Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


2.5 stars

Air date: 10/23/1995
Teleplay by Nicholas Corea
Story by Toni Marberry & Jack Trevino
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Captain Sisko is right ... you are in love with the sound of your own voice." — Kira to Dukat

Nutshell: So-so. The early scenes are outstanding, but then the episode turns a bit trite. Some horrendous attempts at comic relief really hurt, too.

There are some very relevant moments in "Indiscretion," but this episode, alas, does not live up to what it easily could have been. It could've been another great installment, but it falls a little bit short because of its predictable conclusion and lapses of incredulity.

When Kira gets a reliable lead on the whereabouts of the Ravenock, a Cardassian ship with Bajoran prisoners lost since the Occupation, she sets out on a mission to search for it, hoping to find a friend who was on board. Since it was a Cardassian ship, the Cardassians also want to find it, so they send an official to assist Kira in her search. Surprise! The Cardassian official is Gul Dukat.

The most compelling moments in this episode come in the early scenes where Kira and Dukat begin their journey in the Runabout. Kira would be content sitting in silence. Dukat, however, decides to initiate a conversation, and pretty soon the two find themselves debating the Occupation.

This scene rings true all the way. Here are two characters who were on the different sides of a Holocaust-type situation. They're trying to accept each other now that the peace treaty is in place, but it's not that simple. Dukat used to command a slave mining station. How can Kira separate yesteryear's image of a Cardassian slave driver from that of today's newfound "ally"? At the same time, how can Dukat possibly apologize for a genocide that his people don't even want to admit? He tries, nonetheless, in his own way, but not without insulting Bajor at the same time. A lot of this discussion seems like the realistic views people in such a situation would take, and I liked the way the material in this scene was presented: without the dramatic cheats of instant mutual understanding.

Unfortunately, this scene has little to do with the rest as the story. Once they locate the crash site of the Ravenock, the plot thickens when we learn that Dukat is also looking for somebody—a Bajoran lover with whom he had a daughter. He finds that his lover has long since perished, but the daughter may still be alive, marooned on the planet. But since his daughter is half Bajoran, he informs Kira that he has to kill her—or risk having his career destroyed when his peers find out about his affair.

This is where the story slips up. It becomes a predictable tale of the Man who Reluctantly Heeds his Conscience. Will Dukat change his mind at the last second and realize that killing his daughter to save his career and reputation is wrong? Or will he shoot her with his phaser set on vaporize? Can we vote more than once?

Sarcasm aside, this might have worked, but the story ends with his choice played out in overly dramatic terms, and the issues from earlier in the episode fade into background conversation. The writers seem to have sincere intentions here, but the final result is just not that inspired.

Something else this episode does—and more successfully—is show the many faces of Gul Dukat. It makes Dukat into a more fully developed character that we can understand (although there were a few scenes where Alaimo's performance could've been a little bit better).

The big problem with "Indiscretion," however, is some filler which just doesn't sit right. A scene where Dukat sits on a spike and impales it in his rear is all-too-obviously played for laughs. Dukat starts yelping in pain and then shoves his rear into the camera while bending over to run a medical device over the wound. This makes Kira laugh hysterically. But the scene isn't funny. It's just a dumb contrivance to make Kira and Dukat a little more friendly toward each other. It's basically saying "We've had a good laugh, right? Now we're buddies." Thanks, but no thanks. This "comic" scene just feels way too forced and hokey, and doesn't balance very well against the serious tone in the Runabout. Aside from this scene, most of the Kira/Dukat scenes work well, although, aside from the Runabout scene, there's nothing particularly standout about them. Kira threatening to kill Dukat if he tries to hurt his daughter sounds like something which is supposed to make us gasp, but instead borders on being obvious and obligatory.

There's a B-story here, involving Captain Yates taking a job on Bajor which will allow her to be closer to Captain Sisko. She even considers moving onto the station. All Sisko can say is "It's a big step." (That was his first mistake.) The amiable results of this thread are amusing, particularly the series' running gag of Jake being the expert on his father's relationship. Lightweight, but likable.

Overall, "Indiscretion" is a decent episode that could have been much better. Pairing Kira and Dukat has so many possibilities and it's too bad the script doesn't realize more of them. This story shows promise early on, but then settles for less.

Previous episode: Hippocratic Oath
Next episode: Rejoined

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63 comments on this post

Wed, Mar 4, 2009, 6:36pm (UTC -6)
It's true the scene where Dukat sits on a thorn was not funny, but I don't think it was meant to be. Here's what Ira Steven Behr had to say about it:

The scene when Dukat sits on the thorn is a pivotal moment in the episode and in this process of re-evaluation. Of this scene, Ira Steven Behr comments, "There are moments in life when you can be with someone with whom you have nothing in common, who you have nothing but disdain for, and then something happens: a moment of shared experience, or shared laughter, and it just changes the playing field. And it doesn't mean that you become friends afterward, it doesn't mean that you've broken through to a new level of understanding that'll be with you for the rest of your lives. But something has changed. It's a bonding moment. And though it's probable that neither of them would ever discuss it, after this, their relationship will never be quite the same again. They've started to see each other as people."

This really rings true to me. But hey, suit yourself!
Dimitris Kiminas
Tue, May 5, 2009, 1:24am (UTC -6)
In other words, "We've had a good laugh, right? Now our relationship will never be quite the same again." - Thanks, but no thanks!!
Sun, Jun 14, 2009, 8:42am (UTC -6)
The thorn issue didn't stick in my throat as much as it seems to have done with others. I liked this one much more than a score of 2.5, though not as highly as the season openers.
Sun, Jul 12, 2009, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
We were laughing at Dukat with a stick in his butt before Kira was. Ergo: It must have been at least a little funny.
Fri, Jul 24, 2009, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the other comments. The relationship between Dukat and Kira should never have a comic moment. The tensions should remain throughout the series. I wanted to hear her tell Dukat that the girl's pleading was only making it much easier for Kira to blow Dukat away if he harmed her.

There is a scene I never saw in 7 years of DS9 that would have been very satisfying. Dukat, running through DS9 trying to escape from something, then turning a corner, and being face to face with Kira. He would knock her down as he ran over her, but her hand or foot would stick out and trip him, and then she would pounce, and we can imagine the rest.
Sat, Oct 31, 2009, 7:08pm (UTC -6)
I loved the scene with the thorn. I agree with you on everything else about this episode but I think you missed the idea of that scene. As Nic said above, it rang very true to me and I felt that it was very well acted - I really sensed that these two characters finally saw each other as people. Just a minute later, however, Dukat reveals that his intention is to murder his daughter. It has so much more impact, on account of the thorn incident, than it otherwise would have done.
Patrick Stewart 4 President
Thu, Dec 3, 2009, 12:03am (UTC -6)
I agree that Jammer may be criticizing the thorn scene too much. First of all, I for one did find it funny (maybe I'm just a lillte more simple-minded than you guys.... then again maybe not). But other than that, I think that the purpose was to show how even enemies can form a temporary bond through a mutual experience, and consequently may gain a new perspective on each other. Again, that doesn't mean that Kira and Dukat now suddenly become friends. It's just a brief insight into each other's persona. Also, I thought it was pretty well acted. I lold.

As for the episode as a whole, I pretty much agree with Jammer that the rescue/killing part was pretty standard writing (i.e. lame). But still, lots of good points brought up during the episode. Maybe 2.8 stars. (But then Hippocratic Oath has to get 3.2)
Fri, Mar 12, 2010, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
Not that I would want Dukat to get away with killing his own daughter, but I never understood why he would tell Kira that he was planning to do just that. Did he honestly think after telling her this, that Kira would let him do it?

