in this episode, and all the assumptions we take for granted about Starfleet ship workings all thrown on their head. Pretty awesome.

Note to the guys writing the next Trek movie or next Trek series: THIS is a imaginative, very refreshing way to depict battle damage in Trek, not just some random bridge officer yelling "Shields down to X percent!" or "Hull breach on Deck Y!" *cough JJ Abrams cough*

Avery Brooks is a great actor, but he overdid himself worse than Bill Shatner. Shatner stayed somewhat within the realm of believability most of the time (at least IMHO) but Brooks warped light years out of it in this episode. I'm still wincing at that punching bag scene.

Also, the guy who played the Malinche captain was too flat. They could have gone with a better actor.

Still a good episode. The holo-communicator was a good addition I thought, at least for this episode. It added a new dimension (pun intended) to the sparring between Sisko and Eddington.
DLPB
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
A good episode ruined by a stupid ending. The idea that Sisko would do that is ridiculous. First, he was taken off the mission, second, what he did is a terrorist action and would land him with a definite court martial and prison.

Yet at the end of the episode, they joke that they didn't clear it with Starfleet. At least Eddington seems real, because a lot of this writing is a joke.
cade
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
I'm ashamed to admit that as a kid I was so morally oblivious that I actually liked this episode. Rewatching it many years later, I was shocked and disgusted by Sisko's bioterrorism and the writing staff's tacit endorsement of it. An utter disgrace to the Star Trek franchise, and probably the most immoral, unethical episode of any tv show I've ever seen.
Vylora
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Aesthetically, this episode was absolutely fantastic. The direction and the acting was superb. The pacing was brilliant. I even liked Captain Sanders quite a bit.

Unfortunately, the plot for the most part was horrendous. I would definitely love an explanation on whether or not the planet Sisko fired on had everyone make it out safely. I can understand perhaps some colonies are just relatively small pockets of Maquis and can quickly mobilize. Neither here nor there, It's just one of too many questions left unanswered that this type of episode needs, no, save that, DEMANDS be answered.

Jadzia's lines of "next time I go off on some wild goose chase" and "sometimes I love it when the bad guy wins" completely belies the inherent overtly-vengeful nature of the episode itself and reduces it to sappy fucking nonsense. I'm not saying she was out of character at all - I'm just stating that with how things transpired and the sloppy writing of the plot, it in turn, makes some specific dialogue piss me off.

People in real life are wronged. I get that. They feel the need for vengeance/retribution. I get that. Even in ST it happens and has been conveyed well at times. I get that. But getting all that and understanding this episode within its own terms within context of the overall bigger picture is akin to me eating a peanut butter and brick sandwich.

A Sisko bent on revenge is a great idea on paper. The circumstances surrounding that idea had better be light-years better than what I saw here, though. Simply because Eddington hurt his feelers by committing treason isn't good enough and most definitely not good enough for the extremes presented.

The cat-and-mouse of this episode is fine. Sisko in charge of hunting down Eddington is fine. Those work very well on their own terms. Hell, even getting a little pissed after the attack on the Malinche gives a bit of a carte-blanche and can be fine to a further extent.

Ultimately here's my dilemma:

This episode can't be saved on aesthetics, no matter how great they are, and can't be saved on some good ideas alone. I also can't fault it PRIMARILY based on my anger towards the faulty backward-pedaling of Sisko's character.

So I will just say that, while it's a polarizing episode (rightfully so) with some clumsy writing that, at times, is contrary to upheld beliefs about a main character - it holds some great execution that would have made something near classic had there been some fundamental script changes. Unfortunately it crumbles under its own weight.

1.5 stars.
kapages
Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 8:00am (UTC -5)
What bothers me is that there are no Federation ships around the wormhole-cardassian area.
The Dominion is the greatest threat, there should be at least 4-5 on a day's notice. Instead, only the defiant and a second class starship is around.

Also, the premise that all human colonists in DMZ are Mackees is wrong. It is possible that some are not. There are babies there, children and opposers to terrorist attacks.
The theory of collateral damage does not have a place in a Star Trek Universe.
Especially, when we are not talking about Mackee sovereign states, or Mackee elected governments.
Bravestarr
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode but certain things got to me. The whole "Defiant is broken" thing just seemed to be an excuse to have Nog around. Nobody evens cares about him, get him off the show!

Eddington turned out be a great villian, loved his acting in this one. But the final solution Sisko uses....at the end of the episdoe I was yelling at the tv. "BEN you just poisoned an entire planet!?"

And that sick chuckle that Dax gives, like it's alright.

