Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night"

3 stars

Air date: 3/30/1998
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Jonathan West

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I bet I know what you're thinking: You'd like nothing better than to get us all drunk so you could kill us in our sleep."
"Are you sure you're not part Betazoid?"

— Cardassian Legate and Kira

Nutshell: Surprisingly quiet in execution, but an effective and intriguing tale from the files of the painful past.

Late one night—the night of what would've been Kira's deceased mother's 60th birthday—Kira receives a transmission in her quarters. It's from Dukat, a man who proves he can be as subtly vindictive in one quiet minute as he can be overtly vindictive when ranting like a madman through scenes of intensity, a la his personal boil-over with Sisko in "Waltz." Here he tells Kira that he wants to continue his refreshing bout of open honesty by bringing buried truths to the surface. In a brief moment that Kira probably would've preferred never to have experienced in her life, Dukat informs her that he was romantically involved with Kira Meru—Nerys' mother, whom she barely knew. Thoroughly disturbed (she realizes the sketchy details surrounding her mother's death may likely have been her father's attempts to shield her from what really happened), Kira begins the search for the truth, hoping to find answers by consulting the Bajoran Orb of Time.

"Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night," even if it were nothing else, would be a nice little character piece centering on Kira's history. We learned in last year's "Ties of Blood and Water" the circumstances surrounding the death of Kira's father. Since then, I've also wondered what happened to her mother. "Wrongs" supplies an answer.

But that's merely the beginning. "Wrongs" is also an intriguing tale of Kira's distress and crushing torment, featuring a twist that involves Dukat, one of Trek's most complex and interesting villains. Contrary to what I had expected, the unstable post-"Waltz" Dukat is not the character that takes the stage in "Wrongs," although an implicit analysis of that person certainly becomes evident as the episode unfolds. (The present Dukat's only appearance is, in fact, the brief scene where he contacts Kira.) Instead, this episode takes place in the past—quite literally, in fact, with its quasi-time-travel premise—and looks at the Dukat of yesteryear. It's a return to Occupation days, featuring Prefect Dukat of Terok Nor—a character we have seen on the screen before, in such episodes as the classic "Necessary Evil," as well as last year's probing "Things Past." In the wake of "Waltz," it's intriguing to revisit this person and see what he was trying—and failing—to accomplish with his selfish and hollow efforts to "bridge the gulf" between Cardassia and Bajor.

I'll admit that the time travel premise is perhaps a little on the convenient side. I find it a bit unsettling that the "Orb of Time" is something that can simply be used as a time-travel tool. Yeah, I know; it was the plot device for last season's foray into nostalgia that was "Trials and Tribble-ations," but in that episode the plot was pretty much an arbitrary means to an end. In "Wrongs" I'd just rather assume that the Orb of Time could give Kira visions of the past; I'm much less comfortable with the ethical implications arising out of the fact she could actually change the past. I don't believe this idea was necessary for the story to work. Unfortunately, the way the story presents it and how I perceived the underlying intentions are two separate things, so this aspect of the plot is a little shaky.

But this is a tale about the past, so I suppose it only makes sense that the episode goes back to the past to tell its story. Under the guide of the Prophets, Kira ends up on Bajor of perhaps 35 years ago, where she promptly encounters her family (including herself at the age of only three or four), just minutes before it was about to be shattered. The Cardassians kidnap a number of women from the group of starving Bajorans; these women are forced to become "comfort women" for the Cardassian officers on Terok Nor. Among the kidnapped women is Kira's mother, Meru (Leslie Hope), who, we learn, will never be reunited with her family. Time traveler Kira Nerys, posing under a different identity, is also selected to become a comfort servant, so she finds herself swept along with Meru and several others to the space station, where the pains of poverty and starvation end and different pains begin.

The comfort servants receive their own quarters, plentiful food, and good clothing. But they're doomed to become objects of desire and are permanently separated from their families. The question is no longer one of physical survival, it's one of mental survival. Can Meru survive this sudden twist of fate?

Well, I suppose that's the question Nerys wants to see answered. There's an interesting moment where Meru sees how much food there is on this station, and suddenly forgets her worries, only to remember them a moment later. Nerys stands by, watching her mother's reactions and pondering what they mean. It's an understated scene, but it obviously foreshadows what will become Nerys' tragic realization—that her mother is capable of falling into the Cardassians' trap of luxury and liking it. This is where Prefect Dukat enters the scene, taking notice of the beautiful Meru and deciding that he wants to win her over. He turns on the charm, something that we've seen Dukat do many times.

The Dukat of this era is as intriguing as ever, especially given what we found out about him in "Waltz." He wants to be a "nice" man, helping his Bajoran "children" through the ugliness of the Occupation. The problem, of course, is that he doesn't really do anything for the right reasons; he just wants to feed his own conscience and ego, and he views his condescending attitude toward Bajorans as a gentle, helping hand. I'm sure he feels that winning Meru over and winning the Bajoran people over go hand in hand, but it simply doesn't work that way.

The story's twist is that Meru herself is almost completely won over by Dukat's charm, and she decides she's going to make the best of bad situation. If she doesn't have family or freedom then she will have food and luxury, because resisting these forces certainly won't reunite her with her family. So she moves in with Dukat at his request, where she would presumably remain with him for a number of years. (Let me also point out that Dukat taking to Meru seems to make his future fixation on Nerys that much more understandable. A little sick and twisted, perhaps, but a fascinating connection in any case.)

Kira is disgusted, realizing that her mother is exactly the type of Bajoran that she used to hate while in the Resistance. This realization connects to the extension of the story's plot, which focuses on Kira's involvement with members of the Bajoran Resistance who hope to sneak a bomb into Dukat's quarters. The choice that Kira has to make is whether or not to kill her own mother in the process, something she ultimately realizes she can't do, even though a big part of her wants to. The scene where she comes to this decision is nicely and quietly constructed.

In addition to the strength of the story, I also liked the episode's use of supporting characters, like a nasty Bajoran man named Basso (David Bowe). He's a collaborator—a traitor to his people who uses his power to inflict cruelty on other Bajorans. He's a pretty good example of evil all by himself. There's also the colorful Cardasian Legate (Wayne Grace), whose interesting discussion with Kira shows just how many prior times Dukat has played the "rescue poor Bajoran woman" game.

One area where this episode can't compare to a predecessor like "Necessary Evil" is in its production design. Jonathan West's quiet, understated approach to the tone of Terok Nor can't measure up to James L. Conway's unforgettable vision of the same place. Whether it was due to budget constraints or not, this Terok Nor feels just a little too much like Deep Space Nine.

But that's not much to worry about, because the episode sells itself on performances and deft writing, and the overall themes are engaging and thoughtful. The thing that's so great about "Wrongs" is that it features plenty of the DS9 Shades of Grey, one of my favorite aspects of the series. As much as Kira's ending dialog serves as an indictment upon her mother's betrayal, the issue isn't as cut-and-dry as Kira paints it, and the episode realizes that fact. Speaking for Meru is Sisko's sentiment that it was ultimately a cursed situation for Meru to be forced into, leading to a choice Meru had to make for herself. Maybe she was somewhat selfish, but her choice to accept Dukat's offer did benefit the rest of the Kira family, who received food and supplies as compensation.

Personally, I see this as an issue of strength, not necessarily betrayal. Kira Nerys is strong. Kira Meru was weak. And just as it was Meru's weakness that led her to make the choice she felt was in her own and her family's best interests, it's the strength and hardened life that makes it impossible for Nerys to understand how such a weakness could lead to the choice that Meru ultimately made. It's also interesting to note the judgment that's passed along by the episode's title, "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night." It seems to side with Kira's view of the matter. Based on what the episode presented, however, I'm more inclined to see the events of Meru's betrayal in more ambivalent terms, and I believe the episode in general sees it that way, too. In any case, it doesn't change the way Kira herself feels, which is equally important to the story.

I'll admit that the plot structure of "Wrongs" is fairly routine, right down to that final scene of exposition between Sisko and Kira. But it's not plot that makes "Wrongs" such a good hour of DS9; rather, it's the episode's ability to ponder the characters that we've come to understand so deeply. And pretty much everything rings true, from Dukat's manipulative nature in both the past and the present, to Meru succumbing to her own weaknesses, to Kira's final indictment. "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" is an episode that reveals secrets we were not aware of. But these secrets arise realistically out of what we were already aware of. That's good storytelling, as well as an indication that these are wonderful characters.

Next week: Starfleet accuses Bashir of being a Dominion spy.

Previous episode: Change of Heart
Next episode: Inquisition

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136 comments on this post

Jakob M. Mokoru
Wed, Nov 21, 2007, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Good episode. But - isn't it a bit odd, that ALL major species in the Alpha and Beta Quadrant seem to age slower than humans? I mean we have seen very old Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans (well, old enough to make crossovers from The Original series possible, that is!) - and now we're shown that Gul Dukat hasn't aged a day in over 30 years!

And am I the only one that finds it slightly unbelievable that our most beloved Gul would be Prefect of Bajor for such a long time - without being killed or promoted!
Tue, Jun 24, 2008, 1:23am (UTC -5)
Wasn't it established that Dukat ran Terok Nor during the last 10 years of the occupation? Yet here we have him acting as prefect practically since the station's inception.
Rogue Seraphim
Tue, Feb 24, 2009, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Mmm, it's got to be much closer to the present time than 35 years ago, didn't the occupation last for 40 years? So it's only five years into the occupation? I'm not so sure. They talk about the 'new ore processing station in orbit' meaning that there are already some up there and Terok Nor/DS9 isn't that old. Kira's mother also says that she dreamed as a child about having enough to eat, so she must have grown up during the occupation.
Jakob M. Marinus
Tue, Feb 24, 2009, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Yeah, but Nerys lost her mother as a small child. At the end of the occupation she was in her thirties. Let's say she was 4 and was 30 in DS9s season 1 - that puts this episode 31 years in the past.
The Occupation itself lasted for at least 50 years, which gives Kira Meru plenty of time to grow up starving.
Alexey Bogatiryov
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
In retrospect, all fo these episodes abotu Bajoran resistance seem to draw parralels in my mind about the US occupation of Iraw. Even though the Iraq war happaned after DS9 was over, I can defintely understand that insurgents in Iraq viewed those friendly to the US as collaborators. This explains the hatered Kira Nerys has for Kira Meru and the hatred the Sunnis have for those Shiites who colaborate with US occupiers.

Art imitates life and life imitates art!
Abraham Mehti Anthony
Wed, Apr 15, 2009, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
I think that in this case the ends justify the means. There is no such thing as a fair war. Sometimes rules have to be broken. Morality shouldn't always be about right or wrong. It should be about what is the situation, and what is the best possible course of action. If the captain was perfectly moral, the Dominion would have destroyed the Federation and possibly the Klingons and even the Romulans. Given the alternative, it's such a small price to pay.
Fri, Jul 3, 2009, 6:07am (UTC -5)
I don't see the title as a judgment on Meru's actions. I saw it as a comment on the wrongs perpetrated on the Bajorans (like the "comfort women" and their families) by Cardassians in general, as well as Dukat in particular. We've seen Cardassians kill Bajorans, beat them up, force them to work in labour camps, starve them, but the wrongs depicted in this episode are a much more personal kind of abuse, and one that has far-reaching psychological consequenes. It includes sexual slavery, sexual abuse, as well as destruction of Bajoran families (ironically, using family love for that end) and moral compromisation - making women into prostitutes, concubines and collaborators. But the most chilling parts of the episode are those that show Dukat seducing Meru with his acts of "kindness" and his "rescuing poor Bajoran woman" (from the situation they wouldn't have been in in the first place if it wasn't for him) act. It is completely in character for a narcissist like Dukat that, unlike his subordinate soldiers, he wouldn't be content to just sexually possess Bajoran women, he wants to win their hearts. But on some level, Dukat's emotional manipulation of women like Meru is a darker wrong than his subordinates' straight-up sexual abuse, as it is more insidiuous and goes much deeper.

I thought this was a brilliant episode because it contained so many shades of grey, as you said. Meru is both a collaborator and a victim, and her motivation and position is ambiguous. Is she driven more by selfish desires or a desire to help her family? We're lead to believe the former, until the scene in which she cries watching her husband's message, which indicates that she does indeed care about her familz. Maybe it is the most accurate to say she was just a woman trying to make the best of a bad situation. One might say she is weak for being seduced by luxury and Dukat's charm, or naive for buying into his jsutification, but then again, she doesn't have much choice to begin with - other than to get killed, abused by other Cardassian soldiers, or try to escape, with her family most likely to starve... So maybe she was on a subconscious level letting herself fall for Dukat - because, let's face it, it makes the whole situation a lot more pleasant to her. Maybe she wanted to believe on some level that Dukat was indeed a nice guy, to jsutify herself and make things easier for herself. If Meru had hated Dukat, if she had hated being his mistress instead of enjoying it, things would have looked so much simpler - Meru would seem a lot more like a woman sacrificing herself for her family, and Nerys would probably have found it much easier to justify her mother's actions. But most people are not into being martyrs, they prefer to try making their lives as easier and pleasurable as possible. While that is a very understanable human reaction, it is also understandable that Nerys is disappointed in her mother and still doesn't find it easy to forgive her. But I think she was moving towards being more understanding of her mother's position, as seen in "The Covenant" when Dukat says that her mother loved him, and Nerys answers "Maybe that's what she convinced herself."
Tue, Jun 29, 2010, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
The title comes from Shelley's 'Prometheus Unbound':

"To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory."
Nick M
Mon, Jan 10, 2011, 10:19am (UTC -5)
A few things:

1 - I know this is because the casting would have been way too difficult, but I was taken back how the starving Bajorns all looked....well fed. I mean, Kira Meru looked very, very good in that dress. Took me out of the moment.

2 - Alexey Bogatiryov, I take your comments personally. Having served four tours in Iraq I think comparing like that is so far off base (no pun intended) it makes me dizzy. Are the US troops taking Iraqi women and forcing them to serve as "comfort women"? LOL Riiiight. Are we forcing the Iraqis into slave labor? Riiiiight.
Actually, most Iraqis do not see those working with us as collaborators, they just want to rebuild their nation that was torn apart more by decades under the occupation of a man more like Dukat than you can imagine.

I have seen the rape rooms. I have seen the marshes that he drained to punish the people living there, depriving a people who were farmers and fishermen for centuries, because they disagreed with him. I have seen people who were forced to do hard labor for their political views.

