Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Maquis, Part II"

3.5 stars

Air date: 5/2/1994
Teleplay by Ira Steven Behr
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Corey Allen

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In "Maquis II," Sisko finds that his long-time friend Cal Hudson has sided with the Maquis, intending to destroy a Cardassian weapons depot suspected of supplying the aggressive Cardassian colonies with armaments that have been used against the Federation settlements.

An extremely intelligent and often powerful continuation in the Maquis saga, the storyline benefits from solid plot developments (the dealings between Quark and the Vulcan trader are well-written and sensible) and good uses of the characters. This episode's most fascinating selling point is the way it puts Sisko in the tough bind: He finds admirals breathing down his neck to rectify the situation; he's forced into divided loyalties between his now-Maquis friend Cal and his duty to Starfleet; and the possibility of further violence erupting because of these skirmishes remains a possibility.

An early scene sets the tone when Sisko convinces himself of the reality of the Maquis' motives and frustrations—with a particularly apt observation that Starfleet's blind eye has been masked by the paradise of Earth they see every time they look out the window. Sisko's decisions here make him a complex hero—a man who has to utilize careful decision-making as his tool for dealing with the Maquis threat.

The rift between Sisko and Hudson has a strong emotional undercurrent—though it's once again somewhat undermined by Bernie Casey's wooden, dispassionate performance. On the other hand, there's always the reliable Marc Alaimo, whose turn as Gul Dukat—a man of pride, arrogance, keen observation, and sincere intensity—is a constant pleasure to watch in action. A delicious scene in a Runabout features Dukat dismantling the will of a cargo ship captain by using the sheer power of his attitude. Indeed, Dukat emerges "Maquis" as one of the most fascinating and dimensional recurring characters the series retains.

The finale is also gripping—with the unsettling sight of two Starfleet officers (Sisko and Hudson) firing on one another's ships—and it features some slick special effects. "The Maquis" is really good stuff—and not the last Maquis storyline by far.

Previous episode: The Maquis, Part I
Next episode: The Wire

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59 comments on this review

Nebula Nox
Sat, May 19, 2012, 9:44am (UTC -6)
I agree that the Cal Hudson scenes are lame. If you know another language I suggest switching. The dubbed is better than the original.
John
Fri, Jun 29, 2012, 10:43am (UTC -6)
I disagree on your assessment of Bernie Casey's performance but I do think he was stronger in the first episode.

I also think Dukat gets off lightly here. Given what we know of the Cardassian legal system his helping to stop the Maquis shouldn't be enough to get him off the hook after the Central Command has publicly condemned him.

But at any rate, a fantastic double.
William
Wed, Aug 29, 2012, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
Fantastic two-parter. It tired some viewers, but I always thought the Cardassian/Bajoran/Colonies storylines were among the strongest and informed the whole series, even when the Dominion came to town.
Kotas
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 4:53pm (UTC -6)

A solid story episode. Good 2-parter.

6/10
Dusty
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 9:59am (UTC -6)
I have to say, this would have been so much better if they had a decent guest star playing Cal. Ben Casey is bad enough to make Avery Brooks look like a natural TV actor in comparison.

But once his scene is over, this episode skyrockets into a stunning hour of Trek. Every scene with Gul Dukat is gold, especially his dressing down of the alien freighter captain. Quark, of all people, picks apart the situation and points out the foolishness of Maquis extremism to the Vulcan Sakanna. The finale falters slightly in providing little closure to the situation, but that's just how a realistic political drama should play out, so I won't hold it against them. At any rate, it sets up a fascinating story for the future.
MsV
Thu, Feb 19, 2015, 1:20am (UTC -6)
I think Marc Alaimo is one of the best actors on this series. I have watched him over the years on different programs and he was real good on those too. I remember when he was on Quantum Leap as a police officer, he was good. On the contrary I have seen Rene (Odo) in different programs most recently Criminal Minds, he wasn't as good as people on this site attempt to claim. He played a good Odo but other than that he is a mediocre actor, to me.
SamSimon
Thu, Jul 9, 2015, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
Great episodes! I loved them!

The story is solid, all characters are used well, special effects are great (the final battle is really well done). Only one thing didn't work well for me: as soon as part I started, it was super easy to understand that Hudson was with the Maquis. Apart from that, really solid episodes.
William B
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 8:12am (UTC -6)
Part 2 is pretty similar to Part 1 in terms of quality and theme, though the focus shifts (understandably) somewhat more to action. Here, it's clear that Hudson is with the Maquis, and Dukat is even more clearly Sisko's ally than before. Rather than gesturing to the reasons the Maquis might form, as he did in part 1, Hudson is now directly the spokesperson for the Maquis, and the person who Sisko has to harm in order to protect the peace. This makes the iffy writing and terrible acting for Hudson all the more damaging, because it removes the "real" advocate for the Maquis position from the table.

What we do find is that that the Cardassian Central Command really was supplying Cardassian colonists with weapons in the DMZ. On the one hand, the confirmation that it was *Central Command* that was supplying weapons confirms that the Cardassians were treacherous, trying to shut the colonists out in spite of their agreement to the contrary. This provides justification for Maquis retaliation, as strong as it gets, with something like near-absolute demonstration that the Cardassians *started it*, were trying to drive them out, and cannot be trusted. That helps solidify the ground the Maquis stand on. On the other, it is frustrating and a little baffling that this revelation comes and goes with no real change in the overall situation. This is part of the point, of course -- wheels have already been set in motion, It's Too Late, etc. But Sisko's stopping the arms shipments removes the original reason Hudson gave for the Maquis continuing to fight and puts the Cardassians in a corner. I get that Hudson et al. believe that the Federation will protect their treaty At All Costs, and our glance at Nechayev is not all that reassuring in terms of Federation willingness to hear out complaints about the Cardassians, but Sisko now has proof, which results in part from a Cardassian ally, and are the Maquis really uninterested in seeing where this leads?

While I do wish we had an opportunity to hear a similar argument, as fully-formed, from Sisko, I do love that Quark convinces Sakonna that the reveal of Cardassian weapons substantially changes the situation with hard, self-interested logic. Yes, I do think that what he says should be clear to a Vulcan anyway. But part of what makes the show's using the Ferengi, and Quark in particular, as the voice of human(oid)ism is the way Quark's (the Ferengi's) self-interest, at best, is unencumbered by pride or a desire for revenge, beyond the short-term. Quark works with whoever he has to, including old rivals; Quark has no real expectations that other people will treat him fairly, and expects only that people will follow their self-interest. While this free-market model has its limitations, it *does* mean that Quark is not likely to become fixated on old (or even recent) wounds and is genuinely interested in finding the best solution. We know Quark is being genuine because we saw the way he reacted to Rom's treachery in "The Nagus"; that a war would be a costly and fruitless endeavour when the Maquis has already won a huge advantage in having the Cardassians exposed is something that is more obvious to a pragmatist like Quark than an ideologue like Hudson, or even a man like Sisko who is motivated by a sense of duty (to the uniform!) and loyalty.

The other big apologist for the Maquis position is Sisko himself, particularly in his famous "IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN PARADISE" speech, which I have mixed feelings about. Part of the problem is that even with TNG's history of evil admirals in general and depicting Nechayev as unreasonable and hard-headed in particular, it's a bit hard to understand how Nechayev is so scatterbrained as to declare that the Maquis are "irresponsible hotheads" whom she acknowledges destroyed a freighter with all hands through sabotage one moment, and then says that they are Federation citizens who will obviously listen to reason the next. Further, we're expected to believe that Nechayev responds to Sisko's point that the Cardassians may not be honouring the treaty with appeal to authority ("are you questioning Federation policy!?") rather than any sort of argument, which I acknowledge is at least plausible given Sisko's somewhat belligerent tone, and, most glaringly, that she leaves a *commander* in charge of a situation which could reasonably escalate into full-out war with the Cardassians, and doesn't even bother to give Hudson, who is *actually* in charge of the Federation DMZ presence, a call. The series does tend to give Sisko increasingly improbable responsibilities, but really? So Sisko's rant about how Starfleet Command just Doesn't Get It is "true," but only because Nechayev is made so unreasonable it strains credulity. In any case, Sisko's speech comes down to the idea that humans tend to make more morally questionable choices when put in difficult situations, and I agree with that as a general principle, but it still doesn't sufficiently explain the fact that these are people who still surely have the *option* of returning to the "paradise" of Earth, or some other beautiful Federation world, rather than starting fights that will drag millions (billions?) into a war.

I also want to add before continuing: I think Sisko's lying to Nechayev about talking to Hudson is a big mistake. I get that Sisko wants to protect Hudson because of personal loyalty, and also that he thinks he can Get Through to Hudson. Still, Hudson is *much more* objectionable to me than, say, Sakonna is, and far more dangerous since he can use all his Starfleet training to help the Maquis, which the civilians can't. Sisko's arresting and charging a bunch of people but hoping to protect Hudson is hypocritical. Further, by not telling Nechayev that Hudson has gone to the Maquis, he is continuing to enable her fantasy that the situation is not all *that* bad. Yes, Nechayev should really know better (as I said above), but given that she has her illusions, I think pointing out that the Starfleet presence in the DMZ has gone over to the Maquis would presumably mean Nechayev allocating more actual resources and personnel to this *extremely* tenuous situation. I get Sisko's reasons: he wants to protect Hudson, and he also has the (somewhat control-freak-based) belief that he can solve the situation in a way that the whole force of the Federation coming down cannot. But letting Nechayev go on believing that Hudson is still a force for protecting Federation values and policy also means that the entire Federation force that can prevent the attack that could spark a war is three dinky Runabouts.

One of the recurring motifs in the episode is Dukat's frustration with Sisko's reluctance to attack ("SHOOT THEM!"), culminating in his angry declaration that Sisko is not strong but a sentimental fool. This particularly is set off, early in the episode, by Dukat's declaration to the Maquis that they do not have the stomach for real killing, not the way he and other Cardassians have. And the episode's emphasis on Dukat's charisma and his ability to Get Things Done with his fearsome militarism does give him a certain aura and make him seem almost admirable at times -- as in the scene where he boards the freighter smuggling weapons, mostly through force of will. And in a lot of ways, I think we're meant to recognize that the Maquis, and Hudson, believe that they have to be as "strong" as Dukat in order to win against the Cardassians, leading to their unwillingness to back down from the fight, even knowing it will cost millions of lives -- and in some respect, it may be that they find themselves a little intimidated and even impressed by Cardassian might. The capture of Dukat and attempt to interrogate him through Any Means Necessary, including forced mind-meld (linked to rape previously), shows a desire to implement Cardassian-style tactics, while stopping short of real Cardassian brutality. Sisko's refusal to blow up Hudson's ship while he's flying away is seen by Dukat as weak, but is also the result of Sisko holding on to some of his humanity and mercy and loyalty even in the face of what duty is "required" of him.

The episode, for what it's worth, does not advocate taking the Cardassian position. It's not just that the intense militarism is evil, though it is that -- the way Dukat says that several political rivals believe that he should have killed every last Bajoran, and then shrugs and says "too late for that now," is chilling and darkly funny in its casualness, whether Dukat *actually* believes he should have mass-murdered at this point or no -- but also because the valuing of might and the needs of The State above all else can also turn on you at any time. The biggest demonstration is Dukat's proud declaration that Cardassian trials are superior to the barbaric Federation trials because everyone is always guilty, which occurs because Cardassians "don't make mistakes," which is then undercut by Sisko's pointing out that the Cardassian Central Command has scapegoated Dukat for the weapons shipments and said they would execute him if the Maquis didn't, "after a comforting trial, I'm sure." Similarly, Dukat's admiration for Sisko develops at least in part because of Sisko's honour and loyalty which is remarkably un-Cardassian. When Dukat is captured, Sisko cannot quite articulate to Kira *why* it is important to rescue Dukat, mass killer -- and while the rationalization he gives is *true* (if the Central Command wants him dead, that's reason for them to want him alive), and Dukat is very useful as the episode goes on, I think it's more along the lines that Sisko feels some mild sort of loyalty to Dukat, he-may-be-a-monster-but-he's-my-monster, as a result of Dukat's coming to Sisko in the hopes that the two of them can resolve the Maquis issue. When Dukat thanks Sisko for saving him, and Sisko says that he's sure Dukat would have done the same for him, and laughs, Dukat smiles a little after Sisko's departure, as if recognizing that there *is* something to be said for Sisko's weird, somewhat sentimental attitude.

Hudson would say that Sisko working with Dukat is making a deal with the devil to preserve the peace, and Dukat says that Sisko's maintaining sympathy for Hudson the terrorist is weakness. Both are partly right, but Sisko's ability to work with Dukat demonstrates that Federation/Cardassian relations need not end in war, regardless of their pasts and build-up of personal animosities, and Sisko's loyalty and so-called sentimentality even to a "traitor" of the state is part of the value system that allows the Federation to largely hold together while the Cardassian Empire is endlessly slipping into political treachery and murder and violent regime changes. So I think this is mostly a good episode for Sisko. I would say in particular that not telling Nechayev about Hudson is pretty bad, but it's definitely consistent with the way Sisko prioritizes personal loyalty.

Anyway, as the two-parter about the creation of the Maquis the episode's stumbling on presenting the Maquis perspective is not a small weakness, but the Sisko-Dukat stuff is great, I like the Quark-Sakonna material mostly, and there is a good sense of urgency to the plotting. 3 stars.
Robert
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
"When Dukat is captured, Sisko cannot quite articulate to Kira *why* it is important to rescue Dukat, mass killer -- and while the rationalization he gives is *true* (if the Central Command wants him dead, that's reason for them to want him alive), and Dukat is very useful as the episode goes on, I think it's more along the lines that Sisko feels some mild sort of loyalty to Dukat, he-may-be-a-monster-but-he's-my-monster, as a result of Dukat's coming to Sisko in the hopes that the two of them can resolve the Maquis issue. When Dukat thanks Sisko for saving him, and Sisko says that he's sure Dukat would have done the same for him, and laughs, Dukat smiles a little after Sisko's departure, as if recognizing that there *is* something to be said for Sisko's weird, somewhat sentimental attitude. "

I love Dukat. He's basically "space Hitler". They never do ANYTHING to counter that point. Yet he's so damned CHARMING that you're literally rooting for "space Hitler". It's amazing, really.
William B
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
@Robert, I know! I don't quite know how they get away with what they do with Dukat, but they somehow manage it, especially the way some sympathy for Dukat seeps into Sisko et al., and even Kira, in ways that are largely believable.

I think the best that can be said about Dukat is that he is a product of his culture. And further, that the "personal Dukat" and the "political/military Dukat" are subtly different -- it's not just that Dukat can be charming, but he can even be kind, love his children, care about humans and Bajorans that he is supposed to despise, all while plotting MASS KILLING for political and military gain and not really seeing the contradiction. I just wrote about "Necessary Evil," and the way he writes off Bajorans dead in the mines as casualties but insists that "we can't have Bajorans running around killing each other" is basically Dukat in a nutshell. Of course, we also know that Dukat will murder if it suits his career, but he does have a fragmented enough mind that I don't think he could quite see it that way.
MsV
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
Hey William B, I do enjoy your commentaries, they are informative and I find your writing as being very expressive and clear. But we are in a bit of disagreement. *This makes the iffy writing and terrible acting for Hudson all the more damaging, because it removes the "real" advocate for the Maquis position from the table.
Oh no, no matter whether the acting was bad or good, Cal was the advocate for the Maquis and it was clear. He was the one to be stopped from attacking the armory and Sisko had to stop him. It may have detracted from the scene for you, but his advocacy was very present.

I just want to add this for anyone who thought Kira had any sympathy for Dukat must have watched another show. Kira wanted Dukat dead, she said it, she meant it there is no other way around it. Kira simply obeyed orders.

Regarding Admr. Nechayev, she is one of the most single-minded, condescending, and dismissive individuals I have seen on Star Trek period. Picard has trouble with her and did you see the way she treated Riker, "Chain of Command" I agree wholehearteddly that she should not have left this issue with Sisko and not include Cal in controlling the problems in the DMZ. This was a bad leadership move. She would have seen that Cal was not on the Federation's side early on.

*Hudson would say that Sisko working with Dukat is making a deal with the devil to preserve the peace, and Dukat says that Sisko's maintaining sympathy for Hudson the terrorist is weakness. Both are partly right, but Sisko's ability to work with Dukat demonstrates that Federation/Cardassian relations need not end in war, regardless of their pasts and build-up of personal animosities, and Sisko's loyalty and so-called sentimentality even to a "traitor" of the state is part of the value system that allows the Federation to largely hold together while the Cardassian Empire is endlessly slipping into political treachery and murder and violent regime changes. Very good analogy.

Also, Dukat couldn't understand why Sisko would not kill Cal nor would Cal kill Ben, they just kept disabling the ships maneuver-abilities and fire powers. It would have been needlessly bloody. On a personal note, for Robert, I don't think it was loyalty exactly that Ben felt, but he just owed Dukat a favor.
William B
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 9:49pm (UTC -6)
@MsV, thanks for the kind words, and you are right that Cal is still there and the Maquis POV is still expressed -- it's just that it's hard for me to get invested personally because the actor kept kicking me out. I have a similar problem with Bareil, who I feel like I should like as a person but who I lose interest in quickly as a character.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Part II provides a worthy pay off to the story, stepping up the intensity to provide some excellent character scenes and some real action.

The Sisko/Dukat scenes again sparkle, particularly after Dukat finds he has been cut off at the knees by the Central Command and realises that it's vital that he rectify the situation. The charismatic and charming sides are all too evident - as is the side that appreciates the utility of casual violence to achieve an end. And of course Sisko's "It's easy to be a saint in paradise" speech gets to the core of what it's like to be in the morally ambiguous world of the border regions.

After being a slightly underwhelming part of the first installment, Quark's explanation of the logical imperative for peace to Sakonna is inspired. The VFX are also worthy of note here in the excellent dogfight.

On the downside, Hudson again never convinces. There's a way out that he chooses not to take, which puts the Maquis completely on the wrong side of the argument and almost makes one agree with Dukat's assessment of the conclusion. But that's relatively minor nitpicking in an excellent episode. 3.5 stars.
Luke
Thu, Mar 3, 2016, 9:45am (UTC -6)
"The Maquis, Part II" is an excellent continuation to Part I. Again, the only thing marring it is Bernie Casey's performance as Hudson. God, this guy really must be the least impassioned rebel I've ever seen!

This is one of the stories I always think about whenever people complain about the Star Wars prequels. So many want to claim that those movies were awful because they were about politics. No. They were awful because they were badly written and badly directed political stories (among many other reasons). "The Maquis", however, is an example of political sci-fi done correctly.

It really blows my mind that they went through all this trouble just to create something for VOY (setting it up on TNG, properly introducing it here on DS9, revisiting it in the penultimate TNG episode, revisiting it again in the penultimate episode of DS9's second season) just so that they wouldn't have to burden VOY with massive amounts of exposition and then to have DS9 do so much more with it after VOY essentially abandoned it by the end of its first season. But, then, DS9 actually had show-runners who decided to commit themselves to the concept.

There's just a few things I'll touch on because, again, I doubt I could summarize the greatness any better than Jammer. First, (I probably should have said this for Part I but oh well) I absolutely love the fact that they had a Vulcan be one of the main, principle Maquis characters the plot focuses on. Having a Vulcan be on the side of the rebels gives the Maquis side of the argument so much more weight, since the audience is so familiar with how Vulcans are so coldly logical, without having to add any additional cumbersome exposition. And, the fact that Bertila Damas manages to put more emotion and flavor into a Vulcan performance than Bernie Casey does with his doesn't hurt.

Second, this is well-done political sci-fi not just because it's an engaging story about political intrigue and brinkmanship, with some high-stakes action thrown into the mix, but because it also helps to enlarge the tapestry of Cardassian culture. I said before that DS9 is the best Trek because it allows its cultures and elements to grow and expand, because it allows the viewers to explore new worlds within the known ones. Here we have story that adds to the portrait of Cardassian society as decaying and on a downward spiral. The Cardassians might have been provoking the colonists in the DMZ, but even such brutality fails to stop the rebellion. The Maquis, therefore, really undermine Cardassian authority, even among the Cardassian public. When you consider that they have a growing dissident movement, the fact that they were forced to withdraw from Bajor (probably by political pressures from the Federation) and what we later learn about how poor the living conditions are on their homeworld, what we are shown is a culture that is really in trouble. Maybe not trouble in the short term (they still have a very powerful military and can project power effectively), but definitely trouble in the long term. Its therefore not surprising that when the military government is finally overthrown that it would lead to even more instability, this time in the short-run. The Klingon invasion would basically be the final nail in the coffin, making their decision to join the Dominion seem like the only logical thing to do.

I'll gladly let everyone else have the "seek out new life and new civilizations" stuff if I can get more world-building episodes like this.

9/10
Caroline
Fri, May 13, 2016, 6:51am (UTC -6)
I agree with Luke, I loved the fact that a Vulcan was part of the Maquis, and LOVED how Quark talked her round with Ferengi logic. I can't believe how much I'm really starting to like him!

Solid two-parter. Loving the well-done sci fi politics. Liked Dukat and Sisko teaming up. The only thing that held it back for me was Avery's acting. Sorry but it still grates on me like crazy and it ruined what should have been a great speech about "paradise Earth" etc because all I could think about was how much he was overpronouncing every single word and making his eyes bulge in an effort to look impassioned.
RandomThoughts
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 7:42am (UTC -6)
A silly little thing, but important to me: Admiral Nechayev.

Having her be the immediate boss of Captain Picard and Commander Sisko was so great! It really sold me that there was a hierarchy in place at Starfleet that was continuous, instead of having the 'admiral of the week'.

That being said, I never really liked how she was written. Stiff and uncompromising. But darn it! She was there multiple times, over two shows, and you knew what to expect from her (stiff and uncompromising :) ). So, while I never liked how she was written, at least they were fairly consistent with her character.

Enjoy the Day... RT
Paul M.
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 8:54am (UTC -6)
RandomThoughts,

I never liked Nechayev. She was way too rigid and one-dimensional as a character and had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She was a stock boneheaded admiral ready to be inserted whenever plot required a higher-up to vex our gallant heroes. Also, it doesn't make much sense that in the vastness of the galaxy, dealing with a bunch of different species, she was always the one in charge. What, was she following Picard all the time?

In this episode she was especially insufferable, bordering on the caricature of a clueless bureaucrat.
RandomThoughts
Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
Heya Paul M.

Upon re-reading my comment, I realized I should have said something along the lines of Nechayev being the superior officer of the area around the Cardassian border. No, she wasn't following Picard, but when the Enterprise was about to do something with the Cardassian's, or the Maquis, Nechayev was the one who usually gave them their marching orders. And she did that with Sisko as well.

Heh, and no, I didn't like how she was written, I just liked the continuity of her being there multiple times.

RT
Paul M.
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
Hey RT,

I guess if Nechayev was only in charge of the Cardassian situation, it's not too bad. For some reason, I was under the impression that she had a bigger presence than that.

That said, I generally dislike how Trek handles admirals. Those guys never DO anything! They show up, give some vague and absolutely useless orders and then go away. I worked at a firm where the management operated that way and let me tell you it was one painful experience.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Dec 1, 2016, 1:38am (UTC -6)
Sisko's "It's easy to be a saint when you're in paradise" speech is probably one of his best moments in all of DS9, even if it is more than a little preachy with an obvious lesson and reminiscent of the sort of speeches Kirk would make. And very relevant today, I might add.

DS9 really excelled at the level of character dialogue when the writers put their minds to it (see every line ever uttered by Garak).

Yeesh, Nechayev was really unsympathetic this time. I was so glad when Ross came along in season 6.
Strejda
Thu, Dec 1, 2016, 8:45am (UTC -6)
I do have to wonder just what kind of an impression this episode must have had back in the day. While there were other episodes that offered a darker look at the Federation, especially around this time on TNG, I don't think it ever went as far as here.

Admittedly, the way it is handled could use some work. Nechayev really is just a convenient asshole here, especially given how she was portrayed in Journey's End. I think that dissonance is mostly due to both episodes coming this soon after one another (did Maquis form after one week or what).

I have a real hard time telling good acting from bad TBH, could be because I'm not a native English speaker, but good lord, Hudson's actor pretty much killed it in the second part (he really gets progressively worse-in his first scene, he's actually alright) I wonder if they didn't invent Eddington specifically to replace him.

@William B

See, I have to wonder if the colonist not being allowed to leave would push things a bit too far in their favor. I remember reading an advice for deciding to what extent can you make your antagonists sympathetic, is that you can make them likeable however you want, just never make them RIGHT. And I just don't see how would Federation and our heroes be the good guys if the colonists leaving wouldn't be an option. You could still argue Maquis are risking a war for their own problems, but under those circumstances, you have to wonder if that really would not be a good reason to go into one. After all, we are talking about the Space Nazis here.
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
2.5 stars. Not a very good conclusion. It set up future plotlines but did so in the least entertaining way possible. And the episode was way too talky
Jasper
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
Nice vibes, Dukat is becoming really interesting and his scenes with Sisko are fun. But man, Avery Brooks really plays him so slow and detached it's annoying. Quark is now involved in a weapons deal. I don't know yet, but he will be free in the next episode? I really disliked the scene with the Vulcan. She came off dumb and too robotic. And the shooting scene in space was just laughable. This is 2,5 stars at best, nothing more.
Rahul
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 8:38pm (UTC -6)
An awesome finale to a great 2-part episode -- really Dukat steals the show for me, but what Sisko's character has to go through from all sides is riveting, though Brooks' acting could have been more emotional (when reacting to Hudson). The complexity of the plot is great, has one guessing re. Dukat's true motives and if he really has been jilted by his central command. The final battle between 2 friends is OK and leaves the door open for more Maquis stories.

The theme that the Federation colonists are not in paradise is good to raise -- in comparison with the perfection Star Fleet Command sees out its window on Earth. The idiotic admiral is clueless and Sisko is pissed at her but he holds it together -- good scene for Brooks here actually.

The part with the Cardassian Legat -- who to believe him or Sisko/Kira's instincts or Dukat? Good layers of complexity here as to who is really responsible for supplying the Cardassian colonists weapons.

As for Dukat, there were a few scenes that really elevated this episode compared to Part I for me. First, as a prisoner being interrogated -- the mind meld doesn't work on him and he's like: these Maquis don't have the balls to do a real interrogation. Then with the freighter captain -- just bullying him into confessing. He's a shoot first, ask questions later dude -- and this keeps going in the final scene when he wants Sisko to destroy Hudson's ship and he says Sisko is weak, disappointed in him etc. Sisko/Dukat obviously can never be buddies, but to watch these 2 basically forced to work together was terrific.

One part I didn't get is why the Vulcan female was put in the same holding cell as Quark -- but this did give Quark the chance to make what seemed to me to be a decent argument by his standards, that if the Cardassian weapons shipments are stopped, shouldn't the Maquis aim for peace? Maybe easier said than done given the escalating skirmishes.

Thought there should be more deception on the part of the Maquis re. destroying the Cardassians weapons base -- they basically just walk right into Sisko's trap. The episode argues that they have to act fast or the Cardassians will move the location but the cat was so out of the bag at that stage.

3.5 stars for "The Maquis, Part II" -- compelling stuff as one can rationalize with everybody's point of view (except perhaps Dukat's). Leaves some dangling threads for future episodes like where Dukat stands with his central command, what's next for the Maquis, relations between the Federation and Cardassians, etc. Wanted to see more emotion from Brooks basically having his buddy become his enemy, but Dukat stole the show here -- and that's what elevated this episode for me.
Iceman
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
"The Maquis" 2 parter should be a hugely dramatic one, but it oddly falls very flat. Part of that is down to the big betrayal that falls completely flat. It doesn't really have any impact because Cal Hudson comes out of nowhere. It might have worked better if they had taken a similar approach to the way the "Batman: The Animated Series" team took to Two-face. They introduced Harvey as a likable friend of Bruce, *then* turned him into a villain. It hit much harder because they established his character, unlike Hudson's betrayal of Sisko. Another reason is that the Maquis we see here don't quite line up with the group in "Journey's End", who were native peoples being forced from their rightful homes by an imbecilic treaty. Here? They just come off as stubborn, as if they're opposed to moving to a different planet on principle, not because they're indigenous to the planets being put under Cardassian control, or because they have a deep connection to them. And the Quark subplot? The less said about that, the better. But enough complaining. "The Maquis" has plenty of strengths, chief among them being Marc Alaimo's staggeringly good performance as Dukat. His scenes with Sisko sport some of the finest dialogue in the series. He somehow makes Dukat despicable and charming at the exact same time. It's also full of interesting ideas. The "Out there there are no saints! Just people!" line is so good that the brilliant Pensky File podcast used it for the intro to their DS9 episodes. The episode unfortunately struggles to put them together into a cohesive, exciting package.

2.5 stars each.
Elliott
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : **, 5%

After the Previously On, Sisko and Cal find themselves in an intimate conversation. Cal is very nostalgic about the day he put on his Starfleet uniform for the first time, which of course explains why he is so enamoured by the colonists' rural success “with no help from the Federation.” Excuse me? How did these people get here? Who gave them replicators? An education? Vaccinations? All of this stems from a problem endemic to the series Deep Space Nine—one that I've been bothered by all the way since “Emissary.”

***

DS9 wants to be a space opera about the frontier of civilisation; a counterpart to TOS' famous conceit of being a western in space. For those who don't know, this idea was a slogan meant to help sell Star Trek to the network suits, not a central vision for the series, and in my opinion, the elements of TOS that retreated into this banal territory are some of its least successful. At any rate, Cal's little speech clearly reflects the writers' own affection for this romantic idea of DS9 being a pioneer town straddling the edge between the safe but comfortable familiar east and the dangerous but exciting west. The problem is, it just doesn't work within the confines of Star Trek. I've talked about this before, so I'll try to be concise: the tropes associated with the Hollywood idea of 18th and 19th century American pioneering are specific to the time and place they inhabit. To apply them to other cultures in at other times—like Phonetician explorers or First Nation pioneers in Alaska—just because they are also doing some pioneering is anachronistic in the extreme. When dealing with actual history, it can become offensive, because cultural specificities and historical realities become white-washed into tropes. With Star Trek, we have a mellontiki, an historical accounting of the *future*. This future is derived from a specific set of sociopolitical philosophies which should be familiar to most Trek viewers—they are mostly on the left side of the political spectrum, hyper-socialist, humanist, and globalist. So the “offence” in being anachronistic about the mellontiki of Star Trek is in undermining those philosophical positions WITHOUT ACTUALLY MAKING AN ARGUMENT. Rather than deconstructing their tenants, DS9 often simply ignores them and plugs in its own, contemporary (anachronistic) ideas while keeping the names, dates, setting, advantages, etc. in place. This is extremely unfair and, to this viewer, the most problematic aspect of this series. It is also a much more substantive reason why DS9 feels so un-Trek than the absurd “well it's a space station not a starship” idea.

***

At any rate, Cal still claims the Federation is “turning their backs” on the colonists, which I think we've clearly established just isn't true at all, but Sisko, seeing is friend out of uniform, still won't actually make the argument. He does try to offer a compromise—trying to prove that the Cardassian Central Command (the government) is violating the treaty, but Cal won't have it. He's too in love with the “fighting for the little guy” identity the Maquis provides him. This is something we will see repeated with Maquis characters in the future, on all three series that used the Maquis. Cal makes it clear to Sisko that he is out for vengeance, and Sisko knows it. Then he shoots him in the stomach, so I think we can conclude this friendship might be over.

Act 1 : *.5, 21% [very long act]

When Sisko and co. return to DS9, he has a surprise waiting for him, Admiral Necheyev. Since Sisko didn't think to have tea and canapés prepared, she's her usual charming self. As much of a pain in the ass as she is, her point that the Federation shouldn't have let these people remain in Cardassian space is valid. However, she claims that the colonists are Federation citizens, which is completely at odds with “Journey's End,” and obviously, throws a wrench into our discussion. So, “continuity error,” you might say. I'm afraid not. If we retcon the treaty, then Picard would have allowed Federation citizens to be at the mercy of Cardassian rule, which I cannot see him doing. The whole point of the episode was that, for spiritual reasons, those colonists were willing to sacrifice their safety and potentially their lives in order to remain on their land. If they never renounced their citizenship, then what was the point? No, this is precisely what William B noted in his review as the writers intentionally twisting and complicating things in order to force the drama. It's subversive and it's aggravating.

Moreover, Necheyev, we remember, advocated on the colonists' behalf during both the treaty negotiation and the “Journey's End” fiasco. Now, literally weeks later, she's a hardliner calling them hotheads? I don't buy it. Necheyev, because of her history with Picard, is supposed to be the ethical foil, the amoral bureaucrat who challenges our lead's conscience. By shifting her character this way, the writers want to transform the distant Federation bureaucracy from a group which ignores morality to one which ignores details, again, “the frontier” and all that bullshit. And we are going to get to THAT scene in a moment.

Two other points from this conversation: Sisko hasn't revealed to Starfleet that Hudson has defected to the Maquis, meaning he's putting his personal friendship with Cal above the demands of his office. Also, Necheyev still doesn't respect people wearing only 3 pips on their collar. Just as she was dismissive with Riker, she is unwilling to actually debate Federation policy with Sisko. He's not a captain, after all and has only been posted to this region for a little over a year. It makes sense. She leaves, and Kira walks in.

**sigh** Okay, here it is. THAT scene:

SISKO: Establish a dialogue? What the hell does she think I've been trying to do?

Um, you've been trying to rescue Dukat and you've been trying to get your buddy off the hook for defecting to a terrorist cell.

KIRA: Commander?
SISKO: Just because a group of people belongs to the Federation it does not mean that they are saints.

Ah, so being able to listen to a reasoned argument is the mark of saintliness, is it? Well, no wonder you resort to violent intimidation, deception and blackmail so often. After all, reasonable people are the things of legends and fairy tales.

KIRA: Excuse me?
SISKO: Do you know what the trouble is?
KIRA: No.
SISKO: The trouble is Earth.
KIRA: Really?
SISKO: On Earth there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it's easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the Demilitarised zone, all the problems haven't been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints, just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive whether it meets with Federation approval or not.

No. No. No. NOOO. Why would Earth be the only part of the Federation where there is no crime, poverty, etc? That's not how this works. The Federation is not an empire, it's a constitutional collective. Up unto the point that the colonists in the DMZ renounced their citizenships, they were living in “paradise” as well. Whatever beneficent circumstances allow people living on Earth to be “saints” applied equally to these people up until the point they were asked to leave their homes. Now, Ira Behr, if you want to make the argument that human saintliness is so tenuous that within weeks of losing Federation status, we will turn to terrorism, then fine, make that argument. But to put Sisko up on this fucking soap box and claim that human evolution is actually the result of an elite group of Terrans *hoarding* paradise to themselves and expecting the rest of the shlubs to fall in line is incredibly dishonest, mean-spirited and fallacious.

This smug bullshit is mercifully cut short by a call from Odo, who has caught Sakon'as accomplice. That would be Quark, of course. Now, Quark is lying about his association with her, per his idiom, but Odo does a racism and he and Sisko get him to fess up. I did laugh out loud by Quark offering quite happily to testify against Sakona in court if it means getting himself out of prison.

A pumped up Legate from Cardassia arrives and informs Sisko and Kira that Dukat was part of a group of “misguided” officers supplying the DMZ colonists with weapons. It's a quick scene, but we get a lot out of it—the Legate is racist, vile, haughty and a bad liar. It's quite obvious that the CCC has decided to throw Dukat and possibly some other officers under the bus for the treaty violation, thus absolving the government of any official retaliation.

Retaliations for the Bok'nor incident are starting to unravel whatever peace remains in the DMZ, but luckily, O'Brien has tracked down Dukat's likely location. Kira wonders why they would bother trying to rescue him, seeing as how the CCC has abandoned him and the Legate would have him executed anyway. Sisko, having won points with his first officer by telling her he thinks his own people suck as much as she thinks they do, doesn't make the argument that, you know, it's the right thing to do since Federation weaponry and **sigh** citizens are responsible for his capture. Rather he opts for the chess argument. The CCC wants him to stay captured, so that's motivation for Sisko to rescue him.

Act 2 : ***, 16%

Sakona is trying and failing to mind-meld with Dukat. Dukat has a grand time mocking the Maquis for their unwillingness to “do what is necessary”--i.e. torture Dukat for information. All of this ties back into his conversation in part I with Sisko about Cardassian education, Federation softness, etc. It is a well-played scene. Alaimo's energy makes it easier to ignore the same kind of subterfuge going on as in the previous act between Sisko and Kira. The implication of Dukat's speech, again, is that Federation nobility is not a result of human evolution, but rather a symptom of indoctrination. The Maquis cannot be true terrorists because their education/indoctrination prevents them from unlocking that potential. We are expected to just ignore the fact that torture is fucking wrong, and that enlightened people simply do not do it. Sakona claims that they won't actually resort to torture, but I think a forced mind-meld would qualify.Whatever.

Sisko and co. show up to save Dukat. Bashir tries to convice the Maquis that, since they both want the same thing, there's every reason to work together. If only he'd been in Sisko's office for that little speech, then he'd know that reasonable people only live on Earth, where life's a waking dream. Dukat makes things worse by forcing a firefight—thanks, buddy. Sisko ends up letting one of the Maquis go free to deliver a message to Cal. Sisko wants to “solve the problem” while still letting Cal off the hook for his defection.

Act 3 : ***.5, 16%

Dukat is enjoying a meal on DS9. Sisko pays him a visit. The two have a very Bashir/Garak-style discussion about the differences between Federation and Cardassian jurisprudence. It's good, but has one flaw I can't overlook. Dukat seems to be saying that he understands that Cardassian trials are really just a form of propaganda. The people demand to see justice triumph, and so they do, even though the verdict of the trial is pre-determined. Dukat, as part of the ruling class, knows that this is just a way of appeasing the starving masses, but goes so far as to say “Cardassians don't make mistakes.” I don't know. I think Dukat is too smart to fall for his people's own propaganda like this. We already had an episode, “Duet,” in which Dukat made the claim that a Cardassian wouldn't lie, only to be proven wrong. Dukat may be a narcissist, but he isn't a fool.

At any rate, Sisko takes advantage of Dukat's bluster to throw in his face the fact that the CCC threw him under the bus. The conversation drifts into a discussion of the Occupation. This will come up a lot in later episodes, so we can leave it be, for now. Sisko seems surprised to learn that Dukat really was on the outside of the conspiracy to smuggle in weapons, and so is Dukat. He realises that the only way to get back into the inner circle of the CCC is to stop the Maquis threat, and for that he needs Sisko's help. So he offers to a trade; stop the arms shipments in exchange for stopping the Maquis. This should be an easy task for Sisko since, if Dukat is successful, this should end the reason for the Maquis' existence entirely.

Based on the information from Quark, the senior staff deduces that the Maquis are planning to escalate the fight, and soon. Odo can't make any headway interrogating Sakona, because Vulcan (did he try any of the humans?). Dukat guesses that the CCC is using the Zipolite and their beautiful beaches to...ah no, it's the ZEPolites, a new Trek alien, as intermediaries for their smuggling.

Cut to a runabout hailing a Zepolite freighter. Dukat thinks they should kill the bridge crew and take the ship back to DS9. Sisko tempers this suggestion and fires across the ship's bow, prompting a response to their hail. Sisko tries to be all badass and macho but is outdone easily by Dukat, who leverages his position, weapons' lock and command performance to get the Zepolite ship to let them confirm their smuggling mission.

Act 4 : **, 16%

Quark and Sakona are in prison together—in the same cell, huh? He's annoyed to be captured as her accomplice but says he empathises with her position. Quark knows the Cardassians would love nothing better than to destroy the colonies in the DMZ. Um, why would they want to do that? Put a pin in that. Quark claims that the Maquis' position is illogical—harsh burn against a Vulcan. Quark tries to use capitalist theory to prove his point, labelling the peace the Maquis are after their desired acquisition. Wait a minute, wait a minute. So, now the Cardassians want to destroy the colonies and the Maquis want peace? Talk about moving goalposts. Wait, so the Maquis want peace at any cost, which is why they are trying to escalate the violence? How is that supposed to work? I thought the Maquis wanted sovereignty, freedom. Also, how does escalating the conflict now make peace more “expensive” in the long run? Wouldn't making their position stronger give the Maquis even more bargaining power towards a kind of peace later on? This is another one of those scenes where, at first viewing, you might say, “Isn't that cute and clever?! Quark, the dirty capitalist, is making an argument for peace to the enlightened Vulcan. How subversive and cool!” But, even a cursory examination of the...ahem...logic of the dialogue reveals that, again, the writers are trying way too hard.

Quark succeeds in getting Sakona to divulge the Maquis' target, a weapons depot. Dukat is tasked with trying to determine exactly where this is. Sisko tasks himself with stopping the Maquis.

He barges into a colony meeting where the Maquis he let go is privy to Sisko's forthcoming speech: if you make yourself an enemy of Cardassia, you make yourself an enemy of the Federation. That, commander, is what we call overkill. Why would you be so incendiary here? Granting for the moment that these people still are Federation citizens—which makes no sense, but whatever—Sisko's speech just needs to be, “If you break the law, you will go to jail.” Duh.

Cal walks in. Sisko tries to return his uniform to him. He makes the obvious point; now that the smuggling of weapons has been stopped, the Maquis don't have any reason to exist. Cal says it's too late, they're at war! Blah blah blah. This cornball nonsense is capped off by Cal vaporising his uniform. Mmmm. Symbolism.

Act 5 : **.5, 16%

Sisko realises that the Maquis' escalation could easily lead to a war between the Federation and Cardassia, because of course, the Maquis are Federation citizens. Gaghh. God this contrivance is annoying. He mobilises their runabouts to intercept and stop Cal's assault. Apparently because he just doesn't like his face, O'Brien is paired with Dr Bashir in his runabout instead of, say, a tactical officer. Yeah, let's have the doctor and the engineer stop the terrorists.

Sisko tries one last time to get Cal to back down when his ships finally show up. There's a fight, complete with some nifty special effects. Sisko manages to disable Cal's ship and prevent the attack, but decides to let him escape. And of course, he doesn't send in O'Brien to tractor the ship because...um...um...he's a good man?

Sisko gets commended for preserving the peace (and lying about Hudson?). He thinks he just delayed the inevitable. And yeah, he's right.

Episode as Functionary : **, 10%

This plot is...complicated. But what it wants to be is complex. Complexity requires nuance, depth and logic. The writers dropped the ball on these requirements, however. In their eagerness to be subversive of the Trek ethos, to “show the dark side” as it were, they display incredible incompetence. Rather than taking the premise of Star Trek and deriving interesting conclusions from it, they have worked BACKWARDS from a nifty soundbite-y conclusion about terrorism and utopia and forced the premise of the show into an unworkable mess. For example, while it's no surprise that the Cardassians would resort to such underhanded means as to sneak weapons into the DMZ and sacrifice Dukat, **why** do they care so much about arming their people there? What is the strategic advantage to them?

It makes no sense for the colonists to be Federation citizens, not because it violates almighty continuity with TNG, but because it makes the treaty too ridiculous to exist, and the treaty is the motivation for all the major players in this story, the CCC, Starfleet and the Maquis.

Cal's belligerent obstinacy can only be explained by the Maquis' disposition to self-romanticise, which I commented on already. This sort of works in a character sense, but it doesn't really come from anywhere. There was the suggestion in part I that he's on the same sort of path of Sisko himself, in despair and looking for a cause, but it isn't really fleshed out and Casey's performance doesn't give us much to fill in the gaps either.

Dukat, on the other hand is handled pretty well. His blindspot about the Cardassian legal system notwithstanding, we gain a lot of insight into his motivations, flesh out his backstory a little bit and are treated to an engaging performance.

Then there's Sisko. He seems to have reverted about a season. We are back to him doing things his own way, ignoring ethics and rules, risking lasting peace for the sake of his friend, etc. He's a passionate man, and far too volatile to be left in command of an important post like this. If Necheyev had more sense, she would recommend to Starfleet that he be replaced or assigned someone to oversee his work. But instead she has a medal pinned to his tunic. Whatever.

Quark and Sakona are enjoyable, but the logic v. greed dynamic they were going for doesn't really come together. Like nearly everything else in this episode, the drama is forced so the writers can try and make their point. Without getting too far ahead of myself, the Maquis idea is so fundamentally unworkable and flawed that I'm grateful it had so little bearing on the series it was created for, Voyager.

Final Score : **.5
William B
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott, I think that Dukat's statement that the Cardassian government doesn't make mistakes is possibly less a statement that the government never prosecutes someone who was innocent of the crime of which he is accused, and more a statement that the Central Command's prosecution of crimes is so correct, policy-wise, that the individual innocence or guilt of a particular offender is irrelevant. As in Chain of Command, a lot of the inspiration for the Cardassians seems to be from '1984,' and he's probably making an O'Brien-style argument that a true Cardassian patriot, high enough in the chain of command, must both believe the truth of the government's claims and also recognize that the government must lie or detach itself from objective truth, in some matters at least, in order to maintain absolute power.

Or, another way to look at it, is:

SISKO: Isn't there ever a chance you might try an innocent man by mistake?
DUKAT: Cardassians don't make mistakes.

Dukat may actually be arguing not that Cardassians don't try innocent men, but that Cardassians will try innocent men *on purpose*, if there is a political motivation for it. Of course it is still stretching it to say that the government never makes any errors in judgment at all, but I think it's probably closer to the truth that Dukat believes the Cardassian government always does things for a reason, even if that reason likely has very little to do with the "good and evil" that he believes the masses require.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

Well said.

@ Elliott,

I think you're making too broad a conclusion about what the Maquis are claiming. You're making it sound like only Earth is hoarding all the good living and everyone else is out fending for themselves. But I never got that impression at all; it seems to me more like pretty much all Federation planets veer towards good living over time, and *only* the DMZ planets are having it rough because they're foregoing Federations technology and assistance. In a way they've chosen to have it rough even though the treaty screwed them over in their opinion, but this doesn't speak at all regarding Federation policy in general. It's not anti-Trek to suppose that there can be rebellious colonies in the future who end up creating trouble for themselves.

But more to the point, it's almost 100% clear to me that the Maquis manifesto as presented here, about "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" is meant as a direct tie-in to set up Voyager. So whatever small things here we may see as plot holes - and I do think there are some - it's all by way of suggesting that simply getting by in a crazy situation takes more than just ethics. Being a 'good guy' isn't enough to keep yourself alive, and it often ended up being in TNG. The moral dilemma isn't between being a do-gooder and being a Cardassian, but on the other hand what the Cardassians do have to teach here is that efficiency counts for something, even if that's *all* they seem to value.

I actually think the Quark/Sakona scenes are among the most important in the two-parter, because they show very different people with very different beliefs working together and even agreeing on some fundamentals that they share. Unlike Dukat and Sisko who are only working together on a temporary basis and mutual self-interest, Quark and Sakona have real common ground. Or at least that's what the writers were going for, and I think they succeeded, more or less. The idea that pure logic might coincide at times with greed (read more charitably, self-interest) shouldn't sound too strange, and this sort of getting to the bottom of what different people have in common is a running theme through DS9. Not only is this not anti-Trek, but it's a great deal more Trek than TNG ever was, where everyone basically agreed on everything - except Worf, and even then his disagreement was usually portrayed as being funny.

While this episode isn't pristine in the logic department I think it's quite marvelous in the character-scenes department; except for the Cal Hudson scenes, which fall completely flat. But the point of his scenes isn't lost and we get the point: there's a certain sad nobility to seeing what should be a peaceful people have to become guerilla warriors when faced with constant harassment. And all of this should have fed directly into Voyager. If I may say so, this two-parter should have properly been the series bible for Voyager, and may have even been intended with that directly in mind. The various goings-on, with Starfleet on one side, smugglers on another, different parties each trying to get what they need, and differing philosophies at the core of it: this is what VOY was meant to be. The Maquis were meant to have a real worldview, to represent a gritty alternative to luxury-liner ship life, and an answer to foes that have no interest in compromise. What the Borg were meant to be - but couldn't, because you can't have a dialogue with them - ended up being handed off to the Cardassians. All you can do is handle them, you can't talk them out of trying to destroy you. The VOY show should have been an exercise in a Starfleet Captain *having* to meet halfway with a crew consisting of Maquis and perhaps others. Not because Starfleet is bad, but because it's functionally impossible to remain neutral, friendly, and peaceful in a constantly hostile situation. The first priority is to live, and after that to retain as much ethical standards as possible. Instead they copped out almost from the word go, eliminated the Maquis perspective, and even that of Neelix and Kes (whatever those would have been), and made everyone succumb to purist Federation values. Now *that* was the most anti-Trek thing ever done.

The one good thing to come out of ENT is that the Andorians and Tellarites didn't just bow down to the Humans and do everything their way. The UFP had to be founded on compromise and finding things in common. Remaining unbending even when there are those present who disagree - that isn't what Star Trek is about, even though it ended up being very much about that in VOY. Janeway's leadership almost took in a religious tone, where saying anything against it was blasphemy and to be ruled out immediately. Except, of course, when she didn't feel like abiding by it herself :p

Yanks
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 5:18pm (UTC -6)
Wow, some pretty interesting conversation here guys.

I think all have really valid points.

What I always hated was just how easy (in the 24th century) it would be to make everyone happy. Good lord Federation and Cardassia, MOVE YOUR PEOPLE!!! .... or get together in a room and redraw the lines to appease those that are most affected.
James
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks

"What I always hated was just how easy (in the 24th century) it would be to make everyone happy."

I think that's somewhat of an internal inconsistency within Trek, in that characters talk about how post-scarcity and how great it is, and how evolved they are from the bad old days of yesteryear, and yet nothing has really changed from today. People still get unhappy, sad, and depressed no matter how high their "quality of life" is, and the human condition is the same.

In a way, it's one of Trek's stronger points (if I believed it was intentional) since it's exactly what we're doing today, and will be doing as long as believe "progress" is the answer to all our problems. If it were possible to create perfect happiness by arranging the world to our liking, by the 24th century they would surely have done it already.
Iceman
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott-It never ceases to amuse me how you claim that DS9 is an attack on Roddenberry's values, while defending Voyager ceaselessly. Voyager is a show with some extremely problematic episodes, with some racist ("Alliances"), anti-immigration ("Displaced"), and anti-refugee ("Day of Honor").

DS9 is cynical of power structures like Starfleet, true. But it retains the fundamental optimism about the humans within them. For example, in "Hard Time", "O'Brien thinks he's nothing more than an animal, convinced that humans are rotten to the core. But Bashir convinces him otherwise.

Or, to take another example, Garak in "The Die is Cast" discovers that he no longer has the stomach to be a ruthless Cardassian interrogator, suggesting that liberal values will spread by association-no cultural imperialism needed.

Or, for a third, the series sides with Bashir's idealism over cynicism time and time again, in "Hippocratic Oath", "Our Man Bashir", "The Quickening", and the aforementioned "Hard Time".

Or, for a fourth, the series repeatedly condemns Odo for his preference for justice over order, in episodes such as "Things Past". It argues, that by doing nothing to stop or undermine the Occupation, he was as good as a collaborator. That's a very Roddenberry idea.

DS9 is also the only Star Trek show to acknowledge that viewpoints outside of the Federation's can be valid, from the Bajoran's religious faith to the Ferengi's mercantilist economy. Do they need reform? Sure, but they're just as valid a world-view as the Federation's. Again, that's an idea (mulitulturalism) that's very in keeping with Roddenberry's ideals.

Oh, and it's hard to find a Star Trek episode that more effectively conveys Trek's message than "Far Beyond the Stars", a stunning episode all about the power in daring to believe in a better future.

So, I disagree with you that DS9 feels in-Trek like, I disagree with you that it undermines the leftist philosophies of Star Trek, and I disagree that it has no arguments. Still, even if your posts irritate me sometimes, they're always interesting to read. Keep up the posts Elliott.

And credit to Darren Mooney for bringing up a lot of his ideas in his reviews.
Iceman
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 7:06pm (UTC -6)
And, obviously, I meant "un-Trek like". Sorry for the typo.
Elliott
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
@Iceman: FBTS is one of my favourite episodes of any Trek, ever. I am trying to be very precise in my evaluations here. I honestly don’t have a problem with the idea of challenging the Trek ethos at all. I just think DS9 doesn’t do it very well most of the time. I find the attempts very trite and obvious. May I ask, since I’m taking the trouble to do episode by episode reviews here, that you confine your rebuttals to the the episodes at hand? Do you find a problem with my particular criticisms of “The Maquis”?
Elliott
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
@William B

I take your point, and I think you’re right, I just have a hard time believing that Dukat, being the opportunist he is, wouldn’t have a more Garak-like insight into the politics of his himeworld. If Garak had said, “Cardassians don’t make mistakes,” we know he would have meant that the integrity of the system supersedes the verisimilitude of the information on trial. When Dukat says it, I feel like he actually believes it. This seems a little naïve to me.
Elliott
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

“It's not anti-Trek to suppose that there can be rebellious colonies in the future who end up creating trouble for themselves.”

I think I explained in some detail why this doesn’t hold together as presented in the episode. If you’re going to take such a radical departure from Trek status quo, you have to justify it within the narrative. The 3 pre-Voyager Maquis episodes, in my view, did not accomplish this.

“Being a 'good guy' isn't enough to keep yourself alive, and it often ended up being in TNG.”

You are free to believe this, but again, that’s a conclusion from which the writers worked BACKWARDS. I find this very problematic because th conflict is completely contrived, which makes the ethical conclusions totally dubious.

I have criticisms of Voyager, and I loathe Enterprise. I’m excited that I’m getting close to “Caretaker” in the reviews. I don’t think Voyager is anything close to flawless or the best Trek. I have problems with it, I promise :)
William B
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott, it occurs to me that it would play differently if Garak said it for another reason: because Garak is not as narcissistic as Dukat, it is easier to imagine him believing in a system beyond how it benefits him. Dukat's belief in Cardassian superiority is certainly genuine, but it's a bit harder to believe he actually will put the state over himself the way Garak largely would. This is important because later in this very scene we see how Dukat reacts to his own government throwing him under the bus. And whereas Garak seems to spend years processing the feeling of being rejected by the homeland he loves (personified in Tain) when he both feels that rejection is unjust and that he has a duty to accept it, Dukat immediately starts scheming to get back on top. I don't think that hurts the scene because I still think Dukat says "Cardassians don't make mistakes" in the sense I wrote, but it does show that Dukat demonstrates almost immediately that he doesn't put too much stock in Cardassian perfection when his neck on the chopping block, which is a good thing to take note of immediately before we get some insight into Garak's reaction to same in the following episodes.
William B
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
That is, following *episode*.
Iceman
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott-Actually, I liked and agreed with your reviews of these two episodes, and I gave them the same score as you did. You're right in that the Maquis fall flat because there's a perfectly reasonable solution available, and they decline it out of stubbornness. It's the same problem I had with "Sanctuary". I was responding to your paragraph in which you said that DS9 undermines the Trek ethos without a solid argument to replace it, which I believe to be incorrect.

"I have criticisms of Voyager, and I loathe Enterprise. I’m excited that I’m getting close to “Caretaker” in the reviews. I don’t think Voyager is anything close to flawless or the best Trek. I have problems with it, I promise :) "

Well, at least we can agree on Enterprise :). And probably that TNG is great. And though I do consider DS9 the best trek and probably one of my top three shows of all time, I have problems with it too. My ratings for Season 2 are similar to yours. And I didn't hate Voyager, I just wanted it to be better than it was. "Living Witness" and "Blink of An Eye" are some of my personal favorite Trek episodes.
William B
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott, I agree with most of your take on this two-parter, but thinking about it, I think I'll give Peter et al. the edge on the Quark/Sakonna scenes. The relevant paragraph is:

"Quark and Sakona are in prison together—in the same cell, huh? He's annoyed to be captured as her accomplice but says he empathises with her position. Quark knows the Cardassians would love nothing better than to destroy the colonies in the DMZ. Um, why would they want to do that? Put a pin in that. Quark claims that the Maquis' position is illogical—harsh burn against a Vulcan. Quark tries to use capitalist theory to prove his point, labelling the peace the Maquis are after their desired acquisition. Wait a minute, wait a minute. So, now the Cardassians want to destroy the colonies and the Maquis want peace? Talk about moving goalposts. Wait, so the Maquis want peace at any cost, which is why they are trying to escalate the violence? How is that supposed to work? I thought the Maquis wanted sovereignty, freedom. Also, how does escalating the conflict now make peace more “expensive” in the long run? Wouldn't making their position stronger give the Maquis even more bargaining power towards a kind of peace later on? This is another one of those scenes where, at first viewing, you might say, “Isn't that cute and clever?! Quark, the dirty capitalist, is making an argument for peace to the enlightened Vulcan. How subversive and cool!” But, even a cursory examination of the...ahem...logic of the dialogue reveals that, again, the writers are trying way too hard."

So first off, I think Quark translates things into capitalist terms in a bit of a simplistic way, and, sure, Sakonna could call him out on it. But I think that the essential points he makes are largely either correct, or open to interpretation. The Cardassians have just been caught using third parties to smuggle weapons to the Cardassian territories in the DMZ, the better to harass the ex-Federation colonists (or current Federation citizens? whatever). So whether it makes sense for the Cardassians to want to destroy the colonies, that seems to be what they are trying to do, and it's not Quark's fault if the motivation is a little fuzzy. Further, the statement that the Maquis want peace is not necessarily that they want peace "at all costs," which obviously they don't, but rather that they want not to be harassed and attacked with weapons. In particular, I think that the point here is that the colonists want "peace" in the sense that Evek and Picard negotiated in Journey's End: that the colonies could pass over into (current) enemy territory and continue their lives without being attacked or driven out by the new government which controls them.

Not only that, but it appears that the Cardassian government is intent on both secretly arming Cardassian colonies, and also on maintaining a public face that the ex-Federation colonists are the cause of the strife in the region. The exact details here are fuzzy, but again I don't think this is the fault of this scene, and I think what we're seeing is that the Cardassians want to try to make the colonists/Maquis appear to be aggressors, so that their rough treatment of their own people does not interfere with their relations with the Federation. In principle we could say that since the colonies are under Cardassian control, they could throw the lot of them to torture camps without violating any rules, but the agreement between Evek and Picard *was* the thing that allowed the treaty to go forward, and if the Cardassians show themselves to be untrustworthy in their promise (via Evek) to treat the colonists fairly, it could reopen the treaty and lead to some degree of Federation backlash -- expulsion of the Cardassian colonists on the Federation border, etc. While the Cardassians generally seem to be post-truth in terms of their general belief system, they do care about appearances, as we saw in several episodes, including Chain of Command, and being caught red-handed is something that they believe will weaken them in negotiations with the Federation, which genuinely believes in justice. Not only that, but as we learn from Dukat, the Cardassian people *do* want to see good triumph over evil, and we gather from other episodes (including the recent Profit and Loss) that the military government's hold over the people is actually not entirely stable, and so having them be publicly revealed to be morally bankrupt in a way that would be difficult to fully cover up could injure their standing. Maybe there are third parties who serve as arbiters between the Federation and the Cardassians and might demand further concessions to the Federation if the Cardassians prove themselves untrustworthy. It's hard to know exactly why, but the Cardassians *do* seem to care about appearing to be in the right. Quark's argument I think boils down to the idea that the Cardassians will do almost anything to save face at this moment, having been caught being the villains of the piece, and as long as the Maquis continue to be aggressive, the tide of...public opinion (Cardassian? Federation? third party?) could shift and that advantage could disappear.

So I think that Quark makes a sound argument, given the implicit assumptions that the rest of the episode seems to follow, which really does seem to depend on the idea that if the Cardassians are caught being the bad guys, it will hurt the Cardassians' standing...somehow. I think one of the flaws of the episode is that it doesn't exactly verify what that standing is. As I've said, there are several possibilities -- that they believe that the Federation, for the purposes of justice, will insist on holding the Cardassians to the Evek/Picard agreement and might risk some diplomatic flare-up (maybe a trade war or something, hopefully not a full-scale war) in the process, or maybe that the government's intergalactic standing, or standing within its own people, will be hurt -- but unless I'm forgetting something I don't think this episode itself makes it clear.

I think the more general answer to things like this is to recognize the various hints on both this and TNG that the Cardassian empire is actually about to collapse, that while the Federation/Cardassian conflict was hugely costly for both sides, the Cardassians are much more desperate. This might be why they bother trying to drive out tiny ex-Federation colonies, maybe out of paranoia or desire for control over whatever tiny amounts of resources are on those border planets. It's really the only explanation that makes the Maquis being a kind of existential threat to Cardassia makes sense -- that or that the *internal* collapse of the Cardassian Empire is so close at hand that the relatively minor propaganda loss of the Maquis' fight against them is viewed as a canary-coal mine sign that they are almost over.

On a character level, I think what distinguishes Quark is not just his greed but 1) his relative lack of pride and 2) his lack of interest in revenge. Quark will grovel, he will give raises to his brother after trying to kill him. His self-interested worldview generally does not require him to care all that much about "justice" in the same sense as Odo (which is why they're great foils for each other), and whereas Sakonna implicitly believes on some level that the Cardassians should be punished for their transgressions, Quark sees straight through to what various organizations' pure self-interest would lead them to, without requiring there to be some objective value to it. This isn't to say that Quark is amoral (he helped Bajorans, to a degree), but I think he's not that big on the *punishment* side of justice. This is a bit similar to Baltar over on BSG, who does have pride of course but is notably lacking in hatred beyond brief flare-ups of jealousy and anger which generally pass quickly.
Peter G.
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

"It's hard to know exactly why, but the Cardassians *do* seem to care about appearing to be in the right. Quark's argument I think boils down to the idea that the Cardassians will do almost anything to save face at this moment, having been caught being the villains of the piece, and as long as the Maquis continue to be aggressive, the tide of...public opinion (Cardassian? Federation? third party?) could shift and that advantage could disappear."

This isn't at all presented as relevant in the episode, but I think it's fair to assume that the Cardassians view the peace as an opportunity to mobilize. It's a tactical advantage that they would lose if open hostilities ever resumed. As such they will pay for dearly to preserve the peace in order to 'win the peace'. It's not just about saving face in front of their own people, but there is a strategic necessity that they have time to build up, and I think the intentional parallel being made is with Nazi Germany in a 'peace' with England that was really just a prelude towards a major war. I almost guarantee the parallel is deliberate.

That said, I think the reason the Cardassians are so intent on destroying the Federation colonists is that they're physically within either Cardassian space or else space very near it, which likely means they have regular exchange - via commerce or communication - with their Cardassian neighbors. If left to their own devices they would probably even form semi-civilized relations with the Cardassian colonies there. This would be intolerable to Central Command, because where free exchange is happening there would be an exchange of ideas as well, which to a fascist government is like a deadly virus on the loose. If I were the Central Command my first priority would be to ensure that *no one* from the Cardassian colonies is talking to anyone from the Federation ones, and better yet, to have them as enemies to distrust each other. No better inoculation against dangerous ideas than hatred and distrust. Over the long-term, though, any 'free thinkers' would eventually have to go, and so it's no surprise that the DMZ Federation people are a material threat to Cardassia. Normally Central Command could just swoop in and destroy dissidents, but in this case they can't because of the treaty.

Quark no doubt understands this to an extent, and I think he's quite right that escalating violence is exactly the last thing that will get the Cardassian colonies to get in a dialogue with them and find that both sides have been used. All it will do is entrench the notion Central Command told them that the Federation people are the enemy; because, see! They're trying to kill you, just as we warned! Quark is perfectly correct in pointing out how illogical the Maquis are being.
William B
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
@Peter, that's a great point that the peace is maybe an opportunity to mobilize -- though if that's the case, then Quark's argument has a flaw, which is that any peace with the Cardassians will always be temporary, and as such there's no particularly good time to de-weaponize. I think maybe the best way to read it is that Quark recognizes that the Cardassians want the Maquis to escalate violence and is able to read the middle-term situation correctly, but is not quite able to get into the fascist mindset enough to realize that the *ultimate* Cardassian goal is to re-mobilize for a fuller attack, in which case it is unclear that de-arming is in the Maquis' interests anyway.

I also really like your point that the Central Command really does not want its people to have free exchange of ideas with ex-Federation citizens -- or, indeed, to view them as anything but barbarians at the gate who need to be killed. The Maquis do fall into the Cardassians' hands by being renegades.

I wonder if to some extent the German analogy being presented is also that the pre-series Cardassians are like WWI militaristic (and colonialistic!) monarchy Germany, and the civilian overthrow in s4 is a Weimar republic period during which the fascist forces (as represented by Dukat) are temporarily on the outs, but are soon to regain power with the Dominion alliance (Dominion = ....Japan? anyway). Bajor then would less be Occupied France or whatever and more an occupied colony of late-19th century Germany, in this model. There are a few different historical reference points for the Cardassians (pretty much all in terms of the Nazis in some way), so there can be a bit of wiggle room.
William B
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
(I know it's not a perfect analogy, because of course Dukat was initially on top after the "civilian" overthrow of the military government. But eventually Dukat was no longer ascendant, and then re-took over during a "full fascist" period with the Dominion's entrance in s5.)
Peter G.
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

The Wounded and then Chain of Command show us pretty clearly that to the Cardassians a peace treaty is only an opportunity to build up strength. It's exactly as Captain Maxwell said. So I barely even consider it my idea that the Cardassians are merely looking to win the peace.

" that's a great point that the peace is maybe an opportunity to mobilize -- though if that's the case, then Quark's argument has a flaw, which is that any peace with the Cardassians will always be temporary, and as such there's no particularly good time to de-weaponize."

I'll try to be a bit more clear: I think that Quark is right that the DMZ Cardassian colonies and the DMZ Fed colonies really could learn to tolerate each other. I don't think he's talking at all about the possibility of the Maquis making a peace *with Cardassia*, as that is surely impossible. I get the impression that the DMZ Cardassians are in much the same boat as the Maquis, which is being technically under Cardassian control but in reality a bit Wild West and fending for themselves. They would be a bit more of their own little culture, and this is why Cardassia would have to secretly meddle in order to influence them against the Maquis.

But regarding Cardassia mobilizing in general and wanting war, this isn't the Maquis' problem because their targets are major Federation facilities and points of strategic importance. They would have no use for feeble little colonies in the middle of nowhere. I mean, they might get annexed in passing if war was declared, but Cardassia Prime likely cares little or nothing for the Federation colonies there. So to answer your point, the Maquis arming themselves to fight agains the DMZ Cardassians really has no bearing on how warlike Cardassia's aspirations are. If the Central Command *did* commit to attacking no Maquis no amount of weapons would help them, and so that's moot either way. Their only concern is whether they can make peace with the DMZ Cardassians and overcome Central Command's propaganda pushing the two sides to fight each other. The surest way to guarantee Central Command has its way is by doing exactly what they want and arming up to fight their Cardassian neighbors. I think Quark is even more right than he knows, to be honest. It goes to show that a commerce-oriented peaceful solution can often be better even if at first glance it appears that force is needed. A very Federation idea coming from him! This is why Quark and Sakona have something in common; they both prefer peace. It's just that Sakona mistakenly thinks violence will be more effective here.
William B
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
@Peter, I see what you mean about The Wounded and Chain of Command. I think what I should say is, I tended to read the secret arms build-ups less as the Cardassians planning for another full-scale war and more as looking for leverage in various border skirmishes. I remember reading somewhere someone pointing out that the system being fought over in Chain of Command -- Minos Korva -- has a name which suggests its overall unimportance. The Cardassians are of course looking for small gains at every opportunity, but it's also possible to read them as having given up plans of larger domination against the Federation. I'll have to think about whether or not this matches with what we see. In general, TNG is a very late-Cold War show, and even the conflicts with the Cardassians (who are mostly Nazis) seem to be focused on small-scale shifts in the balance of power. It mostly seems as if neither of the major Alpha Quadrant adversaries within TNG -- the Romulans and the Cardassians -- actually want war, even in the future, but are thinking about smaller scale possible gains and losses, and usually actions that would *seriously* disrupt the balance of power turn out to be a trick anyway -- the trap to ensnare Jarok in The Defector, the plan to pretend to have a WMD to capture Picard. The big exception, weirdly, is Sela, who has Grand Schemes to radically change the situation, by bringing the Klingons or Vulcan into Romulan control, and it's interesting that *she* is the result of Yesterday's Enterprise, which shows how war with the Klingons totally destabilizes the Federation.

Of course I'm not claiming that TNG and DS9 are different universes, but I think that there's a different sensibility in terms of the *initial* portrayal of the political situation in TNG (and indeed, in the TNG era of DS9, s1-2) and in the portrayal of the political situation once the Dominion enters in DS9. And this mostly is consistent. The difficult balance and peace that has been won by the time of TNG between the major and almost-major powers (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians) is completely upended by the entrance of a huge new power, one which, unlike the Borg, is willing to at least pretend to grant some measure of internal sovereignty on its member nations if they fall in line, making alliances or non-aggression pacts with them more plausible, at least in the short term, even if it's doomed in the long run. This isn't inconsistent with the Cardassians building up their army for another war, but I had mostly felt that Central Command largely didn't expect to be able to build up enough for a war for a very long time.
Chrome
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
@William B

“I had mostly felt that Central Command largely didn't expect to be able to build up enough for a war for a very long time.”

I was watching “Journey’s End” the other day and I think your sentiment here is consistent with the actions of the Cardassians in the episode. Indeed Gul Evek de-escalates the situation and explains that he’s already lost two sons and doesn’t wish to lose his third to war. That brief statement indicates that Cardassia has neither the manpower or the will for another full-scale war.
Peter G.
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome & William B,

As I mentioned, so long as they're too weak to engage in escalated warfare the Cardassians will fight to keep the peace, because as I perceive their tactics they believe they will win the peace; meaning, gain strategic momentum so that during the next war they'll do better. I agree fully that at the time of TNG S7 / DS9 S2 they are fully committed to avoiding escalation, but where I maybe disagree is that I don't see them as pursuing this through any actual desire for peace, but because they're not ready for war again...yet. I think I also disagree with the notion that Cardassia was anywhere near tired of war by this point. Certain individuals might perhaps have been, but I think the Central Command is full of up-and-coming ambitious people; more than enough to keep the war spirit alive and thriving. Evek may or may not have been sincere when he mentioned being tired of war, but even if he was his voice doesn't represent Central Command's long-term priorities. Dukat also had voiced a desire for peace on many occasions, and yet we see -

SPOILER

- how quick he is to relish the chance to go to war when aboard the Klingon ship, and again later how much he thrives on war under the Dominion. Damar, too, is thrilled to be at war again. And I don't think they're in the minority by any means. Cardassians like to posture, and one of their postures is peace-making. But based on what we've been shown of them I wouldn't believe any of it for a minute, just as Captain Maxwell doesn't. If they're committed to peace for the time being it's because they want to gain traction to prepare for the next war. I think there's always a next war with them. From what we hear in Chain of Command, and I think from the Bajorans in Ensign Ro, it sounds like the Cardassians have been engaging in military adventures for centuries without cessation. I highly doubt they've suddenly turned over a new leaf. If they're not looking for a war right now, it's because *they can't*, not because they don't want to.
Chrome
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 10:26am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

I never thought of Dukat as representing Cardassian interests as much as self-interests. To be sure, he sells out Central Command when the civilians revolt and then he sells out the civilians to the Dominion. I suppose Damar is a better example of a war hawk patriot, but then he isn’t really relevant until the Dominion has fully embroiled the AQ in war. At that point in the series there isn’t a peaceful path forward for Cardassia.
Peter G.
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

"I never thought of Dukat as representing Cardassian interests as much as self-interests. "

(MORE SPOILERS)

I agree, except that I think the way Cardassians are taught is that self-interested megalomania and the interests of the state will ideally coincide if your version of self-interest accords with official policy. So while Dukat is always looking out for himself, I get the impression that most of the Guls and Legates are exactly the same way, The difference between him and them isn't in his personal ambition, but rather his insane obsession with the Bajorans and desire to be be worshiped. It's not his megalomania that's the problem, but the fact that he's too much of a loose canon in the end for it to be kept in check.

The one thing we've been shown that's in common with Cardassian males is a sort of preening vanity, where the preening comes in the form of either being ruthless/tough or masculine in some similar way. We're given a very intimate version of this in Destiny, where we hear from Cardassian females that it's completely standard for males to act in controlling and aggressive ways. The warlike attitude stems from this, I think; a combination of fascist training with macho military-masculine attitudes. I don't think such people would ever contemplate ceasing warfare as a way of life (despite Picard's sage comments) until humbled so completely that they simply can't go on like that any more.
William B
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome, that's a good example. And while we don't see that much of Evek, I wouldn't be surprised if he is sincere.

@Peter, good points. I should say, it's not that I specifically rejected the idea that the Cardassians' re-arming themselves was meant to be to (eventually) go back to full-scale war rather than to make small territorial gains, so much as that I hadn't thought about it that much. Your explanation makes sense to me.

And certainly, the Cardassians are still under a military dictatorship, and military dictatorships tend to want to fight wars, because it's harder to justify martial law in peacetime. Interestingly, I had misremembered the Madred/Picard dialogue. In one scene, Madred states that the military assures that his daughter will never go hungry, that since the military took over hunger has been obliterated, and in a later scene, he mentions that he had been a starving child. I think I had somewhat melded these two scenes together in my mind to the point where I thought Madred actually stated that the military took over after he was a child, in which case the period of military dictatorship (and thus military expansion and war) is actually much shorter than generations and generations. But it might also be that hunger slowly declined, from the period before the military takeover, to the "present," and that Madred was one of those who still suffered many years into the military dictatorship. We also do not have to take Madred's word for it that hunger has been obliterated in Cardassian society -- this may be a self-serving lie Central Command tells -- but I tend to think this line of Madred's is probably true.

one thing I'll add to that observation about Cardassian masculinity is that I *suspect* that the way things actually go is something like this. Cardassians are indoctrinated, through their education system and various propaganda, to value the state above all else, including personal vanity, ego, and ambition. However, there's some assumption that on a personal level, most Cardassian men will just follow their self-interested instincts, and so the propaganda is partly a corrective to that -- that there is enough of a veneer of selflessness that even people like Dukat will periodically either rein themselves in or recognize the necessity of finding a way to sell their own ambition as being for the public good. Probably the way this vanity develops is a combination of "instinct," peer group cohesion/competition, and direct mentoring.

The reason I bring this up is that Garak is kind of an exception, where we get lots of indications that he's actually a brilliant schemer, and presumably *could have* found a way to put himself back into power, but on several occasions doesn't, putting either Tain's or Cardassia's interests above his own, walking the walk in a way that most of the other Cardassian Guls and Legates seem to be incapable of doing. And why exactly Garak is different is hard to say. It's not as simple as that he was indoctrinated more strongly, because Garak is also smart enough to understand how the system *actually* works, and is a cynic about so many other things. I think what largely happens is that Garak never really gets the form of mentorship from Tain that others get, and is always ill at ease of his status as illegitimate child, and never internalizes the sense that the other preening Cardassians have that he serves the state *by* just doing whatever works for him and his career. (It might have been nice to have a conversation between him and Ziyal about what it means to be an illegitimate child in Cardassian society, but it's easy to imagine this not really working, because it's hard to imagine Garak opening up about it to anyone save maybe Bashir.)
Peter G.
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

"But it might also be that hunger slowly declined, from the period before the military takeover, to the "present," and that Madred was one of those who still suffered many years into the military dictatorship. We also do not have to take Madred's word for it that hunger has been obliterated in Cardassian society -- this may be a self-serving lie Central Command tells -- but I tend to think this line of Madred's is probably true."

My assumption is that since Madred literally experienced the thing said to be been abolished that this is a 1984-esque comment. Meaning: the state says it's eliminated something like hunger that's actually been getting progressively worse, and the people cheer at the "gains" made. The clue here is that the "4 lights" scene was directly inspired by Orwell, so I recall, even to the point of trying to get him to betray his comrades to save himself. I don't take anything Madred says at face value; at least, not as being openly honest. Picard does get him to show weakness and regret and he justifies it by saying that without the military things would be even worse; that it's saved the day. Yeah, sure it has. That's why they "had" to occupy Bajor and strip it of resources. So if the torture scene mirrors that of 1984, Madred should immediately be understood as having zero credibility. His otherwise respectable or semi-civilized demeanor is just part of the interrogation method. We even see at the end that he's more interested in torturing Picard than he is in doing what's best for Cardassia, as he's basically disobeying orders by the very end,

"The reason I bring this up is that Garak is kind of an exception, where we get lots of indications that he's actually a brilliant schemer, and presumably *could have* found a way to put himself back into power, but on several occasions doesn't, putting either Tain's or Cardassia's interests above his own, walking the walk in a way that most of the other Cardassian Guls and Legates seem to be incapable of doing."

Based on what Garak reveals in The Wire, and later what Tain mentions, it seems that Garak's failing had to do with sentiment. Of the various versions of his stories, the common element is going against Cardassian interests one way or another for reasons of compassion. Whether it was a matter of saving the ship of Bajorans, or his "friend" Elim, or whatever else, he saw something of necessity beyond following orders. He tells Tain eventually he never betrayed him...at least not in his heart. So he did do something, I think involving using his 'heart', and that it showed Tain that Garak was never going to be the cold, brutal controller that his father was. He had a conscience and it wasn't going to go away. I'm totally guessing at this point, but I would assume out of hurt pride Tain would rather have seen Garak gone than live near him and be imperfect in this way. Especially so after showing how gifted Garak was in carrying out orders, so see that Garak might not want to...that's the worst betrayal to someone like Tain. We don't know what the crime was and it doesn't matter, but I think where Garak is different from other Cardassians in power is that he, too, is willing to do things for his own reasons and not for the state, but in his case it's out of love rather than out of vain avarice.

And I'm putting aside Robinson's book as I say all this because I didn't care for it and have tried to wipe it from my memory.
William B
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 10:02pm (UTC -6)
@Peter,

"My assumption is that since Madred literally experienced the thing said to be been abolished that this is a 1984-esque comment. Meaning: the state says it's eliminated something like hunger that's actually been getting progressively worse, and the people cheer at the "gains" made. The clue here is that the "4 lights" scene was directly inspired by Orwell, so I recall, even to the point of trying to get him to betray his comrades to save himself. I don't take anything Madred says at face value; at least, not as being openly honest. Picard does get him to show weakness and regret and he justifies it by saying that without the military things would be even worse; that it's saved the day. Yeah, sure it has. That's why they "had" to occupy Bajor and strip it of resources. So if the torture scene mirrors that of 1984, Madred should immediately be understood as having zero credibility. His otherwise respectable or semi-civilized demeanor is just part of the interrogation method. We even see at the end that he's more interested in torturing Picard than he is in doing what's best for Cardassia, as he's basically disobeying orders by the very end,"

I get that, I do, and I recognize the 1984 parallels. Even in 1984 though, the poverty that existed before the Ingsoc take over was real and not imagined, though it's been exaggerated; Winston can't really determine whether those experiences were real or not, but we know about the Great Depression, the injustices Dickens wrote about, e.g. I got the impression that the parallels with 1984 extended into even this scene, i.e., that Madred was describing the horrors before the current regime, using his own life as an example -- that, as in 1984, the current regime has started within living memory, but that the people who can remember are slowly dying, and their memories can't be trusted. Further, I really thought that the argument Madred was selling to Picard was specifically that the military improved lives -- like, for example his.

To be clear, I never read Madred's "confession" that he was a poor, scrawny child on the street as being a slip-up. It was a tactical error, in that he didn't expect Picard to use it against him as readily as he did. But, rather, I think it is part of the same narrative he was pushing about his daughter not going hungry -- not a contradiction to it. The way I read it is that he was implicitly tying his story to Cardassia's, and saying: look! Like Cardassia, I was a hungry child. Then the military came. And now here I am -- like Cardassia, I am bound in armour, full of power, here to dominate you. And my child can eat. This wouldn't really work if Cardassia was *exactly* as militaristic as it is now, unless Madred were *also* trying to convince Picard of a lie about how long Cardassia has been ruled by a military dictatorship -- possible, but I think unlikely, because I don't think he expects Picard to be totally unaware of basic chronology, even at this stage. So I didn't read this as Madred letting slip that his narrative is contradictory, but bolstering his narrative. This is perhaps false, because of course Madred is also a Gul, so his daughter's not starving can just be a function of his own personal position in the hierarchy, rather than the hierarchy's existence.

More generally, I think that the reason Madred brought in the taspar egg and then shared that story about his youth was because he wanted to convince Picard, too, that the path to salvation is to accept Cardassian dominance. He definitely wants to dominate Picard -- and part of that domination is to make Picard "love Big Brother," or accept the *correctness* of the ideology Madred espouses. This is the same type of thing that animates Dukat too -- c.f. his statement in Sacrifice of Angels (I think; it was in that arc anyway) that a true victory is to make your opponent realize he was wrong to oppose you in the first place. So Madred wants power over Picard, and part of that power is making Picard believe that Madred is right about Cardassia. One of the tricks in 1984 is that O'Brien plays both good cop and bad cop at once to Winston, and Madred is attempting something similar; he torments Picard, and then he makes a point of creating a link between them, by essentially forcing Picard to live through a version of Madred's childhood, where Picard becomes the scrawny, broken being who needs to submit wholly to the Cardassian state in order to be saved, to be fed, and to be given meaning. He is counting on Federation values being -- like Quark suggests in The Siege of AR-558 -- only a matter of how full the person's belly is; he assumes that being forced to endure sufficient hardship will make Picard not only bend to his will, but also agree and see the rightness and righteousness of Madred's narrative of Cardassian military dominance wiping away want. It backfires because Picard is still, in this state, stronger than Madred is now, which is what makes him furious. And that's also how we know that Madred is telling the truth about his childhood, rather than using it as a tactic. (In The Most Toys, Fajo attempted a sob story about growing up poor in order to attempt to shame Data into submission, but this failed immediately because Data is completely immune to such tactics, and Fajo throws it off instantly, because he was neither particularly invested in this control scheme, nor was it a true story. Picard hits on something real about Madred.)

That said, yeah, it probably makes more sense that the military dictatorship has been going on for longer than a generation. In that case, I'd say that Madred's revealing that he grew up hungry was still not a *slip-up*, because I think he is still selling the same basic narrative -- his submission to the military is what saved him from starvation -- but it does show that there is something inconsistent in the narrative *about Cardassia* he is pitching.

Without going on too much more, I will add: Picard is a rare opportunity for Madred to talk to a brilliant man from another culture. Madred believes in the Cardassian militaristic ideology, but he surely knows that there are counterarguments to it, and he believes himself to be a civilized intellectual. Thus it is *really important* for Madred to be able to demonstrate that he can "prove" his philosophy is the correct one, to another intelligent man. That he uses force to do so is not even a contradiction, because his philosophy more or less comes down to the idea that force is all there is. If he is wrong -- if there is a man out there that can withstand torture -- it undermines his whole belief system, and, most importantly, it shows that Madred, who perhaps once had a conscience of some sort, did not *have* to become a sadistic torturer for his state, so that his belly be full. If he can break the great Picard, this proves to him that anyone can be broken, and thus that he is right to be on the team that believes in breaking one's enemies.

"Based on what Garak reveals in The Wire, and later what Tain mentions, it seems that Garak's failing had to do with sentiment. Of the various versions of his stories, the common element is going against Cardassian interests one way or another for reasons of compassion. Whether it was a matter of saving the ship of Bajorans, or his "friend" Elim, or whatever else, he saw something of necessity beyond following orders. He tells Tain eventually he never betrayed him...at least not in his heart. So he did do something, I think involving using his 'heart', and that it showed Tain that Garak was never going to be the cold, brutal controller that his father was. He had a conscience and it wasn't going to go away. I'm totally guessing at this point, but I would assume out of hurt pride Tain would rather have seen Garak gone than live near him and be imperfect in this way. Especially so after showing how gifted Garak was in carrying out orders, so see that Garak might not want to...that's the worst betrayal to someone like Tain. We don't know what the crime was and it doesn't matter, but I think where Garak is different from other Cardassians in power is that he, too, is willing to do things for his own reasons and not for the state, but in his case it's out of love rather than out of vain avarice."

I agree. What I meant in particular is that Garak's belief in the State superseding all is part of why he cannot really recover from his exile. When Dukat is on the outs, he licks his chops for a little while and then schemes to get back on top, probably at his own people's expense. When Garak is on the outs, he mostly blames himself, even as he *also* rails against the injustice in it, because he both believes in the ideology of the state's absolute authority, and also suspects in his heart that he made the right decision in "betraying" Tain/the state. Both Garak's conscience and the genuineness of devotion to the state seem to be very rare traits among the Cardassians in power.
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 11:02am (UTC -6)
@ William B,

"That said, yeah, it probably makes more sense that the military dictatorship has been going on for longer than a generation. In that case, I'd say that Madred's revealing that he grew up hungry was still not a *slip-up*, because I think he is still selling the same basic narrative -- his submission to the military is what saved him from starvation -- but it does show that there is something inconsistent in the narrative *about Cardassia* he is pitching."

What I meant to say isn't that he lied about starving as a child, but has been brainwashed that Cardassia has prevented starvation in general through its militarism. The truth of the matter is probably that anyone who signs up with the government or the military will be taken care of, and that for anyone who doesn't do that 'it's their own fault' or they're not worth saving; or other such arguments. I imagine that general starvation has been getting worse, not better, just as the military has been getting stronger; inverse correlation. In 1984 it's true that the depression had been a real thing, but in the present time conditions are deteriorating on a regular basis (chocolate ration being reduced again). I see this as being a Soviet-type situation, where if you're in "the party" then you're sitting in luxury, and if not then to hell with you. Madred's position seems to be "look at what the military did for me", and I think Picard's riposte is "yeah, look at what it did *to* you." This is what I mean about not trusting Madred's narrative; not that he's lying about his childhood (although he might be) but that he's personally deluded about the military and is not a credible source of information of how Cardassia is really doing.
I like your points about what might have been at stake for him, though.

"What I meant in particular is that Garak's belief in the State superseding all is part of why he cannot really recover from his exile."

I wonder about that.
(SPOILERS)
Time and again Garak tries to teach Bashir about Cardassia, such as with the Neverending Sacrifice, and how the state is everything. However over the course of the series we see Garak as always keeping his real thoughts to himself, and the rest is strategy. It might be playing the long game, but I see his final scene with Julian on Cardassia Prime, Garak unequivocally says that the Cardassians are GUILTY. Not just guilty of betraying the Alpha Quadrant, but guilty of everything else they're accused of, too. They made their bed and now they have to lie in it. His concern here sounds like it's for the art, the culture, the great minds lost, but not for the mighty military and the Obsidian Order. I'm not convinced he *ever* believed in the Cardassian supremacy stuff, even though when he worked for Tain he would no doubt do any about of horrible things to please his father. That was his weakness, I think: he did it for love of Tain, not for greed, ambition, or even love of the state. At least, that's my read on it. I think he did care for Cardassia, but not for the Central Command or any of the fascist power structure.

There's a teeny little clue about this in Profit and Loss, when Garak warns Quark about the dissidents. He doesn't seem to refer them as inherently dangerous people, or even as wrong, but as simply on the extinction list. And we might wonder why he helped Quark and them at all, if indeed Garak worships the state for real. I wonder whether it isn't because he sympathized with the dissidents even though he knew that this little group were amateurs and weren't going to get anywhere.
William B
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Peter,

Re: Garak, I agree that Garak does not really believe in the military as such. I was mostly indicating that Garak believes in personal sacrifice for Cardassia in a way that others (Tain, Dukat, Damar at least before the last section of season seven) do not. In his case, I think that on some level he *wants* to believe in The State because that is what Tain wants, but what he really values is Cardassian art and beauty and culture. I guess what I meant about his exile is that Garak accepts his punishment, for a while, partly because Tain imposed it, and he can't entirely go against Tain. I think that Tain and the OO are intermingled in Garak's mind, and as brilliant as he is, I think he has a blind spot about exactly what he believes regarding Tain and the OO. I don't think Garak had any intention of getting back on top in a way that would hurt Tain, and because Tain is a sort of symbol of the State, that also meant on some emotional level accepting the State's view of him. I think things become clearer for Garak after he realizes in The Die is Cast that he couldn't really go back to being who Tain wants him to be, but before then I think he is still trying, on some level, to believe in the State stuff even if it's not what he really values. That he seemed to believe he could go back to being Tain's at the beginning of TDIC is why I think he is still somewhat self-deceived before this point, and not just deceiving others (e.g. Julian) about it -- though indeed, it's true that his reaction to the dissidents suggests that he's basically open to reforms.
William B
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
I also figured you didn't mean Madred was lying about his childhood -- though I addressed that because it's always possible. I also agree that there's no reason to believe that the Cardassian people are better off. I mostly just thought that Madred's argument was that the military saved him, and thus that the military power has significantly tightened during his lifetime, rather than that his experiences as a child were *because* of the fascist leadership. It's maybe not that worth further defending this point, because other episodes tend to back up your take on the history -- The Neverending Sacrifice suggests that Cardassia has been totalitarian for generations, for example. I just for whatever reason read CoC as implying that the military takeover was within Madred's lifetime.
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 5:54am (UTC -6)
On the subject of the Cardassians, there are some interesting traits that may help explain Garak's behaviour. As Peter mentioned, Garak may have done what he did for the sake of love and devotion to his father, Tain, but not out of loyalty to the state.

Filial devotion is one of the defining traits of Cardassians, as we saw through the Dukat character, not just through exposition but actions.

He sacrificed his career for the sake of his daughter (even if he needed a push from Kira) and even before he made that decision, he justified his attempt to murder her as being for the sake of his legitimate family. He's kind of the exception that proves the rule - even this supremely self-centred unprincipaled individual was bound to respect the power of family, even if that impulse was usually perverted to serve his own goals sooner or later.
Springy
Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
Liked part 2 better, though Brooks and Casey scenes are still a downer. It's truly too bad in an otherwise great story with some stellar performances.

Loved Quark redeeming himself by being instrumental in getting the needed info; later Dukat (in a really great scene) is instrumental getting info from the gun runners.

What's redeemable and irredeemable seems to be part of the theme here, as everyone makes their choices according to their own priorities and philosophies.

I liked learning more about the Maqui.

Well done two parter. Silver medal.
Cody B
Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
Avery brooks gets called a bad actor but wow this guy who plays cal Hudson is HORRIBLE. I have zero experience acting and I am completely confident I could have done a better job. This makes you realize brooks is just wooden and one speed . You can’t tell he is delivering lines the way cal Hudson is. There are times when cal Hudson reminds me of when you see mike Tyson in movie roles. You can just see him trying to remember lines and “act”. Oof. I don’t know how this guy got hired
H0neyBe4r
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
Excellent two-parter. I do sympathise with the Marquis up to the point where Sisko and Dukat level the playing field by stoping the arms shipments to the Cardassian colonists, thus creating good conditions for a peaceful solution, as both Quark and Sisko point out. But instead of taking advantage of that they go on to wage a guerilla war against Cardassia.

(SPOILERS off later seasons ahead!)

In hindsight that was the first step in softening up the alpha quadrant for the later Dominion invasion. One almost wonders if there were already shapeshifters at work in the colonies, nudging the people who formed the Marquis into that direction.

Which would make the events depicted in the season five episode "Blaze of Glory" very cynical; once the Marquis had done its part in driving the Cardassians into the Dominions arms they were no longer needed and the Jem´Hadar finished them off really quick to show the Dominions good will towards it´s newest member.
H0neyBe4r
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -6)
MORE SPOILERS!
I watched season 3´s "Heart of Stone" today, the Marquis Odo and Kira chase at the beginning turns out to be the female changeling. When asked how she got her hands on a Marquis ship, she responds that Odo cannot expect her to give him all the answers. I am seriously starting to consider that "the changelings were behind the Marquis" was indeed a secret part of the plot.

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