I like Sisko but the man is ruthless, he is not above extorting and violence to get what he needs done.
Toraya
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Ever since his turncoat moment, the Eddington actor has invested the character with a smug villainy that makes him too easy to despise. I am afraid this is a directorial decision: load the deck so viewers can't possibly see his side or respect him as a man of courage and ideals.

But Eddington's real crime? The Les Miserables nonsense. I thought when he said " book" that it was going to be "Moby Dick" - which would have made sense on two levels. Instead he recited the usual BS about Javert.

Goddammit, Javert did NOT pursue Valjean for twenty years over a loaf of bread. Nor was he an obsessed madman with a personal vendetta. (That was Ahab!) Eddington, you're an effing moron, and you're no Valjean.

Verdeta
Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
I assure you, Gene Roddenberry turned over in his grave.
Maxo
Fri, May 9, 2014, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Wow, I just watched this episode and I was shocked. I'm going to pretend this episode just didn't happen.

Sisco committed war crimes and his crew didn't even object to the orders much less refuse to follow them.

That's where the episode either became completely unbelievable or Sisco really did become a villain and the story shouldn't be about him any more.

Worf should have refused to follow the orders. Where is the honor in poisoning the planet.

Kira should have refused to follow the orders.

This show should have been about the crew refusing to carry out the orders and Sisco realizing he really had lost it. Then he could have spent the next few episodes getting his moral feet back under him.

Final point: there is no way someone on the planet didn't die from the poison. You can't evacuate an entire planet and not lose at least one person. You can't even evacuate a city irl without having a half dozen to a dozen deaths.

Robert
Fri, May 9, 2014, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
"Final point: there is no way someone on the planet didn't die from the poison. You can't evacuate an entire planet and not lose at least one person. You can't even evacuate a city irl without having a half dozen to a dozen deaths."

Many things in Trek are unrealistic. I truly believe we are supposed to believe that one planet became uninhabitable by humans and one by Cardassians and it was a wash and they moved into each other's planets.

"Captain's log, supplemental. Resettlement efforts in the DMZ are underway. The Cardassian and Maquis colonists who were forced to abandon their homes will make new lives for themselves on the planets their counterparts evacuated. The balance in the region will be restored, though the situation remains far from stable. "

Regardless of your belief in how this would have gone down IRL, Sisko did not intend to kill anyone, in fact specifically using a substance that is poisonous to humans but not Cardassians was clearly intended to give homes to the displaced Cardassians who would then switch with the humans.

You could argue it's illegal, you could argue that it's immoral, you could even argue that somebody should have refused to follow orders (I always love when somebody refuses to follow a "grey" order and makes the Captain push the button themselves, like in Tuvix). But war crimes? Villain? I think you might be overstating it.
Eric
Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Seriously? A "quantum torpedo" laced with Trilithium - a mineral - exploding on a planet, causes the atmosphere to be poisonous to humans, but no other species? That makes no sense whatsoever. Extremely contrived way for the writer to have him "play the villain" without doing any real damage.

dlpb
Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Also, Elliott, I have no idea which planet you are on, but it isn't Earth. If you are an entire population displaced, you don't just nod to it and walk away smiling. That's not how real life works.

I think you need to stop using Trek as a gospel.
Yanks
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:58am (UTC -5)
This episode gives "I can live with it." in ITPM a whole new slant, doesn't it?

As a retired military guy I loved and hated this episode.

I LOVED the crew operating the Defiant with manual communications etc. Loved it.

I love that Sisko pulled out all the stops and got his man.

I hated the fact that he doesn't even have a discussion about this with his superiors and Dax just blows it all off with her little chuckle. WTF....really?

Sisko made a bunch of folks move (not that big a deal in the 24th century), Eddington was the one willing to kill every Cardassian on the planet. Eddington is still the bad guy here. He "fired first".

I'm deducting a whole point here because Sisko isn't held accountable to his superiors.

I still think this treaty was crap from the start so it's easy to empathize with Eddington.

3 stars.
$G
Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:40am (UTC -5)
I don't subscribe to the notion that one must agree with the actions of a protagonist in order for that fiction to be successful (which is why I find the What-Would-Gene-Say argument aggressively immature). Drama has never been about that. Sympathy is important but agreement is not. On the other hand, I can't tell someone how to react to something.

My own instinct is that Sisko's actions are justified. Poisoning a planet to stop the Maquis is a reasonable trade-off. The inhabitants aren't limited to living there. If the Maquis insist on fighting, something needs to be done to stop them. They are absolutely a menace to interstellar peace.

Sisko had a particularly good line to Eddington about promising a positive outcome to the people under him (though I'd like to hear Kira's thoughta on that). If the Federation actually put the resources into destroying the Maquis, it'd be a lopsided affair. They aren't getting their homes back, and turning your people into targets helps no one.

