2.20: “The Maquis, Part 1”

I am in a dev bootcamp all week and so do not have the amount of free time to spend on writing these posts that I normally do, which is a shame, because WOW is there a lot going on here. Of course, the silver lining for y’all is that you are spared a good deal of my yelling about how horny Dukat is for Sisko.

Not all of it, though.

(HE IS SO HORNY FOR SISKO, GOOD LORD. The fandom has not traditionally acknowledged this and if changing that is my legacy, then so be it.)

Anyway.

“Since the Federation abandoned these colonies.”

The Maquis storyline is a really interesting one, in a lot of the same ways as the Cardassian dissident movement; among other things, each generally adds to the more messy (in a good way!) feeling of DS9’s worldbuilding — and the more serialized nature of its storytelling compared to previous Treks. As noted in “Profit and Loss”, I‌ would’ve liked to have seen a bit more of the dissident movement, and the same goes for the Maquis (though I‌ feel like we do actually get a bit more of them in general, not only in DS9 but in TNG‌ and Voyager, than of the dissident movement). But even occasional mentions really add to the flavor of the world, I‌ think — they’re reminders that wars don’t generally end neatly or quickly, and, further, that cultures aren’t monoliths, that diplomacy and politics aren’t one-size-fits-all.

The shakiness of the Federation’s peace with the Cardassians is established with the introduction of the Cardassians themselves back in TNG’s “The Wounded”, and there have been occasional hints of it in DS9 before now, but this is the first time they’ve really dug deeply into Cardassian-Federation tensions — the focus has previously been on Bajoran-Cardassian or Bajoran-Federation tensions.

“Don’t go spouting off your Federation fair play dogma.”

Y’all, I‌ have a favorite villain type, and some of that type’s defining features are:

  • affable, if not downright charming
  • completely and utterly convinced that they are, in fact, the hero of the piece
  • obsessed with and possibly horny for the actual hero

As with many other tropes and character types I love, the formative age at which I watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine probably explains a great deal. I‌ love that Dukat is pretty terrible in every possible way, from extreme (war crimes) to more mundane (infidelity), and yet also truly believes that he is a good guy. (See: the way he is genuinely appalled when he realizes Sisko thinks he’s done something to Jake, which is simultaneously really funny to me, and also really revealing.)

I’ve mentioned previously how interesting I’ve found the subtle ways the show sets up Sisko and Dukat as two sides of a coin — from the very beginning, when Kira responds to Sisko’s protest that the Federation is there to help by pointing out that that’s exactly what the Cardassians said. Trek has been doing interesting things with the “we’re not so different, you and I” dynamic since the original series, but probably my favorite version of it is Sisko and Dukat. Later on, the show spends more time playing Kira and Dukat off of each other — which I‌ can’t complain too much about, really, because, while I’m eternally grateful they didn’t move forward with a planned romance arc for the characters, Alaimo and Visitor are pretty much always phenomenal together — but I really friggin’ adore the Sisko-Dukat dynamic.

Both Sisko and Dukat find themselves in similar positions here, trying to investigate something and discovering that there’s a lot more going on than they anticipated, and perhaps more than their respective governments appreciate, either. Even before the reveal at the end, Hudson complicates Sisko’s — and Starfleet’s — view of matters; Dukat is involving himself without the Central Command’s knowledge or permission, even finding himself disregarded by Cardassian ships — suggesting that either, like the Maquis, there are rogue Cardassian elements out in the DMZ, or that the Central Command hasn’t seen fit to tell him about its plans.

(The Cardassian ships ignoring Dukat’s direct orders is also hilarious, because I pretty much always enjoy times when Dukat is confronted by the possibility that he may not be as important as he believes he is.)

Meanwhile, station-side

Quark and Sakonna are a lot of fun together — Shimerman can do brilliant things opposite a good straight person, and Bertila Damas makes a great straight woman. I also like her costume — the silhouette and the brocade are a bit Romulan.

(That said, I did find it a bit difficult to believe that a Vulcan had never heard of the Rules of Acquisition. Especially one who’s part of an underground movement and has been involved in illicit arms deals — even if the Rules weren’t brought up during the course of her education, which seems unlikely, given Vulcans, it seems like she probably would have had dealings with Ferengi previously?)

Also, Kira’s confrontation with Sisko in his office is really striking, because it’s been a long time since they’ve had anything like it. They’ve come to trust each other, even like each other. I’ve talked before about how much I love the evolution of their relationship. They’ve disagreed on things, sure, but they haven’t locked horns the way they do here in a long time. It’s also rare for us to see Kira as genuinely upset as she is here — angry, sure, but there’s an edge to her voice, a rawness, that’s really unusual. Visitor plays the scene really wonderfully, making it clear how many of Kira’s emotional wounds are still only beginning to heal.

Horniness rankings

  1. Honestly, I‌ feel like I‌ almost need multiple items on this list for Dukat’s horniness for Sisko. Good lord, in their first scene together he’s like twelve seconds from pointedly reminding Sisko that they’ve technically shared a bed. (I‌ really hope Sisko at least replaced the mattress when he moved in.)
  2. Quark, for Sakonna, and you know what, I respect his hustle.
  3. Dax, for Captain Boday, apparently? Honestly, Dax is pretty horny in general. Good for her.
  4. Also, while I’ve never really been that into the Dax/Kira ship, the previous episode ending with lots of really intense, meaningful eye contact between them and then Kira asking Dax if she has dinner plans is, uh, kinda horny!

4 thoughts on “2.20: “The Maquis, Part 1”

  1. Dukat: Of all the humans I’ve met, you strike me as the most joyless and the least vulnerable.
    Sisko: I am when I’m with you.

    SO MUCH happening here. It’s a great combination of political thriller, meaty character drama, and humor. Although ultimately the Maquis as a plot force wouldn’t be around all that long, you can see how they’re building up to more ambitious storylines that create and sustain real and authentic conflicts for the characters. Sisko against Hudson is the most obvious example, but the episode is full of weird juxtapositions that play around with our expectations: Sisko and Dukat on a mission together; Quark making a weapons deal with a Vulcan (a Vulcan played by a Cuban actor! I never knew that until I looked it up for this comment); Kira and Sisko at odds with one another but not over Bajor, and with Sisko in the weaker and less certain position – a major contrast to their arguments in early episodes of first season. The episode offers new insights into Dukat in a way that clearly wants us to sympathize with him – we learn he has seven children (well, seven *acknowledged* children on Cardassia, anyway).

    If there’s a weak link in the episode, it’s probably Bernie Casey as Hudson; I think he phones the role in a bit and his reversal at the end struck me as pretty obvious. The story does take its time working up to the reveal, helping it feel a bit more earned. (Although for two episodes in a row, I find it bizarre that a character did not know Curzon Dax had died. Or maybe Cal knew he had died but did not know that the symbiant was now in Jadzia; I guess that’s a more plausible explanation.) If Hudson had had a few earlier appearances, if this theme had been built up a bit more, I would have bought the drama of the turn more. With Eddington later in the series, I fell harder for it, precisely for that reason.

    I also think this is one of the rare Star Trek 2-parters where splitting it into two episodes makes sense *and* the payoff episode is at least as good as the setup episode, if not better.

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