Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"The Maquis, Part I"
Air date: 4/25/1994
Teleplay by James Crocker
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and James Crocker
Directed by David Livingston
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The terrorist bombing of a Cardassian supply ship brings to Sisko's and Dukat's attention armed skirmishes between the Federation and Cardassian colonies that reside, respectively, in the other side's areas of the demilitarized zone (due to a recently signed treaty put into effect in TNG's "Journey's End"). The Federation colonists live in constant fear of Cardassian oppression and, at times, blatant assault. As a result, they've taken up arms and formed a terrorist organization called the Maquis—which has led the Cardassian colonies to return hostilities. The terrorism brings one of Sisko's good friends to DS9 to help diffuse the situation: Cal Hudson (Bernie Casey), a Starfleet commander in charge of overseeing the Federation colonies.
"The Maquis" is one of the great examples of complicated political situations that define DS9 as a series. Filled with intriguing plot developments (including weapons smuggling on both sides and the eventual kidnapping of Gul Dukat) and a multitude of characters, "Maquis, Part I" shows all the signs of a slowly percolating situation that will eventually become one of the series' several defining plot lines.
Of particular interest is the extremely interesting role of Gul Dukat in the given situation, as well as his evolving function on the series. Sisko and Dukat are infinitely watchable as reluctant co-investigators, and they have two key scenes in this episode that are marvelous: one in Sisko's quarters, the other in a Runabout. The amount of depth that Dukat's character takes on is welcome and highly commendable, changing his image into something far more subtle and complex than that of a villain. Marc Alaimo's performance is multifaceted—revealing unexpected low-key humor and then turning on a dime to exhibit a menacing persona.
Also of high interest is a great heated argument between Kira and Sisko regarding the Federation colonists' decision to resort to such violent terrorism. Surprisingly, the least effective scenes are the ones between Sisko and Hudson; Bernie Casey's wooden performance misses the mark and somewhat mars some important—and otherwise powerful—dialog scenes of exposition.
Previous episode: Blood Oath
Next episode: The Maquis, Part II
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48 comments on this post
Sat, May 19, 2012, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 29, 2012, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
Amen. I got so sick of the Maquis on all 3 programs and you expressed exactly what I felt throughout the years they were presented. The writers conveniently sidestep the issue that the people who settled in the DMZ were *warned* that the territory was in dispute before they settled. Hello? Space is vast. Why settle in a war zone when you have a vast Quadrant to choose from?
But we, the audience were always supposed to sympathize with them. And we were supposed to cheer them on as their terrorist activities risked plunging the entire Alpha Quadrant into possible war. We were supposed nod with approval as Eddington browbeat Sisko about the supposedly duplicitous nature of the Federation. Piller and Co. were so in love with this concept that ultimately proved to immediately fizzle out on Voyager and was ended abruptly on Deep Space Nine.
I thought Picard was dead on in "Preemptive Strike" when he said that even sympathy has its limits. He would have had a damn good comeback speech to Eddington about his thuggish ways.
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 7:46am (UTC -5)
I never felt like we were necessarily supposed to "cheer them on". Indeed, and as usual for DS9's morally gray storylines, while they're not presented as clear villains I'd say they qualify as antagonists. The vibe I always got from the Maquis storyline was "here's a complex situation, who's right? We don't know", and I like those stories most of all. I don't like soapboxes, and I didn't think the writers were on one here. Sometimes Eddington's rambling makes some sense, but I was never cheering him on, per se.
Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Technobabble nitpick: M-class ASTEROID? Why isn't that an oxymoron?
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
I'm not even a huge fan of the Maquis story-line, but this episode establishes the fact that failure is an option for the Federation. Before now, he had hints of continuity, but here, the Sisko effectively fails to find a technological or philosophical solution to the problem between the settlers and the Cardassians. And it has long term ramifications. The reset button is not hit for a long time.
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 11:18am (UTC -5)
As Jammer said, Bernie Casey's wooden performance detracted from this episode.
"Don't make me shoot you Ben"....
But it is a good introduction to the Maquis.
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 5:56am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 23, 2014, 1:07am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 23, 2014, 7:37am (UTC -5)
The Journey's End colony was likely the first instance of this happening since if dozens of colonies had already refused resettlement Picard would know this and have offered it from the start. One can infer that after Journey's End all the other colonies filed to do the same thing on both sides and all hell broke loose.
Thu, Feb 19, 2015, 1:12am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 6:32am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 1:14am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 16, 2015, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
I agree with those who thought Brooks wasn't very good early in the series, but got better over time.
I thought this was the first really strong performance from him. He wasn't quite as good in the next episode, but I think this may be the turning point.
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 9:53am (UTC -5)
Of course, the balance of this episode is all off, because Marc Alaimo's performance as Dukat and Bernie Casey's as Hudson are very far apart in quality and interest. Dukat's scenes (more on these later) are engrossing, funny, and chilling, with Dukat coming across as a dangerous but complete person, and the Hudson scenes can't even really sell the notion that Sisko and Hudson used to be friends. In principle, it should be easier for me to believe that a man believes that a man who farmed a planet for twenty years should have a right to the fruits of his labour than that a man believes children should be forced into day-long grueling memorization camps because joy is vulnerability, but Alaimo sells Dukat saying the latter as if it's the most natural thing in the world and Casey can't do much at all. Not to lay too much of the problems on the performances, I do think that the episode's portrayal of Cardassian ethos as represented by Dukat really does still run circles around their portrayal of the Maquis' reasons. The Cardassians are an alien, militaristic, Orwellian state, and one which produces True Believers like Dukat and Garak who *nonetheless* are completely opposed to each other, who both seem to believe in some of the same principles yet come at it in vastly different ways. Still, in this episode in particular, when Dukat indicates that he has no desire to see the peace treaty between the Federation and the Cardassians crumble, I believe it. The Maquis stories focus on how they love their land, and also how Cardassians are jerks, and somehow all the arguments fall apart into something like whining.