This episode has problems, though. I have no problem with the decision Sisko made, but I am less satisfied with his motivation. He's never been this angry before. While it's fun to watch Sisko see red, this feels like it got hot without actually *heating up*. I understand why he's upset (think back to Cal Hudson and Sisko literally trying to offer him his uniform back) but the vendetta angle is pushed far too hard, and the Les Mis analogy is ridiculous as anything more than a taunt. Eddington is no stranger to hyperbole (calling the Federation the Borg, for one), so the Javert reference works as a way to further needle Sisko. That it nearly becomes the a-ha moment that leads to Sisko beating Eddington is too much. Dax calls Hugo too melodramatic, so that makes Eddington look equally foolish when it's that melodrama that undoes him. Sisko deserves a better foe (he has one - Dukat) but Eddington also deserves better characterization if he's our face of the Maquis.

I want to say this is a great episode, but I know it isn't. But when I want to call it bad, I don't think it's that either. It works plot-wise, really. Reading a synopsis makes it sound like a stellar entry, but the trouble lies between the lines of the synopsis.

A very difficult 2 1/2 score on Jammer's scale.
Toony
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
So I take it Sisko was following starfleet general order 24 then. Watch TOS 'A taste of Armageddon' for reference. It's equivalent to General Order 7 where any Starfleet or Federation citazen will be executed for travelling to planets like Talos 4.
Brennan
Wed, Feb 4, 2015, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
On General Order 24 "[...]an individual starship captain can issue such an order at his own discretion, without consulting Starfleet Command for approval."

Now this order also is to include the destruction of all major cities, but I assume it can be adapted if the planet becomes uninhabitable to the life living on it.

Anyways about the episode. I always have liked DS9 for its more "militaristic" and dark story. It shows a war where humans, who are always bolstering their peace, exploration and science, still have the primal instinct to do what it takes despite how 'extreme' the measures may be. I do think it is a bit over the top that Sisko was so quick to fire the torpedoes instead of try to draw Eddington out more.

With that said, it is a good example of what DS9 is meant to show: This isn't your TNG Federation anymore, this is war, and even we are willing to break our own rules for what we deem "the greater good." The Federation may be devoted to exploration when it's convenient, but now that isn't the case. Just like what Kira said when the Defiant was first introduced, "I thought the Federation didn't build warships." Section 31 shows that the Federation isn't totally forthcoming in their mission statement of peace and exploration.

All in all, I think it is on par for what the writers wanted to get across. Some of the posts are shocked at what Sisko did and how casual he was about it, and how there are no consequences. That is the point: You are stunned at what Sisko did, appalled he would do that despite all his past experiences and it is upsetting. He wasn't what you thought he was, despite all the talk of uniform and defending the Federation, he was willing to fall that far for a mission he was obsessed with.

There is no consequence, because despite how wrong it was to poison a planet Starfleet and the Federation are probably happy they have Eddington. They probably are also glad that the Maquis are reminded of the presence and power of Starfleet. Of course they would never admit it. Behind the disguise of it all, the Federation is still a power, and they like to be in control. The Romulans or Klingons would have razed the settlements and killed everyone with it, and the Federation let those people relocate. It doesn't excuse what they did, but again, seems to fit with DS9's portrayal of what the Federation will do and let people get away with.

I agree with 3 stars.
MsV
Fri, Feb 13, 2015, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
I really liked this episode, in spite of Eddington being in it. I just feel he was just annoying. Sisko lost all perspective. His frustration and disappointment with Eddington sent him over the top. Its a good episode regardless whether Sisko acted appropriately or not. His human side took over and left the Starfleet side at home.
@Verdeta, Gene Roddenbury had various writers to write different episodes, which was a good idea. I am sure he had input in the 2 shows he dealt with, but he didn't always have the final say. He probably would not have like DS9, Voyager nor Enterprise but to keep his legacy alive, I don't think he would have complained too much. DS9 was ahead of its time, If this show aired today, it would be in the top 10. The following it has today is over the top. In my wish bucket is the wish that they would make a made for TV movie to finish the last show of the last season and end it to suit me.
MsV
Sat, Mar 7, 2015, 1:04am (UTC -5)
One thing that impressed me about this episode is, when they sent Nog to the bridge to relay messages with one voice, I was so impressed, how they all work like an orchestra with all instruments playing its part at the right time perfectly executed in perfect harmony
Nathan B.
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
I can't help but notice that when Worf creates mildly destructive weather on Risa, it's "the worst Trek episode ever," good for zero stars, but when Sisko unleashes WMD's on a--to be sure, underpopulated--planet thus forcing its evacuation, the episode gets between 1.5 to 3 stars from the same critics! Compared to "For the Uniform," "Without Sin" is a wonderfully understated story with a certain quiet elegance.

