Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Air date: 11/21/1994
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Cliff Bole
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"This ship was built to fight. I think it's time she got her chance." — Riker
DS9 again returns to the political intrigue territory it knows so well when William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) visits the station and steals the Defiant, then begins charging through Cardassian space with the deadly weapon and not exactly diplomatic intentions.
Not actually Will Riker, but Thomas Riker, a duplicate of the Enterprise first officer created in a transporter mishap nine years ago and discovered two years ago in TNG's episode "Second Chances." Thomas impersonates his doppelganger to gain Kira's trust and a tour of the Defiant. After stunning her with a phaser, he beams a skeleton Maquis crew aboard the warship then promptly warps away from DS9.
Having Frakes cross over to DS9 is, of course, fun, but what makes this episode work in the long run is its compellingly intricate plot and another pairing up of Sisko and Dukat.
Sisko travels to Cardassia Prime to help Dukat hunt down the renegade Defiant and prevent an interstellar incident. Meanwhile, Riker reveals his intentions to the helpless Kira: To check out whether a group of renegade Cardassians is building a secret fleet in the Orious System.
Again, the enigmatic Obsidian Order (well-utilized in "Second Skin") comes into play, this time in the form of Korinas (Tricia O'Neil), who observes the tracking process with Sisko and Dukat. Korinas has the closest thing to an evil grin that DS9 has yet dare use, and O'Neil's performance is chillingly effective. As the search draws nearer to the Orious System, she becomes uneasy, quickly stating that no ship may enter the Orious System or the Obsidian Order will destroy it—including a ship of the Central Command.
There are a number of intriguing scenes at the tracking facility as the uninformed Dukat slowly begins to suspect the Obsidian Order may be plotting behind the back of the Central Command. Like in "The Maquis," Sisko and Dukat find themselves working together, albeit under different agendas. The real payoff in "Defiant" is how the sequence of events brings both to realize where the real threat lies—not with Riker in the Defiant, but with the Order's suspected use of forbidden power, who has apparently been building illegal military equipment.
This leads Dukat to strike a deal: In exchange for the sensor logs the Defiant has obtained on the mysterious Orious System, the Cardassians will release the Defiant and its crew, less Riker who must be sentenced to death. Sisko works with Dukat to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment.
This is a fine script by Ron Moore, with the most interesting plot manipulations so far this season. Cliff Bole's direction is also nicely paced, balancing a number of character scenes between Dukat and Sisko with the suspenseful Hunt-for-Red-October-inspired plot. While both Sisko and Dukat stay perfectly in character, there's a personal respect for each other that these two begin to discover—something that surfaced in "Maquis" which also works well here. The writers also manage to work in a tad of the inner-character conflict of the duplicate Riker—a little bit of identity crisis that wasn't sufficiently addressed in "Second Chances." And best of all, this whole Obsidian Order thing just screams of future development, possibly a Cardassian revolution or worse.
Indeed, political intrigue is what DS9 knows best.
Previous episode: Meridian
Next episode: Fascination
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84 comments on this post
Sat, Dec 27, 2008, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 8, 2010, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Truly the one serious flaw in this episode is the lack of Eddington. Granted the writers may not have planned this far advance that he would be Maquis. But he still should have been in the episode.
Eddington was placed in charge of Starfleet-related station security back in The Search part I. Certainly that must include Defiant security?!? Then it was his fault that Tom Riker was able to steal the Tough Little Ship (even if we accept the DNA excuse), and he should certainly have been there (with Odo) for the debriefing with Dukat.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 15, 2011, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 6, 2011, 2:21am (UTC -5)
The only thing stopping me from giving this 5 stars is the fact we didn't get to see the Defiant actually blow anything up.
And I agree with Nic, I don't think the kiss at the end wasn't the climax of a kira/Riker romance build up, it was Riker realizing he'd be in a Cardassian labor camp for the next 30 years, and wanted a pleasant memory to take with him. You know the 'real' Riker would have done the same thing, too.
Sat, May 21, 2011, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Having seen his style in more pure form in BSG, Ron Moore's storytelling approach on Trek becomes more evident in retrospect. He clearly preferred to dispense with (TECH) as hastily as possible, the better to get at juicy scenes like Kira explaining how terrorists don't get to be heroes.
As far as Long Term Plot Patrol goes, the Obsidian Order's fleet did finally appear, yes, but Dukat's knowledge of the fleet amounted to nothing. Maybe Defiant's sensor scans were worthless.
Tue, Mar 27, 2012, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 5:26am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 23, 2012, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 1:42am (UTC -5)
Pity the never followed up on whatever happened to this Riker...
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
I always wanted to think that Tom Riker was rescued by a Maquis team led by Ro Laren with he and Ro becoming lovers the way that was never possible between her and Will Riker.
Sat, Sep 15, 2012, 9:18am (UTC -5)
So it was fun to see him show up here with a bit more of a strut and have Kira be smitten with him. (The same thing happened on Voyager, when Q brought him to the ship and Janeway practically wet herself. Chakotay, take notes; that's how it's done.) Too bad he only got one episode. Imagine how much better the earlier Maquis two-parter would have been with him as the other captain, or if he had been the foil in Eddington's place. (I like the Eddington character, but he's no Tom Riker.)
As for why the Cardies didn't blast in and grab the secrets: there's an uneasy alliance between the government and the Obsidian Order. The Order ostensibly works for the government, but everyone knows that's not always strictly true, but no one wants to challenge them on where the line is. The military wouldn't necessarily be confident that they could just shut down the Order's secret base; maybe it would precipitate a civil war. Individual generals might also fear (or know) that the Order has dirt on them. They may also have ambitions to use the Order in some way, which it couldn't do if exposed or destroyed.
Look at today: the majority of US Congressmen think the CIA lied about WMDs in Iraq to start a war. But did they charge into CIA offices and confiscate their files and computers to get to the bottom of it? No, because that would make it useless for future needs, and/or other things might come to light that they might prefer were kept in the dark. The whole point of an organization like the Order is its considerable independence; without that it's not very useful. (I'm not making a judgment here; just saying that's how it tends to work.)
Fri, Oct 26, 2012, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Now that I'm 27, I have grown to fully appreciate this episode for more than just its action scenes. It makes me very excited to continue my rewatch of the entire DS9 series, but here are some thoughts about "Defiant."
- The chemistry between Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat) and Avery Brooks (Sisko) is always superb. The scene in the briefing room aboard DS9 where they come face-to-face, man-to-man, gave me chills. A+ writing, A+ acting.
- My jaw dropped during the interchange between Korinas and Dukat, where she questioned Dukat's competency as a military strategist. Later, we find out that the Obsidian Order has been hiding secret projects from the Cardassian military in the Orious System. It effectively builds on the strong hints of political division in Cardassia, as seen in "Second Skin" and other past episodes.
- I didn't make the connection until reading Memory-Alpha, but it was neat seeing "Kalitas" again (she was one of the Maquis featured in TNG's "Preemptive Strike"). It was a subtle, but neat element that added to the TV show crossover element.
Unlike my perspectives at 9 years old, I actually found the Thomas Riker plot to be the "weakest" element of the episode. That's a very relative use of the term, only because the aforementioned political tension is SO WELL DONE that it somewhat clouds the drama behind Thomas Riker. As Jammer mentioned, the real threat is actually the Obsidian Order (and not necessarily the Maquis and stolen Defiant). Here are a few additional thoughts:
- I was also surprised to see Thomas Riker surrender almost too easily towards the end. I appreciate his stance on finally realizing it was a no-win, suicidal scenario. However, the Maquis would prefer dying in the name of their cause rather than facing permanent imprisonment.
- Kira killing Riker would have served as a more satisfying ending, especially since he duped her. Echoing Tim's earlier comment, the kiss at the end seemed very out of character.
- It's strange to think that the DS9 writers never bothered to revisit the Thomas Riker plot. I enjoyed seeing the Cardassian judicial system in "Tribunal," and more of that with Thomas Riker flair thrown in would have been great. Jonathan Frakes even WANTED to do a follow-up episode. This was absolutely a missed opportunity, in my opinion.