YES, the Cardassians are oppressive, frightening, and fascistic, which is why it is a bad idea to live in Cardassian space. It is certainly wrong of the Cardassians to arm their people to bully and kill the colonists out. And I agree that the ex-Federation citizens who live on those planets in the DMZ have a right to defend themselves, in the sense of, they have the right not to be shot by Cardassians. However, the "right to defend themselves" always comes up as a way of dodging the fact that the central, inciting act of this episode was the destruction of the Bok'Nor with all hands, over on DS9 *not even in the DMZ*, with no actual proof that the Bok'Nor was smuggling weapons. Whether the Cardassians "started it" within the Cardassian-space-ex-Federation-colonies or not, this was the first act of sabotage on either side which killed dozens of people outside the space. This inciting event is part of what makes many of the episode's arguments hard to swallow. There is a return of the PEOPLE YELLING AT EACH OTHER theatre in Sisko's officer when Kira storms in to yell about how Bajoran oppression gives the Federation ex-citizens the right to defend themselves by, I guess, blowing up Cardassian freighters on the station Kira is the first officer of? And that's the problem in a nutshell: Sisko points out that the colonists chose to live in Cardassian space, and Kira yells "WELL I DIDN'T!" and then proceeds to describe the situations as analogous anyway. But really, my sympathy for the Maquis really is weakened by the fact that there's no real reason they can't just move. If the colonists move, they lose their homes, but the Federation is post-scarcity. The emotional attachment to the land that they have built is real, but Kira forced Mullibok to move in "Progress" to help expedite Bajoran power distribution, let alone to stop a war. It is obviously unfair, and if Cardassians are surreptitiously driving the colonists out through force and fear and killing, they should be held accountable and perhaps the entire notion of colonies existing within the opposite power's space should be reexamined. The choice to go for terrorism, including blowing up ships with no proof they are gun-running, would only make sense to me if they really had no ability to leave their colonies. That Sisko had not heard until now of the Cardassians punishing ex-Federation colonists in the region suggests to me, too, that this is not highly publicized, and I am not sure why; Hudson clearly *could* have reached out to Sisko before joining the Maquis, surely? But it seems to me that Hudson wanted to get his involvement in the terrorist organization started and already going before any alternate channels of dealing with this problem presented themselves.
Don't get me wrong, though; obviously there are Cardassians who are betraying the treaty, though it's not clear whether the Bok'Nor was part of that plot. I like that Dukat uses all his power and authority to try to discourage the Cardassian ships from attacking that Federation one, and that Dukat seems genuinely just as confused and distraught as Sisko about the situation. That Dukat and Sisko, as our episode's representatives of the Cardassian and Federation establishment *near*, but not in, the DMZ, are both confused and both want to get to the bottom of this suggests that the situation perhaps has gotten out of control. While I think that the episode fails to make sufficient case for the Maquis, I do very much like that there is the sense that both Sisko and Dukat feel out of the loop in terms of what has been happening in the DMZ, and are equally confused and chagrined by the activities that take place; there is the sense in which having left the region alone, conflicts have "naturally" arisen without any cooler heads to resolve them through anything but increasing levels of terrorism on both sides. This is pretty realistic, overall, and a believable development, in a vacuum -- I say "in a vacuum," because I'm still not so sure about the Maquis' reasons for not getting out of there. I like, further, that the episode parallels Evek and Hudson, in that Evek's kidnapping/"apprehension" of Samuels and extraction of information is followed by Hudson's kidnapping of Dukat for "proof" of Cardassian weapons smuggling.
On Dukat/Sisko interactions personally: these are such a joy. I love Dukat's confusion and emphatic "You wound me!" when Sisko shows concern over Jake's presence, which I think is both sincere shock and a played-up dramatization of his suffering which we will come to see from Dukat often. The Runabout scene, though, is the real highlight: Dukat's needling Sisko about his panel being off, his smugly stating that Cardassian models are years ahead, and his "knowledge is power, joy is vulnerability" and hilarious follow-up statement that Sisko is the most joyless man he's ever met (and among the least vulnerable). I love the way for Sisko's various walls against Dukat, he immediately lets Dukat use the comm channel when the Cardassian ships are attacking a Federation one, and even gives him access to the photon torpedoes (at which point Dukat drops the pretence of not knowing about the Runabout controls!). Part of what makes Sisko/Dukat a fascinating pairing is that they actually *do* work very well as a team, both here and in "Defiant," as long as their interests are aligned. Dukat's calling Sisko on the superior Federation morality seems to me to believably represent an outsider's reaction to the Federation, ESPECIALLY when Sisko himself has demonstrated quite a bit of less-than-ethically-superior behaviour (admittedly not that Dukat has witnessed) and further when the inciting event for the episode was the random destruction of a Cardassian freighter at Sisko's station. That Dukat can talk about believing Sisko to be an honourable man suggests that Dukat has his own code of honour, too, and while I think Dukat eventually breaks most of his codes and beliefs, I think that at this point he genuinely believes himself to be a good person, and even perhaps has reason to. His value system is based on domination and control, and he plays games, but he is honest to Sisko throughout this episode about the important things. And I suspect that Dukat recognizes that keeping DS9 functioning properly is not such and easy job.
The Quark/Sakonna stuff is fine, though a tiny bit laboured at points.
It's hard to evaluate this as an episode in and of itself, but overall I think it's a 3 star show, especially for the fantastic Dukat scenes.
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Highlights here are the interaction between Sisko and Dukat. It's clear neither want to have to clear up a war started by their proxies, but that events have spun out of either of their control. And as Kira forcefully and memorably reminds Sisko, logic might not play into it to much when people are scared for their lives.
