Category Archives: Federation

“When it Rains … ” and “Tacking Into the Wind”

I challenge you all to a bug-eyed look contest. I win!!
“I challenge you all to a bug-eyed look contest. I win!!”

Part one: The Breen weapon from the previous episode is stumping the Federation and its allies. Klingon ships can be adjusted to compensate — meaning the Klingon fleet must take on the brunt of the combat duties. Gowron (Robert O’Reilly) shows up, gives Martok an award and then assumes command of military operations. Meanwhile, Sisko sends Kira, Odo and Garak to help Damar’s resistance effort. While they’re en route, Bashir discovers that Odo has the disease that’s infecting the rest of the Great Link. At Damar’s base, Kira’s group encounters resistance (see what I did there?) from the Cardies, but presses on. Back on the station, Bashir discovers that some medical records for Odo he received from Starfleet were faked, making him and O’Brien theorize that our old buddies at Section 31 were behind the cover-up — and likely the disease itself. Meanwhile, Odo displays the first signs of the disease.

Part two: Gowron is taking big gambles with the Klingon fleet — apparently to bolster his own personal glory — and Sisko backs Worf’s plan (without asking for details) to fix the situation. Meanwhile, Kira and Co.  continue to help Damar, eventually stealing a Jem’Hadar ship equipped with the Breen weapon, despite internal strife among Damar’s band and a deteriorating Odo. Martok refuses to challenge Gowron at Worf’s behest. Then, during a briefing with some nameless Klingons, Worf challenges Gowron’s plan to attack a well-defended Cardassian planet. The two start fighting, and Worf kills Gowron (!) and turns over control of the empire to Martok. Meanwhile, Bashir and O’Brien devise a plan to draw Section 31 to the station, by making them think that Bashir has figured out a cure to the disease.

Is Kira gonna have to choke a b***h?!
“Is Kira gonna have to choke a b***h?!”

Why it’s important

The advancement of Damar’s resistance cell and his development as a character are huge pieces. We’ll talk more about Damar below, though, as much of what happens with him is character-based.

Now, Worf killing Gowron is one of the bolder and bigger moves in any Star Trek series. The two had been friends or enemies dating back nearly a decade and the transfer of power (as done in a way only a Klingon could love) was huge. That Sisko would tacitly endorse Worf’s plan to kill the head of state of an allied empire is pretty freaking amazing. I know the idea is that the Federation is desperate and that Sisko doesn’t really KNOW what Worf’s planning. But still. Damn, Gina.

Some other developments in these two episodes  — including the Dukat/Winn storyline from part one — are really inconsequential in the big picture, or, at most, incremental. But the Section 31 plan to commit genocide on the Founders is pretty freaking huge. There’s some goofiness with the plan and how Bashir and O’Brien figure it out, as we’ll discuss.

Now hand me my pimp hat and pimp chalice.
“Now, hand me my pimp hat and pimp chalice.”

What doesn’t hold up

Let’s talk about how Bashir learns Odo is infected. It all starts when he requests some medical records from when Odo was scanned during his trip to Earth in “Homefront”. Why wouldn’t Bashir — who’s had access to Odo for seven years — have his own scans? There have been times when Odo was really sick and Bashir was trying to help him. Wasn’t he scanning Odo while he was treating him?

Speaking of which, why would the comparison scans matter? Remember that Odo was turned into a human as a punishment by the Founders back in “Broken Link” — a time Bashir was taking a TON of scans of Odo, BTW — and was left with virtually no Changeling stuff in his body. Then, in “The Begotten”, a dying baby Changeling merges with Odo, making Odo a Changeling again. In other words, would the scans taken before Odo lost his shapeshifting abilities be at all helpful? I know there’s the whole bit about “the drop and the ocean” or whatever when it comes to Changelings and the Great Link, but it doesn’t sound like Bashir wanted to study Changelings. He wants to study Odo specifically. And, if so, the scans from “Homefront” should be of no help to him.

Last thought on this point. It’s a little convenient that Bashir and O’Brien are so accurate in guessing that Section 31 was behind the disease. Their supposition certainly makes sense, but they operate on no real proof. What if, after all their sleuthing, someone else had been behind the disease?

Meanwhile, there are a lot of weird little things in these two episodes.

— Kira’s education of Damar’s dudes seems extremely basic, considering that most of the Cardassians should have known how a resistance works based on the recent war with the Bajorans. Shouldn’t they have known how autonomous cells operate and why?