All Dukat had to do was rescue his daughter, take her back to Cardassia and make up any story he wanted regarding her identity and have her killed there. It's not like Kira was going to be visiting Cardassia Prime anytime soon so how would she ever know what happened?

Again, I certainly didn't want to see him become such an overt murderer, but I'll never understand why he confessed his plan to Kira and still expected to get away with it.
Wed, Sep 1, 2010, 9:05am (UTC -6)
@ Jeffrey: The implication was that deep down he never wanted to kill her, so in some way he (subconsciously?) needed Kira to be there to stop him if needed. I seem to remember Kira realizing that and saying something to that effect in the end.

I don't know what the problem is with the thorn scene, and comic moments between Kira and Dukat in general. Just because Dukat can be funny or silly occasionally doesn't mean that he isn't a real villain or that we have to sympathize with him. People all have silly moments in real life, I'm sure that every despot and criminal has had some of those. And it's not like Kira was going to be Dukat's friend or forgive him just because they shared a silly moment and laughed about it. It just makes the situation more bizarre, in a way, but also more lifelike - how do you deal with situations when you're forced to work alongside people who have committed terrible crimes and haven't repented for their past? It must be bizarre and uncomfortable looking at them acting like 'normal people' while at the same time thinking about who they are.
Sun, Dec 26, 2010, 12:04am (UTC -6)
My only problem with the thorn scene is the same as any scene where Nana is called uhpon to laugh, because her laugh is like 40,000 cats scratching 40,000 chalkboards.
Sat, Mar 17, 2012, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
Agreed Jay, for such a great actor I always found Nana Visitor's laugh to be unconvincing. See the Dominion HQ entrance scene in WYLB also.
Sun, May 27, 2012, 2:10am (UTC -6)
I'm going to stay out of the thorn debate because I think my opinion would be unpopular. However, I wanted to mention that this has been and will continue to be my favorite point in the evolution of Dukat's character. It has always saddened me that he could not have become more ambivalently grey rather than evolving into a full fledged villain.
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 11:00pm (UTC -6)
The Ravanok seems a better spelling.
Ziyal was an awful addition.
Cail Corishev
Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
The key to Dukat is something he said later (I think) in the series: "A true victory is to make your enemies see they were wrong to oppose you in
the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness."

It's important to him that everyone -- but especially Kira -- comes to understand him and agree with him. He considers himself a misunderstood hero, and if he can just explain himself properly, people will understand why everything he did was actually for the good, and ultimately learn to love him.

That's why he told Kira about his plans -- he wanted her approval. (And maybe on a subconscious level he wanted her to stop him.) It's not the last time he'll tell her something terrible, so that he can try to explain his reasons and convince her he was in the right.

The butt-hurt scene was off-key, but in theory, I don't have a problem with the idea that two people who are extremely uncomfortable around each other would go overboard when something funny finally breaks the tension. I think it would have played better, though, if they hadn't seemed so relaxed about it, and if they'd realized what they were doing and cut off the laughter a lot sooner.
Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
I like Kira and Dukat a lot. Another good episode.

Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 2:36am (UTC -6)
When people say TNG was the best Trek, I always wonder: did it ever have characters like Kira and Ducat? These under-appreciated legends of Trek could only exist in DS9, a show which very cleverly remains focused on a single location (for the most part) which actually allows for recurring villains and character development. I never understood the "boldly going nowhere" crap, DS9 is the only Trek to involve character development and it's ironically the only one to really, truly explore the galaxy - by showing us its politics and bringing its characters to life. I love all the Treks, but DS9 feels alive, like it's set in a living, breathing universe. It's not about a sequence of hostile "aliens of the week".
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 12:04am (UTC -6)
I really liked this episode for the continuing character growth and analysis that is one of the trademarks of this series. The one point of contention being the scene with Dukat sitting on the sand spine and the "hilarity" that ensues. For one thing, I don't think at all that the scene was a bad idea. What was bad was its execution. It came across as overplayed and a bit hokey. The other thing is, in agreement with a few above comments, I don't believe that the scene was meant as "all of a sudden we're buddies". It was meant as sometimes unexpected and silly things can happen at any time. Those moments can add a sense of bonding. Not necessarily as in all is forgiven but more as in just showing a commonality that shit happens and can happen to anyone despite being good or evil or whatever.

As for rescuing the prisoners - they don't really need to show how they got the Breen uniforms but obviously they had to have been stolen off of dispatched Breen. If that's the case then that negates the future statements that no one has seen what a Breen really looks like. And I highly doubt that their would be spare uniforms lying about.

The b-story was refreshingly pleasant and had me grinning quite a bit.

High end of 3 stars for me.
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
Episodes like this are good because they show that the Cardassians, even the most villainous of them, aren't as one-dimensional as they initially come off. I'm surprised the stick in the butt scene got the most comments, yet few people are mentioning the scene where Dukat mentions that the occupation may very well have strengthened the Bajorans in the end, but one can take a lot more from this in light of previous episodes. For one thing, could the power-hungry Kai Winn, almost Cardassian in her ways, have gained such a foothold in the government without the new mindset that Dukat claims? On the other hand, perhaps there's an equal tradeoff, where Bajorans also introduced cold-hearted Cardassians to compassion in matters other than interrogation, totalitarianism, and their own family (though the potential can be argued for that from the start with Duet, and Marritza's attempted sacrifice). Food for thought at the very least.

I'd say this is more hovering around 3 stars... Though last outing with the Jem'Hadar may have arguably been slightly better in its premise, I like the potential underlying messages here more, evening the two episodes out in my mind. (as I've said in other comments, this IS my first run of DS9, so there could easily be more to it later on)
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 11:49am (UTC -6)
Interesting episode. Dukat reveals what an egotistical self-centered maniac he is.

Both "sides" find common ground with respect to the dead.

The "thorn" incident was funny, almost as funny as watching Dukat and his skinny ass legs trod through the sand dunes.

But again, Kira & one easily penetrate a compound that is guarded... really?

The first of 3 Ziyal’s was played very nicely by Cyia Batten.

2.5 stars for me.
Sun, Aug 10, 2014, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
I liked all the Dukat/Kira stuff. It's true that their conquest of the mine was too convenient, but that's fine, as it wasn't the point of the episode.

The failure for me was the Sisko/Cassidy stuff. It felt...trite. I didn't like anyone's acting in that at all. I also don't understand why all the blame was on Sisko's shoulders. Clearly he wasn't ready for a deeper relationship with Cassidy, and everyone's mad at him for not squealing with glee because she could be around more often. The only thing he did "wrong" was not express himself clearly enough. For that matter, Cassidy could have communicated better.
Brian S.
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
The sand spine moment didn't really strike me as comic relief. In other words, it wasn't really intended to be funny for the sake of audience laughter the way a well-timed Rules of Acquisition quote might be. It was a humorous moment for the characters to share. Except that the "laughter" went a lot deeper than that and actually helped illustrate the relationship between the two.

Up to that point, the two characters had been strategically adversarial. Going along and tolerating each other for the sake of the mission and the larger spirit of the peace treaty, but the tension and contempt for each other was palpable. Nearly every comment was a pointed jab at the other, even the compliments (or as Garak might say, "*Especially* the compliments"). Their entire conversation was a constant power struggle. Dukat's condescension towards Kira trying to maintain his superiority and justify his actions during the Occupation; Kira wanting to lash back at the former oppressor of her people and looking for any avenue to attack him.