- This isn't a nitpick, but it would have been neat to hear Dukat accusing Major Kira of also defecting to the Maquis (only to have Sisko defend her in the name of trust). After all, she may have "played along" with Thomas Riker about the warp core breach. Her hatred for Cardassians is no secret, and it would have been interesting to question her trust, even if momentarily.
I want to point out the importance of this episode from a TV production perspective. Having Riker aboard for an episode was a cool crossover idea that helped to further legitimize Deep Space Nine as being in the same universe as The Next Generation - a needed element to attract new fans who wanted more Trek after TNG ended. As "Generations" premiered three days prior to this episode, I'm sure the extra publicity was welcomed with open arms. I, for one, didn't really start getting super hooked into DS9 until late Season 2/early Season 3, and episodes like "Defiant" certainly helped to win me over.
All of that said, I respectfully disagree with Jammer's 3.5 out of 4 star rating. Perhaps it was the Riker/Kira ending that warranted a .5 star reduction. Nevertheless, I think this is equally as good as "Necessary Evil," "Whispers," and "Crossover" - the last 3 episodes to have received a 4 star rating.
My rating: 4 out of 4 stars
Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Loved it when this happened:
"KORINAS: Commander Sisko, you should be commended. I only wish we had someone with such keen tactical instincts who could have prevented this invasion of our territory."
Best part of the episode.
Now, a agree that the kiss at the end was not good writing for Kira, but it WAS for Tom. Kira was just overwhelmed by Tom's "Rikerness" - as most women were on TNG.
Another question I had. What is "Riker's" beef with Obrien? It's been years since I watched TNG. Jammer made no mention of it.
Also, I think it was smart to leave Eddington out of this episode. Why risk blowing his cover when his services were not needed?
I'm also tiring listening to Dukat S-L-O-W-L-Y pronounce his words and struggle to get sentences out. Makes me want to take an ice-pick to my eye at times. He also walks like he has a broom up his ass.
But overall I enjoyed this episode. Frakes was awesome.
3 stars for me.
Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 11:56am (UTC -5)
I think that was just Tom Riker's act in order to get O'Brien off the Defiant so he could hijack it.
Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Thanks, that makes sense.
Wed, Feb 11, 2015, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
However, there are no explanations for why, in the opening scene, the station's science officer and chief handyman are responsible for cargo logistics and conference scheduling. Could Moore think of no better job-related dialog to put in their mouths?
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 25, 2015, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
"Defiant": the title refers both to the ship and to some of our central characters. The episode, primarily split into two sets of two major characters (Kira and Riker, Sisko and Dukat), has several worldbuilding functions for the DS9 mythos while also making weird use of Frakes and the leftover story idea of a second Riker probably living out there under Will's shadow. The worldbuilding: the idea of the Defiant being taken over by a rogue agent is an effective way to demonstrate the ship's power and danger; the episode furthers the background recognition of the increasing threat of the Maquis to the Cardassians and the way their presence may reignite a Federation/Cardassian war; and the episode continues to set up the split among several factions within the Cardassians, culminating in the reveal that the Obsidian Order has ships they are not allowed to have -- which is sufficient set up for the "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" diptych later in the season. The episode furthers some of those threads while also giving Sisko and Dukat more reason to start to rely on each other, building on "The Maquis" and sort of "Civil Defense," while Kira's moments with Tom to me read as prt of her gradual self-reevaluation, moving from terrorist to officer.
Kira & Riker: To start with, I just want to pause for a second so that we all appreciate how *weird* this episode is. Kira meets up with Will Riker -- TNG's Jonathan Frakes! -- who is guest starring, and at first he hangs about, flirts with her, and generally is treated like a visiting celebrity because he's that guy from the Enterprise. I would have loved it had Sisko told Riker how thankful he is that Riker stopped the Borg! And then it turns out Riker is actually Tom Riker from TNG's "Second Chances," who has stolen the ship because he's part of the Maquis -- but while half the episode focuses on the Hunt for Red October Federation/Maquis/Central Command/Obsidian Order mess, the other half zeroes in on Tom Riker's motivations, which Kira guesses about based on only having just met him. Tom Riker wants to be a hero, we learn -- essentially, he wants to prove he can be the hero, like Will Riker gets to be some of the time. We are invested in this guy we actually barely know because we also know that he's like that other Riker we do know -- and the script, it turns out, pulls the same trick that Tom pulls! We get interested in this guy because we know and (for many of us TNG fans) like Will Riker, and so he pretends to be Will Riker out looking for sexy fun until he is not!Will Riker out to be a hero while displaying his Riker-esque tactical knowledge. And all this still goes on while the real Riker never once has appeared on this show. Tom Riker really does drive the plot, very unusual for a guest star, and it's justified that Tom can hijack the show and even kiss Kira (who has a boyfriend!) because he is a transporter duplicate of a main character on another series.
If this makes it sound like I don't like the Riker/Kira plot, I want to dispel that impression. I like Tom Riker and I like Tom's interactions with Kira, both before and after he rips off the sideburns (a delightfully silly idea that I'm glad stayed in the final cut). There is something always a little bit ridiculous about (either) Riker which is part of his smarmy charm, and I think it's that there is an underlying sense that Riker always has something to prove to someone. Now that TNG the series is finished, we also know a bit of how this rebellious attitude may have begun: Will Riker exorcised his demons from the mutiny on the Pegasus in season seven, but Tom has not had that kind of closure. The psychological scars of being abandoned for eight years to find that his life has carried on without him, to a man who has everything Tom wants, have to run pretty deep, and Tom additionally has unresolved authority issues, without having the great career and great mentor (Picard) that Will has. Will has something to prove, but it's all airy and abstract, with no particular person to compare himself to (especially after he gets over his father as stumbling-block), but Tom has Will specifically. I like the idea that his plan relies on him being able to charm the first officer of DS9/the Defiant into gaining him access, and then involves his using his tactical skills to penetrate into Cardassian space, as if proving that Will's reputation with women and tactics are Tom's as well -- though of course, Tom has to do this by imitating Will, at least at the beginning. Tom's actions sort of build up about what we know about Will's personality and motivations, as well as the recognition that he is *not* Will. That Tom claims that he's a terrorist but actually is not all that interested in making gains for the Maquis but really just wants to expose the massive Cardassian cover-up of weapons links him to Maxwell in "The Wounded" (still a major pattern-setter for all futuer Cardassian stories). That Tom is maybe going to start a war is the kind of thing that really badly harms his case, but I also think that Tom's justification is a little more thought-out in terms of the big-scale consequences than the Maquis' defense of their homes: he is risking a war, yes, but because the Cardassians are lying about their weapons stores and indeed seem to be mobilizing for a major "Improbable Cause" of an assault. At the moment, it seems plausible that those weapons could be used to make a major strike against the DMZ and the Federation; the actual cause, well, we find out in a while. And not only that, but it certainly would have been better for the Alpha Quadrant had the "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" fleet been *stopped* before that particular disaster, so one could argue that Riker was onto something, though perhaps not for the reasons he imagined. All this said, a lot of what I am writing here is speculative; we don't actually get enough of Riker's perspective to know how all this came to pass.
Anyway, the initial romantic tone to the Riker/Kira interactions sets up the connection/comparison between the two. Kira seems to get tht Riker is thinking like an officer, and not a terrorist, partly because -- as the teaser established! -- Kira is much more officer than terrorist now. Grumpy asked above what the point of the teaser was; it occurs to me that some of it may well be a reminder of how stressful Kira finds the officer job, and in some ways maybe how she still feels a little ill-suited to it, given that she went from terrorist to officer. Riker has moved in the opposite direction, and she can tell because she recognizes the signs in hersef from the difficult breaking-in period she had of switching between these distinct identities. However, Kira is not pointing out that Riker is not a terrorist becuase she wants him to be a terrorist, though it might seem like that at moments; I think that throughout she is trying to communicate to him that he is thinking like an officer (a Starfleet officer, in particular) to remind him that those are the values he really believes in...as does Kira, now. Things have changed; however ill-fitting and stressful the job is for Kira t times these days, she identifies more with the upright, peaceful, thoughtful set of codes of behaviour that make up a first officer to the hurt-any-way-you-can violent terrorist ethos. As with the Riker material, this character work is a little subtle, and by subtle I mean I'm not sure if the story completely argues this point or just sketches it in very lightly.
