Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“For the Uniform”

3 stars.

Air date: 2/3/1997
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Directed by Victor Lobl

"Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
"Please do."

— Odo and Sisko

Review Text

Since I originally wrote this review, I've had some minor changes of opinion and now rate the episode at three stars. To see the reasons for this change, find the capsule review in the Fifth Season Recap. Below is the orignial review of the episode, which at the time I rated at 2 1/2 stars.

Nutshell: Not bad, but not great, either. The ending in particular could've benefited from more power.

I like the Maquis. I really do. I think they are among DS9's most interesting and underutilized milieu. They're a group that doesn't fall into "bad guys" or "good guys"—they're simply angry people with a problem who are determined to do whatever it takes to try to solve it. It's an interesting issue that has led to some interesting episodes, like "The Maquis," for example.

However, despite the welcome return to the Maquis storyline, "For the Uniform" is a show that resides in the neutral zone for me. As much as I like the Maquis and the issues surrounding them, the overall results of "For the Uniform" are less than I had hoped. The show certainly isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn't particularly great, either. It's just kind of there, with its various strengths and weaknesses.

The episode is a follow-up to last season's "For the Cause," which ended with DS9's Starfleet Security Chief Michael Eddington escaping the station to join the Maquis which he had been apparently conspiring with for months.

"For the Uniform" centers around Sisko's obsessive need to track down Eddington and bring him in—a back-burner task he has been working on for eight months, and without success. While it seems strange to me that Starfleet would assign one of the busiest captains in Starfleet a task that is so time-consuming, the idea of a cat-and-mouse game between Sisko and a traitor who served under him is an interesting one.

The show is strongest in its early acts, beginning with an undercover Sisko beaming down to a colony in the DMZ to meet a Maquis informant who supposedly has information on the whereabouts of Eddington, only to be surprised and captured by... Eddington.

The show's early polemic is effective, even if familiar; Eddington explains his quarrel is with the Cardassians, telling Sisko that he's on the "wrong side" with Starfleet and to take a look at the starving victims of the struggle. The victims, Sisko retorts, are Eddington's victims—victims who have been sold on a dream that will never be realized. This opening scene precisely highlights a quality of the Maquis that is most interesting—a group with a cause and a higher purpose, but a group misguided led by a leader whose true goals are more sensational and superficial than the cause lends itself.

From here, the episode proceeds into the action, as the Defiant chases Eddington's raider across the DMZ, until Eddington unleashes his flagship of surprises: Complete sabotage of the Defiant computer core, which turns the ship defenseless, requiring weeks of computer reprogramming.

One of the episode's highlights is the way Eddington always manages to remain a step ahead of Sisko and the Defiant. This leads Starfleet to finally take Sisko off the mission and send in Captain Sanders (Eric Pierpoint) of the USS Malinche. Sisko is not pleased, and it's easy to see why. If there's one thing that's completely believable in "For the Uniform," it's that Sisko could and would take Eddington's betrayal personally. It's not simply that Eddington is a traitor that makes Sisko's skin crawl; it's that Eddington betrayed Starfleet under Sisko's watch.

So as one could imagine, as Eddington's reign of terror continues and the Malinche shows no signs of success, it doesn't take long for Sisko to take the initiative and the Defiant to delve back into the thick of the action (against orders, naturally). The only problem is that O'Brien's necessary repairs to the Defiant computers are nowhere near finished; a large variety of common tasks will have to be done manually, putting the Defiant at quite a combat disadvantage.

When O'Brien says manually, he means manually. A simple matter of piloting the ship away from DS9 requires minutes of tedious effort, intensely precise bridge crew interaction, and improvised communication between the bridge and engine room. In a word, this idea of a crippled Defiant is clever. I've never seen anything quite like it. Every crew member assumes their post and reads aloud mouthfuls of tactical information. The acting and directing required to pull this off—with everyone talking simultaneously using such jargon-filled dialog—should not be overlooked. The skillfulness of the execution is dead-on; and watching the crew perform under such bizarre pressure is a fairly neat idea.

On the other hand, this is not really all that effective on a storytelling level. Yes, it puts the Defiant in more hazard and raises the stakes; but the amount of tactical jargon here is staggering, and it goes on for far too long. Given the story potential, it seems odd that writer Peter Allan Fields (scripting his first episode of DS9 since second season) would spend so much time on it when more important and interesting dialog concerning the delicate situation could've been highlighted instead.

Eddington's actions and cleverness are far more interesting. He gets the best of Sanders with a surprise attack that disables the Malinche. Then he continues to taunt Sisko with a point that has more truth than Sisko would care to admit: Sisko has made a key error by making the conflict personal and allowing his obsession to get the better of him (Eddington tauntingly labels Sisko "Inspector Javert"—after a literary character who destroyed himself by pursuing for years a man who stole a loaf of bread). Eddington goes on to use a chemical weapon on a Cardassian colony, forcing them to evacuate a planet—then escapes Sisko's clutches by disabling an evacuating Cardassian ship whose hands will die if Sisko doesn't rescue them—turning his attention away from Eddington long enough for the traitor to flee. "They're only Cardassians," Eddington says dryly, before waving a taunting bye-bye and getting away once again.

The unfriendly rivalry, tactical maneuvering, and clever escapes are among "For the Uniform's" strengths, but these events are window dressing for a story that doesn't say enough about its situation (and nothing much new), and has an ending that isn't as powerful as it could've been. Sisko captures Eddington by threatening to release chemical torpedoes on a Maquis colony, forcing evacuation and making it inhabitable for human life. Eddington thinks Sisko is bluffing. Sisko orders the word fire and poisons the planet for 50 years. After seeing Sisko is playing hardball, Eddington finally surrenders.

It's a brutal move on Sisko's part, as he turns thousands of Maquis settlers into homeless refugees. The problem here is that the episode sides with Sisko's notion to become the "villain" and make Eddington's surrender a "heroic" martyr move in the eyes of the Maquis. It's a neat package, perhaps, but a neat package is not what I look for in a Maquis storyline.

The episode doesn't seem to take a real stance on the Maquis issue. On one hand we have Eddington cruising around raising hell, and on the other hand we have Sisko, who is defying orders and risking his crew in a crippled starship in order to satisfy a personal vendetta. Shades of grey are good, but "For the Uniform" is ultimately about the black-and-white issue of the vendetta that sides with Sisko because he's Sisko, the hero of DS9, not because his actions are "right."

That's unfortunate. By simplifying the story to "Sisko vs. Eddington," Fields doesn't push as many dramatic buttons as he could've. A grey-area story steps up to the plate several times in the course of the episode; but the pitch never comes, and that's too bad. (Speaking of pitching, why didn't Fields use baseball as a way for Sisko to work out his frustration? The boxing example comes across as a bit of a cliché, and not really in tune with Sisko's character.)

The real problem with the ending is that Sisko's actions don't have any consequences. The show lets Sisko off the hook far too easily. After all the defiance of orders and the poisoning of the planet, it seems that Starfleet will simply pat Sisko on the back for capturing Eddington. Never mind Eddington's relevant speech: Sisko's obsession has clouded his thoughts on the real issue. What if Eddington hadn't turned himself in? Would Sisko really turn his rages into destroying the Maquis by poisoning all the DMZ planets, or is simply bluffing? The episode doesn't make it clear.

The answers to those questions don't really exist in the first place, mainly because Sisko and Dax are able to psychoanalyze Eddington into predicting his "hero vs. villain" thought pattern. Is that all this is about? Eddington having a martyr complex? Is that the real reason he defected to the Maquis in "For the Cause"? I thought he had perhaps a deeper purpose that would be explained in "For the Uniform." I never understood what exactly led him to get personally involved in the Maquis plight, and after this episode I still don't understand.

On an entertainment level, there's a lot to be said for "For the Uniform," because both Avery Brooks and Kenneth Marshall are engaging in their verbal sparring, and Sisko's turn to villainy at the end is scarily convincing, even if not completely appropriate. The show could've been so much more with a better ending, but, as is, it comes up a bit short.

Previous episode: The Begotten
Next episode: In Purgatory's Shadow

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Comment Section

251 comments on this post

    Just a little note to everyone, don't ever betray your uniform if Sisko is around. He doesn't like it.

    I find myself routing for Eddington in this episode. Okay, it's beieveable that Sisco would become obsessive and ruthless. But this is Starfleet, and the lack of consequesences for his actions are seriously implausible - disobeying orders to leave the case alone, poisoning a planet for 50 years. I seem to remember episodes where officers were court-martialed for far less. Prime directive, schmective!

    To add to the comment above, at the end of the episode, a smirking Jadzia ruefully chuckles at the fact that Sisko had not obtained authorization from Starfleet about his plan to utilize his weapon of mass destruction to force Eddington's surrender. No consequences, no continuity, just a gleeful Sisko reveling in his revenge.
    I'd conjecture that this episode does not get written if Gene Roddenberry was alive.

    Eddington was the far more sympathetic character in this one. Sisko was barely pretending that this was anything but revenge, and he resorts to using chemical weapons on ex-Federation colonists that they'd just condemned Eddington for using! Wouldn't he be under a war crimes tribunal?

    Well, at the end Sisko's log said that the Cardassian colonists moved to the Maquis' poisoned planet, and the Maquis colonists moved to the Cardassians' poisoned planet. This is possible since the poison on the Cardassian colonies are harmless to humans, and apparently vice versa.

    One thing to add to these comments... I thought it was great to see Nog out of the academy and doing something useful. He was acting like a real starfleet cadet, doing everything eagerly and properly.

    It would have been easy for them to forget about his story, we haven't seen him for a while, but I enjoyed bringing him into this episode, even if it was a contrived situation.

    To all of the above comments, I personally hated the Maquis. I liked them at first; they had an interesting concept. But then, under Eddington's dictatorship they become nothing more than racists. I was not glad the Jem'Hadar killed them all -- I was GLEEFUL. I was overjoyed. You reap what you sow, and Sisko's right: By contributing to the problems Cardassia faced, you had a direct hand in leading them to the Dominion and killing YOU. Sisko never said truer word. "End of Story." GO TO HELL EDDINGTON!

    Did anyone else think Sisko was a bit over-the-top while he was raging on the punching bag--"and he beat me...RAWRR!!!" and later on--"YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!" Entertaining overacting, but overacting nonetheless. Also, Captain Sanders was an annoying dick, I'm glad Eddington served him.

    The acting, the scenes, the action, the tension... all good, but the inconsistenties are indeed the size of Jupiter. Even with the darker tone of DS9 (which I like), it's just inconceivable that Sisko would use WMD on a planet and not feel the consequences. Amongst others, the idea that Worf would only demur, just to push the button anyway is very hard to believe. And maybe the episode could at least have done without the premise that Sisko was tasked with hunting down Eddington.
    As a final note, the CGI was really nice in here. Not just technically, but also aesthetically. Especially the view of Malinche dead in space.

    Oh and this: Major Kira. Does. Not. Belong. On. That. Ship. Why would a Bajoran Militia Major have any business with tracking down a Starfleet traitor?

    I completely agree with your review. If the writers are going to make a bold move like this, it HAS to have consequences and the dialogue in the tag scene which basically said that everything would be back to normal was more cringe-inducing than anything. They didn't even mention the possibility that the poison might actually have KILLED a lot of the Maquis before they got a chance to evacuate.

    Kira is on the ship because she's in the main cast and she needs a certain amount of screen time. I rather have Kira there without discussion than appear over "holo communicator" (a concept even the writers found so lame, they never bothered again)

    I liked this episode, and I felt it stood to reason that Sisko would deploy such weapons. The Maquis have morphed from freedom fighters to interstellar pests. It's time to get out the fly swatter.

    Eddington was a smug, self assured hero wannabe. I guess that's why I enjoyed the episode... I found it engaging. Rooting for pissed-off Sisko was fun, and I liked the boxing allegory. This one has a lot of juice.

    "Whats the matter, Captain Sanders? CHICKEN?"

    I always thought Eddington was one of the weaker storylines on this show. He never impressed me as a character, and I found his motivations for betraying starfleet in the first place to be extremely thin at best.

    Still, this episode has some very entertaining scenery chewing from Avery Brooks. I like a lot of the banter between Sisko and Eddington. But, in the end, that whole WMD thing makes this episode a little too over the top. I agree with the above comments about the lack of consequences being a disapointment.

    The best thing about this episode is that it gives us the next Eddington episode, which was much better than this one. The next eddington episode is good enough that I forget to question why eddington ran off with the maquis in the first place.

    I for one loved the "Defiant leaving docking bay" scene. It made it seem like a real ship, requiring real training and skill to operate, and not the usual "point and fly" thing it is shown as, which looks like any Playstation fan could fly. It reminded me (no doubt deliberately) of a submarine, giving it an extra layer of believability. The Hunt for Red Eddington....

    The Defiant scene : comic-book style "beating the odds" heroics at its...well most mediocre.

    Sisko : Brooks outdoes himself here with the overacting--you know, I think he was better in the early seasons. Janeway and Picard (and even Kirk) got better with the seasons. It may be that the problem isn't Brooks but the fact that the writers have made him into a garbage bin for all the running plots (Emissary, Captain, Chef, Archeologist, Engineer, War Strategist, Father of Seshat...professional boxer), but I'm not keen to give him that benefit of the doubt.

    The holo-image communicator thing : vaguely interesting from a technological perspective, but ultimately unnecessary--we have seen in this and other series how effective communication over viewscreens can be.

    Eddington : stubborn for absolutely no plausible reason. The whole idea of the Maquis makes my blood boil, which would seem to support Sisko's rage, but he never counters Eddington's remarks with something intelligent; he never says, "You're all acting like selfish children. All you care about is your land, your property and the particulars of the lives you have thus far built. We condemn you for abandoning Federation values because, as you should see, without them you've reverted to a state of petty and violent irrationalism." No, instead he gets incensed that Eddington pokes at Starfleet and that stupid allegory to Hugo. When the series' issues with Roddenberry's ideals truly present themselves to an honest debate, the episode diverts attention with some senseless emotionalism disguising itself as characterisation (in this case, of Sisko).

    I HATED this episode and the previous Eddington/Maquis episode as well. We're supposed to believe that some third tier character whose technical competency has never really been shown before these two episodes can fool, out cool, out class, and have complete dominance over the supposedly coolheaded Captain Sisko? Even the situation under which Eddington was captured was dictated by none other than Eddington himself, when he gave Sisko the book. I just can't believe that Sisko, who is always supposed to believe in duty and diplomacy would be bested in every way by some minor character. A final blow, Sisko acts against orders and defiles an entire planet to capture one man, and he isn't even so much as reprimanded for it. In any other military he would have been demoted and possible discharged.

    The idea of the holo-communicator is a good one and makes sense look at how communication technology has advanced since this epsiode aired so in a century we're supposed to beleive that communications technology has stayed the same and not advanced beyond a viewscreen.

    Looking at Eddington's choice of novel he sends to Sisko is a clue to his reasoning and motivation he sees the Maquis as an oppurtunity to indulge his romantic and heroic streak as well as watching Blaze of Glory and The Adversery

    The Maquis stopped being freedom fighters or "defending their homes farmers" as soon as The Maquis episode was over. Cal Hudson told Sisko they formed the Maquis in order to protect themselves from the Cardassian colonists. Sisko and Dukat exposed the situation and got the arms smuggling to stop. When that was revealed to Hudson, he just whined that it's too late and he intends to win this war. The Maquis became nothing more than terrorists at that point.

    Sisko destroyed the biosphere of a planet in nothing more than a fit of vengeance...there's no two ways around it. Kind of makes his struggle in "In A Pale Moonlight" a bit absurd.

    Eddington made me mad the first few minutes then the whole "verbal sparring" just got annoying especially when he started calling him Jeviere or whatever. I guess Les Miserables was playing back then.
    Combined with the annoying full 3D body messaging what is the point of that? But you guys he only threatened to poison the atmosphere that's what got Eddington to surrender himself and weapons. According to what they said anyway, could easily change next time. Not too bad.

    Great episode, great ending. If you ask me, Sisko should have carried out his threat anyway of making the Maquis worlds in the DMZ uninhabitable for humans. Admiral Necheyev put it best when she said the Maquis were a bunch of irrational whiny hotheads. The Federation has virtually inexhaustable resources and worlds on which to resettle a few displaced colonies. Instead of taking the offer they turned into a threat to the security of the Federation by attacking the Cardassians. It wouldn’t have been a popular decision politically, but it would have worked and saved a lot of lives in the process.

    Wow, what the hell was that?!!
    Sisko really became a villain here and a bully. I don't know if I can ever again route for this guy. During this episode I hoped the Maquis would win and Sisko could have overcome his petty thirst for vengeance and have some character growth. But no, he goes for revenge and the show seems to try to justify that. If the Dominion comes - or someone else - who is a bigger bully, I would not really care if they killed Sisko and his crew (allthough I know that will not happen anyway). I know that the Maquis did also poison planets, but from people who are supposed to be the "heroes" of the show I expect not to behave like the bad guys. But Sisko is even worse than them, because he does it only for himself, whereas the Maquis are fighting for a whole population.

    Lets use some some biological weapons to show them dirty Marquis. Wow, what a character assassination of Sisko. And everybody follows these orders that obviously go against everything the federation used to stand for. But one thing is sure, its not up to Sisko to make a call like that. Oh well weird episode.
    2 stars

    For all those believing there should be consequences for Sisko's actions, I just have one thing to say.

    "The end justifies the means!"

    What has Starfleet wanted to do for the federation colonies from the get-go? Resettle them somewhere else. What did Starfleet want Cpt. Sisko to do? Capture Eddington and bring him to justice.

    Well both those things happened. An no one was hurt or killed. Sure they would want to chew Sisko's ass out for disobeying orders and for poisoning an entire planet. But at the end of the day the mission accomplished.

    So I could very easily imagine them LOUDLY disapproving of his actions but then QUIETLY forgetting about it until its a distant memory.

    I say again, the ends have justified the means. When you are extremely good at your job some things can and will be looked over.

    I really like this episode. The scene of the "manual launch" of the Defiant from DS9 is well done - it gives you a more realistic sense of everything that would be involved to launch a spaceship. (well, at least a HINT at realism.)

    I would have liked one more episode with Eddington before this one. Something where Eddington again fools Sisko and slips through his fingers. That would have given Sisko's obsession a little more bite.

    I always kinda loved this one, as ridiculous as the ending is.

    Welcome back to the brilliant Peter Allan Fields.

    Is a weapon a WMD if it doesn't cause any destruction? Apparently, resettling entire planets of people is a doddle for the mighty Federation (though that begs the question of why their best buds on Bajor are always near starvation), so we're told that Sisko's actions caused the inhabitants some inconvenience at worst. Kind of an easy out, but it does explain why he wasn't court martialed over it. And as Jock said, Starfleet wanted them moved anyway.

    "Is a weapon a WMD if it doesn't cause any destruction?"

    Yes. He used chemical warfare against those colonies. They would have died if they didn't evacuate.

    Even if the planet lacked sentient life of any kind, colonial or indigenous, or even only had plant or microscopic life, a weapon capable of destroying a living biosphere is a WMD by any definition.

    First off all after this episode i really had problems feeling any sympathy for Sisko and his crew in the rest of the episodes.
    The episode itself is very inconsistent wih what was established before in the whole star trek universe.
    1. evacuating a complete colony within minutes ?
    After the Chemical attack it seemed all colonists already waited with all basic things packed next to the entrance of the escape ships, everyone was accounted for none at a place where he wasn't reachable.
    2. No one in the "heroic" crew is ready to stand up against an order of on obviously vengeful, bugged out Captain that goes against everything their uniform stands for ?
    Not even Kira who felt the cardasian way to treat people herself ?
    3. The Starfleet does nothing to to punish this ?

    After looking this episode i had to look at the air date because i was relatively sure it had to be short after 9/11 but it was 3 years earlier.
    Honestly i think that the author of this episode where in the mind setting that "we are the good guys and all we do is right". Unfortunately a very common fault in our western world today.


    I just rewatched this and really forgot how engaging it is. Vengeance is a powerful force that pushes Sisko just slightly over the edge. I would have liked to have seen the fallout over the trilithium resin poisoning, but I suspect it wouldn't have been much. From Starfleet's point of view, there probably would have just been a quick investigation for show, followed by a secret pat on the back.

    Also one person pointed this out here but I think it's worth repeating again: the trilithium resin was poisonous to humans, not Cardassians. If not for that fact, while Starfleet might have been happy with a show trial, the Cardassians would have been a different story, given he poisoned a planet that had been ceded to them. Not that that makes Sisko's decision any less potent.

    One final point...given what happens to the Maquis colonies in the next few episodes, these guys got out just in time.

    I liked how this episode was used to bolster Sisko's aggressive masculinity, which I found was a bit lacking until now. The villain stuff discussed above fits right in, not to mention the scene in which he goes at a punching bag all growling and sweating.

    Enough about masculinity. I also liked Jadzia's new, tight uniform.

    "He played me all right. And what is my excuse? Is he a Changeling? No. Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No. Is he a wormhole alien? No. He's just a man, like me. And he beat me!" ~ Sisko.

    I like this episode. I do agree with some the flaws in this episodes that many of you mention such as Avery Brooks overacting in some scenes when his character Sisko is venting his frustration over being fooled by Eddington and the fact that there is no episode that follows or at least mentions the consequences for Sisko's actions for poisoning the atmosphere of a planet only to catch Eddington.

    However, the pros outweight the cons thankfully. Sisko was overacting, but it is understandable. I would be made if someone betrayed me for any reason too. The plot about Sisko becoming the villian to catch Eddington based on the story that Eddington send to him made perfect sense and is used perfectly in this episode. I give it 3 stars too. :-).

    OMG! What have they done to the show, to Sisko, to the federation, to DS9. I wish that I had never seen this episode!

    The end is a desaster! Captain Sisko really did order the use of weapons of mass destruction on a populated world. Whitout beeing mind controlled by some alien device! He didn't just pretend to act like the terrorist he was chasing, he did. "Hey Admiral, I am sorry, he nuked a planet and I nuked a planet, lets call it quits?" And nobody on board objected! Worf? Jadzea? Kira? How about: "Sir? Are you serious? There are humans on that planet! We don't know how many can be evacuated in time...". Or plain and simple: Sir, are you nuts, Sir?"

    To make things worse, at the end Jadzea jokes that they forgot to ask Starfleet for permission... Haha! But does ist matter? We'll ask next time, we plan to murder some folks!

    Sisko and everyone else on the bridge of the Defiant needs to be court marshalled... or at least the author of this episode.

    I was not overly impressed by this episode for two reasons.

    The terrible overacting by Avery Brookes whether his lines are beleivable or just silly, they come out silly anyway.

    The lack of believability for the abscence of consequences from Star Fleet for launching the chemical/biological weapon on a civilian population by Sisko really started to stretch credibility just too far for me. It would have been more credible if someone on the bridge disobeyed orders, or Sisko had at least faced some sort of disclipinary panel or court martial from Starfleet. I totally get that he had to be the "bad guy" to outsmart Eddington and exploit Eddingtons matyr complex but it could have been written better...

    I really liked seeing the Defiant disabled in the way it was in this episode, and all the assumptions we take for granted about Starfleet ship workings all thrown on their head. Pretty awesome.

    Note to the guys writing the next Trek movie or next Trek series: THIS is a imaginative, very refreshing way to depict battle damage in Trek, not just some random bridge officer yelling "Shields down to X percent!" or "Hull breach on Deck Y!" *cough JJ Abrams cough*

    Avery Brooks is a great actor, but he overdid himself worse than Bill Shatner. Shatner stayed somewhat within the realm of believability most of the time (at least IMHO) but Brooks warped light years out of it in this episode. I'm still wincing at that punching bag scene.

    Also, the guy who played the Malinche captain was too flat. They could have gone with a better actor.

    Still a good episode. The holo-communicator was a good addition I thought, at least for this episode. It added a new dimension (pun intended) to the sparring between Sisko and Eddington.

    A good episode ruined by a stupid ending. The idea that Sisko would do that is ridiculous. First, he was taken off the mission, second, what he did is a terrorist action and would land him with a definite court martial and prison.

    Yet at the end of the episode, they joke that they didn't clear it with Starfleet. At least Eddington seems real, because a lot of this writing is a joke.

    I'm ashamed to admit that as a kid I was so morally oblivious that I actually liked this episode. Rewatching it many years later, I was shocked and disgusted by Sisko's bioterrorism and the writing staff's tacit endorsement of it. An utter disgrace to the Star Trek franchise, and probably the most immoral, unethical episode of any tv show I've ever seen.

    Aesthetically, this episode was absolutely fantastic. The direction and the acting was superb. The pacing was brilliant. I even liked Captain Sanders quite a bit.

    Unfortunately, the plot for the most part was horrendous. I would definitely love an explanation on whether or not the planet Sisko fired on had everyone make it out safely. I can understand perhaps some colonies are just relatively small pockets of Maquis and can quickly mobilize. Neither here nor there, It's just one of too many questions left unanswered that this type of episode needs, no, save that, DEMANDS be answered.

    Jadzia's lines of "next time I go off on some wild goose chase" and "sometimes I love it when the bad guy wins" completely belies the inherent overtly-vengeful nature of the episode itself and reduces it to sappy fucking nonsense. I'm not saying she was out of character at all - I'm just stating that with how things transpired and the sloppy writing of the plot, it in turn, makes some specific dialogue piss me off.

    People in real life are wronged. I get that. They feel the need for vengeance/retribution. I get that. Even in ST it happens and has been conveyed well at times. I get that. But getting all that and understanding this episode within its own terms within context of the overall bigger picture is akin to me eating a peanut butter and brick sandwich.

    A Sisko bent on revenge is a great idea on paper. The circumstances surrounding that idea had better be light-years better than what I saw here, though. Simply because Eddington hurt his feelers by committing treason isn't good enough and most definitely not good enough for the extremes presented.

    The cat-and-mouse of this episode is fine. Sisko in charge of hunting down Eddington is fine. Those work very well on their own terms. Hell, even getting a little pissed after the attack on the Malinche gives a bit of a carte-blanche and can be fine to a further extent.

    Ultimately here's my dilemma:

    This episode can't be saved on aesthetics, no matter how great they are, and can't be saved on some good ideas alone. I also can't fault it PRIMARILY based on my anger towards the faulty backward-pedaling of Sisko's character.

    So I will just say that, while it's a polarizing episode (rightfully so) with some clumsy writing that, at times, is contrary to upheld beliefs about a main character - it holds some great execution that would have made something near classic had there been some fundamental script changes. Unfortunately it crumbles under its own weight.

    1.5 stars.

    What bothers me is that there are no Federation ships around the wormhole-cardassian area.
    The Dominion is the greatest threat, there should be at least 4-5 on a day's notice. Instead, only the defiant and a second class starship is around.

    Also, the premise that all human colonists in DMZ are Mackees is wrong. It is possible that some are not. There are babies there, children and opposers to terrorist attacks.
    The theory of collateral damage does not have a place in a Star Trek Universe.
    Especially, when we are not talking about Mackee sovereign states, or Mackee elected governments.