To compare the situation, when the vast majority of those that were/are fighting against the liberation from that are from outside Iraq, and the Iraqi "awakening" happened BECAUSE the Iraqi people joined in rebuilding and saying no to those outsiders, makes me ill.
Sat, Oct 8, 2011, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
SO did Kira "actually" travel back in that how the orb works? If so, killing Dukat with the bomb in the past would have prevented him allying Cardassia woth the Dominion and providing them with a AQ foothold...killing Dukat and her mother could have save countless millions, even billions, later.
Fri, Feb 17, 2012, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
Personally, I believe the implications of Kira's experience being able to actually change the past to be a little bit too scary, which weakens the episode a little bit.

I prefer to think that either (a) her entire experience was through the Prophets and thus she could not impact the timeline in any way or (b) she was only given the memories of the real Luma Rahl.
Nebula Nox
Sat, Mar 31, 2012, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Although this was not my favorite episode, the one thing it did was explain to me why Dukat was so obsessed with Kira Nerys. He wanted her approval more than the approval of any other Bajoran.
Sat, Apr 28, 2012, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Dukat wasn't the Terok Nor's commander in this episode, he was Prefect of Bajor, 14 years later he would become the station commander, which was 9 years before DS9 began.
Thu, Nov 29, 2012, 3:38am (UTC -5)
Like Jammer, I don't see Meru as a collaborator. The definition of a collaborator is that he/she willingly helps the enemy (with intelligence of work), like Basso.

Meru is in between. We can't deny that not everybody is strong enough to fight. Meru is first a victim, taken from her family to become a "comfort woman". It's the same - even worse - than being put in a labourer camp. What we see is that Meru tried to make the best of it, even enjoying some of it. That's what makes her look bad in the eyes of Kira.

It looks like the other women became slave-prostitutes, while Meru had to deal with the insidious Dukat (which is better and worse). The only other option Meru had was to reject Dukat, being sent to a labour camp (and still be separated from her family) and obviously, she wasn't strong enough to do that.

I'm glad this episode shows those subtelties, though I'd have liked Kira seeing it differently: Basso, the collaborator and her mother, a victim of what war can make you accept.
Sun, Aug 4, 2013, 8:31am (UTC -5)
It was interesting to see Dukat further fleshed out here, although those Cardies must have some lifespan!

It was also interesting to see the Bajoran collaborator, even if he was a bit simplistically done.
Tue, Aug 27, 2013, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Something about Kira's age then (as a small child) and now (as an adult) didn't seem quite right in this episode, so I checked Memory Alpha, and this is what I found out:

Gul Dukat was the last Cardassian prefect of Bajor.
Has was prefect in the period 2346 - 2369 (human calendar years).
In the year 2360 the command of Terok Nor (DS9) was assigned to him as part of his duties as prefect.

Terok Nor (DS)) was build in the year 2346 (the same year Dukat was made prefect of Bajor).

This episode, "Wrongs Darker ..." takes place in the year 2375.

Since the time Major Kira visits in "Wrongs Darker ..." has to be after Terok Nor is build, the very earliest year this can be is 2346. Note that at no points it's said that Dukat is the commander of the station at that point. Sure, the drunken Cardassian with Major kira on his lap says he's seen Dukat seduce girls by posing as the "savior" before, but he doesn't specifically mention WHERE or WHEN he's seen that - it might've been some place else entirely, not on Terok Nor.

Okay, so if Major Kira from 2375 travels as far back in time as 2346 and meet herself, she would meet a version of herself that was 31 years younger. The Nerys she meets in the past seems to be around 4 years old, which would make our present Nerys 35 years old ... and that's the oldest this episode would allow major Kira to be.

Hmm .. yeah, okay, I can buy that. Nana Visitor (playing Major Kira) was around 39/40 years old at the time this episode was shot. Yeah, works for me.

It's noteworthy that there are some inconsistencies throughout the run of DS9 as to when Dukat was what and where. Here's one example:
In the epsiode "Waltz", just a few episodes before "Wrongs ...", Dukat mentions that he became prefect of Bajor 40 years into the occupation. It's been mentioned before that the occupation lasted 50 years, and that means that Dukat was prefect for 10 years, not 24 years. The 10 years coincide just fine with the period of time Terok Nor was under his command, though, so this particular discrepancy could just be considered a slip of the tongue by Dukat (rather than the writers getting the continuity mixed up, as they otherwise did fairly often, according to Memory Alpha).
Fri, Nov 1, 2013, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Some interesting background on Dukat and Kira.

Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 12:37am (UTC -5)
I am astonished with the good reception this episode had from almost everyone here. It is true that it has deep grey moments, edge emotion processing moments, nice acting as always when it regards Dukat, and so on.

But really, isn't it too much of a soap opera that just by coincidence, Dukat was in love precisely with Kira's mother? Common, this is soap opera in this very essence: everything leads to and happens with only the main characters, all magically connected by chance to each other endlessly. Wouldn't it be better to just use a random Cardassian instead of Dukat? The effect would have been the same for the development of Kira's character. And without being so lame writing for the series.

Besides, isn't it just dumb that Dukat has known this "little" secret for all this time, even when trying to flirt with Kira? If anyone is thinking "he is just that evil", well, where are this series' shades of grey? More: if it wasn't enough that time-travel became so easy or this series that is just about opening the prophets' box (it is almost a kind of Star Trek: Fringe Division, once it became so easy to travel trough time and parallel universes in ST:DS9), Kira could even alter events of the future? Ridiculous. But only less ridiculous than the fact that the episode treats Kira's actions as if 1) she did not try to alter the time-line, which would be quite a crime; 2) she did not in fact alter the time-line, which by any logic, she has to have done.

Let's think about it for a second. She met her own mother. Tried to persuade her mother to not keep the relationship with Dukat (what is exactly what Kira should not do, if was she to avoid interfering). She took the place of someone else in the original time-line, who was her mother's roommate, as well as the person who made the terrorist attempt. And above all, she introduced herself to Dukat in the past! Very vividly, face to face, in events impossible to be forgotten by him in the future.

Really? And no consequence for the future here? And no consequence for making such a blunt interference? Is it DS9 getting so far away in that road of officers' misconduct not having ever any consequence neither for Starfleet officers nor for Bajorian's officers serving in the station, such as Kira?

Granted: I also do love character development, I do love the famous shades of grey proposed by DS9, as well as those tough moments the series gives for its characters. But those great things cannot come at whatever is the cost.
William B
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@Ric, agreed. I actually agree with many of the points above, especially what Ivana wrote about Kira Meru, if we take her character in isolation, but this episode actually retroactively screws up the entire Dukat/Nerys dynamic, and everything that Nerys does with time travel etc. is stuff that seriously undermines her entire characterization. That Kira will violate the space-time continuum and change the past for her own purposes is itself a big problem. But let's say, generously, that it is understandable to try changing the past if sufficiently horrible things have happened, as in say the "Yesterday's Enterprise" Klingon War universe. Surely Kira should try to use her Orb of Time Travel And Changing Stuff to, like, undo the entire Occupation or something, rather than go find out about her mother and then start killing people in that time? Like the Prophets' intervention in "Sacrifice of Angels" but not when the Occupation began, Kira's actions here are both seriously objectionable *and* unbelievable, inconsistent, you name it. Jammer mentioned in his season six recap that this episode makes sense if you substitute Kira saying "Please SHOW ME what the past was like" rather than having her go into the past, but that fix hardly resolves the cnetral problem, since then instead of planning murders to change the time stream, Kira would just be...planning imaginary murders. That's morally less objectionable, but Kira's actions would make even less sense. Probably one of the most poorly-thought-out episodes in the Trek history.
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Really? I have never interpreted Kira's experience as anything akin to actual time travel so much as a sort of vision of the past. I disagree that anything here undermines "characterization"; or is the argument here that Kira was thinking about the Temporal Prime Directive?

Of course, to quote Q, nothing Kira will do will cause galaxies to explode or the Federation to collapse. She's just not that important, and the criticism provided here makes the assumption that anything Kira did actually changed the "existing" past. There's no reason to think it did.

In any case, I'm not one to get hung up on the precise execution of scifi high concepts, unless of course we're talking about something completely irredeemable like "Demon" or "Spirit Folk".
William B
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Nerys participates in an assassination attempt on Dukat. She expects it to succeed and kill her mother, then at the last minute saves her. Kira behaves as if her actions determine the life or death of her mother and Dukat, NOT as if this is a vision. Dukat's two guards get killed. Dukat's death would change the future an extreme amount. If this is just a vision, why does Kira act out a terrorist plot instead of continue fact finding? Why is the episode's climax centered on whether Nerys will save Meru if it is just a vision and her life is not in any danger? If it is not a vision but is real, then how can Kira undertake an assassination plot of the perfect of the Occupation without expectation of big changes to the time steam? If she no moral qualms about changing the past, why not ask the Orb of Time to send her back in time to assassinate Gul Darne'el or some other leader of the Occupation? Did Kira really change her mind from not participating in the assassination plot to participating (she initially refused, remember) because she's angry about her mother? Does she care so little about all the lives would be changed by Dukat's death that she makes a decision on whether to kill him based on how she feels about her mother?
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Whatever Kira *believed* her actions would have different consequences is beside the point. The question is one of character - she does save her mother in the end - and the suspense in that moment is not about whether she'll "change the future" but about what she'd be willing to do.

I think you're taking this far too literally, and imposing a sort of metaphysics that isn't really warranted by the premise. To take an example from "Tapestry", did Q really allow Picard to change his own past and so end up in his "tedious job" as a junior science officer? Or was it just another sort of "vision"?
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Am I mistaken that the assassination Kira prevents was established in a previous episode? For a series which prided itself on matters of continuity, I don't think it's a "metaphysical" question at all...

That time travel is so easy/arbitrary pales in comparison to Kira's lack of moral compass--but, I actually find this to be totally in character for her. Her abysmal childhood, actively permitted by the beings she continues to worship, permanently damaged her psyche and her ability to think and act rationally. When faced with emotional trauma, there's no corking the genie and she's behaves recklessly and selfishly: "Emissary," "Second Skin," "Destiny," "Shkaar," "Accession," "The Darkness & The Light," this episode, "Covenant"...those are big examples, but I'm sure there are small ones littered throughout the series.

Regarding "Tapestry," that Picard had to make the choice to change (back) his past was an essential, nay, THE essential point of that episode. Are you implying that the consequences in "All Good Things..." were equally imaginary? I like this episode quite a bit, but, like many Sisko episodes, I can only enjoy it accepting that Kira is not a heroine.
William B
Sun, Dec 15, 2013, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Well, it's certainly possible I'm not reading the episode's argument correctly. The difference as I see it between this and "Tapestry" is that the rules for "Tapestry," and thus Picard's motivations, are made clear at the outset. Q establishes that nothing Picard does will seriously affect any other individuals. I think that this strains credibility a bit -- surely it would affect Marta's life if she and Picard got into a relationship -- but it's established early enough in the episode that it's clear that Picard is acting under the assumption that these events affect him and him only.

There is no equivalent scene with Kira, but even if there were a scene that established, clearly, that nothing Kira did would affect the past...then it robs the moment you speak of of Kira making the choice to save her mother of its dramatic power. For Kira's choice to matter, Kira's mother had to be in actual danger of dying, which means that Nerys' actions had to matter to a lot of people.
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
"Collaborator" is an easy term to throw around, but just doing what you have to do to survive doesn't make you a collaborator. Real collaborators do what they do not to survive, but because they benefit. As a result of this, perhaps Kira will not view people so harshly, and realize their are shades of grey. When you view everyone who was is not an active member of the resistance as a collaborator, then you start seeing everyone as the enemy, and you are greatly in danger of losing your way.

Google "comfort women" is you want to see what life was like for real comfort women, especially comfort women in Korea when it was occupied by Japan. Kira's mother wasn't really a comfort woman, she's spared that, she was more of a mistress. A real comfort woman would be forced to service the entire barracks - no nice clothes and candlelight dinners for comfort women.
Thu, May 8, 2014, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Plot mechanics and set-up variables aside, this episode never really worked for me on its own merits. I generally like Terok Nor stories; quite a bit actually. Unfortunately, in this case, there was too much hinging on the aforementioned plot mechanics to the detriment of the story and, in turn, voids it also of any personality.

DS9 has proven that quiet can be effective. Here it's just quiet. It is not a total loss, however, as further insight into Kira Meru is welcome and much of the dialogue was done well enough. A few moments in the direction added some nice touches as well.

Passable enough I suppose.

2.5 stars.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
So, no one has a problem with Kira using an orb for personal selfish reasons?

I honestly don’t know if she kills Dukat in this “experience” if it changes the future at all. I always thought of this episode as a fact finding experience. If she could change history by simply using an orb how hard would it be to go back and murder Dukat anytime she wanted? Or any other bad guy that need eliminated?

The biggest problem I had with this episode was Kira's comments in the ending scene with Sisko:

"KIRA: I've always hated collaborators. I mean, what could be worse than betraying your own people? During the occupation, if I ever had doubt about what their fate should be all I would think of my mother, how she gave her life for Bajor. She was a hero, they were traitors. It was that simple. Or so I thought.
SISKO: She did what she had to do to save her family. To save you.
KIRA: It doesn't make it right.
SISKO: Maybe not, but it was her decision to make.
KIRA: I did some checking. She died in a Cardassian hospital seven years after she met Dukat. Seven years. Do you know how many Bajorans died in labour camps during that time? Died, while my mother sat sipping kanar with Dukat.
SISKO: Tell me something, Nerys. If you hate her that much, why did you save her life?
KIRA: Believe me, there's a part of me that wishes that I hadn't. But the fact is, no matter what she did, she was still my mother."

Wow, she can't accept the fact that her mother did what she needed to do to feed/protect her family (which is really hard for me to accept as we saw her change in episodes like 'Duet', etc). She demonstrated then that she realized that everything isn't "black& white". Not ALL Cardassians are bad for instance.

Just how can Meru be considered a collaborator? Was she working with the Cardi’s to the detriment of the Bajoran people? Was she furthering the occupation? No. She was doing the only thing she could do to help her family (and others) survive. One could easily consider her a patriot.

She plotted to KILL HER MOTHER!! .... and only because of a letter from her Dad did she pull out. But even after that she still can't get past being stupid.

I don't like this episode at all. It just takes all the maturation that Kira has achieved throughout the years on DS9 and whipped it away.


1 star.

I'm really not liking the direction season 6 has turned after starting so stongly.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks - Totally agree. This episode should have ended with Kira learning that Ziyal was her half sister and that her mother was the mistress (albeit under a false name) traveling on that ship they were tracking down. It shouldn't have been about collaborators, vengeance or changing the future... it could have been far more interesting if it hadn't raised a billion stupid questions.