— Speaking of Damar’s resistance, does it seem strange to anyone else that he, Kira, Odo, Garak and Rosot (John Vickery) all go on the mission to steal the Jem’Hadar ship? That would be like George Washington taking his four top advisers to steal a British naval vessel. It’s more likely that some underlings would have been assigned to do it. We’ve talked about this issue before with DS9, though.

— Martok mentions, early in part one, that 1,500 Klingon ships will start raiding Dominion targets, and it’s then said that they’ll be outnumbered 20 to 1. Considering that no reinforcements have come from the Gamma Quadrant — and that the loss of 2,800 Dominion ships in “Sacrifice of Angels” was a big deal — how do the Dominion and the Breen have 30,000 ships? If the Breen, on their own are so formidable, why haven’t they done something on their own, previously? No, this is another example of DS9’s creators amping up the stakes unnecessarily. Why not simply say 10 to 1, or even 5 to 1?

— Gowron is too stupid for words in these two episodes. It’s a shame, because the end result is interesting — but making Gowron look like a total moron wasn’t necessary.

Can you tell me if it was a Section between 30 and 32 that did it?
“Can you tell me if it was a section between 30 and 32 that did it?”

Final thoughts

The Dukat/Winn stuff, in which Dukat goes blind because he reads the forbidden Bajoran texts, was just filler. The Damar/Kira story is probably the strongest of the arc at this point, even if it’s more character-centric, as Damar is making huge leaps as a character. His decision to kill Rosot (in a great scene on the captured Jem’Hadar ship) was a huge indicator of where he believes he needs to take Cardassia. Kira calling Damar out about killing innocents in an earlier scene was wonderful — and Garak telling Kira that she was right to say it was a brilliant decision by the creators. For all three characters, we see just how far they’ve come.

Coming next week …

One of the strangest episodes of DS9, as Bashir and O’Brien have their last buddy episode — INSIDE SOMEONE’S MIND?

“Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”

It's not Section 31 protocol to watch people sleep... that's just something I like.
It’s not Section 31 protocol to watch people sleep… that’s just something I like.

Bashir readies to attend a conference on Romulus, when our buddy Sloan (William Sadler) from “Inquisition” shows up with an assignment to have Bashir gather intel. Sisko (after conferring with Admiral Ross) tells Bashir to play along to try to expose Sloan’s Section 31. What follows is a twist-heavy episode that’s rather hard to explain succinctly, but it turns out Sloan was working with Ross to protect a Starfleet operative within the Romulan ranks and get him promoted in the process. Senator Creetak (Adrienne Barbeau) whom we met (played by a different actor) back in “Image in the Sand” and is now buddy-buddy with the DS9ers (hmmmm) must be sacrificed in the process, and Ross’s willingness to work with Section 31 shows how much Starfleet has been rattled by the war. Sloan, made to look killed during the charade on Romulus, appears at the end of the episode, thanking a defeated Bashir in his quarters.

Why it’s important

Any thought that Section 31 was less than it was made out to be in “Inquisition” is pushed aside here. Sloan is able to get to one of Starfleet’s top admirals in Ross and can get himself on a delegation to Romulus. Thematically, this is another example of the DS9 creators not F-ing around.

Meanwhile, the Federation-Romulan alliance continues after this episode. Whether that was a result of Sloan’s master plan, it’s important in the eventual end to the war with the Dominion.

Major Kira, you may remember me from such showdowns as "Plasma Torpedos on Derna"
Major Kira, you may remember me from such showdowns as “Plasma Torpedos on Derna”

What doesn’t hold up

Sloan’s plan is rather crazy. I suppose it makes sense, to a point — he relied on Bashir’s goodness and lack of options to rope in Creetak, thus making Koval (John Fleck) look better in the eyes of the Romulans. But what if Creetak hadn’t agreed to commit treason? Or, what if she hadn’t been caught? Beyond that, wouldn’t Ross need to really be sure of the plan in order to participate — and given the craziness of the plan, wouldn’t he have backed out?

Oh, and as mentioned in a previous review, it’s odd that Creetak and the DS9 crew are cool in this episode — Bashir almost thinks of her as an ally — given her shenanigans earlier in the season. Considering that a different actor plays Creetak this time around, it’s too bad the creators didn’t just make her a new character. The new character could have replaced Creetak and established herself as more trustworthy. I guess Bashir didn’t read Kira’s reports from the whole blockade thing in “Shadows and Symbols”?