    I loved this episode but certain things got to me. The whole "Defiant is broken" thing just seemed to be an excuse to have Nog around. Nobody evens cares about him, get him off the show!

    Eddington turned out be a great villian, loved his acting in this one. But the final solution Sisko the end of the episdoe I was yelling at the tv. "BEN you just poisoned an entire planet!?"

    And that sick chuckle that Dax gives, like it's alright.

    I like Sisko but the man is ruthless, he is not above extorting and violence to get what he needs done.

    Ever since his turncoat moment, the Eddington actor has invested the character with a smug villainy that makes him too easy to despise. I am afraid this is a directorial decision: load the deck so viewers can't possibly see his side or respect him as a man of courage and ideals.

    But Eddington's real crime? The Les Miserables nonsense. I thought when he said " book" that it was going to be "Moby Dick" - which would have made sense on two levels. Instead he recited the usual BS about Javert.

    Goddammit, Javert did NOT pursue Valjean for twenty years over a loaf of bread. Nor was he an obsessed madman with a personal vendetta. (That was Ahab!) Eddington, you're an effing moron, and you're no Valjean.

    Wow, I just watched this episode and I was shocked. I'm going to pretend this episode just didn't happen.

    Sisco committed war crimes and his crew didn't even object to the orders much less refuse to follow them.

    That's where the episode either became completely unbelievable or Sisco really did become a villain and the story shouldn't be about him any more.

    Worf should have refused to follow the orders. Where is the honor in poisoning the planet.

    Kira should have refused to follow the orders.

    This show should have been about the crew refusing to carry out the orders and Sisco realizing he really had lost it. Then he could have spent the next few episodes getting his moral feet back under him.

    Final point: there is no way someone on the planet didn't die from the poison. You can't evacuate an entire planet and not lose at least one person. You can't even evacuate a city irl without having a half dozen to a dozen deaths.

    "Final point: there is no way someone on the planet didn't die from the poison. You can't evacuate an entire planet and not lose at least one person. You can't even evacuate a city irl without having a half dozen to a dozen deaths."

    Many things in Trek are unrealistic. I truly believe we are supposed to believe that one planet became uninhabitable by humans and one by Cardassians and it was a wash and they moved into each other's planets.

    "Captain's log, supplemental. Resettlement efforts in the DMZ are underway. The Cardassian and Maquis colonists who were forced to abandon their homes will make new lives for themselves on the planets their counterparts evacuated. The balance in the region will be restored, though the situation remains far from stable. "

    Regardless of your belief in how this would have gone down IRL, Sisko did not intend to kill anyone, in fact specifically using a substance that is poisonous to humans but not Cardassians was clearly intended to give homes to the displaced Cardassians who would then switch with the humans.

    You could argue it's illegal, you could argue that it's immoral, you could even argue that somebody should have refused to follow orders (I always love when somebody refuses to follow a "grey" order and makes the Captain push the button themselves, like in Tuvix). But war crimes? Villain? I think you might be overstating it.

    Seriously? A "quantum torpedo" laced with Trilithium - a mineral - exploding on a planet, causes the atmosphere to be poisonous to humans, but no other species? That makes no sense whatsoever. Extremely contrived way for the writer to have him "play the villain" without doing any real damage.

    Also, Elliott, I have no idea which planet you are on, but it isn't Earth. If you are an entire population displaced, you don't just nod to it and walk away smiling. That's not how real life works.

    I think you need to stop using Trek as a gospel.

    This episode gives "I can live with it." in ITPM a whole new slant, doesn't it?

    As a retired military guy I loved and hated this episode.

    I LOVED the crew operating the Defiant with manual communications etc. Loved it.

    I love that Sisko pulled out all the stops and got his man.

    I hated the fact that he doesn't even have a discussion about this with his superiors and Dax just blows it all off with her little chuckle. WTF....really?

    Sisko made a bunch of folks move (not that big a deal in the 24th century), Eddington was the one willing to kill every Cardassian on the planet. Eddington is still the bad guy here. He "fired first".

    I'm deducting a whole point here because Sisko isn't held accountable to his superiors.

    I still think this treaty was crap from the start so it's easy to empathize with Eddington.

    3 stars.

    I don't subscribe to the notion that one must agree with the actions of a protagonist in order for that fiction to be successful (which is why I find the What-Would-Gene-Say argument aggressively immature). Drama has never been about that. Sympathy is important but agreement is not. On the other hand, I can't tell someone how to react to something.

    My own instinct is that Sisko's actions are justified. Poisoning a planet to stop the Maquis is a reasonable trade-off. The inhabitants aren't limited to living there. If the Maquis insist on fighting, something needs to be done to stop them. They are absolutely a menace to interstellar peace.

    Sisko had a particularly good line to Eddington about promising a positive outcome to the people under him (though I'd like to hear Kira's thoughta on that). If the Federation actually put the resources into destroying the Maquis, it'd be a lopsided affair. They aren't getting their homes back, and turning your people into targets helps no one.

    This episode has problems, though. I have no problem with the decision Sisko made, but I am less satisfied with his motivation. He's never been this angry before. While it's fun to watch Sisko see red, this feels like it got hot without actually *heating up*. I understand why he's upset (think back to Cal Hudson and Sisko literally trying to offer him his uniform back) but the vendetta angle is pushed far too hard, and the Les Mis analogy is ridiculous as anything more than a taunt. Eddington is no stranger to hyperbole (calling the Federation the Borg, for one), so the Javert reference works as a way to further needle Sisko. That it nearly becomes the a-ha moment that leads to Sisko beating Eddington is too much. Dax calls Hugo too melodramatic, so that makes Eddington look equally foolish when it's that melodrama that undoes him. Sisko deserves a better foe (he has one - Dukat) but Eddington also deserves better characterization if he's our face of the Maquis.

    I want to say this is a great episode, but I know it isn't. But when I want to call it bad, I don't think it's that either. It works plot-wise, really. Reading a synopsis makes it sound like a stellar entry, but the trouble lies between the lines of the synopsis.

    A very difficult 2 1/2 score on Jammer's scale.

    So I take it Sisko was following starfleet general order 24 then. Watch TOS 'A taste of Armageddon' for reference. It's equivalent to General Order 7 where any Starfleet or Federation citazen will be executed for travelling to planets like Talos 4.

    On General Order 24 "[...]an individual starship captain can issue such an order at his own discretion, without consulting Starfleet Command for approval."

    Now this order also is to include the destruction of all major cities, but I assume it can be adapted if the planet becomes uninhabitable to the life living on it.

    Anyways about the episode. I always have liked DS9 for its more "militaristic" and dark story. It shows a war where humans, who are always bolstering their peace, exploration and science, still have the primal instinct to do what it takes despite how 'extreme' the measures may be. I do think it is a bit over the top that Sisko was so quick to fire the torpedoes instead of try to draw Eddington out more.

    With that said, it is a good example of what DS9 is meant to show: This isn't your TNG Federation anymore, this is war, and even we are willing to break our own rules for what we deem "the greater good." The Federation may be devoted to exploration when it's convenient, but now that isn't the case. Just like what Kira said when the Defiant was first introduced, "I thought the Federation didn't build warships." Section 31 shows that the Federation isn't totally forthcoming in their mission statement of peace and exploration.

    All in all, I think it is on par for what the writers wanted to get across. Some of the posts are shocked at what Sisko did and how casual he was about it, and how there are no consequences. That is the point: You are stunned at what Sisko did, appalled he would do that despite all his past experiences and it is upsetting. He wasn't what you thought he was, despite all the talk of uniform and defending the Federation, he was willing to fall that far for a mission he was obsessed with.

    There is no consequence, because despite how wrong it was to poison a planet Starfleet and the Federation are probably happy they have Eddington. They probably are also glad that the Maquis are reminded of the presence and power of Starfleet. Of course they would never admit it. Behind the disguise of it all, the Federation is still a power, and they like to be in control. The Romulans or Klingons would have razed the settlements and killed everyone with it, and the Federation let those people relocate. It doesn't excuse what they did, but again, seems to fit with DS9's portrayal of what the Federation will do and let people get away with.

    I agree with 3 stars.

    I really liked this episode, in spite of Eddington being in it. I just feel he was just annoying. Sisko lost all perspective. His frustration and disappointment with Eddington sent him over the top. Its a good episode regardless whether Sisko acted appropriately or not. His human side took over and left the Starfleet side at home.
    @Verdeta, Gene Roddenbury had various writers to write different episodes, which was a good idea. I am sure he had input in the 2 shows he dealt with, but he didn't always have the final say. He probably would not have like DS9, Voyager nor Enterprise but to keep his legacy alive, I don't think he would have complained too much. DS9 was ahead of its time, If this show aired today, it would be in the top 10. The following it has today is over the top. In my wish bucket is the wish that they would make a made for TV movie to finish the last show of the last season and end it to suit me.

    One thing that impressed me about this episode is, when they sent Nog to the bridge to relay messages with one voice, I was so impressed, how they all work like an orchestra with all instruments playing its part at the right time perfectly executed in perfect harmony

    I can't help but notice that when Worf creates mildly destructive weather on Risa, it's "the worst Trek episode ever," good for zero stars, but when Sisko unleashes WMD's on a--to be sure, underpopulated--planet thus forcing its evacuation, the episode gets between 1.5 to 3 stars from the same critics! Compared to "For the Uniform," "Without Sin" is a wonderfully understated story with a certain quiet elegance.

    I was disappointed in "For the Uniform." I wanted to are something a little more altruistic. That said, an excess of unthinking patriotism can lead to problems. This episode does a good job of that. I also don't think Brooks was over-acting. When I was watching this episode, I was incredibly angry in real life to the point where I punched my pillow. Watching the great Sisko punch his punching bag felt cathartic and later made me laugh. I think the point is that when you're in Starfleet, sometimes all that pressure just forces you to crack. It happened to Picard, it happened to Worf, and here it happened to Sisko. Sisko's frustration isn't only about Eddington.

    Actually, Starfleet and the Federation in general seem to have fallen on hard times and made some morally questionable choices. "Insurrection" has a Starfleet admiral involved in interplanetary skullduggery, and one gets the impression that if he had survived to be court-martialled, it would have only been because Picard himself caught him.

    I do think this episode failed on a dramatic note when it completely glossed over the evacuation of the Maquis planet. Sisko's solution--as bad as it ia--is too neat and packaged to be convincing enough to me as a viewer.

    In short, there's some nice, disquieting stuff, which we all like in DS9, but it isn't handled well enough by the script writers to be considered anywhere near excellent.

    "I can't help but notice that when Worf creates mildly destructive weather on Risa"

    It's not the rain that was the problem. He helped create a weapon of mass destruction and handed it to terrorists.

    If he shut off the uplink after some rain I'd still have thought the episode was kind of dumb and Worf deserved a stern talking to when he got home. That's NOT what happened.

    He handed a WMD capable of leveling every building in a section of Risa to a nutjob.

    FULLERTON: You should see them all run. I think they've finally realised that the party's over. Increase the feedback in the tectonic stress regulators.
    BOLIAN: If I do, there won't be a building left standing on this part of Risa.
    BOLIAN: It might be a good idea to head to the spaceport. Or at least get out of this room.
    FULLERTON: Very well. I think our work is done here.

    There is no excuse for that. I WILL agree that the odds that everybody made it off the planet without any major damage and that the Cardassians have no ill effects from those chemicals and that they could just switch planets is a REALLY, REALLY neat and packaged solution. I would actually take no exception to people bashing it for being unrealistically perfect in an episode that should be a little messy. I take exception with people making Sisko out to be a madman, when in reality his solution is calculated, neat, packaged and perfect.

    IE - Bash the writers for giving him such a way out, not the character for taking it.

    I have another comment....Jammer...why didn't Fields use baseball as a way for Sisko to work out his frustration? Hitting a baseball requires some concentration. Sisko was too angry, he needed to hit something.

    Horrible episode! The overacting on Brooks' part is getting ridiculous. And Sisko has to be classified as a fanatic. He's always been religious about Star Fleet, the oath, the uniform. Not only do I find it implausible that Sisko wouldn't get reprimanded for using WMDs, I find it implausible that NO-ONE aboard the Defiant objects to their use. Worf, first and foremost, should have refused to comply. Dax too. She was totally out of character, esp. at the end. It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour. And the WMDs themselves are ridiculous. Attaching a container with trilithium to a photon torpedo is all it takes to kill off all humans on a planet. And apparently that's common knowledge. Sure...

    "It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour."

    That doubt is your problem. The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.

    That said your final comment is problematic. Sort of makes you wonder why the Dominion doesn't just do this to Earth...

    The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.


    Even if we accept the absurd premise that they could, there is no way he could have known that at the time. And he was going to do it regardless. For that and breaking the law, he would find himself in jail.

    Although the episode presents the planet switching as "his plan" I will at least accept your problem with he. Even if he was 100% sure that they could have evacuated before succumbing to the poison somebody could have been trampled in the confusion or whatever and he'd be responsible. I'd accept the interpretation that he was reckless and got lucky. I'm going to rewatch with that in mind and consider.

    For what it's worth, I do kind of think that Sisko's actions in this episode are worse than Worf's in "Let He Who Is Without Sin" -- I think it's more in character for Sisko, at this stage, than Worf, but that is more damning to Sisko. In Sisko's defense, I will say that I can more or less accept that he could reasonably expect no one to die. It seems hard to fathom, but I can understand the idea that what is released into the atmosphere takes some length of time to have effect; it is a stretch, but I can buy it. However, he still poisons a planet (!). As I understand the situation, the reason that Starfleet can send ships into the DMZ after Maquis ships is because the Maquis are committing crimes, and have committed crimes against the Federation. The exact legalities are ambiguous, but I think it makes sense that they have an ethical responsibility to prevent the Maquis from hitting Cardassian colonies with biological weapons FORMED FROM MATERIALS MAQUIS SHIPS STOLE FROM, OR SMUGGLED THROUGH, THE FEDERATION. In this episode, the Maquis steal the materials they use to attack Cardassian colonies with biological weapons from a Bolian ship, which means that if the Federation fails to prosecute the Maquis for theft they are implicitly allowing the Maquis to continue using Federation supplies as terrorist weapons. Similarly for the pursuit of Eddington in particular, who, as Sisko points out in the opening, used his position in Starfleet to thieve and smuggle and so on. However, unless every person on the "Maquis colony" is actually accused of a crime against the Federation/using Federation resources for poisoning purposes/etc., that planet is simply out of Federation jurisdiction; it is in the DMZ, and, you know, on the Cardassian side of the DMZ, which was the whole point of the Maquis problem. The final log entry stating that balance has been restored because the Cardassian and Maquis colonists switched planets suggests that Sisko's action was some sort of corrective, like Kirk supplying weapons to counter the Klingons in "A Private Little War," and on that level there may be some mild moral justification, but, you know, as Eddington pointed out, the people Sisko is about to make refugees are not actually responsible for Eddington's poisoning the Cardassian planet. More to the point, if Sisko acted out of some sort of superior justice principle he sure hid it well.

    The actual discussion on the merits or lack thereof of the Maquis is basically reduced to the teaser. It's brief, and incomplete, but at least there is some discussion -- Eddington: people had to leave their homes! Sisko: dude, they are refusing to resettle and are dying because you're filling their head with doomed dreams! -- and that discussion at least has some resonance, as it turns out that Eddington may indeed be obsessed with the Maquis *because* he knows it's doomed. Some of the themes here, of artifice in particular, show up early on: Eddington insists, almost as a catchphrase, that "we're not killers" regarding the informant he downed, but he also implicitly acknowledges that he has basically doomed him to a slow death by marooning him on an inhospitable planet, showing that he essentially has killed him and is only playacting at a greater nobility. After that, it's really all about the Sisko vs. Eddington: It's Personal! story. Eddington may genuinely believe in the Maquis cause, and Sisko seems to believe in the Federation side, but Sisko really does seem mostly motivated by the idea of catching Eddington and that personal betrayal. Eddington is so fixated on Sisko's ostensible obsession with him that he mostly stops making arguments partway through, and eventually Sisko and Dax "figure out" how to catch Eddington by reading Hugo and deciding that Eddington's origin story is that he read Hugo and decided to betray some authority figure for a noble doomed cause in the hopes of being nobly unjustly pursued. Eddington comes across like a clever but kind of empty cosplayer, a Romantic who found life as a midlevel security officer too stultifying and so found a cause and a Nemesis to give his life meaning. And Sisko comes across like a maniac -- that boxing scene! That Eddington gets under Sisko's skin makes some sense, but that it's been half a season since "For the Cause" with no mention of Eddington's betrayal (to my recollection) makes the whole idea that Sisko is so angry at this point, as if he has been stewing on this for years with nothing else going on, incredible. (Similar for the idea that it's a big failure for him for Starfleet to take him off the assignment after eight months. He's been working on this all this time? Doesn't he have enough jobs?)

    To the extent that there are real ideological differences between Sisko and Eddington, Sisko figures out how to defeat Eddington only when he "realizes" that those differences of opinion are completely irrelevant, and that the way to beat him is to be even more personal/crazy. Taking advantage of someone else's storytelling obsession, and playing into someone else's narrative, is a good idea in some respects, but the way it comes off here is particularly disturbing: Sisko "wins" against Eddington by "playing the villain," and there's a self-conscious jokey tone to the very end of the episode; Brooks goes way over the top ("YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!") in a way that here really is meant to suggest that Sisko is putting on his attitude, but he is only acting like he acted earlier in the episode, just with no moral restraints, because he's...pretending to be a villain. OK, but how is pretending to be a crazed maniac, poisoning planets and ignoring everything but the goal of capturing Eddington, different from what he is actually doing, which is poisoning planets and ignoring everything but the goal of capturing Eddington? I think that some of the implication might be that it is good to be able to "play the villain" at times, to play the bad cop and be willing to follow through, without letting that rule one completely, and by playing the villain *role* Sisko escapes the fate of being the villain. This interpretation works with the Eddington material, because Eddington, who poisons planets and maroons people to their deaths while claiming moral high ground, is too trapped in his Heroic French Resistance Fighter narrative to see the consequences of his actions. But, you know, Sisko did just poison a planet and was going to poison more; that Sisko was faking the conviction that this was the right thing to do does not change that he was willing to do it, and that he went forward with it seemingly believing it to be wrong because he needed to do villainous things to play his role correctly makes him worse in some respects than a Javert figure who really thinks he's doing the right thing. Either way, that he faces no consequences for this from Starfleet is ridiculous, as is the meekness with which Worf, Kira and Dax went along with it.

    It is a shame, because Peter Allan Fields' scripts were so consistently good in s1-2. The episode has some of the same tight structure and thematic consistency that his previous episodes had, but this one stretches characterization too much and Sisko's making his way over to actual villain while being fake-villain goes mostly unnoticed. The tech material is cool in actually showing consequences of attacks on the ship, but does indeed play a little too wan dramatically (I'm reminded of the manual dock in "Encounter at Farpoint"). The holo thing is cute but unnecessary, except insofar as it maybe heightens the personal element of the episode. The episode is good at what it does in some respects, but abhorrent without the proper payoff, really hurting Sisko's character in the long run without much buy-back. 1.5 stars.

    Hm...actually, I'll go to 2 stars, because while the episode still strikes me as ill-conceived, it is executed pretty well with some effective cat-and-mouse games.

    Liked this a lot. I'm not too sure about uber-Eddington suddenly running rings around Sisko, but if that's the plot device required to bring badass Sisko to the surface then why not. And it's never quite clear here the extent to which Sisko is indeed the obsessed 'Javert' or how much he ends up playing into the role to snare Eddington via his fatal flaw (always a good tragedy staple).

    The fact that the Maquis have upped the ante may not justify Sisko's morally dubious actions toward the end, but do at least offer a backdrop to which those actions are not entirely out of left field.

    Also some excellent VFX here, particularly on the Badlands. 3.5 stars.

    This episode lost me when the defiant was disabled. How did Eddington manage that? Black magic? I just do not believe that he would have that ability. And why did Eddington have a Holo communicator? This is supposed to be new technology. I highly doubt that he would waste time installing this on a ship. After that I guess it was a routine Action episode but it is hard for me to get invested when the original plot was so contrived.

    "For the Uniform" - a fairly entertaining and thought-provoking episode. It has some good cat-and-mouse games between Sisko and Eddington, mostly nice performances (aside from Avery Brooks literally consuming whole areas of the set with his scenery chewing "YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!!!!!!!!!" insanity) and some of the wonderful grey area material often associated with the Maquis. Unfortunately, the episode is totally, fundamentally and completely destroyed by it's utter WTF! ending.

    The idea of Sisko poisoning an entire planet - and threatening to poison countless more - has got to be one of "Deep Space Nine's" worst thought-out plots ever. It might be one of the worst thought-out plots in the entire franchise. So, after allowing his obsession with Eddington to literally get the better of him (to the point where he literally goes into battle with a half-functioning ship because he's so eager for his revenge), Sisko quite literally goes so far as to commit a war crime. And I don't say that lightly. I don't see any other way to describe what Sisko does here. Poisoning that planet was completely unnecessary and unforgivable. And the fact that Sisko does it simply to satisfy his own sense of vengeance against a man he feels slighted him personally makes it all the worse. The man deliberately ruined (and endangered) the lives of thousands of Maquis colonists (a.k.a. former Federation citizens). What if the colony didn't have enough ships to complete the evacuation? That would be hundreds, possibly thousands, of people dead and Sisko would be a genocidal maniac!

    I'm honestly surprised that Worf and Kira let Sisko go through with this. They could have so easily (and by all senses of morality should have) said "You are way out of line Captain and I'm relieving you of duty." That would have been much better. Eddington would not have capitulated and he would still be free. At that point, Sisko would have had to realize what a royal asshole he had become and the episode would have been much stronger for it. Hell, Dax should have been absolutely furious with Sisko for stooping to such low, desperate and downright evil actions. That would have made for some good drama. But, of course, we didn't get that. Sisko is allowed to completely betray his uniform (as Eddington so righting points out) in more ways than one - openly defying Starfleet's orders taking him off the assignment, endangering his crew by using a malfunctioning ship and openly engaging in an activity that HE HIMSELF condemns as totally unacceptable when Eddington does it - and he gets off scot-free simply because he's Sisko - the hero of the show. He and Dax even laugh it off in the episode's final seconds like it's no big deal. Excuse me while I vomit!

    I've heard a lot of fans say that Quark's actions in "Invasive Procedures" were reprehensible and irreparably damaged the character - when he comprised the security lockouts when the station was evacuated which led to the villains attempting to steal the Dax symbiont and bringing Jadzia close to death. No, that is nowhere near as damaging to his character as Sisko's actions here are to his. Quark, at least, didn't know what was going on - he thought the villains only wanted to smuggle something - and when he did learn the truth he went out of his way to save Jadzia and ultimately was the one who saved the day almost single-handedly. Here, Sisko knows precisely what he's doing, knows how morally contemptible it is and does it anyway. And then he gets away with it because "sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins"? Again, allow me to vomit! The only way I'm able to forgive the character is to pretend that none of this ever happened.

    Then there are other less serious problems with "For the Uniform". Jammer is right that the extensive amount of technical jargon used while piloting the Defiant is total dramatic and narrative death that drags on for far, far too long. And, the criticisms of Victor Hugo's novels really rub me the wrong way personally. Hugo is one of my all-time favorite authors, so saying that he's needlessly melodramatic and not a very good writer isn't going to win the episode any points from me (but that is just my personal, subjective opinion - your mileage may vary). Also having Dax, of all characters, complain that Hugo's heroines are two-dimensional was particularly laughable. This coming from a female character who has barely been given any characterization beyond "superficial, egotistical narcissist"?

    "For the Uniform" could have been a magnificent episode if they had made the ending make any fucking sense - because there is a lot of good on display. Sadly, having Sisko turn into a lunatic just torpedoes it.

    HOLODECK TOYS - 17 (+1)


    @Luke - I've defended this ending before, so I'll try to again.

    The move was calculated, not done in a rage. The fact that the thing he used coincidentally is non-toxic to Cardassians and that they can just switch planets with the Cardassians that Eddington attacked is supposed to hint towards this.

    Sisko is enraged at Eddington, but the end is all an act. Every last bit of it. He was NEVER going to poison another planet. The idea is that he had Eddington so figured out that he knew this was all it would take.

    You might find that to be crappy plotting, and I don't know that I'd totally argue with you, but this is not a guy that went off the handle and started lobbing WMDs at everything in sight.

    "What if the colony didn't have enough ships to complete the evacuation? That would be hundreds, possibly thousands, of people dead and Sisko would be a genocidal maniac!"

    I've never bought this. Just because trilithium makes a planet uninhabitable to humans doesn't mean they'd die in a minute or an hour. It could just be that they'd need treatment when Starfleet or whomever picked them up tomorrow. It also depends on how much resin was scattered in the atmosphere. I think he probably left wiggle room.

    But more to the point....

    "EDDINGTON: Wait! If you call off your attack I'll turn over all our biogenic weapons.
    SISKO: Not enough.
    EDDINGTON: All right, Javert. I'll give you what you want. Me. "

    It wasn't JUST to get Eddington. Eddington had become enough of a threat to Federation security that he was lobbing biogenic weapons at Cardassian planets. And Sisko's ability to read Eddington got him to turn over himself and all of their bio weapons and all it cost was that the Maquis colonists had to switch planets.

    Come on!!!! Is that SOOOO bad? People rage at this, but do the ends really not justify the means here? And he gets off scott free because it worked. It's hard to argue with results is really the truth. What are they going to do? He just came back with the traitor and all of the enemy's bio weapons. His IS the hero of the piece.

    This really all depends on how much you read into Sisko. In the final act he's playing the bad guy for Eddington. The scenery chewing and all is Sisko acting, not Avery acting. Before that... yes he got carried away, no doubt. But remember he WAS going to follow orders and back off until Eddington used a bio weapon.

    Again, not saying everything Sisko does is on the level and that the magic "outsmart Eddington" moment is perfect but it's better than Kirk outsmarting his seventh computer and it's vastly less monstrous than everybody seems to think. But don't ask me, ask the writers

    "EDDINGTON: Do you realise what you've done?
    SISKO: I've only just begun. I'm going to eliminate every Maquis colony in the DMZ.
    EDDINGTON: You're talking about turning hundreds of thousands of people into homeless refugees. "

    There was never supposed to be a threat to their lives, the script says so. He took their homes.

    The point is that, no matter what Eddington has done, Star Fleet has to act according to it's own rules. The ends don't justify the means. This is not like the threat of the (TNG) Borg, where I could understand that they would cripple them forever. This is a Terrorist with a Nuke (so to speak), so you kill the Terrorist, you don't poison a planet for fifty years. At least there has to be some kind of investigation. Besides that, Sisko acted without orders, on his own. If anyone could make a descision like "Ok, turn that Planet inhospitable for fifty years" it would be the Federation Council. Even then it would be a questionable descision.

