Sunday, April 18, 2010

Deep Space Nine--"Indiscretion"

“Indiscretion” is an homage to the John Wayne classic The Searchers written by Purple heart winning Vietnam veteran Nicholas Corea. One cannot ask for a better combination than that.

In The Searchers, John Wayne plays an aging civil War veteran who spends years looking for his kidnapped by Indians niece. As the search continues, his motives for trying to find her become more dubious. If you require a Trek connection, Wayne is joined by Christopher Pike himself, Jeffery Hunter. I am certain you have seen it, but if not, it is one of joh ford’s best westerns.

The plot to “Indiscretion” puts Dukat more or less in John Wayne’s role. No pressure there. Dukat invites himself along on a search and rescue mission organized by kira when she discovers the possibility a prison ship carrying Bajorans that went missing six ears ago may have been found. She has a old friend onboard. Gukat claims an interest because, as head of the occupation forces, those were his men.

The reality is quite different. Dukat had a Bajoran woman he loved onboard with whom he was in love. He had planed for her to rendezvous with a freighter to carry her to safety, but the ship disappeared. He and Kira find the wreckage as advertised, as well as a dozen graves. Dukat’s love is in one of them.

I have to talk about the relationship between Kira and Dukat up until this point. She obviously hates him. He is Hitler as far as she is concerned. But she has to go along with their temporary alliance because Bajor and Cardassia areat peace even if she and Dukat are not. What is funny is that Dukat is still carrying on as he did in “Civil Defense”--still hoping he had Kira might be open to romance. Honestly, I do not see it as solely a physical thing, either. He genuinely admires her as a person. Kira hardly warms up to him at all beyond a natural sympathy for his mourning over his dead loves grave.

But when the next scene is a Three Stooges reenactment like this, the mood is totally destroyed: I suppose the over the top, Dukat as Moe Howard comic relief is necessary considering the episode’s twist. Dukat’s love was traveling with a fifteen year old half-Cardassian girl who turns out to be ducat’s illegitimate daughter. He plans to find and kill her in order to protect his reputation and legitiate family. Ironic, considering one of the early Cardassian episodes of DS9 featured Dukat using a war orphan to embarrass a political rival. You reap what you sow, Dukat.

Kira vows she will not let him kill his daughter if they find her, which they do, working as a slave in a Breen mining operation. (This is the first we see of the Breen, unless you caught Princess Leia’s Boush disguise in Return of the JedI. I believe that is a sensitive subject for more partisan Trekkies…) his daughter, Tora Ziyal, is thrilled to see him. He has an unexpected chanre of heart and decides he has to take her home with him and just suffer the consequences of his affair. For the record, kira’s friend died some years prior.

I another case of the B-story being more of a hindrance than a complement, Sisko says the wrong thig to Cassidy when she decides to take a job on Bajor and live on the station. So he winds up in the doghouse until he apologizes. Run of the mill sitcoms require more substance than that.

Regardless of the anemic Sisko subplot, “Indiscretion” is a great episode. Dukat is at his best during the middle seasons when he is in transition from a mustache twirling villain to a more morally ambiguous character before becoming the megalomaniac he will end up as. I like the lament he has at never connecting with Kira, as either friends or lovers. It is one of those cruel twists of fate they can never see eye to eye. The tension between the two is highly amusing.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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