Sisko & Dukat: Despite Dukat's assholeism in "Civil Defense," Sisko returns the favour (?) from "The Maquis" in telling Dukat about the situation that they are in with Riker having stolen the Defiant, before it gets out of hand. The alliance between Sisko and Dukat is developed here and it continues to have fascinating tensions. For perhaps the first time, the two take pretty much ofr granted that they are on the same side -- there is less of the unease which characterized their interactions in "The Maquis," but there is still a chilly distance between the two. Sisko's surprise that Dukat has children, and, more to the point, that Dukat *cares* for them is a nice touch, as well as Sisko's using his experience as a father to attempt to comfort Dukat. Dukat's response, that his son will always remember this day as the day some Federation citizen kept his father away on his birthday, "and that's sad," personalizes the consequence of Tom's reckless actions, but (and I think this is interesting) also to me calls to mind the abandonment that Tom himself suffered on that station waiting eight years to be rescued, and will again at the episode's end.
The recognition that Sisko and Dukat have shared enemies, that the Maquis (despite not being Federation citizens) and the Obsidian Order have both gone rogue and that Sisko and Dukat need to hunker down together to figure out how to maintain what little stability they have, is well done. Sisko's bargaining for the Maquis' release and Tom's life in exchange for the data found on the Obsidian Order is in this case a noble and caring action, Sisko using his connections and his recognition of what Dukat wants and needs to save the life of a Federation citizen, as well as allowing Riker's exposure of the massive fleet of Obsidian Order ships to go *somewhere*. The easy negotiation between Sisko and Dukat, where both are forthright about what they want and what they recognize the other would value, is again a pleasure. I do think that Sisko develops a kind of rapport with Dukat in spite of himself, because circumstances have thrown them into the position of being allies, despite the huge gulf in their value systems and that Dukat was an evil dictator and would take the opportunity to do so again.
I think that the Riker/Kira material, while entertaining and with some resonance, is too lightly sketched in for me to champion this episode too much, but I think it's an effective show. "Tough little ship," as Riker said. 3 stars.
Fri, Sep 25, 2015, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
They should have dropped all of the teaser. Those were some precious minutes they stole and I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and kind of implausible. Riker accepts death in a Cardassian labor camp too easily, and what about the Maquis crew - they didn't put up any fight and just turned themselves in. Why?
I also disliked everything about Kira in this episode. Starting with that teaser, to her being schemingly, predictably swooned by Riker although she's supposedly in a monogamous relationship with Bareill, to her being taken on the trip. Riker doesn't seem to be a bad guy, he's going on a suicide mission, yet he doesn't have the decency to beam Kira off the Defiant before they go to warp?
Sure, she's a stand-in for the audience to figure out Riker's plan, but I could think of one or two way to do that without her. And without her asinine speech. If the Bajoran's really had no strategic approach to their resistance and just attacked the first target in sight, that would explain why the occupation was so smooth for the Cardassians.
I really liked the plot around Riker seeking his place in this world. It could - should! - have been explored more. And I definitely agree that there should have been (at least) one follow-up to this. Gladly more. Frakes is a trekkie, I can't imagine he wouldn't have been up for a few episodes.
My favorite moment of the episode was Riker vs O'Brien. I remember being totally thrown off by it. "What the hell was he talking about". I was sure I'd seen every TNG episode more than once and I couldn't remember any beef between the two.
Genius move, really. And so convincingly played by O'Brien, who reflected my level of bewilderment perfectly.
Another thing I *didn't* like was Sisko's line "I was in charge of the shipyard that built the defiant, I helped design her."
Sure, Benjamin, sure.
Between Dax, Bashir, O'Brien and Sisko we seem to have four of the greatest minds of the Federation. Why did they all end up at godforsaken DS9?!? When they were assigned, the wormhole hadn't been discovered and the first episode gives off a vibe that assignment to DS9 may be considered punishment.
Fri, Sep 25, 2015, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
They were deep in Cardassian territory and had no way to escape at that point. They decided to take imprisonment over some suicide run.
"Another thing I *didn't* like was Sisko's line 'I was in charge of the shipyard that built the defiant, I helped design her.' "
Back in the pilot it was established Siso was at the shipyards on Mars immediately before he came to DS9.
"Between Dax, Bashir, O'Brien and Sisko we seem to have four of the greatest minds of the Federation. Why did they all end up at godforsaken DS9?!?"
Well, it's a conceit of Star Trek (and most scifi, really) that the crew in the show is always the best at everything. But, specifically, Bashir chose DS9, and Sisko's career advancement had slowed after his wife's death.
Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 7:31am (UTC -5)
The Tom Riker twist is a good one and gives Frakes the opportunity to have some fun with the Riker character. But in the end he's just too honourable to be a good terrorist, as Kira memorably points out.
We also get to see the fascinating depth of Cardassian intrigue as the Obsidian Order and Central Command duke it out. The Dukat and Sisko scenes are a highlight, particularly as Dukat comes to realise they might have common cause. 3.5 stars.
Mon, Feb 15, 2016, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 15, 2016, 9:06am (UTC -5)
I think the idea was that one branch of the government was keeping secrets from the other, and the only safe way for Dukat to get in on the secret was to have the sensor data before the more powerful Obsidian Order confiscated it.
I mean thanks to Google Maps you can see just about anywhere in the U.S., but those maps don't necessarily reveal with accuracy what's located on federal military lands.
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 12:02am (UTC -5)
First, the thing that kind of grates on my nerves is how everyone treats "Will" Riker at the beginning of the episode. Why are these people acting like he's some kind of super-star? Okay, being the First Officer of the flagship would give him a certain amount of prestige, but why does Sisko invite him into his office and act like they're buddies all of the sudden? Why do Kira and Dax act all star-struck by him? It feels like TNG worship on the part of the writers.
But that's a minor nitpick. The good of "Defiant" easily outweighs the bad. There is some more world-building with the opposition between the Obsidian Order and the Central Command. The character dynamics between Sisko and Dukat are wonderful. The scene dealing with Dukat's son's birthday is a stand-out - Sisko tries to open an avenue of understanding like Starfleet has trained him to do but Dukat doesn't care about that at all because he secretly hates Sisko's guts and only wants his respect. Bringing back Tom Riker and making him a member of the Maquis was a brilliant move. And having him be in the same Maquis cell as Ro was an nice little Easter egg. It's a shame they never followed up on Kira's promise to get him out of that Cardassian labor camp. And the foreshadowing for the upcoming "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" was a nice bit of plot arc work.
The biggest draw, however, is that we finally get to see the Defiant being the badass ship that it's supposed to be. For all the talk about how awesome it is we haven't actually seen that much proof yet. In "The Search, Part I" the Jem'Hadar beat the hell out of it. In "Equilibrium" is was reduced to little more than an interstellar taxi. In "Second Skin" is was just to sneak into Cardassian territory instead of fighting its way in. In "Meridian".... well, in "Meridian" is was encased in the shitstorm that was "Meridian". Here we finally get to see it kicking some ass. At one point, Riker is facing three top-of-the-line Cardassian warships is just like "meh, no worries, I can take them." That's more like it!
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 11:18am (UTC -5)
In-universe? Well he had visited DS9 before and he can be likable when he wants to be (see Risa). I suppose we're supposed to buy that Will made quite an impression on the DS9 crew.
I agree he's a little too cozy there, but I think it's a matter of the actors paying their respects to the actor for playing ST characters like them with great success (Frakes was at the height of his ST directing career at this point).