    Fun fact I just learned related to this episode while reading something about Voyager. The Maquis raider captained by Chakotay was apparently called the Valjean, which is perhaps not coincidentally linked to Eddington's obsession with Les Miserables. I don't know where in Voyager that ship is named as the Valjean, but I'm actually guessing it was after this episode, which gave them an idea retroactively for its name. I don't even recall a Voyager episode naming that raider, which perhaps means it was in a book or from some other source? Then again my memory on a lot of Voyager episodes is foggy so maybe it was named sometime in the show after all.

    Does anyone know offhand?

    @Peter G.

    The name Valjean is given in season 7's "Repression", the one where Tuvok is controlled by a Bajoran Maquis, and it's almost certainly another homage to Les Miserables.

    @ Chrome,

    "The name Valjean is given in season 7's "Repression", the one where Tuvok is controlled by a Bajoran Maquis, and it's almost certainly another homage to Les Miserables."

    Thanks for the find. "Repression" aired 3.5 years after "For the Uniform", so it therefore must have been an intentional homage to this episode. Cool, nice to know they had continuity from DS9 in mind, including the legacy of Eddington.

    This episode had great potential and was very entertaining, but it slashed up a lot of good characters. Sisko did an excellent job explaining why Eddington was a traitor (he spied on Starfleet and gave away secrets and technology). It was unnecessary and out of character to turn Eddington into a mass murderer, and we don't hear enough of Eddington's side of the story. We could use some more information about what motivated him to join the Maquis.

    Worse, Sisko becomes a criminal and his entire crew are accomplices. Even if we take the implausible assumption that no one died when the weapon was used, no reasonable court could possibly conclude that instantly displacing thousands of people from their homes is anything but a crime. At the very least, Sisko and his crew would be dishonorably discharged and sentenced to several years in the Stockade.

    But what is REALLY bad about this episode is that Sisko is not allowed to fail. He whines about never failing in the punching bag scene. To err is human, people grow from their failures. Instead, Sisko is transformed into an uber-villain who compromises all principles to get his man.

    This episode could be great with a different ending. For me, that ending would be the crew going into mutiny and Worf locking Sisko in the Defiant's brig. The Federation reprimands Sisko, demotes him for disobeying orders, and temporarily assigns him to Starfleet Academy. DS9 gets a jerky new CO for a few months (a couple of episodes) and Sisko is put back in charge after doing his penance because the Bajorans can't work with the new CO and start to turn against The Federation. And, oh yeah, The Maquis absolutely tear up The Badlands as Eddington and his crew of hackers rip Cardassian, Federation and Klingon computers to shreds.

    Come to think of it, it could even be more fun if Eddington's successes and Cardassia's weaknesses led to the establishment of an independent, Dominion-allied Maquis state at odds with everyone else!

    @Prince of the Blood
    That would have been awesome we could have had Cardassia conquered by the Dominion maquis alliance early in the war and Dukat leading a government in exile and even force him and Garak to reconcile.

    Kind of odd that people are saying they sympathise with Eddington because of Sisko's actions. Sisko didn't do anything that Eddington hadn't already done, unless you think it doesn't matter because it was only Cardassians. I find myself unable to sympathise with Eddington just because of how smug and annoying he is.

    Sisko trys out being an obsessive psycho path. little does he know you can never beat Janeway in Scorpion equinox or unimatrix zero :)

    I'm fine with what Sisko did it was either that or give the Cardassians a reason to wage a war of extermination against the maquis(which the Dominion later helps them do) besides who here really thinks Eddincton wouldn't have targeted more populous worlds with no way of evacuating even a quarter of its population.
    Since its star trek i'm willing to believe most of the population had their own shuttles.(heck chakotays shuttle had like 40 people on it not counting losses from the caretaker array)and evacuated in time.

    I thought this was a great episode. Too many people have too much sympathy for the Marquis. They have the whole damn Federation to relocate too. It's not like there is a shortage of places to go. The Marquis started using weapons of mass destruction and the Federation is completely in its rights to retaliate in kind. Unless the Marquis are stopped who knows how many more worlds they will poison, Sisko is completely correct in his actions. There comes a time when someone/something has become so dangerous that stopping them "by any means necessary" becomes a viable option. (see: In the Pale Moonlight).
    I for one also found the whole manual Defiant setup interesting, like a Hunt for Red October style operation.
    My only problem with the story was that they should have mentioned earlier that apparently Cardassians have no problem with trilithium resin in their biosphere, because the whole "switching planets" thing seemed rather trite thing to add at the end, like an afterthought.
    One other thing I would have added: Them discussing how the Marquis managed to make a bio weapon and have Sisko et al speculating that the Klingons might have helped them with it which would tie in nicely to the events of Blaze of Glory.

    I thought this episode was terrible. Use of WMD's aside:

    When Sisko was using the punching bag his acting was so over the top that I actually laughed out loud.

    In the opening scene in the Maquis refugee camp, or whatever it was: some guy was soldering (or something -- couldn't quite tell what he was doing. Making a super useful sword, maybe?) indoors next to a table where people were eating. Ever heard of fumes?

    In that scene Eddington told Sisko to put his phaser on the ground. He did. Then he left it there when he beamed out. I would think that in and of itself would subject him to disciplinary action -- leaving a weapon for a terrorist.

    The whole Les Mis thing -- so many problems. The conversation between Sisko and Dax about it was just weird. I understand why Sisko and Eddington would be familiar with it -- they're from earth and it's a classic there. But there are how many planets and civilizations in the federation? Each with how many classic novels or whatever form their art takes? Why would Dax had read Victor Hugo? And what was she saying about The Hunchback of Notre Dame having a weak female lead? It seemed like some kind of inside joke, since it was irrelevant to the plot, but I didn't get it.

    Also, Les Mis itself. I am a huge fan of classic lit. I read it for fun. I read the Hunchback of Notre Dame at some point, although I don't remember it clearly. I could not get through Les Mis, the book (I have seen the musical several times in various venues and love it). It's well over 1,000 pages long, and completely rambling. When I left off around page 200 most of the major characters had not been introduced. I gave it up when there was an entire chapter on what it's like to visit an old battleground that has now become a tourist attraction.

    Which is to say: Sisko could not have read the book in an hour, which was what the show implied. The issue could have been solved by having Eddington give him a hollowsuite program of the musical, or something. Or a Wikipedia synopsis.

    Rant over. For now.

    @Quarkissnyder - BLESS YOU for bashing this episode on a front OTHER than the WMDs.

    @Quarkissnyder - Sisko's acting in that scene reminded me of Kirk hamming it up. It was bad but it was enjoyably bad.

    It's funny. People get strange ideas about what's 'good acting' and 'bad acting' based, I suppose, on what they think is a realistic portrayal of how someone in that situation would behave and speak. This sort of analysis discards any possibility of *heightened* acting, where the actor is not being realistic but is rather theatrically altering reality for some effect. Avery Brooks does this sort of thing, and by now I'm fairly convinced this is why many people think he's no good. The standard TV sensibility of doing what the script says and no more has gone beyond lazy convention to being often expected of actors. Where I come from, 'good acting' means the actor believes what he's saying and tells the story clearly, which obviously Brooks does. The question of his chosen style is a fine one, but is not the same as wondering whether he's 'hamming it up' or not. Two entirely different subjects.

    That being said, I find that non-actors often have a strange sense even of what is 'realistic.' Is Brooks acting in a way here that a person in real life wouldn't? Think hard before answering, because people in life can behave very strangely, especially when in the heat of passion. Go listen in on people in the world who are angry, and you'll get all sorts of strange behaviors that frankly often look 'fake.' But they're not. We're just all too prone to accept that only 'normalcy' is realistic. Maybe that's why so many people are afraid to be themselves and express themselves freely; because it will 'look weird' to some onlooker. I've walked down the street and heard couples fighting with each other in monotone. If an actor read a scene like that you'd say he was 'bad.' But it's how some people actually behave. So the question is - what is the actor trying to capture in the scene? Did you get the sense that Sisko was angry? That he felt powerless? That the punching bag was being used as Eddington's head, and that the fact that it didn't bleed when hit was making Sisko even angrier? I think that was all there.

    I think it's a fabulous scene, personally. However lest I been seen as partisan I do not actually care for this episode that much, as I see the Les Miz angle as being mostly wasted, and the ending needlessly shoehorned in to fit it.

    At this point I sort of feel like bad acting is acting that takes me out of a scene. For instance, there are some people that can't act (like someone else) at all, but they never take me out of a scene. People who could never in a million years play anyone other than themselves. They could never be a convincing villain for instance. And it comes off wrong when they do anything other than play themselves.

    I don't know if Robert Downey Jr. is a good actor for instance. The only thing I've ever really seen him in is Iron Man and I'm not sure he's actually playing Iron Man or if he's just being Robert Downey Jr. But the point is that it works. And when there's an emotional scene he can sell that. So I don't care if he can or can't be a mousy nerdy shy character (I'm not saying he can't, I'm just saying I don't care)... because he doesn't take me out of a scene.

    You know, when you look at the really best people that play superheroes with very different secret identities the fact that someone can alter their entire persona to switch from a Clark Kent to Superman is quite amazing. Or the girl in Orphan Black that can play a million different characters convincingly in the course of an episode. Well sure, those people are good actors. Very good actors.

    But in the course of a series or an episode or a movie... do we need to care about a person's capabilities? No... I think if they can sell the scene, show or episode they are doing... it doesn't really matter how great they are. And that said, Avery's acting almost never takes me out of the scene. Avery and Sisko sort of merged somewhere along the way... probably before S4's premier. Avery's acting quirks or what have you became part of Sisko. He plays him very consistently and sells emotional scenes (to me). After awhile Sisko just became a person I know and was happy to see each week.

    Your mileage may vary of course.

    I think the Maquis lay firmly in the 'bad guy' camp. Terrorists always think their actions justified.

    David Pirtle: "I think the Maquis lay firmly in the 'bad guy' camp. Terrorists always think their actions justified."

    Star Trek has been willing to consider that terrorists' actions *are* justified in some cases, or occur in a morally complex environment without easy answers. One of DS9's heroes openly identifies as a (former) "terrorist" in a righteous cause.

    Not sure if anyone else noticed, but the ship "Malinche" is named for a Mexican historical figure known for betraying her people and helping the Spaniards.

    Eddington felt written and played too much as a delusional-psychopath-strawman.

    Brooks is the typical Shakespearian actor: more interested in what his words sound like and what the rhythm is than in what he's actually supposed to be conveying. He is the weakest link in this show, after one-note-Keiko.

    Just a word for this episode: WMD
    Anything else to add to "Sisko is a bioterrorist searching for revenge regardless of thousands of CIVILIANS" and "his crew is a load of crap(py) and fanatic PUPPETS, only ABLE TO PUSH A BUTTON and RELEASE THE POISON"? Puppets executing oders without inserting brain is the greatest BLASPHEMY in Trek world and a leit-motiv in Nuremberg Trials. Oh, yes, we are sure that all civilians were evaquated, we believe to this YATI but... Is Sisko morally able to take the RISK OF A GENOCIDE for a partial bluff? WOW!

    Where is a LILY SLOANE shouting "BULLSHIT! ... Where were your evolved sensibilities then?" to a Starfleet's captain when we need her?

    I subscribe any word of Captain Olli and Cade and, as said Verdeta "I assure you, Gene Roddenberry turned over in his grave."

    The worst crime of this episode is that only 5 fuckin' mins can erase the most intense Trek series, all his carachters, the Federation, the Milky Way. Once upon a time, Ripley decided to nuke the LW-426 and Vasquez supported her: the "aliens" were a sort of 8472 but... I liked to think that this approach was absolutely out of Trek canon. Until I saw a Starfleet captain release a WMD on a planet populated by civilians, and no one saying a FUCKING WORD. Oh, yes, the final Sisko-Jadzia dialogue is the most DISGUSTING thing I've ever seen on ST.
    *DAX: Rotflmao, we poisoned dat silly planet. Have u noticed it to the Starfleet?
    *SISKO: I give a shit of the Starfleet, cuz am loyal to the Starfleet. And, mainly... I WON DA MATCH! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
    *DAX. Lol, who cares! You're right! Mwahahahahahahahahah!
    Yes, they were victims on Solosos III: Sisko, Dax, Kira, Worf and Nog... No repentance, no doubts.... Nothing.... Are we sure that this wasn't the Mirror Universe's Sisko? Anyway R.I.P. Worf, you dishonored yourself: Fek'lhr and the Gre'thor is waiting for you.
    Just a word for this episode: WMD



    It's a gigantic BUT...
    We all know that ST episodes have controversies also. It's to encourage debate, doubts, and to avoid to depict a "utopia of perfect and boring always-right super-perfect-humans"... It's ok. Sometimes captains should be a dick, but should they be a Javert/Ahab/Mass Murdereres? We all know that, as Adam and Eve lost their innocence with the SNAKE, Star Trek lost its "virginity" with the COBRAS (Cardassians... take a look to their symbol). Nothing was so "straightforward" after Cardassian. Nothing. To be a Trekkie became harder: more than utopian dreamers, trekkies look like lawyers, facing YATIs, controversies, captains doing weird things... Oh My Prophets! On Voyager it became a 24-hours long work! Gimme latinum, Kathryn!

    So... the gigantic BUT. We are accustomed to the authors who blink their eyes to us, who poke us, who bother us, who create silly FANSERVICE for us. Worf (not) speaking about Klingon's crest in "Tribble and tribble-ations" is no longer no less than a joke. Genial, but a titanic YATI and a joke. A nonsense to serve the fans.

    And... if the end of THIS EPISODE WAS A POKE, A HUGE PUNCH TO US? A WAY TO TEST OUR REACTION? Is our critical sense ON? Or we eat the shit and call it chocolate only because they said "it's chocolate"?
    After disgust, my doubts started reading a comment above. It invite us to reflect to the meaning of that starship's name "MALINCHE". A Federal starship wearing a name that, in Latin America, is the ANTONOMASIA OF BETRAYER.
    SO? Is this episode real? Is it a bad joke? I think it is a test. Is Sisko and his crew a bunch of cynical puppets and potential mass-murderers? Are the BASIC principles of the Federation a joke? Is the Federation a joke populated my billions of malinches? No court-martial?
    Why the fuckin' hell PETER ALLAN FIELDS destroyed his work and condemned all of his carachters into this mass of WAR CRIMINALS?

    I'm bored to be a lawyer for ST, this time I wannabe the judge. The only thing that can save Fields, the author of DUET (the author of DUET, the most intense and best episode ever -IMHO- into Trek universe), is that HE WANTED TO TRIGGER OUR STRONG REACTIONS. This episode is a FAKE, is a test for us. "Duet" was a punch, "For The Uniform" is a direct punch on our faces. To see our reaction. Our VIOLENT REACTION to this PROFANITY AGAINST RODDENBERRY.
    He was brave to use a fake episode to poke us, inserting it in the DS9 story. Really brave... Who else can ruin his work breaking the fourth wall in a so bad way, just to yell to us "Hey, are you still awake?". He had reactions, tons.
    I read on the net. People saying that Fields pissed on Roddenberry's grave and deserved decapitation with a rusty batleth, people yelling unrepeatable things, other people angry as a rhino etc... So, it seems that he did the right thing and was really brave (and a bit fool): yes, we are awake: chocolate is chocolate, shit is shit, ans Sisko can't be a cynical mass murderer. Or in the contrary, Captain Braxton can restore the timeline.
    To the end, Eddington was captured (as shown in "Blaze of Glory"), but we will never know how. Because I REFUSE to believe that what happended in the end of this episode was real.

    Dear Mr. PETER ALLAN FIELDS, I hope a day you'll read this. I think you were really brave to poke us using a canon episode. You left some clues, somebody was able to rescue 'em (the USS Malinche, genial!). I understood. You would to test our WILD reactions to this prophanity and you had. Now, 20 years after, you can reveal your TRICK. I can't believe that an author that conceived that dramatic masterpiece (DUET), can be so psycho to conceive an idiotic blockbuster action movie. You tested us, congratulations. Genial joke. I can continue to watch DS9, without seeing the "genocide mark" in Sisko's (and his crew's) skins, only considering that this was a in-joke. Outside the canon.

    As I said, this time I wanna play the judge. So, this is the ONLY EXPLANATION that makes sense to this episode to exist. I hope you'll confirm it.

    Otherwise, you are condemned to be, along with all your crew, the people who betrayed Roddenberry's HOPE. Hope. You ruined a whole work in 5 mins... But I won't to think so.

    And that's all about this FAKE episode.

    The Judge,

    Don't mean to bust your bubble, but no genocide was committed here. He made them move, which in the 24th century isn't that big a deal.

    Roddenbury's boy Kirk committed the genocide.

    It is funny that DS9 would do a revenge story within a year of First Contact. I actually do agree with "The Judge" that someone should have called Sisko out the same way Picard was called out. I can get on board the whole ends justify the means argument, but I think i.e. "In the Pale Moonlight" handles it better.

    I rewatch the entire series of DS9 once every two or three years. I'm doing so again now. I just finished watching "For the Uniform". I watched it when it premiered in 1997. 20 years later in 2017, it still angers me. The lack of consequences for Sisko. But it is not just Sisko that angers me. It is the other main cast characters as well.

    Worf (in any other TNG/DS9 episode except this one) would never allow Sisko to do what he did. Worf was willingly exiled from the Klingon Empire rather than betray his oath to Starfleet. There is no way Worf would allow Sisko to bully him into poisoning an entire planet (on the orders of a man who was already breaking orders before this). I know this because in the season 4 finale, Worf stopped Garak from launching an unprovoked attack on the Founder Planet. (Oh, and the consequences for that for Garak... 6 months jail time.)

    Every single time I watch it, I just want an admiral to call Sisko up and say... something! Anything! Something like "I should court-martial you for what you did! But you're too important to the Bajoran people, so I have no choice but let you remain in command of DS9." We don't even get that though. Probably because an admiral already told Sisko almost those exact words just a few episodes before this episode.

    Season 5 is weird.

    A few episodes before this, Kiera beats the hell out of numerous security guards and almost vents the atmosphere in a part of the station (which would have possibly killed many people). Then immediately after that she breaks into and erases security files, steals a Runabout, and endangered a baby that is not hers. Nothing happens.

    A few episodes before that, Miles sabotages the station, knocks Odo unconscious, and knowingly creates a weapon that could kill the Prophets. Nothing happens.

    A few episodes before that, Worf sabotages an entire planetary weather grid. Nothing happens.

    And later this season, other things will happen with no character consequences. I know this has happened in previous seasons (and in future seasons), but season 5 was especially bad in that department. And this episode is the worst example of it.

    SIgh... okay. Venting over. This is the only episode of DS9 gets my blood boiling. I won't see this episode again for another two or three years when I rewatch the entire series again. I can move on to the next episode now, lol.

    It's kind of like Sisko burning a forest to stop a hiding thief. You're not supposed to think Sisko's entirely justified, but you should at least acknowledge that his results were not that disruptive to the big picture in the eyes of Starfleet.

    @Chrome - Like spamming an entire website to get to somebody who pissed you off? :P

    @Chrome - I was just joking about Yanks' secret admirer that keeps mucking up the comments for this episode.


    I know that in the (storytelling) history of Trek, Starfleet tends to overlook insubordinate behavior/prime directive violations/criminal actions when people get the job done in the end.

    Almost every (or actually every) main cast Trek character has done it at least once. And from a TV producer prospective, it makes sense. Having a drama where everybody followed the rules isn't very interesting. But having a drama where everybody was rightfully punished for breaking the rules wouldn't work either (can't court-martial/jail the entire cast).

    So I get it. Why did (action-X) happen? Because it's a TV show. For the sake of storytelling, things needed to happen and those things couldn't have lasting and proper consequences. I get it. But to borrow a pro-wrestling term, from a "kayfabe" perspective, I wish they would/could do a better job of giving the illusion of consequences.

    It could be as simple as someone saying "If you do it again, you out of here." Which is what typically happens when someone disobeys orders on DS9. It has happened to Sisko a few times on the show. Maybe it has happened so often to Sisko that they didn't want to do it again for this episode as well.

    In kayfabe, Starfleet would court-martial Sisko and Eddington. But you can't have Sisko in a Federation prison cell for the next 50 TV seasons of DS9. So nothing happens. I get it. I just wish the writing for this episode wasn't so frustratingly-bad.


    Thank you for your reply. I think the showrunners are trying to push the idea that when comes to the Marquis, there is no clean way out. Even Starfleet's finest, Picard and the Enterprise, are stymied by this group.

    If Sisko isn't getting punished by Starfleet, I think that shows how desperate Starfleet has become. If there's any issue with this episode, it's that Starfleet's need for actions like Sisko's weren't illustrated well enough.


    I guess one of my other main issues is that the writers (over the years) forgot what the issue was originally about. Originally it was an (obvious) allegory for the forced relocation of the American Indians. The Federation was the American government. The colonists were (literally) the American Indians. Would the mistakes of the past be repeated in the future? It was an interesting premise (although the episode itself hampered by that nonsense ending involving Wesley and the Traveler).

    This episode, on the other hand, was only about Sisko and Eddington. It made no effort to tell is about anything new about the Maquis/Colonists. It was simply about Sisko and Eddington. Once Eddington was captured, Sisko stopped caring about the Marquis. Until a few episodes later when an intercepted message addressed to Eddington got Sisko's attention again.

    Nothing new about the relationship between The Federation and the Maquis/Colonists can be learned by watching this episode. The only Maquis member we actually see or hear is Eddington. Except for Eddington, every Maquis/Colonists in this episode (on the ships or on the planets) are faceless and nameless.

    Out of all the episode that involved the Maquis/Colonists (TNG, DS9, and the first episode of VOY), this episode was the most poorly written. And that's saying something considering how bad the ending of TNG's "Journey's End" was (lol).


    I agree to the extent that the Starfleet-Maquis was too personal in this episode when they really could've done more to show the ongoing Starfleet-Maquis conflict that brought the Melinche into this. That said, this is almost directly a continuation of season 4's "To the Cause" where the Maquis' conflict was well-illustrated, and the culmination of events led to Sisko promising Eddington he'd catch him.

    I also don't think DS9 hung onto the Native American allegory for the Maquis, and even TNG only really used it for the "Journey's End" episode, after which the Maquis really stand for an alternative Federation lifestyle.

    "I guess one of my other main issues is that the writers (over the years) forgot what the issue was originally about. Originally it was an (obvious) allegory for the forced relocation of the American Indians"

    The theme of that TNG episode was about the forced relocation of the American Indians. At the end of the episode, they decide not to force their relocation, and that is the end of any meaningful parallel with American Indians.

    With no relocations, the Maquis were about people on the boundaries of civilizations who suddenly found themselves under different rulers. If you're searching for historical parallels, you're better off looking at the "old world" of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, etc., where people living on the borders would find their home suddenly placed in a different nation without them having any say. If you've ever studies European history, you know that sort of thing happened regularly.

    @methane @Chrome

    Yes. Meaningful parallels with American Indians ended in TNG and DS9 didn't hang onto the allegory. That's exactly why I have an issue with this episode (and many other Maquis episodes as well).

    We had the story with the American Indians, everybody realized what was happening was wrong, and we all learned something. (Good episode overall. Not bad at all... until that Wesley-ending retroactively ruined everything, lol).

    But then the writers forgot all about that for all future Colonists/Maquis episodes.

    One of the (few) things I liked about Voyager was that Chakotay was a descendant of the American Indians. It was someone on the Voyager writing team saying: "Hey, wasn't this Maquis story originally about the American Indians? It was, wasn't it? How about we go back to that, at least a little? Maybe the leader of this stranded Maquis group can be an American Indian."

    Of course Voyager writers quickly forgot about the Maquis-Starfleet conflict very soon after the pilot episode... but that's a separate issue, lol.

    You sound like you wanted to see American Indians in Star Trek...which is fine. But that was never the allegory for the Maquis. The American Indians were in one episode that didn't even have the Maquis in it (the organization was formed afterwards). The writers took an opportunity when setting up the Maquis to do one episode with parallels to the American Indians. That didn't change what the Maquis were about.

    The Star Trek writers didn't hide the inspiration for the Maquis...and it wasn't American Indians. The Maquis were named after French resistance fighters during World War II. If you don't know history, a peace treaty with Nazi Germany had given a large area of France to Germany, while the rest of France was given an government friendly to Germany. A resistance in France to this redrawing of the map sprung up...which was called the Maquis.

    That is what the Maquis in Star Trek is about...that is what it was always about. Not about the French resistance movement in particular, but about the type of resistance movements that can spring up when borders are redrawn by governments. That is what pretty much every episode that featured the Maquis was about (and remember...the Maquis weren't in the American Indian episode of TNG).

    The fact that Chakotay joined the Maquis doesn't change that. If Chakotay had been Brazilian it wouldn't have made the Maquis about Brazil. Torres being part of the Maquis didn't make the Maquis about Klingons.

    If you want to be reminded of what the Maquis were originally about, you should rewatch their original appearance in the Star Trek Universe...which was in the Deep Space Nine episodes "Maquis" parts 1 & 2.


    I have been constantly refer to the Maquis as Colonists/Maquis. The Maquis are Colonists. And the first Colonists (Federation-Cardassian DMZ Colonists) we see in Trek were the American Indians. We were introduced to the Federation-Cardassian Treaty with the American Indians. And the Federation-Cardassian Treaty is the whole reason for the Maquis to exist.

    You're giving me the history of the real life Maquis. But you're not giving me the history of the Trek Maquis. The history of the Trek Maquis traces back to the Federation-Cardassian Treaty. And the first instance of the Federation-Cardassian Treaty is the TNG episode "Journey's End" with the American Indian Colonists.

    Just because the writers felt like giving everything a French name later on and started making bad references to Les Misérables doesn't mean anything special. Other than the writers thought it would be cool to name everything after something French. Did you know that Chakotay's Maquis Raider in the Voyager pilot episode was called Val Jean? You know, because Eddington wouldn't shut up about Les Misérables. So the Voyager writers must have said "Oh, let's make another terrible reference to Les Misérables."

    The reasons for the Maquis to exist are the same reasons why we have the original conflict in TNG's Journey's End with the American Indians Colonists. That's the history of the Maquis/Colonists.

    @ Matt,

    So...because all Maquis are colonists, all colonists are Maquis? Except they arent, only a few of them are. They have nothing to do with the American Indians. Those would be the least likely people to have anything to do with the Maquis, and in fact we're specifically told in Voyager and that Chakotay is exceptional among them and that the others wouldn't approve of his path. And it's not even true that all of the Maquis are colonists, as there are some Federation citizens who go join them. methane's comment is on point.



    This quality of these s**tposts is improving. Can I vote that this last one stays up? I actually enjoyed it.

    I agree with Elliot in that the Maquis make my blood boil. For every planet the Cardasians conquered, the Klingons conquered ten, but they didn't seem to have to endure and placate a Maquis.