I was disappointed in "For the Uniform." I wanted to are something a little more altruistic. That said, an excess of unthinking patriotism can lead to problems. This episode does a good job of that. I also don't think Brooks was over-acting. When I was watching this episode, I was incredibly angry in real life to the point where I punched my pillow. Watching the great Sisko punch his punching bag felt cathartic and later made me laugh. I think the point is that when you're in Starfleet, sometimes all that pressure just forces you to crack. It happened to Picard, it happened to Worf, and here it happened to Sisko. Sisko's frustration isn't only about Eddington.

Actually, Starfleet and the Federation in general seem to have fallen on hard times and made some morally questionable choices. "Insurrection" has a Starfleet admiral involved in interplanetary skullduggery, and one gets the impression that if he had survived to be court-martialled, it would have only been because Picard himself caught him.

I do think this episode failed on a dramatic note when it completely glossed over the evacuation of the Maquis planet. Sisko's solution--as bad as it ia--is too neat and packaged to be convincing enough to me as a viewer.

In short, there's some nice, disquieting stuff, which we all like in DS9, but it isn't handled well enough by the script writers to be considered anywhere near excellent.
Nathan B.
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Typo's: my bad!
Robert
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 7:07am (UTC -5)
"I can't help but notice that when Worf creates mildly destructive weather on Risa"

It's not the rain that was the problem. He helped create a weapon of mass destruction and handed it to terrorists.

If he shut off the uplink after some rain I'd still have thought the episode was kind of dumb and Worf deserved a stern talking to when he got home. That's NOT what happened.

He handed a WMD capable of leveling every building in a section of Risa to a nutjob.

FULLERTON: You should see them all run. I think they've finally realised that the party's over. Increase the feedback in the tectonic stress regulators.
BOLIAN: If I do, there won't be a building left standing on this part of Risa.
(Rumble)
BOLIAN: It might be a good idea to head to the spaceport. Or at least get out of this room.
FULLERTON: Very well. I think our work is done here.

There is no excuse for that. I WILL agree that the odds that everybody made it off the planet without any major damage and that the Cardassians have no ill effects from those chemicals and that they could just switch planets is a REALLY, REALLY neat and packaged solution. I would actually take no exception to people bashing it for being unrealistically perfect in an episode that should be a little messy. I take exception with people making Sisko out to be a madman, when in reality his solution is calculated, neat, packaged and perfect.

IE - Bash the writers for giving him such a way out, not the character for taking it.
MsV
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 12:30am (UTC -5)
I have another comment....Jammer...why didn't Fields use baseball as a way for Sisko to work out his frustration? Hitting a baseball requires some concentration. Sisko was too angry, he needed to hit something.
Dany
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 5:33am (UTC -5)
Horrible episode! The overacting on Brooks' part is getting ridiculous. And Sisko has to be classified as a fanatic. He's always been religious about Star Fleet, the oath, the uniform. Not only do I find it implausible that Sisko wouldn't get reprimanded for using WMDs, I find it implausible that NO-ONE aboard the Defiant objects to their use. Worf, first and foremost, should have refused to comply. Dax too. She was totally out of character, esp. at the end. It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour. And the WMDs themselves are ridiculous. Attaching a container with trilithium to a photon torpedo is all it takes to kill off all humans on a planet. And apparently that's common knowledge. Sure...
Robert
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:25am (UTC -5)
"It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour."

That doubt is your problem. The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.

That said your final comment is problematic. Sort of makes you wonder why the Dominion doesn't just do this to Earth...
dlpb
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.