Hudson may not be a strong character, and the surprise ending is hardly a surprise, but this is a very strong episode to go into Pt II on. 3.5 stars.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 9:06am (UTC -5)
~Sisko falling in love with a ghost
~a badly botched immigration allegory
~good luck machines
~Odo as a shape-shifting B-movie monster
~one of the worst episodes of DS9 period
All I can say is THANK GOD we've finally come back to something with some actual weight and meaning for the Star Trek universe as a whole.
"The Maquis, Part I" is an absolutely fantastic episode which really allows DS9 to play to its strengths (instead of trying to make it be TNG without a ship). The fact that this episode (and it's second part) is the lynch-pin in the beginning of a story arc that will end up spanning not one, not two, but three separate Star Trek series is phenomenal. It's even more so when you consider that it was essentially foisted on the DS9 creative staff when they didn't really want to do it. The Maquis, obviously, were created specifically to be used on VOY and yet they had to use TNG and DS9 to set them up. The DS9 staff was forced to do something and yet they turned it into gold. Of course, given that DS9 would eventually do more with the Maquis than VOY ever did, I'm not surprised. I especially loved the off-hand remark Sisko tosses off about several ships having disappeared in the Badlands recently - a nice little bit of foreshadowing for VOY.
I really couldn't describe what makes the episode so good any better than Jammer already has, so I'm not going to try. I'll just get to the main question the episode forces every viewer to ask - who do you side with, Starfleet or the Maquis. Count me firmly in the Maquis camp. When I first watched "The Maquis" back when it first aired I was unquestionably on the side of the Federation, they are the "good guys" after all. But now, after thinking about it and rewatching it years later, I can't help but think that the Maquis are clearly in the right. The UFP really screwed these people over, big time. They absolutely have every right to defend themselves and it looks like the Federation is only stopping them from doing that in order to protect a really bad treaty. If you want to know why the treaty is so bad, watch SFDebris' review of this episode, he goes into some pretty good detail as to why it's horrible. The Federation's justification also is pretty horrendous - they're doing it for the greater good (better to abandon their colonists than face the possibility of renewed war with Cardassia). That's actually pretty scary. You can justify anything you want with the "greater good" argument. Under that reasoning, you could say that killing six million Jews was necessary in order to serve the greater good of Germany. We later learn from Michael Eddington that the Maquis were actually planning on full-scale seceding from the Federation and setting up their own state before the Dominion wiped them out. I can't say I blame them.
The reason why I find myself siding more and more with the Maquis as time goes on is summed up perfectly by Kira in the outstanding scene where she questions Federation policy with Sisko. "I lived with them for twenty six years before the liberation came. Every Bajoran lived with them, in constant fear. I know what those colonists are going through. Most of all, I know that the Cardassians can't be trusted to keep their side of the bargain in this treaty. I can tell you one thing for certain. The Cardassians are the enemy, not your own colonists." Exactly.
If there is one problem with the episode it's Bernie Casey's portrayal of Calvin Hudson. For a man who's witnessing his own government (which he's spent his entire adult life serving) stab its own people in the back for essentially "peace at any price" and who decides to turn his back on everything he's held dear in order to help those people, he sure acts awfully serene. Good grief! Put a little emotion into it! I can see why he was never brought back in future Maquis episodes and we only hear about his death later from a third party.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 9:09am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Yeah, like kill them all off!
But seriously, good read Luke!
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 11:47am (UTC -5)
One thing I will say though --
"Something I forgot to mention.... Even the first Jem'Hadar character we meet tells Sisko that the treaty is obviously a clear-cut tactical mistake on the part of the Federation. It just goes to further solidify my support for the Maquis when an undeniable enemy of the Federation sees the truth."
I read the purpose of statemetns like that as the Jem'Hadar trying to sow discord and discontent. We are told over and over and over again in s2-5 that the Dominion wants the whole Alpha Quadrant to go to war with each other to make things easier for them when they conquer. So a Jem'Hadar saying that the Federation/Cardassian treaty is an error is hardly a neutral observer, but someone whose government has an invested interest in undermining said treaty in the hopes that the AQ will destroy themselves. If it were a Jem'Hadar in something like "To the Death," we could maybe take it as a genuine, unplanned sentiment, but this was a Jem'Hadar talking to them as part of an elaborate sting operation, pretending that the Vorta was a prisoner, etc. So whether the treaty is a tactical error or not, the Jem'Hadar is not an unbiased source.
Thu, Mar 3, 2016, 8:45am (UTC -5)
@William B - That's a good point. The Dominion was, even at that early date, trying to stir up trouble among the Alpha Quadrant powers by sending Eris into their midst (the writers even named her after the Greek goddess of discord). Still, I do think the Jem'Hadar is telling the truth about the treaty. The best, most successful liars don't tell straight-up lies. Outright falsehoods can be easily disproven. The best liars, as Garak would most likely tell you, either tell half-truths or take something that is true and twist it in a certain way to fit their purposes. That's what I think the Jem'Hadar is doing. Even he realizes that the treaty is flawed and so is using that fact for the Dominion's own nefarious ends.
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 2:34am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 22, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -5)
DS9 was always at its best when telling larger stories. Here they put to good use two episodes that not only served to set up Voyager with the Maquis and the Badlands but also showed DS9 is right smack in the middle of vital Alpha Quadrant geo-political events
I enjoyed the political intrigue and notion that the colonists had been conducting a secret war all this time and everyone was unaware of it
Sakonna was a very interesting Vulcan character. Enjoyed her scenes with Quark
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
The one flaw in the plotting was that I knew right away he'd turn out to be Maquis, so that was some lessening of tension.