Now that we're all friends I imagine nothing bad will ever happen to me.
Now that we’re all friends I imagine nothing bad will ever happen to me.

Final thoughts

This is probably DS9’s most Ronald D. Moore episode, which is amazing in that it doesn’t involve the Klingons. It’s well-written … if you accept a few conceits, like the ones mentioned above about Sloan’s plan. The initial scene between Sloan and Bashir in Bashir’s quarters, in which Sloan outlines what will happen when the war ends and Bashir reacts in disgust, is priceless. Also, this episode has some great callbacks to TOS — Sloan’s use of the “UFP” abbreviation, Bashir using the term “Romulan Star Empire”, which hadn’t been used as far as I can remember in dialog since “Balance of Terror” — that are both vintage RDM.

It’s also nice that Moore gave Ross something interesting to do in a way that also keeps Sisko’s hands clean. Barry Jenner had played the role in a rather dull way for more than a year, but this episode gives him something to do for once. It’s also kinda cool that the episode is largely set on an Intrepid-class vessel (which takes the Federation delegation to Romulus) allowing us to see another ship like Voyager. I know it was likely done to save money, but it was cool. I often wondered why we never saw Intrepid-class ships (or Sovereign-class ships, like the Enterprise-E) in any battles with the Dominion.

Coming later this week …

DS9’s home stretch begins.


I'm Colonel Stuar... I mean Luther Sloa...
“I’m Colonel Stuar… I mean Luther Sloan.”

Starfleet Internal Affairs shows up on the station and appears to have Bashir in its sights. Director Sloan (William Sadler) starts asking about some questionable items in Bashir’s past and says he believes Bashir is a Dominion agent — possibly a sleeper agent. After putting the good doctor through the wringer, Bashir is beamed away by Weyoun, who says Bashir has indeed been a sleeper agent. Bashir almost buys it, but realizes it’s all an elaborate ploy by Sloan. Sloan then deactivates his holodeck and tells Bashir that he actually works for Section 31, a secret agency created to ensure the Federation’s security that has no authorization from Starfleet or the Federation Council — but that has been around for 200 years. After trying to recruit Bashir, he eventually lets him go and Bashir reports everything to Sisko. But Sisko’s inquiries about Sloan and Section 31 don’t go anywhere, and the episode ends with the idea Starfleet and the Federation are OK letting Sloan do his thing and that the Federation is not as morally pristine as we’ve been led to believe.

Why it’s important

Well, apparently, the Federation’s been propped up at least in part by a rogue organization that answers to no one for like two centuries. So, there’s that. It’s interesting that the DS9 creators pulled absolutely no punches on this one. They could have underplayed Section 31’s importance  — the episode could have ended with Sisko saying he thought Sloan’s claims were exaggerated or something — but they went for broke.

And, of course, we’ll soon learn how important Section 31 is. They play a major, major role in events that lead to the end of the Dominion War.

Weak eyes... but a fabulous talent for cooking!
“Weak eyes… but a fabulous talent for cooking!”

What doesn’t hold up

From a logic/production standpoint, this episode really doesn’t have a lot of small flaws. It’s a complex drama that works — and if you’re willing to swallow the big conceit (that a rogue organization has been part of the Federation for two centuries) then it’s great. For me, I’m torn, so even though I don’t think what I’m about to say is an indication that the episode doesn’t hold up, it makes the most sense to share my thoughts here.

This episode, in many ways, undermines a lot of what we had seen in Star Trek for the previous 30 years — particularly what had been established in the early days of TNG when humanity’s evolution was really a major emphasis. If you think back to the first couple seasons of TNG, one of the defining characteristics — other than the jumpsuits — was the talk of humanity being above a lot of things, including the kind of treachery it saw from the Ferengi and the Romulans. One wonders what Picard or Riker in, say, 2365, would have thought of Section 31. That the organization existed and had such pull for so long makes early TNG look naive and silly (not that that’s a tall order).

Of course, late TNG was starting to embrace shades of grey (not “Shades of Gray”, as that should never be embraced) with stories about the Maquis, among other topics. But DS9 ramped things up — and did so in two very consequential weeks starting with “Inquisition”. And just wait until we get to reviewing the next episode.

Don't bother looking in the Starfleet budget for these amazing leather shirts...
Don’t bother looking in the Starfleet budget for these amazing leather shirts…

Final thoughts

Interestingly, Section 31 is one of DS9’s most enduring additions to the Trek universe. It shows up on “Star Trek: Enterprise” and is even mentioned in “Star Trek Into Darkness”. That JJ Abrams would choose to bring back that element from second-generation Trek is noteworthy. It shows just how compelling Section 31 is a concept and how the Star Trek creators likely struggled to find drama in a fictional era that was supposed to be relatively conflict free among humans.

Oh, and this episode has perhaps DS9’s greatest meta moment. One of DS9’s absolute worst logical gaffes was the ridiculous idea that the Dominion would have left Worf and Garak’s runabout parked near the prison camp where Worf and Garak were sent (and where Bashir and Martok had been held) back in “In Purgatory’s Shadow and “By Inferno’s Light”. Of course, if the Dominion hadn’t done that, our heroes wouldn’t have escaped.

So, what do the DS9 creators do? They USE that gaffe as one of Sloan’s justifications for believing Bashir was working for the Dominion. Priceless.

Coming next week …

If you thought “Inquisition” rocked Trek to its core, well, hold onto your butts.

“Blaze of Glory”

Still obsessed with Les Miserables after his capture in “For The Uniform”, Eddington plans his all-star cast and Hollywood treatment from inside the brig

Sisko gets some intel that the last remnants of the Maquis — most of whom were wiped out when Cardassia joined the Dominion — plan to launch some missiles with cloaking devices (acquired from the Klingons) at Cardassian targets that would likely start a war. Sisko enlists the help of our old buddy Eddington (Kenneth Marshall) who’s been imprisoned since Sisko caught him a few months back. Eddington blames Sisko for what happened to the Maquis, but reluctantly takes him to a planet in the Badlands. Turns out the Jem’Hadar beat them there and have the last of the Maquis, including Eddington’s wife Rebecca (Gretchen German) imprisoned there ready to transport back to Cardassia. There never actually were any missiles, as it was a plan put into place by Eddington before he was arrested. Sisko gets the Maquis members out while Eddington stays behind and dies to save them.

Why it’s important

This episode was right on the bubble, but we reviewed it for two reasons. It essentially ended the Maquis, despite the Chakotay-led group on Voyager that’s unaware of the Dominion and all other goings-on in the Alpha Quadrant. And it also is very emblematic of the very strong run up to the end of the fifth season, in which the threat of a war with the Dominion is more real than ever before.

The back and forth between Eddington and Sisko on the runabout — in which its explained that the instability brought on by the Maquis was partly why the Cardassians turned to the Dominion — put this episode over the edge and made it tapestry worthy.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, I think he even kind of looks like me!

What doesn’t hold up

Eddington’s plan is, shall we say, ridiculous. Apparently, before he was captured, Eddington told the Maquis that, at some point, they should send a message directed at his first name (Michael) that they plan to fire missiles at Cardassia. The idea being that doing so would prompt someone to get Eddington out of jail and take him to the alleged “missile site” where he could save the remaining Maquis. And it turned out to be enough for Sisko, who knew Eddington well, to take the bait.

But what if Sisko had been otherwise occupied — or what if the Klingons hadn’t decided to share the message they intercepted and shared the knowledge that they provided the Maquis with cloaking devices? Remember that when Eddington was imprisoned, the Federation and the Klingons weren’t allies. Or, hell, what if Sisko had decided he couldn’t trust Eddington enough to enlist his help?

“Is it that the loaf of bread I stole for supper?” “I punched Q in his face, if you don’t stop it with this Les Miz thing…”

Final thoughts

Logical goofiness aside, this episode is a favorite of mine. The banter between Eddington and Sisko is strong, better than the uneven showing in “For the Uniform”, the episode in which Eddington was captured. Part of that is the stronger showing here by Avery Brooks but also the angrier Eddington we see.

Not that it’s a flaw, but it is too bad that we never see Rebecca or the handful of Maquis again or even learn what happened to them. My guess is they were imprisoned, but that’s not made clear. There’s a line in Voyager about the former Alpha Quadrant Maquis being in prison, FWIW.

Coming next week …

War! Huh! Good god, y’all. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

“For the Cause”

“F*ck you, f*ck you, f*ck you, you’re cool , f*ck you– I’m out.”