When Dukat sits on the thorn, Kira laughs loudly at him. But Kira's initial laughter wasn't jovial. It was bitter. It was basically schadenfreude. She was enjoying seeing him in a little pain. Here was the man who was the taskmaster, this powerful man who inflicted so much pain and misery on her and her people, who ordered death squads to kill dozens of freedom fighters.....and he's hopping around like mad, howling and begging one of his former enemies to help him, because of a simple thorn. It gave Kira the satisfaction of seeing Dukat knocked him down a peg....and Dukat knew it. And had no defense for it.

At first Dukat was just simply dealing with the momentary reaction of the pain. He quickly turns to anger and frustration over losing control of the situation and seeing his air of superiority and authority stripped away. He invested so much time and energy trying to maintain his power in front of Kira, and now she's just sitting back laughing as he makes a spectacle of himself. It infuriates him and he shouts at her. But then he calms down a bit and has no other choice but to acknowledge the humor of the situation. And for a moment, the bravado and the power struggles and the manipulative game-playing are all set aside and they share a brief but genuine chuckle that helps bring down some of the walls between, even if only slightly.

They still don't like each other much (Kira less so), but for one brief moment, they stopped being bitter rivals or cold allies. I thought it was well-done.


As for Sisko-Yates, the part I didn't like is how it's acceptable for her to fly off the handle the way she did. I get that he could have been a little more communicative with her, but Sisko was right....her moving to the station *IS* a big step. Surely she would (or should) have recognized that and understood it.

This is his first real serious relationship since his wife's death. The possibility of her moving to the station was pretty sudden (not something they had talked about at length for months before). It's understandable that he might still have some reservations or hesitation before such a major change in their relationship status. A more compassionate partner would have been more understanding of how big a step this was and how Sisko might need a few days to process this new development and figure out if he was ready for it. Storming out and stonewalling him because he displayed a reserved response is detrimental to a healthy relationship where the feelings of BOTH partners are valued.

If my wife had basically asked to move in with me after only 6 months, I would have hesitated, too. And I probably would have rejected it as being too much too soon, even though I loved her.
Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 5:34am (UTC -6)
Maybe I am the only one, but I never liked Kasidy Yates. Butttt, in this b-story, I thought her reaction was wrong. She decides on making changes in their relationship that she had never talked with him about. She reacted as if he had an answer about something he had not given any thought to. She should have stepped back and gave him a chance to think about it. It would have been funny to me if he had said I don't want you to move to the station.
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 9:19am (UTC -6)
FAB episode, more nuanced and unpredictable than Duet. Visitor's voice and laughter are a few decibels too high but so what? The tension in Dukat's character and the ambiguity of the relationship is what makes enthralling viewing. Hamlet scores laughs in the graveyard before Ophelia's funeral, the dramatic and the comic together is what makes great art convincing, the thorn scene is part of that blend and it's effective.This episode is off the scale, 6 stars out of 5.
Sun, Jun 7, 2015, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Let's be real here. Cassidy moved to the station to help commit terrorist acts for the Maquis. She had no right to get mad at Sisko for not being honest with her about anything. I wish the writers would never have brought her back after she was arrested. She was probably still up to no good somehow. If there would have been a season 8 we probably would have found out she was a dominion spy or was working for the wormhole aliens who live in firecaves
Ben Franklin
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
For me, the biggest annoyance of this episode was Dax butting her way into Sisko and Cassidy's relationship. When Dax jumped in and suggested Cassidy move to the station, her smirk betrays the fact that she was doing this specifically because of her conversation with Sisko about their relationship. How obnoxious. It was probably the turning point for me regarding Dax. At first I just didn't really have a feel for Dax but after this little move, I just have a dislike for her character.

The rest of the episode was pretty good (except for the thorn scene). Whether or not it was meant to be comedic, it just didn't jive. The laughter seemed disingenuous which is rare for Visitor and Alaimo. Gotta agree with Jammer, though, in that the confrontation between Kira and Dukat wasn't really as powerful as the writers intended it to be.

2.5 stars is probably a fair judgement. But I'll admit Dax's stupid little relationship manipulation was worse than the rest of the issues lol.
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
I read the Dax stuff a little differently. Dax is his best friend, his mentor and in theory knows him better than anyone.

To quote Cal Hudson in "The Maquis, part I"

"HUDSON: That woman knows more about me than any woman ever has. More than my wife, even.
SISKO: Tell me about it."

We've had multiple episodes now where it's been clear that Sisko is having trouble fully moving on from Jennifer. Could it be that wise beyond her years Dax knows that it will work out and that her protégé needs a push?

You COULD just assume she's stirring up trouble for her own amusement and the sake of being an ass... but I prefer my head canon.
Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
I get where you're coming from, but at the end of the day, it's not her decision to make but she nearly made it for him. I have several friends that know me extremely well (one even better than my wife). If they ever pulled that kind of crap, I'd have given them what-for.

I don't even think she was doing it for the sake of her amusement and I actually agree with your headcanon. That still doesn't change the fact that she, in classic Jadzia Dax fashion, shoves herself into a place she doesn't belong.
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
I don't disagree, but old people usually think their experience means they know best and nobody is older then her :P
Wed, Oct 7, 2015, 10:56am (UTC -6)
I randomly watched this episode again last night. I really thought the "A" story with Kira and Dukat was awesome, but the show gets bogged down by WILL KASSIDY STAY???

I think it still would've been so great if they'd had made Ziyal Kira's half sister, a missed opportunity to be sure.

And man, Dukat is such a great & complex character. At least for the first 6 seasons he was.
William B
Sun, Oct 25, 2015, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
I think this episode generally works. I want to like it even more than I do, which is a bit of a shame. I kind of agree that the ending somewhat fails to live up to what came before.

I don't have any ethical objections to the "sand-spike" thing. Kira and Dukat have been walking through the desert for hours and hours, are tired and resource-depleted, and I think that a person can't keep their guard up all the time; that Kira and Dukat start laughing together over an injury seems to me to be a reasonable idea, which does not mean that Kira suddenly stops viewing Dukat as evil. However, the execution itself was pretty weird; the laughter comes across as very forced in practice, and the slapstick hilarity of "Dukat hurts his butt" feels really out of place. And until Kira said that line at the end to Dax about the sand-spike, I had no idea what he even sat on, which was especially distracting.

This is probably the first real Kira & Dukat story -- their brief scenes together in "Civil Defense" being the most they have interacted directly up to this point, if I recall correctly. So that is a real pleasure. Given the discussions about whether Kira's character did develop clearly in the show, I think her grudging acceptance of having a Cardassian go with her on the mission reflects a very different attitude than she would have had in season one, and her willingness to acknowledge that Bajor and Cardassia might be friends, but her and Dukat wouldn't, is pretty perfect: from all Cardassians being evil, Kira's view of Cardassians has mostly narrowed to focus on certain individuals as representative of what the race did to her and her planet, and who better to represent this than Dukat, who is *at this moment* saying to her face that Bajor in general (and she in particular) is better for the Cardassian influence? Someone like Garak might say that at some point, but partly with the expectation of getting a rise out of someone (I think something like that is implied at the beginning of "Things Past"), and there is *some* of that with Dukat, but whether or not he expects Kira will accept it, Dukat really seems to think it's fully true. Which is important, because that conversation sets up Dukat's bizarre value system, his absolute prioritzation of strength, his contempt for weakness and the idea of living a "contemplative" life...and his consideration of inflicting pain as some sort of act of love.