I was a bit confused about when the Maquis were introduced, though--this seems plotted to be the first time we meet them, but I checked the airdate and it looks like we'd already met Ensign Ro on TNG?
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Ro on TNG was introduced as a Bajoran refugee, part of a group of Bajorans who had left their planet during the Cardassian occupation. She wouldn't join the Maquis until the second to last episode of TNG season 7. DS9 season 2 was airing at the same time as TNG season 7, so these DS9 episodes are several months before that. I'm pretty sure these DS9 episodes are the first mention of the Maquis in the Star Trek Universe.
Pillar was introducing the Maquis in both DS9 & TNG to prepare for Voyager, which was going to start the next year. I think I've read that Behr (who would take over DS9 in season 3) was annoyed that DS9 had to introduce the Maquis just to set up something for Voyager. Of course, DS9 would do way more with them than Voyager would (which pretty much forgot the whole idea after their pilot)
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 8:45am (UTC -5)
So this IS the first time in Star Trek that we ever meet the Maquis?
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
I looked over some stuff at memory alpha to verify it:
TNG episode "Journey's End" aired 28 March 1994:
-Admiral Necheyev tells Picard they have a new Cardassian treaty & they need to move those "Native Americans" off their planet because it ended up on the Cardassian side of the new border. Violence breaks out...but ends with an agreement that the colonists will stay where they and accept Cardassian rule.
-This introduces the ideas necessary for the Maquis, but not the Maquis itself. Also, this was intended to be Chakotay's home planet, though that was never mentioned onscreen (according to memory alpha).
DS9 episode "Maquis part I" aired 24 April 1994:
-first actual appearance of the Maquis, an organized resistance to the new treaty.
-first mention of the badlands...they note a few ships have gone missing there.
TNG episode "Preemptive Strike" aired 16 May 1994:
-Ro is sent to infiltrate a Maquis cell; she joins the cell instead.
Wed, Aug 23, 2017, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
When I re-watched this, I couldn't believe they would continue filming after seeing how awful this actor was.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Sisko's buddy Hudson adds a personal dimension to the Maquis but his performance was a bit bland. The female Vulcan as part of the Maquis was good but also odd for me -- what is a Vulcan doing getting involved with these Federation colonists? Seemed like an odd place for a Vulcan to be but she was a good character and really got the idiot Quark going.
But the best part of this episode is Dukat getting seriously involved and if he's genuine or not. His dynamic with Sisko is obviously one of the primary ones in the series and their different approaches to solving the same problem is fascinating. We get more insights into how Cardassians are brought up and what their society is through Dukat's conversation with Sisko. Wonder exactly how his position (Commander of the Second Order) relates to the Cardassian central command exactly.
Kira giving it to Sisko was also great and the difference in the quality of the actors is clear. Visitor really shows the emotion but Brooks is so stiff in his response. Kira can relate to what the Maquis are doing and lets her hatred of the Cardassians influence her opinion as well. I suppose Sisko should be more measured but he is too much so.
Good twist at the end with Hudson showing his Maquis colors and the symbolism of the Federation uniform was important in what Sisko was trying to do with it. The friendship Sisko and Hudson have for each other adds a bit of class to what could have just been a violent situation when they meet on the M-class asteroid.
3 stars for "The Maquis, Part I" -- really good story using good background material. Dukat is a fun to watch -- makes you really sit up and take notice. I liked the female Vulcan in this one although I still question how she gets involved with the Maquis, not to mention why it takes so long to realize it's the Maquis they're dealing with. Ultimately, trying to prevent an all-out war is a good cause for trying to tread carefully for Sisko with both the Cardassians and the colonists. Solid DS9 here.
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
The relevant aspects of “Journey's End” also require us to go back to two earlier TNG episodes, “The Wounded” and “Descent,” albeit briefly. In the latter, we are introduced to Admiral Necheyev, who is one of the earliest examples of angsty, poorly-thought-out anti-Roddenberry elements to appear in Trek (a recurring element of DS9). While she is another crazy admiral in a long line of crazy admirals, her particular beef in “Descent” is with' Picard's choice in “I Borg” to release Hugh back to the Collective, without the deadly M.C. Escher drawing that would destroy them, apparently. Picard had overcome his human foibles and made an enlightened choice, despite seemingly impractical implications. Necheyev is angry with Picard for, you know, abiding by the principles upon which Starfleet is based, and tells him that he should henceforth behave like a military commander at war with a mortal enemy, and seize opportunities without regard to morality. The episode eventually vindicates Picard's choice, albeit obliquely by showing what amoral pragmatism leads to, that Data, robbed of his ethical programme, becomes a monster. The Admiral isn't heard from again in that story.
In “The Wounded,” we are introduced to the Cardassians via yet another crazy admiral. What's relevant here is that the Federation, crippled as it was in the wake of the Borg invasion in “Best of Both Worlds,” fought hard for a peace with the Cardassian Empire and eventually signed a tenuous treaty with them. Picard warned that the Federation, despite their preference for peace, would be on the lookout for treachery from the Cardassians forthwith.
Okay, so that's the backstory to the backstory. Phew. In “Journey's End,” the negotiations finally determine the official boundaries between the Cardassians and the Federation. Picard notes that several planets from both sides end up in each other's territory. Picard is tasked to evacuate one of the colonies that is to be turned over to Cardassia. Now, there's some contrived drama about the fact that this colony is comprised of American Indians, and there are parallels to the Trail of Tears (except, not really at all), and some vague New Age spiritual bullshit that justifies the decision, blah blah blah. What we are left with is a situation where some of the Federation colonists decide to renounce their citizenship in order to remain on their planet. Because the Federation is a post-scarcity society, and because space is very big, this decision can't be justified by any tangible reason—the colonists don't NEED to stay on their land or risk facing poverty or starvation or violence or disenfranchisement—remember, post-scarcity, post-property society—rather, they choose to give up the Federation's protection because they have an emotional, perhaps spiritual connection to the lands they've colonised. Now, that is the decision they've made and are free to do so, but we *cannot* forget the context of that decision. The colonists who remained in Cardassian territory chose to separate themselves from their own government, its resources, its protection, and the rights it guaranteed them in favour of Cardassian rule, because they wanted—not needed—to stay in their colonies.