-----------------

Even if we accept the absurd premise that they could, there is no way he could have known that at the time. And he was going to do it regardless. For that and breaking the law, he would find himself in jail.
Robert
Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 6:10am (UTC -5)
Although the episode presents the planet switching as "his plan" I will at least accept your problem with he. Even if he was 100% sure that they could have evacuated before succumbing to the poison somebody could have been trampled in the confusion or whatever and he'd be responsible. I'd accept the interpretation that he was reckless and got lucky. I'm going to rewatch with that in mind and consider.
William B
Thu, Dec 31, 2015, 8:33am (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, I do kind of think that Sisko's actions in this episode are worse than Worf's in "Let He Who Is Without Sin" -- I think it's more in character for Sisko, at this stage, than Worf, but that is more damning to Sisko. In Sisko's defense, I will say that I can more or less accept that he could reasonably expect no one to die. It seems hard to fathom, but I can understand the idea that what is released into the atmosphere takes some length of time to have effect; it is a stretch, but I can buy it. However, he still poisons a planet (!). As I understand the situation, the reason that Starfleet can send ships into the DMZ after Maquis ships is because the Maquis are committing crimes, and have committed crimes against the Federation. The exact legalities are ambiguous, but I think it makes sense that they have an ethical responsibility to prevent the Maquis from hitting Cardassian colonies with biological weapons FORMED FROM MATERIALS MAQUIS SHIPS STOLE FROM, OR SMUGGLED THROUGH, THE FEDERATION. In this episode, the Maquis steal the materials they use to attack Cardassian colonies with biological weapons from a Bolian ship, which means that if the Federation fails to prosecute the Maquis for theft they are implicitly allowing the Maquis to continue using Federation supplies as terrorist weapons. Similarly for the pursuit of Eddington in particular, who, as Sisko points out in the opening, used his position in Starfleet to thieve and smuggle and so on. However, unless every person on the "Maquis colony" is actually accused of a crime against the Federation/using Federation resources for poisoning purposes/etc., that planet is simply out of Federation jurisdiction; it is in the DMZ, and, you know, on the Cardassian side of the DMZ, which was the whole point of the Maquis problem. The final log entry stating that balance has been restored because the Cardassian and Maquis colonists switched planets suggests that Sisko's action was some sort of corrective, like Kirk supplying weapons to counter the Klingons in "A Private Little War," and on that level there may be some mild moral justification, but, you know, as Eddington pointed out, the people Sisko is about to make refugees are not actually responsible for Eddington's poisoning the Cardassian planet. More to the point, if Sisko acted out of some sort of superior justice principle he sure hid it well.

The actual discussion on the merits or lack thereof of the Maquis is basically reduced to the teaser. It's brief, and incomplete, but at least there is some discussion -- Eddington: people had to leave their homes! Sisko: dude, they are refusing to resettle and are dying because you're filling their head with doomed dreams! -- and that discussion at least has some resonance, as it turns out that Eddington may indeed be obsessed with the Maquis *because* he knows it's doomed. Some of the themes here, of artifice in particular, show up early on: Eddington insists, almost as a catchphrase, that "we're not killers" regarding the informant he downed, but he also implicitly acknowledges that he has basically doomed him to a slow death by marooning him on an inhospitable planet, showing that he essentially has killed him and is only playacting at a greater nobility. After that, it's really all about the Sisko vs. Eddington: It's Personal! story. Eddington may genuinely believe in the Maquis cause, and Sisko seems to believe in the Federation side, but Sisko really does seem mostly motivated by the idea of catching Eddington and that personal betrayal. Eddington is so fixated on Sisko's ostensible obsession with him that he mostly stops making arguments partway through, and eventually Sisko and Dax "figure out" how to catch Eddington by reading Hugo and deciding that Eddington's origin story is that he read Hugo and decided to betray some authority figure for a noble doomed cause in the hopes of being nobly unjustly pursued. Eddington comes across like a clever but kind of empty cosplayer, a Romantic who found life as a midlevel security officer too stultifying and so found a cause and a Nemesis to give his life meaning. And Sisko comes across like a maniac -- that boxing scene! That Eddington gets under Sisko's skin makes some sense, but that it's been half a season since "For the Cause" with no mention of Eddington's betrayal (to my recollection) makes the whole idea that Sisko is so angry at this point, as if he has been stewing on this for years with nothing else going on, incredible. (Similar for the idea that it's a big failure for him for Starfleet to take him off the assignment after eight months. He's been working on this all this time? Doesn't he have enough jobs?)

To the extent that there are real ideological differences between Sisko and Eddington, Sisko figures out how to defeat Eddington only when he "realizes" that those differences of opinion are completely irrelevant, and that the way to beat him is to be even more personal/crazy. Taking advantage of someone else's storytelling obsession, and playing into someone else's narrative, is a good idea in some respects, but the way it comes off here is particularly disturbing: Sisko "wins" against Eddington by "playing the villain," and there's a self-conscious jokey tone to the very end of the episode; Brooks goes way over the top ("YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!") in a way that here really is meant to suggest that Sisko is putting on his attitude, but he is only acting like he acted earlier in the episode, just with no moral restraints, because he's...pretending to be a villain. OK, but how is pretending to be a crazed maniac, poisoning planets and ignoring everything but the goal of capturing Eddington, different from what he is actually doing, which is poisoning planets and ignoring everything but the goal of capturing Eddington? I think that some of the implication might be that it is good to be able to "play the villain" at times, to play the bad cop and be willing to follow through, without letting that rule one completely, and by playing the villain *role* Sisko escapes the fate of being the villain. This interpretation works with the Eddington material, because Eddington, who poisons planets and maroons people to their deaths while claiming moral high ground, is too trapped in his Heroic French Resistance Fighter narrative to see the consequences of his actions. But, you know, Sisko did just poison a planet and was going to poison more; that Sisko was faking the conviction that this was the right thing to do does not change that he was willing to do it, and that he went forward with it seemingly believing it to be wrong because he needed to do villainous things to play his role correctly makes him worse in some respects than a Javert figure who really thinks he's doing the right thing. Either way, that he faces no consequences for this from Starfleet is ridiculous, as is the meekness with which Worf, Kira and Dax went along with it.