The writers have acknowledged the great John Ford western "The Searchers" as a major influence on this, though in that film John Wayne's Ethan Edwards wanted to kill the girl for purely race reasons; that Ethan may be motivated by family shame is very heavily implied, but is at least not the proximate reason. So in some ways having Dukat state the family pride/shame as the primary reason flips the script, and race becomes the subtext. Love Tora Naprem he may have done (or maybe not -- how deeply can someone as narcissistic as Dukat love someone else?), but Tora Ziyal is also a reminder of his weakness, of his losing track of the Cardassian values and bedding with a *Bajoran*. Dukat's need for Bajorans to love and admire him is just starting to become apparent at this stage, though his similar need for Benjamin's approval was already starting to become clear in "The Maquis." Ziyal is the symbol of everything wrong with Dukat, and his love/hate for her encapsulates a lot of issues the character has pretty effectively. Ziyal is not just Bajoran, she's Bajoran contaminated by Cardassian and Cardassian contaminated by Bajoran, the symbol of Dukat's weakness and his obsession and his power plays. I like, also, that this episode makes "Cardassians" retroactively more important, not just for setting up the issue of Cardassian orphans and Cardassian family structures but for underlining that *Dukat* is the type of guy who ruins a kid's life for political gain -- so of course Dukat expects that other people will use Ziyal against him, because that's exactly what Dukat would do if he were them.

That Dukat just lowers his phaser because he can't deal with killing her face-to-face is something I more or less approve of as a story choice. Ziyal's dialogue, though, is not so great; it is really hard to believe that this really is someone who has just been rescued after all these years, that she shifts quickly from mild excitement to mild sadness while she asks Dukat to kill her. I guess this is partly the actress's fault, but it's not great scripting. I also could have done without Kira's presence, which just messes with the real story. The episoe could have played the ambiguity that Dukat decided not to shoot Ziyal partly because Kira threatened him, but he seemed to be mostly ignoring Kira (and anyway, he could have just killed Ziyal right when Kira was not looking), so that Kira's threat is...really *not* the issue. It just confuses the scene. Of course, it is completely valid characterization for Kira to threaten to kill Dukat if he kills his daughter, and it would have been terrible to have Kira stand idly by, but I think this is where it would have been better to find some plot reason to keep Kira out of the way -- have the Breen attack her or, BETTER YET, have Dukat shoot her down (on stun) so that he can take out Ziyal in peace, and only then realize he can't do it.

For Dukat to pull back at the last moment is the sign that his love for Tora Naprem was at least partially genuine, and that he cannot fully turn his back on the connections he formed on Bajor, and further that he actually does care about his daughter more than his marriage and *hcareer. This is admittedly a low bar, but it builds on what we know of Dukat and renders him more complex -- he's a monster, but one capable of gentleness.

Time for spoiler points: One thing I do love about Dukat's arc up to, uh, say "Waltz," is that Ziyal's introduction puts Dukat in a position where he has to choose between the right thing and his career, and he chooses the right thing...and THIS basically dooms him, and dooms the Alpha Quadrant. Look at it this way: Dukat's giving his career up for Ziyal leads to him needing to make desperate moves to regain his career, which leads to him making the deal with the Dominion. And then Dukat more or less goes insane because his deal with the Dominion leads to his daughter's death. The effective tragedy here is that if Dukat were a complete monster, he would have dispatched Ziyal and then gone back to his insecure but still kind of cushy position in the Cardassian civilian government's military, and he would probably have continued doing what he had been doing. He may have signed with the Dominion there, but I prefer to consider it that he genuinely reached out to the Dominion primarily so that *he* could recover his power and influence. Which means, uh, that Dukat's being *mostly* monstrous means that his willingness to sacrifice himself came around and, once he became crushed by his sacrifice, made him sell his people out (short term gains for long term slavery) and eventually lose that same daughter. It's pretty epic, and this episode is a part of that.

Un-spoiler: I guess the Sisko/Kasidy thing is also a story about love, like Dukat and his mistress & daughter, and the backdrop of Dukat losing Tora because he wanted to protect her makes Sisko's fear of commitment after having lost his first wife maybe make more sense. Or, I guess. I like Penny Johnson and I do think there is some chemistry between Ben and Kasidy, but I could not quite get into this story, particularly since much of it came down to sitcom-ish Dumb Man Says Wrong Thing tropes, has Bashir hanging around making quips for some reason, really plays out the "Jake talked to Nog about this" joke too long, and has Dax *very annoyingly* first suggest Kasidy move onto the station without checking whether either Kasidy or Ben would like that, then criticize Ben's attempt to be honest at dinner, then say to Julian privately that she does not know if it's a good idea for Kasidy to move in which, let's remember, Dax suggested unprompted. The basic idea that Sisko fears commitment makes sense to me, particularly because his wife died, and it makes sense for the episode to run with it as lightish material rather than super-serious. So I guess it's okay, but I found it unengaging.

The episode has some serious limitations, but I'm going to go with a marginal 3 stars because I very much like where this episode took Dukat, and the Dukat/Kira dynamic.
William B
Sun, Oct 25, 2015, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
And as other commenters pointed out, it is a weakness of the episode that the entire Sisko/Kasidy stuff boils down to everyone telling Sisko what to do, and that he has to decide (very quickly) how he feels about Kasidy's plan she just told him about. And when he finally explicitly reminds her that his wife died, she runs off when he's about to kiss her as a reminder of how she has the permanent upper hand, rather than at least openly acknowledging how hard a step this is for him. It would be one thing if she really maintained all along that her moving to the station didn't necessarily have anything to do with him, but she was basically demanding he talk about what it means for their relationship, getting angry and storming off because he doesn't know what to say, and then does not treat him with that much respect when he finally talks about it.
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
Eh, I thought the thorn-in-the-butt scene was very funny. Even if Nana's laugh does sound like a hiccuping hyena.
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
Especially when Dukat can't get the regenerator to work, and the way he glares at the thorn as if it's his arch-nemesis.
Fri, Dec 4, 2015, 8:40am (UTC -6)
The B plot with Yates and Sisko got too much time, the A plot was too rushed.

I have assumed this entire season that Yates is a changeling. She's weird and off.

Life hint: Don't completely change the nature of a romantic relationship without first talking with your partner about it. If you just go for it, don't be offended that they're not up to speed.

Dukat's daughter is 19 or 20 at this point. I understand she has been fixating on her father for her years of captivity as a survival mechanism, so I'm marginally okay with her saying that if she can't be with him she wants to die. Hopefully she gets over that quickly and has an actual life, not spent watching tv in her father's basement.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 9:25am (UTC -6)
Yet another strong episode. The Kira-Dukat interaction really is a highlight here. The Dukat character is so charismatic that it constantly challenges the base premise that this is a monster. That it can keep both coins in the air is a testament to the writer's skill. But that's what makes him much more than a pantomime villain.

As to the B-story, well it's the kind of thing that has to happen to move their relationship forward but it doesn't really make riveting viewing. Drags the episode overall back to 3 stars.
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 8:43am (UTC -6)
I have to disagree with Jammer again here. For me, "Indiscretion" doesn't really pick up, dramatically speaking, until the revelation that Dukat is looking for Ziyal. Up until the point where Kira leans about Ziyal's mother, the episode is a standard, run-of-the-mill story about two people who don't like each other being forced to go on a mission together. Nothing really stands out about it. Once it's revealed that Dukat is actually hoping to kill his own illegitimate daughter, however, that's when my attention was focused. As for whether or not Dukat will actually go through with the murder - I think it's honestly fair to say that that is something the audience is left in doubt about until he drops his phaser. This is Dukat we're talking about, after all. He is the kind of person who has been shown to be completely delusional about his role in the Occupation. Who knows what he could be capable of.