1 star is generous.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
That's twice Robert!! :-)

GREAT idea about Ziyal!! Now that would have been epic!
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 12:04am (UTC -5)
A few things stuck out to me:

-Dukat, during his creepy midnight phone call in which he claims to value the truth, is still a liar. Meru did NOT willingly leave her family for him; she was taken forcibly. While she may have warmed up to her life on Terok Nor, that's not how the whole thing started. Dukat: still a snake!

-Meru says an interesting line about the Prophets and how funny it is that fortunes can change so quickly. Not really notable on its own, but Dukat says the same thing to Sisko back in "Waltz" (except instead of Prophets he credits "the universe"). Without reading too much into it, it's a neat connection that refers to a conversation they probably had over pillow talk (ewww).

-Kira is awesome. Always has been, always will be. She's not someone the show necessarily wants us to always agree with, and I think some people can't get over that hump. In this one, Kira shows off her inflexible personal code, and I can't help but think back to "Rapture" when she's reproached by Winn for a seemingly backhanded comment about strength. Kira comes off as very likeable most of the time, but she's pretty conservative overall and that comes out in both tense and social situations. Kira's code sometimes leads her towards absolutes, so it's always intriguing when reality doesn't allow her that sort of luxury.

Anyway, overall this is an okay hour of DS9 that works despite how much premise-baggage it has to drag with it. The first trip to Terok Nor in "Necessary Evil" didn't need any sci-fi explanation - it was simply a memory, and it worked perfectly. The premise of "Things Past" was a BIT of a distraction but still didn't take TOO MUCH away from the episode overall. The flashback mechanics of "Wrongs" is the weakest of the three attempts because of how many distracting questions it raises. The episode is still scrappy enough to work, IMO, but only by a step. Kira is a strong character and the situation adds some always enjoyable layers to the story of the first occupation. I'm recommending this one. 3 stars, but barely.
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 3:07am (UTC -5)
I think it's implied throughout the series that the prophets control the orbs, so if they didn't want Kira to travel back in time, then she wouldn't have been able to, and they supposedly know best. *rolls eyes*
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 9:51am (UTC -5)
@Alyson - It's not implied, it's flat out stated. In this very episode.

"KIRA: This has nothing to do with the Federation. I need your help as the Emissary, not as Starfleet captain. The Emissary can see to it that I am allowed access to the orb. After that, it's up to the Prophets. If they feel that my request is worthy, they'll send me where I need to go. If not, I've made a trip to Bajor for nothing. SISKO: And if they do send you back, what then? What makes you so sure you won't interfere with the timeline?
KIRA: The Prophets will be guiding me. Nothing will happen without their blessings. Please, Emissary, please, let me seek the will of the Prophets."

I personally dislike this episode (which is weird, I usually love anything with Kira in the spotlight and I like the Prophets and Bajoran religion more than most DS9 fans seem to). I like to think they knew she wouldn't kill her mother and that they were just teaching her a lesson... but I really don't care for the implications if I'm wrong.

2 stars
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 12:48pm (UTC -5)

The thing with the Prophets, at this point, is that it's unclear what their feelings are w/r/t corporeal affairs. I lean towards general indifference, though. We hear about orb experiences influencing a Bajoran's decision more than a few times, but I don't ever see the show confirm that this is the case - which is why so much of the Bajoran faith seems misguided (which is not an inaccurate way to depict a religion that presumes the will of its deity).
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 11:10am (UTC -5)
I had an interesting thought about Kira.

Was she just masking her disgust at HER mother being Dukat's little f@#$# buddy behind the "collaborator" lie?
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 11:21am (UTC -5)
@G - See now that's a REALLY interesting point that would go really well in a few other conversations on these boards about the Bajoran religion and if it's stupid.

The truth is that almost every attempt to guess what the Prophets want and are telling us by ANBODY except Captain Sisko are wrong. Across the board.

I wonder if perhaps the Bajoran people should continue believing in the Prophets but abandon the religion entirely. The Vedeks we see do a VERY poor job of interpreting the prohpecies, orb experiences, etc.

@Yanks - God, I really hope so... because Kira was SOOO close to being buddy buddy with Dukat and being a collaborator by her own definition a few months ago. The pathetic lack of sympathy she has for her mother, a person who fell into collaborator territory but had even more of a reason to do so only makes a modicum of sense if she's experiencing self-loathing and disgust at herself and her mother. Sadly I don't feel like the script supports this.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert.

The worst part is it would have been so easy to include!

Kira could have broke down talking to Sisko at the end... everything else could have stayed the same.

Sad... a time to elevate the writing lost.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert:

I've seen the conversations you're referring to. I stay out of certain ones, though, because some involved parties seem to be willfully misinterpreting the source material for the sake of argument. Arguing with contrarians on the internet is a masochistic activity I've tried to curb.

But whether or not the Bajoran religion is stupid? Maybe a little bit, because of how presumptuous it is - which, like I said, is an ACCURATE depiction of some religions. The thing about the Bajorans that I genuinely like, though, is that the show gives them a lot of rope with which they do NOT hang themselves. Say what you will about the soundness of Bajoran mysticism, but I'd have no problem welcoming their community into my town. What's shown on screen of the Bajorans is nearly always a peaceful, friendly people (outside of a few instances, such as "Accession", which seem uncharacteristically reductive of the Bajorans as a people - hey, the show isn't perfect). One may disagree with their views (which, by the way, are based on in-universe fact) but they harm no one and their worldview is non-Bajoran-centric. They know they live in a galactic village, so DS9 does a pretty good job showing off a benevolent religion in a futuristic setting whose followers are not aggressively caricatured to make a point about modern crises.

DS9's real criticism of religion (or dogma, really) is the Dominion, which professes nothing benevolent. They're all about expansion, and those who disagree are crushed (not unlike Christianity's first trip west). This is because their philosophy is based on benefiting those at the top. Outside of the fact that the Changelings are obviously vindictive and malevolent, some of the best moments of critique are in the characterizations of the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. Why can't, for example, Weyoun carry a tune? There's nothing harmful in that, but the Changelings didn't breed him with that ability. But they also didn't (or couldn't) breed out of him the desire to still WANT the ability, though he still believes he isn't entitled to it Just Because. It's the kind of cognitive dissonance which allows the religiously-minded to willingly neuter their own lives because of what they believe to be the desire of a creator. And the Jem'Hadar? They are made to ritually demean themselves in order to be granted basic nourishment (the white), which isn't unlike the institutionalized guilt-tripping on which, say, the Christian faith is based.

**Please note that I'm only two-thirds of the way through S6 on my current re-watch. I haven't seen S7 in a decade, so I'm willing to admit that its plot twists might contradict what I just wrote.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
I agree with you, I like the Bajoran portrayal of religion for the most part... and I certainly wouldn't describe it as stupid, but it is funny that most of the time that it goes wrong it's the Bajorans improperly interpreting the will of the prophets.

I guess I just really liked your thought about how the Bajoran religion is a "religion that presumes the will of its deity". I liked how the couple of times that people who were assuming they knew what the prophets wanted were actually placed face to face with said prophets the prophets had no idea what they were even talking about.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
@Robert :

" I liked how the couple of times that people who were assuming they knew what the prophets wanted were actually placed face to face with said prophets the prophets had no idea what they were even talking about."

Is not the entire religion a series of assumptions about what the Prophets wanted? I would have enjoyed the arc more if Sisko had not confirmed in "Sacrifice of Angels" that the Prophets actively "encouraged" the Bajorans to create a religion around them. So, they wanted the Bajorans to worship them but were intentionally vague as to what they wanted of them. Fantastic. Yay good guys!
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
3 vipers is not vague at all :P
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
@ Elliott:

I disagree that Sisko confirms anything about the Prophets' motivations. He shouts at them about creating a religion (something they probably don't even understand, since none react to it) but I don't necessarily read that as being the case. They seem just as silently aloof as when the fake Emissary came waltzing in back during "Accession" and started blabbing about emissaries and dejarras and such. Here, it's the same: "Corporeal matters don't concern us." Ultimately they do what Sisko needs but it seems to only happen because he yells at them long enough and they deem him, once again, adversarial. Even then, it's not even a favour so much as a cryptic trade.

As I said before, I forget where this "penance" goes so I'm willing to eat crow once I finish S7. As of this episode, though, the Prophets remain a mystery. They're not good guys, which I think has been explicitly shown. They're neutral; they have their own interests, if something which simply exists in all times can *have* interests. One could even argue that they more limited than corporeal beings since Sisko had no trouble back in understanding their non-linear existence but still had to explain linear time to them.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
@$G :

it seems clear that the Prophets purposefully encouraged the Bajorans to take certain actions (sending Orbs and Emissaries, magic books [see S7]), not to mention constantly referring to themselves as "of Bajor" (kind of strange for beings which do not concern themselves with "corporeal matters" to align themselves with planet, or a race). Either the Prophets are just lying to Sisko and themselves when they say these things or the writers wanted to have their cake and eat it too, giving lip-service to notions which might make worship of the Prophets anything less than foolish and destructive, while retaining the watered-down Olympian tragic elements which justified their CGI budget.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
They are "of Bajor". In billions of years when Bajorans become non corporeal they become non-linear, make the wormhole and become the very beings they used to worship :P
Dave in NC
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert!

Yay! Someone besides me has the same theory about the Prophets!
Thu, Nov 13, 2014, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
The Bajorans had rather robust bodies for people who were only getting soup to eat. And kanar the only alcoholic beverage Cardassia ever created? It looks like the pigeonholing of nonhuman races occupations (Klingon and Ferengi doctors are "a contradiction in terms" as on Trek episode put it) also applies to their booze. Has any other Klingon liquor been mentioned other than blood wine? Any other Romulan liquor other than their blue ale? Saurian brandy, and etc.
Dave in NC
Thu, Nov 13, 2014, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
There's also Klingon Fire Wine.
Mon, Feb 2, 2015, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
The prophets being future Bajorans was a theory I read at the old official Trek site boards years ago, it does make sense.
Way I see it is that they are transdimensional like the Sphere Builders of Enterprise and may be part of the temporal cold war. The events of Past Tense where Sisko supplanted Gabriel Bell in history, the events of accession where a time lost poet remembered for incomplete works and returned to the Enterprise era where he lived his life on Bajor and completed his works likely peeked interest and divided the prophets leading to the Pah Wraiths.
Sounds daft but think Doctor Who where time is fluidic and if he and his companions rewrite the past (best episode example I can think of is 'Waters of Mars') it will mend itself in the future at the expense of a few individuals.
Mon, Feb 23, 2015, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Very good episode. I think the only thing I was a bit confused about though was did the Orb of Time take Kira back as an observer or could she actually interact and possibly change the past while there?

How she saved Dukat from getting blown up by the bomb she planted makes me think the latter. Maybe I just missed what the capacity of the orb was while running after my kids haha.
Wed, Jun 3, 2015, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
A very good episode, and it helps to establish just why Dukat seems so obsessed with Kira. I now find myself thinking was he seriously attempting to screw the daughter after he's had a relationship with the mother? Or was it just twisted guilt, and never sexual? It's a mystery to me, and that is perhaps as it should be with fascinating characters. Also, I've realised that most of the episodes I really like involve Kira learning a painful lesson. Acute physical disgust with her mother, followed by the realisation that it's not so simple. Great drama.
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
This is another "Hey, presto!" moment in Deep Space Nine, where a "twist" to a character's story comes out of nowhere, is not planned in the slightest, and is not at all believable because of that. Other "twists" that spring to mind include: Section 31 and Bashir is genetically enhanced. We are supposed to believe that by a miracle coincidence, Kira's mother ended up with Kira's worst enemy for years, and that Dukat waited until now to tell her. It's just so unlikely to be stupid. It isn't helped by the fact no planning went into the arc, just a "Guess what?" setup.
Wed, Jun 10, 2015, 6:40am (UTC -5)
@dlpb - You're equating a lot of things that don't really go together. The fact that none of our main characters are aware of Section 31 is not a particular stretch considering the nature of the organization. You can think it's a stupid twist, but it's hardly a, to use your own words, "miracle coincidence".

Likewise for the genetic engineering... yes, it rubs a bit of back story in a funny way but it actually becomes a part of DS9 lore and sticks with the show. It also does not require any coincidences. The only issues are that it may softly retcon a few things.

THIS though... THIS episode is off the charts. Not only is it a retcon, it makes no sense that he never brought it up and worse... it changes nothing. It's basically never brought up again in any real or useful way.

It retcons part of Dukat's story in a weird way, it retcons the way the orb of time works, it's probably THE most problematic prophet related episode, it requires a miraculous coincidence and worst of all... with all that mind bending, we get no lasting consequences and a mediocre (at best) story. So it doesn't even accomplish anything.

We agree entirely on this one, but I had to step in and defend the other episodes you selected to loop in with this dreck.
Wed, Jun 10, 2015, 8:57am (UTC -5)
I think Section 31 and genetic engineered Bashir are every bit as shoe-horned and badly planned... but they certainly aren't as absurd.
Wed, Jun 10, 2015, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Well they were not planned at all :)

Such was the nature of TV. But they are less jarring and make more retroactive sense (even if Bashir's is a stretch).
Wed, Jun 10, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Actually... the funny thing is that there are only a few bits of Bashir's plot line that damage anything. It completely invalidates a good deal of "Distant Voices". Without "Distant Voices" it doesn't directly contradict anything.

The other bit is that the episode would have been just as good if they had let the genetic engineering be all mental. Him being physically skilled means he should have performed better in previous points on the series... in life or death situation I doubt he's purposely "holding back".
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 2:29am (UTC -5)
@Robert and Dave in NC:

Ok, if you go with the theory that the Prophets are the highly evolved descendants of the Bajorans, could the Orbs be seen not as items of worship(as the current Bajorans see them), but as tools meant to help the current Bajorans evolve into the prophets? And that the whole Bajoran religion is nothing but a misinterpetation of what the Orbs are meant to be? Interesting.


Quote from Jammer: "One area where this episode can't compare to a predecessor like "Necessary Evil" is in its production design. Jonathan West's quiet, understated approach to the tone of Terok Nor can't measure up to James L. Conway's unforgettable vision of the same place. Whether it was due to budget constraints or not, this Terok Nor feels just a little too much like Deep Space Nine."

If I'm reading this right, you seem to expect the station to look like it did in previous flashbacks. But as stated in the episode itself, the station is brand new, so it would not yet have all the dirt, grime, etc. built up to "look" like it does in those other flashbacks to which you refer. In that case, I can see how the station would look more like the sterilized DS9 we are all used to seeing.
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 7:08am (UTC -5)
I believe the Prophets accept the worship as a reasonable result of their great power, but I don't think the worship is the intent as much as guiding them is.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
I think this episode was a nice delving into the past of DS9's most interesting sociopath and how the truth of Nerys' past wasn't as cut and dry as she hoped. I never got the feeling she could change what happened since that was not her purpose in consulting the orb. She wished to see what really happened. However the truth wasn't what she assumed it to be. This was once again an episode that showed what a person can make into 'normal' on a day to day basis. And often even when under duress those choices would not make them proud to look back on later. If not out of love for her mother, Nerys may have recognized how close she was to this type of life herself not long ago during the reoccupation of DS9 when choosing to not go through with the bombing.My biggest issue was the choice of a child that didn't even have brown eyes to portray Nerys as a child? Wha?!
Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
How about Kira having brothers? Isn't this never seen or mentioned again? :-O
Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
@Keiren - Barely talked about siblings are actually pretty common.

Sisko has 3 half siblings, O'Brien has 2 brothers, Dax has a sister... I think Bashir is the only "only child" on the show.
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Really? @Robert. That's interesting to know. Is this mentioned in the series? Or in books?
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 8:21am (UTC -5)
Throwaway lines in the show. Dax mentions at some point that her parents/sister are unjoined. Sisko tells his father that he should let Judith help more at the restaurant. At some point Sisko also mentions brothers and O'Brien does as well, but I can't remember where per say.

From "Invasive Procedures"
VERAD: I don't have any choice. I spent my whole life trying to qualify for the joining. I studied constantly every day, every waking hour. I sacrificed everything and then I went before the Symbiosis Evaluation Board and they reduced my entire life to one word. Unsuitable.
DAX: It's nothing to be ashamed of. Neither of my parents or my sister underwent symbiosis. And they live happy and productive lives. Only one Trill in ten is chosen to be joined.

From "Homefront"
SISKO: So, how is Judith? She still helping out in the restaurant?
JOSEPH [on monitor]: I sent her home to Portland. Your sister's got her own life to worry about. Besides, she never puts enough cayenne pepper in the jambalaya.
SISKO: Just like mom.

I don't really remember where the other mentions pop up, but it's sprinkled throughout the dialogue. Bashir I'm almost positive is specifically identified as an only child in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume". But everyone else has siblings.
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 8:26am (UTC -5)
Wow @Robert I appreciate your quick & detailed response. I'll have to watch & listen closer in future!

I always knew there was a reason I identified with Bashir! lol :-P

I still find it a little odd never to hear of Kira's siblings again... but hey :)
Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
To me, the most problematic thing about the time travel is that Dukat, given all his obsession with the adult Nerys, doesn't seem to remember having encountered her in his past. Which is why it would've been nice for the showrunners to give us a decent explanation as to how the Orb works...
Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 7:58am (UTC -5)
You know an episode is great when the inclusion of time travel seems not only unimportant, but almost incidental. This is a deep and harrowing journey for Kira--to the past, yes, but more importantly to the truth. Most episodes about Kira are outstanding; episodes depicting the Occupation, even more so. This one is both.

I understand Meru. Everything. She had one opportunity to get out of that hell and have her family taken care of at the same time, and she accepted it. As Kira said that doesn't make it right--not at all. But Kira did benefit from this arrangement as a child, however little. Perhaps that's why an increasingly unhinged Dukat finally revealed this to her. Out of some twisted desire for her respect and gratitude (which he will never have).

Clearly Dukat was a highly polished manipulator even a generation ago, with his good cop/bad act with Basso and calculated winning over of Meru. One of my favorite episodes.
Wed, Dec 16, 2015, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
I was hoping when she got back to the future one of the first things she would do would be to track down Basso and make him pay for what he did. Of course he was probably dead by then but it would have felt nice to see him get his comeuppance. He was such a sleazeball.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Feb 5, 2016, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Nah, sorry but I just can't get past the plotting here. Believing that Dukat would never have mentioned a 7 year relationship with Kira's mother until now? That smacks of lazy writing - we never did anything with Kira's mother, so let's do something now. Having the Orb of Time play a role also just smacks of convenience.

What the episode does successfully portray are the shades of grey here - and actually, Kira's mother doesn't come off as a very sympathetic character, and certainly there seems to be more than just noble self-sacrifice in her relationship with Dukat. That's a fairly sophisticated outcome, even if it can't redeem the episode entirely. 2.5 stars.
William B
Tue, Feb 16, 2016, 10:54am (UTC -5)
I argued why this episode bothers me before, and I'll do so again. The set-up aggravates me.

1. Kira tries to research her mother for two days, and failing, asks Sisko to use the Orb of Time. Sisko says, basically, "Won't you destroy the timeline?" Kira responds, basically, "The Prophets will stop me from doing anything stupid." I suppose the Prophets wanted Arne Darvin to blow Kirk up with a tribble then. Moreover, even if we assume that Kira used the orb differently, somehow, there's also the idea that it's entirely the Prophets' responsibility to prevent Kira from destroying the timeline, which is one hell of an abdication of responsibility.

2. Kira's first action upon getting back is getting into a fight. Great.

3. After being kicked out of her comfort woman job, Nerys spends *weeks* in the past, working in Ore Processing, eating food -- and, hey, is she eating someone else's food? Does she have another person's job? Can they really spare to feed another person? Does Nerys spend this entire time waiting for when she sees Meru again? Does she wonder at all whether she's permanently stuck in the past?

4. During this time, Kira refuses to participate in the Resistance. OK. Remember this.

5. Meru is insufficiently self-flagellating for she decides to carry out an assassination of Dukat, and kill her mother along with her!

What I find so disturbing about 5 is this: look. Either Kira cares about protecting the timeline or not. I am willing to accept that, not having Starfleet Temporal Mechanics training or whatever, Kira has no particular interest in that. Kira's insistence on destiny in "Children of Time" sure isn't impacting here, but okay. If that's the case, though, first off, she should have told Sisko that she doesn't care about the timeline rather than say that the Prophets will prevent her from doing anything, whatever. But more to the point, if Kira didn't care about protecting the timeline, why is this the first time she has attempted to use the Orb to change the past? If there's a time travel Orb available, 24/7, then the reason that you shouldn't go back and try to stop the Dominion War, or the Occupation, or whatever, is to protect the timeline -- or at least to avoid taking serious risks with it. Would going back in time and killing Dukat really make things better for Bajorans, or would it just encourage the Cardassians to crack down harder on Bajorans? Is it worth that risk? Kira is not asking that. Wasn't this affair before Ziyal was conceived? Is Kira erasing that short life from existence? Wouldn't this action fundamentally change the lives of everyone she cares about, and don't they deserve to know, or, at least, shouldn't she at least consider it?

Killing Dukat is a kind of traditional "kill Hitler" time travel fantasy, and I can understand why Kira would be tempted to do that. And yet, what's crucial, is that this idea never occurred to Kira before she had a chance to rage-kill her mother in the process. Kira *only* starts participating in the Resistance once she can start hurting her mother to punish her for her [Meru's] failings. And when she decides not to kill Meru, she saves Dukat's life for -- uh, reasons. It is possible that Kira believes that saving Dukat will save Meru -- that if Meru only escapes the bomb blast, Meru's life will be forfeit anyway. So I can somewhat see that. But it really reinforces the impression that *all* Kira cares about here is killing her mother, and that it's not even related to Dukat.

This is why I can't actually get past the episode's set-up by pretending Kira asked the Prophets to show her what it'd be like if she were in the past, or something. Kira obviously believes she's in the past -- based on her dialogue with Sisko -- and even there, the episode's climax depends on Kira choosing to punish-murder, and then not, her mother. If Kira thinks she's in a simulation or vision, why bother assassinating her mother and Dukat in what is actually some weeks-long fantasy sequence? And if Kira really is willing to change the timeline, if the Orb of Time really is being used on that kind of plot basis, should it really ONLY be used to find out about Kira's mother, and nothing else? If Kira is willing to assassinate Dukat in the past, should she really only do it because she's pissed at her mother? How can she be that myopic and selfish? Or was Kira genuinely waiting around for a chance to kill Dukat in the past because, why not?, and just changed her mind from her original plan?

The episode's bald retcon of Dukat having an affair with Kira's mother is absurd, distorts Dukat's history (9 years as prefect, as established several times, most recently in "Waltz" -- and now he apparently was already prefect when Kira was, what, 3?), and adds an incestuous layer to the Dukat/Kira creepiness that frankly was not necessary. It's as if, having decided to make Dukat an extreme super-villain, they decided to make his vile behaviour from the past even more vile. His lack of interest in Kira before, I think, "Civil Defense" also seems wrong now.

For Kira not to forgive her mother is one thing, but even if we forget the time travel element, there is something about Kira's attempted murder of her mother that is so baldly awful that I can't quite believe the episode went there, and for that matter had Sisko asking Kira why she didn't go through with killing her -- as if thinking someone is a bad person really is sufficient justification for blowing them up. Kira barely even seems to rationalize that Dukat was her real target. In "Necessary Evil," when it was revealed that Kira killed the collaborator chemist, it was an "I had no choice" desperate move to keep herself from being caught, and Kira *felt bad about it*. This is years later, she's ostensibly learned since then, and she *just saw* the kind of hardship her mother had. At the episode's end, she's indicating that Meru is still her mother, and that's why she saved her, as if Kira really is on board with murdering literal sex slaves and just stayed her hand because of her family softness.

I know, really, that it is the opposite -- Kira's thinking is distorted about Meru because Meru is Kira's mother; probably Kira *did* rationalize that she was killing Dukat and her mother was in the way, or something. Kira doesn't go killing the other "comfort women," or even Basso, because she does not *actually* believe in indiscriminate killing of civilians working with/for the Cardassians. If it weren't for that final scene with Sisko, I might even be able to believe that Kira was in the thrall of some kind of Prophets-vision and couldn't entirely control her actions, or knew that it wasn't real, but I really have trouble reading her final dialogue any other way. Really, I think Kira hates Meru because she hates aspects of herself and her own loved ones; she remembers Ziyal who continued caring about Dukat up until the end of her life, and she knows that she herself has fallen for some of Dukat's manipulations, or come close, and liked that dress he bought her in "Sons and Daughters" besides. She was a FIGHTER, but she has other sides to her, and I think she recognizes in Meru the "weakness" that she despises and has tried to stamp out in herself. Mostly I think that she can't forgive Meru for failing to live up to the ideal that her father created for Nerys as a child, but she is not as willing to weigh her ideal against the truth as she was with Opaka in "The Collaborator," though maybe she flew straight to that nowhere planet and yanked Opaka off and beamed her into space so that she didn't revive in sweet vengeance for her collaboration.

The one thing that makes this episode worth something and bearable to me is Meru herself. I don't think she's a particularly compelling or well-realized character, but the basic idea behind her seems to work -- I appreciate that they show a woman in a bad situation, who fails to live up to the heroic ideal of self-destruction for noble cause. The first mention of the Alamo in the series actually has mythic resonance; martyrs are much more beloved than people who did what they had to do to survive, and who accepted their fate without fighting to the last. That Meru actually liked being pampered and having food to eat is somewhat painful -- she *should* rebel! Or at least, if she is going to martyr herself by sleeping with the enemy to gain food for her family, she should hate every moment of it. But people are ultimately adaptable, and there are advantages to Meru's life, and she ends up being someone who comes to prefer comfort to principles, in a situation where she honestly has no other choice but some sort of Alamo-like stand which would be meaningless except as possibly some inspiration for the future. Her falling for Dukat's manipulation makes sense, too. The complexity of Meru's quasi-willing capitulation to her fate is something the episode does okay and is something of a gutsy topic -- and while I find Nerys' behaviour abhorrent in this episode, I don't actually mind that she is viscerally disgusted by her mother's way of handling the situation.

But really, I *do* find Nerys' behaviour abhorrent in this episode, in a way that goes beyond Kira's "shades of grey" complexity and I think is genuinely a sort of character-assassination writing. Her behaviour starts off aggravating and gets worse and worse, culminating in a senseless murder attempt which despite the emotional trauma of the discovery I really don't think is justified by the story, and which is very quickly brushed aside. I know that I am harsh on this one -- but it really bothers me quite viscerally, more so than many of the show's more universally detested failures. 1 star for Meru.
William B
Tue, Feb 16, 2016, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I wonder if Kira didn't seriously misrepresent what happened for Sisko to ask: "Tell me something, Nerys. If you hate her that much, why did you save her life?" You mean, why did she decide at the last minute not to murder her and damage the timeline? Also, how funny is it that Kira "did some checking" and found out that Meru died in a Cardassian hospital seven years after meeting Dukat, after deciding she needed to check the Orb of Time because she couldn't find any information. Guess it was easier to check than she claimed, huh?

Looking back to what Elliott says way up above...maybe the case really is that Kira is just so traumatized by the Occupation that she has something of a hair-trigger for total loss of morality. I think that she does have *something* like that for a loss of her cool, and takes big risks...but something about this seems different to me about this case. It may really be, at the end, that I think that the series mostly does portray Kira as a competent professional who gets hotheaded and foolhardy and unforgiving when tested -- and that works for me even with her behaviour in "The Darkness and the Light" and "Ties of Blood and Water." But in this episode, there's also a side to her that I saw in "Shakaar" to a lesser degree -- where Kira is actually a step away from ruthless killing at all times, and really just needs the right trigger. So there is some consistency here, but it seems disturbing that Kira remains relatively unchallenged in her behaviour; the episodes question whether Kira is too unforgiving, but that she acts on her lack of forgiveness by killing and other forms of extremism and then goes back to gossipping with Dax next week like everything's normal goes mostly uncommented on. I really *hope* she lied to Sisko about her placing that bomb, because for Sisko to ask why Kira saved her life, knowing the full story, would be a serious dereliction of duty -- for Sisko to let Bajorans go back in time and mess up the timeline with assassinations as Emissary really would be a serious ethical breach, I think, since, let's face it, messing up the timeline is a serious problem whether you're acting as Captain or Emissary this week.
Tue, Feb 16, 2016, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Kira is gonzo beyond reason at times. This episode makes me think of the one where that disfigured butler was killing Kira's war buddies. Where that one totally fell flat with the Kira "muh right cuz" ending, this attempts to paint better shades of grey to her thinking.

I cannot express how much I hate her superwoman moments when she just starts clubbing armed guards with her metal fists.

Duet is still the best Kira episode I feel.
Peter G.
Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Not sure why everyone is hung up on the "time travel" thing. I suspect no one takes seriously that the wormhole aliens are basically time lords and see all of time as one existence, not as a sequence. If they have part of Kira's existence be non-linear it would mean little to them, and also there is no reason to believe that time's actual functioning is linear either. That is a bias we *have to believe* in order to live, but that doesn't make it true. When Kira says the prophets will take care of her and the timeline that's not some weird excuse or faith, it is pretty much stone cold fact that the prophets will do exactly that and that they will only send Kira where it serves them for her to be.

