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Nejer
Sun, May 2, 2021, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

While I agree with most of Jammer's review, there is one aspect with which I disagree. The title of the episode can also refer to the wrongs committed by Dukat.

In the second to last paragraph of Jammer's review, he states "It's also interesting to note the judgment that's passed along by the episode's title, 'Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night.' It seems to side with Kira's view of the matter."

Indeed, there are fates worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return (what I would interpret "Night" to mean in the context of this episode). Subjugation under Dukat is one such fate. During the Bajoran occupation, Dukat manipulated his victims by attaching the good feelings of helping their families with Dukat himself. As such, every day the victim remains with Dukat, their family receives more resources to survive.

That twisted sense to take advantage of a victim's love for their family and using it to delude the victim into being grateful to Dukat is a form of brainwashing. To make this entire situation even more disgusting, Dukat did this many times. The conversation between Kira Nerys and the legate in the conference room scene (when the legate recited what Dukat would say before he said it because he had said the exact same words so many times before) made this very clear. Given what is known of Dukat's personality, he may have subjugated multiple women concurrently as he had Kira Meru. Dukat engaged in manipulating victims into either deluding themselves into being with him or at least playing along. Either way, forcing victims into such a situation for the rest of their lives is a fate worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.


On a side note, watching this episode and Dukat's behavior reminded me of the Borg. The Borg's victims are trapped in their own bodies, watching events unfold without the ability to participate or influence those events. In a sense, so were Dukat's victims. However, in this case, Meru was given a choice. She was separated from he family already. She could refuse Dukat and be forced onto the Bajoran side of the station, as Kira Nerys was, and still never see her family again (or something even worse) or she could agree to sell her life for the increased chance of her family's survival. Either way, Kira Meru may have seen her life as forfeit. As such, she chose the least bad option. While the borg don't give their victims a choice, Kira Meru effectively chose to give her life away.

To say that Kira Meru was weak and chose an easy life is an oversimplification of the situation. Decisions are not made in a vacuum. Maybe Kira Meru did it for an easy life, maybe she did it to try and save her family, or perhaps some combination of the two reasons. The episode did not make this portion clear, but it does matter because motivations matter. Decisions are not usually made based on one issue, but the totality of the situation.

Let me be clear, I'm not saying one way or the other what Kira Meru should have done. I agree with what Sisko said in the coda to the episode, that however anyone may have felt, it was Kira Meru's decision to make. No one should ever be in that kind of a situation where they must choose between such options. The fact that Dukat forced so many women to make such a choice is the point. It is the wrong darker than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.
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Nejer
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

ANOTHER INTERESTING SCENE:

I forgot to include the second scene with Admiral Ross that gave something away... A little more than half way through the episode, when Bashir is briefing Ross on Sloan's interest in killing Koval, after Ross mentioned that there could be another party involved whose duty it is to kill Koval, Bashir mentioned that it could be a Romulan. As soon as he said that, Ross shifted position and his voice suddenly changed (he seemed almost genuinely surprised and concerned). Given that Koval is the federation operative, I can understand why Ross would suddenly become concerned that maybe Bashir figured out what was really going on... Lucky for Ross, Bashir trusted Ross implicitly because he couldn't imagine Ross being part of the conspiracy on Sloan's side and, therefore, told Ross his entire thinking process, which certainly put Ross at ease after Bashir explained that another Romulan may be tasked with killing Koval.

So many layers this episode had along with twists and turns... It could easily have been turned into a movie. In fact, if more of the regular cast were involved, this probably could have been turned into a 2 part episode... Regardless, definitely among the best episodes of DS9, and that, in and of itself, is quite an achievement.
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Nejer
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

AN INTERESTING SCENE:

First of all, before I go into my 2 cents, I just wanted to make a note of something I noticed while watching the episode recently (interesting to note that this is probably my 3rd or 4th time watching it over my lifetime). The first scene aboard the U.S.S. Bellerophon when Bashir is enroute to Romulus, when Admiral Ross, Senator Cretak, and Bashir all drink some romulan ale, Sloan suddenly appears to answer the question of the etymology behind the phrase, "Never say die." There is an interesting visual cue that, perhaps I'm over thinking, but considering all that happens during this episode, is interesting in its ever so subtle foreshadowing. As Sloan explains the meaning to Cretak, Admiral Ross ever so slightly widens his eyes and nods his head (bear in mind everyone is looking at Sloan at this point and Admiral Ross is the farthest person from Sloan, so only Sloan can see this response. A few seconds later, still during the conversation, Sloan just finishes mentioning the "Merchant of Venice" as part of his explanation of the phrase above, and Sloan provides an acknowledgement of Admiral Ross's signal by touching the right side of his neck with his finger... In retrospect, knowing everything that happens, it is a chilling prospect to know how much Admiral Ross was involved, though as it has been said, it is also very understandable given the situation. The cliche, "Desperate times call for desperate measures," comes to mind, and certainly has its place here.

Secret Motivations, Secret Agendas:

Honestly, I wish I was older when I first watched this series. Granted, not every episode is a masterpiece, but I would have appreciated the potential of each episode at least and, when given a masterpiece like this episode was, I would have appreciated it all the more, perhaps even suspected Admiral Ross's involvement from the beginning. I do appreciate Jammer's comment regarding Sisko's potential involvement as well and I must agree that it is a possibility. If he can keep a secret like his involvement with having the Romulans enter the war, then I would certainly consider him capable of this, and for the most part we were seeing things from Bashir's perspective. Then again, the Romulans entering the war was a more extreme circumstance than this was. Conquering an important member of the UFP and potentially facing loss of the war was much more extreme that this situation. Which brings me to the idea entertainment and the presence of extremes as a theme commonly used in such mediums.

Utilization of Extremes as a Theme in and for Entertainment:

I find a great deal of the analysis and the comments for this episode most compelling. The question of morality and what to do under extreme circumstances is often questioned. Often movies and entertainment are modeled around such a theme, in one way or another (ex. soap operas around personal drama, war movies around the circumstances of the war and their impact on the individual while some focus on the government and its choices, etc.)

But then, when is it right, or at least understandable, to grant exceptions to the rule? The is a question that still exists today and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. Look at the law for example, the law is not a collection of agreed upon precepts that set punishment for a crime, rather it is a range of potential punishments that can even be overridden by the judge, if they see fit. Each situation is unique and must by analyzed accordingly.

Conclusion:

This may sound trite in today's society, but the nature of what the word "extreme" has come to mean has such a level of volatility, it can mean almost anything from a mother taking short cuts to make cookies for a bake sale for their child's school to fighting terrorism to saving a civilization from complete and utter annihilation.

The question of where to draw the line has become hazy at best (though I think the cookies example was a bit humorous). But the bottom line is that in a society which praises and prizes the importance of individual liberties, where does one draw the line before those liberties are curtailed? Where does society draw the line between continuing to exist and fading in the annuls of history?

Well, I'm certain the world has come close to fading into the annuls of history many times, of which we've heard of only a few (the Cuban missile crisis comes to mind). While I find the idea of innocent people (like Cretak in this story) being eliminated because of their point of view to be repulsive, I find it much more heinous an act to allow a civilization (while still having many problems is basically morally good and is trying to correct those problems) to become a forgotten society, to allow all of the potential good it can do for not just their own citizens, but for the other civilizations it can affect for the better must all be considered.

As a result, I would say the United Federation of Planets needed to do this to survive. However, the important aspect that needs to be acknowledged here is that the United Federation of Planets deserves to survive. It has it's flaws, but the good it does for its citizens, the freedoms its people enjoy and its progressive nature and willingness to accept others (at least significantly more so than other civilizations) makes it necessary to commit such acts and still be worthy of survival. The question is does that carry over into the real world? I think it does. Despite all that has happened, the USA has been more of a positive influence on the world than a negative one. Yes, it has its flaws, but it is still a relatively young country with basically good citizens that want a better world, not just for themselves, but for everyone. Furthermore, they have already overcome many obstacles in their relatively short history. Give it time, and as the USA continues to evolve, so will its efforts to make itself and the world a better place.
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