It is a shame, because Peter Allan Fields' scripts were so consistently good in s1-2. The episode has some of the same tight structure and thematic consistency that his previous episodes had, but this one stretches characterization too much and Sisko's making his way over to actual villain while being fake-villain goes mostly unnoticed. The tech material is cool in actually showing consequences of attacks on the ship, but does indeed play a little too wan dramatically (I'm reminded of the manual dock in "Encounter at Farpoint"). The holo thing is cute but unnecessary, except insofar as it maybe heightens the personal element of the episode. The episode is good at what it does in some respects, but abhorrent without the proper payoff, really hurting Sisko's character in the long run without much buy-back. 1.5 stars.
William B
Fri, Jan 15, 2016, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Hm...actually, I'll go to 2 stars, because while the episode still strikes me as ill-conceived, it is executed pretty well with some effective cat-and-mouse games.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Jan 22, 2016, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Liked this a lot. I'm not too sure about uber-Eddington suddenly running rings around Sisko, but if that's the plot device required to bring badass Sisko to the surface then why not. And it's never quite clear here the extent to which Sisko is indeed the obsessed 'Javert' or how much he ends up playing into the role to snare Eddington via his fatal flaw (always a good tragedy staple).

The fact that the Maquis have upped the ante may not justify Sisko's morally dubious actions toward the end, but do at least offer a backdrop to which those actions are not entirely out of left field.

Also some excellent VFX here, particularly on the Badlands. 3.5 stars.
Matt
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 11:17am (UTC -5)
This episode lost me when the defiant was disabled. How did Eddington manage that? Black magic? I just do not believe that he would have that ability. And why did Eddington have a Holo communicator? This is supposed to be new technology. I highly doubt that he would waste time installing this on a ship. After that I guess it was a routine Action episode but it is hard for me to get invested when the original plot was so contrived.
Luke
Fri, May 6, 2016, 1:20am (UTC -5)
"For the Uniform" - a fairly entertaining and thought-provoking episode. It has some good cat-and-mouse games between Sisko and Eddington, mostly nice performances (aside from Avery Brooks literally consuming whole areas of the set with his scenery chewing "YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!!!!!!!!!" insanity) and some of the wonderful grey area material often associated with the Maquis. Unfortunately, the episode is totally, fundamentally and completely destroyed by it's utter WTF! ending.

The idea of Sisko poisoning an entire planet - and threatening to poison countless more - has got to be one of "Deep Space Nine's" worst thought-out plots ever. It might be one of the worst thought-out plots in the entire franchise. So, after allowing his obsession with Eddington to literally get the better of him (to the point where he literally goes into battle with a half-functioning ship because he's so eager for his revenge), Sisko quite literally goes so far as to commit a war crime. And I don't say that lightly. I don't see any other way to describe what Sisko does here. Poisoning that planet was completely unnecessary and unforgivable. And the fact that Sisko does it simply to satisfy his own sense of vengeance against a man he feels slighted him personally makes it all the worse. The man deliberately ruined (and endangered) the lives of thousands of Maquis colonists (a.k.a. former Federation citizens). What if the colony didn't have enough ships to complete the evacuation? That would be hundreds, possibly thousands, of people dead and Sisko would be a genocidal maniac!

I'm honestly surprised that Worf and Kira let Sisko go through with this. They could have so easily (and by all senses of morality should have) said "You are way out of line Captain and I'm relieving you of duty." That would have been much better. Eddington would not have capitulated and he would still be free. At that point, Sisko would have had to realize what a royal asshole he had become and the episode would have been much stronger for it. Hell, Dax should have been absolutely furious with Sisko for stooping to such low, desperate and downright evil actions. That would have made for some good drama. But, of course, we didn't get that. Sisko is allowed to completely betray his uniform (as Eddington so righting points out) in more ways than one - openly defying Starfleet's orders taking him off the assignment, endangering his crew by using a malfunctioning ship and openly engaging in an activity that HE HIMSELF condemns as totally unacceptable when Eddington does it - and he gets off scot-free simply because he's Sisko - the hero of the show. He and Dax even laugh it off in the episode's final seconds like it's no big deal. Excuse me while I vomit!