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
Within the episode, I think it's cool that they establish that Will Riker is something of a minor celebrity in order to set up for the Tom reveal and also for Kira to identify competition with his double as one of the motivators for Tom's actions. I'm mixed on how well this comes across as a major element of the story, but it's good set-up and pretty poignant that Tom gets as far as he does only by pretending to be his double who is virtually identical to him but had the luck to *not* be stuck on an isolated outpost for eight years. (Of course, we could list all the times Will Riker was mentally or physically tortured or violated on TNG and say that Tom is not necessarily actually the unluckiest of the two, though on the balance Will gets to have friends and purpose.)
Fri, May 13, 2016, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
I myself recently came very close to a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (that gravely punishes fraternization between officers and enlisted of a romantic nature) when a private first class (E-3) working at a military hospital knowingly went on a date with me when she *knew* I was a commissioned officer! I had no idea where she worked or that she was even in the military, much less enlisted, until I realized something was up and I insisted she tell me, and then promptly and politely ended our conversation once I understood the truth. (In cases of violations, the officers are held roughly 95-100% responsible since we hold the power to command an enlisted soldier by oath and by law, thus the need to avoid unprofessional relationships, so I was at far more risk to my carreer than she, hence her dodginess.)
A military doctor will certainly commission as more than an O-1 (Starfleet rank of ensign), so it's a nice touch that Julian arrives at DS9 straight from the Academy or Starfleet Medical or whatever tandem commissioning/training program it was wearing the rank of lieutenant junior grade (O-2) — in fact, most U.S. military doctors commission straight into the grade of O-3 (and I'm actually surprised that Julian isn't a full lieutenant already after two years, but ah well).
So in "Defiant" when Bashir shouts at Kira to get some rest he comes off as a total jerk to his superior officer. He is an O-2, and she is an O-4. Although the chief medical officer can evidently outrank everyone in matters of medical exigency, he still seems way too familiar with her (and was even worse when he brazenly hit on her in that one episode in the runabout). That she is from a foreign military is irrelevant since she is an allied partner, and also the second in command of the station. Another reason this bothers me, perhaps in a good way, is that naval officers consider O-1 to O-4 to be junior officers, and O-5 and O-6 senior officers. Notice how all the officers on Trek who are lieutenant commander and below are called "Mister Data/Spock," etc., which is the exact same U.S. naval tradition. While the Army used to have the same division in WWII, today we divide O-1 to O-3 as company grade officers (who can intermingle and fraternize, as long as it does not compromise the chain of command) and O-4 to O-6 as field grade officers. Kira, a major (O-4), is of that upper echelon, so she rightly takes a lot of offense to Doctor Bashir's command. He still seems out of line to me though.
There is of course zero reason that Starfleet need conform to contemporary U.S. military standards. But when they do, it makes it way more relatable for those who know something about being a soldier. This is why Battlestar Galactica was so pleasing for us military folk to watch; never before has sci-fi gotten those details to right!
Oh look! Riker is here. That's good, because he was the serial offender of these ideas on the Enterprise! Actually it's appropriate for him (an O-5) to fraternize with Kira (an O-4). But on the Enterprise, he was routinely sleeping with other officers on the ship?! That's way out of line (merely by contemporary U.S. military standards, I acknowledge). Aboard the Enterprise, Riker is at the top of the chain of command with Captain Picard, and both would risk the potential for favoritism or reprisals whether there were regulations guiding their actions or not, and this harms good order and discipline (La Forge and Data were for example not so constrained as long as their girlfriends did not work under them). I admire Picard's restraint, since although Starfleet apparently doesn't care that this actually is a big deal for the chain of command, he recognises even in "Liaisons" that he is taking a big risk.
I like the old/new uniform contrast with Riker beside Sisko. Apparently starship personnel are resolutely against the new uniform, which I think is funny since that's a lot like real life in the military. The Army just had another uniform change (UCP vs. OCP camouflage patterns), and both are permitted until the wear-out date of 2019. Some commanders (which is a title in the Army equivalent to "commanding officer," not a rank like in the Navy/Starfleet) prefer the older style (and his soldiers conform to him for the appearance of unity) which we have seen for two years on the Enterprise D and the Odyssey in "The Jem'Hadar," while other commanders are quick to adapt the new uniform and encourage everyone to adopt it, like Sisko and Janeway. And then there is the mixing, which is exactly what I see every day at work, beautifully pictured in Star Trek: Generations, where Picard goes from the old style to the new, symbolic of the changing of the guard from TNG to DS9 and VOY (also symbolized in the destruction of the Enterprise D).
Fri, May 13, 2016, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
"First, the thing that kind of grates on my nerves is how everyone treats "Will" Riker at the beginning of the episode. Why are these people acting like he's some kind of super-star? Okay, being the First Officer of the flagship would give him a certain amount of prestige, but why does Sisko invite him into his office and act like they're buddies all of the sudden? Why do Kira and Dax act all star-struck by him? It feels like TNG worship on the part of the writers."
The commanding officer of DS9 is an O-5 (rank of commander), as is Riker, so Sisko inviting him to Ops makes perfect sense. I literally see this sort of thing every day at the command post where I work. High ranking officers of the same rank who have never met in person will meet each other cordially, and rapidly treat each other as friends because of their similar experiences due to sharing the same rank. So that's a really nice touch.
Dax knows Riker from the last time he was there in Quark's. And Kira's attraction to him right away makes perfect sense: she's an O-4 and the only man around who is the same or higher than that is Sisko (except for Bashir when he feels like pulling rank on her, hah). As women tend to be attracted to status, O-5 Riker is instantly an interesting option. (U.S. military women tend to hate dating men who are lower ranking.) I think it's an awesome detail, Luke.
Holy cow, Star Trek actors are super tall! Dax is 6 foot and so is Bashir, Sisko more, Riker is way up there; I always thought Picard was kind of short, but only because his fellow cast members are so tall! He's actually 5'11. Go figure.
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 8, 2017, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Dukat: [sighs wearily] "I'll have to clear that with the Ministry of Justice."
For some reason, I always find that to be a funny line.
It's kind of interesting to view this from a 2017 perspective when serialization and hidden long-term plot threads are the norm rather than the exception, regarding the Orias system mystery. In this ep, they had to throw it right in front of the viewers saying "BIG MYSTERY HERE, WE'LL COME BACK TO THIS LATER!!!" whereas now I feel we expect it so much this sort of thing wouldn't be nearly as in-your-face as it was in this ep.
Although DS9 was ahead of its time when it came to story arcs - when the Orias fleet was explained in "Improbable Cause", no one made a remark for the viewers' benefit along the lines of "Ohhh, that's what those ships were doing in the Orias system the day Tom Riker stole the Defiant! [wink, nudge]" - the viewer was left to connect the dots for themselves, and it was structured as more of a nice-to-have reward for those on the train since the beginning, rather than something where you absolutely had to have watched "Defiant" before "Improbable Cause" or you'd be completely lost. They still had to accommodate irregular viewers to a large degree.
Try jumping into "Breaking Bad" for the first time at the "Ozymandias" episode today. Yeah.
Tue, Mar 21, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 8, 2017, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Enjoyed the Sisko/Dukat working together and hammering out a solution and Korinas added another dimension of intrigue / danger to the battle scenes.
A more aggressive Riker is nice to see - one operating without the umbrella of Picard - brings an added bonus to the show. When we know a solid character in Trek and he's introduced in another show, it's usually a good idea and works well.
The show also works well into DS9's political themes.
Ultimately Tom Riker's plan fails miserably as the Obsidian Order ships help overwhelm him - and he's forced to accept life imprisonment. I do wonder what the Defiant logs contain - how much scanning they could have accomplished - but willing to assume this is very valuable to Dukat.
Thought the kiss between Tom Riker/Kira was strange - didn't feel right in the episode. We know Kira hat the hots for Riker but it wasn't clear that he sort of felt anything for Kira.
For me, "Defiant" just barely makes it to 3.5 stars out of 4. Lots of strong character performances and some good battle scenes.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:43am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
It's a decent episode.
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 11:22am (UTC -5)
They only seemed forced if you viewed this episode without knowing Riker or TNG. That fact is, this episode was written partially to cater to TNG fans, and DS9 - with continuity nods abound - generally isn't intended to be viewed in isolation.
