Jammer's Review

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?"
"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

54 comments on this review

Jhoh - Sun, Apr 20, 2008 - 2:37pm (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)

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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
"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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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.


David - Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - 5:34am (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
"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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)

Solid episode. Season 5 getting back on track.

eastwest101 - Fri, Dec 13, 2013 - 1:43am (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
I assure you, Gene Roddenberry turned over in his grave.
Maxo - Fri, May 9, 2014 - 2:57pm (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
"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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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 (USA Central)
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

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2015, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer