Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Darkness and the Light"

3 stars

Air date: 1/6/1997
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Bryan Fuller
Directed by Michael Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I don't care if you held a phaser in your hand or you ironed shirts for a living. You were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets!" — Kira, voicing her uncensored feelings

Nutshell: The "real" Kira returns in another Bajor-oriented show, and a good one at that. This, along with "Rapture," looks like the beginning of a promising trend.

Major Kira is back. And I don't mean the watered-down, passive, underutilized Major Kira from fourth season. I mean the "real" Major Kira from the first three seasons, and particularly the first two—the Kira that was among the strongest and best characters on the show—and one of my favorite characters of all the Trek shows.

As I've said before, I was not at all pleased with what the creators of the series had done with Kira last season. They toned her personality down way too far; they gave her very little to do in many episodes (perhaps because they were giving Worf things to do instead); and the shows where she did have major roles like "Indiscretion" and "Return to Grace" were less about her than they were about Gul Dukat.

But from what I've seen from the fifth season so far I'd say we've had a major turnaround for the better. Though Nana Visitor's pregnancy undoubtedly limited her roles in the opening stretch of the season, what we did see of her was good—beginning with her calmly standing up to Worf's posturing in "Apocalypse Rising," continuing in her prodding some sense into O'Brien in "Looking for Par'mach," and to revealing her troubled thoughts to Odo in "Things Past," and finally being just downright true to character in last week's "Rapture."

And "In the Darkness and the Light" continues the trend with another true-to-the-real-Kira episode, as Kira must track down a murderer who is deviously assassinating her old friends from the Shakaar resistance cell. Like the best Kira shows, this episode finds its success through Nana Visitor's ability to project passion and emotion onto the screen, something I will always welcome.

There's nothing particularly spectacular about the way the actual murder plot proceeds; it's solidly and sensibly written, though there are few real surprises. The events, particularly Kira's and Odo's actions, however, are carried out with precision and skill, and the episode proves that appropriate utilization of characters alone can make a standard premise a good one. What's really important here is the character core of the story, and what Major Kira does in response to these incidents.

The episode opens as a Bajoran monk (a former Shakaar member) is shot in the chest with a planted electronic device that specifically targets him. The same day, Kira receives an anonymous message displaying the monk's face and playing a disguised voice: "That's one," it ominously says, over and over again. Needless to say, the fact that someone from her past is killing her friends is distressing to say the least—but the murderer's messages add the extra elements of sadistic perversion and personal torment to the equation.

Before long, a pattern emerges, involving a particular Shakaar-staged attack from years ago. After the monk's death, Fara (Jennifer Savidge), another member of the Shakaar, urgently contacts Kira fearing for her life. Fara later dies in a grisly transporter accident. A third former-Shakaar member is victim of, as Odo states, "a micro-explosive placed behind the ear."

It's about here that the episode reintroduces some familiar faces from third season's episode "Shakaar": Furel (William Lucking) and Lupaza (Diane Salinger), who secretly come aboard the station to help Kira track the killer. We're given, of course, the obvious "it's so nice to see you again" scene—and it proves effective because these characters have such believable chemistry about them. In fact, I was so distracted that I almost didn't see the blatantly obvious coming: that these two characters were doomed the minute they appeared in the opening credits. In a powerful sequence (with an impetus which admittedly has a touch of manipulation), Furel and Lupaza are killed when an explosive destroys their quarters (or, rather, Chief O'Brien's quarters, where they were staying).

I hated to see these interesting characters tossed away with the wave of a hand, but it definitely made sense. What better way to draw the audience into Kira's lament than to kill likable characters we've seen before? Furel's and Lupaza's deaths do get our attention, and perfectly allow our empathy, as well as add meaning to an extended scene where Kira woefully reflects upon the past.

But Kira isn't just mourning, she's also thinking. Thinking about who committed these murders and what she can do to find him. Thinking about the next step of the investigation. And thinking how she has no intention of sitting idly while Odo investigates a new list of possible suspects.

What happens next is probably "In the Darkness and the Light's" best illustration of the Kira-action that I've missed for so long. Without a word or a hesitation, Kira quietly and confidently beams into Odo's office while he's not there, steals his list of suspects, and beams to a Runabout and slips away. Just like that.

Whether it's luck or contrivance that takes Kira to the isolated house of Cardassian Silaran Prin (Randy Oglesby)—quickly revealed as the killer—I'm not really sure. The episode doesn't enlighten us as to how the fourth of 20 suspects turns out to be the murderer, and the fact that this mystery has such scarcely-utilized clues to its near-arbitrary solution seems to create a bit of a non sequitur. I wondered, for example, how Prin could plausibly carry out his assassinations from his house (or if he carried them out from his house) while still being able to knowingly avoid killing his non-targets. The glaring omission of Shakaar himself in the story is also worth mention. But these minor plot points are not really important. This episode is not really much about its murder plot than it is about the roles of the people involved, that is, Kira and Prin. (For the show to be strictly about plot would miss the point completely.)

The final act is wholly worthwhile. It's heavily theatrical at times, but it's quite effective and pretty riveting. Randy Oglesby's performance easily resides on the stylized side of acting, but he's so extremely interesting and compelling to watch. The lighting of the scene (featuring some fresh perspectives by director Michael Vejar), also heavy on style and not mired in practicality or reality, goes a long way to adding mood and intensity, as well as punctuating the ending's motif of, well, darkness and light.

There's some genuinely good writing here. The motivation in particular seems right. This disfigured Cardassian, injured during an attack by the Shakaar members he has now made the victims of his revenge, is a rambling, insane man who feels completely justified in his actions. Scarier yet, his rhetoric, twisted as it is, has some points that don't seem completely unfounded. This man isn't simply evil—he's disturbed and misguided; an example of the wonderful shades of grey that characterizes many of DS9's best subjects. He truly believes his perceptions of guilt and innocence—the fact that he plans to kill Kira but spare her unborn child and "raise it in the light" proves it.

At the same time, Kira, once she comes face-to-face with her tormentor, does not take the experience lying down, which I particularly liked. Nana Visitor comes through with a truth-bearing, fiery intensity—answering Prin's arguments with the statement that all the Cardassians of the Occupation were guilty and therefore "legitimate targets" for assault, whether they were soldiers or not. Herein lies the central puzzle of the episode, which is that in war the guilty and innocent can be blurred, and individual perceptions become confused and uncertain. I'm sure Prin was completely positive that, as a mere servant to other Cardassians, he was innocent of the mass murder and exploitation of the Occupation. But because he was there, history will not view it that way. Conversely, the Bajorans, capable of terrorism and atrocity themselves, to be sure, are the innocent. History would be wrong to view it any other way. But that sure doesn't make things easier for the individual. That's the point.

I must admit that the episode's final line—Kira's somber reflection about the darkness and the light, the innocent and the guilty—is a tad overly cryptic and not as well-realized at it could've been. But it does work in that it shows Kira's regret for a troubled experience and another conflict that could only end one way—badly. Overall, this topic has a tad of the unavoidable sense of "been there, done that," but when familiar territory is covered this well, I won't begin to argue.

The lack of consequences in Kira's questionable actions hurts a bit (particularly seeing that she stole a Runabout and left Sisko steaming). But no matter—I was very happy to see Kira taking initiative again, because that is what the Kira of the past would do. If someone killed five of her friends, she probably would steal a Runabout and hunt down the killer on her own. She would slug every DS9 security guard standing between her and her dying friends. She would blatantly refuse to acknowledge the points of a revenge-hungry Cardassian. She would defy the chain of command. It's nice to see Kira back to doing what she would do under such extreme circumstances. Or, for that matter, that the creators have given her such circumstances once again.

Previous episode: Rapture
Next episode: The Begotten

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135 comments on this post

Jakob M. Mokoru
Tue, Nov 13, 2007, 7:35am (UTC -6)
Hmm, it would have been nice to see an reaction of the O'Briens. After all - their quarters have been destroyed and Kira risked THEIR baby on a revenge-trip.

Being Miles, I would NOT like it...
Thu, Jan 31, 2008, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
This is one of my favourite DS9 episodes. Standout direction by Michael Vejar; Nana Visitor brilliant as usual. The growing sense of mystery and foreboding, the focus on Kira, the strong character work and the dark, gothic finale with its Shakespearean flamboyance of language add up to make this a great episode. The light only shines in the darkness.
Tue, Jun 3, 2008, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Given the soul searching Kira did in season one's "Duet," it was a little surprising to hear her rather simplistic "There were no innocent Cardassians" speech (although, she WAS under the gun and Marritza, after all, hadn't taken her prisoner and recently killed five of her friends, so I suppose it would have been hard to muster much in the way of good will in this situation).
Mon, Sep 1, 2008, 5:25am (UTC -6)
I don't think this was a good script. There's much ado about the "that's one", "that's two" etc mystery, but then its investigation does not lead to any real clue about who the assassin is. This is instead later resolved totally arbitrarily. I also couldn't suspend disbelief in all the technical means the script conjures out of nowhere just so that the assassin is unstoppable. I never like it when writers do that. By these rules, the dominion (or anyone else for that matter)could have easily blown up DS9 long ago.
Mon, Aug 24, 2009, 12:24am (UTC -6)
Bored the first time, bored the second. One star.
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 12:04am (UTC -6)
So Sisko wasn't upset that Kira attacked station security personnel, stole and then erased security files, and stole a runabout for a one-woman unauthorized mission...which we saw could obviously have been handled better by the Defiant?

This, on top of Jakob's observations...well, there's an untold story of the aftermath here.
Sun, Mar 7, 2010, 9:37pm (UTC -6)
Hmmm. Silarin Prin was definitely an interesting character, I especially liked how careful he was about not hurting "the innocent". I was a little disappointed of Kira's claim that "all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty", since she seemed to have learned otherwise at the end of "Duet". I also wish there had been an extra scene at the end for Kira to deal with the consequences of her actions and maybe even realize that in a way Prin may have been right. Unfortunately we get another truncated ending a-la "To the Death."
Mon, Dec 27, 2010, 4:50am (UTC -6)
This was an infinitely better episode than "Rapture" but I have to agree with Nic that what flopped here was the ending--there needed to be time for Kira to deal with the character of Prin and his words. The scene leading up to his death is one of the best things I've seen on this show and it surprised me for its quality, but then there's nothing learned, not even a chance for Kira to grieve or reflect on the fact that in spite of her character motivations she endangered the life of the baby to satisfy her own blood-lust. These are not commendable qualities. Like all Bajorans, Kira's actions and feelings are understandable and can be empathised with, but they cannot be excused. The fact that Sisko allows this kind of thing to go on adds more fuel to the fire of incredulity that Starfleet not only hasn't fired him, but continues to promote him...but I digress, as a Kira outing, it's very good, but I would have trimmed the "investigation scenes" (as they didn't end up meaning much anyway) in order to provide a proper denouement.
Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 6:22pm (UTC -6)
Elliot Prin murdered some of Kira's closest friends and urm well Janeway allowed people to get away with complete lunacy like B'lanna in prototype
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
A couple things...these are some awfully intricate technologies used to assassinate these characters. Still, there should then be security measures in place to detect these I would think.

Also, it's strange that the members of the Shakaar resistance cell would be targeted, but not Shakaar himself.
Captain Tripps
Wed, Nov 2, 2011, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
"Conversely, the Bajorans, capable of terrorism and atrocity themselves, to be sure, are the innocent. "

I would call them the victims, not innocent. They were guilty of many crimes done in retaliation.
Tue, May 1, 2012, 4:05am (UTC -6)
Episode did not work for me, the revenge trip, the intolerant message and the deus ex maschina ending, I would give it two stars.
Thu, May 31, 2012, 11:22am (UTC -6)
I didn't care much for this episode. As others have said, the "all Cardassians on Bajor deserved to be killed" is a ghastly and immoral message. Kira still seems to believe this at the end, and the episode leaves no time to examine the implications of such a philosophy. It doesn't have Kira or anyone save the antagonist think about the ethics of the rather indiscriminate killings her resistance group did. After all, they certainly could have used smaller explosions.

Consider the implication that the attack Kira is stated to have performed killed an entire family along with many servants. That very likely includes children. To say nothing of the fact the servants are going to be there likely because they were brought along with the family, being in their employ. I don't see how that warrants their death through an indiscriminate assassination.

Of course, there is collateral damage in wars, which would be the counter-point. But Kira doesn't seem to care about the collateral damage, and if anything she views Cardassian kids and civilians as entirely appropriate targets. It's odd that the episode seems to paint Kira with such an unexamined streak of villainy while seeming to imply she was in the light.

There's also the problem of how this episode implies these acts are relatively easy. There are TWENTY people with the means, opportunity, and motive. That's crazy. How many more with just the capability of doing that? This essentially is the ability to kill anyone on DS9 or almost anywhere else that they desire. It implies a horribly level of security that just doesn't withstand any scrutiny.

On many levels the plot just wasn't thought out or examined as it should have been.
Sat, Jun 23, 2012, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
I'll join in voicing the same opinion as the others on this page; the episode just didn't work for me.

In the beginning, I was interested by the clues dropped about the identity of the killer. I, for one, was fully convinced this was being done by someone inside the resistance as they knew who the informant was and they also had all this access which made a lot of sense for someone close to the station. It didn't bother me directly that the this single guy had such extremely sophisticated weaponry, but looking back it raises important issues and I guess it did make me expect something bigger going on.

However, none of the clues led anywhere, and we get a magic answer in a list of people from "Odo's Contacts" (I do wonder what he has been doing that he has such contacts just about everywhere; it wouldn't have been quite so bad if it wasn't for his Klingon contacts a while back) who are just worked down one by one by Kira who gets lucky on her fourth call of the twenty-five.

This meant that by the time Kira found the guy, the show had to work really hard to keep me interested. However, instead of something substantial, we got a raving lunatic speaking in riddles. Yes, they made some back-and-forths about whether every Cardassian was guilty. That too fell flat for me - surely not everyone was guilty, but it mattered little, really. This was a war situation and war is ugly. People died and it mattered little if they all happened to be guilty people. None of this was mentioned, though, and by this point I was actually bored. Honestly, it doesn't happen often that I get bored watching a show - not even when watching rather poor series (I tend to even watch Teen Dramas when they are on (and little else is, which happens surprisingly often here) and not get bored).

Because I was bored at this point, the trick with the sedative was no longer "clever", but became a deus ex machina in my book, as I didn't care enough anymore to be mentally referencing the opening scenes of the episode. After she woke up, I was like "oh yeah..." and then I shrugged and watched on.

However, we haven't come to the real horror of the episode, yet. The real horror was that when the Defiant arrives, instead of anything negative about the crazily reckless thing Kira has done, we get her talking as loony as the lunatic had been. Trying to tell some moral, I suppose, but it was just zany talk to me by this point.
Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 11:47am (UTC -6)
I very much enjoyed this one for the same reasons as you Jammer.

But I would also agree with some of the above comments about plot contrivances and the somewhat black and white moral conclusions getting in the way.

And Sisko is still wearing his com badge in the wrong place in a couple scenes!

What might have been a real classic... Ah well, still lots to like.
Cail Corishev
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
I had an awfully hard time buying that this half-crazed Unabomber type was able to pull off all these killings, which involved circumventing both Bajoran and Federation security systems. Just for good measure, he somehow records Kira's voice and takes the risk of sending her messages for a little more misdirection. And they didn't even try to explain how he managed it all.

Either it's ridiculously easy to kill anyone and get away with it (which makes you wonder how Dukat is still alive), or a servant somehow became the quadrant's greatest assassin. Doesn't really work either way.

I didn't mind Kira falling back on her old "kill 'em all" defenses, when faced with someone bringing up accusations from that time. That's what she thought when she was planting bombs, so that's what came back up. It wasn't the time for nuanced arguments about necessary evil.
Tue, Dec 25, 2012, 11:23pm (UTC -6)
In response to the whole "all Cardassians on Bajor deserved to be killed", someone described it as "ghastly and immoral" is, but it's perfectly in line with how Kira thinks. While I think episodes like Duet taught Kira that Cardassians have the capacity to be three dimensional, I think she still starts from a place of "you're a monster, prove me wrong". I think that's part of why she's so interesting, even at this point in the show she is deeply flawed. I don't think she ever stops hating them really, she just has a list of exceptions, and she's maybe more open to people being added to that list. It probably is "ghastly and immoral", but I don't really turn to Kira as a guidepost for morality. That's just who she is.
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
The problem with this episode is that it is a revert back to Kira from season 1 who hated all Cardassians simply for being Cardassian. She's had some serious character progression by this point, Duet of course being the main place where it happened, and this is some backwards regression for her to think that all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty and deserve death.
Dominick Destine
Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 12:47am (UTC -6)
Like most people, I had some serious problems with the large amount of plot holes in the episode. Here are a few that were not mentioned yet;

- Odo really doesn't keep his files secure? Odo, the security chief, the guy that is incredibly methodical does NOT keep his station code-locked? seriously?

- Odo does not keep a copy or a backup of sensitive information ? What?! this is completely inconsistent with Odo's character. His character is not capable of such incompetence.

- Wouldn't the station detect the bomb on the freighter that the two Shakaar members arrived on? I'm pretty sure if it were that easy to assassinate targets on DS9, Sisko and co. would have died long ago.

- What was the point of the "That's one, two three, etc" sub-plot? it wasn't a clue and it didn't really go anywhere...

With that said, I really liked the episode, the direction was superb, the pacing was excellent and the performances were spot-on. Though Kira was out of character in despising all Cardassians, since she had learned better in S1 Duet. Oh well, in any case, I also think 3 of 4 stars is adequate. Terrible plot executed fabulously.
Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 9:42pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Jammer's review for the most part. This is a very strong Kira episode, especially when she decides to take matters into her own hands. I don't think what she says her negates her growth in anyway. The context is what makes her say that, and she's not entirely wrong either. Civilian or not, Cardassians living on Bajor were complicit in the occupation. They can't escape responsibility. Neither can Kira. But what Kira did was an arguable necessity. Kira was compassionate towards Maritza because he truly felt remorse, and because he was never directly involved in the atrocities.

Prin, while similarly a civilian, accepted no responsibility. That's the point of the show. Even though Prin hadn't done anything directly, he WAS responsible in part for cooperating, whether he admitted it or not. He was there, an occupier. Kira and the resistance were justified. Were the children that died in the attack also complicit? No. But the Bajorans were fighting for their freedom. The Cardassians were the ones who brought them there. This is a rare episode that acknowledges the fact that no matter how noble the cause, war will always lead to unintended suffering by many who are only peripherally responsible. Yet their responsibility remains even so. It is not fair, but it is not entirely unfair either, in all honesty.
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode – and I also enjoyed reading the comments you guys made. It’s an interesting discussion.

I’d like to throw this into the Big Bowl of Consideration:

At the very end, in Kira’s cryptic last speech, she’s not just talking about Prin … she’s ALSO talking about herself.

Odo asks why she was given a sedative, and this is what Kira replies, word for word:
”He wanted to protect the innocent … and separate the darkness from the light. But he didn’t realize … the light only shines in the dark … and sometimes innocence is just an excuse for the guilty.”

Cryptic indeed! What does it mean? Well, a speech like that can be interpreted in several ways. Here’s how I see it:
Kira’s talking about how Prin tried to divide the world into black and white, good (or just) actions and evil (or unjust) actions. But that’s not how the world works – the light (good/just) cannot exist independent of the darkness (evil/unjust). In other words, there’s always a grey area … and when it comes to the actions we’re talking about here, “doing the right thing” or “doing what is necessary” is an excuse that people tell themselves to justify terrible actions they feel forced to take.

Think about it for a minute: who proclaims to be innocent? Prin does, that’s right … but so does Kira! “You raped our planet, we were defending ourselves when we bombed you” is her defense for the actions she took while bombing buldings full of people while she was in the resistance.

In the heat of the argument, both Prin and Kira claim to be in the right, to be victims doing what is/was justified – but at the very end, a shocked and contemplating Kira admits to herself (and to us, the viewers) that it’s not that simple … that every party involved here (including herself) was in some way guilty – and using “innocence” as an excuse/a defense.

To me, Kira saying “all Cardassians on Bajor were guilty!” while arguing with Prin, is fully understandable. She is, after all, restrained to a table by a Cardassian who has assassinated her friends and comrades and is about to kill her. Who wouldn’t be seething with righteous fury under such circumstances?
It’s AFTER she’s had some time to think – while waiting for her rescuers from The Defiant – that we see her as the Kira, who has learned something these past years … the Kira, who is capable of asking herself some tough questions … and capable of coming to the conclusion, that things aren’t as clear-cut black and white, right and wrong, as they seemed when she was in the resistance.

At the very end, Kira realizes that, in a very unpleasant way … and here’s the big, golden point … Prin is a twisted mirror image of how Kira USED to be – or rather, of how she used to think when fighting in the resistance … and, to a large part, still thinks at this point, despite lessons learned (in”Duet”, for example). THAT’s why she looks so shook up, talking in “riddles” to (mainly) herself at the very end.

That’s what I got from this episode – so to me, this was a very, very strong character development episode for Kira.
Never mind all the plot holes (which, as has been pointed out, were abundant).
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
Another poor episode. It is not at all believable that Kira would run off on her own while pregnant.

Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
Elnis, I totally agree, that's what I got from it too. When Kira says "the light only shines in the darkness", she's talking about herself (and the baby) as much as anyone else. And yes, the second part of that statement can be read in both ways too.
Ash Pryce
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
I dont comment often, though I tend to generally agree with jammer with some exceptions (I dont think Let he who is without sin... is as bad as many make out, its a lazy episode sure, but nowhere near as bad as The Muse).

But this is one where I wholeheartedly disagree. There are some really nice ideas that just dont come to fruition. The plot of the voice messages was really good, sinister and interesting but didn't really go anywhere. It had so much potential.

I also think the idea of having a renegade cardassian servant as the villain was lazy. I was hopinh that it would be a Bajoran, in fact I was hoping it would be the woman from the records office and that her death was faked- after all, we never really saw "her" body. And that would have been an interesting direction.

It just didn't really feel like much of an interesting route.

also, and as others have said, the whole "25 names" thing with kira getting it right first go (she knocked it down by 3 to start with, so her hunt didnt really begin until then) is just too much of a leap.

Its a good 2 star episode, but 3 is a stretch. I actually enjoyed it less than ...Without Sin... and for me is one of the weakest episodes of the show so far.
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Really scary episode, and it brings back the Kira I love. I have no trouble believing she would steal information and take off on a shuttle while pregnant to hunt down the assassin. But the events of the episode are rather farfetched and don't tie together well enough. I get why Prin used Kira's voice for the messages, but how did he record her voice to begin with? Why wait this long to take his revenge? Why wasn't Shakaar himself killed as well? It still has a great ending with a cryptic message, but the rest didn't do it justice.
Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
The investigative portion of the show, while good, was much too padded to the point of negatively impacting the whole. Add in a few plot-holes that could have been avoided with smarter writing and it becomes a good episode that had great potential.

Not bad by any means, though, and the Kira/Prinn scenes keeps it afloat.

3 stars.
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
Frankly, as a three-times-pregnant human being, I take serious issue with the idea expressed above that "Kira's risky actions were not believable because no pregnant woman would risk her fetus!"

Fetuses pretty much take care of themselves. While some pregnant women cling to old ideas of "Don't exert yourself honey; you'll miscarry!" most are accustomed to leading their usual active lives unless fatigue or discomfort slow them down. They don't walk around thinking of themselves as Wombs First and Foremost.

I think the fact that she's carrying someone *else's* fetus might have given Kira pause...but with her friends murdered, is she really gonna sit home crocheting a baby blanket? She's still Major Kira! Being temporarily pregnant doesn't change her nature or make duty-to-fetus her only concern.

There was plenty wrong with this ep, but Kira's rash actions were right in character.
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
I loved Kira's attitude towards Prin - basically amounted to "Screw you! If you were there, you were all guilty!", instead of going the wimpy route of "Oh I'm so sorry, I wish I hadn't had to do that, can't we all get along?" Quite refreshing.

It was nice to see Kira back in action again, defying everything in her way (even knocking out three guards trying to get to her friends), although I would have thought she could have given token consideration to O'Brien's baby at the very least. No matter. I didn't like Kira's last line(s) though - quite frankly, they sucked.

3/4 for me too.
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:17am (UTC -6)
Every time Randy Oglesby delivered his lines I kept thinking of Mr. Gumb in 'Silence of the Lambs'. Nice performance by Randy. I also had some BAB5 running around in my head :-)

Good episode. But damn, it seems about anyone can just jump into a runabout and steal it before anyone notices. Odo??? eeesh...

Above average episode that I'll give 3 stars. I don't have a problem with Kira's development in season 4, but I wouldn't put her actions here past her for a second.
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Major? She's be lucky not to be thrown into jail after that. Tired of this GI Jane.
Sun, Nov 16, 2014, 4:46am (UTC -6)
I apologize to all of you who loved the old Kira. I hated Kira the first 3 years. I like tough women, who take the initiative, but Kira was a miserable B***. I like her softened. She was still tough, but no b**tchy. What I truly hated about her in this episode, she endangered the O'brien's child, which she was supposed to carry to term, thus nurturing until birth. She didn't have to play the hero, all she had to do was let Odo and Sisko in on what she had found and they could have assisted. Maybe the show would not have been as dramatic, but Kira would not have came out as careless and wreckless.
Nebula Nox
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
How is it possible, given the fact that people can be totally remade, that this guy is going around with severe scars?
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 6:39pm (UTC -6)
Doesn't work for me at all. Starting with the explosion. Kira just casually assaults and knocks out three security officers and has to be stopped by a placenta-rupture (or whatever) from venting a whole section, killing at least the baby, herself and three unconscious security officers.

Then she steals a runabout, deletes all traces of where she may be going to face her nemesis alone. This guy so far has managed to take out 6 people in such a meticulous, organized, fore-seeing fashion that those who are left of the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order would instantly dissolve their agencies out of feelings of inadequacy.
And Kira just beams down to his compound unprepared, with only a phaser - because that's a good idea.

If the writers wanted me to hate Kira with a fiery passion: well done!
We've had out share of stupidly acting cast members this season, but she takes the idiot cake!
William B
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
The first and only episode to make great use of Kira's pregnancy, "The Darkness and the Light" is riveting and disturbing and, naturally, flawed. The big opposites besides the titular one are death and life. In the past, Kira was with the Shakaar cell (one of the oddities of this episode is the complete absence of Shakaar or even mention of him in the presence), and late in the episode in a very strong scene, she tells Odo how she came to join them, and how excited and happy she was at having joined in combat, and discharged an entire phaser rifle, how she felt like one of them for being able to participate in the righteous violence and killing. In the present, she has an alternate family: she is involved in combat at times, but her role on Deep Space Nine is at least partially generative, to keep the community going. She is one of them, too, so much so that she felt secure enough to offer her body to carry the O'Briens' child to term. The episode opens with "violent man" Latha being gunned down, despite the fact that he has "changed, really changed." The next scene is Kira finding it difficult to adjust to her pregnancy before news of Latha's murder comes in. The pregnancy remains the whole rest of the episode as a symbol of Kira's current life -- generative, life-giving, peaceful, based on her bond with the crew of the station -- and once her old Shakaar crew are endangered, Kira finds the pregnancy more and more frustrating and cumbersome, as if she wants more and more to cast it off and all that it represents and return to the clarity of the teenager discharging a phaser rifle.

The feeling of dread throughout the episode worked quite well for me, and I like that Kira really did spend some time trying very hard to toe the line, and insist on letting authorities deal with it rather than have herself and her Shakaar peeps play vigilante. Those days are over. There's no more Occupation. They one. It's time to build now. But someone is out there killing them off and time is running out. (I just read on Memory Alpha that Bryan Fuller based the plot of this episode on Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," which came to mind.) I thought that the trick of having the "that's X" readouts being Kira's voice was very effective -- the psychological toll here is that Prin wants to convey to her that this is all Kira's fault, and that it is ultimately Kira, at the bottom, who is the killer. Prin is partly goading Kira into becoming a terrorist/vigilante again to "prove" that this is all that she is, and that the life that she has built in the intervening years is false, and once Kira hops in a Runabout to go settle the score personally it starts to seem as if he is "right." By replaying his own personal Occupation tragedy, he is bringing Kira back into the time and ethics of the Occupation, and Kira falls right into his trap, whatever that entails. Kira essentially returns to the terrorist mindset in some crucial respects here, preferring individual action and personal revenge to the rule of law, stealing a Runabout, going off on a mission that is so risky as to almost definitely get her killed, and she does all this with the O'Brien fetus whom she had promised to keep alive in tow. To be fair to Kira, it is not as if Prin is done with her at this point in the story; she is waiting to die, unsure if she can truly be protected. But that a vendetta is a large part of why she goes off is also something she acknowledges.

Once they get there, Prin, Manichean maniac, starts rambling about darkness and light, insisting that Kira is only a creature of darkness; she killed long ago, and that killer identity is all that she is. Kira's willingness to risk the baby now gets its extreme response: Prin is going to cut the baby out of her. It is horrifying, and to me seems like people and institutions who place higher value on "innocent" unborn children than flawed adults, seeing the woman as nothing but a diseased womb. And then/but then, the baby is the one thing that keeps Kira alive at all. It's a symbol as well as a literal element of the story, and Kira's willingness to take on another person's child to raise is the proof of "light" and dedication to life that Prin can't ignore, even though he notably ignored all other evidence (religion, farming as life-affirming occupations), which he really believes he can simply cut out of Kira without killing the baby as a result. I'm sure he'll take great care of the premature human baby while probably won't survive his operation, which he was not even initially going to use a sedative for. In any case, it is the annoying aspects of the pregnancy Kira was decrying in the teaser -- the stimulant effect of the makara herbs -- that saves her in the end even more, and allows her to turn the tables on Prin. Kira nearly dies because she falls into Prin's trap and cannot get rid of her old way of thinking, but the baby and the life she has built on the station it represents helps save her.

I find the final speech to be a bit of a mistake in terms of execution of the episode, but I think the idea behind it is well articulated by Elnis above, and on that level the episode does have a satisfying denouement. Kira, restrained, her life on the line, and listening to the ramblings of someone who has just murdered her friends, does not allow much nuance in how she responds to Prin's accusations that she brought this all on because he came away with a scarred face and some Cardassian Occupiers died. She says "you were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets," not "you are," and this is not exactly the time to expect Kira to responds with a nuanced approach on what the appropriate actions were *during wartime* (or, the Occupation, since the Cardassians did not consider it to be war) years ago. Prin's basic stance that it does not matter what larger goals Kira had, or the general rightness of the Bajorans' cause, he did not deserve to be scarred for life, and other Cardassians did not deserve to die, for being domestic servants (lower-class!), is actually right -- of course he did not deserve that -- and in some senses is a mirror for Kira's position that the Bajorans had every right to defend themselves regardless of the cost because they should not have been Occupied in the first place. They suffered and they took it out on those who caused the suffering, and the nature of the way they responded to the suffering was the difference -- Kira et al. acted with great breadth of destruction at the time of being actively hurt, whereas Prin acted with laser precision years after the damage was done to him. Kira divided the world into black and white/light and darkness, but was less particular than Prin about who fell into which category, but the moral advantage she has over Prin is that she ultimately *did* grow out of it; after the war was over, after the Cardassians were gone, she let the vendetta go, until Prin came after her and reactivated that part of her. The point is not that Kira's actions and Prin's are equivalent, because they aren't -- in fact, neither Prin nor Kira would initially think to recognize themselves in the other, because one *was* a destructive terrorist freedom-fighter, and the other is a precise revenge/"justice" killer. Prin, despite being an adult presumably with some choices, was in some senses analogous to a child fully dependent on Cardassian society for support (mirroring the O'Brien baby with Kira), and so his options were pretty limited; perhaps he could have gotten another job, but if he was ironing shirts for a living we can hardly be positive that he had many more ethical alternatives, even if he opposed the Occupation (which I think is actually probably unlikely). Indiscriminate killing is wrong -- but really, when the whole Cardassian body is on Bajor, how exactly can a fighting force of inferior strength "cut out" the "innocent," and, again by analogy with the O'Brien baby's low chances of survival, would Prin have even been able to make a new life for himself outside his position in servitude of the Cardassian military machine? I think Kira does recognize in Prin some of the damage that she did as well as some of the damage that was done to her, as well as the desire for revenge that she feels bubbling to the surface, whether it's at an indiscriminate terrorist or a psychotic revenge serial killer. Kira's escape from the neverending cycle of vengeance is because she has started to build a life for herself after the Occupation, rather than stewing on those hurts for years. Prin idealizes the "true innocent," which he sees himself (pre-Occupation?) as, and perhaps sees himself in the present as an avengeing angel, living in the shadows to dispense justice, but the reality is that

The plot holes are pretty numerous. I do think that a longer denouement where Kira discussed these less obliquely, and maybe acknowledged some of her own ambivalent feelings about the people who were hurt by her during the Occupation, would help the episode. And there needed to be some sense of consequences, at least emotional, for Kira's running off at the episode's end, at least/especially from O'Brien. While I generally found the Prin seems very effective, he is a little too Buffalo Bill (from "Silence of the Lambs," not the Old West figure) in a way that was a bit off-putting. The investigation scenes are suitably moody but I agree they are a little padded. So I don't think it is a great episode, exactly, but I think it is very good and one of the series' best Kira installments. 3 stars.
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
As usual William, an absolute joy to read your erudite analysis, and you've added to my appreciation of the episode (already one of my favourites). Please keep writing about culture this intelligently on whatever platforms are available to you.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 11:29am (UTC -6)
Thank you very much Niall! :)
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
I will also chime in and say your comment increases my opinion of the episode. I never really totally got the whole point of it... it seemed like a mishmash of ideas and poorly done while pregnant.

I don't think they properly showed her thought process about how unsafe she still felt on the station lead her to being so rash (although I'm 1000% sure if she told Odo, "I'm taking the damned shuttlecraft and having a changeling for backup wouldn't suck" that he would have come). I'm still not sold on her and the baby going it alone.

That said, I DID really enjoy the insight that her violent past almost caught up to her and her current ties ended up saving her. It's an angle I never really considered and I like it.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
@Robert -- thanks. I'm not entirely convinced by Kira's actions in this episode, which is part of why I don't quite love it, but I think it mostly fits with what we know of her. That Furel and Lupaza got blown up while in Kira's quarters has got to be a signal that she herself is very unsafe -- though one of the things that bothers me is that Shakaar's status is never really discussed.

That's an interesting question of whether Odo would have gone with her had she asked. A season earlier (pre-"Crossfire") or a season later, I would say definitely...but Odo at this point is in a combination of trying to keep some distance from Kira and also feeling particularly incompetent, despite his bluster. He also isn't a changeling, so that backup wouldn't be great. His usefulness is as investigator, not as vigilante, so Kira wouldn't ask him to come anyway. Though...I dunno. He might still sign on if she asked him.
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
Oh ya, he gets his powers back in the episode she delivers. Totally forget that he was still a mere mortal at this point.
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
Upon further though you are right. Nobody she could turn to would have let her go off in her condition. And Shakaar, for his odd absence wouldn't have either.

She needed to be the hunter instead of the hunter, it fits her.

It would be one thing if there was only 2 or 3 names on the list. She could have picked the most likely one and contacted Sisko when the runabout was over the planet so that she'd have backup.

But she needed to tick through 22 names without Sisko coming after her. It didn't FEEL right while watching... maybe the direction/acting just didn't sell it. But logically it makes sense.
William B
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
You know, it's worth noting that Prin even seemed to be expecting Kira to come find him at the end of the episode. One other flaw of the episode is that Prin's criminal mastermind thing is kind of hard to swallow, especially given his previous career. But if we accept it, it is worth noting that he really wanted Kira to be there, and so it would have made sense for him to make it easy for Kira to find him, but also hard for the rest of DS9/Bajor/whomever to find him. So it doesn't really make sense that she had to randomly pick one name off a list while evading the Defiant or whatever and just happened upon him; it would have made more sense if Prin had wanted her to find him, perhaps by leaving some clue that only Kira could interpret, without Kira realizing until she was there that she was walking into a trap. Maybe Kira could even know it was a trap and go anyway, thinking she could turn the tables or some such. I'm not quite sure how this would be done, though.
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
Yes, it's a great episode for the mood, ideas, dialogue, details, and Michael Vejar's typically auteur/outstanding direction, rather than the plot nitty-gritty or the less credible aspects. And yeah, the fact she put herself in a situation where she almost lost someone else's baby is an issue. (Imagine if she had.) It's also a shame Furel and Lupaza were written out here (and a shame Shakaar made hardly any appearances in the series). For me, Kira's best relationship was with Bareil, they were each other's true love and I totally bought it and felt it - whereas I never fully bought into the Kira-Odo romantic relationship despite the great performances (both actors were against the relationship, notably).

Randy Oglesby is also great in this. He was the saving grace of season 3 of Enterprise too.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Jan 21, 2016, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
I'd agree with a comment made earlier that this seems something of a throwback to an earlier Kira's view of the world and that instinct suggests the character might have moved past the views seen here. It feels more like a Season 1 ep - but nevertheless the unrepentant Kira makes for an impressive conclusion, even if it feels a little off.

In essence this is neither here nor there. The murder mystery element never really resolves itself, except through a massive contrivance that leads here to the correct killer right off the bat. And then we get the grand Phantom of the Opera conclusion that actually comes off as slightly too cryptic for its own good.

Interesting to see the resistance were not averse to using child soldiers. I wonder if that would have written the same way with today's sensibilities? 2.5 stars.
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 11:26pm (UTC -6)
This episode lost me when Kira went back to the old "you killed X million of us line." Hard to see how any portrayal of a race of people being killed by the millions could leave me with nothing but apathy, but I just don't care about the Bajorans. How does a culture that has lasted for 500,000 years just get their butts kicked by the Cardassians and enslaved? Has this ever been explained? Why are they so primitive? How has Bermam left me not caring about space genocide?
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 3:30am (UTC -6)
Think of Bajor as Poland and Cardassia as Russia. One's just a single planet/country, the other's an empire. Poland has a wonderfully rich culture, proud history and fascinating language, but that's never helped it when it comes to defending itself against Germany and Russia - it's just in a bad location.
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 7:54am (UTC -6)
That analogy still doesn't address the elephant in the room: why they so primitive. The Bajorans should be more technologically advanced, but the show never gave us a hint that they are. Like do their brains function at a lower capacity to not develop technology at a similar rate to other alpha quadrant species? If their civilization has been around for half a million years I expect their tech to be BETTER than the federations they did have a big heads start after all. It seems like sloppy writing. This is my biggest gripe. If they were a shorter lives civilization I'd buy it, but in the context of the show they should be very advanced.
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 8:18am (UTC -6)
Also, I'd prefer a French/Vietnam analogy more, because when the Dominion comes it'd be like the US. Have to make it a more inclusion analogy.
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Wow. Kira sucks. Where was Miles when she decided to take his baby on her revenge mission? And no regret on her part.
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Also, they really should have picked a more accessible and available actor for the role of Shakaar, who hasn't appeared since his installment in office.
William B
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 9:46pm (UTC -6)
I think it's worth distinguishing between what Kira does here and "revenge mission." Kira was dangerously reckless and foolhardy and nearly got herself and the O'Brien baby killed. But it was not actually a revenge mission as such: Kira went after an unknown assassin who was in the process of still murdering people, and it looked very likely that Kira would be next. People around Kira keep dying -- and Kira had no way of knowing that in fact Prin had no intention of killing anyone not connected with that particular attack. Prin *did* intend to murder her, and I think it's likely the baby wouldn't have survived despite what Prin claims, so that the continued threat to her and the baby was actually quite real. So while revenge motivated Kira, I don't think that's the main reason she went after him. Vigilantism, yes; taking matters "into her own hands," yes; but it was also in great part a defensive action -- Prin was still a threat to her, and she thought she (and whoever else Prin was going after) had a better chance of survival if she went after the unknown assassin than if she sat around waiting for someone else to solve the problem. As it turns out, of course, this was totally wrong -- Kira fell into Prin's trap right away.
Wed, May 4, 2016, 2:57am (UTC -6)
"The Darkness and the Light" is a fairly disordered episode. For the first four acts it wants to be a dread-filled investigation episode about the hunt for a vicious but highly skilled killer. Then, in the final act, it desperately wants to be "Duet". The investigation part works fairly well, with some noticeable problems. The final act, however, just does jell into anything approaching "Duet's" standard.

First off, the opening four acts are wonderfully acted by all involved. Nana Visitor shines, as always. And the slowly building sense of dread and approaching doom is remarkably well written and conceived. However, unlike Jammer, I did not find Kira's actions all that commendable. So, her friends are killed in O'Brien's quarters by having the room exposed to the vacuum of space and what is her response? To rush down there and to try to open the door. Um, what?! Yeah, just depressurize the entire Habitat Ring there, Major! What the hell was she thinking?! I understand that she's enraged, confused and depressed over her friends' deaths, but come on now. Season One Kira I can see doing something this ill advised. Season Five Kira? I thought she was more mature than that now. Then, of course, there's the fact that she just runs off and tries to find the murderer herself. What exactly did she hope to accomplish here? Yeah, just run off and endanger the O'Briens' baby (and yourself) because.... the feels, man! Ugh! This definitely feels like a massive step backwards for Kira. I'm all for her being a firebrand, but not for her running off half-cocked and crazy like this anymore - especially since "Rapture" established that she had changed considerably in the last five years.

Then there's the confrontation with Silaran. Suddenly the episode wants to recreate "Duet" with a Cardassian and Kira trading barbs and insults while debating the Occupation, including the fact that one of them is restrained somehow. Unlike "Duet", however, the Cardassian doesn't come off remotely sincere or disquieting. Silaran only comes across as a villain; there is nothing morally grey about him. The one thing that could have made him morally complicated was the fact that he was sparing the innocent, only targeting the people directly involved in the Resistance attack. But then he endangers the baby by attempting to remove him from Kira. Now, either he didn't know the baby wasn't Bajoran (which I don't buy given the elaborate lengths he went to to plan this retribution) or he just didn't care when Kira told him the baby had very specific medical needs. By having him adamant about removing the baby immediately (instead of waiting to kill Kira for a few weeks), thereby directly endangering him, any moral ambiguity about him is completely and utterly destroyed. Also, unlike "Duet" his speeches about the Occupation aren't convincing. When Marritza was pretending to be Darheel he made legitimate statements about the Occupation - that no matter what the Bajorans did, they could never undo the atrocities. You couldn't argue with that. And that episode worked because the one making those statements actually was an innocent. Silaran isn't. He's actively seeking revenge on others. Marritza wasn't. As a result, all sympathy and understanding is marshaled for Kira and Kira alone.

This could have been a great episode. If it had just dropped the whole split personality aspect and focused solely on either the investigation or the chamber drama between Kira and Silaran, we might have gotten another classic. As it sits, however, it's a wonderful acted and character-heavy but flawed outing.

(As a final note - one thing I did love about "The Darkness and the Light" was a small piece of the score. The opening scene in the Bajoran monastery had some music that was clearly influenced by Gregorian Chant. It gave the scene a nice spiritual or otherworldly feel. I absolutely adore Gregorian Chant; it's one of my favorite musical styles. It's a shame the series didn't use something like this more often as a Bajoran Theme or something similar.)

Mon, Jun 20, 2016, 6:13am (UTC -6)
Holy sheet, guys! Kira gets zero break from the severe shock of having her friends hunted down all around her and being taunted by a serial killer while she's pregnant? Some of her closest relations in the world? Ooo, she's still too hard on Cardassians, I guess that's the racist, irrational way she really still feels, ooo. Give the woman a break! She's about to have a fetus cut out of her belly and be murdered, and people are talking about how her world view must not have really matured from season 1. Holy Lord. Hasn't anyone else been upset to the point of irrationality? That really speaks to a sheltered life or a poor imagination, assumptions of Kira's mentality under the circumstances like this. A little empathy.
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 7:04pm (UTC -6)
This episode was endless.

It seemed like one more leftover script from Season 1 that they decided to make use of.

Lots of quibbles but my biggest beef is Kira's superpowers: there is no way with a single flick of a finger she could have erased not only Odo's list but every back up copy of the list. I doubt she would have been able to break through Odo's encryption in the first place. She would not have been able to get a runabout off the locked down station without security alerts going off.
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 7:58am (UTC -6)
I really agree with JD's comment. We've all become very right-on and hot-takey online these days and willing to sit in judgment over other people over the tiniest thing... our culture has grown to encourage it. (See also contemporary reactions to VOY's Retrospect, a decent and original episode intended to be about false memory syndrome.) And I do think it's because of how sheltered and spoilt many have become in the West. Kira's relationship with Ghemor later this season shows once again that no, she doesn't hate all Cardassians. But when facing down a psychopath, the worst thing Kira could have done was give the guy absolution by apologising or saying he wasn't to blame, or trying to see things from his side and thereby pandering to his neuroses. You don't negotiate with people like that, not when they're playing power games with you.
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
Maybe what Kira said to the kidnapper/psychokiller was her merely being smart. But what about the earlier scene where she is describing her first mission for the resistance, and the joy she took in shooting at Cardassians and finally feeling like she belonged? With no thought of, "I was a child soldier and I killed a bunch of people and maybe there are some issues here." That's appropriate for the beginning of a character arc, not a main character in Season 5.
Sat, Dec 10, 2016, 7:45am (UTC -6)
Kira confirms she was a terrorist who killed innocent families and children indiscriminately during the occupation. She recklessly put the Obriens' baby at risk and he would have died if not for a gimmicky plot device involving herbs that counteract sedatives. She submarines the official investigation of a serial murder spree and if others had been killed before she found Prin she would arguably be responsible for even more deaths unless someone wants to make the argument that Kira is a better investigator than Odo, which is silly. This episode succeeded only in making me forever contemptuous of a main character. Not a fan.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 3:08am (UTC -6)
One thing could have saved this episode... Kira being killed by the assassin. It would have been a fitting end for an annoying character who could never control her emotions. It would TOTALLY fit a plausible ending for an irrational numpty.

Sadly, the writers just wanted to show us how baaaaad asssss she is. And we just rolled our eyes or laughed instead.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 12:01pm (UTC -6)
Level of misogyny in the last couple of comments is unreal... people crucifying Kira for her actions in this episode (and during the occupation!) while characters who did far worse, like Odo, Garak, Damar, Sisko (Note: I love all of those characters) get treated much more lightly. It's Hillary's emails all over again.

The whole point of Kira's character is that while she has trauma in her past and it's part of her, she's not defined by it. (Unlike Ro, perhaps.) I understand why people have an issue with her conduct in this ep, but bear in mind she's under immense psychological pressure and the alternative is to wait around and be murdered. You can't judge someone in that situation - who are we to think we can? - and the same applies to the occupation. Commenters from democratic countries who've only ever known freedom using the fact that Kira was a "terrorist" during an occupation by an imperialist, racist foreign power that killed millions of her people as a point against her? Get real. She grew up in a refugee camp ffs. I really can't stand anyone being "holier than thou" about Kira's early life and resistance activities.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
Accusing people who disagree with you of misogyny is old news. It doesn't work anymore. Please try to respond with an intellectual comment and not a stupid tag designed to close down debate. Cheers.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
As for Hillary: if you think what she did was OK or in the least bit acceptable, you need your head examining. She is lucky she is not in jail - Anyone who did what she did while not being part of the protected elite would be. She lost that election for far more than emails, too. But, sure, keep crying sexism. Hillary had no workable polices; she destroyed Libya and is a war mongering nutcase that was provoking Russia. The electorate saw through it. 52% of white women voted for Trump. They misogynist too?

Get over it. The Left lost because their argument of "Trump is an evil sexist" fell short. And will continue to. You're going to be needing adult arguments in future. Pandering to minorities, virtue signalling, and slinging out stupid insults won't work now. Get that?
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 6:08am (UTC -6)
"The Left" is not monolithic. Neither is the right. Why are you so angry?
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 8:51am (UTC -6)
The word mysoginist denotes a person who has great contempt or outright hatred of women as a group. It should not be confused with garden variety sexist or chauvinism, which merely connotes prejudice or bigotry.

N when you imply that someone hates women, that's a pretty serious allegation. I see no evidence of that on this thread. The allegation itself is a form of motive speculation and ad hominem attack - forms of argument banned on most civilized forums.

Instead of wondering why the people you personally insulted (without basis I might add) react angrily - you should consider your words more carefully next time. You should also ask yourself if throwing around words of that nature flippantly without proper thought ultimately devalues those words and makes them into a joke to be discounted or ignored.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -6)
This is fascinating....

I think that DLPB is right (minus the email stuff). Not everyone who voted for Trump is a misogynist, Hillary's focus of making the election about "why Trump is bad" instead of "why I am good" obviously failed, and in general this episode was written in a way that made Kira look terrible (although I wouldn't have put it how he did). This one always rubs me the wrong way, especially given she's pregnant with someone else's kid. And I say this in part because Kira is my favorite character.

That said... I can't post all that without qualifying it with Trump IS an evil sexist, racist, hotheaded awful bigot who we should all be collectively ashamed of. But that doesn't change the fact that it clearly fell short of being a good argument for electing Clinton.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 10:45am (UTC -6)
"Trump IS an evil sexist, racist, hotheaded awful bigot who we should all be collectively ashamed of."

It's amazing that he was none of this before he ran against Hillary.... all while being in the public eye for over 30 years.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 10:48am (UTC -6)
Robert I have never in my life simultaneously loathed a politician and his critics with equal intensity. I feel like a political orphan. I want somebody to put Trump, Meryl Streep and all of the talking heads on CNN on a rocket ship and blast the lot of them into the sun.

I feel like the world has moved on and left me behind - and I'm only 36.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
@Yanks - "It's amazing that he was none of this before he ran against Hillary.... all while being in the public eye for over 30 years. "

The amount of racist and/or sexist things Trump said in the last 30 years could fill a book. Did you think that we all thought the guy who's catch-phrase is "you're fired" was a saint? We just cared less when he was a cut-throat businessman than when he was leading the free world.

@Jason - Well at least there are 2 of us!
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Provide proof Robert. ... and careful, not what some leftist print, what he's said.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks - One problem with the whole "proof" thing is that where one person sees racism, another may not.

I may say his history of fighting integration in rentals shows racism, you may say he was trying to appease his racist white tenants. You know what I mean? That said, there is other evidence.

You may think O'Donnell was lying in his 1991 book with quotes like “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else…Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that’s guy’s lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks.” It's in the book. I obviously don't have any audio clip to accompany it, but I have no reason to assume it's a lie. And in 1997 he was interviewed for Playboy by author Mark Bowden and he confirmed that the O’Donnell book was “probably true.” But Trump admitting to things the rest of us think is offensive is not unusual either. He's a reality TV character, not a person.

I personally consider his crusade against the legitimacy of the first black President to be racist. Your mileage may vary. I feel his quotes about Judge Curiel being unable to properly judge a case against him because he's Mexican to be racist. YMMV. Even a large percentage of Republican politicians believe the pussy grabbing quote to be indefensible sexism. I hope your mileage does not vary.

"He doesn't have a birth certificate, or if he does, there's something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me -- and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be -- that where it says 'religion,' it might have 'Muslim.' And if you're a Muslim, you don't change your religion, by the way"

The most horrible thing he could imagine the President hiding on his birth certificate is that he's a Muslim? Really?

Then there's stuff like saying in 2000 “Well, you’ve got David Duke just joined — a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party.” and then in 2015 when asked to repudiate him “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.”

Which I almost find worse in some ways because he was playing stupid in an attempt to let the thing blow over so that he could hopefully not have to repudiate the KKK because he wanted their racist votes. (please note I'm not comparing Trump's views to the KKK... only that he was slow to denounce Duke because it was less important to him than the votes).

I think it was racist when he tweeted "#JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife." YMMV (but I hope not)

I could keep going (for a long while actually... I've barely even touched anti-Muslim sentiment, how he has difficulty dismissing a woman's opinions without referencing her appearance/gender or the episode where he may or may not have raped his ex wife in her own words (which admittedly is maybe not sexist and just violent? I'm not sure).

And are the quotes about his daughter's appearance sexist or creepy?
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
So this is where I ask that everyone keep it on topic and not turn this thread into an argument on Trump and politics. There is more than enough of that elsewhere. We don't need it here too.

If you do feel the need to discuss it with the other members of this community, take it over to my Trump parody blog post where it at least will be somewhat on topic and won't pollute the overall comment stream.

Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
@Jammer - Apologies!

But since I got the last word in before teacher yelled at us I win the argument right? :P

I will promptly check out your parody blog post which I apparently missed somehow!
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
To steer the ship back to the right place though... those of you who don't love this episode... are you generally Kira fans like me that didn't like the dark light (pun intended) that this episode painted her in? Or do you generally not care for her?
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
I love Kira as a character, and the episode never offended me as it apparently does some. It's not my favorite ever, but I did relish the return of Furel and Lupaza, who are think are so strong that they lend real substance to Kira's past.

Regarding Kira putting the baby in danger, I do think there's reason to believe that if she had stayed put she'd have been very likely killed. He was too good an assassin for her to expect to successfully avoid his attempt(s). Going after him was by far the safer course, all things being equal, although the only thing I'll say is it would have been good to bring backup. For going alone I'll say she was reckless, but it's also possible she wanted to minimize risk to others. Who knows, maybe he'd have blown up his own home with everyone present if given a chance.

My least favorite part of this episode is the actual theme of the darkness and the light; by this time in the series it's a well-worn concept for Kira and merely retreads on old territory. It's certainly a regression in terms of where we expected Kira to go next in her life. There's nothing here that "Duet" didn't say better.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
"He was too good an assassin for her to expect to successfully avoid his attempt(s). Going after him was by far the safer course, all things being equal, although the only thing I'll say is it would have been good to bring backup. "

Makes a certain amount of sense. I think O'Brien at the least, deserved the right to go with her (and his son).
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
Oh Jason, you lost me (or should have) at "The word mysoginist..." - but I'm gonna take you on anyway.

DLPB's specific dismissal of Kira as "irrational" and "could never control her emotions" (on top of "One thing could have saved this episode... Kira being killed by the assassin") is bathed in misogyny and uses the exact same tropes with which women have been delegitimized for decades/centuries - ie. They're emotional. They're irrational. Not like men. I didn't use the word misogynist because he criticized Kira's character - this is a site for criticism - but because of the way he did it and the extremity of it. Even the other commenters on this thread who disagreed with Kira's choices in this episode didn't wish her dead because of it.

As you can see, I consider my words very carefully and don't throw them around flippantly (apart from this one: gateau!) and that's why I chose the one I did. Dynamic male characters in Trek like Sisko or Kirk have made plenty of headstrong decisions in other episodes and aren't generally written off as emotional/irrational - on the contrary, they're lionized for it. Away from the darker corners of this forum, Kira is generally celebrated in much the same way.
I find the specific amount of hatred Kira gets in this episode for being pregnant fascinating, and I wish more women commented on this site. When a terrified pregnant women is being targeted by a psychopathic assassin who's murdered her friends, a commenter wishing she'd been killed in the episode because 'she could never control her emotions' is pretty much the most repugnant, inhuman take on an involving and emotional hour of drama. If this had been a Garak show and he'd gone after an assassin who was closing in on him after having murdered his friends, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 4:46am (UTC -6)
Criticizing a character for being hot headed and unable to control themselves is hating women according to you?

LOL. Stay off the Kool Aid.

There have been many female characters I have praised over the years - and those are much better acted and scripted than Kira (Ripley, Susan Ivanova, Resistance Leader in B5 spring to mind every time) . Don't project your bigoted crap onto me, mind reader.

I don't like Kira because she is a grossly unrealistic character, poorly acted (probably because of the script/writers) and poorly scripted. It has nothing to do with her gender. I happen to also find Nog a worthless pile of dung too for much the same reasons. I dislike that character even more than Kira. Man hating now too?
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 8:51am (UTC -6)
Well, the story of Nog is the story of growth, and how when you have a great writing team that cares about developing its characters (both supporting and regular) and recognizes when a young cast member is able and willing to handle more sophisticated material, a character that started life as a one-note sidekick can be developed and nurtured in a way that embodies and reflects the whole arc of the show. Nog's story is about the Federation's "soft power" and the attractiveness of its value framework to those from more restrictive societies - about how a simple act of intercultural communication and kindness (Jake befriending him and teaching him to read) can open up whole new horizons for someone and allow them to forge their own way and make a success of their life on their own terms, maturing and changing in the process, instead of being trapped by the expectations of a culture whose values aren't a good match for them. It's also, like Kira's arc, about coming to terms with trauma and being thrust into the unpleasant reality of conflict as a young person. But what do I know, maybe he's a "worthless pile of dung" and she's "grossly unrealistic"...
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -6)
"DLPB's specific dismissal of Kira as "irrational" and "could never control her emotions" (on top of "One thing could have saved this episode... Kira being killed by the assassin") is bathed in misogyny and uses the exact same tropes with which women have been delegitimized for decades/centuries - ie. They're emotional. They're irrational. "

Point one: you inferred that his comments pertaining to Kira must be indicative of an attitude against all women. In that inference you were engaging in motive speculation, a type of ad hominem attack. There is no such evidence that his views of Kirabcan be expanded to all women.

It is possible to think a female character is irrational and hysterical without believing all women are so.

Point two: even if someone genuinely thinks all women are irrational, this does not prove misogyny. Misogyny is defined as hatred of women, or a contempt of women so strong that it borders on hate.

Marc Lepine, the infamous Ecole Polytechnique shooter was probably a misogynist. The "nice guy" who can't get a date but rants and raves about the evils of "women today" and how they only want a-holes and not "nice guys" is probably a misogynist. The author of Malleus Maleficarum, the witch hunter's handbook, was probably a misogynist.

Your uncle Larry who thinks wonen are too emotional and are bad drivers isn't a misogynist - he's a sexist. Or if he is a misogynist, that prejudice is not what makes him so.

I find the word "sexism" adequate to describe garden variety male chauvinism and prejudice against women. I do not see any purpose in watering down and trivializing "misogyny" by applying the label to every prejudice aimed at women and supplanting the the well understood concept of sexism.

Moreover, claiming that someone is a misogynist is a very strong claim - like calling that person a bigot or a racist. You make such allegations, don't be surprised at the blowback.

Many people these days rail against "hate" and "vitriol" but seem blind to how their own choice of words feeds into this toxic cycle.
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:56am (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.

Just to play devil's advocate, I think the argument N was trying to make isn't that disparaging Kira makes someone a misogynist in and of itself, nor was it that her particular faults are also the faults of all women. Rather I think the crux of the argument was to suggest that DLPB is using criteria for judging Kira in particular that are quintessentially patriarchal criteria whose employment is based less on objective virtue and more on 'virtues' traditionally held to be male traits, such as emotional control, cold reason, and so forth. By describing her in a negative light on the grounds that she possesses traits traditionally associated with females, one would be by inference perpetuating the sexist double standard of women being assessed based on criteria important to men. Or, put differently, "she's stupid because she doesn't act like a man."

I also think N was reacting to the hyperbole suggesting she should die for being so "stupid" in this sense, which I think is where what might have been a suggestion of sexism instead might suggest misogyny. "She should die for being so emotional" doesn't sound like merely a mistaken bias against one sex. Even if it's just a joke, it's still a misogyny joke.

I'm not taking sides in this, but I don't think you fairly characterized what N was trying to say.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Peter, since the poster went on to employ similar language to describe Nog, a male character, I think it more likely that it's just his style to make excessive comments about characters he doesn't like, as opposed to singling out female characters for abuse. If you have evidence that this poster has a pattern of denigrating female characters then that may change things.

Incidentally, I didn't claim the comments were not sexist, but in my view even the evidence for that is lacking, let alone for misogyny.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
Peter - precisely, thank you.

Jason - a commenter basically comes out and says 'I wish the assassin had killed the pregnant woman', an extreme and unpleasant reaction to this episode by any count, yet I'm the one who's "bigoted" for calling this misogyny? Without the killing comment, if he'd left it at just the "irrational" and "could never control her emotions" comments, I'd have said sexism. But combining the irrational/overemotional comments with the comment saying the episode would have been better if the assassin had killed her upgrades it to misogyny in my book, if you're insistent on playing this semantic game with me.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
Kira's temper flaring up and going on a half-cocked vigilante mission is completely consistent with her character. Actually, I always admired how relatively restrained Kira was as her friends were killed off one by one. If this were Season 1 Kira (or maybe just non-pregnant Kira), I'm sure she would've gone hunting for the assassin much sooner.

Now one may not like Kira's character because of her fiery temper, but do keep in mind this character flaw was given *intentionally* by the writers to show how much the Cardassian Occupation wounded her. Ensign Ro, the character upon which Kira based on, basically had the same flaw, one you can very much see in her TNG outings.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
N the fact that she was pregnant is superfluous to this argument.

He flippantly said he wishes a female character he doesn't like would be killed off. Then he made a similar comment about a male character.

Lots of people write nasty comments about fictional characters they hate, against both sexes.

You leaped to the conclusion that he hates Kira because she is a woman, and then leapt passed the conclusion that he's sexist to the conclusion that he is misogynist (hates women categorically) despite having additional evidence that he expresses similar hatred of male characters.

It's not "semantics". You're just flat out insulting people and name calling with no basis in fact.

I want you to see this and understand why I'm criticizing you. I want people to be more civil with one another and part of that is taking responsibility for the words we choose.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
I'd love people to be more civil with each other too, which is why I literately took someone to task for wishing a pregnant character had been murdered and calling Nog "a worthless pile of dung". But apparently my using the word "misogyny" is more uncivil than that, given it's me you're insistently attacking and not DLPB. So it's fine for him to do that, but not for me to make an observation about it - the accusation of the thing is worse than the actual thing? That seems like a really handy way to shut down any discussion of an issue.

"You leaped to the conclusion that he hates Kira because she is a woman" - no, I characterised his comments as misogynistic because of the specific context and framework that Peter describes above. I've repeatedly explained why I chose the words I did in nuance and detail, Peter has also explained eloquently (without wishing to draw him into this), yet you reduce this to "flat out insulting people and name calling" - so again, me characterising a comment as "misogynist" is apparently worse than someone using wishing a female character had been murdered for being overemotional/irrational (sexist tropes).

The emotional/irrational comment on its own wouldn't have made me say anything and isn't grounds enough for me to accuse someone of sexism - the combination of it with the death wish and the overall context of the comment (and the vitriolic tone) is. If someone had said, for instance, "I wish Janeway had stayed assimilated at the end of UMZ Part II" or "I'm glad Tasha died, she was annoying", I wouldn't have made any comment about sexism/misogyny (take your pick) because there's no evidence gender had anything to do with it. As you correctly state, it's obviously perfectly possible to dislike a female character without being sexist. I think T'Pol is a really bad character. I said what I did because of the specific content and tone of DLPB's comment.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
And I agree with Chrome's comment.
Jason R.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
N Kira and Nog are fictional characters, whereas DLPB is a real person, albeit an anonymous one. There is no question of "civility" towards a character in a TV show so your comparison is specious.

I didn't argue with DLPB because there was nothing to argue about. I don't agree with him but I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince someone that a fictional character I like isn't s "worthless pile of dung"

To address your last point, you have yet to respond to the fact that his "content and tone" in discussing Kira was more or less the same as it was when discussing Nog.

If I walk up to a black man and call him a demon, you might speculate that I'm a racist. If 5 minutes later I walk up to a white man and call him the same thing, the initial speculation becomes increasingly less likely.

I see people post like DLPB all the time re: male characters. It's probably just his style.
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R,

I'll take up this point in particular:

"To address your last point, you have yet to respond to the fact that his "content and tone" in discussing Kira was more or less the same as it was when discussing Nog."

It's unclear whether there is common ground or not between the dislike of them based on what's been said so far. Let's put aside the comments in this thread for the moment and hypothetically suppose someone said that Kira was an emotionally silly woman and should die for it. We might suspect sexism/misogyny, although this is only one data point. Then suppose that same person announces that a man in the same series is pathetic because he's wimpy or maybe emotionally annoying in the same way. While you might take this to mean that since both male and female characters are being disparaged there is therefore no ground to suppose sexism/misogyny, you could be missing that the common ground between both of them is a patriarchal stereotype of how people in general are supposed to be. But if this were so it not only might the view regarding the female character still be sexist, but actually it would mean that it is sexist and that additionally there is another 'ism' at play at the same time being directed as the male character not fitting the chauvinist expectation. You might then categorize both under the general heading of "male supremacist", of which "sexist/misogynist" would be a subset but not distinct from.

I make this hypothetical so that no one here is dragged into this speculation, but my point is that if a patriarchal stereotype is being applied to a female character it doesn't contradict this to also apply that same patriarchal stereotype to a male character. Part of feminist theory is that both men and women are subjected to these overbearing stereotypes, and even though typically this kind of chauvinistic expectation is expressed as being 'sexist' it does not preclude men from being disparaged on the same ground.

In the context of this discussion I therefore don't see disparaging Nog as being particularly germane to undermining a suspicion that a particular view (or way of expressing it) is sexist/misogynist. I agree with you about civility, and also about the fact that there is data lacking here; and even that part of the issue here is probably style. However I don't know that maintaining civility must necessarily involve enforced silence when something actually objectionable is said. Name calling isn't the best way to address these things, but does that mean the content of the objection needs to be dismissed along with the tone?
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
No one will win this argument. At a certain point, and that point has passed, everyone just digs in and talks past each other. The best solution is to just call it done and move on.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I'm done too.
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
Great speech today. He should have looked at Obama and dropped the mic.

OK, I'm done too :-)
Sun, Mar 26, 2017, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Wow, this escalated quickly. I think Peter G makes some very good points.

I really enjoyed this episode, and was completely riveted during its entire exposition. I know some people have a problem with Kira and Bajorans - they're far from being my favourite species in Star Trek and I think they weren't portrayed very well - but I highly enjoyed all of the Bajoran characters here, who were actually three dimensional and charismatic for a change, even that bodyguard guy who was punched out by Lupaza and Furel, Lieutenant Brilgar I think his name was. 'Yeah, yeah,' he growls crossly when they apologise to him, and storms out. LOL! I wish we'd seen more of him.

I was intrigued by Silaran Prin, and interested to find that he was actually an aide to the Gul Pirak whom Kira's cell murdered. I've read most of the relaunch novels, and the entire Gul Pirak assassination plot figures prominently in some of the Cardassian-themed books. I'd recommend them to anyone who's interested in reading more about Iliana Ghemor and Kira during the Resistance.

Was I the only one who thought that Silaran Prin resembled Garak slightly? The way he speaks and moves, and his voice and face (the normal half), even.
Sun, May 21, 2017, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
I think Behr as showrunner in season 4 and 5 kind of regressed some of the characters from where they were in seasons 2, 3 and somewhat 4, notably Kira and, until DBIP, Bashir. So Kira's views were disappointing but not really surprising.

This episode, especially its ending, kind of exemplifies dark for the sake of dark and dark & ambiguous in an at least somewhat pretentious way.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 11:51pm (UTC -6)
A lot of people have pointed out a lot of plot holes, which I can’t argue with. But I still found the episode affecting, because of Kira’s last lines:

ODO: Why did he give you a sedative?
KIRA: He wanted to protect the innocent, and separate the darkness from the light. But he didn't realize, the light only shines in the dark, and sometimes innocence is just an excuse for the guilty.

Wow, 92 comments and I’m the only one who interprets these words to mean: Kira knew that she had used Prin’s concern and compassion for the innocent baby against Prin, and she wasn’t proud of it: the innocence of the baby was the excuse for Kira to beg for a mercy which Prin allowed, which resulted in Kira successfully fighting off Prin. IMO, with these words, Kira was acknowledging her guilt in the chaos that is war. Kudo’s to the writers (if my interpretation is correct).

I can’t help but also add, that if Kira would get reprimanded for the actions she took in going after Prin alone, I don’t think that it would be issued at that very moment, when they were concerned about Kira and the baby’s health, though maybe they could have hinted at. It would have happened later, off camera.

And at the very end, didn’t everybody beam out? Nobody waited for the local authorities or helped deal with Prin’s body? Not even Odo?
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
I don't think either Kira's lines or Visitor's delivery suggest self-regret; the lines, especially the last one, seem to be reiterating her belief that all Cardassians who were there during the Occupation were legitimate targets, their belief that they were innocent was a delusion or at least much too self-serving. Well, the line "The light only shines in the dark" is really vague and it could be somewhat self-critical, admitting that she's only good compared to her enemies, but it still seems more like emphasizing that Prin was the one that was wrong in his perceptions.
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 6:10am (UTC -6)
I really like Linda's interpretation.
Mon, Nov 20, 2017, 6:39pm (UTC -6)
"The Darkness and the Light" is Bryan Fuller's first tv credits, which is surprising because it's a wholly pedestrian and bland hour. The whole plot is something we already knew from "Duet"-Kira killed Cardassian civilians! We get it! It also kills of the genuinely interesting members of the Shakaar resistance cell for shock value. Seems like a waste to me.

2 stars.
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
This episode sets up that it is a dark neo noir...then completely bails on its story and concept in the third act. It's utterly bizarre, and doesn't play fair with he audience at all.

The first two acts are an interesting murder mystery, but then the third act should be that the Bajoran woman faked her death and is the killer, as a way of trying to start over and erase the past. Instead what we get is a third act that has nothing to do with the rest of the story and is a crappy version of duet.

It's just plain bad writing.
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
I just watched this episode, and I read the review and most of the comments below. I don't want to address any specific people who have posted, but instead discuss why I didn't like the episode. I will surely get flack from certain people for being "misogynistic" or "sexist," but I don't care what any of you think of me, haha.

The episode was all in all pretty good, in my opinion, up until the final act. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of it, and the idea of Kira's violent past coming back to haunt her. She was a terrorist afterall, and as such, she and her fellow terrorists probably deserves some comeuppance. That being said, I love Kira as a character! I usually enjoy her hot-headed, fire-brand attitude. She's tough and she takes no crap from anyone! Nana Visitor plays the part very well.

However, this episode was a terrible place to showcase her rebellious nature. The fact that she deliberately and remorselessly endangers the life of an innocent unborn child, that isn't even her own child, makes her come off as ridiculously irrational and thoughtless. For her to go charging off after a "villain," while nearly at term in a pregnancy, is completely unrealistic and is an example of a poorly written script.

If anything, Kira should have been most concerned with protecting the child within her, as per her natural motherly instincts, as well as guided by the fact that she would be letting down her good friends, the O'Briens,' if the child was harmed. Earlier in the episode, Miles says to her, "You're caring for someone else now." To which she responds, "Yes, you're right." So the character specifically admits that caring for the baby is her top priority, not some half-cocked chance for revenge.

Someone posting above said to give Kira a break. No! She cannot be let off the hook for endangering the O'Briens' baby! It's completely unconscionable and stupid! This has nothing to do with sexism. If the character was male, and he was in charge of caring for a baby, and suddenly carried the baby off into battle for dubious reasons, I would be just as hard on that character, too!

Am I the only one who feels that Prin is the real victim in this whole thing, too? Okay, sure, he assassinated a bunch of people, but those people deserved it based on the lives they had led, and the choices they had made, during the occupation. As Prin discusses, Kira (and likely the others too) showed no remorse for their terrorist murders of various Cardassians.

When Prin explains that 26 Cardassians were killed in the explosion, including innocent civilians like himself, Kira is remorseless and believes that a laundryman is just as guilty as a soldier. Ridiculous! While Prin actually cares about innocent civilians, and goes out of his way to protect others not involved in the Shakaar resistance cell attacks when he assassinates them, Kira is the opposite. She's basically repeating the old, racist saying: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," or "the only good German is a dead German." Instead of "Indian," or "German," though, she replaces those with "Cardassian."

We have no way to know who those 26 Cardassians were, except that Prin tells us that most were innocent members of the Gul's family. Does that include children? Probably, and that makes Kira and her cohorts even more the true villains of this episode. As one poster above stated, Kira deserved to die for what she had done. Yes, she does! Killing innocents, especially children, despite it being a time of war, is still a crime against humanity. While the episode tries to make Prin out to be the villain, he comes off as pitiable, and is really but a psychologically damaged and misunderstood victim of the Bajoran terrorists' crimes against "humanity."
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Oh, one final though: it's disappointing that we didn't get a final reaction to Kira's foolish attempt to seek vengeance from Chief O'Brien. It would have been nice for him to say something to her, or even just give her a disapproving head shake, to let her know that she had let him and his family down through her recklessness. He should have been given the chance to tell Kira that it would take a lot of time for him to come to terms with her actions, and the fact that she nearly got his unborn baby killed, and that he might have a hard time trusting her again in the future. Instead we get a useless, though pretty, belly-angle shot of the Defiant flying away from the planet.
Jason R.
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
" He should have been given the chance to tell Kira that it would take a lot of time for him to come to terms with her actions, and the fact that she nearly got his unborn baby killed, and that he might have a hard time trusting her again in the future. "

What a stupid idea. What's he going to do, find another surrogate? Fire her?
Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -6)
To me this is a bit of DS9 does "The Silence of the Lambs" -- it really picks up once Kira goes on her personal mission and confronts the deranged and disfigured Prin. But the first 3/4 of the episode is at best decent enough -- Visitor's acting is solid as the toll it takes on Major Kira is palpable. It makes the point about blurred lines between guilty by association and innocence during war/the Occupation -- darkness and the light -- depends from whose perspective it is.

The episode has some flaws -- like what about Shakaar in all of this? And the herbs Kira takes just happens to counteract the sedative that Prin injects her with? And Kira just happens to rule out the 1st 3 suspects on Odo's list and the 4th one turns out to be the right one? Also wasn't very clear how Prin was killing all these people given the different parts of the quadrant they were in at the time of killing.

It's definitely a good premise and one that makes sense -- a Cardassian nobody with vengeance on his mind vs. Kira who rediscovers the fire in her character. Previously she was telling her 2 Bajoran resistance cell friends to let the authorities deal with it, but after their deaths, things really change for her.

Wasn't sure what exactly happened to Kira when, after the O'Briens' quarters blew up, she got knocked out (after knocking out a few people in her way). Then she self-transports and steels the list from Odo's office. I suppose this is the progression in her determination to take matters into her own hands. The episode doesn't have time to go into any reprimand for her actions -- just leaves it with some Kira waxing poetic about darkness/light and guilt/innocence, which was OK although nothing special.

A strong 2.5 stars for "The Darkness and the Light" -- DS9's twist on the serial killer tale is good and draws on the great background provided by the Occupation. It gets a bit convenient at times although that's not a huge knock. Kira trading verbal barbs with Prin was good and I actually thought some of the Cardassian's ramblings seemed to almost make sense. I don't think this episode does much for the greater Bajoran/Federation arc -- doesn't seem to build off "Rapture" and maybe it could have been done earlier in the series.
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:43am (UTC -6)
This was merely a so so episide

2.5 stars

It had a good start with a nice intriguing mystery then it kind of jumped the shark with the reveal it was just some disgruntled never seen before Maimed Cardassian. I was expecting—wanting—more than that. And Kira and his philosophical tete a tete came across a little pretentious and saying something deep than it really did
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Held my interest. Decent ep.

I don't think of this ep as portraying a "fierce-again" Kira. I think of it as portraying a Kira who, stressed by the deaths of her friends, backslides into the angry, unthinking Kira she was (she had to be) during the Occupation. She takes off like a bat outta Hell, no concern for protocol, those who care for her, her job, or the baby and its parents.

She seems to have forgotten the lessons of Duet and Necessary Evil. But this is realistic . . . I mean, for stress to make us revert, at least temporarily, to what we were before supposed "epiphanies."

People do, often, have to learn lessons over and over and over. So I don't fault the ep for that. But that's what we have here, not some example of wondrous character development.

It's not just the Cardassian perp who shows us his dark side.

Some plotholes and contrivances, but nothing too egregious. Average ep.
Paul C
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
Not clear to me why they bothered with the disembodied voice part for the messages. Didn’t do anything for the story.

Pretty grim transporter death... and no one even tried to stop Kira looking at her. Of course she’d have said no, but surely someone would say, ‘are you sure you want to see her..?’
Just before the accident we had some banter that was very out of place. Worf and Dax were treating this as a routine transport, but they were intercepting someone who could possibly be murdered. Very blasé.

Pregnant woman gets into multiple fights and risks her baby to seek revenge. That’s just plain stupid behaviour.
Paul C
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 5:47pm (UTC -6)
Sorry I forgot -

Sisko kicking Worf’s arse. ‘You have your orders, dismissed!’
That was good. Don’t see that in ST much.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sun, Jul 21, 2019, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
Following a bit of a TNG Series 7 hit / miss / hit / miss format so far in DS9 season 5 (What happened around this time of production? New writers and directors, or someone left?), however this one was incredible.

Nana Visitor is probably one of the strongest actors on the show, and from the scene where Odo listened to her story and told her of the suspect list, she was riveting. The tears rolling onto the biobed, the cold switch to Major Kira, resistance fighter, the Data style precision of stealing the information. Wonderful.

Veering ever more into darker territory, for sure this is no longer Roddenberrian star trek, but its compulsive viewing and I am glad every time we revisit the Cardassian occupation. Its correlates with modern war and the horrors of the holocaust are all too obvious and eminently relatable to people who grew up with war films and the likes of "Schindler's List". I am still getting tingles as I write. More!
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sun, Jul 21, 2019, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
@Paul C

Agreed - I felt the same. So often "solution discussions" would become mired in "here's why it won't work", always followed by the fact of it working just fine. Such a discussion was utterly out of place here, and Sisko just didn't have the patience. In many ways I think its the writers saying "enough of the old tropes" and making a point of dispensing with them. Its also jarring enough as to add a real sense of urgency to the already wonderfully tense plot.

I am forever a Ronald D Moore fan!
Top Hat
Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
I always thought this episode (which I mostly like) has an unresolvable plot (or at least thematic) problem towards the end. Odo assembles for Kira a list of 25 suspects:

ODO: My sources on Cardassia have given me a list of possible suspects. They all have the computer skills, the opportunity and the motive to carry out these attacks.

Conveniently this list seems to be nothing but a set of names -- it doesn't detail who they are or their potential motivations or their skill set. Prin ends up being fourth on that list -- a tad convenient but not outside the realm of possibility. But the fact that he was on the list at all means that he is known to be a computer expert with a malicious vendetta against the Bajorans. I guess that sort of is possible -- but does it fit thematically? This sort of flies in the face of "just a domestic servant," no? Okay, so he acquired the computer skills after his disfigurement in order to pursue his eventual revenge but he did it with a sufficiently high profile to be known to Cardassian intelligence.
Sat, Oct 19, 2019, 11:42am (UTC -6)
A dark and gritty episode that doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable issues. Kira is not my favorite character but I liked her here.
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
I think I fall most in line with Springy's comment not far above me. Having rewatched 'Duet' recently, the line "you were all guilty and you were all legitimate targets" came off badly... and yet Kira here is in just about the most extreme circumstances she could ever be in here. Character development, or (to broaden it outside the world of fiction) personal growth is not always linear; learning one "lesson" does not mean you've immediately and irreversibly gone forward from where you were before.

I wouldn't call this a favourite, but I'm glad to see Kira retaking her active role at last. Even despite (or quite possibly *because of*) her nightmare of a situation, she's unstoppably driven here, and that's something we haven't seen for a good while.

(I've read that despite Kira's continued pregnancy, Nana Visitor had actually given birth back when 'The Assignment' was being filmed. Guess she'd recovered enough for the limelight here, though it looks like a harsh one to film anyway -- a scene where she lands flat on her stomach had me wincing. Hopefully her pregnancy was just a temporary interruption and this return to form is really how we'll be continuing.)
jamie Mann
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Sadly, another episode where my opinion differs from most.

As other people have said, in many ways, this feels like a repeat of Duet, but with the roles somewhat reversed.

In fact, it feels like the entire point of the episode was to get Kira into a "courtroom" with Silaran - the deaths which took her there were little more than window dressings to set the scene.

(It's also heavily contrived - are we really meant to buy into the idea that a Cardassian house-servant would be able to so easily bypass Federation security, have access to illegal teleporter-scrambler tech and be able to sneak explosives onto a space station despite the fact that he's both a Cardassian *and* heavily disfigured? What is this? The Phantom of the Opera, as played by Alfred Pennyworth?)

Unfortunately, with the lighting and the frequent monologing, it all ends up feeling like a theatre production. As in: we're watching two actors, acting on a stage. Which broke the suspense for me.

It's also somewhat of a regression for Kira, as she falls back into the "angry ex-terrorist" mold from the first series, not least when she declares that all Cardassians were valid targets.

In truth, I read her statement as a "look back" on how she felt during the occupancy, rather than her current attitude. But it's been interesting to see how people reviewing this episode have reacted to this, not least those who have reacted with horror.

Because while I don't condone her attitude, and I hope to never be in any situation which is even remotely similar, I do at least somewhat understand where she's coming from.

The Cardassian Occupancy of Bajor was an actively destructive, brutal and cynical one. The most obvious comparison is WW2, when Nazi armies rolled across Europe and conquered entire countries, seizing their resources and enslaving and/or killing anyone who argued with them or didn't fit into the Ayran ideal.

Sadly, it's far from the only example of an entire people being suppressed. From the Israelites who followed Moses to the Russian revolution, Japan's actions across the Far east during WW2, Belgium and the Congo, the wholesale massacres in Cambodia and beyond, there's plenty of examples of "occupations" where the native peoples were literally classed as sub-human and hence fit only to be worked to death - or worse.

And that's where Kira came from. Certainly, if you watch the WW2 news reels of the slave camps, or read about the Nazi use of slave labour, there's very clear parallels with the mining operations on DS9, and the various stories that DS9 has done over the years.

And that's where Kira was coming from. When you're dealing with someone who is actively and brutally destroying everything you care about, then anyone who directly or indirectly supports their activities is culpable.

In fact, that's what I think the writers were trying to get at, with Kira's final statement.

"He wanted to protect the innocent … and separate the darkness from the light. But he didn’t realize … the light only shines in the dark … and sometimes innocence is just an excuse for the guilty"

Silaran's defence was that he - and the other people in the house, including the children - were innocent. But they were actively facilitating the destruction of an entire society and planet, and at least in Silaran's case, he was there willingly.

So yeah. He may have been innocent of causing direct harm, but indirectly, he was definitely culpable.

And so... innocence is just an excuse for the guilty.

With that said, I'm still not particularly keen on this episode. Not only is it heavily contrived, but it feels like it should have aired a few seasons earlier and whatever message the writers intended to put across in Kira's final statement, it's too obtuse.
Peter G.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -6)
@ Jamie Mann,

Personally I actually like the first half of the episode quite a bit, but I think you're right that it all ends up (sadly) being window dressing to get Kira into some throwback conversation about the occuptation. This not only suffers from been there done that syndrome, but worse - it seems to say nothing about it other than people got screwed over. Yeah, no kidding. I don't even mind the contrivance of getting Kira in that room, so long as the writer had something fascinating to say that had to be told in that way. But it's nothing we haven't heard before, and frankly Prin is just so full of it that there's nothing for us to care about there. Even Kira isn't making much sense. That 'darkness in the light' line sounds vaguely poetical but really what is it supposed to mean in context? That Kira's light shines better because she did dark things? Or that freedom fighters have their oppressors to thank for shining? Or what? I don't think it means anything, and I don't know what Moore was smoking when he wrote those lines, but I guess it's not the good stuff.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Teaser : ***.5, 5%

We begin with another round of DS9 Religious Action Madlibs.

“I am Vedek [so and so]...and I welcome you to the [made up place] retreat. Today we begin [things religious people do all the time] prayer and meditation as preparation for our Days of [vaguely Christ-y word] Atonement.”

The Vedeks all do their thing and appeal to the gods, but they are apparently in a vengeful mood as So and So is blasted by the Arc of the Wormhole or whatever.

Over on DS9, Kira is looking for pregnancy remedies from Bashir when Odo interrupts to deliver the news of the of sacercide. It turns out So and So was an old Shakaar Cell friend of Kira's. She returns to the O'Brien's quarters and her own (very little) room to say a prayer for the dead Vedek, but is interrupted by news of a short message. She plays it back, a Jigsaw-esque “That's one!” and an image of So and So on her screen. Creepy!

Act 1 : ***, 17%

Kira, Sisko and Odo deduce that Shakaar (the cell, not the guy) is the general target of this Jigsaw Person. Odo wants to up the fascist ante on incoming ships, of course, and Sisko agrees...of course.

SISKO: I'm sorry about your friend.
KIRA: He died serving the Prophets. They'll take care of him.
SISKO: I'm sure they will.

Oh? Are you having visions again, or are you just being polite, Captain?

The next morning, Miles finds Kira on the Replimat to let her vent. She's frustrated that her unexpected pregnancy is keeping her from tracking Jigsaw Guy down and defending her friends from potential assassination. Thank the Prophets for that. Kira has been way too nonchalant about this baby she didn't ask for cramping her style. I mean, I think Kira's insane half the time, but ever since Ziyal moved onto the station she's been kind of, well, boring. Miles reminds her that her job is to be a womb, apparently, but Odo interrupts this low-key sexist remark with news of another message for her.

She arrives in Ops to receive the message and Sisko tells her to keep the messenger talking for a bit so they can trace the call, you know like in the movies. The messenger is a woman called Fala (la la la, fa la la la...'tis the season to be jo--). Kira assures the command crew that she's harmless but has a good reason to try and keep her location a secret. You never know when Jack Skellington might show up and steal your mojo. Kira continues the conversation in relative privacy. Jingle Bell Rock here is certain that she's going to be the next person on Jigsaw Guy's kill list, and begs Kira to help her out. She promises to reroute Dax and Worf to Bajor, pick her up and bring her to safety on DS9.

Well, in case you didn't get enough of Worf's and Jadzia's toxic relationship in “Let He Who Is Without Sin,” we pick up with them bickering on a runabout. Jadzia lost a bunch of latinum gambling. Awesome. The woman in the relationship isn't good with her money, how original. Ugh...won't something end this hackneyed misery? Oh good, another murder! This one is actually murder-by-transporter (don't tell Reg Barclay). They try to beam Deck the Halls aboard but some sort of interference causes the transporter to cook her body to a crisp. Gruesome.

Act 2 : ***.5, 17%

Bashir confirms that the pile of ashes on the transporter pad is indeed dead (thank you, doctor) and Odo confirms that this was not a boat accident. Jigsaw Guy has a sophisticated understanding of Starfleet security, as well as an intimate knowledge of the Shakaar Cell. Strike the Harp here was not officially a member, but she fed the cell information for years from her position as a janitor for the Cardassians without being caught.

KIRA: But she was always so afraid. Afraid that she'd be caught and executed. But she never stopped. I once told her that I thought she was braver than all of us, because she had to live with her fear every day. Even after the occupation was over, she didn't want anyone to know that she was secretly helping us. She was worried that someone would come looking for her for revenge.
SISKO: Looks like her fears were well founded.

Sisko...did you really need to have the last word in this scene? Jesus...

Jigsaw Man leaves Kira another recording in a case of brandy. But Quark got his hands on it first and so the message is playing right out on the promenade. Classy.

Kira and Odo continue the investigation into Jigsaw Man's identity, likely a victim of a Shakaar attack in which Kira played a prominent role. And while they're talking, a third message (and third murder victim) comes in on Odo's monitors playing “that's three.”

KIRA: No, I'm not all right! I haven't slept in three days, someone is killing my friends, and my back...!

Well, Kira now has a security detail in and around the Chief's quarters. She goes to her room to lie down but hears a scuffle in the living room. One of the few possessions she's kept with her in her tiny room is naturally a gun, so she takes it out and prepares to ambush the phantom behind the door.

Act 3 : ***.5, 17%

For...drama's sake I guess, Kira turns off all the lights and then enters the living area as stealthily as a pregnant woman can. Finally, we learn that the intruders are Nick Fury and Leukocyte from “Shakaar.” They reprise their whole 1990s rogues with hearts of gold shtick and explain how they bypassed all the new security measures. That's reassuring. Regardless, Kira's happy to see them. They're confident that as soon as Odo comes up with a name, they'll be able to take care of the rest. Hubris, you say?

KIRA: The occupation is over. We can't go around fighting private wars. Times have changed. We have got to change with it. Leave this for the authorities.

LUPAZA: Maybe you feel that way now, but trust me, when you find out who killed Latha and Fala, and maybe now Mobara, you're not going to want to leave it to someone else. You're going to want him dead and you're going to want us to do it.
KIRA: Maybe so.

The re-appearance of these two makes this an obvious sequel to “Shakaar,” but for Kira, this is a thread that goes all the way back to stories like “Progress,” “Necessary Evil” and “Collaborators.” For the first time, Kira really seems to have internalised the lesson she kept failing to learn. The fact that her instinct is to scold her friends over this issue testifies to this change. Of course, the question remains, if pushed hard enough, will Kira revert to her old ways?

FUREL: We'll sleep out here. The couch is a little short, but it's probably as comfortable as our bed.
KIRA: Well, since Keiko's visiting her parents with Molly, I guess there's room.

Thank you Exposition Fairy! Anyway, after a gag where Nick Fury and Leukocyte nearly shoot Miles in the face, Odo confirms to Sisko that the third victim is indeed dead. Not just dead, but exploded. As in his head exploded. Yikes. While they speculate on Kira's fate at the hands of this wacko, she, Dax and...I guess Nog is back home...are analysing the audio recordings.

NOG: It's a female. And it's not Cardassian.

I I'm just going to sweep this one into the “it was the 90s” bin. There will be more appropriate times to tackle this subject. Together, they discover that the voice being used to record the messages is Kira's own. This means that the seemingly practical step of disguising the voice was just a red herring, an intentionally sadistic and “unnecessary” step in all of this. Unnecessary to the efficacy of the murders, but not necessarily to their larger purpose.

Did I say sadistic? Well, a bomb has gone off in the O'Brien's quarters which means, of course, that Nick Fury and Leukocyte are dead as disco. In the commotion, Kira has stormed her way down to the habitat ring, driven purely by rage and anguish. She punches her way past Starfleet security (I don't know if this says more about Kira's badass-ness or Starfleet security's infamous ineptitude). Before she can expose the station, herself and the O'Brien's baby to space (the explosion caused a hull breach), the baby seems to object and causes her to collapse with pregnancy pains.

Act 4 : ****, 17%

When Bashir awakens her in the infirmary, Kira immediately cries out for the baby, clearly horrified that she may have hurt it. It turns out that everything is okay. Bashir leaves and Odo enters the scene. The lighting, set-dressing and deliberate symmetry of the camera all cast a spotlight on Kira and her dilemma; the stage has been set for a soliloquy and Visitor delivers.

KIRA:...And when that hatch opened and that first Cardassian stepped out, I just started firing. And I didn't stop till I'd discharged the entire power cell. When it was all over, I was so relieved that I didn't let anyone down that I was almost giddy. Furel kept telling me to stop grinning, that it made me look younger, but I couldn't help it. I was one of them. I was in the Resistance.

I'm reminded of Bitchwhore's line from “Rapture” about how Kira and the Resistance “had their guns” while she “had only [her] faith” to protect her. What becomes clear here is that the violence with which Kira was raised, which brought her through adolescence into adulthood, was inexorably linked to the adopted family which kept her alive and gave her purpose. The darkness and the light of her past can't be separated. The darkness IS the light. The suffering IS the hope. The anger IS the love.

Odo explains how the latest execution took place and admits that he's narrowed down the list of 25 suspects to a few Cardassians with the skills, motive and opportunity to carry out the attacks. Kira asks to see the list, but Odo is worried Kira would take it and go right for the counter-revenge vendetta. She asks to be kept informed, but the moment Odo leaves the room, she hauls her sore, pregnant body to the control panel and beams herself into his office. She steals the list and beams herself away (a pre-programmed protocol, it should be noted) just before he strolls in through the door and issues a knowing “harrumph.”

We see that Kira has stolen a runabout and that she erased the names on Odo's list to prevent her friends from tracking her.

SISKO: Prepare the Defiant. I want to leave in ten minutes. See if we can pick up her ion trail.
WORF: It will be difficult. Our sensor logs show that Major Kira masked her engine emissions with a polaron field. The runabout's particle—
SISKO: I know what the difficulties are. You have your orders. Dismissed.

I did enjoy that little bit of self-aware technobabble-dismissal.

Kira logs her progress and we learn that she's “eliminated” three of the suspects already...and thankfully clarifies that she means “from suspicion,” because at this point, I could believe her plan was just to kill all 25 people on the list. The fourth name leads her to Jigsaw's lair where a holographic decoy allows Jigsaw himself to stun her. He's cast in shadow, almost identically to the informant from back in “Improbable Cause” (and it turns out for similar reasons). He throws her onto another biobed under moody lighting, mirroring the scene of her soliloquy, and places a restraining field around her. She awakens to the sound of Jigsaw objectifying her situation in overwrought prose (“ a needle to its heart”). However, his rambling leaves no ambiguity in his certainty that Kira will die.

Act 5 : ***.5, 17%

After a little mutual repartee, Kira is able to get Jigsaw to break his objectifying prose and address her directly.

SILARAN: No, Kira! I didn't murder anyone. You did! You killed them all.
KIRA: There. That wasn't so hard, was it? Now we can talk.
SILARAN: I thought you might have changed, might have found a path out of the darkness.
KIRA: What am I supposed to be repentant for? What're you talking about?
SILARAN: That is part of your guilt. You did this to me...
[Jigsaw reveals his horribly mutilated face]
SILARAN: ...and you don't even know who I am.

Kira doesn't budge. She's confronted this issue before, she thinks. In “Collaborators,” and in “Indiscretion” both, she made it clear that she isn't going to be compromised by moral subtleties. They were at war with oppressors, fighting for their lives and their freedom. Buuut...

KIRA: None of us liked killing.

That's not exactly true, is it. “Liked” may be an insufficient word to capture it, but Kira certainly *liked* the feeling of discharging her phaser on her first night as a soldier with the Shakaar. And her friends certainly *liked* the prospect of killing Jigsaw here in retaliation for his murders. This hearkens all the way back to “Duet” and Marritza's chilling lines about feeling “clean” while covered in blood. This was revealed to be an intentionally hollow sentiment. One does not feel clean with blood on his hands. Kira has had the opportunity over the last four years to redeem herself, to find new meaning and shed herself of the stains of the Occupation. This poor bastard may not have had that opportunity.

Jigsaw justifies his actions by noting that his murders have been discreet. He took extreme care to target only those whom he has deemed guilty and sparing entirely any bystanders, the other monks, O'Brien and his family...and he's going to be equally discreet with Kira. He won't kill the baby, only her. Of course, Jigsaw's discretion is purchased by the luxury of his position. His only goal is retribution against the people who maimed him, while the Resistance was trying to overthrow an occupying force.

I sidestepped a different timely issue with Nog, but I have to draw the connection between this story and the current hot topic of protests and looting. Like Jigsaw, many claim that the indiscriminate destruction of property condemns the actions of such protesters. The reaction against this of some others is to separate the light from the darkness and note that only *some* of the protestors are destroying property or behaving violently. And, like Jigsaw, this betrays a luxury of purpose in such thinking. It suggests that protests aren't something anyone *needs* to do, that there isn't a Cardassian-Occupation-level systemic issue looming over a particular class of people. When the people are looting and rioting, or when they're committing terrorism like the Shakaar, it is a symptom of systemic rot, not an individual behaviour to police. There are complexities and ironies to Kira's motivations and justifications that she needs to consider (see before when she “eliminated” some of the suspects on Odo's list, culling the light from the dark), but in the end, she's still right. In the face of systemic oppression, the casualty of innocents is ultimately the fault of the oppressors, not the resistors. This is the same reason why, even though Dukat may have been right that Bajor came into its own because of its resistance to Cardassia, he's still wrong. This is why, even though the Prophets may have a plan for Bajor enduring the Occupation, it's still sadistic of them to let it happen. And this is why, even though it may be true that innocent bystanders may have their property destroyed or even be injured in the chaos of mass protests, it is wrong to condemn the protests on that basis. You can't separate the darkness from the light. Muddying this truth only serves to justify and prolong the oppression itself.

But as I said, Kira does need to face up to the ironies and complexities of her position. Politically, it's fairly clear-cut, but personally...well, now she's begging Jigsaw not to induce the birth of the baby, which has complicated medical needs, not to mention belongs to other people to whom she swore to be its protector. She manages only to convince him to give her a sedative...which is perhaps a little too easy, but the rest of this is so compelling, I can overlook it. Yes, even when Jigsaw releases the restraining field for absolutely no reason just because he thinks Kira's been sedated. And so she escapes and shoots Jigsaw, putting an end to his misery.

Sisko and co. eventually arrive so that Bashir can explain how he Herbs she's been taking all episode prevented the sedative from working. I think Linda has the correct interpretation (from her comment in 2017) of the final line: Kira recognises that she has real guilt, despite the existential needs that drove her and the rest of the Resistance. It wasn't all a matter of fulfilling those needs, she took some measure of pleasure and joy in her actions. I don't think this is wrong or inexcusable—I think it's very human. But it is complicated. What still doesn't hold up for me is that, exactly like in “Shakaar,” Sisko is going to take zero actions to hold Kira accountable for what she did here. Like, I get that Kira has been through a lot, but she's your first officer and she went completely rogue, stole files, stole a ship, put her life at risk and killed a man without a trial. Yes, it was self-defence, but she shouldn't have been there in the first place. Given how easy it was for Kira to track him down, Odo would have before long. This was not a matter of existential need. This was personal.

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

William B correct that Jigsaw Man is a dark mirror for Kira herself. He was innocent of the crimes of his people, insofar as one can be innocent (did he have an obligation to fight back, to resist his own evil government?), just as Kira was an innocent. But the Occupational violence against her people turned her into a killer, and in turn, her actions turned Jigsaw Man into a deformed murderer. I appreciate the complexity of the issues here, the subtlety of the messaging and focus on character. This really does feel like a throwback to Season 2, but in a good way. Most of the issues that dragged that season's episodes down for me have been ironed out, and the production is excellent, with striking visuals and engrossing performances. Sisko is still...Sisko, but that isn't a huge deal here.

One detail in the story that I think is under-appreciated is how well the side characters are integrated into the narrative. Kira's journey is being established by her relationships with a foetus, a couple of characters we've only seen once before, and a couple of new characters that get killed minutes after they are introduced. It may have been even more effective to have all the characters Jigsaw kills be people we've met before and care about (like Shakaar himself?), but I think the writers strike just the right balance between drawing upon continuity and asking the audience to use its imagination to fill in the gaps with the new characters.