    I think what Sisko did with the dilithium resin is overstated. He didn’t totally poison the planet or use a WMD. He made the planet uninhabitable for humans. Uninhabitable for humans does not mean uninhabitable, destroyed, ruined or dead. Cardassians moved there at the end of the episode. There was no genocide. (Not all mass killings are genocides either) Eddington said his actions would make the Maquis refugees, not corpses. Instead of tiptoeing around, Sisko used the Maquis’s own tactics against them in order to draw out Eddington’s desire to play the martyr-hero. It was a military command decision made in war time, not a diplomatic decision. What Sisko did was actually very kind and fair. He could have just blown up one Maquis planet per hour until the terrorists gave themselves up. Instead he took a planet in return for the planet the Maquis took.

    The Maquis are mainly silly people. They got the short end of the stick in a territorial dispute between massive interstellar powers. But they were offered recompense and support for their loss. Instead of cutting their losses and going on with their lives they decided to engage in guerilla warfare and get themselves killed for nothing.

    I like Sisko being worked so up on Eddington because Sisko symbolizes loyalty and a "family man" and Eddington wasn't very loyal. This is probably obvious but I just wanted people to understand that the reason why the director made Sisko scream at Eddington was because he is basically a manifestation of loyalty.

    If the Maki had any brains, they would have already requested to become members of the Klingon empire. After the Klingon - cardassian war. Or before.

    In any case, what Sisko and the Makee did is Race cleansing.

    Cleansing is not murder. Nevertheless, it is a serious crime to indimidate mass populations from leaving an area. If its a war crime in our century, it certainly is a war crime in Star Trek.
    The Makees are not an official government. They do not represent the entire human population of the planet Sisko cleansed. it is obsurd to assign massive responsibility for the acts of a minority / or majority of terrorists.

    We are talking about a Federation that was considering giving Worf to the Klingons for firing on a decloaked vessel during a battle. Based on his "state of mind". Well, what was the state of mind of Sisko?

    Stop defending the religious lunatic and ask yourselves. What would Picard do?

    "Stop defending the religious lunatic and ask yourselves. What would Picard do? "

    He's not Picard! (cut to Q on the ground)

    *datface's accordion*
    *datface's accordion*
    *datface's accordion*

    As many have already pointed out, the extreme last 10 minutes is a slap to the face of any intelligent Trek-fan. I do buy Sisko as a villain, after all he's been one since mid Season 3 anyway, at least according to his acting. But I find it repulsive to see Worf (and everybody else on the Defiant for that matter) following Siskos orders without hesitating (I guess they were scared of Psycho-Sisko?).

    The fact that Starfleet doesn't even raise an eye brow is also utterly ludicrous. Normally, I let the lack of reprimands for violations slip, but POISONING A PLANET WITH HUMAN CHILDREN ON IT? Gimme a break. They'll have to work hard to build up the sympathy I felt for the characters before this episode.

    Thank God that Quark, Garak and Dukat didn't have anything to do with this.


    "Stop defending the religious lunatic and ask yourselves. What would Picard do? "

    Well, he would probably just sit back and watch as the whole planet's population dies and then pat himself on the back for being such a truly devoted follower of his religious devotion to the Prime Directive.

    Doubt me? Watch TNG: "Homeward".

    I really liked the dynamic between Sisko and Eddington here -- good acting job by both. The episode turns into their personal vendetta and Eddington is an intelligent and philosophical terrorist. The "Les Miserables" was a nice analogy to add to the plot.

    This is one of those episodes where Avery Brooks' style of overacting works as well. It doesn't address the bigger issue of the Maquis -- something I've always struggled to understand is how they could possibly put up much of a fight vs. the Federation and Cardassians (thinking of how costly space travel and making biogenic weapons should be). The other thing that bothered me is where were the Cardies in this episode?? Should we not have heard from Dukat or some offer to help Sisko? (Am I missing something?)

    The holo-transporter was neat -- it served to make the barbs traded between Sisko and Eddington that much more meaty.

    I was a bit surprised that Eddington gave himself up after Sisko poisoned the planet -- I guess he truly does care for the Maquis (martyr) and is really doesn't have anything against Sisko primarily. Sisko shows he has balls and maybe that seed planted here blooms in "In the Pale Moonlight".

    I thought it was great to see how Sisko reacted to having been fooled / his bad judgment of Eddington. He won't let it go -- it's his obsession just as Kirk had his obsessions ("The Conscience of the King" and of course "Obsession"). I like the personal vendetta here as a premise and we finally get the follow up to "For the Cause".

    The manual launching (all the verbalizations) of the Defiant didn't do anything for me -- it did seem like a dumb move for Sisko to try to take on Eddington again with the ship in the sorry state it was in (nearly ran into the station!). I also thought transporters weren't working on the Defiant but apparently they were working when dealing with the Cardassian transport. Convenient that the tractor beam would work when so many other things weren't apparently.

    Good enough for 3 stars for "For the Uniform" -- So Sisko surmises that Eddington is re-enacting Les Miz and that him being the villain is the right approach. Not bad, I must say. But again, there are no repercussions -- I find this slightly anti-Trekkian that Sisko would poison a whole world. I quite liked Eddington getting under Sisko's skin but trying to emphasize his beef is not with the captain. Nice to tie up this Eddington loose end although what of the Maquis? I liked the personal vendetta thing for Sisko.

    A truly gripping cat-and-mouse game between Sisko and Eddington leads to a very controversial choice that I am personally fine with. Though it is convenient that the colonists switch places at the end, Sisko sunk to the level of the Maquis. Eddington can't really point the finger at him, can he? Though not perfect, "For the Uniform" is superbly crafted drama.

    3.5 stars.

    2 stars. Yawn. Not my cup of tea.

    Never cared for Eddington. He was used well in Blaze of Glory but nowhere else in my opinion. Didn’t buy Sisko’s personal grudge with Eddington. Felt very contrived.

    The whole hour was pretty lacking

    This episode is a test for trekkies. Nothing more, nothing less.

    If your brain was switched-off, it was all ok and the dear old Ben was the dear old Ben.

    If you inserted brain, you understood. Do you remember Deanna's test to gain a pip? In this episode, trekkies are Deanna, and the TV is the holodeck.

    People who didn't understood and justified the WMD on a planet, was condemned as war criminal. The sentence is: 100 years on Rura Penthe watching any single day Wanker Texass Ranger, never more Star Trek for you. Only Chuck Norris roundkicking you.

    That's my sentence... Am Gene Roddenberry from Genesis planet.

    uhhhhhhh what. Really enjoyed this episode untill Sisko and his crew committed war crimes. And then everyone just kind of shrugs??? Was waiting for the reveal that the planetary poisening was just a holographic fakeout......... that would have been forgivable. Instead this episode turns into a character assassination of Sisko and everyone else following his orders. Just a terrible ending and a betrayal of thr whole idea of The Federation. I like the shades of grey DS 9 brings to the show but this is just full on villain territory for Sisko.

    Watching and Commenting:

    --Sisko and Eddington have both gone over the edge. No fun for everyone else in the vicinity.

    --Nog and his ears are the new com system? Not a bad idea, O'Brien.

    --Procedure, procedure, procedure. Steps 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . . A to Z . . . focus, focus, focus. Goal oriented. Go, dog, go. Get it done.

    --Les Miserable and Javert. That's some explicit referencing there, from Eddington, for us dumbos. Just in case we didn't get the message the first time he explicitly explained that he thought Sisko was taking this too personally, or when the other Captain suggested it, or when Sisko was beating the heck outta that punching bag.

    --And Eddington reappears to suggest, explicitly, once again, that Sisko is obsessed.

    --Now, Sisko explicitly explains how Eddington equals Valjean. "How does it help us?" asks Jadzia. It doesn't help you, Jadzia. It helps us dumbos understand that this episode deliberately references Les Miserable, and lemme see . . . Sisko = Javert, so Eddington = Valjean. Ok. Got it.

    --Sisko deliberately putting on his "villain" face, poisoning a planet, and reminding me of "Our Man Bashir" - and giving Eddington the chance to sacrifice himself. Did you know this happens in Les Miserable? Yes. Valjean does it.

    This wasn't a bad story. A little more subtly could have made it an excellent story. As is, below average. Wow.

    Having read the commentary:

    -Sisko poisoning the planet . . . eh, I was willing to accept that. I mean, it wasn't a good thing, but it worked to stop what would have been a much bigger disaster, had Eddington hung on to his bio weapons. And he captured Eddington. Plus the game playing between Sisko and Eddington was the best part of the ep.

    --Yes, it is definitely legit to criticize Sisko on the planet poisoning, but I'm guessing we can come up with similarly questionable behavior for all our ST Captains. They're the Captains. They make the big decisions and they live with them. It's why they get paid the big bucks (figuratively speaking).

    --I was more bothered by the lighthearted shrugging off of the "villainy," than by the action itself. A little humility and self reflection would have been more in order, definitely. And the contrived "see, it's all ok now!" nature of the final log entry was bad, also. It would have been better to show the decision as the questionable, gray area, dangerous, difficult command decision that it was.

    --There's some discussion above about what constitutes terrible acting: When it pulls me out of the scene, when my primary awareness becomes "what the actor is doing and saying" instead of "what the character is doing and saying," that's what I think of as terrible acting.

    --I always get annoyed when I'm spoon-fed the theme. This ep practically drives a feeding tube down our throats. Blech.

    So this fellow Eddington is a master hacker who implanted a virus that left the Defiant and the Station vulnerable to complete destruction? Wow. He’s a genius and the Federation is inept.

    So there’s a toxic gas that only kills Cardassians (no other life) and it works slowly enough to allow them all to evacuate? And there also just so happens to be a toxic gas on the Defiant that only kills humans (no other life) and it works slowly enough to allow them all to evacuate?

    Forget about the premise that Sisko uses WMD with no assurance that people won’t die, even though there is no ticking time bomb scenario (Eddington having repeatedly stated that he doesn’t kill innocents, and he spares Sisko more than once); the episode is an utter contrivance. Zero stars.

    I've no real problem with what Sisko did. He forced Eddington to fight on his own terms, rather than chasing the Maquis around the DMZ like a lolloping old bloodhound. Result: Eddington in custody, CW precursors seized, Maquis dealt a serious (if not crippling) blow, Federation credibility restored.

    His personal obsession with the problem wasn't exactly healthy, but it certainly kept him driven, and seemingly penetrated the morass of woolly philosophy that seems to crippled Starfleet's ability to act decisively in its own best interests.

    Hate this episode. Watched it yesterday. I enjoyed the whole Moby Dick, Les MIserables narrative and enjoyed Kenneth Marshall's acting. But I agree with the comment:
    "Instead this episode turns into a character assassination of Sisko and everyone else following his orders"
    I don't give a damn about Sisko, somehow he seems like a war criminal/James Bond like villain, but hte other characters on board ? Really ? No one is gonna protest ? Not a word, a comment, a protest at least just for the records ?
    That goes especially towards Kira and Worf.

    Nog - his a cadet and probably afraid of the whole situation and I can believe he wouldn't say a word especially question the actions of the great Sisko.

    Jadzia - I always thought she was the Spock of the group, an Asari Matriarch with knowledge and experience balancing out Sisko's temper. But maybe it's because Sisko reminds her of Curzon, she herself had a revenge rmapage on her hands not so long ago, and she is in love with Worf and love makes You dumb and blind.

    Worf every episode ever: "Honor, honor, honor, honor, hodor, hodor, hodor, there is no honor in killing the innocent and unarmed"
    Kira every episode ever: "They killed 15 million civilian Bajorans. Oh the horror, oh the humanity.... I mean the Bajoranity"

    Sisko - Hey guys, would You kindly nuke that settlement fulf of unarmed civillians for me ?
    Kira and Worf - Sure, no problem, we're cool.

    From Jesus to Saddam Hussein in three episodes? At this point I am certain there were two completely separate writing teams with polar-opposite directions for the show. I've noticed a hit / miss / hit / miss pattern developing, but more than that, a real sense of being in a different reality which I mentioned before, a sense of being weirded out. Bajor must not enter the Federation or it will be destroyed, but its fine to make a maquis colony uninhabitable with chemical weapons. It really seems like separate groups of people were simply not talking to each other or watching what was going on between episodes.

    Besides that, great episode and further down the rabbit hole of darkness. I only wish Dax hadn't been so chipper and at least made a show of holding Sisko's feet to the fire, or someone had resisted just a bit on the fire order. If the bridge crew had been any other race, I feel certain the story would have been about a brave mutineer.

    Archideus - "honor, honor, honor, hodor, hodor" LOL!!!!! Made me laugh out loud hard!

    Wow! Brooks' acting is terribly overdone (much more than Mulgrew's) and his decision at the end was incredibly wrong. Some DS9 fans love this "dark side", I do not. Picard is special, Kirk is special ("A Taste of Armageddon" is a completely different situation), even Janeway because they don't do things like this. Sisko is now like any number of petty dictators on Earth today. Wow, different (sarcasm).

    To get to the point, there are other less destructive ways of removing settlers from a planet. They're not going anywhere, bring a Federation ground force to stun them all. Did Sisko really need to contaminate an entire planet? I feel sure that flora and fauna were affected as well, even killed soooo . . . no respect for life? Sisko is a POS, I don't understand why anyone thinks he's a capable commander. And nobody even came close to protesting this decision. I knew stupid Worf wouldn't, but what about anyone else?? (side note: DS9 has ruined the Worf character) I think Sisko appeals to the aggressive side of some Trek fans who grow tired of peace and diplomacy.

    I keep watching DS9 episodes because they fall right in the middle of the H&I channel's lineup of 5 ST series episodes shown in a row, so I tolerate it, but damn DS9 suuuuucks. Once in a long while there is a decent episode. VOY has better episodes, as well as Enterprise, much better, and that's saying something.

    1/2 star.

    One more thing . . .

    I find it ironic that the writers use Les Miserables to help tell this miserable tale. When reading Les Mis I could not suspend my disbelief that Jean Valjean would be imprisoned for 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread (another 14 years for trying to escape). Likewise I could not suspend my disbelief that there would be NO consequences for Sisko! Sorry but that destroys the credibility, believe-ability of any story. You get the feeling that the writers/show-runners for DS9 aren't really trying to be credible. They obviously didn't care when they created this drivel so neither do I.

    Really, this is the last one . . .

    Nog, WTF? He looks 12 years old. Couldn't they have hired an older actor? I mean essentially Nog is in college, right? Oh, but that might make it more believable.

    @ Lew Stone
    While this is a pretty terrible episode the clearly state that the stuff is only poisonous for Cardassians.

    "When reading Les Mis I could not suspend my disbelief that Jean Valjean would be imprisoned for 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread ."
    Well, may sound crazy to you but even though harsh that was a crime (vol par effraction) you could get 5 years for.

    Still terrible episode. My personal most hated DS9 episode for sure.

    I really loved DS9, though.

    @ Lew Stone,

    "When reading Les Mis I could not suspend my disbelief that Jean Valjean would be imprisoned for 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread (another 14 years for trying to escape)."

    As Booming mentioned, you don't have to suspend your disbelief about this, because it isn't science fiction: it's a depiction of how law was actually enforced. The book is literally about an extremely punitive legal system and its lack of mercy towards those trod underfoot. Disbelieving this one premise basically undermines the entire book, because you'd essentially be saying "naw, the government couldn't have been that harsh" and you end up missing the point: Valjean had a *right* to be angry, and yet still had to let go of anger.


    "Still terrible episode. My personal most hated DS9 episode for sure.

    I really loved DS9, though."

    Hear hear.

    You know what's the biggest sin that this episode commits? It totally undermines the powerful story of Sisko's dilemma in "In the Pale Moonlight". That episode is a masterpiece of storytelling, but it just doesn't work with a guy-who-poisons-planets-to-feed-personal-vendettas as the main character.

    Plus the episode wasn't that bad. Catching Eddington was fun. Portraying him like the rogue mastermind. Compared to profit and lace which is just bad and insulting from start to finish this could have been a good episode. It is maybe the only episode I actually hate. Bad Star Trek episodes are normally eye rolling bad but this... made me angry.

    @ Booming and Peter G.

    I'm know the French Royal regime in the 18th century was harsh, hence the revolution, but 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread? Cite your historical source and I'll believe it. Otherwise, it's simply hyperbolic fiction written by Hugo to gain sympathy for the Republican cause (of which I agree wholeheartedly), however, I still think Hugo was embellishing regarding the actual event of a man getting that much time in prison for stealing food. I could be wrong, but again, cite the historical source and I'll give you props. Otherwise my disbelief is NOT suspended for Les Mis. and DS9 still sucks :).

    Okay, even though I'm trying to study for an exam in Principles of Human Development I had to look up this Les Mis question before it drove me nuts.

    @ Booming and Peter G. You are correct gentlemen. I was mistaken, Jean V. was imprisoned for B & E as Booming stated. Five years for breaking and entering, as well as theft, is believable, in that context (pre-revolutionary France). Suspension of disbelief sustained! For Les Mis, not DS9.

    The only issue really is that his decision isn't given the proper weight by the episode. Poisoning the planet is supposed to be a plan to make Sisko "look like the bad guy", so it would've made more sense if it only looked like he poisoned it. The fact that the plan goes from pretending to actually doing puts the plan itself into question. Sisko and Dax aren't chessmasters catching Eddington in a trap, they're literally committing the crimes Eddington is accusing them of. So yeah, it's narratively an odd choice.

    @ Lew Stone,

    From what I recall of the novel Valjean is convicted not only of breaking and entering, and theft, but even more specifically of damaging the window pane to get in, so property damage as well, for which I assume he had no money to pay restitution. And unless I'm mistaken that was back in the age where debtors went to prison as well for inability to pay.

    Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 3:21pm (UTC -5)

    "You know what's the biggest sin that this episode commits? It totally undermines the powerful story of Sisko's dilemma in "In the Pale Moonlight". That episode is a masterpiece of storytelling, but it just doesn't work with a guy-who-poisons-planets-to-feed-personal-vendettas as the main character."

    Maybe ITPM doesn't deserve all the worshiping it gets then, eh?

    I "worship" for different reasons than most. Sisko isn't "trying to live with himself" at the end, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing the entire time.

    This is just more of the same.... Sisko being a bad ass to get the damn job done.

    I disagree in "In the pale moonlight" it was a case of "carry the dog to the hunt" for Sisko. Garak basically had to trick him into doing it. Plus Starfleet gave the plan the go ahead.

    In this episode he apparently snaps and goes full blown psychopath for a few minutes, Starlfeet didn't agree to anything and there is no anguish or emotional devastation at the end, he behaves more like a naughty teenager who got away with his prank when he talks with Dax after "incident".

    I hate hate hate it!!! :D

    To be fair, in "Moonlight" Garak only tricked Sisko into being an accessory to murder. Sisko was perfectly willing to do all the other questionable stuff without anyone "tricking" him.

    Then again, in that episode, the entire Alpha Quadrant (including the Romulans!) was in grave danger. Sisko basically had no choice. And even though both Sisko and the viewers realize that there's no reasonable alternatives, the episode brilliantly shows him struggle with every additional step he makes.

    Yanks called the Sisko of that episode a bad-ass. Well, I can't argue with that. You gotta be made of some stern stuff to be able to do what's needed to be done, even when hate doing it.

    Quite unlike the Sisko of this episode here, who acts like an immature teen who throws a tantrum when he can't get his prize. That's not bad-assery, from whatever angle we look at it. And Sisko should have totally been court-martialed after this incident.

    Sisko while pinching the heavy bag:
    “Is he a changeling? No! Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No!! Is he a wormhole alien? No!!! He’s just a man! Like me! Yargh! Bah!! And he beat me!”

    Holy over-acting Batman!

    I will say one thing defending this episode, despite all of the agreement thus far on its problems:

    "Holy over-acting Batman!"

    This is one of the regular complaints against Sisko, and in this episode specifically. I've got to say - have you ever seen someone really angry, like, punching through a wall angry? They look like this. Or at least some people do. I'm not sure what's over-acting about blowing your top while portraying a character who's blowing his top.

    A lot of people have funny ideas about what is good or bad acting vis a vis whether it's believable or not, but one observation I've had over the years is I don't think people are necessarily all that aware of what is realistic. More likely people are used to very slick presentations of anger in film and TV and are comparing a 'messy scene' to that. People in real life can run out of breath, or have explosive fits of speech, or have their face turn bright red and puff out their cheeks, and even go "Yargh!" Maybe we can criticize this on aesthetic grounds; like maybe arguing that this isn't usually how Trek characters are presented, especially the heroes. I see where people are coming from in critiquing Sisko's characterization in this episode. But I'll defend his angry scene, and actually I think it's the best scene in the episode personally.

    yeah overacting means that the behavior is overblown in the context of the scene. In this scene it makes perfect sense.

    Here is a good example for over acting (especially glaring examples 2:22; 4:13; 11:50)

    I did like the later scene on the bridge (is that what they call it on a space station?) where Sisko says: "There is one other ship in the sector. It's in docking port 3" He doesnt say anything else, just walked to the turbo lift (is that what they call it?) and Dax, Worf and Kira just follow him, no words need spoken.
    Then Sisko says "Defiant!" while still taking off his boxing hand wraps.
    That was cool

    have you ever seen someone really angry, like, punching through a wall angry? They look like this


    No they don't. They come across as genuinely angry and the rants sound less like a stage actor. Seen plenty of people angry - none of them sound as hokey as this actor. There's a reason people are tired of Brooks...

    Damn Sisko you a badass!

    Sisko would nuke the tribbles.

    Starfleet has been shown to overlook certain actions if the ends justify the means. Saying Sisko used a "wmd" is perhaps a bit hyperbolic . He simply made a planet uninhabitable for Humans and gave them plenty of warning. A colony can't have that many people right? A couple of decent sized transports could easily get everyone safely off the planet. Yes, they did wait til the last minute to scramble their ships but it still seems like no one was hurt or killed by Siskos or Eddingtons actions.

    I'm inclined to think that nobody was killed because even Eddington does not accuse Sisko of causing any deaths.

    They still lost their homes. The colonists maybe 50, maybe 50000 are civilians not a military target. Even today that would be considered a war crime.

    Another episode which sadly fell flat for me.

    A huge part of the problem lies in the way Eddington's character is portrayed. He's bland through and through, with his bland voice and bland personality. A freedom fighter (or terrorist, depending on your viewpoint) should be passionate about their cause, but there's no passion and precious little conviction in the way Eddington defends his actions.

    Equally, his arguments are just as invalid as they were in his last appearance. The Marquis actively steals resources from the Federation and is constantly performing acts of war/terror against the Cardassians which could very well trigger another way between the Federation and Cadassia, at a time when the Federation needs all the resources it can muster to deal with the incipient invasion by the Dominion and the ongoing friction with the Klingons. Not to mention that at least some of the Marquis leaders - including Eddington himself - are ex Star Fleet officers and have broken their oaths by defecting, which in turn leads to a lot of secondary direct and indirect impacts on the Federation and it's ability to deal with the various extinction-level threats it's currently facing.

    No matter how you slice it, the Marquis were having an active negative impact on the Federation, and Eddington's rhetoric fell very flat as a result.

    There's also a lot of contrivances in this episode, not least when it comes to Eddington's magical abilities to stay ahead of Star Fleet and Sisko's attempts to catch him. Truth be told, this episode doesn't cast Star Fleet or it's technology in a good light; after a high-level security officer defects, surely there should have been a full review of every system he had access to, as well as a full change of all security codes, etc?

    It's especially laughable, given how easily O'Brien is then able to find two more viruses on DS9 after Eddington manages to spring his "surprise".

    (And again: viruses designed to cripple the Federation's primary defensive point against both the Dominion and Cardassia? Yeah, the Marquis isn't a threat to the Federation...)

    But as ever, the events in this episode are all just window dressings which are designed to make Sisko ever more angry and ever more determined to catch Eddington. Because the writers wanted to shove some classical writings down our throats; I'd more than half expected them to opt for Moby Dick when this plot thread first started, but they instead opted for Les Miserables, or the tale of a policeman who relentlessly pursues a man guilty of a trivial offense.

    The writers do their best to ram home how Sisko is the policeman and Eddington is the man guilty of a trivial offence, but for me, this is very much a false correlation for the reasons outlined above: Eddington has betrayed the Federation, stolen from them, broken his oaths and is actively increasing the risk of causing a new war. In what way is any of that "trivial"?

    Similarly, given how bland Eddington is, it's hard to buy into the idea that he perceives himself as some sort of hero.

    Still, the chase proceeds, and Eddington continues to run circles around Sisko until Sisko decides - shock horror - to become a villain terrible enough to force the "heroic" Eddington to surrender.


    And Sisko does this by rendering an entire planet uninhabitable. Oh, there's some hand-waving to justify this, by having the toxin only be harmful to humans (and having the colonists swap with the similarly affected Cardassian colonies), but this is one of those contrivances I find hard to swallow on any level.

    First, any toxin which affects humans (in this case: Trilithium Resin, as coveted by terrorists around the galaxy) will presumably have the same effect on any species with the same genetic background - cats, dogs, horse, cows, etc. And that's before you consider the local eco-system: how can Sisko be so certain that it won't affect any native lifeforms?

    Then, I find it pretty much impossible to believe that Star Fleet would condone this sort of action, even retrospectively. I know DS9 was all about shades of grey, but this was far too much of a step away from Roddenberry's original vision of the Federation as a liberal and forward thinking society. Especially when you consider that this action was taken to capture just a single man.

    Overall, this episode left a very bad taste in my mouth!

    It’s crazy, I grew up on TOS and TNG and when Sisko fired those missiles, my brain couldn’t comprehend it. I kept thinking, maybe those missiles just had aspartame on them, or it was some kind of optical illusion. Nope, he really did it.

    In Sisko’s defense, Eddington DID start a war by attacking the Malinche. So really, the Federation had been pushed and pushed and pushed and I can see some retaliation being necessary. But that decision coming from Sisko alone is insane to me. He should have be punished severely, and laughing it off at the end was truly the biggest sin this episode committed.

    3/4 seems about right, but there should have been consequences.

    As a self contained thing this episode is ok, as a Star Trek episode this is a horrible sin. I hate it. It is a first sign of the horror that is now Star Trek.
    Fucking Badass, Bro!
    Gassing planets. Fuck Yeah!

    Good episode. But seriously, I'm totally on the Marquis side on this. I don't even get the whole putting down Victor Hugo. This episode was really well done, but weirdly... pro-authoritarian. I guess in this current world climate it doesn't come off as well as at the time, but given they are referencing Les Mis it's hilariously bad writing that somehow Sisko comes off as "awesome" despite being referred to as Javert.. like wtf

    This episode just made me like the Marquis more.

    It's interesting watching these for the first time in 2020. Avery Brooks is at his best when he's playing extremely intense or extremely goofy, yet he always seems uncomfortable playing it down the middle. I enjoy his acting a lot, it's got a very "jazzy" feel to it.

    This episode opens with the following conversation:

    EDDINGTON: Those people had farms, and shops, and homes, and schools, and then one day the Federation signed a treaty and handed their world over to the Cardassians. Just like that, they made these people refugees overnight.
    SISKO: It's not that simple and you know it. These people don't have to live here like this. We've offered them resettlement.
    EDDINGTON: They don't want to be resettled. They want to go home to the lives they built. How would you feel if the Federation gave your father's home to the Cardassians?
    SISKO: I'm not here to debate Federation policy with-
    EDDINGTON: Look at them, Captain. They're humans, just like you and me, and Starfleet took everything away from them. Remember that the next time you put on that uniform. There's a war out there and you're on the wrong side.
    SISKO: You know what I see out there, Mister Eddington? I see victims, but not of Cardassia or the Federation. Victims of you, the Maquis. You sold these people on the dream that one day they could go back to those farms, and schools, and homes, but you know they never can. And the longer you keep that hope alive, the longer these people will suffer.

    It's a good scene, nicely laying out everyone's position. But doesn't the scene also miss the point of the Maquis? Remember, the Federation and the Cardassians have a treaty allowing ex-Federation colonies to exist in the DMZ. The Maquis only become a resistance movement because the Cardassians break this treaty and attack ex-Federation colonists. Why then aren't the Federation pressuring the Cardassians to honor their agreement? Why are the Federation so preoccupied with the Maquis, and not the Cardassians who are breaking a Federation/Cardassian law?

    Anyway, I've liked every previous Maquis episode ("The Maquis Part 1 and 2", "Tribunal", "Defiant" and "For the Cause"), and this one is as gripping as its predecessors. It starts out as Moby Dick, Sisko vengefully bent on capturing Eddington, who sees himself as an archetypal freedom fighter, a romantic hero saving underdogs from villains like Sisko.

    What's neat, though, is how the script makes Sisko the bad guy from the get go. And so Sisko's working in tandem with a ship called the USS Malinche, a reference to the assistant of Hernan Cortes (the conquistador who slaughtered native peoples), and a Mexican slur hurled at the unpatriotic.

    Elsewhere Sisko corners Eddington's tiny ship with the deadly Defiant, only to be outsmarted with tricks archetypal heroes traditionally use on the bad guys. When Eddington sneakily shuts the Defiant down, it's hard not to see him as Kirk outsmarting Sisko-as-Khan.

    Thoroughly bested by Eddington, Sisko retires to DS9 to lick his wounds. Some great scenes follow: Captain Sanders of the Malinche informs Sisko that he's been tasked with hunting Eddington, Odo disses Sisko with style ("Please remind Starfleet command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me") and Sisko punches a boxing bag, which is hokey as hell, but entertaining in a hammy way.

    We then get a great scene lifted from old submarine movies, in which the Defiant journeys with hampered navigation and communication systems. With Nog and other crewmen barking orders and verbally relaying commands across the ship, the Defiant has never felt more alive, and more nautical.

    We then get some good tough guy dialogue, Sisko and Eddington now essentially in a revenge thriller. Eddingon makes references to Les Miserables, Sisko tells Eddington to kiss his ass, and Starfleet re-invents holograms.

    Which brings us to the episode's ending, a ending that is staggeringly ill-judged. Here, Sisko drops chemical weapons on a planet in order to "flush the Maquis out" and "beat them into submission". People claim these chemical weapons affect humans only and not Cardassians, but the script never says this explicitly, and such a conclusion can only be derived from a single vague line. Such a crucial point - the effect of trilithium resin on Cardassians - needs to be much clearer.

    Beyond this, it is simply unconscionable to drop chemical weapons on a civilian population. Sisko had no way of knowing whether all civilians had successfully left the planet, had heard his threat, if there were other aliens on the planet, or indeed if there were any Maquis on the planet at all.

    The episode skirts over so many questions and complexities as it hurtles us toward its ending.

    Yes, the episode successfully accomplishes its goal: to turn Sisko into a kind of villain. Yes, it's been building to this point for 45 minutes. Yes, it's a daring piece of writing to attempt.

    But this is a serialized show in which Sisko is one of the chief heroes. You can't have your captain drop chemical weapons on a planet filled with innocent civilians, and then brush such an act aside. You can't have Sisko and Dax casually laughing afterwards at what they've done. You can't end a story this way and then completely forget about it in the next episode.

    In a sense "For the Uniform" isn't a bad episode - it's entertaining, riveting and interesting - it's just that the show never follows up on this version of Sisko. The way Sisko is written here, you expect him to slowly turn into Gul Dukat.

    Teaser : ***, 5% 

    Sisko’s log plays over a scene of himself, getting us up to speed on the Eddington storyline. Apparently, amidst everything else that has happened since “For the Cause,” Sisko has been tasked with ferreting out and capturing his former Security Officer and fellow bald antihero. Ben is in civilian garb on a planet full of human refugees near the Badlands. Uh huh. Just so we’re clear: these are people who renounced their Federation citizenships in order to remain in their homes in what is now disputed territory, but officially the property of Cardassia. Having found the Maquis apparently insufficient to protect them (although this is hardly consistent with what we were supposed to see as remarkably effective terrorism in previous stories), these humans are now living in squalor. Either they are too proud to crawl back to the Federation and seek asylum or the Federation is too spiteful to offer its own people the kind of grace and compassion it shows complete strangers. We get to choose which absurd and cynical option is best, lucky us.

    Sisko is looking for a contact called Sink Pot or something, and he is surreptitiously gestured to a chamber. Sisko reaches for his phaser but is out-manoeuvred and captured by Eddington himself. Eddington admits to marooning Sink Pot for his betrayal.

    EDDINGTON: You just don't understand the Maquis, do you, Captain? We're not killers. Mister Cing'ta's accident has marooned him on a particularly nasty planet in the Badlands, but I assure you he's very much alive.
    SISKO: How merciful. You condemned him to a slow death.
    EDDINGTON: It's more than he deserved. He was going to sell us out to you. He betrayed us.

    Thus we establish the motif for this episode; two worms clamouring for position atop Mount Moral Superiority, neither having realised the mountain is a molehill. Sisko makes the valid point that Eddington has conveniently ignores all of the deceit and harm he has caused when casting himself as a martyr. Eddington in turn makes Sisko look at the refugees outside.

    SISKO: It's not that simple and you know it. These people don't have to live here like this. We've offered them resettlement.
    EDDINGTON: They don't want to be resettled. They want to go home to the lives they built. How would you feel if the Federation gave your father's home to the Cardassians?

    We have actually seen that Joseph Sisko, despite holding very libertarian beliefs about his own autonomy, recognises the need for compromise when faced with existential threats (c.f. “Paradise Lost”). “They don’t *want* to be resettled!” Okay, well then I guess they *want* to be refugees. If the writers let him exercise it, Sisko can easily dismantle Eddington’s arguments and expose him (to the audience) for the petulant little renegade he is. Typically, critical points are awkwardly omitted in order to suggest ethical ambiguity where there is none. Now I get why, narratively, they would want to do this. It makes for a more compelling story if neither character is truly in the right or the wrong, but, as with pretty much everything else to do with the Maquis, contriving this ambiguity requires breaking the edicts of the universe these characters inhabit. And, while the intentionality of this damage is debatable, the effect is the same; an unearned undermining of the core tenants of Star Trek. But mercifully, Sisko is finally permitted a decent rebuttal to Eddington’s silliness.

    SISKO: You know what I see out there, Mister Eddington? I see victims, but not of Cardassia or the Federation. Victims of you, the Maquis. You sold these people on the dream that one day they could go back to those farms, and schools, and homes, but you know they never can. And the longer you keep that hope alive, the longer these people will suffer.

    Eddington warns Sisko not to pursue him, which he immediately ignores. Kira aboard the defiant is able to trace the transporter signal and give chase after recovering Sisko.

    Act 1 : ***, 17%

    Sisko has assembled pretty much the entire senior staff for this little trip which...I sure hope there aren’t any Maquis spies on DS9 who might take advantage of such a power vacuum. Again. Anyway, Sisko thinks he’s devised a way to capture Eddington before he escapes into the Badlands and so uses the brand new holo-communicator to contact Captain Sanders on the Malinche. I don’t really have a strong opinion about the communicator. It makes sense from an in-Universe technology point of view, but I don’t think it really adds anything to the production. Why is Captain Sanders standing on his own bridge while Sisko sits in his chair? Pretty goofy. Also, kind of poor taste to be flaunting new toys when you just left a planet full of starving children, but so it goes. Sanders is more than happy to allow Sisko to capture Eddington personally, because we all know that military strategy is governed by the untamed egos of its leaders.

    Sisko confidently prepares to execute his plan, but Eddington appears to be channelling Danar from “The Hunted,” out-witting Sisko and the overpowered Defiant. A computer virus is unleashed, some how, and shuts the Defiant down completely. Eddington taps into the holo-communicator and brags about his victory before taking a few pot shots at Sisko. He accuses the captain of making things personal, which we just saw is absolutely the truth. He then says that the Maquis’ real enemy is the Cardassians, and that if Starfleet leaves them alone, the gesture will be repaid in kind. If only we hadn’t seen numerous instances of the Maquis stealing equipment from the Federation, thus making the Federation culpable for the Maquis’ actions, he would almost have a point.

    Despite the inescapable gumbified logic at play, Brooks and Marshall have some pretty scintillating chemistry which helps to hold the scenes together.

    Act 2 : **.5, 17%

    Sisko explains in his log that the Melinche had to tow the Defiant back to DS9, delivered with unambiguous spite that, if you didn’t already know, tells you exactly what kind of man Sisko is. O’Brien explains that it will take him a couple of weeks to repair the Defiant. Odo explains that Eddington’s computer viruses could have, at any time, disabled the entire station. This is the kind of thing that strains credibility when enacted by Data or Seven of Nine, but the idea that Security Officer and Musical Theatre Enthusiast Michael Eddington has tech abilities that surpass Miles AND can outwit Odo for the better part of a year is, well, completely absurd. However, it does play into Eddington’s theme: he’s in control, but he won’t harm anyone unless Sisko forces his hand. Worf reports that the Maquis have stolen some innocuous-seeming cargo from some Bolians (I assume shaving cream and space cologne?) and then finally Sisko is left alone in his office--or rather would be if Sanders didn’t step in to deliver some more disappointing news. Sisko has been usurped on the Eddington pursuit.

    SANDERS: Starfleet also believes that where Eddington is concerned, you're vulnerable.

    I don’t want to complain, because this is the most level-headed decision Starfleet has made in a while, but when has this kind of vulnerability/volatility in Sisko’s character kept him off important assignments before? His whole mission as DS9’s commander is a conflict of interest given his status as Emissary; his girlfriend is a convicted Maquis enabler; his first officer has disobeyed him multiple times, even recently without consequence...I think if they’re going to call Sisko out for something, having a revenge boner for Eddington should be pretty low on the list.

    Benjamin Sisko is a man who punches people when he’s in a good mood, so it should come as no surprise that we cut to him on the holosuite massacring a literal punching bag while Dax briefs him on the latest news. She gently reminds him that he’s going to have to “let this one go,” which is the kind of sagacity I wish we got more of from the ancient Trill. I also like that this seems to be the advice of a fully-integrated Jadzia. Curzon would probably have stoked his friend on in his melodramatic man pain.

    Right on cue, Worf and Kira report that Eddington has upped the ante by attacking a Cardassian settlement with a deadly biogenic weapon. One detail not to be missed here: the weapon is only deadly to Cardassians, which would seem to fit into Eddington’s theme, once again. However, this wasn’t a military base, it was a civilian colony. Eddington has murdered innocent people because they are of the same race as a government the Maquis has decided is their enemy. This kind of escalation is more than enough to justify more extreme measures on Starfleet’s part, and I would argue that Sisko is justified in making the call to take the Defiant to the Badlands (the Malinche is too far away). But...

    KIRA: So unless they stop Eddington, the Maquis have turned the tide.

    That’s what sets Sisko off, not the callous murder of civilians, but the fact that Eddington might *win.* Oh, and just to add to the absurdity here, Eddington is *also* a master alchemist as he was able to reverse-engineer those benign Bolian hair gels and pomades into the nerve agent they used, a process so obscure that Dax didn’t realise it was possible until after the fact. Sisko barks “Defiant” and the command crew assemble on the lift. Dax, presumably because she doesn’t have a punching bag to protect her face with, says nothing more about letting things go. Disappointing.

    Act 3 : **, 17% 

    To pad out the story, I mean, I mean...because drama, the damage to the Defiant is forcing the crew to utilise a number of “low-tech” options to get their warp-powered brass knuckle to function, including using Nog as a courier. Dax is given one more chance to follow through on her character maturity from earlier...

    SISKO: [Tell me] that I have lost all perspective. That I'm turning this into a vendetta between me and Eddington, and that I'm putting the ship, the crew and my entire career at risk, and if I had any brains at all I'd go back to my office, sit down and read Odo's crime reports.

    But she drops the ball.

    DAX: Actually, what I was thinking is, you're becoming more like Curzon all the time..the next time I go off half-cocked on some wild-eyed adventure, think back to this moment and be a little more understanding.

    Oh, are we supposed to laugh? Is it funny that she’s enabling her friend and captain to indulge his worst instincts and put them all, including teenage Cadet Nog, in mortal danger? Ha ha. What mirth.

    The french horns swell in an attempt to make us think that two friends actively encouraging each other to be worse is inspirational, and we are subjected...I mean *treated* to more padding...I mean excitement, as the Defiant and her crew utilise submarine movie clichés that will make your teeth hurt with their saccharine sincerity. I’m not about to summarise any of this. I accept that this kind of bullshit is appealing to some viewers, but I feel like I’m watching a group of 12-year-olds play a video game, which I can’t say does a damned thing for me. Honestly, to me this feels like a production crew that wishes it were working on another show, maybe one with corded phones and viper jets.

    Anyway, they track down Eddington and cue him up on the holo-communicator (which is working perfectly). Eddington transmits Sisko a copy of Les Misérables and warns him that he’s going to lose once again. Sisko confidently locks weapons on the Maquis ship and tells Jean ValTwerp here that “it’s over.” Sisko doesn’t seem to register that Eddington isn’t remotely concerned about having apparently been trapped. And we have seen example after example of him demonstrating subterfuge skills unbelievably above his station, about some healthy scepticism? No? You’re just going to be an idiot? Okay then. Eddington cuts the signal and Kira reports that the ship they thought they found was a decoy.

    Sisko starts screaming at his crew for more speed and to start piling care bears into warp core or whatever until they come across the Malinche, which has been rendered adrift by a Maquis attack. So now Sisko’s self-absorption has gotten his fellow uniformed officers injured or worse. Someone call for a slow clap.

    Act 4 : **, 17% 

    Sanders sheepishly makes contact on the holo-communicator. Man these things can survive anything, can’t they? He explains how the Maquis fooled him and his crew and, displaying more of that toxic attitude that should have been eradicated centuries ago, bolsters Sisko’s ambition, encouraging him to finish the mission. He is able to offer a small bit of intelligence in the hopes it will help and then logs off holo-Zoom.

    They contact Odo using holo-Zoom (we really are meant to believe that internal comms are down but this thing can call DS9?) and after a few hours, he’s able to decipher the intelligence. Odo deduces that Eddington’s signal to his comrades is meant to direct them towards a Breen settlement (don’t ask). He and Sisko strengthen their far-fetched assumptions with some racial essentialism (always a standby for Odo) and so the Defiant is off once again.

    Sisko makes some more wild assumptions meant to be construed as insightful and leads his people to the sight of another biogenic attack on a Cardassian colony. They’re too late to help any of the dying Cardies (apparently), but Kira does pick up space readings that lead them to two Maquis raiders. Sisko, erm, destroys one of them without a second’s thought. Maybe after this is over, they can beam Eddington’s vaporised remains into the brig. I’ll...come back to that.

    The other Maquis-class ship fires on a Cardassian civilian vessel shepherding survivors off the planet and Eddington holo-Zooms and says, “Take my hand, and lead me to salva-a-ation...”
    I know I’m breaking the timeline here, but when Janeway loses her shit in “Equinox,” her crew berate her for considering unethical options while here, Sisko’s crew is completely silent. Like I said, Starfleet has a lot of other shit to worry about regarding Sisko’s command besides Javertitis. Anyway, Sisko does make the sane choice, thankfully, and abandons his pursuit to rescue the Cardassian transport.

    Act 5 : *.5, 17%

    Dax finds Sisko moping like a 6-year-old in the mess hall and notifies him that they’ve successfully rescued the Cardassians. Sisko’s reading Les Mis and Jadzia informs him that she doesn’t much care for Victor Hugo for failing the Bechdel test or something.

    SISKO: Eddington compares me to one of the characters, Inspector the end Javert's own inflexibility destroys him. He commits suicide.
    DAX: You can't believe that description fits you?

    Jadzia...what happened to “you’re going to have to let this one go?” Now it’s, “just because you aren’t letting this one go doesn’t mean you’ve gone too far, buddy!” In keeping with the Star Trek tradition of drawing inspiration from works outside of copyright, they suspect that Eddington’s liberation fantasy can be exploited. I do like that this calls all the way back to his line from “The Adversary”:

    EDDINGTON: People don't enter Starfleet to become commanders, or admirals for that matter. It's the captain's chair that everyone has their eye on. That's what I wanted when I joined up, but you don't get to be a Captain wearing a gold uniform.

    That’s an appreciable subtlety in characterisation. And so, Sisko follows the logical thread.

    SISKO: In the best melodramas the villain creates a situation where the hero is forced to sacrifice himself for the people, for the cause. One final grand gesture.
    DAX: What are you getting at, Benjamin?
    SISKO: I think it's time for me to become the villain.

    I’m pretty sure we crossed that bridge many years ago, Captain, but I’m glad you’re finally coming to terms with it. Moving on.

    SISKO: Major, what is the nearest Maquis colony.
    KIRA: Solosos Three. Less than an hour away.

    I’m sorry, what now? “Maquis colony”? Maquis (a group of terrorists who have renounced their Federation citizenships and engaged in illegal theft and abuse of Federation technology and supplies in acts of aggression against a Federation ally) have *colonies* of which the Federation are completely aware. And Sisko has spent eight months failing to catch Eddington? And...and the Federation hasn’t seen it fit to, I don’t know, ARREST the people living on Solosos Three? Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Well, Sisko embraces his villainy and decides to poison Solosos Three instead. But he issues an hour-warning entire planet. He frames the attack as a measured response to the Maquis’ use of biogenic weapons against the Cardassians, but he plainly doesn’t believe that for a second. The crew look stunned, but otherwise don’t hesitate in their act of state terrorism. YOU HAVE OPTIONS IN BETWEEN MURDERING AN ENTIRE PLANET AND GIVING UP. Jesus Christ. Kira notes that the Maquis have not begun to evacuate, which is supposed to mean something, I guess, but Sisko isn’t budging. At the last moment, Baldie VanCanada appears on the Zoom and presumes to call Sisko’s bluff. Sisko orders Worf to fire. Worf hesitates but then acquiesces. Sisko isn’t even willing to relieve his crew of duty and fire the things himself. He insists on making his own crew accessories to his terrorism. But you can’t expect The Sisko to get up off his ass to commit mass murder, can you? What a guy.

    Well, the Defiant shoots and while the poison gas starts speeding across the atmosphere at what must be close to warp speed, the Maquis on the surface begin to “scramble” to evacuate. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Anyway, Eddington and Sisko spar a bit more as Brooks crosses the line into overacting (although, even I can be a little generous and say this plays into the notion of allowing Sisko to assume control of the theme: their story has become a melodrama, and Sisko is acting accordingly). Eddington relents and turns himself in. So, the villain won!

    SISKO: Captain's log, supplemental. Resettlement efforts in the DMZ are underway. The Cardassian and Maquis colonists who were forced to abandon their homes will make new lives for themselves on the planets their counterparts evacuated. The balance in the region will be restored, though the situation remains far from stable.

    And all the dead people? What’s up with them? This is critical because, if there are no dead people, then all that melodrama was totally vacuous. What drove the climax was the notion that Sisko was deliberately crossing the line and becoming a true villain in order to capture his prize. If he didn’t really do anything that bad, then this was all just a bunch of bluster and Eddington is a moron. Nice try, writers. Sigh, anyway Jadzia and Sisko make jokes and once again, the crew are excused for capital crimes off screen. I’m sure next week, Sisko will have another commendation to pin on his uniform. That must be what the episode was really about all along: For the Uniform To Be Embellished.

    Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

    The good thing about this episode coming in mid season 5 is that I just don’t have enough scorn left for this series to get that worked up about it any more. There isn’t much Sisko can do to fall lower in my estimation of him, so I can’t say this did any damage to his character. The immersion-breaking notion that these people can do whatever they want without any consequences from Starfleet is now its own trope within the show. The habit of padding out episodes with military-fetish silliness doesn’t even phase me at this point. I have to say I was disappointed that Jadzia was turned to mush by the end. For a moment there, it looked like she was actually going to hold her friend and leader accountable for his actions, but instead she goes back to being the cheerleader.

    All of that said, some of the characterisation was nice. Eddington and Sisko really do have good chemistry and the Les Mis motif was well-incorporated, even if the overt references (“What are you really up to, Javert?”) were pretty forced. It would be different if this were a dynamic established earlier in their relationship, like Sisko calling Dax “Old Man,” but some of this was a little corny for me.

    I have remarked in the past that I don’t mind the idea of deconstructing the Star Trek ethos or even undermining it, if it’s done with some skill and grace. In order to make this line of thinking work, Sisko needs to become antagonistic with Starfleet. Starfleet needs to view Sisko and his amoral approach to leadership as a liability which would then be proved to be a mistake when any number of upcoming Dominion shenanigans take place. The argument needs to be that what Starfleet and the Federation are *as they are* is wrong, even if it’s for the best of reasons. That’s a cynical view that I don’t share, but it’s a valid one for the show to hold. Instead, Sisko is apparently one of Starfleet’s most decorated officers. Starfleet has already made the choice, off screen, to change its essential nature and become an amoral police/military protecting Federation interests in the mould of Necheyev or Maxwell. That’s not a compelling subversion, that’s cheap, lazy and easy. You don’t have to construct careful arguments when your target is stuffed with straw.

    This episode actually presents a microcosm of what’s wrong with DS9. The moment when Sisko decides to poison the Maquis colony (again, if they know there are colonies, this insurrection should be deader than disco)...that moment is framed as the point at which Sisko crosses the line to antihero and puts the “good” guys in the position of doing evil things in order to survive. But this moment came AFTER Sisko blew up a ship full of human beings without even attempting to contact them, let alone disable and capture them. When Crazy Lady, a civilian, decided to destroy the Crystalline Entity which was EATING ENTIRE PLANETS, Picard had her arrested. So like I said, Sisko’s action in the series up to this point made it completely unsurprising that he would get so dark here in the same way his casual murder of those Maquis made his later escalation within the episode unsurprising. And without that twist of the knife, the emotional momentum which was carrying the episode up to then just sort of fizzles out.

    “You ask me what forces me to speak? a strange thing; my conscience.”

    Final Score : **

    "How would you feel if the Federation gave your father's home to the Cardassians?"

    I've never found this comparison remotely fair. Earth is the indigenous, centrally located homeworld of the premier race of the Federation, not some remote frontier planet of colonists living on a disputed border with another power...colonists that knew that going in.

    It's like comparing a shuttlecraft to a flagship.

    "The moment when Sisko decides to poison the Maquis colony (again, if they know there are colonies, this insurrection should be deader than disco)...that moment is framed as the point at which Sisko crosses the line to antihero"

    This isn't all that different from Data blowing up the aquaduct in "The Ensigns of Command" (especially if we grant the conceit that no one actually perished here), it's just writ larger, acorss several planets. Gosheven was pretty much to Data what Eddington is to Sisko here, and in both, our series regular was driven to increasing desperation by the provocative guest star's intransigence. I doubt Data lost any android equivalent of sleep over what he did.

    "Sanders sheepishly makes contact on the holo-communicator. Man these things can survive anything, can’t they?"

    They did seem to be the tardigrades of technological devices, didn't they?


    I do wonder whether the climax genuinely is supposed to be that Sisko just tricks Eddington, with no loss of life, and Eddington is too dumb to see it. The tone is hard to make out here, but it does seem to be Sisko getting into the theatrics, and him and Dax laughing at the end suggests that it's a trick. Ergo I think no one died and we have to accept this. This seems pretty stupid to me, but there you go. But yeah I forgot about the ship he fired on. The whole ep goes by in a bit of a haze for me.

    This ep is hard to take. Making Eddington the avatar for the Maquis and having him be a Hugo cosplayer (pity he didn't imprint on Quasimodo) feels like it's actually a slam on the Maquis at last. I don't think Jean Valjean sent Javert off to arrest his girlfriend so he could steal from him. But the approach feels weird. It's all entirely personalized, where Sisko really is obsessed with Eddington and then he wins by out-melodramaing him, which is good because...? Generously I think we're maybe seeing that Eddington's betrayal does bring out real rage in Sisko which he realizes he can use in performance to defeat him to actually accomplish good. Sisko takes control of the narrative to get out of it, or something. I mean I understand what happens, I am just not clear on the meaning behind it.

    It's interesting that you describe yourself as having passed the point of being as exasperated with series' negative features. I had gotten the impression you felt somewhat less coolly toward Sisko in/since season 4.


    "Earth is the indigenous, centrally located homeworld of the premier race of the Federation, not some remote frontier planet of colonists living on a disputed border with another power...colonists that knew that going in."

    I don't love the class dynamics that this sets up. Being a "premiere race" has some...eugenic overtones that I actually find kind of disturbing.

    "Gosheven was pretty much to Data what Eddington is to Sisko here, and in both, our series regular was driven to increasing desperation by the provocative guest star's intransigence."

    I see what you mean. Goshevan's status as the colony's authority figure is threatened by Data and his overwhelming larger perspective and abilities, just as Eddington is awarded a status he "shouldn't" have by turning the Maquis insurrection into a romantic fantasy, and is threatened by, well, reality. The comparison falls apart when we examine the motivations of the regulars and the Federation, however. Data was trying to save a group of people from their own ignorance without applying the kind of force that would violate their human rights.

    DATA: I admire your conviction in the face of certain defeat. Though doomed, your effort will be valiant. And when you die, you will die for land and honour. Your children will understand that they are dying for a worthy cause. Long after the battle is over, their courage will be remembered and extolled...I can reduce this pumping station to a pile of debris, but I trust my point is clear. I am one android with a single weapon. There are hundreds of Sheliak on the way and their weapons are far more powerful. They may not offer you a target. They can obliterate you from orbit. You will die never having seen the faces of your killers. The choice is yours.

    Sisko has no such ambitions with Eddington or the Maquis. He just wants to beat his opponent and succeed in his mission. So while there may be some tactical similarities, Sisko isn't interested in saving lives, obviously.

    @William B

    "Ergo I think no one died and we have to accept this."

    Like I said, I stopped viewing Sisko as a moral leader many seasons ago. He pretty much permanently lost my respect in "Through the Looking Glass." So my views on how his characterisation undermines subsequent stories (ItPML is the centrepiece, of course) doesn't necessarily depend on interpreting Sisko's actions one way or the other here. But it certainly is frustrating in isolation.

    "I mean I understand what happens, I am just not clear on the meaning behind it."

    To me it seems clear that the meaning behind it is that it is necessary sometimes for the Good Guys to get their hands dirty and become the villain, yadda yadda yadda. But that necessarily means that Sisko's actions against the Maquis planet were villainous. So the message seems to demand we interpret the poisoning as having killed people. Maybe the intention is that Sisko is repeating the Federation's script writ large regarding the DMZ in forcing people to once again abandon their homes, and that itself is the immoral action justified by a higher purpose. That's probably the most generous interpretation I can muster. But of course we are right back into the original flawed framework of the Maquis as a concept. The series assumes the Maquis are in the right for wanting to remain on their colonies even though this means perpetual war with Cardassia.

    "It's interesting that you describe yourself as having passed the point of being as exasperated with series' negative features. I had gotten the impression you felt somewhat less coolly toward Sisko in/since season 4."

    I think the characterisation of Sisko has improved over the last 2 seasons. Brooks has softened and I find many of his interpersonal relationships to be moving, even in episodes that don't fully work for me, especially with Kassidy. But the show hasn't actually corrected his character flaws or held him accountable for his actions. The show is proud of its creation and apparently sees no need to self-reflect. I just don't have the energy to sustain outrage over this unfortunate reality over so many episodes. It is what it is and I accept it, though I don't excuse it.

    @ Elliott,

    "To me it seems clear that the meaning behind it is that it is necessary sometimes for the Good Guys to get their hands dirty and become the villain, yadda yadda yadda. But that necessarily means that Sisko's actions against the Maquis planet were villainous."

    To be honest I think over-analysis can make it harder rather than easier to see the author's intent. This episode suffers a lot from Trek-itis where we analyze to death what exactly Sisko's actions are supposed to mean in context of DS9, of the Federation, and of the other series. But I think this approach in this specific case puts up too many barriers to seeing what is actually sort of spelled out right in the episode. The point I believe they are trying to make is that Sisko is obviously right and Eddington is obviously wrong. He's so obviously wrong, in fact, that it is taken as a given by the mere fact of going against Starfleet and becoming a tricksy hoodlum. Like it or not, this is the basis going in.

    Once we recognize that Sisko is obviously on the right side (politically, in honor, in spirit, etc) then it's much easier to see that the Les Miz good guy / bad guy routine is Sisko's attempt to psychoanalyze Eddington's bugaboo and play into it. Eddington sees himself as a romantic hero, and in order to make him misstep Sisko will feed into his vanity by playing the villain. That much is simple. Where it gets crazy is with contaminating an entire planet. And I think the question we are meant to ask (which the commenters here seem not to ask) is whether in playing the villain one risks inadvertently becoming one. Sisko clearly knows he is playing a strategic part to get Eddington; what he doesn't know is how far he will have to take it to succeed. If we are meant to see Sisko as having a weakness here, it's his absolute need to beat Eddington. To the extent that Eddington is up to some really bad stuff it seems absolutely clear he does need to be apprehended. But as this can be difficult we then get into the issue of what steps become legitimate based on the threat level of the perp to bring him in. Sisko may be over-evaluating how badly Starfleet needs to bring in Eddington; but that evaluation, based partly on emotion, is a side issue compared to whether *if we really was that dangerous* Sisko's actions would then be ok.

    So getting back to the planetary contamination, it seems to me Sisko very deliberately took a step that had a few functions at once:

    -Demonstrate to the Maquis that any unacceptable action they take will have a directly equal and opposite reaction by Sisko/Starfleet, so that it's not worth it for them to do these things.

    -It demonstrates Sisko's greatest strength, which is his view of fairness. Picard by contrast was highly motivated by following the law, whereas Sisko cares more about the softer side of ethics, whether something is fair, right, and will create a sense of proportional respect (we see a lot of the latter in S1 with Bajor). The fairness here is extremely simple: you took their planet, you lose a planet. Very straightforward and almost parochial lesson. Whether it's legal, or a good long-term plan, is debatable: but on a very 'schoolyard' level it's extremely fair.

    -It has the benefit of looking *to Eddington* as ridiculously villainous, thus motivating him to give himself up to 'save the day' of the Maquis. And yet despite looking like a James Bond villain plot, no one will die. So from Sisko's POV this is extremely tidy. The irony that the majority of posters judge Sisko's action through Eddington's eyes, as it were, has perhaps been missed in this thread.

    -Lastly, the 'Sisko as villain' thing also rides on an obvious psychological principle, which is that from the POV of a criminal or terrorist, the authorities will always come across as oppressive, tyrannical, and villainous. Essentially, whoever is antagonistic towards your lifestyle is going to appear 'evil' to you. We as the view do have more of an objective POV in a way, and yet I do think we're treated to an extent to seeing what *any action at all* by Sisko would have looked to Eddington. Sure, it does look crazy to us too. But even if Sisko had done something else grand and effective Eddington would have been just as angry at the bad bad Federation for getting into their business.

    Now I'm not defending this episode on an aesthetic level. I do enjoy seeing a TV hero shown as expressing rage on a punching bag, which is an ugly reality that I'm happy they don't shy away from. I also like how strategy can get mired in real consequences. But it's not a particularly fun episode to me, I distinctly *do not* like the Les Miserables references and think they are pretentious writing, I don't like the sudden holo-tech (which is better left on Star Wars sets), and I don't think the drama is that engaging. The episode is just ok, maybe sub-average. The moral side of it is what started this whole firestorm, and almost serves as a lynchpin or cornerstone for Sisko-detraction. From that standpoint I would say this is not fair, since this episode is hugely stylistically motivated and is more literary than literal. We should not take the irradiating of a planet to be some kind of evidence about Sisko's general character. It's a writing conceit to bring the (IMO failed) themes into focus. As a matter of canon I essentially pretend that this episode never happened. YMMV on that point. But I definitely don't think the series (or even the episode) is trying to portray genocide or mass murder or anything like that as ok, nor is this some kind of furthering of the 'grey morality' of DS9, which I still deny it does in general. What they are trying to show is that the effort to be 'fair and reasonable' here involved taking a crazy action precisely because these ex-Federation citizens had taken even crazier actions. To show them what they did they had to experience it. I see that as more of a general point of fact rather than an argument about ethics. Like it or not, I think most of the outrage or debate about this point is sort of missing the point.

    @Peter I see Sisko poisoning a planet alot like Michael Burnham shooting the Klingon in the back and choosing to murder him, rather than just stun him - thereby starting a war and killing millions of people. Aesthetically and thematically it makes sense, but taken literally it is a character-wrecking mistake of epic proportions that the writers are more or less obligated to retcon.

    The difference here is that DS9 was still only partly serialized in its run and it is alot easier to get away with this sort of writing snafu in an episodic show than in a serialized one. The other problem is that Michael Burnham jumped the rails in the series premiere. If Sisko had poisoned a planet in Emissary we would have had a much bigger problem!

    But despite its infamy among DS9 fans I really do see this episode as a one-off closer to Voyager space lizards than to any defining character arc for Sisko. For the Sisko haters In the Pale Moonlight is really the defining controversial episode that I think deserves the most attention. This one can be seen as a literary plot device taken just a step too far.

    I think the admiralty realized that strict Federation principles did not work in the Bajoran sector. They approved the plan to trick the Romulans into entering the Dominion war, they didn't like but ultimately didn't object to Sisko playing the role of the Emissary, they ignored the actions of Section 31 when they attempted genocide, and they ultimately didn't punish Sisko for his actions in this episode. Frankly, there was a former/traitorous senior officer running amok and creating an imbalance in the DMZ and they needed results.

    Remember what then Vice-Admiral Nechayev said to Picard when she condoned genocide of an enemy: "Your priority is to safeguard the lives of Federation citizens, not to wrestle with your conscience." If she as Fleet Admiral was still in Sisko's chain of command in this episode, I would guess Sisko would have received a commendation for his actions.

    Even if one did not want to accept the argument about Federation having lax principles in the Bajoran sector - there are a LOT of examples of Starfleet Admirals in the TNG-era ignoring Federation principles in favor of achieving results:

    * VADM Haftel - treating Lal as property notwithstanding a court decision that set precedent showing Data was not property

    * VADM Leyton - attempted a military coup after committing treason

    * The Bolian Academy Commandant (RADM) in Paradise Lost - a co-conspirator with Leyton

    * RADM Pressman - treaty violations/engaged in prohibited research

    * ADM Raner - a co-conspirator with Pressman

    * VADM Dougherty - tried to steal a planet from the indigenous population

    Considering this - is there any doubt that Sisko was able to solve the problem by any means necessary without repercussion?

    What in the world is Kira working as an officer on Defiant?

    Well, I know the real reason, because Visitor as one of the leads and needs to appear in episodes, but does the show ever even try to justify it?

    Did she just take a bunch of Starfleet extension courses?

    Yeah, but she’s acting as trained Starfleet, and is acting as Operations.

    “Activate parabolic sensor array. Initiate lateral scanners. [...] The nerve agent is already spreading through the planet's atmosphere. ”

    “Close exterior hatches, depressurise the airlock. Detach umbilicals, clear all moorings.”

    “I'm reading residual neutrino levels. Looks like one maybe two Maquis raiders behind the fourth moon. They're on the run. ”

    I get that Trek equipment tends to be really easy to use, but she’s spouting technobabble like an old pro, but more significantly, she’s able to analyze all this and summarize it for her superior. I would think doing all of that would require quite a lot of training.

    Great episode. Not able to put Eddington in the hall of heroes. Just a terrorist who likes French novels. He poisoned 2 planets and damaged an unarmed freighter so that it would burn up in the atmosphere, unless saved by Sisko. Having done al that he cries foul at the poisoning of one of his planets.

    Clearly it was all supposed to be a fun game of "let's shoot the Cardassian" for this guy, and if he can insult nice Mr. Sisko along the way, so much the better.

    Unfortunately for him, he turned the usually compassionate Sisko into an implacable enemy. Sisko dispensed with "nice" and served Eddington some if his own medicine.

    Bravo Captain! Great performance! Bravo Brooks.

    yeah, I also always thought that the one aspect the Federation is missing is chemical warfare against civilians.

    @Booming: Good one. Agree that it's Indefensible to gas planets and that it tarnishes the Federation. As presented, it was the Maquis leading the way on methods used. Didn't enjoy seeing Sisko go that route since he allowed himself to get dragged down by the terrorist-bully .

    The episode is like TOS "Errand of Mercy" but with Sisko not feeling the shame that Kirk felt in the epilogue. Just implacable, as powerfully shown.

    Not counting NuTrek, this is actually my least favorite episode of Star Trek. Sisko should be in jail for the rest of his life. There are a few episodes that I dislike but this I really hate. For me it signifies the beginning of the end of Star Trek. When the writers started to treat Star Trek as a hollow brand name they could play around with.

    I can really see why you say that. Pretty serious manipulation of the characters has gone on here. It's as if doing too many tongue-in-cheek episodes in alternate universes has actually addled the writers' brains.

    I don't think this episode reflects poorly on the writers at all. It was a great fun show and what Sisko did, while probably wrong, was built up to on a realistic and believable way. He's human *shock*.

    As with Keiko being whiney, the fact he got this one wrong (arguably) doesn't make the writers bad writers - it just means they wrote a flawed character.

    @Tomalak "It was a great fun show and what Sisko did, while probably wrong, was built up to in a realistic and believable way. He's human *shock*."

    My gut agrees completely. Sisko is rational, but he has been pushed too far, so the action level created was welcome. The styling was effective. The writers created in Sisko a rage which was really compelling, and explored the relationship between 'getting the job done' decisiveness and 'take off the gloves' villainy rather successfully. The Sisko created by the writers makes me think of the historical example of the Theban general Epaminondas (4th c. BC)... paraphrasing his attitude as 'enough already, let's take it to the Spartans and never stop'.

    TOS writers tried to explore these issues with "The Enemy Within", but made the reasonable man stronger than the unruly one.

    Over time the writers of DS9 have pushed Sisko to the limit emotionally. They clearly enjoy putting Sisko into complex situations and Brooks handles the material well. I just didn't want to see the writers bend the character so far that Sisko would break, and my respect for him and for that matter Dax, be diminished. I want the good guys to win, but I want them to remain good guys. The tone at the end was a might too glib. IMO some repentence on their part or hot water consequence thrown at them was warranted by the situation. The writers kept it uncomplicated for them, however, making the episode "a one off" much like the alternative universe scenarios the writers, as talented as they are, seem somewhat addicted to.

    Best line ever: "He's human *shock*.

    Ok, let's not confuse things here. Epaminondas developed a new battle formation, the"oblique order" to beat the unbeatable Spartan army (with 300 gays, the sacred band), he didn't drop gas on innocent. If you want an example, then there are far more recent ones, Bashar al Assad and Saddam Hussein. I guess they handwave any real damage away, nobody was hurt, if having to flee with little warning and losing your home and all is not considered hurtful. And what would have happened if Eddington had not given up?! Sisko becoming the worst war criminal since WW3? That the Federation condones chemical warfare against civilians, which is forbidden by the Geneva convention even today, is another deeply disturbing thought. Are we sure that the writers were not from the mirror universe?

    He's a war criminal *shock*?

    And as being someone who was actually in the military I find it very disturbing that everybody on the bridge just went along with it. Every modern military has mandatory courses about unlawful orders and dropping C-weapons on civilians, one would hope, is illegal in the Federation.
    If my commanding officer would have ordered me to shoot a gas grenade at a village because he is so mad about the local resistance leader, I would have said:" Sure thing, sir. Give me just a sec." and then started running, shouting:"The captain has gone crazy! CRAZY!!!"

    Points well taken. Especially that the bridge crew gave no pushback to crazy orders.

    This is my first viewing of the series. So what I detect is that the writers over time have gone over a precipice in what they deem to be "OK" for the good guys to do.

    I do not know what caused these writers to deviate from humane positions (Geneva) other than their need to devise stories which they think will entertain. At times this results in some unacceptable decisions by the characters.

    It is a sad fact that there is a ready supply of humans who were, are, and will be war criminals. *No shock*.

    As for Epaminondas, the connection I saw was that he became an implacable enemy to Sparta, and like Sisko in "For the Uniform", he developed an indirect approach (rather than a blundering direct one) to destroy its hegemony. E. succeeded in his strategic goal, died in battle but was loved in Thebes, and forever hated in Sparta.

    "It is a sad fact that there is a ready supply of humans who were, are, and will be war criminals. *No shock*."

    Yes! Can you be a war criminal if no one dies? But agreed what he did was very naughty.

    It's just the assumption the writers screwed up if they portray Sisko doing something unacceptable that I disagree with. Criticise fictional characters all you like, but I think there is any unwritten rule saying the writers are to be held responsible for not portraying their characters as flawless. I think the writers did a good job with this episode.

    The whole nobody died thing is pretty stupid. If you have a colony with a few thousand people, even if we assume that they for some reason had enough transports and institutions that could organize a complete evacuation in 5 minutes, then a few people will still die. Old people getting heart attacks, children getting lost/left behind.

    "Especially that the bridge crew gave no pushback to crazy orders."
    awful, dumb, disrespectful to the characters and audience. You name it. For some time there were these stipulations from Roddenberry what was allowed and what wasn't and they followed that pretty narrowly in TNG. With DS9 they started to deviate from it. Numbers weren't that good so they started to mess around.
    I picture the first day of writing of this episode like this.

    It's all fine and well to have flawed characters, probably better than walking saints. Sisko was never portrayed as flawless but it is one thing to have a temper or a horrific obsession with baseballs and another to gas planets. That is not flawed, that is psychotic.

    But to not always be contrarian. If you ignore the problematic aspects and just watch it as a sci fi episode then it is not a bad one.

    @Booming et all:

    Why when talking about the end of this episode do so many forget it takes place in 24th Century Star Trek? I'm not saying gassing this planet wasn't extreme, it was. But let's not forget a couple of factors:

    A) This is a FRONTIER Colony. That means we can make a few assumptions; i) the population is likely highly localized, all within reasonable distance to transport, and not spread out over both hemispheres. ii) The populations of these planets are likely hardy people who volunteered to live far away from Earth and all it's creature comforts, who expected a life of somewhat hard labour and work. The population of this planet very likely has few to none infirm desk jockeys or people with serious enough medical issues to need special care. If they did, they likely would've been sent off-world to a place that could better care for them than the town doctor.

    B) This IS the 24th Century. We have TRANSPORTERS. Even if there are farmers at the outskirts of the colony borders, it's a matter of ease to either get beamed into town or, up to ships already launched who have bio-scanners that can isolate life-forms and beam them up. They likely also have large cargo ships for transporting livestock and possessions from when they arrived that can also be used to beam all that stuff back.

    I'm not saying that there SHOULDN'T be some follow up to this and I do think the fpisode erred in it's jokey send off rather than imply that Sisko's going to have to at LEAST face a rightfully annoyed Admiral. But given the setting and circumstances, I also don't think his gassing of the planet, in THIS CASE is as huge and as extreme and evil as some are making it out to be. It was extreme, but it was also not genocide. That's just blowing it way out of proportion.


    I never said that it was genocide. But it is certainly forced displacement. Ethnic cleansing comes to mind. Sisko literally threatens to destroy every Human colony in the region with C weapons specifically for Humans.

    to A) Could the colonists all be hot, muscular 30 something pioneers? Hopefully. I'm picturing it right now.

    I was under the assumption though that many of these people are refugees. If they they weren't before, they sure are now. At least they can now live on the former Cardassian planets which shouldn't be a problem. Cardassians and Humans are basically identical.

    to B) Let's just hope that there is none of those TNG caves where transporters cannot reach a few nature hikers. :)

    Plus, next time a successful terrorist bothers the Cardassians they have more than enough justification to do whatever they want.

    Oh please Booming. Next you'll claim Colonel Quaritch from Avatar was lying when he said the gas grenades would be "humane".

    Let's face it, the writers goofed with this episode. It happens. Luckily, these older shows were far less serialized than the newer ones. You can file Sisko's gas attack on the same shelf we keep Janeway and Tom's reptile children.

    " Next you'll claim Colonel Quaritch from Avatar was lying when he said the gas grenades would be "humane"."

    I don't know, that guy has just a face I can trust. He will probably get it done with minimal casualties. Look at that smile.

    "Let's face it, the writers goofed with this episode. It happens."

    Can you explain why? Why is an error by Sisko - assuming for the sake of argument that this is what it was - an error by the writers? Why can't they write characters who goof without being judged to have themselves goofed?

    "Why can't they write characters who goof without being judged to have themselves goofed?"

    Because Sisko gassing a planet isn't a "goof" it is a war crime- and indeed one committed for little more than petty revenge. You can't possibly maintain that act as part of Sisko's character without breaking it. Sure the writers could have him do that. They could have him set a man on fire for thrills too. But that kind of breaks the series doesn't it?

    It's like Burnham choosing to kill T'Kumveh and throwing away the mission - despite her just establishing emphatically 10 minutes earlier that this would lead to war and kill millions. The writers or someone just goofed and it was (rightly) never mentioned again and instead they just prattle on about the mutiny this mutiny that, as if that was her biggest crine. Mutiny can be fixed. Deliberately throwing millions of lives away for petty revenge can't.

    Similarly, Sisko orchestrating the murder of the Romulan Senator and fraud (unwittingly in the first case, deliberately in the second) is understandable and can be reconciled with his character. Gassing civilians in a petty act of retribution against Eddington can't be.

    Ok, let's assume this wasn't a goof, and that it wasn't a war crime. How can we reconcile those premises with Sisko's character?

    One thing I think that gets overlooked is how hard it was to catch Eddington, and what in fact he was capable of (and willing to do). The episode isn't my favorite by a long shot, particularly because I don't like the Les Miz comparisons, and because I don't care for Eddington as a character or as a villain. Because I diminish Eddington's importance in my minds, because honestly I don't take him that seriously, it does create the risk of understating what his agenda is. He quite literally sees himself as a saint doing God's work, saving the poor colonists from destruction, and his means as having the stamp of Good on them. So far he has already gassed a Cardassian planet, and unlike Sisko I doubt he took any special care to make sure no Cardassians were killed. And if this was a "good" act, just imagine what happens when Eddington decides it's time to do something *really* good. He is, after all, Valjean, the protagonist of a romantic story. And if we also take seriously that, for some reason, it is just impossible to catch him, we are now stuck with a serious issue in the form of potentially genocidal attacks being made by Eddington next. I would actually categorize his threat level as extremely high, if we're to take the episode seriously. Typically I don't, which is why I get stuck in the "Sisko is bad" debate. But now I am, and I can see that something had to be done about Eddington.

    The entire episode seems to center around Sisko needing to do *something* to bring in this dangerous man. Let's say he's like a bin Laden, only with far more destructive power. He cannot be caught by any conventional method, so Sisko devises a literary method to bring him in: show him that Sisko the villain will make the Maquis suffer equally for every crime they commit against the Cardassians. Things brings out the noble sacrifice from Eddington, and he gives Sisko an avenue to get him. If we don't take seriously that there was absolutely no other way to bring him in then I think we are ignoring the episode's premise. The question of whether gassing a Maquis colony is a war crime needs to be taken in context of (a) the Maquis were complicit in these attacks (we see no signs they they are splintered in their intention or that they make any move to get Eddington to stop), and (b) the scale of destruction Eddington was wreaking was unacceptable and likely would have led to all-out war eventually. So was gassing the Maquis planet the only way to get Eddington to make a noble sacrifice? I don't know. But if it did work, the episode suggests that Sisko will sacrifice his honor (i.e. in becoming a villain) for the sake of the uniform, i.e. to serve the Federation and protect its citizens and uphold its laws. As it was apparently the Federation's job to prevent colonists from attacking Cardassians with bio-weapons, you can ask yourselves whether giving them tit for tat to make it stop was even wrong as a Federation move. Sure, most Admirals wouldn't have signed off on it. But on the other hand you're talking about a terrorist group using WMD's on Cardassian civilians, and they had to be stopped any way possible. Sisko chose a way.

    The one single thing I would agree was a good is how the last scene was written. It should have involved Sisko and Dax lamenting that serving the good of the many required doing things he found disgraceful, but that if he hadn't that many more would have been killed. This kind of numbers game would later be brought in with In the Pale Moonlight, and I don't think these are discordant. It only requires us to take seriously was Eddington's threat level was, and I admit this is hard to do because the actor comes off as...I dunno, not very threatening.

    @ Peter
    An even better solution would have been to catch several of Eddingtons family and then threaten to cut off body parts and then you cut off things like finger until Eddington gives up. That would cause far less harm then wiping out entire colonies. Bonus, with modern technology you can probably sow everything back on. :)

    And in general states should avoid getting into a tit for tat with terrorists because that is just state terrorism and that always causes even more terror. What makes this episode even worse. It doesn't portray terrorism in a realistic way. In reality Sisko would have created hundreds of new Eddingtons.

    For some reason your post made me think of this. ;)

    For the Uniform

    DS9 season 5 episode 13

    "Commander, launch torpedoes. Commander, I said launch torpedoes!”

    - don’t make me say it again

    3 stars (out of 4)

    After Ronald D. Moore, I’d say the writer of “For the Uniform” has more of the highest quality Trek episodes to his name than almost anyone - aside of course from those giants from TOS (like DC Fontana or Gene L. Coon). When a writer known for TNG’s “Inner Light” and DS9’s “Duet” puts pen to paper, it is time to sit up and take notice. To put Peter Allan Fields in perspective, it is worth noting that he will go on to write "In the Pale Moonlight,” considered by many (including me!) a plausible candidate to top the list of all-time Star Trek classics.

    There is so much to unpack here, it’s almost hard to know where to start. So I’ve flipped my lucky loonie, and the way it lands tells me we might as well start with the Canadians. Or maybe just the French Canadians. Or maybe just the French ;)

    In the 1860’s, when the US was busy waging Civil War, Canada was still under the British. The frenchman Victor Hugo had left France and was living in exile in British territory from where he published Les Misérables in 1862. Why did Victor Hugo have to leave France? Because the French Republic had fallen, and Napoleon’s nephew had declared a Second Empire.

    The French Republic had tried to formalize a concept of Parole just before Napoleon’s nephew took over. In theory a prisoner would be released after serving half his sentence. During parole the convict could be re-imprisoned if he misbehaved. Both England and Ireland adopted the french system of parole. By 1861, as Victor Hugo was polishing off Les Misérables, the Irish had released two-thirds of its prisoners on parole!! But France, his home, was still under the thumb of the Second Empire.

    We know Dax had no patience for Victor Hugo (or reading?). Actually, I'm not sure Sisko was much better,

    SISKO: Eddington compares me to one of the characters, Inspector Javert. A policeman who relentlessly pursues a man named Valjean, guilty of a trivial offense.

    In the novel, Valjean was sentenced to 5 years for stealing bread. Should he have gotten more time or less? The bottom line is, had France not descended into the tyranny of a Second Empire, Valjean might have been up for parole after 2 or 3 years. Instead, like an idiot, he does 4 years and 10 months of his 5 year sentence, and then gets caught trying to escape! So they tack on years (@Lew Stone). And then he tries to escape again, so they tack on more years. And again. And again. Had Valjean lived in Ireland or under British rule (like Victor Hugo in exile), he would not have spent 19 years in jail.

    Frankly he probably wouldn’t have spent any time in jail. Who has time to put bread-thieves in jail? Only the French!

    The concept of Parole is taken up by Ronald D. Moore in nBSG’s “Scattered.” Adama has Lee thrown in prison for helping Roslin, but Tigh actually needs every man he can get (thus the phrase: all hands on deck), and so,

    Apollo: All right, you have my parole. When I’m on duty, I’ll make no attempt to free her or sow insurrection among the crew. And when I’m not on duty, I’ll report directly back to this cell.

    I remember Ronald D. Moore spent a fair amount of time on this scene in his podcast for the episode (I guess I’m not the only person fascinated by parole),

    Moore: The beat that you just saw a moment ago of Tigh going in and getting Apollo's parole, so that Apollo can go fly the mission and be CAG, is actually an idea that dates back to, ironically enough, Hornblower, for me. And of course, some of you may or may not know that Jamie Bamber was in the A&E miniseries of Hornblower. In Hornblow there was just- Hornblower is one of my favorite books as a kid. It still- some of my very favorite books of all time. And in there was this whole notion of parole, when an off- there was a point where Hornblower, was a British Naval officer, was captured by the French and was held prisoner, but as an officer and a gentlemen of that time he was- he would give his parole so that he could walk out and be free for a time and parole essentially meant his word, his promise, that while he was out walking and taking in the sea and not being confined to his cell, he promised he would not try to escape.

    You’ll recall back in The Die is Cast, Sisko essentially allows Eddington the same kind of parole that Tigh gave Lee in nBSG,

    SISKO: I'm afraid I'm going to have to confine you to quarters, Mister Eddington.

    EDDINGTON: Sir, if we run into the Jem'Hadar, you're still going to need a chief security officer.

    KIRA: What makes you think we'll trust you again?

    EDDINGTON: Because I give you my word.

    SISKO: I make it a policy to never question the word of anyone who wears that uniform. Don't make me change that policy. Man your station, Commander.

    Read that again: "I make it a policy to never question the word of anyone who wears that uniform.”

    That Uniform.

    Sisko has a few fundamental things he believes in,

    Kilana : Do you have any gods, Captain Sisko?

    Sisko : There are things I believe in.

    Kilana : Duty? Starfleet, the Federation?

    Sisko believes in the Uniform (@Jhoh), and this episode is called “For the Uniform.” And Eddington has violated his word to Sisko, and he has violated the parole that Sisko gave to Eddington back in The Die is Cast, and Sisko is not going to let him get away with it. Anymore than Javert could let Valjean get away with violating the terms of his parole.

    I’ve often thought that of all the Star Trek spinoffs, DS9 came closest to capturing the spirit of the original. Maybe that was inevitable. If TNG was trying to be the anti-TOS, then when DS9 tried to be the anti-TNG, everything just came full circle. We see the result here in spades. How many times did Kirk take a ship out for a mission, when that ship was still in the middle of a repair? Pretty much every movie!

    “For the Uniform” does have almost a cinematic quality to it. That sequence where the Defiant pulls out from DS9 uses an epic soundtrack with soft french horns, not too different from what we might find in Generations or First Contact. As @MsV very nicely puts it, the entire dance of getting the ship to move has a wonderful choreography. Kudos to Nog (@Neil).

    So where does this episode fall short? Let’s start with Sisko’s acting (h/t @Mike, @dlpb, @Quarkissnyder).

    There is a sequence where Sisko needs to convince Eddington that a few screws have come undone. That he is unhinged. The key line is,

    SISKO: Major, shut that thing off! Commander Worf, prepare to launch torpedoes!

    I don’t buy it. Judging from all the comments above, most people here didn’t buy it either. It’s an unfortunate slip and pulls us out of the action.

    William Shatner knew how to act like he was pretending. It is a subtle thing. Take this scene from “This Side of Paradise,”

    KIRK: All right, you mutinous, disloyal, computerised, half-breed, we'll see about you deserting my ship.

    SPOCK: The term half-breed is somewhat applicable, but computerised is inaccurate. A machine can be computerised, not a man.

    KIRK: What makes you think you're a man? You're an overgrown jackrabbit, an elf with a hyperactive thyroid.

    SPOCK: Jim, I don't understand.

    KIRK: Of course you don't understand. You don't have the brains to understand. All you have is printed circuits.

    SPOCK: Captain, if you'll excuse me.

    KIRK: What can you expect from a simpering, devil-eared freak whose father was a computer and his mother an encyclopedia?

    SPOCK: My mother was a teacher. My father an ambassador.

    KIRK: Your father was a computer, like his son. An ambassador from a planet of traitors. A Vulcan never lived who had an ounce of integrity.

    SPOCK: Captain, please don’t

    KIRK: You're a traitor from a race of traitors. Disloyal to the core, rotten like the rest of your subhuman race, and you've got the gall to make love to that girl.

    SPOCK: That's enough.

    KIRK: Does she know what she's getting, Spock? A carcass full of memory banks who should be squatting in a mushroom, instead of passing himself off as a man? You belong in a circus, Spock, not a starship. Right next to the dog-faced boy.

    Shatner’s tone is absolutely pitch perfect for each line of delivery,

    That’s an incredible feat. But sadly, not replicated here by Sisko (@NCC-1701-Z).

    More than that, I have to say, I’m really disappointed by Worf.

    Not one word of protest when Sisko orders Worf to gas the Maquis settlers (h/t @Captain Olli, @Luke, @Prince of the Blood, @Matt, @Sleeper Agent, @Archideus, @Lew Stone, @Booming, @Sigh2000)? Has Worf learned nothing over the last few years?

    Conveniently, the one man who would almost certainly have said something, is missing from this entire episode,

    BASHIR: Sir, I hate to bring this up, but our agreement with the Romulans expressly prohibits use of the cloaking device in the Alpha Quadrant.

    SISKO: You're right. It does. But there are hundreds of Klingon ships between us and Dukat, and I intend to make that rendezvous in one piece.

    BASHIR: Well, I won't tell the Romulans if you don't.

    Instead we have Kira. @gion get’s close to exploding over Kira's inclusion on this mission. If someone making this show had been paying attention to the theme of the story, they might have included a scene where Kira demands to go on the mission because Eddington shot her! In any case, @Silly asks tongue-in-cheek, "Did she just take a bunch of Starfleet extension courses?” No @Silly, but we could have really used that one guy who loves extension courses! Or maybe Bashir would, as @Trent does above, point out that the Cardassians started it. I guess we’ll never know. But back to Worf.

    In "Rules of Engagement” Worf is painted by his enemies as a blood-thirsty Klingon,

    CH'POK: Tell me, Commander, what was the final order Sompek gave to his men once they had conquered the city of Tong Vey?

    DAX: He told them to burn the city to the ground and to kill everyone in it.

    CH'POK: Everyone? Not just the soldiers, but the people of the town too? Civilians? Women? Children?

    DAX: Yes.

    CH'POK: Now, Commander, when Mister Worf runs this programme, does he give the final order to destroy the city and kill all of the inhabitants?

    We all know the answer,

    DAX: Yes.

    CH'POK: Of course he does. Because he is a Klingon warrior. He doesn't have the same moral code as a Starfleet officer. He is one of us. A killer, a predator among sheep.

    Or how about Garak in Broken Link,

    GARAK: I'm not talking about war. What I'm proposing is wiping out every Founder on that planet. Obliterating the Great Link. Come now, Mister Worf, you're a Klingon. Don't tell me you'd object to a little genocide in the name of self-defence?

    Or even going as far back as TNG’s Conundrum.

    Despite suffering these caricatures, not one word of objection from Worf now to Sisko’s orders?! How about you at least pretend to object, just to keep up the play-acting for Eddington’s benefit - to make it seem like Sisko is off his rockers?

    This, by the way, is the same Sisko who dressed down Worf in “Rules of Engagement”, with,

    SISKO: You're damned right you should've checked. You knew there were civilian ships in the area. You fired at something you hadn't identified. You made a military decision to protect your ship and crew, but you're a Starfleet officer, Worf. We don't put civilians at risk or even potentially at risk to save ourselves. Sometimes that means we lose the battle and sometimes our lives. But if you can't make that choice, then you can't wear that uniform.

    Read *that* again: "We don't put civilians at risk or even potentially at risk to save ourselves. Sometimes that means we lose the battle and sometimes our lives. But if you can't make that choice, then you can't wear that uniform.”

    You can’t wear the uniform. Someone might have done a little more background work when making an episode called “For the Uniform.”

    The episode has a too-clever-by-half technobabble solution where Sisko makes the Maquis planet uninhabitable for non-Cardassians and then the two populations just trade planets. (@Tanstaafl says, "just so happens to be a toxic gas on the Defiant that only kills humans,” and @William B says, "This seems pretty stupid to me.”). Fucking moron Picard in “Journey’s End”, why couldn’t you come up with this shit? Oh wait,

    PICARD: Mister Worf, will you begin preparations to remove the inhabitants from Dorvan Five.

    WORF: Aye, sir.

    Dude, Worf, dude… how can you let Wesley fucking Crusher show more balls than you do?

    Aside from Sisko, the person with the worst line delivery this episode is Dax. Two lines in particular stand out,

    DAX: The secret life of Michael Eddington. How does it help us?

    You know you’re supposed to be playing a 300 year old with some small amount of experience and maybe even wisdom, not a dumb broad? (@Vylora, @Bobbington Mc Bob).

    Even worse,

    DAX: You know, sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins.

    Because, why? (@Yanks). No wonder Eddington was so frustrated with these people. They really don’t understand at all.

    Reminds me a little of what Odo once said to Shakaar,

    ODO: I've been working with the Federation for a number of years. They claim to be open and understanding, but somehow they're always convinced that they're right. It can be exasperating at times.

    At least Sisko tried to read Victor Hugo. Dax couldn’t even be bothered (@Luke).

    The whole point of Les Misérables is that in an evil system, everyone loses.

    The thief lost the best years of his life. But the inspector did too - in the end, the inspector killed himself. That’s what it is like to live under tyranny. This is why Victor Hugo wrote the novel. To highlight the value of liberties like parole and concepts like forgiveness. For all sides.

    The Maquis were a few hundred thousand deluded settlers caught between ever-expanding empires on all fronts. Fortunately nothing like that could ever happen in real life (@methane).

    Dax can sleep easy knowing there are no valuable lessons to learn from fiction.

    @Mal excellent essay. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together. Worf's tendencies remind me of that well-known exchange from "Conan The Barbarian" with Worf resembling Conan just a bit.

    MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD (from Khitai, I think): " We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?"
    WARRIOR: The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
    MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD: "Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?"
    CONAN (matter of factly) "To crush your enemies; see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women."
    MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD: "That is good! That is good."

    Pretty simplistic worldview...sounds good eh? Not easy to live with for those over the age of 14, even if on the winning side.

    "Pretty simplistic worldview...sounds good eh? Not easy to live with for those over the age of 14, even if on the winning side."

    When I win a case in court I always like to think I can hear the lamentation of the opposing lawyer's woman.

    "When I win a case in court I always like to think I can hear the lamentation of the opposing lawyer's woman." (Jason R.)

    I'm no expert in cultural programming, but I think we are taught to enjoy total victory from an early age, as a basis for constructive competition. In the controlled contexts of the rule-based tourney, i e., court, total defeat of one's enemy can be intensely satisfying.

    Probably the worst episode of Star Trek ever if you look at it terms of morality. Nothing in new Trek even compares to the villainy of Sisko in this episode.

    You have to wonder how DS9 became so popular given the multiple outrages it performs. It had so much potential to be better. Had it not been for Rick Berman they would have turned DS9 into a crew of vilians.

    The one silver lining is that it taught me not to be like Sisko but to be like Picard (TNG only) and Janeway. And not to be like the Worf of this episode but that of TNG. The contrast was glaring.

    Jadzia: "...and the next time I go off half-cocked on some wild-eyed adventure, think back to this moment and be a little more understanding."

    Nice reference back to Blood Oath.

    Was it slightly "thrilling" to watch? Yes, I had no problem watch it because I was intrested of the solution. Was it good? No, and I have two main objections.

    1. Sisko turned almost mad and definetely had a big personal phychological neurotical problem. Worf, Jadzia,Kira and O'Brian gladly let it happen.

    2. He did something very immoral and got a way with is.

    This exaguration did not work for me.

    A wonderful, wonderful installment.

    A kvetch or two to start with: So, we have the Defiant rendered totally, utterly dead-in-the-water inoperable by virtue of some fakaktana computer virus. WHAT!?!?! Absolutely ridiculous. Why on earth do the Klingies, Cardies, Rommies, etc. bother with all the fancy weaponry and advanced warships when all they need to do is train up a bunch of computer programmers and let them loose on each other...badda-bing, badda-boom; #winning.

    Then, the manual maneuvering... 🤦‍♂️ Okay, it was neat. Something different. But, really, you have, like, a dozen people, across the bridge and engineering, operating the motion of a massive vessel where delicate course adjustments have to be made within milliseconds!?! 😂😂😂😂 The notion of manually targeting and firing weapons is even more preposterous. Space is HUMONGOUS! Sci-fi shows always depict vessels within a few hundred feet of each other but, in reality, they'd be hundreds, even thousands, of miles apart. You'd need a zoom factor of *millions* just to be able to *see* your adversary; accurately firing a straight laser/phaser beam or a torpedo at it? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! But, I get it, we'd never have any cool battle sequences if we'd keep it even remotely realistic.

    Moving on. I was rooting for Eddington until he started his genocidal crap, at which point I, reluctantly, switched over to Cisco's side, even if he was behaving like a hotheaded, hopped-up gangbanger.

    Could also totally have done without the literary exegesis of Les Miserables. Like, WTF?! Valjean stole a bread roll; he didn't gas up half of Paris. Get on with the story and track down Eddington, maing!

    All that said, Cisco. Was. Right. The Macquis had been causing enough trouble for too long, and it was time to deal with their B.S. decisively. Of course, we, the Western society, have become so sissified that we don't believe even in self-defense anymore. Criminals are treated practically the same as their victims and are, indeed, viewed as victims themselves: victims of "racism," of mommy who didn't hug them enough, of "poverty," of yadda-yadda-yadda. In a sane world though, sometimes an individual's or a group's behavior is so unacceptable that you need to come down on them hard, with an iron fist. It might not work but neither does indulging them. Cisco went up with my estimation, BIGLY, by not punking out and by following through.

    Was this Cisco's vendetta? Maybe. Probably. At least in (large) part. So what? Were the Macquis a bunch of rat bastards who were perpetrating atrocities left and right? Yes, and they deserved to be stopped. Even if pursuing Eddington was motivated by CIsco's personal vengeance, the end result was salutary.

    As others, I, too, detest the reset button; there should definitely have been ramifications arising from this episode. Still, a solid 3-1/2 stars in my book.

    "Why on earth do the Klingies, Cardies, Rommies, etc. bother with all the fancy weaponry and advanced warships when all they need to do is train up a bunch of computer programmers and let them loose on each other...badda-bing, badda-boom; #winning."

    Eddington was a Starfleet security officer and he had access to the Defiant previously because he worked on it. He even sabotaged it once before.

    Jason, sure, I thought of that, too, and my comment was definitely simplistic, but I think my point stands. If the system of an entire vessel--a combat one, at that--is THAT easily compromised, then the ship should never have left the engineer's table, let alone been manufactured. It makes the craft incredibly, absurdly vulnerable, which any enemy would be a fool to not try to exploit.

    Even glossing over the fact that apparently nobody thought it prudent to revoke Eddington's credentials after he went rogue, a system that has at least one single-point system-wide fatal vulnerability that can be exploited by a single individual--regardless of how highly ranked--is stupid beyond words.

    "-If SF Command believed that the alternative was war with the Cardassians and millions of casualties, they may have chosen to sacrifice a few thousand Maquis colonists. I don't agree with it, but I can at least understand why they did it."

    I mean SF command really didn't ok anything beforehand. Sisko just decided that it was time to gas planets and afterwards SF apparently agreed with it. The fact that there were no negative consequences whatsoever for Sisko means that the Federation is ok with chemical warfare. It seems when it comes to military justice the Federation functions more like the Mongol Empire than a modern democratic state or are we supposed to believe that dropping deadly gas on civilians was always ok?!
    For gods sake, even Hitler banned chemical warfare! Here is a !Truth bomb!
    Roddenberry wanted the Federation to be more ethical than Hitler.
    Boom, I said it. It's out there. Deal with it!

    @ Daemoniac,

    "I do agree that no one getting killed was a cop out"

    Actually I think this is a core reason why what Sisko did is *not* a war crime, and writing it this way isn't just a soft landing for a harsh action but actually the central reason why he did that action. Sisko has always been a "play fair, boys" type of dad. He isn't going to expect people in the world to resolve issues like Picard would, but he will try to find an equitable resolution even if it isn't perfect. I think his judgement in "Cardassians" is a good example of a ruling that might have ruffled feathers but resulted in the least wrongs being left alone. Here Sisko is observing 'Federation citizens' basically acting like hooligans, thinking they're going to get away with something when really they're just asking to be genocided. "You take away their world so you lose yours" is sort of schoolyard justice: a high-handed ruling passed down to misbehaving children, where the sentence is meant to correct an imbalance. It can be likened to "you took away his ball so now you lose yours too." The fact that the scale is planetary makes it a galling event, but anything less than that would have allowed the Cardassians to claim that whatever form of punishment the Federation issues, if any, wasn't equivalent to what they lost. Saving face would demand retribution. Sisko made sure the Maquis lost *exactly* what they took from the Cardassians, and he was sure to pick a method that would not result in mass casualties. This is sci-fi, I don't think we need to kvetch over whether that technical option existed. The show says it did, and Sisko opted to use it to square things in the DMZ. The tit-for-tat rough justice Sisko used here was, ironically, a highly diplomatic choice if you consider the likely reaction of the Cardassians had the Maquis been given a slap on the wrist. The more I think of it the more I'm not sure if any other option would have been superior...

    "Actually I think this is a core reason why what Sisko did is *not* a war crime"
    No, using chemical weapons for ethnic cleansing is a war crime, using it against civilians really is enough to qualify as a war crime. At least in today's world it would be.

    " The show says it did, and Sisko opted to use it to square things in the DMZ. The tit-for-tat rough justice Sisko used here was, ironically, a highly diplomatic choice if you consider the likely reaction of the Cardassians had the Maquis been given a slap on the wrist."
    I find it strange how easy people use hypotheticals to justify war crimes and ethnic cleansing. If the Cardassians could have acted, then why didn't they? The Maquis gassed two planets. If they didn't react then, the only reason would be that they couldn't.
    There were numerous better options than gassing planets/state terrorism/war crimes/ethnic cleansing.

    If this is such a crucial thing for the Federation then why did they only sent ONE SHIP at a time. How about sending 10 or 50?

    I think Trent once wrote about how DS9, especially in the later seasons, had a tendency to create scenarios were harsh violence was the best solution. This is a good example, the show just declares that gassing them was the best option and that nobody died. Case closed. That the colony they gassed was conveniently called "a Maquis colony" meaning that everybody there is apparently guilty by default is another one of those borderline disgusting choices. It is the same when the Federation almost committed genocide. That's when DS9 really went too dark by essentially making the case that war crimes and genocide are sometimes ok. This aired in 1997 and less than 10 years later the US had committed numerous war crimes because of a terrorist attack. Maybe watch Taxi to the Dark side again if you have forgotten.

    People on this forum have actually defended both gassing people, ethnic cleansing or genocide because it was portrayed as rational. News flash, anybody who commits war crimes or genocide thinks it necessary.

    I guess we Humans never learn or at least not fast enough for our own good.

    Oh and by the way, the Maquis was an important part of the French resistance against the Nazis. So I'm kind of puzzled why the authors chose that name and essentially turned them into villains.

    Using canned phrases like "ethnic cleansing" isn't going to help us understand the implications of the episode. There is no ethnic issue here, nor is it a genocide. He did use a chemical agent, although I'm hesitant to agree he's using 'chemical weapons' since his agenda was to avoid harming anyone, so was it really being deployed as a weapon? The semantics are a bit unhelpful IMO. I'm not precisely advocating for this type of solution, but rather suggesting that in this context I could see a reading of the episode where establishing balance between what the Maquis did and what they had to have done back to them may be 'fair' even if it violates some other types of principles.

    Canned phrase? Here is an example of how the ICC defined it in Yugoslavia:" In its examination of the capture of the town of Kozarac by Bosnian Serbs, the ICTY described the ethnic cleansing that took place there as the process of rounding up and driving “out of the area on foot the entire non-Serb population." and "In its finalized text on the elements of the crimes in the court’s jurisdiction, the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court made clear that ethnic cleansing could constitute all three offenses within the ICC’s jurisdiction. Genocide, for example, was defined as an act that may include the systematic expulsion of individuals from their homes; the threat of force or coercion to effect the transfer of a targeted group of persons was recognized as an element of crimes against humanity; and the “unlawful deportation and transfer,” as well as the displacement, of civilians were recognized as elements of war crimes."

    Having a quick look at the ICC laws Sisko has committed several war crimes.
    - War crime of unlawful deportation and transfer
    - War crime of destruction and appropriation of property
    - War crime of attacking civilians
    - War crime of attacking civilian objects
    - War crime of attacking undefended places
    - War crime of employing poison or poisoned weapons
    and so on. But apparently the Federation war crime law is similar to blood feuds. If the terrorists gas planets then we can gas planets.

    "He did use a chemical agent, although I'm hesitant to agree he's using 'chemical weapons' since his agenda was to avoid harming anyone"
    If the commander of a warship puts a deadly poison into a torpedo and shoots it at a target then I'm fairly certain that this qualifies as chemical weapons usage. Furthermore, even if we accept the "no deaths, no injuries" portrayal, which makes zero sense, forcing civilians out of their homes forever I would call harming them. Less than 30 years after using chemical weapons against civilians in Vietnam, killing hundreds of thousands, injuring millions and causing half a million of Vietnamese babies being born with birth defects. By the way the USA never paid any compensation to the Vietnamese for doing that. So making an episode in which chemical weapons usage against civilians is portrayed as a clean and easy solution is beyond repulsive.

    I'd like to discuss how the other captains would have reacted in the same situation. I believe that Kirk with his "cowboy diplomacy" would have took the same action as Sisko. Archer by series 3 of Enterprise would have followed. However I think Picard and Janeway would not be inclined to take such drastic action.

    "Did Archer or Kirk ever use WMDs against civilians or in general?"

    I do not really agree with this line of thinking in terms of it helping us to understand this episode. But in reply to the question anyhow, I can name some "drastic actions" that various Trek captains have taken:

    Kirk - A Taste of Armageddon: Kirk directly created the conditions for a world to be totally annihilated from a nuclear attack unless they took the steps he was advising. This one is actually surprisingly analogous to For the Uniform: putting a people in danger in order to teach them a lesson about how to avoid their own evils and bad actions.

    Picard - Pen Pals + Homeward: Revisiting our old PD debate, he was quite prepared to allow natural forces to annihilate entire worlds rather than help the local populations. This isn't directly analogous to Sisko's actions, but you have to be pretty dedicated to the PD rules to view this as significantly different from introducing the dangerous element yourself. Either way you are the arbiter of whether the danger will be there or not, and you find it advantageous to allow it (in Sisko's case, to even the score; in Picard's case, to protect Federation values.

    Janeway - pretty sure I could name numerous examples of her using extreme methods, but the occasion coming to mind most quickly is giving the Borg custom-made bio-weapons to use against Species 8472, quite likely with the intent to eradicate that species (one would not expect the Borg to only fire a warning shot).

    Not sure about Captain Archer as I've not watched ENT in quite a while.

    Archer took his share of "drastic actions" -- denied a cure to a more advanced race of aliens so that some evolution BS could supposedly take place in "Dear Doctor"; tortured an alien in "Anomaly"; stole a warp core from an otherwise friendly alien ship in "Damage".

    So it's clear captains have had to set aside their values or challenge their own standard judgments / morality at a given time. That is a typical kind of Trek sci-fi story.

    So with Sisko here, it's another example of realpolitik. DS9 as the darker Trek made the acts darker, but there is a calculus here for Sisko. Not to sound cold about it, but Sisko did a cost-benefit analysis to ultimately try and make things even. To judge the episode solely based on the nature of Sisko's act is totally missing the point. And there is no "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" here either.

    One other thing I noted is that this episode is written and directed by the same 2 people who did ITPML. The director Victor Lobl didn't direct very many Trek episodes.

    "For the Uniform" is a very good episode and I really appreciated Marshall's performance as an actor -- he's quite good here and definitely elevated the material.

    I'm really puzzled that people question the whole ethnic cleansing matter. Eddington obviously used ethnic/race cleansing and then Sisko did the same.

    Easy example. A military commander comes to a town and then tells the inhabitants that he will kill them all if they don't leave. They refuse, so he shots deadly poison gas into the town which forces them to leave immediately. He does all that so that a group of a different race can take over the town. That's ethnic cleansing and pretty much exactly what happened in this episode.

    Booming, you seem to be jumping through hoops in order to be able to invoke the canned "ethnic cleansing" expression, so that the situation can be viewed as obviously evil; since ethnic cleaning is obviously evil. But unless Sisko gassed the Maquis planet *because* they were humans, Vulcans, etc (i.e. his goal was to punish humans and Vulcans because they are humans and Vulcans) the term doesn't apply and is needlessly misleading.

    "Sisko did a cost-benefit analysis to ultimately try and make things even."

    What was the cost? There was no follow up to find out what happened to the people of the planet. Sisko showed no regret or remorse for is actions either then or later in the series.

    It's this that makes me largely cold towards DS9. People talk about it being a "dark" series to justify what happens, but Sisko is portrayed as a do-no-wrong hero who is no different from the stony-faced military leaders, Generals and "hard men" (white males, no less) we've seen throughout history. There was so much potential for Sisko's character development throughout the series but we get almost nothing.

    "There was so much potential for Sisko's character development throughout the series but we get almost nothing."

    Maybe you should actually watch the series more carefully. "Almost nothing"?? Really??

    If there's one thing DS9 did better than every other Trek series for more of its characters, it's character development. The Sisko character had so much thrown at it from being a father, a religious icon, the Federation leader at a remote outpost carrying the weight of the Alpha Quadrant on his shoulders, etc. etc.

    "But unless Sisko gassed the Maquis planet *because* they were humans, Vulcans, etc (i.e. his goal was to punish humans and Vulcans because they are humans and Vulcans) the term doesn't apply and is needlessly misleading."

    He used a gas specifically because it was only harmful to Humans and not harmful to Cardassians. Milosevic didn't hate Croats or Bosniaks, he drove them out (or let the Bosnian Serbs do it) because he wanted to create a Greater Serbia that was relatively homogeneous.
    Here is how the UN defined it in Yugoslavia
    " As used in this report, «ethnic cleansing» means rendering an area ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove from a given area persons from another ethnic or religious group. "
    That is what Sisko did. He removed the Humans so that Cardassians could move in. Intent or the "wish to punish somebody" is not a relevant factor. The deciding factor is that you forcibly remove a population of a specific ethnicity or race from a region who live there legally. You definition of the term is far too narrow.

    But I guess we will not agree on this point.. Do you agree that what Sisko did fulfilled the meaning of several of the war crimes I named?

    I think you and Rahul are both right to some degree. Rahul is correct in stating that DS9 had the best character development of all Trek shows. But Sisko's development was one of the worst. While I still like Sisko, the character,
    his main change was becoming wormhole Jesus. His characters arc was less of an arc and more like bamboo bending for a while and then snapping back to how it was before.

    "What was the cost? There was no follow up to find out what happened to the people of the planet. Sisko showed no regret or remorse for is actions either then or later in the series."
    Yeah, the ending was pure cringe. That the episode actually states that everybody just moved to the planets that weren't gassed with poison harmful to them is almost dark comedy.

    And the forcibly displaced lived happily ever after.


    You're not wrong that I need to revisit DS9. It's been a while. It's just that nowadays, whenever I feel like re-watching a 90s serialized show about a space station, DS9 isn't my first choice.

    So Booming, just to use a more real world example if Israel dismantles an illegal settlement in the West Bank of its own people, is that "ethnic cleansing" too? Surely there has to be some racist animus on the part of the "cleanser" for the term to apply?

    In the legal definition there is always the part I added and which is one, but not the only difference to the example you gave.

    "who live there legally" The Israeli Settlements in the Westbank ( and the ones that existed in Gaza) are violating international law (which are more like rules but anyway). Their existence and expansion violate the Geneva Convention.

    So the four(?) Westbank settlements that Israel abandoned, that was not ethnic cleansing.

    What if the settlements were legal but Israel just chose to cede them as part of a treaty or agreement a la Journey's End?

    You're suggesting that Jews can ethnically cleanse other Jews?

    I don't know this does not seem kosher to me.

    "What if the settlements were legal but Israel just chose to cede them as part of a treaty or agreement a la Journey's End?"
    Well, the moment Israel ceded them, these settlements would be under the protection of the new country.