And I love, as William B said, "he has to choose between the right thing and his career, and he chooses the right thing...and THIS basically dooms him, and dooms the Alpha Quadrant." This episode does more to make Dukat a three-dimensional person than any previous one. What's not to like? Add into the mix that Ziyal herself is a wonderful character in her own right (who will go on to be a pretty important recurring character) and some nice world-building (the introduction of the Breen) and this story is a real winner!

Sadly, it's the B-plot with Sisko and Yates that drags "Indiscretion" down. Really, they went with the ultimate cliche of "male fear of commitment"? Really?! I really could have done without this. It doesn't help that it's also another example of why I don't like Dax. She ignites the whole situation in the first place (essentially just for shits and giggles) by suggesting that Yates move onto the station even though she clearly knows that Sisko isn't ready for that and then later basically tells Bashir "it's a big step, teehee!". Please, stop having her act like such a twit! Oh, and there's a scene where Quark gives the standard male Ferengi view on women, because we haven't made Quark look bad yet this season, apparently. The only thing that salvages this plot-line is the ending where we learn that it actually isn't "male fear of commitment" but Sisko's legitimate fear of repeating what happened to Jennifer. Okay, I'll give them credit, that's a good piece of character work.

Paul Allen
Sun, Sep 25, 2016, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Couldn't care less about Kassid Yates story.

But loved the Dukat and Kira scenes. Especially the butt-hurt scene. :)
Wed, Nov 30, 2016, 6:14am (UTC -6)
This episode solidified Major Kira as my least favourite DSN character.

I'm also now convinced that Nana Visitor is just an awful actress.
Wed, Nov 30, 2016, 9:50am (UTC -6)

Why's that?
Sat, Jan 21, 2017, 1:27am (UTC -6)
What made Dukat more accessible was his confession that he had a Bajoran lover. And that he felt something for her (see scene with earpiece, so his trip was so much more than destroying evidence).

I believe on some level Dukat felt attracted to Major Kira, and once his first secret was out, he was emotionally more open.

The way he laughed about the thorn in his ass, he would have done, when he was alone with his Bajoran lover.

I would have expected a scene where after Dukat's announcement to kill his daughter Kira would have been angry that he first sleeps with a Bajoran and then wants to kill their common child. That should be a total relapse from the playful thorn scene, something like being betrayed.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 8:45am (UTC -6)
Regarding the ease with which Kira and Ducat infiltrate and take the mine, granted it might be a bit far-fetched, but not as far-fetched as it may seem at first glance. Remember that Kira is a ruthless expert at guerilla warfare and covert operations and Ducat is a career military officer and hardened veteran. We're not talking about a couple of admins from the Starfleet steno pool here. These two are highly trained and experienced warriors, particularly within the confines of the Trek universe. In addition, the mine is located on a desolate wasteland of a planet that is only just barely habitable, is thought to be unknown and is manned by people who are believed to be dead. The Breen are not expecting anyone to be coming around. Their security is, therefore, reasonably oriented around keeping prisoners in and under control, not around keeping anyone out or defending the perimeter. They've been there for years and the drudgery of mindless routine has undoubtedly set in. They are not expecting anyone to be infiltrating them any more on this day than the thousand others that preceded it. In addition, it is reasonable to assume that the Breen are not wasting their best warriors being guards at this tiny mine, watching thirty some-odd prisoners on this back of beyond pissant planet. There's probably only a dozen or so of them as well.

When you think of it that way, maybe it's not so far-fetched that Kira and Ducat, with the element of surprise on their side, could cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Certainly enough that the willing suspension of disbelief can be reasonably applied.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone


Good points, in my humble opinion. I have thought something along those lines since it first aired, but you put pen to paper and set them out for me to agree with.

Now please get out of my head... :)

Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
2.5 stars hit or miss

These B plots are annoying--a whole thread about Kasidy moving to the station and Ben's reaction. These material is so ho hum and could easily take place on a plain ol' tv program Seems like a waste of time shoehorning so many of these on Ds9--sisko meets Kasidy, Worf fumbles Odo's security operation, kasidy moving to the station, will Bashir win an award, Worf finds the station uncomfortable and moves onto Defiant, Obrien vs the Vulcan at darts, Obrien wants his dart board and breaks into Quark, Zimmerman wants Leeta and she wants to make Rom jealous, garak and Ziyal in a sauna etc etc. this does absolutely nothing for me

The main plot was a little better but far from great. The mystery of what happened to the Ravanok was initially intriguing but then to find out it was merely shot down by the Breen and the survivors become slave labor. Pretty uninspired

DUkat having an illegitimate child left me cold. There were one or two decent scenes between Kira and Dukat but overall not very impressive
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 11:34am (UTC -6)
Pretty good episode but for the ending and having Kassidy Yates involved. Plenty of good stuff can come from pairing Dukat and Kira. I think Jammer's review sums it up pretty well. The idea of 2 people on opposing sides of a Holocaust trying to debate it while being forced to work together (and their differing approaches) is very much something that could take place in real life today. Both Alaimo and Visitor are good actors.

I had issues with the ending: Dukat/Kira easily overcome the guards and then there's the lame standoff with Ziyal. Dukat was pretty certain that he was going to kill her and then he doesn't -- that's good but what about all his posturing earlier? So I'd put this fault more on the writer(s) than Alaimo's acting, which never lets the viewer down.

As for Dukat sitting on the thorn, this silly comedic moment was not needed in the episode. That Kira laughs hysterically while Dukat points a medical device at his ass is probably the kind of thing you'd find in, say, "The Orville" but it doesn't belong in DS9. The writers could have tried another way to make the 2 somewhat closer.

As for the B-plot, I found this to be uninteresting and a distraction. So Jake seems to know better about women than his dad. Highly doubtful to me. And Yates is just annoying and gives the impression of being shady. This B-plot was a detractor to the episode.

2.5 stars for "Indiscretion" -- stick Dukat and Kira together and you won't be disappointed although the episode could have been 3 stars but for other parts that fell flat. We're really starting to see that there's quite a lot of material from the Cardassian/Bajor conflict that can lead to interesting situations and consequences playing out. Now Dukat has a halfbreed daughter to deal with.
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 10:33pm (UTC -6)
It's just a dumb contrivance to make Kira and Dukat a little more friendly toward each other.


Exactly. As for what the writer wrote regarding the choice of scene.... lmao. Just utter garbage. Kira and Dukat aren't just enemies and Kira wouldn't be going on a mission with this guy anyway. She'd point blank refuse to do so. Dukat is directly responsible for numerous murders of her people.
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
The relationship beats in this episode are cliché as hell and don't ring true. Sisko's afraid of commitment. Wonderful. It also doesn't help that Sisko and Yates' relationship isn't well acted either in addition to being poorly written. I don't buy them as a genuine couple. Just like with Miles and Keiko and so many other Star Trek romances, I see them as two actors awkwardly trying to behave like a couple. The Kira/Dukat plot fares better, but is still quite flawed. The comedy scenes do indeed fall flat on their face, and the main story doesn't really provide some brilliant insight into either character.

2.5 stars, barely.
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : ***.5, 5%

Kira has an incoming message from...Reza Aslan or whomever. She interrupts her prayer to take the call with a bemused expression. Reza is kind of a Bajoran Neelix who knew Kira during the Occupation/Resistance. He has some evidence leading to the whereabouts of a missing ship the...Ragnarok? He tells her to meet him in the Badlands to retrieve this evidence.