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
A lesser writer would have had Tom sedate Miles and hide him in a locker somewhere, or something like that.
Tue, May 29, 2018, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
The one thing that kept bothering me--in "Second Chances," I could always tell Will from Thomas, but not in this one. He kept seeming like Will to me. I would have liked a bit more to establish that he actually was Thomas.
But overall a terrific outing!
Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 3:49am (UTC -5)
After the odd Riker - O'Brien encounter, the Chief goes home and WhatsApp's to Will Riker...
Chief: Wtf dude. What did I do do?
Will Riker: hey chief. No idea what your talking bout man. im on rysa! baybee! partay!
Chief: Oh. Must be your duplicate. I'll call Sisko.
Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Although the context is far more complex than this, Thomas sees that, perhaps in the wake of Wolf359, Starfleet has turned its officers into turgid cynics. The poker scene reveals Thomas' feelings of frustration with the inequity of his situation. In the end, he makes a tenuous peace with his new life, far away from Will and Deanna, but evident in his choice to go by his middle name is the idea that, in attempting to differentiate himself from...himself, he is willing to reconsider those things which he took for granted, even the little things.
Teaser : ***, 5%
Kira is at her wits' end with administrative duties. Dax, O'Brien, Bashir and Starfleet all want some shit from her. Finally, she takes out her frustrations on Bashir who pulls rank and orders her off duty and into a relaxation regime at Quark's. This is kind of cute, but I'm pretty sure someone yells at Bashir at least once a day for his smarmy behaviour, and Kira isn't exactly a paragon of emotional stability. So pulling out this diagnosis seems...premature.
Anyway, Bashir sits her down at a table with an array of fun activities to enjoy, holds up that most phallic of Bajoran treats, the Jumja stick, in her face and orders her to have fun. Having activated the sexual innuendo protocols, who else should emerge into the scene but Will Riker and the date-rape stare of death.
Act 1 : ***, 17%
Sisko welcomes Riker aboard in his office, who says he's on forced leave—not unlike Kira—under orders from Dr Crusher. Yeah, I think after playing frisbee with the Enterprise, a little vacation is justified. Kira, meanwhile, is back at work in Ops, having fulfilled her prescription the night before. Ahem. Kira is clearly a bit smitten but reminds Dax that she has a really, really boring boyfriend back on Bajor. When Riker emerges, Dax confronts him about some unfulfilled bet, and it takes him a moment to remember her.
Kira, seemingly against her better judgement, ends up offering Will a tour of the station and he makes sure to mention how much he'd like a peak at the Defiant. She's more than happy to grant him access. O'Brien is aboard already futzing about with the systems. He's elated to see Riker but Will immediately shuts him down over that thing that happened. You know, that thing. Best if O'Brien just leaves. Kira gushes about how powerful the Defiant is and quite happily unlocks the bridge so Will can see check out the controls. Riker is so grateful that he shoots her in the chest. Come on now, commander, you aren't on Risa, yet. No need for that behaviour. He beams a couple humans aboard, triggers a red alert on the station and calls Ops to inform them of this horrible accident on the Defiant that he will heroically protect them all from as soon as Sisko releases the docking clamps. Of course, Riker immediately takes the Definat to warp towards the Badlands. He seats himself in the captain's chair and pulls off his sideburns...the pilot, whom we might recognise as the Maquis who helped Ro raid the Enterprise in “Pre-emptive Strike,” congratulates him, calling him 'Tom.' This is exciting stuff, interesting and efficient at feeding us a lot of backstory very quickly. My only qualm here is that Thomas' plan, in retrospect, is rather dubious. He needs to convince the DS9 crew—many of whom already met Will Riker—that he is his double, convince Kira to give him a tour of the Defiant AND grant him command access, somehow. What if O'Brien had insisted on completing repairs? Or if Kira didn't melt for him? Or if Dax had asked him a more specific question? Or if the Defiant had a mission? It's all very convenient.
Act 2 : ***, 17%
In the briefing room, Odo and Sisko are relaying the backstory of “Second Chances” to Dukat who is enjoying a bottle of Kanar. When they confirm that Tom Riker is a member of the Maquis, Dukat nearly spits out his drink. While I'm always happy to see Dukat on screen (at least until Season 7), shouldn't they be briefing Evek? Sisko suggests a joint venture into the DMZ to track Riker down, but Dukat is quite certain that the CCC will view this event as a deliberate subversion of the peace treaty, in much the same way the Cardassians themselves were arming their people in “The Maquis.” The arising political situation is in fact very reminiscent of that episode, where Maquis actions threaten to reignite war between Cardassia and the Federation. Thankfully, the motivations are better-realised this time around. More on that later. Sisko will prove his good faith to the CCC by accompanying Dukat back to Cardassia and using his intimate knowledge of the Defiant, being one of its designers, to help track it down and...disable it. Dukat sees the opportunity to have the Defiant destroyed instead.
Meanwhile, Kira is naturally unhappy about her situation. Riker has insisted on being straightforward with her about his true identity as well as apologising for using her. They rendezvous with more Maquis ships and bolster their crew complement before making a beeline for the Cardassian border, weapons armed.
Act 3 : **.5, 17%
Dukat and Sisko arrive on Cardassia. Dukat is bragging about his very bigly command centre when another guest, Colonoscopy or whatever her name is, enters. She is from the Obsidian Order, here, it seems, to make sure Sisko doesn't gain access to classified information. The reveal (to Dukat only, as the OO already knew) about the Defiant's cloak sparks some Cardassian infighting. Sisko offers to try and help them replicate the anti-proton beam used by the Dominion in “The Search” to locate the vessel before she attacks.
Speaking of, Riker cloaks the ship in preparation of making an assault while Kira starts pulling panels off the wall because, of course, in all he ingenious scheming to capture the ship, Riker forgot to put a security guard in her cabin.
The CCC is able to identify the Defiant starting an attack on some outpost, but Sisko knows there's something wrong since it isn't using a cloak. Dukat orders Cardassian vessels to pursue the ship despite Sisko's warnings, because he's being written like a doufus. By the time Dukat corrects his mistake and sends them back to defend the border, the real Defiant has already managed to destroy a different outpost (47, duh). Coronary or whatever her name is takes the opportunity to shit all over Dukat while offering diplomatic praise of Sisko.
On the Defiant, Riker cooks up a way to prevent the anti-proton beams from working anymore. Wow, too bad Sisko has wasted so much time researching the Dominion's technology when all he had to do was call up the Enterprise's poker-playing savant for a solution to their crisis. Kira, however, manages to blow out some plasma conduits in her cabin and slow the tough little ship down.
Act 4 : ***, 17%
Kira's little trick has bought Sisko and Dukat about 30 minutes before Riker can continue his mission. He questions her unwillingness to at least sympathise with what he's trying to do here, having fought the Cardassians most of her life. We know from “The Maquis” that Kira is fully onboard with the Maquis' motivations, actually, but she sidesteps the question and asks what Riker's personal stake in the fight is. He doesn't have one per sae, but claims that Starfleet is failing to prevent the deaths of those colonists in the DMZ. This reasoning is dubious, but we'll get back to it. At least he has the sense to bring Kira to the bridge where she can't cause more trouble. Yeah, that sounds like Kira.
Cardassian forces aren't finding the Defiant. Sisko is scratching his head trying to discern what Riker's plan is. Dukat, meanwhile, is disproving Coriander or whatever her name is's point about him by being lost in thought about his son's birthday, which is today. Aww. Sisko has apparently completely forgot “Civil Defence,” because he's immediately wistful and sympathetic to the space Nazi. Sigh...yeah, Sisko has been dealing with Jake's cusping manhood this season (see “The Abandoned”); in fact he brought up Mardah during the first Act in his meeting with Riker. But, getting all cozy and intimate with Dukat about fatherhood like this...in this situation...with no build up and given their most recent, highly adversarial history, is not earned. While Sisko seems naïve in being so easily manipulated by Dukat here, the latter's sentiment that he regrets the inevitable hatred his son will feel for the Federation over this event seems genuine. Dukat was always condescending to the Bajorans, not to mention incredibly cruel, but I don't think he ever expressed hatred towards them. Don't misunderstand, the Cardassian attitude towards other races is perverse, but we do know from “Necessary Evil” that Dukat wanted relations between the two peoples to be relatively amicable, so his statement, “and that's sad,” is quite believable.