If we want to get away from the prophets and just think about time travel for a moment, I see no reason to believe this isn't a temporal causality loop. Who's to say Nerys wasn't Meru's friend in the actual past? In fact, we have every reason to believe that Nerys was killed in the explosion in Dukat's quarters (we only see Meru and Dukat safe and sound at the end) which marked the end of her journey. As to why Dukat didn't recognize the present Nerys as looking the same as that friend of Meru's, two possibilities: 1) While Kira's volition was sent back to the past she was not made physically recognizable to anyone (remember "Things Past"?). 2) Since Dukat would only have seen her maybe 2-3 times ever for only a few minutes at a time he might just not have remembered, especially since at the time he perhaps had eyes only for Meru. Overall I see little issue with the time travel aspect of the show. The prophets can do whatever the hell they want; they're probably millions of years more advanced than the Federation.

I also wondered briefly about whether Meru was Ziyal's mother but the timing doesn't work out of course. I was, however, reminded of one of Dukat's raving complaints to Sisko during "Waltz", which was that within a month after his taking command of Terok Nor there was an assassination attempt on his life. It seems to me entirely plausible that this was that very event, and that Kira's angry actions in the past were part of what led to Dukat becoming so obsessed with revenge against Bajor later on. This would play into the temporal causality loop theory quite nicely, since we already knew about the assassination attempt from a prior episode but just not who did it. Therefore these events 'change' nothing; it was always going to happen like this. I do think it was real time travel, though, and not just a vision. There's no reason to believe that only Sisko's existence is non-linear.
Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert,

"I believe the Prophets accept the worship as a reasonable result of their great power, but I don't think the worship is the intent as much as guiding them is."

I'm not sure they even understand the concept of worship.
Mon, May 30, 2016, 2:31am (UTC -5)
"Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" is an episode that oh so desperately wants to be as good as previous Kira-centric episodes like "Second Skin" and "Ties of Blood and Water". In many respects, it succeeds in that quest brilliantly. However, in one aspect it fails spectacularly.

First, how does it succeed. It's greatest strength is that it challenges Kira's black-and-white view of the world. Kira has always been prejudiced against any Bajoran who cooperated with the Cardassians on any level instead of joining the Resistance. Up until now she has always used the term "collaborator" as little more than a slur, a damning indictment against anyone who cooperated during the Occupation. But that viewpoint fails to take into account the fact that some collaborators only cooperated because they had no other choice. Sure, some became collaborator for purely selfish reasons - like the utterly despicable Basso - and they rightly deserve absolutely no sympathy. Meru and the other "comfort women", however, are a different story entirely. I understand and sympathize with Meru's choice at every stage because this is what most people would do. Most don't have Kira's fiery brand of determined self-confidence. Most would try to make the best of a bad situation. And look at it from Meru's perspective. She isn't thinking about broad political realities or possible futures; she's only thinking of the here and now, of how to provide for her children. That may make her weak (as Jammer says) and extremely vulnerable but it also makes her very.... well.... Human. So, do I feel sorry for Meru? You bet I do! Given that, however, I also love that Kira doesn't offer up a pat, sentimental ending for us in the episode's coda. Having her simply forgive Meru without a second thought simply wouldn't have worked for her character. With her ingrained hatred of collaborators, this revelation is something she would naturally have to mull over for quite some time.

So, how does the episode fail. In one word - Dukat. Having Dukat be the one who kept Meru as a "comfort woman" is just wrong on SO many levels. First, it destroys the "relationship" between Kira and Dukat. His desire to get into Kira's pants has always been somewhat creepy. But now the writers take that creepiness and crank it straight up to eleven! All those previous encounters now don't look like a man desperately seeking Bajoran approval, they look like a man who just wants to bone a woman whose mother he boned many, many times. Ewwwww! Second, it takes established continuity out behind the woodshed and whips it mercilessly until it is unconscious. For starters, it's been established that Dukat was Prefect of Bajor for the final ten years of the Occupation. That means that Kira travels back 16 years into the past (not 30-35 like Jammer states). Given Nana Visitor's age, it would have to be 30-35 years but just doesn't jive with what we know about the Occupation. That means that present-day, Season Six Kira is, at most, 21 years old. So, how old was she in "Emissary"? 15?! I DON'T THINK SO!! In addition, it simply does not work with Ziyal's backstory. If this is 16 years in the past, then Dukat should be "keeping house" with Tora Naprem - Ziyal's mother. Since Ziyal was 19 when she first appeared in "Indiscretion", that means she's 3 when Dukat first "seduces" Meru. Where the hell are these two women?!

All of this could have been avoided, and the episode would have been immensely stronger for it, if it had been some other Cardassian that Meru was "collaborating" with. If it was, for instance, an officer at the refugee camp that kidnapped Meru away and make her his "comfort woman" we could have avoided all of these glaring continuity errors and still had the emotional struggle of Kira remain intact. Present-day Dukat could still be the one who gets the ball rolling by letting Kira know just to be a bastard. If it had been, say, Dukat's second-in-command we could have even included some Ziyal material - with Kira having to befriend and understand the motivations of both Meru and Naprem (not to mention seeing baby Ziyal). But the writers just couldn't help but make Dukat the central bad guy, could they?

10/10 for Meru. 2/10 for Dukat and his oddly bright space station (seriously, isn't the station supposed to be dark and foreboding during the Occupation days? It looked like the lights were turned up higher than when the Federation is in control).

Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Time Travel bothers me often in Star Trek and other science fiction. ST: First Contact loses me right off the bat when we discover the Borg had the ability to time travel all along; they just never bothered to use it when it would have been most helpful (time-travel 100 times, and they could have attacked earth with 100 cubes all at once!)

Here, however, it doesn't bother me. The prophets exist outside of our time, so (if they want) they can know what's going happen every time someone uses their orb. If someone is actually going to "change" time, they can simply stop the experience before the change happens. If someone is going to do something that "already happened", like what Kira may have done here (I think we're supposed to interpret this attempt on Dukat's life as the one previously mentioned), they'll allow it (if not secretly encourage it).

So I think Kira probably should have realized she never would have been able to kill Dukat, but I could understand that she got caught up in her emotions, and perhaps thought she was actually doing something the prophets would have approved of.

That said, I agree with others who have problems with how it changes the Dukat/Kira relationship in a way that doesn't match up with what came before, and that the final scene needed a complete re-write. I believe it's worthwhile for the moral questions it raises about those living under the occupation, but I'd only give it 2.5 stars.
Sat, Mar 4, 2017, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
This is a retcon that completely does not work for me. I can't remember Dukat's frist encounter with Kira on DS9 but I'm sure there was no indication that he had known her mother. In all these years of baiting her he would have mentioned it before. Also, it takes him from evil war-criminal to a level of sexual depravity -- trying to establish a romantic relationship with his former long-time lover's daughter -- that has simply not been part of his character and frankly is a bit beyond the pale for any major character in the ST universe, villain or not.

I've never understood Terek Nor as an ore-processing plant. Why have it in space instead of on Bajor, where it would be significantly cheaper? (Just think of the cost of flying in all the food for the station -- anyone who has ever lived of vacationed on an island knows what I mean.) Where on Deep Space 9 is the former ore processing plant? It must have been huge to need that much labor, but there's never an indication that DS9 has some kind of enormous more or less empty room.
Sat, Mar 11, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
This script was a hasty back-stage kludge -- the Season 6 storyline was supposed to be *Kira* having a romantic affair with Dukat (probably in the present day), which you can vaguely see hinted in the earlier wow-you're-a-nobler-character-than-I-thought and ouch-I-hurt-my-posterior and you're-incorrectly-using-the-dermal-regenerator buildups -- Nana Visitor rejected the storyline (justifiably, in my view), yielding an unpleasant creative standoff, until finally Ira Steven Behr came forward with "Okay, you don't sleep with Dukat, but your mother did." I would say this eleventh-hour backpedal shows through in the final product.
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 10:05am (UTC -5)
I think it would have been interesting if Dukat/Odo had their story lines switched a bit during the occupation in early S6. I would have preferred Odo not betray them at all, but I think it would have been fascinating if Dukat was the one that bailed Kira out in the fight at the end after the Founder said she would execute Kira. Having realized his feelings for her he decided he needed to save her, regardless of personal cost. I still don't think Kira ever should have gone there but it would have been more interesting if "Space Hitler" as he started off, turned out to still be an evil bastard... but one that actually fell in love with one of our heroes. I like DS9 best when it's being gray. I never really liked the affair with the mother plot, so this would have kept the focus on Dukat/Kira without making it a traditional romance.
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 10:06am (UTC -5)
This episode eas so tedious and dumb that it set me off my watching schedule for a couple weeks. I started and stopped the episode several times until eventually forcing myself through it. Nothing to be gained by watching this one.
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
My first comment on this site although I've read all the reviews...

This episode is very well acted, but is let down by the rush handling and simplicity of the time travel element as well as the rather predictable about-turn of Kira at the last moment. One minute she's adamant her mother must die and then she happens to see the video sent to her mother from her husband. It's completely contrived and improbably convenient. It's like a dog-hater seeing a postcard of a cute pug licking a baby's face and re-writing their will to give all their money to Battersea Dog's Home. Surely she's developed beyond such confusion after 5 1/2 years. It's a retrograde piece for the character and rather insulting. Well-acted but simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. 3 stars is kind.
Sat, May 20, 2017, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Troll: Hey Kira. I F***ed your mom. lol
Kira: Who is this?
Troll: Throw-away account. Don't bother trying to run traceroute . lol
Kira. k. :(
Kira: But, I don't believe you!
Kira: Liar!
Troll: Your mom's birthday is today and she liked flowers.
Troll: pwned!
Troll: lololol.
Kira: I guess I'll have to travel back in time to see what happened.
Sisko. K.

Everyone in Star Fleet: Weird how we never used this time-travel orb when we've had disagreements about what happened in the past or when we were trying to figure out things about what the founders had done last month. But I guess figuring out if Kira's mom was cheating is more important.
Fri, Jul 7, 2017, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Good. Grief. This episode.

So first of all the good:
ALAIMO is a treat to watch, as always, because he's fantastic in the part of Dukat. The writing for Dukat is usually very solid as well, which adds to the enjoyment.

VISITOR has become one of the more fun members of the cast for me as the show has gone on (felt her character was a bit shrill when the show was trying to find its footing in the first two seasons.) So it was nice to once again have a Kira-based episode--if only for Visitor's acting, not the writing. (I'll get to that below.)

WAYNE GRACE as the Lecherous Legate who tries his dubious charms on Kira is pretty hilarious in the part, and I enjoyed watching an extra put that kind of effort into his character. Enjoyed sets and costumes. Enjoyed some of the ideas that were presented.

Forehead-Slap-Inducing Details:
THE ORB OF TIME. Convenient new addition to Bajoran religious relics that brings up all kinds of after-the-fact plot holes, now that we know of it's existence. i.e., Why couldn't they have just used the Orb of Time to find out X,Y, or Z about the Dominion? Blah Blah. Maybe there will be an Orb of Get That Narsty Dominion Chick Out Of Odo's Psyche at some point. That would be nice.

DUKAT. Dude must have a painting in his quarters, á la Dorian Grey, that is doing all his aging for him, because he doesn't look a molecule younger in the past than his image on Kira's wall at the beginning of the episode.

KIRA. Rash murderous decisions, much? Doesn't like what she thinks she sees, so lets BLOW MOM UP. Yeah. Stone cold and scary. Is that who we want Kira to be? Really?

MERU. Wow. Just wow. I feel an essay coming on. Someone on the writing staff needed to run this script through a focus group of psychologists in order to shave off the total lack of reality that has Meru falling for Dukat after 3 weeks of imprisonment as his mistress. Or *any* weeks. Jeesh. This would not happen. I don't care how nice the man, how nice the clothes, how nice the food. You take a normal woman, rip her from her family on threat of death or torture, but tell her if she cooperates her family will be cared for, and make her someone's prostitute--even with nice clothes and a shower--and I guarantee you that no amount of niceness from the man who is forcing himself on her is going to make her forget her husband and fall in love with him. Sex for women is not just a physical act. You can't just "decide to enjoy it" when it is being forced. That is very rape-culture-y and has no place anywhere. There are major emotional elements tied into intimacy for a woman, and she must feel safe and respected for it to work without her feeling exploited or used on some level. Dukat took her forcibly from her family and coerced her into being his comfort woman. The key idea here is that she had no choice. Dying by refusing doesn't help her family. And no woman in that situation is going to fall in love with her perpetrator, no matter how charming he is. Unless she has Stockholm Syndrome, which would take longer than 3 weeks and her feelings wouldn't be real. Kira should have been mature enough to realize all of that. The writers should have been mature enough to realize all of that and respect women more than to create such an unrealistic reaction in Kira's mother. Makes Meru look simplistic and shallow. It felt to me like character manipulation to accommodate the emotional arc they came up with for Kira. And there was no purpose in that arc. It would have been far more cool for Kira to find out her mom was exactly like she is--apple falling close to the tree and all that--and then take that back and stuff it in Dukat's face.

it's possible I have strong feelings about this . . .
Daniel B
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:16am (UTC -5)
My problem with this was that yet again the main characters do everything and have everything happen to them and everyone's story is closely related to everyone else's syndrome. So Gul Dukat just happens to end up diametrically opposed as the "lead Cardassian" and "lead Bajoran" (not that Kira is ever head of Bajor, but *most* of the time Dukat isn't head of Cardassia either) with someone whose mother he forced himself on earlier? Well isn't that convenient for the plot.

{ and now we're shown that Gul Dukat hasn't aged a day in over 30 years! }

I thought they did his makeup subtly differently. Not 30 years younger, but he did look 10-15 years younger than normal to me.

{ And I guarantee you that no amount of niceness from the man who is forcing himself on her is going to make her forget her husband and fall in love with him }

She very clearly didn't forget her husband.

{ Dukat took her forcibly from her family and coerced her into being his comfort woman. The key idea here is that she had no choice. Dying by refusing doesn't help her family }

The episode portrayed that very clearly. Nerys didn't see it because she was too upset at the sudden revelation about her mother's story not being what she thought.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
"Sex for women is not just a physical act. You can't just "decide to enjoy it" when it is being forced. That is very rape-culture-y and has no place anywhere. There are major emotional elements tied into intimacy for a woman, and she must feel safe and respected for it to work without her feeling exploited or used on some level. "

I don't think it's just a physical act for most men either.

I also don't think this episode ever told us that Kira's mom did not feel exploited or used on any level.

