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Wed, Sep 1, 2010, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Indiscretion

@ Jeffrey: The implication was that deep down he never wanted to kill her, so in some way he (subconsciously?) needed Kira to be there to stop him if needed. I seem to remember Kira realizing that and saying something to that effect in the end.

I don't know what the problem is with the thorn scene, and comic moments between Kira and Dukat in general. Just because Dukat can be funny or silly occasionally doesn't mean that he isn't a real villain or that we have to sympathize with him. People all have silly moments in real life, I'm sure that every despot and criminal has had some of those. And it's not like Kira was going to be Dukat's friend or forgive him just because they shared a silly moment and laughed about it. It just makes the situation more bizarre, in a way, but also more lifelike - how do you deal with situations when you're forced to work alongside people who have committed terrible crimes and haven't repented for their past? It must be bizarre and uncomfortable looking at them acting like 'normal people' while at the same time thinking about who they are.
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Fri, Jul 3, 2009, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

I don't see the title as a judgment on Meru's actions. I saw it as a comment on the wrongs perpetrated on the Bajorans (like the "comfort women" and their families) by Cardassians in general, as well as Dukat in particular. We've seen Cardassians kill Bajorans, beat them up, force them to work in labour camps, starve them, but the wrongs depicted in this episode are a much more personal kind of abuse, and one that has far-reaching psychological consequenes. It includes sexual slavery, sexual abuse, as well as destruction of Bajoran families (ironically, using family love for that end) and moral compromisation - making women into prostitutes, concubines and collaborators. But the most chilling parts of the episode are those that show Dukat seducing Meru with his acts of "kindness" and his "rescuing poor Bajoran woman" (from the situation they wouldn't have been in in the first place if it wasn't for him) act. It is completely in character for a narcissist like Dukat that, unlike his subordinate soldiers, he wouldn't be content to just sexually possess Bajoran women, he wants to win their hearts. But on some level, Dukat's emotional manipulation of women like Meru is a darker wrong than his subordinates' straight-up sexual abuse, as it is more insidiuous and goes much deeper.

I thought this was a brilliant episode because it contained so many shades of grey, as you said. Meru is both a collaborator and a victim, and her motivation and position is ambiguous. Is she driven more by selfish desires or a desire to help her family? We're lead to believe the former, until the scene in which she cries watching her husband's message, which indicates that she does indeed care about her familz. Maybe it is the most accurate to say she was just a woman trying to make the best of a bad situation. One might say she is weak for being seduced by luxury and Dukat's charm, or naive for buying into his jsutification, but then again, she doesn't have much choice to begin with - other than to get killed, abused by other Cardassian soldiers, or try to escape, with her family most likely to starve... So maybe she was on a subconscious level letting herself fall for Dukat - because, let's face it, it makes the whole situation a lot more pleasant to her. Maybe she wanted to believe on some level that Dukat was indeed a nice guy, to jsutify herself and make things easier for herself. If Meru had hated Dukat, if she had hated being his mistress instead of enjoying it, things would have looked so much simpler - Meru would seem a lot more like a woman sacrificing herself for her family, and Nerys would probably have found it much easier to justify her mother's actions. But most people are not into being martyrs, they prefer to try making their lives as easier and pleasurable as possible. While that is a very understanable human reaction, it is also understandable that Nerys is disappointed in her mother and still doesn't find it easy to forgive her. But I think she was moving towards being more understanding of her mother's position, as seen in "The Covenant" when Dukat says that her mother loved him, and Nerys answers "Maybe that's what she convinced herself."
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