Having fixed the cloak, Riker takes the Defiant towards a small Cardassian target. Kira is skeptical, but recognises that Tom is trying to keep the Cardassians off-balance for the time being. He reveals the Maquis are aware of brewing insurgencies on Cardassia (the dissidents from “Second Skin,” no doubt). But more than that, there's a military buildup in the Orias System that the CCC isn't aware of. Riker assumes that this renegade group is planning on invading the DMZ and wiping the colonists out. Kira is amused by Riker's strategy.
KIRA: You're acting more like a Starfleet officer who's more interested in intelligence reports and Cardassian politics than in actually hurting Cardassians. You have one of the most powerful ships in this quadrant under your command. Why aren't you out attacking every Cardassian outpost along the border?
RIKER: Because these stakes here are far greater than border outposts.
KIRA: Not for the Maquis, there're not, because the Maquis are terrorists and the only thing terrorists care about is attacking the enemy. I know. I was a terrorist. And if I'd had this ship then, I would've destroyed Deep Space Nine. I would've hit the Cardassians so hard they would have screamed for peace.
I think Kira is oversimplifying a bit here, but her point that Riker's intentions and his methods don't square is valid.
Sisko realises that Riker is pulling defences away from the Orias system. Dukat is skeptical but agrees and is about to order a ship to investigate the system, but Colostomy Bag or whatever her name is countermands him. The OO is apparently in direct control over the system and she warns Dukat that any attempt to invade the system will be met with force. Hmmm.
Act 5 : ***, 17%
DUKAT: I've spoken to a few friends in the Central Command. The Obsidian Order isn't giving them any answers either.
SISKO: The Order has to answer to someone.
DUKAT: In theory they answer to the political authority of the Detapa Council, just as the military does. In practice we both run our own affairs.
SISKO: Not the most efficient system.
DUKAT: It's worked for over five centuries.
Lol—it is so very Dukat to essentially concede the absurd level of political corruption within Cardassian society and find a way to spin-doctor this into a boast. The residual damage from Kira's anti-terrorist terrorism of the Defiant has allowed the CCC to locate the ship, clearly poised to make its attack on Orias, probably. Riker has decided to fuck the risk and go for it, so Dukat has about 10 Cardassian warships pursue. Kaleidoscope or whatever her name is is visibly concerned, but remains confident that the system is safe. And indeed, it seems the OO has its own ships—which it is explicitly forbidden from possessing—and those ships emerge from Orias to engage the Defiant. Dukat is incensed. Yeah, buddy, maybe if the OO and the military didn't just do whatever the fuck they wanted for five centuries, there would be some accountability to such restrictions, wouldn't there?
Riker is getting silly. Kira points out that there's no way the Defiant can defeat 13 Cardassian warships on its own. Like a petulant idiot, Riker tells Kira that she's not his real mom and that his going to be intentionally irresponsible and reckless because he's a terrorist now, damn it! Kira sees right through his obtuseness and calls him out on it, but Riker is committed.
Quietly, Sisko leverages the tension between the CCC and OO; he tells Dukat that Riker will surrender their sensor data about Orias, provided the Maquis, Kira and the Defiant are given over to the Federation. Why in the fuck would this be true? Whence this incredible insight into Thomas Riker's character? Dukat is obstinate, but he needs to sweeten the pot for the CCC—so Riker is going have to be *his* prisoner. Sisko demands a pre-determined sentence other than death, and Dukat reluctantly agrees.
The Defiant begins its assault of the OO ships, with Riker attempting his patented lean, but the Defiant's bridge wasn't so accommodatingly-designed. Before Riker can fully suicide them all, Dukat and Sisko make contact and lay out the terms they negotiated. Sisko explains that Riker will have to sacrifice himself to a lifetime of hard labour for his crimes, meaning he gets to be a martyr, maybe even a hero after all. Kira convinces him to take the deal.
The Defiant retreats the the CCC ships, and for a moment the OO ships seem to consider firing on their own, but eventually turn around. Riker transmits the sensor logs, puts Kira in command and takes his last opportunity to lock lips for a while before beaming away to his fate. Kira promises to set him free. I can't wait for that episode!
Episode as Functionary : ***, 10%
The best aspect of this story—and perhaps the series—is the way in which it picks up the threads of previous episodes and weaves them together coherently. The lingering conflict with the Maquis, the response to the Dominion threat, the political instability on Cardassia, the mysterious Obsidian Order AND an interesting guest character from TNG all seem to fit into place here, while also teasing for further interesting stories in the future. It's really quite impressive.
Character-wise, I find the results a bit mixed. Let's start with Riker. As I said, his confrontation with his duplicate probably demonstrated that Starfleet had grown stodgy and conservative since his accident. Tom is in a state of arrested development, remember, having no human contact and almost certain psychological damage from his eight years of isolation. When he tried to re-integrate into Federation society, he found that Starfleet had gone from fighting the Cardassians to working with them against their own people—seemingly. The Maquis' motivations still don't make any god-damned sense, BUT from a character perspective, it does makes sense that Thomas would ally himself to these rebel underdogs bucking authority and fighting for “justice,” not only because this helps, as Kira noted, to differentiate himself from Will, but because these are the kind of flashy heroics associated with the younger Riker's vision of Starfleet life (see “The Pegasus”).
Kira has a small arc as well. In seeing the kind of reckless jackass Riker is being in the name of “the cause,” she appreciates the value of Federation stability, despite any administrative headaches they may cause.
Adding Crop Circle or whatever her name is to the mix allows Dukat to be less “the bad guy” in all this, having motivations which overlay with Sisko's agains the mysterious plotting of the OO as well as the terrorism of the Maquis, again. I still preferred their personaly interaction in “The Maquis,” however—Sisko comes across as too easily duped by Dukat's birthday story. And Dukat is unnecessarily obstinate and hostile during the beginning of their search. By the last act, I think they struck the right balance.
Over all, this is a very solid story which nicely stitches together several different points and works through some decent character material, but none of the scenes truly soar for me. I always have the sense that things could be a bit more engaging or richly-developed or probing. Still, quite a worthwhile venture.
Final Score : ***
Sun, Oct 28, 2018, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
A few qualms/observations
- The mysterious activities of the Obsidian Order in the Orrias system obviously pay off in the Enabran Tain Dominion invasion two-parter. This is the kind of continuity and foreshadowing that's great about DS9. However, given that both the Federation and Cardassian Central Command become aware (with hard evidence in the form of the Defiant sensor logs) of unsanctioned military activity there during due to this incident, doesn't it seem strange that the Order was able to follow through on their plans unimpeded? I suppose it's possible that their allies the Tal Shiar could have equipped them with cloaking technology to hide their ships, but that would take time, and Central Command would have come knocking on the door in the meantime. Moving the shipyards somewhere else also would have caused unacceptable delay, and I thought I remembered dialogue from the Tain two-parter linking the Cardassian-Romulan fleet buildup to Orrias still. I suppose it's possible the Order had grown powerful enough to use political channels to suppress any investigation from within. Does anyone remember an in-episode explanation for this?
- The Maquis terrorists seemed surprisingly okay with being handed back to the Federation for trial. Granted, Kalita showed reluctance to comply with the terms of the deal, but she ultimately did. This wasn't a Starfleet crew, so I was surprised that neither Tom nor Kira ended up with a mutiny on their hands. It is possible that they saw no other way out, and weren't as enthusiastic about going out with a blaze of glory as Tom was. But they had been willing to comply with his orders to press on to Orrias just a few minutes before...
- While we're on the subject of the blaze of glory, Tom's plan at the end doesn't make a lot of sense. He insists that he's going to "press on" with The Mission, and Kira has to convince him hard to do otherwise. The mission was to expose a military buildup in the Orrias system. If the Defiant had been destroyed trying to stop that buildup, then no word of it occurring would have reached the outside world. I guess Riker had the arrogance or boldness to think that he alone could stop it with one ship. But it should have been clear once he was severely outgunned before even getting there, that the best course of action was to make sure that information about Orrias got back to the Federation.