The main negative to the story is that it does chicken out from having Miles confront Kira. I thought his early comments to her were on the unfortunately misogynistic side, but even I think he deserves to have some words with her over her choices here. They've all decided this baby is going to come to term—and we see that Kira is sincerely concerned about it—so methinks there has to be some sort of reckoning over this.

Final Score : ***.5
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
"Many claim that the indiscriminate destruction of property condemns the actions of such protesters. It suggests that protests aren't something anyone *needs* to do, that there isn't a Cardassian-Occupation-level systemic issue looming over a particular class of people. "

Did you seriously just compare an occupied planet with labor camps and mass genocide to the current racial situation in the USA?

Kira and company did what they did BECAUSE THEY HAD NO OTHER CHOICE.
The mixture of darkness and light was FORCED on them by the very extreme circumstances.

This is absolutely nothing like the current situation in the US, where minority members have many other ways to voice their concern and be heard. Where, indeed, there are millions of people who are so sympathetic to their cause that they are willing to give them a carte-blanche permit to do whatever crimes they want in the alleged name of racial justice.

So if the darkness and the light get muddled by these people's actions, that's due to their own personal choice. A choice that Kira and company never had the luxury to make.

In short, your comparison is completely ridiculous.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -6)

Congratulations on intentionally missing the point.

"This is absolutely nothing like the current situation in the US, where minority members have many other ways to voice their concern and be heard. "

And how has their "being heard" curbed the violence against them?

"Where, indeed, there are millions of people who are so sympathetic to their cause that they are willing to give them a carte-blanche permit to do whatever crimes they want in the alleged name of racial justice."

The Federation also gave the Bajoran Resistance "carte-blanche permission" to do whatever they wanted during the Occupation, but they weren't the ones in control of the situation, were they?

Is systemic racism in the US exactly the same as the Bajoran Occupation?

No, but there are important similarities.

Are BLM protests, including those that involve looting and violence, exactly the same as Bajoran terrorism?

Also no, but there are important similarities.

If you deny this, all you're doing is making excuses for systemic oppression.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
Guy I just want to say there is a lot of dark stuff in the world right now but we here, we really worked together and with that much awesome energy already more or less destroyed the comment sections of two episodes. DO YOU THINK WE HAVE A THIRD IN US?!!

Take this as an inspiration.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -6)

You're actually enjoying this, don't you? All the chaos and mayhem. And most of all, all the attention it ends up giving little old you.


I most certainly ain't interested into getting into this debate *again*. Those who got it, already got it. Those who didn't, never will.

I will say, though, that your response only proved that I got your point perfectly.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
What attention??? This is Just half a dozen+ idiots shouting at each other achieving literally nothing in the process.

I must admit though that I hope that Jason maybe overcomes his fears by confronting them and finds internal peace doing so. *fingers crossed*
Sat, Sep 12, 2020, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
Keiko just HAD to have Kira living *with* them because having her spawn a mere few decks away was so unbearable for Keiko and her selfishness that Kira had to literally be put out of her own home, and now with Kira about to pop, Keiko is light years away?
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 9:13am (UTC -6)
I was annoyed that “Par’mach” made Kira’s pregnancy (and consequent frailty and relationship issues) the focus. So here I have to say I’m glad she got a story that involved suspense, action, and her past.

I don’t actually like the episode. First of all, what a downer: every one of Kira’s old comrades dies before her eyes. Second, I have a personal revulsion for the common Hollywood scenes of frightened women trussed up by villains. Kira’s final minute of badassery (which came out of thin air, comic-book style) didn’t remove the lingering bad taste from the protracted scene that came before it. The threat to cut the baby from her uterus, too - just, ugh. ( Like rape, that’s a specific, very gendered form of violence. Which means this episode actually is like “Par’mach” - by the end, Kira’s pregnant body and its vulnerability are the focus. The writers do love to hammer on that theme.)

Mostly, I just didn’t understand what the episode was trying to say. Kira’s last line, “The light can’t exist without the darkness,” meant what? That Bajor’s freedom was won by justifiable bad acts? That Bajoran children now grow up innocent because people like Kira live with silent guilt over what they did? That yin needs yang?

Does Kira feel guilty about the collateral damage her cell inflicted? It’s hard to tell. She hotly justifies it - “I was a soldier!” - but that’s what anyone would do while being held captive by a serial killer. I don’t think there are any easy conclusions to be reached about whether it’s right/wrong for rebels to kill civilians for a just cause,, but the muddled message here just frustrated me. Kira killed and maimed plenty of innocents, a fact worthy of reflection. Most of those people did not become deranged murderers. The episode shows us only the one guy who did. Why?

Favorite scene: Cadet Nog uses his lobes!
Mon, Nov 2, 2020, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
This is another dark, sombre and interesting script by Ronald D. Moore.

Essentially a serial killer movie squeezed into 40 minutes, "The Darkness and the Light" watches as various Bajoran resistance fighters are mysteriously assassinated. These assassinations are quite original - one dies in a transporter accident, another killed by a probe, another by a microscopic bomb, others by a hull breech - and baffle Odo and Kira, who begin to suspect that Kira's death is next.

The episode climaxes with a series of great scenes. Kira steals data from Odo's computer, journeys to a creepy space domicile and battles a serial killer called Silaran Prin. Like "Things Past" earlier in the season, an episode which highlighted Odo's crimes during the occupation, this serial killer forces Kira to acknowledge the many "innocent" civilians she killed during the Occupation. Silaran views these innocents as "lights" unfairly caught up in a dark situation. Kira views her actions as an unavoidable "darkness" done in the name of a righteous "light". It's a metaphor which leads to a great moment in which Silaran agrees to kill Kira but spare the innocent child within her.

Also interesting is Kira's utter refusal to repent. Unlike Odo in "Things Past", Kira remains Kira to the end. You sense she's developed all kinds of rationalizations and defense mechanisms and justifications during the Occupation. She did what she did, and had to do, and that's that.

My gut tells me that Moore's script is much better than this actual episode. DS9's stock music lets the episode down, the opening assassination scene looks a bit hokey when it should look shocking, and the episode's first 25 minutes don't milk suspense as well as it should. Kira's "locating of Silaran" is also rather perfunctory, and neither she nor Odo does any interesting detective work to find the guy's location.

Still, the episode's second half is mostly excellent, and its climax powerful, let down only by a heavy-handed moment in which Kira attempts to absolve herself. "He [Silaran] wanted to protect the innocent and separate the darkness from the light," she says. "But he didn't realize the light only shines in the dark and sometimes innocence is just an excuse for the guilty."

It's an interesting line, and says a lot about how Kira views herself, but its a bit too flowery and verbose. It feels like Ron Moore, and not Kira speaking.
Sun, Mar 7, 2021, 5:13am (UTC -6)
I found this to be a fantastic episode, especially the face-to-face seen. It really gives a good look into the collateral damage of warfare. The "villain" had a realistic and relatable motive, and Kira's response was equally realistic being a denouncement of all Cardassians on Bajor thus justifying each and every one of their deaths; certainly not the typical ham-fisted platitude you usually get out of ST.

"The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy."
-Carl Schmitt
Sat, May 1, 2021, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
I hated this episode, this would of been a good season 1 or 2 episode, but at this point, it's all just grey and you assume as the viewer that messy things happened on both sides of the occupation (I agree more one sided towards Bejorans but you get the point).
Mon, Oct 11, 2021, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
Honestly, if not for the showdown between Kira and Prin, this would have been a one-star episode for me. The writers seemed disinterested in anything else but that scene, and it kind of shows. Like Jammer, I rejoice in the return of Kira (I grew to dislike her in Season 4), but that's not enough to carry forward a vague and contrived plot.

But then, that scene. Prin, with his reasonable-seeming motivations, and the fact of his individual suffering, dredges up in Kira feelings she likely doesn't examine much, anymore. As such, they seem to bowl over any reflection or perspective she might have gained in the past, and boil out of her with the rage she once used to carry out attacks very much like the one that damaged Prin.

And, of course, she's right. Prin may not have picked up a weapon and clubbed Bajoran children with it, but he benefited from the brutalization of Bajor, was kept well and content by the atrocities going on around him (until Kira brought the noise). When you shake hands with the devil, and all that. There's even a condescending, racist tone of "how dare you" in his rants, echoing uber-villain Gul Dukat's view of Bajorans as not fully real or realized, as children who needed praise or punishment, depending on how well they bent to Cardassian superiority.

So, a one-star episode, but a five (out of four)-star scene, equals three stars from me. Good episode.
Gaius Maximus
Sun, Jan 9, 2022, 2:03am (UTC -6)
Sure are a lot of people in this comment section who have never lived in conditions of oppression being judgmental about what the Bajorans were and were not allowed to do to free their planet from a brutal occupation.

News Flash: Just because you sweep the floors of the Gestapo building and you never killed anyone doesn't mean everyone else is obliged to not fight the Gestapo for fear of hurting you. All that attitude does is perpetuate oppression and encourage oppressors to employ human shields to prevent attacks.

Kira was 100% correct; every Cardassian on Bajor during the Occupation was a legitimate target.
Mon, May 2, 2022, 4:28am (UTC -6)
I first posted on this site in November 2014, and my comments were strictly about Kira's reckless and selfish behavior, only regarding the Obrien's baby. I still feel the same.

I watched this episode again and it made me appreciate Gaius Maximus' post and his News Flash.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 3:54am (UTC -6)
As preoccupied as Keiko was with being near her baby to the point that she dragooned Kira to move in with them, it's strange that she and Molly went to Earth two weeks before she's due.

Clearly they were only gone because the plot needed them to be.gone so they wouldn't be blown up.
Thu, May 26, 2022, 3:59am (UTC -6)
Also, the repercussions of these magical, powerful, 2 cubic millimeter Hunter probes existing seem to be massive.
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
I realize that Worf doesn't come right out and say that he learned the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition at Starfleet Academy, but he strongly implies it with his "I know many things" line.

First, isn't Jadzia herself a graduate of the Academy? Wouldn't she know what is and isn't available in the course catalog? Even if she didn't take "Greed-Based Ethical Systems" to fulfill her second semester of the Non-Federation Philosophy requirement, wouldn't she know if that had been an option?

Second, wouldn't she know, and wouldn't Worf know that she knows, that it couldn't possibly have been an available course at the time Worf was a cadet, given that he was already a commissioned officer when the Enterprise D encountered the Ferengi and considered them a mysterious race about whom the Federation knew only rumors suggesting that they were like "Yankee Traders"?

I know, DS9 essentially rebooted the Ferengi, but these are the kind of inconsistencies that interfere with my suspension of disbelief and therefore my ability to enter into the story.
Peter G.
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 10:39pm (UTC -6)
@ Trish,

I don't remember the scene that well, but Worf has a tendency to use wry humor sometimes. It seems to me plausible that he was kidding about having learned it at the Academy. Logically the most likely reason anyone on DS9 would learn the rules is because Ferengi are on the station.
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 12:27am (UTC -6)

I agree, we are probably supposed to see it as an expression of Worf's unique sense of humor, but Jadzia falls for it too easily for a fellow officer and Academy grad.

I think it would actually have been consistent with Worf's character for him to have memorized the Rules back during his time on the Enterprise, as soon as he learned that they existed, as part of knowing the enemy.
Peter G.
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 12:47am (UTC -6)
I just quickly watched the scene, hard to make much of it. It sounds like Worf is (on a literal level) boasting of the quality of people who graduate from the Academy, and more specifically, cryptically suggesting she shouldn't underestimate what he knows. Her smile when he says that seems to me to suggest that Farrell read his line as being more flirtatious (in his way) than a statement of fact, so all in all I take this exchange to be a sample of Worf being about as cute as he can get in chitchat.
Sat, Jul 16, 2022, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Yes, and I think it IS kind of cute to see him tease her.

Another angle just occurred to me, and even though I don't necessarily think it was at all what the writers were trying to emphasize, it's a little intriguing: I wonder if joined Trill have a tendency to look down on "unjoined" species (and unjoined Trill), often underestimating how much can be learned in a single lifetime.

I can see how it might be a rather natural prejudice for them to have, and therefore to have to keep working to overcome if they want a career in a multi-species organization like Starfleet.

I think that later in the series, when we see Ezri's family (especially her mother) seeming utterly unimpressed that she is now Ezri Dax, it is probably supposed to show us that she comes from an atypical, dysfunctional family, not that most Trill families would have reacted that way. I remember a Saturday Night Live sketch decades ago about a game show called "Dysfunctional Family Feud," and the category was, "Things a Family Might Say to a New College Graduate." One of them was, "Oh, so you think you're better than us now?" I think if joining is really so prized and the selection process so competitive, we're supposed to picture that most Trill families would, well, kind of think that their only joined member IS better than they are, not just because unlike them, that person received the honor of being selected, but also better than that member themselves used to be before joining, because now they carry the wisdom of many lifetimes' experience.

Come to think of it, considering the affinity for Ferengi culture that Dax has given Jadzia, you would think she herself would have known the Rules of Acquisition inside out. She just didn't think a one-life Klingon would know them, too.
Fri, Sep 9, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
The ending was a, very predictable, copout but the episode itself was excellent.

The intrigue was good although it's very tiresome for nobodies to be dropping like flies while the main characters literally always avoid coming to harm. Kill off somebody, for crying out loud, like T.N.G. did with Tasha!

What I liked were the deeper, timeless implications here, which come to bear in post-conflict situations. Conflicts always produces victims and perpetrators, while their resolution invariably means that some of the perpetrators get away scot-free with what they did. The interest of creating peace always outweighs righting every wrong that happened during the conflict. Individual injustices have to be overlooked for the sake of the greater good. Some attempts are made to heal the wounds, such as "reconciliation" efforts, and they do provide some closure to some... - but not to all. And in the age of powerful weapons, even just one aggrieved person with a strong sense of justice and hated of unfairness (I'm one, so I get it) can wreak havoc.

Can we really blame him/her?
Tue, Sep 19, 2023, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
Ugh …just ugh.
u don’t beam into the home of a killer while you’re pregnant. You just don’t.
It’s kind of like dax just leaving jadzia to die and sisko saying “if u leave I’ll never speak to u” indicating that dax could have forced the host to stay but didn’t. And dax being like ‘see ya’ and no consequences. Even jadzia like no worries.
I can see kira helping odo but just going off alone. No and also why? There is no reason other then to get caught and further the episode. If i was an O’Brien i would never speak to her again

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