Okay, now we can begin the two-parter.
Teaser : ***, 5%
A Cardassian ship, the Bok'nor is docked at DS9. When no one except the cameraman is looking, a gold shirted Starfleet officer begins fiddling with a panel. Meanwhile, we get another instalment of Deep Sex and the City as Jadzia and Kira banter about men. Way to beat that Bechdel test, ladies. Dax does make the point that Kira may be a tad superficial in her picks, which would explain why her boyfriend has the personality of a turnip. Dax notes some elevated levels of...she doesn't say but apparently, it's bad news because the Bok'nor explodes after decoupling from DS9. The banter bit is tedious and stupid, but mercifully brief. The plot bits effectively set up an intriguing mystery.
Act 1 : **.5, 17%
While the team investigates the explosion, Sisko is noticeably on edge as Starfleet is breathing down his neck and the Cardassians are MIA. Jadzia technobabble explains that she believes the explosion was not an accident. One touch I liked is that in their interactions, the political volatility of the situation is clearly weighing the characters down. O'Brien, Dax, Odo and Sisko are irritable and short-tempered with each other. To brighten his mood, Arch steps into Ops in a Starfleet uniform. He, Sisko and Dax are old friends (I like how introducing the new Dax informs us that Sisko and Arch...I mean Cal have known each other for a while via the relationship with Curzon). Cal has been assigned to oversee the colonies in the new DMZ. I assumed that the DMZ was a territory without any colonies prior to the treaty, hence its utility as a de facto border, but apparently, this treaty not only exchanged planets between the Federation and Cardassia, but left in place colonies which would belong to neither government. Did these colonists face a choice like the American Indians or are they still Federation citizens under Federation protection, but in a zone which prohibits military action by the Federation? None of this makes any sense and I'm rather irritated by a political story that is so hand-wavey with the details.
In Sisko's office, Cal and Sisko have a little...erm...locker-room talk which is banal and stupid. Then they talk about Jennifer's death, which is less stupid. Cal's wife has also recently died, and the writers are trying really hard to show that Cal's assignment to this god-forsaken DMZ mirrors that of Sisko's assignment to DS9, that the two men have similar backstories and personalities, similar duties, tastes (the banter about Dax' looks and baseball), etc.
Okay, so Cal claims that the colonies he is overseeing—in the DMZ—have been abandoned by the Federation. In the context of what we learned from “Journey's End,” this can ONLY mean that the colonists have renounced their citizenships, just like Wesley's buddies. Cal calls the treaty “bad,” because, in his personal appraisal of the lives these colonists have led, the sacrifice of having to relocate (within a society with LIMITLESS PERSONAL RESOURCES) is too great. Cal does make a couple of salient points, however. One is that the Cardassians now living in Federation space, under Federation protection give Cardassia a foothold into Federation society, while the Cardassians, who have radically different ethics, will likely be abusive towards the humans now living in their space. He's not wrong, but again, these people knew the consequences of the choice they were making when they refused to leave. Sisko, in the kind of moral cowardice which hardly surprises me anymore, just kind of lets that point go and tells Cal that the Federation is worried about fallout from the Bok'nor. The other point Cal makes is that the Cardassians will definitely respond to the incident, but it will be sneaky, “slick” as he puts it, not via some official military gesture.
Meanwhile, we see the human saboteur from the teaser (no longer in uniform) and a Vulcan exchange ominous words on the Promenade, overseen by what I thought at first were the time-travellers from “Captain's Holiday.” The Vulcan makes her way to Quark. She wants to make a business deal, he wants to get her drunk for...reasons. If you can ignore Sakona (the Vulcan) and her distracting eye-rolling (playing Vulcans is HARD), the scene is low-key hilarious thanks to Shimmerman's timing and some witty dialogue.
The not-time-travellers trick the human Sakona had words with and capture him. Um...dun dun dun?
Act 2 : ***.5, 17%
Sisko finds Gul Dukat in his quarters, and there's immediate suspicion that he may have harmed Jake in some way. He hasn't, but Sisko's point that Dukat is capable of anything is not without merit. As Cal predicted, Dukat has come to the station surreptitiously to deal with the Bok'nor incident.
Marc Alaimo gives a stunning performance with sinister shades of carefully guarded intent. It is a theme among many of the Cardassians we've met, Macet, Garak, Marritza. Somehow, Dukat knows that members of the Federation are responsible for the incident, and he wants to take Sisko to the DMZ to prove it to him.
Next thing you know, Sisko and Dukat are indeed in a runabout on their way to the DMZ. Well of course they are! Why wouldn't Sisko immediately go along with this plan and head, alone, to a hotly disputed territory? I mean, the last time he was on DS9 (“Cardassians”), Dukat spent the entire episode lying to Sisko to gain political advantage, so the last thing he would ever do is lie to Sisko to gain political advantage. At any rate, the dialogue between them in the runabout is pretty fun. I don't know if I'd characterise Sisko as not vulnerable, but joyless? I'll give you that one, Dukat. Sensors detect a Cardassian ship attacking a Federation merchant vessel within the DMZ. Dukat is angry and assures Sisko that the Cardassians would not violate the treaty by taking this action—which is just what Cal had told him, too, remember.