The Federation is sending a bunch of heavy-duty replicators to Cardassia to help rebuild the battered empire following the Klingon invasion. Eddington is leading the efforts and he and Odo tell Sisko that they suspect that his new main squeeze, Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) is smuggling goods to the Maquis on her freighter — something they confirm by following her ship to the Badlands in a cloaked Defiant. They plan to arrest her and the Maquis on their next trip — a big part of the episode is Sisko not wanting to arrest her — but the Defiant lies in wait as Kasidy’s ship waits for hours for a rendezvous. It turns out the whole thing with Kasidy was a ploy by the Maquis, specifically Eddington, who has defected(!),to get Sisko and most of the senior staff off the station to steal the replicators. Sisko leaves Kasidy’s ship behind to try to catch Eddington, but he’s too late. Eddington contacts Sisko and gives him a blistering speech about his reasoning, and Sisko vows to hunt down Eddington, even if it takes the rest of his career. Kasidy returns to the station to face the music and tells Sisko she’ll return to him after some time in prison.

Why it’s important

This is another example of the creators showing Cardassia in really bad shape following the Klingon invasion. That’s important considering where the Cardies turn for help in season five.

It also shows the expanding grasp of the Maquis, who had largely been forgotten about in season four (probably because the Klingons were taking so much focus). Eddington’s defection isn’t a galaxy-shaking domino, though we learn later that the Maquis scored their biggest victories under his leadership (at least, that’s what he says).

In a bigger picture way, this is a good example of why DS9 was a compelling show. On TNG or Voyager, it’s very likely we never would have heard of Eddington again. But we see two more episodes involving him, one of which is a personal favorite of mine — and both are pretty significant moments in the DS9 tapestry.

“Don’t worry, Ben. I’ll be back. And then I’ll disappear for a while and then I’ll be back and be really important to you.”

What doesn’t hold up

I’ve always wondered where the hell Dax was at the end of this episode. It’s true that Sisko, O’Brien, Worf and Odo are on the Defiant while Eddington does his thing — and, of course, he stuns Kira. But Dax was fourth in command and must have been in the holosuite or eating steamed azna while Eddington stole the replicators.

Speaking of Eddington’s plan, it all comes together a little too well, doesn’t it? That he was able to so cunningly get Sisko, Odo, Worf and O’Brien off the station — and stun Kira — was pretty incredible. And, really, it’s disappointing to think that the junior officers would be dumb enough (and that Eddington would know they would be dumb enough) to go along with everything he did.

Beyond that, how did Sisko — yet again — justify using the Defiant’s cloaking device in the Alpha Quadrant? This was expressly forbidden from what we learned in “The Search”, but Sisko pretty much ignores that rule whenever he thinks it’s appropriate. Hmmm.

“I’m looking forward to playing this character for many years.”

Final thoughts

While Kasidy Yates vacillates between being an important character (like in this episode) to being not important (like when she only appears once in the sixth season) to being important again (like when she shows up for most of the last leg of the final season). We haven’t had a real chance to dive into the character, though she did show up in “The Way of the Warrior”.

Oh, and I suppose you COULD argue that Garak’s new relationship with Ziyal — a rather weak subplot — is somewhat significant given later events. Still, Ziyal’s later importance has more to do with her father Gul Dukat than with Garak. Also, it’s odd that another actor plays Ziyal here, and that another one will play her when we see her again. This was DS9’s weirdest casting issue, BTW.

This episode is probably best remembered for Eddington’s f-you speech to Sisko. It’s well-acted and well-written — and the idea that the Federation is “insidious” is a good theme of DS9. But why did Eddington get to this place with his assessment of the Federation? We never see any motivation for it, as he’s always been a fairly by-the-book dude. It’s too bad the creators didn’t try to sew up on of their goofiest misfires of season four and give Eddington some motivation at the same time. Put on your fan-fiction glasses for a second …

Hilariously, Eddington (Starfleet head of security on DS9) is nowhere to be seen when the Klingons attack. Hell, he’s not even mentioned! The creators should have used this as an opportunity to explain where Eddington was at that point. With just a few lines of dialog, they could have established that he was on a mission and witnessed the Maquis hit in the crossfire during the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. Remember, Sisko did everything he could to save the heads of the Cardassian government, but didn’t (apparently) let the Maquis know the Klingons were coming. That could have easily enraged Eddington into defecting.

Coming next week …

Here come the judge, here come the judge for Odo.