I've heard a lot of fans say that Quark's actions in "Invasive Procedures" were reprehensible and irreparably damaged the character - when he comprised the security lockouts when the station was evacuated which led to the villains attempting to steal the Dax symbiont and bringing Jadzia close to death. No, that is nowhere near as damaging to his character as Sisko's actions here are to his. Quark, at least, didn't know what was going on - he thought the villains only wanted to smuggle something - and when he did learn the truth he went out of his way to save Jadzia and ultimately was the one who saved the day almost single-handedly. Here, Sisko knows precisely what he's doing, knows how morally contemptible it is and does it anyway. And then he gets away with it because "sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins"? Again, allow me to vomit! The only way I'm able to forgive the character is to pretend that none of this ever happened.

Then there are other less serious problems with "For the Uniform". Jammer is right that the extensive amount of technical jargon used while piloting the Defiant is total dramatic and narrative death that drags on for far, far too long. And, the criticisms of Victor Hugo's novels really rub me the wrong way personally. Hugo is one of my all-time favorite authors, so saying that he's needlessly melodramatic and not a very good writer isn't going to win the episode any points from me (but that is just my personal, subjective opinion - your mileage may vary). Also having Dax, of all characters, complain that Hugo's heroines are two-dimensional was particularly laughable. This coming from a female character who has barely been given any characterization beyond "superficial, egotistical narcissist"?

"For the Uniform" could have been a magnificent episode if they had made the ending make any fucking sense - because there is a lot of good on display. Sadly, having Sisko turn into a lunatic just torpedoes it.

HOLODECK TOYS - 17 (+1)

3/10

Robert
Fri, May 6, 2016, 10:15am (UTC -5)
@Luke - I've defended this ending before, so I'll try to again.

The move was calculated, not done in a rage. The fact that the thing he used coincidentally is non-toxic to Cardassians and that they can just switch planets with the Cardassians that Eddington attacked is supposed to hint towards this.

Sisko is enraged at Eddington, but the end is all an act. Every last bit of it. He was NEVER going to poison another planet. The idea is that he had Eddington so figured out that he knew this was all it would take.

You might find that to be crappy plotting, and I don't know that I'd totally argue with you, but this is not a guy that went off the handle and started lobbing WMDs at everything in sight.

"What if the colony didn't have enough ships to complete the evacuation? That would be hundreds, possibly thousands, of people dead and Sisko would be a genocidal maniac!"

I've never bought this. Just because trilithium makes a planet uninhabitable to humans doesn't mean they'd die in a minute or an hour. It could just be that they'd need treatment when Starfleet or whomever picked them up tomorrow. It also depends on how much resin was scattered in the atmosphere. I think he probably left wiggle room.

But more to the point....

"EDDINGTON: Wait! If you call off your attack I'll turn over all our biogenic weapons.
SISKO: Not enough.
EDDINGTON: All right, Javert. I'll give you what you want. Me. "

It wasn't JUST to get Eddington. Eddington had become enough of a threat to Federation security that he was lobbing biogenic weapons at Cardassian planets. And Sisko's ability to read Eddington got him to turn over himself and all of their bio weapons and all it cost was that the Maquis colonists had to switch planets.

Come on!!!! Is that SOOOO bad? People rage at this, but do the ends really not justify the means here? And he gets off scott free because it worked. It's hard to argue with results is really the truth. What are they going to do? He just came back with the traitor and all of the enemy's bio weapons. His IS the hero of the piece.

This really all depends on how much you read into Sisko. In the final act he's playing the bad guy for Eddington. The scenery chewing and all is Sisko acting, not Avery acting. Before that... yes he got carried away, no doubt. But remember he WAS going to follow orders and back off until Eddington used a bio weapon.