Dukat has Sisko hail the Cardassian vessels—which are way overpowered for their size. He orders them to disengage their attack. When they don't answer, he threatens to destroy them. Incidentally, Dukat reveals he fully understands Federation technology and controls, meaning he's already been lying to Sisko for political advantage. Try to contain your shock. Suddenly, a small Federation vessel (which Sisko labels “civilian”) appears, also way overpowered, and destroys the Cardassian vessels before they finish off the merchant ship.
Act 3 : ***, 17%
Back on DS9, Quark's date with Sakona is going...hilariously. She puts up with his overtures because she needs something from him. We get a little more backstory on the Rules of Acquisition (last mentioned in “The Nagus”). Quark is surprisingly successful in seeming to string Sakona along—one wouldn't think a Ferengi would illicit such positive feedback from a Vulcan. But it turns out that all Sakona wants from him are weapons. She wants a lot of them, and a continuous supply, no less.
On one of the DMZ planets, Gul Evek (whom we met in “Journey's End,” and seems to have been assigned a role similar to Cal's) is eviscerating some of the colonists for the destruction of those Cardassian ships. He claims that the merchant ship refused to be boarded which instigated the fighting. The colonists claim the ship was carrying medical supplies, Evek that it was smuggling weapons. Dukat and Sisko arrive. Dukat is seething a bit about the Cardassians' refusal to answer hails. Evek claims that the Cardassians in the DMZ have been responding to Federation terrorism. His logic is pretty bogus, of course; the Cardassians are justified in violating the terms of the treaty because the Federation is violating the terms of the treaty? If the Cardassians actually suspected that the Federation was behaving so duplicitously, they would have to know that the Federation would not let such a claim go un-investigated. It would give the Cardassians far more high-ground in their chess game to be the victims of Federation abuses rather than retaliate and risk losing all their advantages. However, it seems that Evek has the confession of the human saboteur, oh and also his dead body (Evek claims he committed suicide). The sight of his dead friend sends one of the human colonists into a rage against Evek. Dramatic as this wants to be, it's severely undermined by Bernie Casey's lame line-delivery (“come on. We'll talk later”) and some really cheesy blocking with the extras.
Act 4 : *.5, 17%
Cal is upset about the saboteur's death (understandable). In his emotional distress, he makes a fallacious argument to Sisko about the politics of the situation.
HUDSON: I knew him. Bill Samuels was a farmer. He cultivated his land for twenty years. He raised two kids on that land. He made something out of that land and the Federation told him he had to give it all up to the Cardassians. Well, he just was not willing to do that.
1. In the Federation, farming is a vocation. Robert Picard's family will not starve if he stops making wine because he doesn't need to sell the wine. He does it because it's fulfilling work to him.
2. The Federation did not tell him he “had to give it all up to the Cardassians,” they said, “In order for your children not to be threatened by war right in their backyard, you have the option of leaving your home and farming elsewhere if you so choose, or you can remain on your land but it will be governed by someone other than us. And this would be a risk.”
3. When Samuels decided he “wasn't willing to do that,” *he* became responsible for what happened to him and his family next. Don't misunderstand, the Cardassians obviously tortured and killed him, and that's just as wrong here as it was when Macet tortured and nearly killed Picard in “Chain of Command,” but in both cases, a choice was made to sacrifice lives to the mercy of the Cardassian government. Picard, under orders from Starfleet, knew he was violating their sovereignty and Samuels knew he was renouncing his Federation status.
HUDSON: [T]hose people have every right to defend themselves. When the Federation said goodbye to them, they left them no other choice.
The Federation didn't say goodbye to them, it was the OTHER WAY AROUND. Cal makes a valid point that obviously, the Cardassians are finding a way around the treaty to arm their people in the DMZ (under Federation jurisdiction?). The Federation should certainly make every effort to prove this is happening. This is, in fact, more or less the plot of “Redemption,” is it not? What would happen to these colonists if they just fucking left? Yes, I get it; leaving your home, even when resources are limitless, is rough. I wouldn't want to be forced off my land because my central government, hundreds of lightyears away, signed a treaty that gave it away to the enemy. But you know what? I'm not five years old. Given the choice between being obstinate to the point of turning to violence and terrorism, and packing up my things and starting fresh somewhere else? Well, that's no choice at all.
But since Sisko is our POV character and offers no retort to Cal's sophistry, we are expected to side with the colonists, or at least consider that everybody is wrong in some way. No the situation is not black and white; there's not a GOOD choice and a BAD choice, but the choices available are not equivalent either. There is clearly a BETTER choice for the colonists, and that is to fucking leave already.
...the good part of this scene? Apparently, RuPaul had a city named after her.
On the way back to DS9, Sisko confronts Dukat about Samuels' death. Dukat actually agrees with Sisko that killing him (or “letting him die”) was a mistake, but not out of compassion, but because of that chess game I mentioned earlier. Dukat is a better strategist than Evek. Sisko berates him for his cold attitude, but there's an ironic bitchslap in store for the commander.
Sisko is looking for some way to justify Samuels' sabotage of the Bok'nor, insisting (probably correctly) that it was smuggling weapons to the DMZ Cardassians in violation of the treaty. Never mind the morality of blowing up a ship in an act of terrorism in, what we have established, is an incredibly dubious cause, Sisko is looking for the strategic high-ground here! He's looking to corner Dukat in this chess game, just as ambivalent to the loss of life as Dukat seems to be. Oh Sisko, I can always count on you to be completely fucking useless. What does work in this scene is the revelation that Dukat is a father (to seven children, yeesh). So, Sisko the writers have shown Sisko to share a great deal of characteristics with both Cal and Dukat, thus putting him in the centre of the conflict between them and their modes of thinking.