    "You're suggesting that Jews can ethnically cleanse other Jews?"
    I think Jews can do anything they set their minds to. :)

    But to answer your question, yes, that is technically possible. I'm sure in the long history of the Jews it probably happened quite a few times. Jews lived longer in Palastine than Germans in Germany. Oh and by the way lots of ethnic cleansing in barbaric Germany done by Germans against other Germans.

    Example, let's say one Jewish faction or vassal kingdom in the employ of an empire like Persia, Rome or Egypt is supposed to drive off Jews in a region so that this empire can establish a colony. The Romans were famous for colonizing. In the end it's just about forcing a certain race or ethnicity out of their legal settlements so that another can move in.

    Or let's make it even simpler. One of the Israelite tribes forces another Israelite tribe out of their homeland. Ethnic cleansing.

    I really think this tangent is a distraction from, rather than a help, to inspecting the episode. Quibbling about whether some obscure definition can technically count isn't helpful. Whether ethnic cleansing must refer to a different ethnic group than the cleanser, or whether it can extend to any outgroup even if it's not a real ethnic difference (like one tribe against another of the same people), Sisko neither targeted anyone because of their race or because they were an outgroup. In fact he viewed the Maquis colonists as an ingroup, i.e. part of the Federation, which is exactly why he needed to school them to avoid an interstellar war. He was severely chastening his own people who had stepped out of line. The fact that the tool he used targeted them and not the Cardassians was a means to an end, not the end unto itself. In fact it's really just a McGuffin of the script that this was the particular technique he used to get rid of them and allow for a colony exchange between them and the Cardassians. If both sides in the conflict had been the same race genetically it would have just been some other [tech] solution to achieve the same result.

    "which is exactly why he needed to school them to avoid an interstellar war. He was severely chastening his own people who had stepped out of line."

    Sisko didn't drop gas on that planet to teach those colonists a lesson, he did it to force a terrorist to surrender. These colonists weren't responsible for Eddington's acts. Eddington was ethnically cleansing Cardassian colonies in the neutral zone and then Sisko threatened to ethnically cleanse/destroy/whatever you want to call it, all Human colonies in the neutral zone. Sorry, I find that pretty horrifying for a Trek show or well... always. Do you think it is justified to attack civilians for the acts of a terrorist or to stop a terrorist?

    And let's face it, Sisko wasn't preventing an interstellar war. The Cardassian Union was in no shape to go to war after the Klingon invasion. That's another weak point of this episode. They couldn't even protect their colonies anymore.

    "Or let's make it even simpler. One of the Israelite tribes forces another Israelite tribe out of their homeland. Ethnic cleansing."

    Not in the days of tribal Israel, but in the period of the divided monarchy this kind of cleansing occurred:

    The Israelite House of Omri guilty of apostasy during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, was thoroughly annihilated by Jehu (King of Judah).

    Baal worship was deemed an abomination and had to be extirpated.

    "Baal worship was deemed an abomination and had to be extirpated. "
    That's understandable, that was a mean god. Especially the Carthaginian version. ;)

    Prime Directive material. Carthage, its Moloch, the Baal Hammon cult and its demands...All those children!

    The personal vendetta/obsession theme has been explored more than once in Trek (TOS: "Doomsday Machine" & "Obsession") it works well when it's a new character but when it's an established character like Kirk or Sisko, it has to fit the personality that's been established for them, otherwise they look like a caricature of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick.

    The only way I could ever see Sisko making the decision he did here is by being infected with a virus that effects him mentally or by being possessed by an alien entity. He just went too far off the rails & then minutes later we get the standard Trek jokey wrap-up. It's almost like the writer's room went on vacation and hired temps to churn this one out. Considering some of the gems this show has to offer, this one's best left forgotten (for me). YMMV.

    So I'd like to preface this set of reflections on this episode by saying that TNG and DS9 constantly vie for the top spot in my ranking of the Trek series. I can never decide which one I love more. And I mostly haven't regarded there being *any* incongruity or inconsistency with me liking them both. I don't think that the darker vision of the future presented in DS9 undermines TNG nor Gene's vision, overall.

    In this episode, perhaps we have an exception. To look at why it doesn't work, we need to look at what normally makes a grittier DS9 work and fit in consistently with the TNG universe and ethos most of the time. I'm going to draw heavily from insights I've gained from many of the smart regular commenters on this site over the years: William B, Peter G, Robert, and yes, Elliot (who is vehemently anti-DS9, but not without making many reasonable points along the way). I can't remember which of them made this point, but I think what makes DS9 usually work boils down to the fact that the characters in DS9 are typically presented with situations where they *have* to compromise somewhat on their ideals in a way that Picard & Co never did (because the TNG writers never presented them with such situations). The need for this compromise is often because the DS9 crew is on the frontier, and they simply lack the full resources of the Federation, as well as the exceptional (unrealistic?) technical finesse and competence of Starfleet's absolute finest. Let's face it, Data is a huge outlier, and "crew with Data" outperforms any other crew, any day of the week. So asking ourselves WWPD (What Would Picard Do?) in the situations presented in DS9 is often not a fair question, because TNG tended towards cleaner resolutions in the end, where the characters were conveniently able to preserve their integrity and not have to get their hands too dirty. Picard would get Data & Geordi to cook up some technobabble antidote to the cobalt diselenide poisoning, allowing the DMZ colonies' atmospheres to be purified, and he would share that intel with the Cardassians, in the interests of preserving the peace and the greater good. (cf. TNG The Wounded, where Picard literally went up against renegade humans who were waging a personal war on Cardassia, and was forced to side with the Cardassians to an extent, for the greater good). OR, he would use the Ent-D -- whose internal volume can fit tens of thousands more people than the standard crew complement -- to evacuate the Cardassian colonists himself, and then contact the Cardassian gov't and ask them wtf they'd like to do with them.

    Sisko doesn't have any of these options at his disposal, so a fairer question would be, what would Picard do *if* he were in Sisko's position, with his limited resources, with a ticking clock, and having had his objectivity compromised by being hurt and feeling vengeful? Ans.: maybe we'd see something much more along the lines of "First Contact" Picard. Because anyone *can* react that way, under difficult enough circumstances. Someone (maybe Peter G, not sure) pointed out one time (in the comment thread for some other DS9 episode) that after TNG Season 2, the writers' philosophy behind humanity being 'enlightened' switched somewhat from the unrealistic idea that we were intrinsically better due to having evolved biologically as a species, to the more realistic idea that we were enabled to behave better and have nobler pursuits due to *society and culture* being better. That second notion allows DS9 to exist consistently alongside TNG as a valuable analysis of what humans (who are biologically largely the same as they are now) would do in 24th-century situations where those evolved societies and institutions start to fall apart, and they still have to somehow make things work, while defending from existential threats and other crises.

    So far it may sound like I'm defending the DS9 writer's decisions in this episode. I'm not. I said above that contrary to the norm, this episode *doesn't* work, not even as that sort of deconstructive analysis. And I stand by that. Because even if Sisko has fewer resources, and has resort to aggression sooner, I'd still like to see him a) using his *brain* to channel that aggression towards a tactical solution (like Kirk!) and b) maintaining somewhat of a moral high ground over the Maquis, as a representative of the Federation (like both Kirk and Picard). Unfortunately we don't get Sisko using his brain here, nor maintaining any sort of high ground. He starts off sort of having a leg to stand on, and then completely throws away that legitimacy by adopting a simplistic "gotta go after the corrupt cop at all costs" mentality. "After all, he betrayed his uniform, right?" Sisko displays a stubborn and perplexing inability to consider the big picture here. You know, all that "preserving the peace and greater good" stuff I alluded to before, which is a pretty basic part of a Captain's role. In other episodes, he does display that ability, and if he had exercised it here, he would have at least taken into *consideration* that bringing Eddington in just might not be worth it. I could see the counterargument that Eddington's inside knowledge of Starfleet, and his skillset makes the Maquis far more dangerous than they were before, and that that threat has to be eliminated. But Eddington is not the only ex-Starfleet-officer in the Maquis. And Sisko shouting that Eddington "should have thought of that before [he] attacked a Federation starship!", and calling that attack "an intolerable threat to the security of the Federation" is a poor way of expressing this argument, IMO, and makes it seem like Starfleet was content to *abide by the law* in chasing Eddington, when he was only attacking civilian transports. They only later decided to bring him in "by any means necessary" (including illegal WMD-based ones) when he threatened their precious military hardware. So Sisko's actions don't paint Starfleet, as an organization, in a good light. It's just impossible for me to lump *poisoning planets* in with the rest of the DS9 "necessary rule bending" we've seen before.

    As a complete aside, I'd also point out that the geopolitics of this situation continue to make no sense in DS9 as well. It's supposed to be a *demilitarized* zone, but Starfleet is suddenly free to send in medium cruisers and a freaking gunboat to chase after these raiders? You'd think the Cardassians would have responded by *also* violating the treaty to to stop the threat. Yet, there is not a Galor-class warship in sight here.

    But getting back to the main point of the (lack of) justification for Sisko's actions. Consider that at the beginning of this episode, Sisko was *completely in the right*. He said to Eddington, "these people [the refugees] don't have to live like this", which is totally *true* in the post-scarcity society of the Federation. First of all, in the Star Trek universe, the Milky Way Galaxy is teeming with Class M planets. In that Season 2 DS9 episode where a bunch of porridge-faced refugees came through the wormhole (thousands of them!) and tried to convince Kira that they were destined to settle on Bajor, they found some other empty planet for them *inside of a week*. Same with the colonists that Worf's brother fell in love with, and didn't want to be forcibly relocated (TNG season 6 or 7, sigh). And if even no suitable Class M planet is available, *terraforming* is a thing in this fictional universe (provided you don't run into any sentient crystals who accuse you of being ugly bags of mostly water, cf. TNG season 2 or whatever). So hey, Federation: want to solve the Maquis problem? Just mildly terraform some planets, drop the colonists off on them, and donate 5 or so industrial replicators. These people will live like kings! You know, just like the rest of the Federation citizenry. Sisko was also completely right that Eddington sold the colonists on "an impossible dream that they could go back to those farms and schools". I've got news for you: when the Cardassians take over a planet, they don't tend to preserve the previous owner's farms and schools out of sentiment (cf. the Bajoran Occupation). The homes you worked so hard (for some reason) to build are gone! There's nothing to go back to. So yeah, part of this is Eddington's fault for selling them on that dream, but part of it also the rest of the Maquis members' fault for being deluded enough to buy it. Who are these morons, exactly? I can see them maybe being angry enough to take up arms shortly after the treaty was signed. But 1-2 years in? Nah. Rational people would be packing it up and heading for the nearest non-DMZ planet with brand new industrial-replicator-produced towns on it. And yeah if you want to do some recreational farming on said planets, go ahead, but it's certainly not necessary for subsistence. So I think I'm largely agreeing with Elliot's previous assessments of the Maquis. I can see what sorts of shades of grey the writers were hoping to examine by introducing them. But their cause is just so illogical and absurd in this fictional setting, that it completely cheapens any argument that "they're just nobly defending their homes". It's untenable in the long run.

    Likewise, any future moral ambiguities that the writers examine using Sisko's character are cheapened because of this episode. By having him fly off the handle and become unhinged at minimal grounds/provocation ("because he beat me!") the writers are cheapening the impact of his actions and decisions in future episodes like "In The Pale Moonlight". In that episode, Sisko had no choice but to lie and to be an accessory to murder because *the entire quadrant* was at stake. (Likewise, in First Contact, the entire timeline was at stake). Here, I feel Sisko could have availed himself of some other choices if the writers hadn't been lazy and shortsighted.

    2.5 stars, with the 0.5 mainly being for the excellent, excellent sequence of a Defiant leaving the docking ring under completely manual control and coordination. Give us more "starship operations" to nerd out on! Everything from the dialogue to the music was extremely well done, and really built up the sense of anticipation and daring! It's hard to describe why, but that scene had visercal/emotional impact for me, and had a sort of "Motion-Picture-era" vibe to it. I wish this sequence had featured in some other episode with a more sensible storyline.

    The lack of any consequential aftermath to Sisko's actions made it difficult to stomach. Consider TNG's "Journey's End" wherein there was so much hand wringing about how to safely and equitably remove human colonists suddenly finding themselves on the Cardassian side of the border after the Federation-Cardassian treaty was signed. The prospect of having to traumatize or injure those people was a serious ethical dilemma for Picard.

    Now look at what Sisko did. Although it was not a Federation planet he poisoned, he could have killed potentially thousands of people, people who were still Federation citizens. Talk about a highly egregious action.

    I can just imagine Admiral Nechayev, the one who gave Picard such a hard time for not wanting to remove the human colonists, talking to Sisko. "What the hell were you thinking?" would be the least of her commentary. Sisko would be brought before an inquiry for sure.

    Besides that, the holo-communicator was a weird gimmick, and Eddington referring to Sisko as "Javere" in the very next scene after sending him the book seemed a little bit too canned or on the nose. The allegory of "Les Miserables" trying to elevate the tenor of the episode rang hollow for me, even though it was needed to drive the plot and explain Sisko's later controversial actions.

    Yet they don't take the allegory to its full conclusion. If Javere set a whole section of Paris on fire to snuff out Valjean, Javere would've got the guillotine for sure.

    @ Robert II,

    "The lack of any consequential aftermath to Sisko's actions made it difficult to stomach. Consider TNG's "Journey's End" wherein there was so much hand wringing about how to safely and equitably remove human colonists suddenly finding themselves on the Cardassian side of the border after the Federation-Cardassian treaty was signed. The prospect of having to traumatize or injure those people was a serious ethical dilemma for Picard."

    Maybe it's because I'm increasingly seeing things as a parent, but I'm prone to jump back into the fray to defend this episode (which I still consider more or less average). One big issue is that Picard treats everyone like a peer, trying to get them to agree to conciliatory reasoning. Even among his senior staff he often gives a lot of leeway to their opinions, and if he has to put his foot down it's because he simply must enforce Federation principles, rather than his own. At times he almost acts like a lawyer, interpreting Federation law and executing it, rather than opining about how he judges the moral landscape. Sisko, on the other hand, seems to treat many situations like a father would. When you lay down the law *as you see it*, you are taking on an adult role of creating the rules for others to follow. And there are many episodes, especially in early DS9, when Sisko's moral stance is his own rather than an objective interpretation of what Federation values would say about it. When he goes into the punishment box in Paradise, this isn't because this is what the Federation would say he should do, but his own statement about treating people like slaves. When he made his ruling in Cardassians, or dealt with the Bajoran situation in The Circle, it was using his own valuation system (which was guided by Federation culture to be sure). He doesn't like people to treat others badly, doesn't tolerate unfair play, and will absolutely play hardball if he doesn't like a situation.

    I see this father figure dynamic relevant here, where Eddington, acting IMO like a petulant child, casts Sisko in the big bad guy villain role: the lawman treating the little guy unfairly. But while we may be tempted to see this as a political disagreement - what are the Maquis positions on the one hand and the Federation's position on the other - I think it's more in keeping with Sisko's character and how he's been written in the series to see the issue as personal. Eddington *personally* sees Sisko as some authority-person trying to enforce his own rules on the Maquis, while Sisko views Eddington as having *personally* betrayed him and his oath, and I think Sisko feels responsible for him, just as a parent would whose children run around committing crimes. And I think on a meta-level it makes sense that Sisko would agree to adopt the villain role here: he is not afraid to act like the parent and to dictate to the unruly children what the rules are. This isn't a diplomatic issue any more than it is when a parent grounds their children, but merely the consequence of what it takes to actually enforce your parental authority. What we might question is whether Sisko in fact has any parental authority over the Maquis. He decides he does, perhaps in part because Starfleet won't, but mostly because that role seems to be given to him time and again. From this angle I don't mind the Les Miz analogy, just because it gives us insight into seeing Eddington as being like a child who has to pretend he's some kind of hero for defying authority. Unfortunately the episode maybe focuses too much on the possibility that Eddington may have a point, and not enough on what Sisko says, which is that he'll use Eddington's own ridiculous conception of him to his advantage. Despite the severe actions taken in the end, I do see Sisko as acting like a parent taking drastic action on a bunch of delinquents rather than acting as some kind of faux-villain. I know this position is contentious, and partly it's because making it political (e.g. 'what if U.N. nations did this kind of thing??') may be delving into areas the episode isn't really trying to address. It's a character story, fundamentally.

    I think this script could have used a few rewrites, and it could have gotten to something credible. The use of the hologram communication thing seems very superfluous to me. I think it could have been used to better effect by using it to convince Eddington that Sisko had poisoned a planet.

    It's not credible to me that he would make a planet uninhabitable to human life. All we have to go on is a theoretical Starfleet organization, but from what I can tell, he would be considered a criminal.


    I understand what you're trying to say about paternalism, and that works in some of the other examples you cited, but Sisko used biogenic weapons on a planetary scale to threaten the lives of Federation citizens! The reality is that somebody would've died. And he was prepared to do that to every Maquis planet in the DMZ.

    Think about "Chain of Command" in TNG wherein Starfleet was so afraid that Cardassians were developing biogenic weapons against Federation colonists that they were ready to go to war over it; and not to mention, they sent their flagship Captain on a secret mission to stop it. The history of Star Trek tells us that biogenics are serious business.

    We were owed at least a couple of scenes where Sisko had to explain his actions to the higher ups, but there was no scrutiny. A Starfleet Captain using biogenic weapons to get the job done? No problem! The episode ended neat and tidy with Dax saying, "I love being the villain." Yeah okay.

    The only flimsy piece of justification we are given is that the Maquis attacked a Federation starship, making them an "intolerable threat to the Federation and I'm going to eliminate that threat."

    ...using biogenic weapons.

    @ Robert II,

    The trouble is the episode painted itself into a corner. The parent is prone to say to the child "you took his toy away, and now I am taking away yours." The punishment fits the crime. It's just that, perhaps for the sake of trying to impress us with how serious the Maquis are (they failed) they had them do this drastic thing, and the formula of "you lose what you took away" just ends up meaning Sisko has to take the same drastic action. If he had simply stopped them, or arrested them, or you know, gave them a hefty fine, it would really not carry the message of "you lost exactly what you took." Anything he did, really, short of using the biogenics, would look like he was slapping them on the wrist. That doesn't exactly excuse it on a literal level, but on a story level it was this or else have the Maquis get away with it on some level. So that made the writing shoehorn itself into Sisko having to do this. Probably the better option would have been for the Maquis themselves not to have done something this severe, so that in turn when Sisko gave them back what they gave the Cardassians it wouldn't have caused such outrage.

    Great episode. Came to read the comments, and baffled by the things people saw happening, that I just didn’t see.

    I’m with @Jock Strapp from way back in 2012.

    Sisko killed no one. That’s scrupulously clear from everyone’s dialog, including Eddington’s.

    Many commenters seem to decide that this can’t possibly be true, then judge the episode based on their mentally-rewritten version of what they believe must have happened. “Genocide.” “Mass Murder.” If we look at what the writers/plot/dialog actually say, it’s none of that. A Federation Captain rendered settlements by Federation people living outside Federation borders, uninhabitable, forcing relocation.

    We can argue all day about whether it’s a “war crime” for a country/empire/union/federation to relocate its people who are self-proclaimed terrorists, back into the territory of that country/empire/union/federation and out of the territory of the country/empire/union/federation‘s neighbor, against whom the terrorist group has taken up arms. (But I won’t.)

    And even if we agree with a forcible relocation in principle, we can argue still longer about how far a country/empire/union/federation may go to force the relocation by rendering the settlement uninhabitable. (Cut off food supply? Cut off water? Poison water? Poison air?) That is the question Sisko’s actions raise.

    It seems more than plausible, in the confines of DS9 plot, that Starfleet would decide, ok, Sisko, you def shoulda talked with us first, but you solved our problem, so we’re letting it go.

    Sisko is a Starfleet Captain, though and through. He believes in loyalty to Starfleet to the point he’ll take on an 8-month assignment to go after treasonous Eddington, so he can turn it a personal vendetta that eats him alive. Does that make him a hero? Not really, but it makes him human. And he spits out his hatred of Eddington’s treason and terrorism, and how it victimizes (in his view) Federation people, voicing the Starfleet party line:

    SISKO: You know what I see out there, Mr. Eddington? I see victims, but not of Cardassia or the Federation. Victims of you, the Maquis. You sold these people on the dream that one day they could go back to those farms and schools and homes, but you know they never can. And the longer you keep that hope alive, the longer these people will suffer.

    It seems reasonable that Starfleet forgives him.

    Not that I would every disagree with anybody named Jock Strapp but this episode has a terrible message. It makes the case that using chemical weapons to forcibly displace a rebellious population is ok. Shouldn't the Federation have higher ethical standards than the Syrian government under Assad?

    Let's use a hypothetical. So the Hamas over the next 4-6 week executes several highly successful operations against Jewish colonies in the West Bank, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands. In reaction to that Israel threatens to drop A bombs on Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Israel then demands that all Palestinians leave Gaza and the West bank or they will use their atomic arsenal against them.

    So my question is this.
    Would that behavior be just or evil?

    And a few facts.
    The threat of using weapons of mass destruction against civilians and forcibly displacing a population are both war crimes of the highest order. Sisko actually went further by using WMDs against civilians.

    Here, it seems you need a little refresher


    Yes, I think the point that Sisko did not commit genocide or mass murder / ethnic cleansing needs to be emphasized here. I said as much about a year ago. Just like those who would basically side with Hamas — we’ve seen some awful examples like Chicago’s BLM, a union leader in Canada, etc., you rightly talk about many commenters “then judge the episode based on their mentally-rewritten version of what they believe must have happened.” This in turn would lead to having some sympathy for the Maquis/Hamas, presumably. Now, I wouldn’t say that we can judge the Maquis to be on the same lowly scum level like Hamas, however, but there is an instructive parallel.

    And StarFleet wouldn’t come down hard on Sisko. I agree with you on that. And DS9 reflects that as we don’t get Sisko up for war crimes or whatever in some subsequent episode.

    Oddly enough I was thinking about this episode in particular in light of Israel’s response against the terrorists Hamas. Quite prescient this episode. Israel’s response will prove to be kind of like Sisko poisoning a planet — but Hamas/Maquis aren’t exactly using well-identified military installations on purpose in Gaza/the planet. If they were, then those would be the targets of Israel/Sisko and they’d avoid purely civilian areas. It's the difference between how a trained military operates versus terrorists.

    So there needs to be an appreciation of what would ideally be a precision military strike versus deliberate genocide or ethnic cleansing.

    "Yes, I think the point that Sisko did not commit genocide or mass murder / ethnic cleansing needs to be emphasized here."
    Sisko dropped gas on a Human colony to force the Humans out so that the Cardassians could move in. It is textbook ethnic cleansing.

    Taken from this page

    "A United Nations Commission of Experts mandated to look into violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia defined ethnic cleansing in its interim report S/25274 as "… rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.

    The Commission of Experts added that these practices can “… constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore, such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention.”

    @Booming “this episode has a terrible message. It makes the case that using chemical weapons to forcibly displace a rebellious population is ok.”

    Does it? Don’t all the protagonists (including Sisko) assert that Sisko behaves villainously? Must we hyperbolize Sisko’s behavior to “genocide” in order to condemn it?

    “Shouldn't the Federation have higher ethical standards than [pick your analogy?]”

    Should it? Does it? Those, to me, are the questions that make this episode great. It gets us having the conversation that a few commenters were having way back before some folks introduced hypothetical deaths that the writers didn’t include.

    Personally, I enjoy fiction that gets the audience questioning characters we love (and I love Sisko). This is my first pass through DS9, so I’m not sure what happens next but I gather from others that Starfleet doesn’t punish Sisko, which means they either don’t know (absurd), decided it wasn’t wrong (unlikely, since Sisko himself says it was villainous), or decided to forgive him. Is it a forgivable offense? That’s the fascinating debate, to me. Personally, I’m with (presumably) Starfleet here: no deaths, terrorists’ weapons confiscated, terrorists’ leader in the brig —> forgiveness. But I can see the argument on the other side, and I was glued with horror, watching Sisko actually go through with the villainy. It’s fearsome, watching a human hit their breaking point, and this was Sisko’s. I loved seeing his self-awareness of it as well, a lot of people don’t have that depth and honesty, but some do, and Avery Brooks nailed the acting here. We-the-audience are appalled, and we also see how the progression happened.

    Good episode. But Damn, Sisko deserves at least a reprimand by an admiral or something. I think Sisko should have been barred from commanding the defiant or something after taking this acton (Worf could be the Captain of the Defiant in the meanwhile). Could have been a plot point where Sisko had to earn back his priveldge to command the warship.

    The idea that Non of the Cardassian or Marquis humans got hurt is just way too conveniant and lazy writing. But even assuming that they didn't get hurt, they had to evacuate and leave behind their homes forever. That alone is a terrible crime. It is, as Booming has already pointed out, textbook ethnic cleansing. The show even recognizes that by treating the attack on cardassia as a massive tragedy.
    The problem isn't only that Sisko gets away with it, without repercussions from the starfleet or the federation but also that non of the crew has a problem with it. I've read it in a review on IMDB thay Kira fought as a terrorist against a larger adversary and should have seen some red flags in Sisko's reaction, Word would have considered those orders dishonorable and Miles has demonstrated a lot of sympathies with the Marquis.
    I dislike this episode mainly because of Ben suddenly turning into a war criminal, commiting ethnic cleansing and the show doesn't just let him get away with it but the last quote you here in the show is Jadzia saying "sometimes I like it when the bad guys win.". This combined with what the reviewer said about the lack of any real depth to Eddington's character, is why believe this episode is just inconsistent and badly written.

    I've also gotta mention that I felt especially sensitive and shocked about the episode, because of the real world conflicts going on right now.

    @Zen3001 -

    just exactly what ethnicity is being cleansed here?

    Please don't compare the Maquis to Hamas. Hamas' motivations make far more sense and their actions far more noble.

    As they say in Bavaria "Hamas bald" (Are you done)?!

    " Hamas' motivations make far more sense and their actions far more noble."
    Yeah, who doesn't want to live in radical islamic theocracy. Not to mention the mass murders. I also do not think that the Maquis (the DS9 or the french version) ever massacred hundreds of civilians in cold blood or taking civilians as hostages as a bargaining chip. While the Federation certainly never turned entire cities into piles of rubble, killing thousands in the process, they did sell their own citizens, or the planets they were living on, to the Cardassians. Living under the Cardassians or the Hamas is like choosing between Cholera and the Plague.

    @Chudleigh Jones

    "Please don't compare the Maquis to Hamas. Hamas' motivations make far more sense and their actions far more noble."



    Who cares about Islam? Israel has been actively committed to the genocide of Palestinians for almost 80 years, that's longer than the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. The only faction responsible for civilian deaths in the current conflict is the IDF, who intentionally bomb hospitals.

    It is amazing how anyone could watch DS9, see the hollow rhetoric the Cardassians used concerning the Bajorans and 'terrorism,' and come to the conclusion that Israel is justified in using the same bullshit.

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