Again, not saying everything Sisko does is on the level and that the magic "outsmart Eddington" moment is perfect but it's better than Kirk outsmarting his seventh computer and it's vastly less monstrous than everybody seems to think. But don't ask me, ask the writers

"EDDINGTON: Do you realise what you've done?
SISKO: I've only just begun. I'm going to eliminate every Maquis colony in the DMZ.
EDDINGTON: You're talking about turning hundreds of thousands of people into homeless refugees. "

There was never supposed to be a threat to their lives, the script says so. He took their homes.
Void
Tue, Jul 19, 2016, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
The point is that, no matter what Eddington has done, Star Fleet has to act according to it's own rules. The ends don't justify the means. This is not like the threat of the (TNG) Borg, where I could understand that they would cripple them forever. This is a Terrorist with a Nuke (so to speak), so you kill the Terrorist, you don't poison a planet for fifty years. At least there has to be some kind of investigation. Besides that, Sisko acted without orders, on his own. If anyone could make a descision like "Ok, turn that Planet inhospitable for fifty years" it would be the Federation Council. Even then it would be a questionable descision.
Peter G.
Sun, Aug 7, 2016, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Fun fact I just learned related to this episode while reading something about Voyager. The Maquis raider captained by Chakotay was apparently called the Valjean, which is perhaps not coincidentally linked to Eddington's obsession with Les Miserables. I don't know where in Voyager that ship is named as the Valjean, but I'm actually guessing it was after this episode, which gave them an idea retroactively for its name. I don't even recall a Voyager episode naming that raider, which perhaps means it was in a book or from some other source? Then again my memory on a lot of Voyager episodes is foggy so maybe it was named sometime in the show after all.

Does anyone know offhand?
Chrome
Mon, Aug 8, 2016, 9:42am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

The name Valjean is given in season 7's "Repression", the one where Tuvok is controlled by a Bajoran Maquis, and it's almost certainly another homage to Les Miserables.
Peter G.
Mon, Aug 8, 2016, 9:47am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"The name Valjean is given in season 7's "Repression", the one where Tuvok is controlled by a Bajoran Maquis, and it's almost certainly another homage to Les Miserables."

Thanks for the find. "Repression" aired 3.5 years after "For the Uniform", so it therefore must have been an intentional homage to this episode. Cool, nice to know they had continuity from DS9 in mind, including the legacy of Eddington.
Prince of the Blood
Mon, Aug 22, 2016, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
This episode had great potential and was very entertaining, but it slashed up a lot of good characters. Sisko did an excellent job explaining why Eddington was a traitor (he spied on Starfleet and gave away secrets and technology). It was unnecessary and out of character to turn Eddington into a mass murderer, and we don't hear enough of Eddington's side of the story. We could use some more information about what motivated him to join the Maquis.

Worse, Sisko becomes a criminal and his entire crew are accomplices. Even if we take the implausible assumption that no one died when the weapon was used, no reasonable court could possibly conclude that instantly displacing thousands of people from their homes is anything but a crime. At the very least, Sisko and his crew would be dishonorably discharged and sentenced to several years in the Stockade.

But what is REALLY bad about this episode is that Sisko is not allowed to fail. He whines about never failing in the punching bag scene. To err is human, people grow from their failures. Instead, Sisko is transformed into an uber-villain who compromises all principles to get his man.

This episode could be great with a different ending. For me, that ending would be the crew going into mutiny and Worf locking Sisko in the Defiant's brig. The Federation reprimands Sisko, demotes him for disobeying orders, and temporarily assigns him to Starfleet Academy. DS9 gets a jerky new CO for a few months (a couple of episodes) and Sisko is put back in charge after doing his penance because the Bajorans can't work with the new CO and start to turn against The Federation. And, oh yeah, The Maquis absolutely tear up The Badlands as Eddington and his crew of hackers rip Cardassian, Federation and Klingon computers to shreds.
Prince of the Blood
Mon, Aug 22, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Come to think of it, it could even be more fun if Eddington's successes and Cardassia's weaknesses led to the establishment of an independent, Dominion-allied Maquis state at odds with everyone else!
Ivanov
Mon, Aug 22, 2016, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
@Prince of the Blood
That would have been awesome we could have had Cardassia conquered by the Dominion maquis alliance early in the war and Dukat leading a government in exile and even force him and Garak to reconcile.
Joe
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Kind of odd that people are saying they sympathise with Eddington because of Sisko's actions. Sisko didn't do anything that Eddington hadn't already done, unless you think it doesn't matter because it was only Cardassians. I find myself unable to sympathise with Eddington just because of how smug and annoying he is.
Ivanov
Mon, Sep 5, 2016, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Sisko trys out being an obsessive psycho path. little does he know you can never beat Janeway in Scorpion equinox or unimatrix zero :)

I'm fine with what Sisko did it was either that or give the Cardassians a reason to wage a war of extermination against the maquis(which the Dominion later helps them do) besides who here really thinks Eddincton wouldn't have targeted more populous worlds with no way of evacuating even a quarter of its population.
Since its star trek i'm willing to believe most of the population had their own shuttles.(heck chakotays shuttle had like 40 people on it not counting losses from the caretaker array)and evacuated in time.

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