On DS9, Sakona completes her transaction with Quark. We haven't had a chance to discuss her much, yet, but I think it might fit better into part II. Sisko returns to receive confirmation on what he already knew. Kira, because the writers hate me personally, decides to play strawman for Sisko in his office.
SISKO: So, you'd suggest the Federation not keep our side of the bargain either, perhaps by arming these colonists?
KIRA: I can tell you one thing for certain. The Cardassians are the enemy, not your own colonists, and if Starfleet can't understand that, then the Federation is even more naïve than I already think it is.
First of all, bad dialogue there, writers, “more naïve than I already think it is”? Yeah, that's some natural human speech. You're trying too hard and it hurts my ears.
More to the point, the Cardassians WERE the enemy. If the Cardassian government or agents within their society are indeed undermining the treaty, then that is a real problem, but the treaty ENDED THE WAR. That makes the Cardassians, by definition, NOT. THE. ENEMY. ***deep sigh***
If the Cardassians are indeed not respecting the terms of the treaty and committing violence against the colonists, then the only reasonable option is for the Federation to renew their offer to the colonists to leave the DMZ, investigate the likely violations, and to denounce the actions taken by these rogue humans.
Again, for all his bluster in this scene, Sisko can't be allowed to make this simple argument to Kira. No, no. That would get in the writers' way of ham-fistedly trying to sell this bullshit argument of theirs that the Federation, and by extension, the ideals on which it is based (see the issues regarding “I Borg” and “Descent”) are hopelessly naïve in the face of “real” problems.
Meanwhile, Sakona and another human in Starfleet garb kidnap Dukat, and smuggle him off the station.
Act 5 : **, 17%
While Sisko is screaming at his monitor in his office, Odo goes on a rant that leads him to the conclusion that, under the Cardassian occupation, DS9 was safer than it is under Bajoran control and Federation management. This is unfortunate as it contradicts the growth he underwent in “Necessary Evil.” By the end of that episode, Odo remarks in his log: “There's no room in justice for loyalty, or friendship, or love. Justice...is blind. I used to believe that. I'm not sure I can anymore.” Sisko has O'Brien check the logs to try and figure out which ship Dukat was taken away on, and for a brief moment, it looks like Sisko isn't utterly failing at this job. But right before he can leave Ops, Kira gets to deflate him by reporting that the group responsible for the kidnapping—and consequently the other acts of Federation terrorism—is outing themselves as “The Maquis.”
They track down the Maquis ship heading towards The Badlands (a rough part of Bajoran? space near the Cardassian border). Bashir gets to have a line, asking whether Sisko is prepared to fight Federation colonists to retrieve Dukat. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, but the pattern needs to be called out: instead of responding, “They gave up their status, Doctor. They aren't Federation colonists anymore. Gul Dukat was kidnapped aboard MY station, and it's MY responsibility to rescue him,” he just says nothing. I'm ready to set this strawman on fire.
Sisko and co. beam down to the asteroid where the Maquis ship had landed. They are ambushed and leading the group is none other than Cal Hudson. Cue cliffhanger.
Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%
The monicker “Maquis” reveals just how contrived and dubious this whole premise is. The Maquis of history were a group of French and Spanish resistance fighters (mostly civilian) who fought back against Nazi occupation. Yes, the Star Trek analogue for Nazis is the Cardassians, but I don't recall the French government negotiating a treaty with Germany giving away some of their land in exchange for peace. The highly romantic self-image these people adopt for themselves fits in perfectly with the illogical and childish stance they adopt in this story.
There is going to be a lot more to be said about the politics of this story in part II. I'll sum up my issues with the machinations in this part by saying, for now, that the premise is very, very forced. The writers want to talk about terrorism, but unlike in, say, “The High Ground” on TNG, they want to be ironic and badass by making the Federation culpable in the circumstances which lead to violent rebellion. In order to make that even plausible, they have to ignore or retcon some basic structural tenants of Federation society. Retconning isn't a crime unto itself in my book, but in this case, I have a very serious problem with it because of the political conclusions it is used to imply. Again, more in part II.
Otherwise, the mystery is executed well, and the supporting cast is pretty good (Sakona, Evek). The main cast besides Sisko all get a line or two, but feel pretty superfluous to the action. Among the principle players, Dukat is by far the strongest, written complexly and performed captivatingly; Sisko isn't performed so badly, but he keeps having his tongue cut off by the writers so that other characters just pontificate at him in the same aggravating manner as episodes like “In the Hands of the Prophets”; Cal Hudson is performed pretty mediocrely, which is sad because Bernie Casey was a fine actor. I wonder if putting on the Starfleet jumpsuit threw off his game.
It's ambitious, but it has some serious problems so far.
Final Score : **.5
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
But the problem with the Maquis is that none of these reasons should apply to the non NA human colonists, who have no historical or spritual context justifying their decision to stay put. Indeed, why don't they just leave?
This is where that fuzziness in the setup for The Maquis becomes maddening. Is this a continuation of the Journey's End story or some kind of retconn? The story plays fast and loose so that the answer isn't totally clear - perhaps intentionally to cover up its narrative flaws.
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
For instance if the colonists saw themselves in the first place as having seceded from the Federation (something never made clear) then they would see the Federation as having no authority to hand over their homes to someone else. However, having signed over their homes to Cardassia, it would make the Cardassians feel entitled to try to take it from them. So in effect by signing such a treaty involving unaligned ex-Federation worlds, the Federation effectively would have screwed them over by embroiling them in Cardassian animosity that they never asked for. But as it stands it seems we're meant to understand that the colonists are still Federation colonies and obliged to obey Federation law, so the whole thing doesn't work, as Jason just mentioned. Why not just abide by Federation law rather than go to war with Cardassians? It's not like there aren't enough planets in the galaxy. So yeah, it's a mess as-is.