Act 1 : ***.5, 17%

Odo is trying and failing to make jokes about security reports to Kira. He should have learnt since “Heart of Stone” to give up on that nonsense. She's too distracted to humour him by the news from Reza. Odo just rolls his eyes, familiar with this six-year-old tale, and wishes Kira luck on finding her old friend. Sisko pops by Kira's quarters as she's packing to let her know that the new Cardassian provisional government wants to send somebody along with her. It turns out the Ragnarok was Cardassian prison ship. Kira's friend was one of the lucky prisoners. Sisko gets through to her that the diplomatic significance of this joint mission is vital to peace between the two nations.

A little later, Kasidy turns up and confronts Sisko at one of the pylons. She is pursuing a job working for the Bajoran government (???). We'll just gloss over the visa issues and get to the heart of the matter: working for Bajor means Kasidy never has to leave the sector, meaning she can *live* in the sector. Dax is on hand to be a ditsy moron (I'm going to have to cede the point I guess, that we are meant to perceive her as an airhead. Shame); she blurts out the suggestion that Ben arrange for Kasidy to acquire quarters on DS9.

Anyway, in Ops, the Cardassian representative has arrived to escort Kira. And we all know it can only be one man: good ol' Dukat.

Act 2 : ***, 17%

On the runabout, Dukat reveals that the Ragnarok was under Dukat's command at the time of its disappearance, hence his personal presence here. Speaking of personal, Dukat wastes no time in prying into Kira's relationship with...Lord Akron or whoever her friend was. She brushes this off, but he's not finished with the poetry:

DUKAT: I hope you don't take this the wrong way, Major, but I've always admired you. You are the embodiment of the new Bajor. A Bajoran born out of the ashes of the Occupation, a Bajoran tempered with Cardassian steel.

Dukat has re-contextualised the Occupation to suit current events, namely Bajor has overthrown its occupier, allied itself with one of the most powerful governments in the quadrant, while Cardassia has lost its spy network, seen its own military dictatorship overthrown and been invaded by the Klingons. So, the Occupation was a “teaching moment” for Bajor. The Cardassians' methods may have been a little harsh, but hey, look at Bajor now, the scrappy little planet sure has made fast progress in the last three years, hasn't it? The thing is, Dukat isn't wrong. Kira and Bajor do NOT owe anything to him or Cardassia, lest that remark be misconstrued. As Kira says, the Bajorans united and grew in response to Cardassian despotism, not Cardassian education. Basically, Dukat is Trek's analogue for the “West is best” morons who blather in conservative spheres about how actually, imperialism was a good thing.

What's really great about this scene is what it reveals about Dukat. He's an intelligent man—on some level he has to know that Kira isn't going to buy into his bullshit sophistry. Ah, but remember that twice now, Dukat has witnessed Sisko appeal to his pride, in “The Maquis” and in “Defiant.” In both cases, the preservation of the peace treaty with the Federation forced Sisko into a position where he had to make nice with Dukat, incentivise him. Now, Kira is in the same position on behalf of Bajor. She's a bit more combative with him, but I think he actually prefers that dynamic with Bajoran ladies, as we will soon discover.

Meanwhile, Kasidy is gushing to Ben over the new job she has accepted. Things take a bit of a nose-dive here as the issue of whether Kasidy is going to move onto a station the size of a small town becomes the discourse for the entire senior staff. For now, the running gag becomes “big step.” Sigh...I had such high hopes for the Ben/Kasidy relationship, but this trite nonsensical DBI is quickly trying my patience.

Kira and Dukat meet up with Reza Aslan and confirm that his evidence is genuine. After some Cardassians-are-the-suck banter, the conversation points the pair towards an M class planet that is the likely place the Ragnarok ended up. The planet naturally has quantum whatever that prevents transportation, so they land the runabout. The planet bears a striking resemblance to the Californian dessert, prompting a reminder that Cardassians are reptile people. Anyway, the pair eventually discover the wreckage of the Ragnarok half-buried in the sand.

Act 3 : **.5, 17%

We pick up in the B plot with the “big step” crap. You know it's funny, having just reviewed “Parturition,” but the Trek writers really do have a hard time with adult romance, don't they? Between Quark's “women are the enemy” and Dax' soap-opera suggestions, I would swear I'm witnessing a relationship taking place between 14-year-olds instead of 40-year-olds. Most of this is due to the fact that everyone is making a bigger deal of the situation that it is. What makes moving in together (which Yates and Sisko aren't actually even doing) a “big deal” today is the fact that a couple moves into the stage where their finances and resources are somewhat intertwined. Now, you rely upon each other to make sure bills are paid, laundry folded and dogs walked. This adds new kinds of stress which test the longevity of a relationship. None of this applies to these two. Kasidy is still doing her job, Sisko doing his. They have their own's just that now, they will be able to see each other more often. Sisko, you've been MARRIED. Figure your shit out already. Bashir and Dax, kindly fuck off.

Kira and Dukat deduce that the Ragnarok was actually shot down. They also discover twelve grave sites (there were 50 Cardassians and Bajorans aboard). Dukat leverages Bajoran beliefs to keep Kira away from examining the bodies. Nothing suspicious about that! Well, appealing to religious nonsense is usually Kira's Achilles heel, so she consents to work on the ship while he exhumes the bodies. Eventually, Dukat discovers a Bajoran earring that we know bears significance for Dukat because 1. Alaimo is visibly shaken by the discovery and 2. the flute of pathos is playing in the background. Kira discovers him and instantly realises that the earring (and “pledge bracelet”? Ick) belonged to one of Dukat's Bajoran mistresses. It turns out his comment aboard the runabout about how Kira might be searching for an old lover, was actually foreshadowing his own purpose here. Dukat insists that “lover” was the appropriate word, too—this was no sordid affair. Lord Akron isn't amongst the dead like the mistress. Oh, and Bajoran resistance members had implants put into their bodies which release radiation wherever they go so they could easily be found. Sure. Well, obviously that's why it was so easy to track Kira down when she was kidnapped in “Second Skin,” right?

The pair track the subspace breadcrumbs or whatever until nightfall and stop to rest in a cave. This leads to the infamous pain in the ass scene. I'm sorry to report that I fucking hate it. The laughter is forced, the comedic timing totally at odds with the established mood and “bonding moment” completely unnecessary. I feel like I'm watching amateur improv hour at the local theatre. Thankfully, this buddy-movie crap ends and we get back to things. Kira asks Dukat who Tora Ziyal is having checked the Ragnarok's manifest. Ziyal is Dukat's illegitimate daughter. Kira thinks he's come to rescue the girl, but she's ever so slightly mistaken. Dukat is here to kill her.

Act 4 : ***, 17%

The next day, Kira lets Dukat know that she isn't going to let him go through with it. Dukat says he's worried about his “real” family, his wife and seven children. The supremacy of family, as discussed in “Cardassians” is akin to the Klingon supremacy of honour (or, unfortunately on this show, the Federation supremacy of enlightened values); it's really just sociopolitical currency. Dukat is worried about his own reputation. Remember, he abandoned the military on the eve of the Cardassian coup in order to advance his position. Dukat is always looking out for Number 1.

KIRA: You don't have to take her back to Cardassia with you. Let me take her to Bajor. No one has to know that you're her father.
DUKAT: What kind of life would that be for her? Your people have never exactly welcomed half-Cardassian children into your society. That's why I sent her and her mother away in the first place. I knew the Occupation was coming to an end, and that there'd be no place for them on Bajor or Cardassia.