The way the whole thing is portrayed pretty realistically as far as a manipulative emotional abuser like Dukat goes. People like that really delude themselves into thinking that because they never physically forced their way in, that they didn't do anything wrong, that they just wooed the other person into consenting. And going along with such a person rather than resisting is an actual defense mechanism.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Daniel B and MMM:

Regarding these great comments from each of you respectively:

"She very clearly didn't forget her husband."
"The episode portrayed that very clearly. Nerys didn't see it because she was too upset at the sudden revelation about her mother's story not being what she thought."

"I don't think it's just a physical act for most men either."

"I also don't think this episode ever told us that Kira's mom did not feel exploited or used on any level."

"The way the whole thing is portrayed pretty realistically as far as a manipulative emotional abuser like Dukat goes. People like that really delude themselves into thinking that because they never physically forced their way in, that they didn't do anything wrong, that they just wooed the other person into consenting. And going along with such a person rather than resisting is an actual defense mechanism."

--Very well stated, and I mostly agree with both of you. I do feel that the writers sent a confused message surrounding Meru. They showed her feeling conflicted. They showed her being sad at the separation from her husband. But they also seemed to show her enjoying her new life, beyond just trying to adjust to it. Like, she was happy and excited when she came back from her vacation with Dukat. She acted flattered and happy like a young woman in love when he gave her flowers. Not realistic. And she never defended herself from Kira's accusations that she had fallen in love with Dukat. The writers just let that hang there, and that's what Kira left the experience thinking. Which, btw, I thought was very inconsistent with Kira's character and intelligence levels,

I guess what I'm feeling is that if the writers meant to suggest that Meru was in fact traumatized and was just playing along in order to survive and help her family, and that she did miss her husband and was doing what she could to survive a horrific situation, then they needed to make this more clear and show Kira realizing it, instead of having the episode end with Kira feeling that her mother was weak and a collaborator. I left the episode not sure what the heck the writers were trying to say with it, and I don't think it did any favors for women who truly have been put into the position of being abused like that. I mean if you read the comments, many of the commenters above refer to Meru as having been "weak." So yeah, that's one of the messages that came out of this ep., unfortunately. --unless I misunderstood and the commenters felt she was weak for not fighting until she was killed instead of sleeping with Dukat. Maybe that's where they thought she was weak? If so, then I'd say you'd have to hold off on that judgment until you were in that situation yourself. If you thought you were protecting your family and even helping them, I think that would guide your choices. They could have shown that better, if that was the case.

PS - As for my statement that sex for women is more than just a physical act--I didn't mean to imply that that is all it is for men. But men tend to feel loved and supported *by* sex, whereas women need to feel loved and supported first. Which is one of the many reasons that forcing it on a woman (either physically or through manipulation) is so damaging to them. And it's why they can't and wouldn't just let go and enjoy it in a situation like Meru's. I didn't mean to make men sound shallow, so my apologies for that implication.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
I'm a bit in the middle of this one. I liked the way Kira Meru was handled and indeed there are some intriguing questions introduced about what Bajoran woman were willing to put up with for the good of their families. Meru's a tragic hero in the sense that she sold out her people for a nicer life, but her ultimate goal was helping her family survive. The survival of her family did lead to creating strong Bajoran leaders like Kira, so indeed there are some nice layers to this episode.

On the other hand, I agree with Luke and others that it's way too convenient Dukat would happen to be the Cardassian that Meru would get involved with. It reeks of the showrunners desperately wanting to relive "Necessary Evil" by giving Alaimo another chance to shine instead of respecting the interesting quasi-romantic developments Kira and Dukat as characters had forged over the years. There's also no pay-off for this connection, as Kira never gets any sort of vengeance on Dukat in future installments. As far as Kira and Dukat's relationship is concerned, this episode may as well have never happened.

Finally, I didn't really mind the time travel shenanigans, but I think William B and others make some really good points that show that the writers weren't thinking this one through. As the time travel is somewhat handwaved and inconsequential to what the writers were trying to say with Meru's story, I'll leave it be.

2 stars.
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 12:00am (UTC -5)
2 stars

This was a dumb idea all the way around
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Certainly compelling seeing Kira's mom giving in to Dukat and her reasons for doing so, but the whole going back in time is a huge contrivance. I think it would be better if the orb of time were to just let you look back in time and not actually take part in history.

It's a good exposition of the conflict in Kira's mind on how to deal with her mother as a collaborator. Definitely some good performances from Visitor, the actress who plays her mom, and of course Alaimo.

There are some things that didn't turn out as realistic for a re-creation of the past -- Dukat hasn't aged in how ever many years and the occupation didn't seem as dire as it was in "Necessary Evil". I don't get how Kira's mom doesn't recognize her in the least.

Good writing with Kira planting the bomb and then Meru getting the message from her husband that all is going well for the family and so Kira decides to save her mom and Dukat from the blast. Visitor's acting is good displaying the inner conflict.

Knowing what we now know about Dukat after "Waltz" -- one might gain some sympathy for him after seeing how he used to be with Meru -- or it could reinforce the belief that he was always psycho or bi-polar.

3 stars - pretty captivating stuff digging through the history of the occupation and what some Bajorans felt they had to do and Kira trying to wrap her arms around it. Not a fan of the plot device that is the time travel being so convenient but these kinds of contrivances seem to pop up a lot in DS9 episodes. Overall a pretty good Kira episode.
Fri, Jan 5, 2018, 6:07am (UTC -5)
At the end, when Sisko asked Kira ‘If you hated (your mother) so much, why did you save her?’, I really wanted Kira to say ‘She’s family. It’s the most important thing.’
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
I really like this episode, one of the series' best, and think it's unfortunately pretty overlooked. This is how you do moral ambiguity well and that the story is told from the perspective of and conflicts with Kira's typical black-and-white approach makes it all the more interesting and effective.

There's a very slight cop-out with the ending(s), that the episode suggests Kira saved her mother because her father was able to forgive and support her and then has Kira not saying that was a factor (just that she was her mother) but it's still very interesting for Kira to *not* consider her father doing that to be so significant and that she *was* able to both hate and partly forgive her mostly because she was her mother and that, without more explanation, covers a lot.
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Kira, after being separated from Meru, initially not wanting to help the resistance did feel pretty forced and inconsistent but otherwise I saw her as not having a problem with changing the timeline (for real) and I think that seems pretty in-character for her and an understandable rather than really bad character trait.
Elliot Wilson
Thu, May 10, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
This episode kind of feels almost like a very insensitive take on the World War II mass rapes carried out by those animals calling themselves men of all the armies for the major players involved. Not as insensitive as the film A Woman in Berlin is, certainly, but it is still very questionable to present rape victims in this manner. Kira seems to really hate all the women who are taken to be sex slaves to the Cardassians. She and another member of the Bajoran Resistance even call them "collaborators." That's just offensive to me. The choice is either submit to the Cardassians, or be shoved off to grueling labor, where rape is inevitable, so why not have it with an officer and good care? It's really shameful that the DS9 writers chose to present their story in this way. Why couldn't they have done a full-blown "rape during war" message which has Kira sympathize with those women? It's a very real theme, still relevant today given how little the relationship between men and women have improved, and it's especially painful when you remember that all of the mass rapists of World War II never faced international justice for their actions and that some nations to this day have a hard time teaching the truth about what their ancestors did. The way I see, as long as so many countries have this attitude after the literal mass gang-rape orgy of millions and millions of women and female children, spawning an entire generation of rape babies, then all their victims suffered for nothing. And when you have a nation that sees the vast majority of women and children raped as "perpetrators of crimes against humanity," then you're doing something horribly wrong as a people and as a society. We need to be as honest and compassionate as we can with themes of rape and sexual servitude, because without that, what hope is there for us as a race?
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
"Kira seems to really hate all the women who are taken to be sex slaves to the Cardassians. She and another member of the Bajoran Resistance even call them "collaborators." That's just offensive to me"

Can certainly understand that. I had a hard time taking Kira's convictions seriously in this episode at least up to a point. It is consistent with Kira's portrayal throughout DS9 that she often looks down to a degree upon other Bajorans who didn't fight back the way she did. She's proud of having been very skilled at using force and violence against the Cardassian oppressors, at the risk of her own life, and often doesn't seem to understand why not everyone did that.

I think the episode was portraying her view of these women as the wrong view. It would be consistent with real life - e.g. Cardassian occupation is often a Nazi allegory, and a lot of the French underground did look down on other French citizens who didn't keep the fight going as partisans. Some of them consider them all as collaborators and some considered any French women who had children with German soldiers as traitors.

Kira's reaction is basically coming from a place of denial + shock, and using anger to mask said shock. From her point of view (not thinking clearly as she can barely even believe the truth), anything short of "attempt to kill the guy in his bedroom" is tantamount to accepting the occupation, because that's how she would have handled it. It's a believable way for her to be thinking, even though it's not correct.
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
re: JanielM:
"I guess what I'm feeling is that if the writers meant to suggest that Meru was in fact traumatized and was just playing along in order to survive and help her family, and that she did miss her husband and was doing what she could to survive a horrific situation, then they needed to make this more clear and show Kira realizing it, instead of having the episode end with Kira feeling that her mother was weak and a collaborator. I left the episode not sure what the heck the writers were trying to say with it, and I don't think it did any favors for women who truly have been put into the position of being abused like that"

Good point, they could have done a better job with Kira getting some clarity at the end and starting to realize it wasn't right to see her mother as weak for not turning into an assassin.
Dark Kirk
Tue, Sep 11, 2018, 11:07pm (UTC -5)
Instead of Dukat, maybe the episode should have been written with Dukat as a teenaged Cardassian officer and the prefect introduced as a new character who had the affair with Meru, an older officer who was his mentor.
Sun, Sep 23, 2018, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
The Prophets, huh. What happened to God? I wouldn't follow a Prophet, those kinds are just a bunch of Moonies, Jim Jonese, damn I can't recall all the crap names but you get the idea, don't you

Meru was snatched from her family. Kira was blind not to see that AND she went right along when they snatched her, too. [roll eyes to the ceiling] What is her excuse? Is she a callaborator? If Meru had attacked Dukat she would have been killed and Kira would probably have died very young of starvation. It was not Meru's fault!!!!!!! Damn it!!

Bajor's so called religion is a farce, satire, a pile., something for the superstitious idiots that Bajorans are, to follow blindly. Any group of people that cannot see what a tyrant, murderous piece of dung WINN is and votes her in as the Pope of the world are best left to the Cardies to pillage for an eternity! I stopped feeling sorry for them. That Accession crap. What a joke! Some old man shows up a billion years late and Bajies love him and want him. Yeah, yeah, he is so correct let's follow him now. The Bajorans fall right in line with that dictatorship. Oh, damn, Kira went on with it. Making her little whop sided birds..... got to follow him, he's the wonderful emissary. Is that all they want to look forward to?

I think Kira was only suppose to observe. Just look at what Dukat claimed. What does Kira do? Begins to plot murder.

Bajor has nothing to offer The Federation. Whatever fool thought they did deserves to be kicked in the ass. Why the Federation doesn't just pull out is beyond me.

Tonight, Sept 23, 2018, IMAGE IN THE SAND is going to begin the 7th season on H AND I and Sisko is going to begin running the gamut to find that orb, again [in reruns]. What are the Prophets going to offer him? You are gonnna die as soon as you bring us that orb. The fact is, his prophet ma kills him [Ben] in the end. What a load of bummer whatever.

I could not believe the crap of old man Sisko keeping the secret of Bens's birth! F that! Mr. Sisko is a dope anyway. I really mean that the writers write him as a dope. All he thinks of is the foolishness he carries on with in his restaurant. Earth improvement in 3 to 4 centuries did nothing for him. He still works for a living.

Bajorans had no opportunity to become educated or seek education off planet......Nazis don't let you go to school! Yet they are accomplished in every field, medicine, electronics, flying space ships, you name it. When did they learn? The Prophets certainly did not teach them. Oh, maybe they sat in the bushes and learned telepathically! Huh,hmm?

Yep, the father lied to the kids and made them believe mom was just over the hill fighting, I guess for freedom. Reminds me of a Xena ep. A warlord comes upon our brave friends and attacks them. During the fight the warlord runs into Joxer's sword and dies. Stupid Joxer ... all in all.... whiningly wants to travel beyond space and time and apologize to the man's son who is in a wealthy private school. It happens, but they all decide not to tell said son because he has been told by his old nurse that his dad is wonderful, his dad helps the hungry, the starving, the war torn refuges, and a lot of other malarkey.......the guy follows our friends and overhears that Joxer killed his saintly father. How dare he. Grrrrrrrr! I'm gonna kill Joxer!!!!!!! The truth is told to him and it is proven to him. Takes a bit but he calms down. He then joins up with our group and wanders around with them for a while.

If Dukat had come at me with all his douchbag full of filth, I'd have pulled out my hidden phaser and shot him where it hurt. It made sick whenever he went after Kira in that way in all the eps he did it in. It makes me sick every time they write Dukat shakiing his twig at Kira, saying doncha want it, baby.

Goody, goooooood, I got my answer now as to why Nana always looked so put upon.........IRA STEVEN BEHR!!!! He is the one, an old grizzled bear that keeps punishing women for not sexing it up with him. I wouldn't sleep with Dukat either. See the above paragraph. I knew she was being punished. Sid is her husband in real life and he is pissed too.

As for having to sit on that nasty Cardies lap?, hell no,I would have poured my drink on his you know where and I would have made certain that it was blistering hot. Then he could do his Dukat giant thorn up his ass dance but with a hot drink.

It is rape, Kirk style, only Kirk was never nice to women. Star Trek writers love to demean the women so as they can whip 'em into shape if you want a role in my show you gonna.

Most of these commenters as saying Meru volunteered. She did not. She was dragged off. Watch the ep again.

I DO NOT see orb-looking as time travel. One opens the orb that one needs to see into and it shows one blah, blah, such as when Bariel had Kira look into the orb-of-I-want-to-get-in-your-pants-really-bad,-yeah,-really bad. And she lied.

Ok, so Kira tells Sisko it's family, get a grip people, the writers wrote confliction on Kira's part. No one would say that. That is backing down to how you really felt about the whole thing. It was the food and "Nerys musta gained 5 lb"....and Meru weeps. Then Kira stops.....
Emmett L. Brown
Mon, Dec 17, 2018, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Great Scott!
I've not understood: was this a real time travel or a sort of "Q-style" vision-reflection-teaching-whatever in "Tapestry" (TNG)? How long our beloved and "forever young" Dukat has been in charge on Bajor and/or Terok Nor? 30? He said that under his administration crimes as in Gallitep ("Duet") were no more allowed... So, Dukat dared to lie to MEEEEEE????!!! And again... Was this a real time travel or not?

What a headache... I need to watch Kira's picture with her brothers, Dave and Linda McFly (of course), to understand the mess within this episode... :-D
Basso Stinks
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 12:13am (UTC -5)
C'mon chaps! A collaborator is a different thing. The reference to WWII "comfort women" is so clear that nobody inserting brain could confuse 'em with collaborators. Basso was a collaborator. He was pleased of his "work" in helping cardies more than a oberkapo. Search for "comfort women" on Wikipedia: it's rape, nothing more, nothing less.

Btw, Meru's falling in love (or Stockholm syndrome) for Dukat is debatable, of course... But a collaborator is a different thing.
Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
I interpreted the event happening as actually happening. We have seen the Orb of Time used before (Trials and Tribble-ations) where Sisko and his crew had to prevent a Klingon from assassinating Kirk. Even agents from the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations had to come and investigate to see if the timestream had been altered, so yeah those events actually did happened in WDTDN. And as far as Dukat's age, we have seen aliens in other episodes and Trek shows that have been stated to be hundreds of year old yet look like they are in their 30s.
Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting:

--Kira telling us about the mom who died when she was 3.

--Dukat. Oh, God. WTF. Poor Kira. I was going to go to bed, but the opening hook was successful.

--Interesting how "Nerys pleads with the Emissary," rather than the Major makes a request of the Captain.

--Ugh. Dukat sooooo slimy. Ugh.

--Ummm . . .I'm confused here. Kira has zero qualms about the timeline, I guess. Was that just a vision the Prophets gave her, or did that stuff really happen? I guess it did really happen, since Sisko says Nerys saved Meru's life. I won't think too hard about that.

Best part: Seeing more about what the Occupation was like. Worst part: Slow moving and predictable.

Average ep.

Disappointing because the beginning had me expecting more, and certainly something other than Time Travel.
Tue, Jul 23, 2019, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
There's a big problem with this episode. The station doesn't look like it did in previous flashback episodes. In those episodes the station was very dark and loud. Anyone else notice? I understand that in this episode the station is brand new, so maybe the writers were thinking it became more dark as time went on.
Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
"Cardassian occupation is often a Nazi allegory, and a lot of the French underground did look down on other French citizens who didn't keep the fight going as partisans. Some of them consider them all as collaborators and some considered any French women who had children with German soldiers as traitors."

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what they were going for here.

I didn't interpret Nerys' hatred for collaborators as a hatred for all comfort women. Collaborators, to her, are anyone who either a) actively worked with the Cardasisans/against the resistance, or b) chose to remain neutral because of the luxuries the Cardassians provided (as opposed to remaining neutral e.g. to save your family). Many resistance fighters throughout history have similar opinions.

I can't blame them or Nerys. It's incredibly frustrating to watch people enjoying life and remaining neutral, while you and your friends and family are fighting for their lives and for a better world.

At the same time, it has to be said that most people are not brave enough to resist. Most people, when push comes to shove, are "good Germans": people who see bad shit happening but have too much to lose or are too scared to get involved and fight back. And I can't blame them either. Self-preservation is perhaps the most fundamental instinct we have as humans.

Everyone likes to think they'd be part of the Bajoran Resistance, or Dumbledore's Army, or whatever the resistance group was called in the Hunger Games. But there's opportunities for resistance now in the current presidential administration of 2019, and those opportunities are a hell of a lot less violent than DS9. Yet the vast majority of people are not getting involved with those movements because it's incredibly, incredibly scary, and I can't blame folks for that at all.

This episode and Meru's actions also made me think of a poem I read recently.

"We Lived Happily During the War

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

but not enough, we opposed them but not

enough. I was
in my bed, around my bed America

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

In the sixth month
of a disastrous reign in the house of money

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,
our great country of money, we (forgive us)

lived happily during the war."
Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Oh, also, if you're gonna say something like "quit dragging US politics into Star Trek"...this is DS9. Get a grip. The whole goddamn show is one long political drama with some spaceships thrown in.
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -5)
Humans are just an emotional and fairly selfish species. Sure we have altruistic sides but most need a very strong push for the better angels to take over. It is normally very late then, often too late.
I just saw a nice example:
Two newspaper articles.
1. The populist brazilian government is destroying the Amazonian rain forest at an extreme pace which will become unsustainable soon.
2. A black skinned guy pushed a lady in front of a train and her kid died

One had three times more comments. Can you guess which one?
What do you think? Knowing that after the Amazonian rainforest is gone this will probably finally push the climate over the edge or the fear to be pushed in front of a train by somebody who looks different. Yeah pretty easy, I know. As an aside most people complained that the second article didn't mention the skin color/ origin.
I guess people who watch Star Trek are aware of the selfish and self destructive tendencies of the human species and therefore like to imagine a world were we are not but kinder and wiser beings.
I think that is Kira's reason to despise her mother because deep down she knows that the majority is like her mother and a minority are like Kira. If I remember correctly she says something like: They (collaborators) were the bad ones and we were the good ones. now what?"
Now what, indeed.
Jason R.
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 5:39am (UTC -5)
"Everyone likes to think they'd be part of the Bajoran Resistance, or Dumbledore's Army, or whatever the resistance group was called in the Hunger Games. "

Real life isn't like a movie where "the" story tells you who the victim is and who the villain is. There are always competing stories and our personal biases pull us to one kind of story or another like gravity.

The Nazi German example isn't a particularly helpful one because it's so extreme that almost no one credibly can use it in any contemporary analogy without engaging in hyperbole (I.e. Godwin's Law) thereby wrecking their credibility with anyone who could potentially be drawn into a different story's orbit (continuing the gravity analogy)

But even in the case of Nazi Germany, I doubt very many people knew they were supporting the "bad guys" even out of fear. This is more revisionist retrospective analysis from the point of view of a story that hadn't been written at the time - at least not the final draft. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts many even most on the bad side didn't even know they were the bad guys.
Thu, Aug 15, 2019, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
"The Nazi German example isn't a particularly helpful one because it's so extreme that almost no one credibly can use it in any contemporary analogy without engaging in hyperbole (I.e. Godwin's Law) thereby wrecking their credibility with anyone who could potentially be drawn into a different story's orbit (continuing the gravity analogy)"

Good point. Nazi Germany is a very black-and-white analogy, although I used it here because I think it's the allegory that DS9 is at least partially going for. However, I think anyone could easily substitute it with other moral and ethical dilemmas. The abuse of farmworkers, sweatshop workers, conflict minerals...the list goes on.

"I doubt very many people knew they were supporting the "bad guys" even out of fear. This is more revisionist retrospective analysis from the point of view of a story that hadn't been written at the time - at least not the final draft. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts many even most on the bad side didn't even know they were the bad guys."

Gotta disagree with you here. If people back then didn't realize that supporting their country as they herd kids into barracks and separating them from their parents isn't a war crime, I'm not quite sure what it would take to convince them. If people today can't see that it's completely appalling to rip families apart at the border as they come to seek a better life after we Americans fucked up their country so bad that they can't survive; if they can't see that waterboarding prisoners at Abu Ghraib isn't straight-up torture...I don't know what to tell you.

Here's a good article by the NY Times that does a better job articulating what I"m trying to say.
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Jake should use the Orb of Time to visit his ancestors smoking weed and playing bass in a Rastafarian band. LOL
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Love your review, JIm
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 6:39am (UTC -5)
"Gotta disagree with you here. If people back then didn't realize that supporting their country as they herd kids into barracks and separating them from their parents isn't a war crime, I'm not quite sure what it would take to convince them. If people today can't see that it's completely appalling to rip families apart at the border as they come to seek a better life after we Americans fucked up their country so bad that they can't survive"

It's obvious why you can't convince them - because you don't understand them at all.

If you can only imagine a political adversary as believing something due to stupidity or evil odds are you are suffering from a failure in imagination.

For example, even as a Jewish person, I don't find it difficult to peek behind the curtain of Nazi thought and understand what kind of narratives permitted them to go down the path they did. And I guarantee you the narrative was not bwahahaha (cue imperial theme).

Obviously it's not a narrative that holds any sway today in light of the events of WW2 but you're a fool if you think that as a German citizen living in that time and place, you would have certainly been immune.
Jamie Mann
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Ah, a time travel episode. We've not had one of these since tomorrow.

At least this time, we're not going back to some period in American history. Instead, the writers dug out their "Kira or O'Brien" coin and it came up tails. So this week, it's time for Kira to suffer...

First, we get the highly implausible revelation that Dukat was in a relationship with Kira's mother. Seriously? Were the writers really down to scraping the bottom of the barrel for relationship plots? This is /bad/ soap-opera writing, and arguably on a par with the "Geordi LaForge's mother" episode from TNG.

But then again, this is really just a contrivance to justify putting Kira back on Terek Nor. Again. Because we've not turned the lights down on the DS9 set for a few episodes...

In any case, this "flashback" plot once more draws inspiration from the occupied territories of WW2, and the "comfort women" who were forced to service the troops who conquered their countries.

For all that it's heavily sanitised - the comfort women are positioned as (relatively) well-rewarded courtesans servicing officers - it's still disturbing to watch the way that they're rounded up and shipped out like cattle, thanks in part to the willing involvement of a Bajroan collaborator.

But then we come to the crux of the episode: Kira is forced into passing judgement on her mother's actions. And for me, it's the wrong judgement.

Her mother wasn't a willing collaborator. She was in a position of having absolutely no power, having been taken by force and forced into a role she never wanted. About the only action she could have taken would be suicide, and the Cardassians had already preempted that option by promising to provide slightly better conditions for her family. And Kira even gets direct evidence of this when she sees the message from her father talking about how young-Kira and himself were doing.

As such, the idea that Kira would remain so fixated on viewing her mother as a traitor seems overly judgemental.
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Man, Dukat is sick and twisted! All those times he was baiting and sexually harassing Kira, knowing she didn’t know about with his past with her mother, wow. Dukat seems to get perverse sexual pleasure by playing his sick mother-daughter mind games. He becomes even creepier than he was before!
As for the space-time continuum and Kira apparently violating the Temporal Prime Directive and stuff. What I took away was that the Orb of Time was not real time travel, maybe it just allowed the user to see, experience and interact with the past on some kind of spiritual/religious level that doesn’t impact the actual time line or something. That would explain why Kira’s experience in the past did not apparently trigger inquiries by the Department of Temporal Investigations.
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
I really wish this series would have given Dukat a rest. There are too many superfluous episodes about him and he's just not interesting - especially after he 'goes crazy.' I could tell Behr wrote this after 2 minutes. I think he got his jollies writing sadists, and plenty of SF shows have suffered or self destructed as a result of becoming Horror-SF.

Jesus, how about a nice Kira episode where she and Odo get trapped in a cozy bed.
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Some of the interpretations of this episode bother me deeply. I did not see some dichotomy with Nerys as strong and Meru as weak, at all.

It is hard, very hard, to be in a relationship with a huge power disparity (like totally reliant on them for food and shelter and the social status disparity is huge and you are required to cut ties with loved ones), where sexual consent is murky or nonexistent (including outright rape) and violence is always an imminent possibility (or certainty, lol). It is hard to be a person and a housepet. One learns to look no further than tomorrow, to struggle to glean good qualities and decent behavior in the person you're tied to and love them for it, if you know they're controlling and brainwashing you, to stamp down on any doubt about running away or ending it all. And relationships that uneven don't stay in honeymoon mode--certainly not with a man like Dukat.

There was no especial indicator to me that Meru was unusually stupid, or ignorant of the moral implications of her actions. She wasn't raring to go on being a "comfort woman" in /general/. When when she saw a long-term, livable situation with Dukat, she predicted that it was best for her children and husband and she was absolutely right. She then threw her mental health and bodily autonomy under the bus for the remainder of her life, and she stuck with it.

It takes a lot of strength to live like that, and that doesn't change however many fancy dinners you get paid in.

PS. even horrid Kai Winn tried to school Kira about nonviolent forms of resistance:
"Those of you who were in the Resistance, you're all the same. You think you're the only ones who fought the Cardassians; that you saved Bajor single-handedly. Perhaps you forget, Major, the Cardassians arrested any Bajoran found to be teaching the word of the Prophets. I was in a Cardassian prison camp for five years, and I can remember each and every beating I suffered. And while you had your weapons to protect you, all I had was my faith, and my courage."

Meru didn't even have the knowledge her some day, some time, her people would respect her for her choice.

PPS. It would be especially interesting to me if Kira's life and physical development was saved by the extra supplies--that would be enabling the resistance through the most unconventional of means.
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
*love them for it, even if you know they're controlling
Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Shock horror. An episode with Nerys that I like. Decent acting too, for a change.

Perhaps it's the director and writing staff to blame for the usual nonsense. This episode is good and has a nice twist to it also. Perhaps a bit shoe horned in that Dukat was with her mother but I'll let it pass.
Sun, May 2, 2021, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
While I agree with most of Jammer's review, there is one aspect with which I disagree. The title of the episode can also refer to the wrongs committed by Dukat.

In the second to last paragraph of Jammer's review, he states "It's also interesting to note the judgment that's passed along by the episode's title, 'Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night.' It seems to side with Kira's view of the matter."

Indeed, there are fates worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return (what I would interpret "Night" to mean in the context of this episode). Subjugation under Dukat is one such fate. During the Bajoran occupation, Dukat manipulated his victims by attaching the good feelings of helping their families with Dukat himself. As such, every day the victim remains with Dukat, their family receives more resources to survive.

That twisted sense to take advantage of a victim's love for their family and using it to delude the victim into being grateful to Dukat is a form of brainwashing. To make this entire situation even more disgusting, Dukat did this many times. The conversation between Kira Nerys and the legate in the conference room scene (when the legate recited what Dukat would say before he said it because he had said the exact same words so many times before) made this very clear. Given what is known of Dukat's personality, he may have subjugated multiple women concurrently as he had Kira Meru. Dukat engaged in manipulating victims into either deluding themselves into being with him or at least playing along. Either way, forcing victims into such a situation for the rest of their lives is a fate worse than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.

On a side note, watching this episode and Dukat's behavior reminded me of the Borg. The Borg's victims are trapped in their own bodies, watching events unfold without the ability to participate or influence those events. In a sense, so were Dukat's victims. However, in this case, Meru was given a choice. She was separated from he family already. She could refuse Dukat and be forced onto the Bajoran side of the station, as Kira Nerys was, and still never see her family again (or something even worse) or she could agree to sell her life for the increased chance of her family's survival. Either way, Kira Meru may have seen her life as forfeit. As such, she chose the least bad option. While the borg don't give their victims a choice, Kira Meru effectively chose to give her life away.