- The final effects shot shows the Defiant, under Kira's command, warping off towards the Federation border, while the Kraxon files off in a different direction. It's totally ludicrous that the Cardassians would be so trusting as to allow the Defiant to exit their space without military escort. I would have expected Dukat to order all 10 of his Galor-class patrol ships, if not five of them, to accompany the Defiant until it reached the DMZ.
- If I had just been sentenced to a lifetime of hard labour in a Cardassian prison camp, I might try to steal a kiss from Nerys too. But it's less believable to me that she would be into it. Despite her initial attraction to him on DS9, a lot of his character flaws and weakenesses had been exposed by this point in the episode. Not only that, but he stole Federation property, got a bunch of people killed, and endangered her life on a fool's errand. Maybe the Rikers' boldness is tough for me to relate to in general, given my personal experience. Women who have encountered me at least a handful of times to feel relatively at ease/safe around me seem to respond well to being asked out (if there's some chemistry there). But I wouldn't expect walking up to a perfect stranger in a bar and delivering the line " I see you have your evening all planned out...hope you have room for the unexpected" to over well *at all*. I suppose being tall, handsome, and Starfleet Commander helps...
Sun, Oct 28, 2018, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
- Tom stuns Kira with a Phaser Type II on the bridge of the Defiant. Where the hell was he hiding that this whole time? In his pants? They are normally holstered. This is exactly the type of situation that calls for a Phaser Type I (the Cricket). Too bad they bascially retired them in the first few seasons of TNG because the prop is too small to show up well on screen.
- "There's nothing to say to you, O'Brien! I think you know why..." is laughable on subsequent viewings. Tom relies a lot on people generally wanting to avoid confrontation (and I guess on the power dynamic there). But what if the Chief had said "I've no idea what you're talking about Commander!" After all, he would have been taken aback and concerned. He might have blurted that out before he could think that it would be best to avoid a scene and figure out out later. The writers didn't come up with a good workaround for the O'Brien issue, it seems. They could have simply had Riker never run into him, but they obviously wanted the audience to know that something was amiss by this point in the episode. It was just really clumsily-done.
Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
--Yeah, yeah, Riker is such a lady killer. Why so mean to O'Brien? Ah, so he shoots Kira. A lady-stunner more than killer . . . 'cause it's Tom, not Will.
--Lots of people who are overworked or overwhelmed. Kira needs a day off. Riker uses a story about how he's been ordered to take a break on Risa. Dukat wishes he had more time for his son (best scene, Dukat really getting fleshed out way past comic book villain).
--Lots of stuff about loyalties and shifting loyalties, who has what authority.
--This story just not grabbing me. Don't like Kira psychoanalyzing Tom, just not working.
--Surely Tom is not going to let himself be sentenced to life in a Cardassian Labor Camp. Why does Kira vow that they'll try to get him out?
--Accckkk!!! to the Riker-Kira kiss.
--Not feeling it, average ep with some Dukat goodness thrown in.
Sun, Dec 16, 2018, 3:35am (UTC -5)
Oh..... it’s Thomas Riker. Never mind. 2.5 stars
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
“Yes I carved these with a phaser.”
A few interesting points.
1) Korinas, if that is her real name, Captain Garrett on Yesterday’s Enterprise. Brilliant casting.
2) No way that Thomas would just be allowed on another ship after 8 years with no human contact.
3) That beard thing, how did he keep a straight face?
Skywalker. You really are a military officer aren’t you? Lot to think about isn’t there?
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 6:37am (UTC -5)
I am starting to feel a little like Kira is becoming the Troi of DS9 though, what with all the arbitrary predatory sexuality that seems to be directed at her of late (fresh off the back of Jeffrey Combs "I want a holokira all my own" character). IDK why but romance in Star Trek just never ever worked, and Riker's scenes in particular were always telegraphed (you could sense them approaching after a while) and slightly nauseating. The sensation is akin to the thought of your parents ... you know. Ugh.
Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Wed, May 27, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Much of my praise for this episode has already been said, so I’ll get to what bothers me. I will say that this is more something that has come to bother me on rewatching the episode, as I only remember being mono rly annoyed by it the first viewing. My issue is once The Defiant gets stolen and Kira gets taken to the bridge, they really lay on the “main characters are more intelligent and dominant over guest characters” thing. It’s pretty annoying/unplausible how once we get to that point, Tom basically only talks to Kira and none of his fellow Maquis, as though she is now his advisor and counselor (even though she is being pretty negative). She is able to aggressively psychoanalyze Tom and he only makes weak attempts at defense, and it strikes me as funny that Tom cares so much about what his prisoner thinks that at crucial decision moments she is the only one he is talking to as opposed to his crew (especially when the decision is made to surrender, he doesn’t even get a word out of them as he is too busy listening and talking to Kira), It just gives the feel of Kira, a main character, “knows best”, and Tom seems like a rebellious or petulant child in relation to her.
Specifically I would have liked to see him stand up to her better when she attacks the role he is playing for the Maquis, acting like he isn’t a “real” Maquis because the Maquis are terrorists so he should be immediately taking The Defiant to hurt Cardassia as much as possible; to kill people. He should have responded with something like “Actually the Maquis are freedom fighters, fighting for freedom from Cardassian oppression. Yes, often that means behaving like terrorists and simply trying to hurt and kill Cardassians or damage their infrastructure to cause terror, but other times it involves strategic operations like this one to best harm our enemy’s power. Our goal is the defeat of the Cardassian effort to occupy our territory, and if we are doing what we think best works towards that goal than we are being true ‘Maquis’.“
... it wouldn’t have to be that long but he shouldn’t have just been “beaten” by Kira in their dialogue/arguments as much as she was, so something to that effect would have been nice. Especially since this part of Kira’s analysis is overly simple and would have easily been defeated better this way this just by sulking and saying “You shouldn’t go fishing today, you won’t catch much.”
Finally though Kira’s talk about using The Defiant to harm Cardassia did make me think that it would have been nice if they had cut some of the back and forth between Tom and Kira to show The Defiant getting to use its power and destroying a Cardassian patrol or outpost in the area before the heavy reinforcements showed up.
Anyway very good episode in general but like I said when I watch it these days the Tom/Kira back and forth gets to me more and more with how it plays center stage for almost the rest of my he episode, and how Kira basically walks all over Tom in it because she is a main character and we have to get to see them show off.
Wed, May 27, 2020, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 27, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
Now I think that statement is objectively wrong, as clearly (and made more clearly by DS9 and even future TNG episodes), Starfleet does carry the responsibility of essentially being the Federation’s armed forces, “military”; it defends against foreign aggression with force, launches attacks during war, and in DS9 we even see that it has dedicated ground troops/marines. However what we can take from that statement is the significant intention of the creators/writers to show that Starfleet should not be seen as simply analogous to a modern military organization. For one point they do missions of exploration or scientific/astronomical research far more than military missions. It’s like a mix of “explorers“ (what Picard and Riker describe themselves as in that episode, as opposed to “naval “officers”), scientists, and military, in a time when humanity is explicitly described as being more evolved and closer to being a utopian society.
So yes they operate different from how people operate in your military, with less of an overriding military feel governing their interactions, and it’s supposed to be that way in this fictional organization. For example notice how they never salute each other, and how Troy said it would be fine for Picard to be in a romantic relationship with a lower ranking officer (TNG “Lessons”). So while Julian may be even less militaristic than the already less militaristic ordinary Starfleet officer, while that causes a bit of initiate awkwardness for O’Brien it’s also not shocking or anything like it may be in your military. Same with Julian’s behavior towards Kira... Starfleet officers and personal are closer to colleagues than modern military personnel are, even among different ranks (except for times of direct orders). Of course there is still good discipline and adherence to the chain of command; Kira did obey Julian in the end since he technically had the authority to do what he did, and in other situations Starfleet officers almost always professional obey their superiors.