This actually runs counter to what was established in “Cardassians” where full-blooded Cardassian orphans *are* accepted into Bajoran society. And now that there's a peace treaty, Dukat's reasoning is entirely specious. Of course, Dukat would have to rely on Nerys and Ziyal to keep his little secret and, as much as he would welcome a more intimate relationship with Kira, I'm sure the risk to his ego is too great to consider.

Back to the stupid B plot. The Siskos are having breakfast. It turns out Nog and Jake have a more clear-headed view of the situation than the woman with 8 or 9 lifetimes worth of experience and the (spoiler) genetically-enhanced human genius.

JAKE: If Kasidy wants to change jobs, that's her decision, not yours. Same thing if she wants to live on the station. If things don't work out, they don't work out.

Great. Moving on, Kira and Dukat have tracked the breadcrumbs to a dilithium mine where the survivors are being forced to labour under the yoke of the Breen. They spot the half-Cardassian half-Bajoran girl (thanks oh great flute of pathos) amongst the slaves.

Act 5 : ***, 17%

After arguing for a minute, the pair devise a plan to rescue these people. Kira threatens to kill Dukat if he so much has harms Ziyal. It's a chilling delivery by Nana Visitor. Off camera, the pair get themselves some Breen Boba Fett suits...I guess they left the cold-climate guards to perish in the sun. Lord Akron has died, but on the bright side, Kira and Dukat look really, really stupid in those outfits. Kira and a Bajoran slave manage to free most of the other prisoners while Dukat goes looking for his daughter. He finds her, and she's briefly elated to see her father, but he's got his phaser trained on her. Kira arrives and begs him not to go through with it. For her part, young Ziyal isn't exactly surprised to find herself in this position. The other Cardassians warned her this is what would happen. She tells her father that if she can't live with him, she'd rather he just kill her. Her resignation seems to finally break through his ego and he drops his weapon and embraces her.

In the epilogue, Sisko finally grows up and asks Kasidy to go through with the move. The idea that he's afraid of losing Kasidy the way he lost Jennifer feels contrived to me, again, because this isn't nearly the “big step” the episode implies this change to be, but whatever, at least it's resolved.

Dukat thanks Kira for her help and informs her that he and Ziyal will return to Cardassia together, despite the difficulties this will create.

Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%

First of all, I have to dissent and say that I really enjoyed Cyia Batten's performance in her brief scene, and found it quite convincing. Obviously, the main point of this story is to explore Dukat, whose character began to sag in Season 3. Returning to the political elements that helped him shine in Season 2 was a wise move, and I think the humanising element of Ziyal was inspired. Having this person who challenges his core qualities of pride and egoism, who forces him to make decisions which aren't always about himself, gives Dukat the opportunity for redemption. I don't think this one act in any way makes up for his past atrocities, but it opens the door. He could have easily re-contextualised murdering his daughter (and tried at first) as an act for the greater good of his family, for Cardassia even. After all, Cardassia needs strong family men to lead them all to the glorious future, and this indiscretion will no doubt put a wrench in things. I think that if Ziyal had begged her father for mercy, as so many Bajorans had done in the past, he would have pulled the trigger. But her calm resignation, her very Cardassian acceptance of her fate was perhaps the one thing that spared her. Well, that and one other thing; I think Dukat wanted Kira to witness his change of heart. Actions speak louder than words, and bearing witness to this character growth is going to impact her understanding/appreciation of him more than his long-winded speeches. What do massive egos crave above all than attention, right? That's one reason I found the sandspine thing totally unnecessary. Kira didn't need this superficial cheat to see a new side to Dukat (pardon the pun), and we certainly didn't need to sit through that painful scene.

The B plot isn't the worst, and I found it far less jarring than the one in “Hippocratic Oath,” but other than reminding us that Kasidy exists, I don't think it needed to be here at all. Generally, I found everyone's behaviour aboard the station juvenile.

Final Score : ***
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
"We pick up in the B plot with the “big step” crap. You know it's funny, having just reviewed “Parturition,” but the Trek writers really do have a hard time with adult romance, don't they? Between Quark's “women are the enemy” and Dax' soap-opera suggestions, I would swear I'm witnessing a relationship taking place between 14-year-olds instead of 40-year-olds. "

Precisely. This is why I kind of hated the subplot. I wasn't really invested in the Sisko/Yates relationship at this point (I liked it in Season 7), so even if he did break it off, I wouldn't be particularly bothered. In fact, I was so annoyed during certain points in this episode, I was actively rooting for him to just end it so the episode could cut back to the important stuff. Overall, I'm not sure why I'm less enthused about this one than everyone else-it's just one everyone seems to like more than I do, but not by a huge amount.
Fri, Dec 28, 2018, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
Watching and commenting:

--Looks like were getting some Kira backstory. Ok. I'm game.

--How did the Cardassians get wind of Kira's news about the Ravinok? Dukat is going with Kira?? Really? Again Dukat is a little bit flirty. Yeeeee. And talking about how the Cardassians did Bajor a favor. She should kill him. Please kill him. DUKAT, about landing: "I'll take the controls if you like." KIRA:"That'll be the day."

--I see Sisko is having as much success with the ladies as Dukat was having.

--"It's all about control," says Quark, to Sisko, about dealing with women. Out of the mouths of Ferenghi. Control, control, who's at the controls, when you're going in for a landing?

--That darn ionic interference!! They can't beam down. They can search for life signs from the runabout.

--These Cardassians are definitely different than humans. Dukat is going to kill the daughter he loves because she's going to cause him problems with his family and career. He'll weep over her grave, but he has to do it. Yowza. I like how alien that is.

--Oh, Ben. You've got a problem when Jake and Nog are smarter than you are.

--Dukat is really taking Ziyal to Cardassia? Man, I wouldn't trust him not to kill her on the way home.

--We see that Kasidy and Ben know each other better, have become closer, more intimate, by the end of the ep. That is no surprise. But so have Dukat and Kira, and that is a surprise, a shock so huge, it's nearly heart-stopping, for Kira.

Great last line "I'll let you know." A punch to the gut.

Love this one. Top knotch.
Sat, Dec 29, 2018, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
Having read review and comments:

--This is one of my favorites so far. There seems to be a wide range of opinions, but I liked it very well. Really nicely woven.

--There's a lot of sexual subtext with Kira and Dukat, IMO, and it makes me wonder if the writers weren't considering eventually "going there" with this pair. I don't think this happens, from the spoilery things I've read in comments, or that it would have been a wise route, but I think it was considered.

--That sand spine scene: There's a lot going on here, and though there's a touch of hokey, it's mostly very well done. I think there's certainly sexual subtext here (control, control, control, penetration, who's "going in," to quote Kira as she begins her landing) and there's definite commentary on the nature of relationships and bonding.

--What makes people friends, business associates, acquaintances, lovers, family? That's a question the ep asks over and over and over, on both A and B plotlines.

--THAT ENDING LINE. I was surprised not to see comment on it. That line "I'll let you know" -- it happens (slightly altered) two other times. Kira's smuggler friend asks her to "let him know" what happened to their mutual friend on the Ravinok; Sisko tells Dax and Julian he'll "let them know" what happens with Kasidy.

It's brilliant. It sets you up. When talking about personal matters, that line is something friends say to friends that they trust. It assumes a warm, mutual interest in each other.

It's why Kira looks so astonished when Dukat tosses it out there, and walks away.
Jamie Mann
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
I'm really not keen on this episode, not least because at this point, it was becoming clear that DS( was still favouring self-contained episodes rather than building some sort of season-long arc.