What we're left with is the subtle implication that the colonists don't like Federation technological values and are basically seceding in all but name. But then why not actually secede? Because then Sisko would have no business intervening and we'd have no episode, since Starfleet wouldn't be allowed to interfere in a matter to which they weren't invited. So perhaps the conceit that they're still Federation citizens is required in order to justify having an episode where Starfleet goes in there to solve it.
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Brooks does much better in his Dukat scenes, though Aliamo does most of the heavy lifting. He's fantastic as Dukat, and that is one interesting character.
The Maqui just aren't very compelling, though the storyline provides plenty of interesting tension among the Maqui, the Federation, the Cardassians, and Sisko & Co at the station.
Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 6:21am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 8, 2019, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
FEDERATION: Those planets are in disputed territory. Cardassians live there, too. No one knows who will own them. We don't recommend going there; they could legally become part of the Cardassian Empire. You have freedom of movement though, so we won't stop you.
MAQUIS: We're going there anyway!
FEDERATION: Ok, they're part of Cardassia now, like we warned before. That's not too good, but we can help you leave anytime you want.
MAQUIS: We're not gonna leave!
FEDERATION: Ok, like, you know we can't send our police over there or anything, right? That territory is part of a foreign country now; we can't apply our laws and courts and whatever there.
*Cardassia does what Cardassia always does*
MAQUIS: The Federation is a jerk!
Sorry, but I call complete BS. The Maquis knew the risks and took their chances. They don't get to force the entire Federation's hand (to break their own laws, violate a treat, and start a war) based on their whims. Colonists now dictate how the Federation negotiates treaties? The entire premise is almost childish. And of course, when Sisko explains this to Kira she has to scream and yell and make it all about her even though this political situation is nothing at all like the Occupation. Seriously, if an officer can't keep a lid on their emotions during a crisis they need to be dismissed.
Tue, Oct 8, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
I tend to agree that the way in which the *origin* of the colonists' problems is shown here doesn't make much sense. I get the scenario they wanted to write about, but they didn't know how to get there. It was at its clearest in TNG's Journey's End, where at least the argument was that the Federation in its grand scale diplomacy was still not beyond displacing "the little guy" for reasons that always make sense but also take into account "the current of the future" over individual choice. We might ask whether individual communities could really avoid being Federationized even if they wanted to, although that's never really asked. Instead we hear talk of potatoes and such.
That said I think we're supposed to understand that Cardassia somehow manipulated the treaty *so that* they would have ex-Federation colonies to harass...or maybe at least. I'm not quite sure about this point, as the idea seems to be they militarily support their own people in the DMZ. But what I'm not sure of is whether they like this situation (since it lets them prove to their people what a problem the Federation is) or whether this situation really is an annoyance to them. Given how quickly the Cardassians were looking to attack again in Chain of Command I find it hard to believe that a situation like this arose just because of some stupidity of colonists being stubborn.
Tue, Oct 8, 2019, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
I looked it up on memory alpha. As far as I understand it the Federation settled these planets. 20 years later the Federation and the Cardassians exchanged some colonies which led to TNG's Journey's end. Here settlers refused to leave and are allowed to stay and promised "to be left alone" which made other colonists wanting to stay as well. The Cardassians immediately broke the agreement (different from the treaty) and through various ways tried to force the colonists out.
So I would argue there is quite a bit of moral ambiguity here at least between the Federation and the Maquis.
" They don't get to force the entire Federation's hand (to break their own laws, violate a treat, and start a war) based on their whims. Colonists now dictate how the Federation negotiates treaties? The entire premise is almost childish."
Is it? There are so many examples in history where it went exactly like that. There once was a state, let's call it Teksas which was part of another country let's call it Meksiko. For reasons the settlers from another country... the Hugh Ess Eyy quickly outnumbered the Meksikoan population and declared open revolt which made the Hugh Ess Eyy invade.
Again colonists forcing their mother country to invade or intervene is a pretty common occurrence in human history.
Plus politics is pretty often about half a dozen factions making questionable demands. The problem mostly stems from the fact that every last one of those factions has reasonable arguments for their position.
Or to quote Kira: Everyone has their reasons. That's what's so frightening.
"And of course, when Sisko explains this to Kira she has to scream and yell and make it all about her even though this political situation is nothing at all like the Occupation. Seriously, if an officer can't keep a lid on their emotions during a crisis they need to be dismissed. "
Would probably not be too smart to tell the highest ranking Bayoran officer on the station to get over that whole borderline genocide thing. I mean come on Kira it happened two years ago. How long will you stay mad about the five decade long occupation of your home world combined with mass murder and cultural annihilation. Calm down, geez...
For some reason I had to think of the first minute of this scene. ;)
Sun, Nov 8, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 14, 2021, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 22, 2022, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 24, 2022, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 6, 2022, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 8, 2022, 7:45am (UTC -5)
Something nice about it was that is was more action-packed and varied. Many DS9 episodes are too one dimensional. There is one drawn-out-problem and one drawn-out-solution. It is like a boring road trip in which the road never turns and you can always see your destination. But this episode had some neat twists, turns, and unpredictable moments.
What didn't work though were the main characters/groups. We are to be sympathetic with human settlers that have left Earth and feel a god-given right to settle planets in "deep space" and close to a hostile power? Trek has established that there are many places for people to live...there shouldn't silly squabbles over colonies like this. Having the settlers invest in things like farming makes no sense too because of replicator technology...these settlers are squabbling over scarcity, when Roddenberry kind of established it doesn't exist for humans. The bajorians are equally as annoying. They are one-dimensional, stupid, and needless confrontational. Few of us cared when the Dominion wiped out the Maquis.
Part of the problem was that the Maquis were a mostly Jery Taylor invention modeled after the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Roddenberry would not have approved of romanticizing petty turf wars in space.
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