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DS9 1-03

DS9 1x03
"Past Prologue"

Original airdate: 1/10/1993
Rewatch date: 5/30/2013


The station is visited by a Bajoran terrorist seeking asylum, followed shortly thereafter by the Duras sisters. Kira is forced to make a difficult choice, while Dr. Bashir is introduced to the enigmatic Garak.

Spoiler-free notes:

It's a wise choice to start the second episode from Dr. Bashir's point of view, since he is the most underdeveloped main character in "Emissary." Still, the naïve enthusiasm thing is already starting to get a little overplayed.

There are some interesting motifs going on here. Tahna Los is claiming he wants asylum because he is tired of punishing the Cardassians, but the Cardassians want Tahna because somebody "has to pay" for his crimes. Sisko pleads Federation neutrality in the matter, offering Tahna Los provisional asylum. Meanwhile, Odo wants to lock up Lursa and B'Etor and hand them over to the Klingons for the crimes they committed during the Klingon Civil War, but Sisko tells him that it's not their place to intervene unless Lursa and B'Etor break laws on Deep Space Nine. This is an episode about the politics of law and order in a place where the balance of power is uncertain.

Why does Odo relent as soon as Lursa and B'Etor hand over a single weapon each? Does he know nothing about Klingons?

Garak: "Everything is negotiable." This line defines him quite well.

You have to wonder if that explosion on the other side of the wormhole gets anyone's attention...

This story starts relatively strong as a meditation on trust and loyalty, but once Tahna Los reveals himself to Kira as a villain, a lot of the moral ambiguity goes right out the window. Kira's hand-wringing seems pointless and stupid, for example, once Tahna shows that he is willing to hurt thousands of Bajorans just to make a political statement. He goes from potentially relatable to cartoonishly evil, and that kinda detracts from what the episode is trying to do. Still, I love the stuff with Garak and the Duras sisters, which makes up for a lot of the episode's weaknesses.



Spoiler section:

I am so happy to meet Garak. He is, in my not-terribly-humble opinion, the most interesting and well-written character in all of Star Trek.





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