Equally however, the subject matter of this story is handled in a very questionable way.

The Cardassian rule over Bajor can perhaps be best compared to that of Imperial Japan during WW2: brutal, bloody and outright murderous at times.

And one of the most sensitive aspects of any occupation is the development of relationships - forced or otherwise - between a ruling conqueror and someone from the slave population. From Japanese "comfort women" to the French collaborators who were beaten and had their heads shaved in WW2, and many other things far far worse.

And it's all glossed over here.

Sorry, DS9. You disappointed me here.
Sat, May 16, 2020, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
For me this episode epitomizes why DS9 is THE stand out star trek series. Putting characters together and watching their relationship change and develop from previous episodes and their history pre ds9 is a highlight for me. O'Brien and Bashir from the last episode and now Kira and Dukat in this has more character development than 7 series of voyager!
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
Wait - Cardassians and Bajorans can interbreed? That seems far fetched...
Tue, Oct 13, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -6)
I can get past the stick-in-the-butt seen for two reasons. One is the depth that’s added to Ducat’s character, because no one is truly good or truly evil; we are all shades of gray. The second is the introduction of Ziyal. She is a fascinating character, with grounding in two worlds and a place in neither. Her story arc enriched the DS9 story, and she was always played sympathetically and convincingly by Ms. Batten, Middendorf, and Smith. Ziyal was well-written too, because not every character could survive three actors, prosthetics or not.
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
This episode watches as Sisko "rejects" Kassidy Yates, and then resolves to forge a relationship with her. Mirroring this is a similar tale in which Dukat "rejects" his daughter, and then resolves to forge a relationship with her.

The Sisko plot is cute, with Dax and Bashir playing matchmakers, but Avery Brooks performance is odd and downright bad in places. He also seems emotionally and socially immature and/or incompetent throughout; you'd expect a far-future guy, never mind a Federation commander, to be far more adept at social interactions.

The Kira/Dukat plot is dull, and has a number of unnecessarily goofy scenes, like one in which Dukat gets a space-cactus stuck in his butt, Kira howling with laughter. Far better are a number of menacing scenes in which Dukat expresses his belief that "Cardassian rule was good for the Bajorans" and "made them tougher and stronger" and that "Bajorans should thank Cardassians" etc etc. I've just watched a documentary in which a black BBC journalist interviews Richard Spencer, a white supermacist, and the similarity between Spencer's rhetoric and Dukat's was eerie ("The decedents of slaves should be thankful", "You're better off here than in Africa" etc), and also Kira's tight-lipped rage, which echoed the simmering anger of the black journalist in this documentary. DS9 really captured some moments of raw truth.

The episode ends with the revelation that "Dukat wishes to kill his daughter", which is beautifully dark and twisted. Kira talks Dukat out of this - the daughter's immediate acceptance of Dukat is unconvincing - which will lead to an interesting mini-arc in future episodes.
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Ohhhhh - I was expecting a dark twist ending with that one: Dukat boards his shuttle, points disruptor at daughter, shoots.
Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
What a difference time makes. Decades ago I would have viewed Dukat's behavior as humanizing him or giving him layers. But in the age of Trump, I view all of his behavior as just being malignant narcissism in different contexts.

Dukat had an affair because it fed his ego to be loved by one he had conquered, his family at home be damned.

He then wants to kill his daughter because it would be embarrassing to him in the present, and his ego can't stand that.

Then he spares her because she feeds his ego tremendously by talking about how she doesn't want to live without him.

Ultimately it's all about him, and he'll do whatever feeds his narcissism in the moment.

He's not layered. He's Trump, with a higher intelligence level.
Tue, Oct 5, 2021, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
Do people on this site hate humor or something? Every time an episode has comedic moments I see people groaning or complaining in the comments. There's nothing wrong with humor in Star Trek, all the shows have had them. Some of you need to lighten up.
Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
Well I thought the scene was funny, it's one of the few times in any Trek series that I've really actually laughed out loud.
Sat, Nov 13, 2021, 9:38am (UTC -6)
I agree with a lot of people here that the thorn scene wasn't funny.

It's not that I think the scene doesn't work, in theory. A comedic scene can function as a good contrast to the dire tone of the rest of the episode and make the non-comedic moments more poignant. What didn't work were the performances in the scene. Nana's horribly fake laughter combined with Alaimo's over the top clownishness (the man is a good actor but director's need to reign him in on occasion) really killed the scene for me.

I agree that as soon as we find out that Dukat wants to kill Ziyal, the rest becomes really predictable. Obviously Kira won't let him do that. There were are few different directions they could have taken this and they chose the absolute most obvious one. Dukat spares her.

I have a few alternate endings they could have used which would have been less predictable, and resonated better.

1. He does kill Ziyal and tells Kira that she died accidentally during the escape attempt. The episode ends with her not quite believing him.

2. She does die by accident, sparing Dukat the responsibility of pulling the trigger. The episode ends with Kira not quite believing him, and him haunted by what he was about to do and whether he would really have taken that step.

3. She dies and it's left ambiguous whether it was an accident or not.

You will notice that I left Ziyal dead in all of the possible conclusions. I really feel like her character was dead weight after that first episode. She only ever served as a naive, easily manipulated device for Dukat to endear himself to Kira. And when she wasn't doing that she was just blindly infatuated with Garak. Neither rolls really provide her much character depth.

On top of that, I always found it dumb how her character was so naive and fragile. They write her like some rich kid with no real perspective. But she spent 6 years of her life in a labour camp and survived. The girl should be a bit more hardened and street smart.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Nov 15, 2021, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
"...Alaimo's over the top clownishness (the man is a good actor but director's need to reign him in on occasion)..."

Credit where credit's due, when Dukat and Kira spot Ziyal through their binoculars, you can see the conflict in Dukat's face as emotional turmoil washes over him. He didn't want to find her alive, so now he has to figure out what to do, and it's deeply troubling. Props to Mark Alaimo for that subtle bit of non-verbal acting.
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
Cisco is SUCH a wet rag, Jesus Jiminy Christ. He makes an Eskimo listing the different types of snow seem like a hysterical Latina on a Mexican soap opera who just found out her husband had cheated on her with a donkey (not a euphemism).

He talks to that Cassie chica as if he's reading from a 16th-century prayer book on Memorial Day. "It's a big step." 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

I tried to give him a chance, baby Jesus knows I did, but he's irredeemable. I don't know him as an actor so I can't tell if they wrote him to be so dadgum boring or if he absolutely REEKS as an actor. Whichever it is, he's not a leader. Zero charisma. Tedium personified. Sorry, brosky, I'd not acknowledge you as the commander of a mop, let alone a space station.

Quark: "Women are the e-n-e-m-y. We treat them accordingly. The key is to never let them get the upper hand. If she says she doesn't see you enough, threaten to see her even less. If she wants more gifts, take b-a-c-k the ones you've already given her. It's all about control." 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

The thorn scene WAS funny, to a degree, but it was much more than that. It was a bonding moment for the two representatives of the two races that had been mortal and bitter enemies until very recently. It's a feel-good moment... - so of course joyless woketards, who are forever on the lookout for instances of "oppression," view it as some kind of a reprehensible sexual allegory 🙄🙄🙄

On another serious note, the part about Dukat's girl reminded me, yet again, of idiotic human practices that persist to this day. Imagine killing your own family member, usually when young, depriving him or, almost always, her of a chance to experience life, because of some primitive notions of communal honor or religious rectitude. Words fail...
Sat, Aug 27, 2022, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
Oh yeah, and this is a 3-1/2 stars for me.

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