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
Kira, if ANYONE, should be compassionate about this. Very short sighted writing. (And exactly how is it that every panel on a starship can be pried open to perform an engineering miracle - that's standard Voyager rubbish.)
Tom started out so committed, and once they got the Defiant, it just fizzled out. Oh! Here's all this action, and now - oh heck, I'll just surrender. I kept expecting his crew to mutiny. What a bunch of wimps.
Ultimately, Thomas Riker is a mentally ill character, who Starfleet had no business putting back in service. By TNG standards - which is the origin show of the episode - he ought to be given adequate mental health treatment so nothing as terrible and stupid as this would occur.
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 2:58am (UTC -5)
I'd imagine any organized terrorist group would steal the ship, go in to hiding for a while, then head in to Cardassian territory when no-one is suspecting it, under cloak. All other Marquis would deny any knowledge of Tom Riker, the ship, everything (they only guessed he was part of the Marquis).
Space is big - sometimes they make it sound like it's an enclosed box (like Picard building a Tachyon sensor net against the Romulans - they would need thousands of ships to make a dent in the amount of space they'd have to cover - the Romulans could travel at Warp 9 - a pretty stationary network of ships would be easy to get around in the vastness of space).
Cloaking in general is flawed in the Star Trek universe. The Federation simply would not be around if cloaking tech existed and their enemies had it - especially as they had signed a ridiculous treaty saying they couldn't develop it for themselves (so had no "deterrent"). Klingons would have destroyed them decades earlier, so would have the Romulans - and the Borg I'm sure must have assimilated cloaking technology from *somewhere*! Earth and Vulcan (the only two real powers in the Federation) could be surrounded by 1000 cloaked ships, which decloak, and surprise attack - killing everyone on the planet.
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 4:12am (UTC -5)
Alright Captain Buzzkill. It's just a TV show.
Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 9, 2020, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Rewatching it, I couldn't help but feel Frakes has the same charisma and screen presence as Shatner. He does everything with a twinkle in his eye, with a kind of salacious grin, always flipping back and forth between flirty and serious. His character almost seems to belong in a different era of hero (which I once read Roddenberry intended).
But while there were a number of neat sequences in this episode - the cat and mouse games between the Defiant and the Cardassians, the way the episode juxtaposes Riker's terrorism with Kira's, Dukat's monologues, Sisko demonstrating his skills as a fleet tactician etc - I feel there are also a number of little flaws.
For example the Defiant seems too easily captured, and you'd expected the most powerful Federation ship in the sector to be under heavier lock and key.
The idea that Riker joins the Maquis also seems silly, as is the episode's attempts to psychoanalyse him. Kira at one point suggests that he "wishes to distinguish himself from the original Riker", while the rest of the episode suggests that he wishes to prove himself to, or punish, the Federation which rejected him. I don't buy any of this. With such a huge universe, Tom Riker's presence in the sector just seems like a naked ratings grab, much like 7of9's appearance in "Picard". I'd buy him drunk and fat on Earth and addicted to holodecks, not in Cardassian space and fighting with the Maquis.
I also don't buy the "deal" Sisko strikes at the end of the episode. In "The Hunt for Red October", the Americans do everything they can to get that high-tech Russian submarine. But Gul Dukat, in contrast, readily gives up the Defiant. He should have taken it (lie to Sisko and say it had been destroyed) and used it to spy on the Obsidian Order, or threatened its crew with death should they delete its sensor data prior to handing the ship over.
The set design of the Cardassian Operations Room has also always irked me. It's all blocky consoles, oval viewscreens, square screens with weird aspect ratios and tactical boards with cartoonish diagrams of ships. I've never liked the Cardassian version of LCARS, whose on-screen data rarely seems to move, and which severely dates the show. The Federation console aesthetic remains timeless, but the Cardies are all random sharp edges and green/blue blocks and squares.
Herman Zimmerman says “Cardassians like things in sets of three. They like ellipses, triangles and trapezoids rather than squares and rectangles", and so designed their interfaces with this in mind, but IMO these displays always seem to waste too much space.
Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Agreed that the Miles situation was handled well.
Don’t agree that there’s a Kira/Riker romance in this episode, I’ll have to put that one down as wishful thinking. Men and women can have relationships other than romantic ones, and it felt like the kiss came as a surprise to everyone involved. I did like how they explored Kira’s terrorist past and what terrorism means in general.
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 21, 2021, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 28, 2021, 6:23am (UTC -5)
Agreed. One of my favourite DS9 episodes, and I too found it frustrating that they never followed it up. At the time the reveal that 'Riker' was Tom Riker was completely unexpected (for me, anyway), and played well. The scene between O'Brien and 'Riker', as others have noted, was cleverly done. There's just the right amount of baiting the viewer, leading one to realise something is amiss - or has been missed.
Tom Riker was always a fascinating and tragic character, and this episode also shows one of the better uses of the often poorly utilised Maquis in Trek. I also very much liked the focus on the Defiant as advanced technology that others would covet, and the interactions between Tom and his Maquis bridge crew.
A successful episode that brought together TNG and DS9 in an accomplished way in my opinion.
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 8:24am (UTC -5)
This was a nice character piece for Riker's same-but-different duplicate. He was alone and forgotten for 8 years before being rediscovered...only to be living in his own shadow. Tragically, his sense of pride caused him to go the opposite extreme of William Riker just so he could stand out as a truly different person.
The Sisko/Dukat scenes were also pretty good. Brooks and Alaimo always had good chemistry.
One a side note, this episode aired the Monday after "Star Trek: Generations" premiered.
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 8:31am (UTC -5)
Perhaps they should have followed up, but it's all a question of Frakes's availability. Not long after this, he'd direct "First Contact" at which point he took more of an interest in directing than acting. His career since the mid '90s has reflected that.
Thu, Mar 25, 2021, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 14, 2021, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Over all score: 7/10
Sun, Oct 3, 2021, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 18, 2021, 1:03am (UTC -5)
Anyways, I liked the bit about Dukat failing to make time for his son. It's nice to have those humanizing details. DS9 is all about character for me.
Fri, Feb 4, 2022, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
It was Will Riker pretending to be Tom Riker pretending to be Will Riker. This was a sektion 31 Operation made to destibilise the relation between Central Comand and Obsidian Order by revailing the secret war ships.
It was Siskos task to guide Gul Dukat to make the right desicions. O'Brian was of course also involved and akted this way to confuse Kira.
Will alias Tom gave up quite easily because a resque had had already been been planned for all eventualities. Ds9 was not invoved in the resque, therefore no episode.
Sun, Mar 20, 2022, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
It still kind of bothers me that the episode ends with Kira making a promise ("We'll get you out of there") that apparently is never kept.
Mon, Dec 5, 2022, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
They probably don't know. Even if Cardassia hadn't joined the Dominion, who quickly wiped out nearly all the rest of the Maquis, I don't think they'd be able to get much intelligence about a Cardassian labor camp. I doubt he would've lasted long under either regime, unfortunately.
Wed, Dec 7, 2022, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
They might not know what happens to him at the labor camp, but I meant "his fate" just in the sense that he was captured, tried, and sentenced by Cardassia after joining the Maquis. It doesn't seem that that much would necessarily be a secret, especially from Tom's next of kin, who arguably would be Will Riker. (Possibly Kyle Riker, their father, but it's hard to be more closely related than being the same person for the majority of your life so far.)
Actually, it occurs to me that Starfleet might have had some concern about whether Will Riker might also be a security risk, if the officer he might easily have been was.
Hmm. That could have been the premise for an interesting episode, or film.
Wed, Dec 14, 2022, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 15, 2022, 6:05am (UTC -5)
Ioan Gruffudd played Hornblower in the A&E set I think. Not bad. However I always liked the Gregory Peck take on the character. He played a more mature Hornblower than Gruffudd did. The film "Captain Horatio Hornblower" I believe combined three Forester novels into one screenplay? I agree with you that all Hornblower material is hard on the French, who are generally mere ciphers and when not, are portrayed as completely inept. Sharp's Rifles treated them similarly.
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