To say that Kira Meru was weak and chose an easy life is an oversimplification of the situation. Decisions are not made in a vacuum. Maybe Kira Meru did it for an easy life, maybe she did it to try and save her family, or perhaps some combination of the two reasons. The episode did not make this portion clear, but it does matter because motivations matter. Decisions are not usually made based on one issue, but the totality of the situation.

Let me be clear, I'm not saying one way or the other what Kira Meru should have done. I agree with what Sisko said in the coda to the episode, that however anyone may have felt, it was Kira Meru's decision to make. No one should ever be in that kind of a situation where they must choose between such options. The fact that Dukat forced so many women to make such a choice is the point. It is the wrong darker than death or hopelessness from which one can never return.
Mon, May 3, 2021, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
@ Nejer,

Thank you for that insightful post.
Tue, May 4, 2021, 2:32am (UTC -5)
This episode is also about perspective.
Dukat's perspective that he is a benevolent ruler who just wants what is best for those stubborn Bajorans.
Meru's perspective. She told herself that she did it for her family but she also enjoyed the perks her life brought and fell in love with a tyrant.
The legate's perspective who cynically watches all these lies unfold.
Sisko's perspective who with sad compassion sees victims everywhere.
And Kira's perspective which changes two times. Her mother was a collaborator. Meru made Dukat's life better. The man who sent hundreds to their death every day. First Kira has a very glorified view of her mother which then changes to very dark and finally ends up somewhere in the darker parts of the grey area.
The audience perspective is probably closest to Sisko's as the outside observer. We can learn something about the many different horrors of military occupations. How even being a collaborator to a murderous regime doesn't mean that you are a purely bad person or some would argue not a bad person at all, maybe just weak.
For a TV show this is pretty elevated stuff. Jammer's review is also really good.

I would have liked it a bit more if they had fleshed out the last part. Let Kira explain her reasons a little more why she chose not to kill Meru.
Sat, May 8, 2021, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Definitely a good episode, but a hard one to watch. Meru is no Judith. Nerys loses her idol as a noble parent, an image created in the mind of her child-self, is found to have feet of clay. This is proof of the adage that one just can't go home again. To quote Shakespeare (in a slightly different context) it's "...more than we should seek after".

A very thought-provoking piece which makes me think of all those 23&Me customers eager to learn how fantastic all their remote ancestors were. Don't ask lest you are willing to be hurt.

Meru isn't a collaborator, just a person. We the viewers have to regret her ordinariness...and ask if we are any different....would any of us be strong enough to turn Dukat into Holofernes?
Sat, May 8, 2021, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
Meru is almost the very definition of a collaborator. She works not only with the enemy but with the very head of the enemy forces, sure there is some pressure involved but she also willingly plays her part, mostly for gifts and other things that benefit her family. That's a collaborator.
Peter G.
Sat, May 8, 2021, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

You think someone forced into sexual servitude upon pain of losing her family, and then keeping house under implicit threat, and eventually succumbing to Stockholm Syndrone, is "the very definition of a collaborator"? I think you might want to rethink that. You can debate the particulars of my points, perhaps, but not the main issue, which is that she did not voluntarily sign up for this service. Contrast with the Bajorans who were working as foremen of the other Bajorans for the Cardassians, even working them hard and pursuing punishment for them. They were in all essential ways Cardassian agents. But a woman who allows Dukat to play his delusional love game with her to help her family? I think a more reasonable way to call her would be a victim who lost some perspective due to not much fault of her own.
Sun, May 9, 2021, 1:32am (UTC -5)
Whoops, now that you mention it. True, she was forcibly taken from her family, completely forgot. While the episode makes it clear that she could have left, the fact that she was forced severely reduces any form of guilt.
Tue, Jun 22, 2021, 11:34am (UTC -5)
I find the entire premise of this episode is very random , why tell Kira after 6 seasons , it's more of an excuse to give Marc Alaimo some work after they had no clue what to do with him after Waltz
Mon, Oct 25, 2021, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
The ending makes sense because it relates to Kira well. Although it could have been a good opportunity to make her character develop and evolve a bit her hardcore resistance mindset. In that case, this episode would have gained another star.

But I don't think the link comfort women - betrayer should pass as a message.
Meru is a victim, like all women in the same situation. I was just reading about the korean, chinese and taiwanese comfort women under Imperial Japanese rule. The same probably happened in Denmark, France and other parts of Europe occupied by the Nazi. When the war ended, many of these women probably had to suffer a second torture by being stigmatized as betrayers. Because "it doesn't make it right". Are we really still thinking like that?
Mon, Oct 25, 2021, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
@ Eugenio

I think they did a good job of leaving it up to the audience whether or not to side with Kira. Meru was shown in a very sympathetic light, so much so Kira chose to save Dukat's life because she couldn't kill Meru, and yet she makes her bitter pronouncement at the end. Kira has been hardened by war; several times in DS9, she's been completely unsympathetic to the pain of others, especially if those others happened to be Cardassians or Cardassian sympathizers. It makes her interesting, complex, and sympathetic, but it doesn't always make her right.

On the one hand, Meru *was* a collaborator. The point of Basso Tromac, the Bajoran who collected the "comfort women," was to demonstrate that collaboration had degrees. Was he any less a victim, just because they didn't show the horrors he avoided for himself and/or his family by working with the Cardassians? Somewhere, a line needs to be drawn, and for Kira, that line is any - *any* - aid or comfort to the enemy.

On the other hand, there is no one-size-fits-all standard of tolerance for suffering. Nor a one-size-fits-all limit to what you're morally allowed to do to save yourself or others. I'm reminded of Kai Winn taking Kira to task for her seeming assumption that only the resistance fighters were righteous, or worked to protect Bajorans during the occupation.

It's a thorny issue, and I think DS9 did a decent job with it.
Sat, Feb 19, 2022, 9:41pm (UTC -5)

Although you couldn't call Meru an outright collaborator, she did fall in love with an evil man make excuses for him. The man who took her from her daughter. This itself is sufficient reason to induce extreme anger in Nerys. Meru was not simply pretending to like Dukat (while making the best of support for her family), she actually did like him. The former is much better than the latter.

When Nerys sees her mother's reaction to the video, I think she realizes that her mother still has feelings for her father when in their previous conversation she seems to not care for he husband's love and loyalty.

What I find puzzling is why Nerys saves Dukat along with her mother. Why not let him die?

For me the highlights of this episode are:
1, Nerys strong moral values.
2, The notion that all is not what it may seem when a person does a seemingly bad thing.

However the episode does suffer from a lot of flaws - just like the previous one.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
It did seem weird that Kira saved Dukat.

I suppose if he had died, both her and Meru would have been executed.

I agree that the potential to change the past wasn't needed.

It's entirely possible Kira never could actually change anything and this was all just a Prophet induced vision. Or, of course, that Kira was always present for these events.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Though, to be clear, I think Kira ABSOLUTELY would have killed Dukat and to hell with what it would do to the time stream/future/whatever.

I can believe if she had time to think through all that, she might choose differently, but not in the heat of the moment like this.

That's why I think this was really just a vision.
Sat, Sep 24, 2022, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
I didn't watch this one. 1) Head-trips, 2) into the past, 3) to discover something or other about a character's family's history = trifecta of my pet peeves about sci-fi shows rolled into one. The only thing that could possibly have made it worse would have been if it had have been set in the 20th century.

Gilligan’s Starship
Mon, Nov 14, 2022, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Good story, but giving Kira the ability to alter the timeline—and then she gets involved with planting a BOMB? Hellooo, McFly! I thought we were letting the Prophets guide you! So, let’s kill Dukat and change decades of history? I guess they’ll be getting another visit from the guys from the Dept of Temporal Investigations!
Mon, Jan 30, 2023, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Ahh, the episode where Dukat's disgusting factor gets amped up to eleven!
Sat, Mar 25, 2023, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
I find myself thinking of a line in the TOS episode, "Wink of an Eye," in which the woman from the sped-up society says to her jealous companion something along the lines of, "You know I have no choice but to mate with one of these aliens. Allow me the dignity of liking the man I select."

Kira's mom didn't "select" Dukat, but she was powerless when selected by him. She is just trying to find some scrap of dignity in pretending it's a real relationship. Granted, a bigger person might have found a different road to a more real kind of dignity, but Kira's rigidity on the matter makes her seem a smaller person, too.
Peter G.
Sat, Mar 25, 2023, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
That's a really good comparison, Trish. Although the episode does take some pains to show Kira's position is tempered by the end, at the same time it feels a bit like this type of extreme position would have been more appropriate in S1-3 than here. Especially after Kira has already had some strong experiences that caused her to rethink her preconceptions of certain Cardassians. In fact I wonder whether we're expected here to do just that, even though by this point it's kind of implausible that we could be persuaded of that as Kira was about Mariza or Ghemor.
Sun, Mar 26, 2023, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Yes, I think the Kira we met in the pilot episode, for example, would be expected to be this rigid, even with her own mother. And that was a Kira who still seemed fairly small, fairly one-dimensional. After seeing so much depth added, this episode seemed a bit of a throwback.

I have to admit that on my most recent viewing of this episode (maybe only my second or third total), I found myself wresting a bit with the judgment I myself tend to aim toward people who don't meet MY standards about a different moral decision: those who had the opportunity to speak against wrongdoing and chose to keep silent to make things easier for themselves. I am a two-time whistleblower, and both times I did it knowing I might lose a career I'd worked hard to build (and in both cases I did, which is why I'm on my third career, when my health permits, and am my own boss this time). I guess I feel like I earned the right to say that others should have had the courage to stand up; I am not asking anything more of them than I asked of myself. Maybe that's how I should see Kira as approaching it.

I suppose in a sense, many, maybe even most, Bajoran women could honestly say that they COULD have made things a little easier for their families and a lot easier for themselves by volunteering to be some Cardassian's girlfriend, and they didn't choose to do it. I can see why they would have little patience with those who made a different choice, because being patient with them would mean being patient with the woman each of them chose not to be, which could make them ask hard questions about whether the sacrifices they made were worth it. Only faith in "something bigger," I think, makes that sacrifice seem worthwhile. Whether it's the will of the Prophets or an ethical code, it has to be big enough to justify throwing your life away.

Kira's own life may well have been saved by her mother's choice. I think maybe (just maybe, not sure yet) I wish the episode had not left that detail for the viewer to realize on their own, but had forced Kira herself to look it right in the face. For example, when we first meet their desperate family, her parents could be worried about "the baby" having a fever, and then the letter from her father could have been telling his wife that little Nerys was going to make it, thanks to the medicine the Cardassians, true to their word, had provided.

The adult Kira might still have found herself unable to forgive her mother, and being shaken by the existential implications of that failure.

That would have made for a very different episode!

Or was it a subtext that I missed?
Peter G.
Sun, Mar 26, 2023, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Trish,

It's not stated explicitly but I think it's implied that Meru's actions weren't merely to make her family comfortable, but may have been to save them being harassed or worse if she defied Dukat. At least I think it would have been reasonable to suppose that Dukat was giving her an offer she couldn't refuse. It probably wasn't even necessary to make up a 'Kira was sick' plot element to justify it; the general threat felt to me always present. And it does rely on our prior knowledge of Dukat to supplement that. What the episode does that's very clever is that it shows the other Cardassians as being completely without mercy or compassion, so that when Dukat appears 'different' it's (a) an obvious ploy, and (b) something he puts on while knowing how the other Cardassians act, who are *under his command*. It's all with his blessing, so we can expect that any brutality any of the others would do would be known by him, and even encouraged. And they get this across without ever showing Dukat winking at his soldiers or giving a tell that there's an actual threat coming from him.

As far as giving up a career goes, I tend to side with your kind of position when having expectations of others. However, it depends on who your dependents are. If one has little children at stake who won't eat, then you have to think twice about what your moral obligation is. If the family is your first priority, being a hero may actually be immoral if it disregards their safety. This is not an easy point and would require...I dunno...20 hours of debate to communicate clearly what I mean. But there are some people, such as Kira, who had the leisure to not have anyone depend on them for immediate survival such as a baby or little sibling, so she could risk her own life and make that choice. Meru may not have felt she had the right to make that choice, to go down and take her family with her to make a point. The episode doesn't exactly go into her psychological calculus so we can only guess. If she was just tempted by the luxury and that's it then I could sympathize with Kira being intolerant of that. But can we realistically suppose she didn't perceive a direct threat to her family based on her choice?
Mon, Mar 27, 2023, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

Meru definitely doesn't seem to be in much of a position to refuse, does she? That's what makes Kira Nerys seem so harsh in judging her.

Not that I readily accept the "mouths to feed" defense for non-whistleblowing (and believe me, I've heard it before). Everyone has mouths to feed, if only their own. If that excuses all, then all becomes excusable, for everyone. I accept that it can make the decision especially hard, but I don't think it often changes what the right decision would be.

And maybe that's kind of a middle ground on Meru's decision, too: an appreciation of how hard it was, but also some respect for Nerys' continuing disagreement with it. The adult Kira Nerys had shown herself willing to die many times over for the Bajoran cause. The hypothetical "medicine for the baby" plot would have given an opportunity for us to see her grapple with whether she would project her self-sacrifice back onto the child she used to be, and I think she would have, even if her parents would not (and obviously did not). Her resentment might then have come across as being, in a sense, for her parents keeping her from being a young hero, or at least martyr, rather than for her mother not being pure enough.

I actually am a little surprised that this episode wasn't written by Ronald Moore, who very much likes to tell stories of murky morality.
Gaius Maximus
Fri, Mar 31, 2023, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
A minor contradiction I notices last time I watched this episode. A couple people have noted that the bombing of Dukat's quarters by Kira could be the same one that he referenced in 'Waltz.' I do think this was what the writers intended, but Dukat also says that the bombing took place only a month into his administration, which would hardly seem to be enough time for his officers to learn his pick-up lines by heart, especially if he stays with his Bajoran mistresses as long as he apparently did with Meru or with Ziyal's mother.
Sat, Apr 1, 2023, 2:26am (UTC -5)
@Gaius Maximus

Good observation, but I wonder if perhaps Dukat's reputation is supposed to stretch beyond beyond DS9, to everywhere he has been stationed, and maybe the soldier who knew his customary lines had served in some of those other places?

I also kind of wonder if instead of seeing it as a rehearsed act that the "bad Cardassian" was in on like a pair of police partners' "good cop/bad cop routine with suspects, maybe Dukat was supposed to be truly convincing himself he was being the good guy, and it was just in the nature of things that this opportunity kept arising. That might be consistent with the self-delusion we often see him display.

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