Star Trek DS9 - Season 1 - Episode 19
0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Aside from being one of the best episodes of DS9 in general, this episode is also foreshadowing for the future nuanced, morally ambiguous texture of DS9's overarching story and the ending is a profound moment in the life of Kira's character; beginning her true in-earnest transition from partisan freedom fighter to her eventual significant role in healing the wounds between her people and Cardassia.
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of DS9 Award."
- Kira: "If your lies are going to be this transparent, it's going to be a very short interrogation." Marritza: "Well in that case I'll try to make my lies more opaque."
- Marritza: "Gul Darhe'el himself called my computer filing system a masterpiece of meticulous exactitude."
- Dukat: "This Bajoran obsession with alleged Cardassian improprieties during the occupation is really quite distasteful." Sisko: "I suppose if you're Bajoran, so is the occupation."
- Kira wanting Marritza to be something worse so the punishment can mean more to her.
- "Gul Darhe'el" reminiscing fondly about his accomplishments. Gloating about the horrors he inflicted.
- Odo breaking into Quark's private stock to give Kira a free drink!
- Kira: "Nothing justifies genocide." Gul Darhe'el: "What you call genocide I call a day's work."
- Marritza's breakdown in the end.
- Marritza murdered.
This is the best episode so far, superbly acted all across. A truly deeply affected Cardassian, Marritza, feels a profound sadness for what his people did to the Bajorans during the occupation. He served in the Cardassian military, and therefore feels responsible. He never played a major role in the atrocities though, so he pretends to be Gul Darhe'el, the butcher of Gallitep, so that he can let the Bajorans exact satisfying revenge on him. That way he gets personal redemption and in his mind an honorable death and the Bajorans get the satisfaction of putting to death one of their greatest enemies. He's not Darhe'el though, and Kira is forced to toss aside her personal hate and her racism to stop this man from committing suicide for something that really isn't his fault. In the end, the profoundly tragic character is killed by a Bajoran man who represents the person Kira used to be only the day before. There are elements of this story that are contrived, most especially the lack of security at the end setting up Marritza for an easy ambush, but the episode is still a fantastic example of this show at its best.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Pete Miller on 2006-07-22 at 1:12am:
"He was cardassian. That's reason enough."
A line that certainly is a microcosm of the current conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Eventually the killing goes on for so long that both sides don't even know why they do it, except that the other side is their adversary.
- From JTL on 2008-08-03 at 7:35pm:
A supremely touching episode; when Marritza breaks down at the end there I don't think I've ever felt such sympathy for a character in a television series. The only reason I wouldn't normally give this episode a 10 is because Marritza's death is (while perhaps necessary) very rushed and, as you said, too easy. However this was much too moving as to not get a 10.
- From Thorsten Wieking on 2008-09-02 at 8:54am:
What struck me while watching the first season a second time in this episode and episode "Dax" is the fact that obviously there is still the death penalty imposed on Worlds belonging to or becoming a member of the Federation. I for one thought that this punishment has been abolished at least in the future UFP.
- From Bernard on 2010-01-11 at 7:16pm:
Beautifully constructed episode, brilliantly performed.
Seriously though, it seems like they saved the best stuff for the last two episodes. You have to wonder what was going on for most of the season when they can produce this standard of episode that rivals anything TNG could do for emotional impact and profound messages.
- From MJ on 2011-02-09 at 4:39pm:
This ranks as one of my favorite DS9 episodes of all time.
It's brilliance has already been pointed out by the other reviews here. My only other thought is that I can't think of a single other TV series in science-fiction or elsewhere that produced such a stunningly and powerfully dramatic episode in its first season. I must admit, when I first watched DS9, I was not prepared for this episode based on what I'd seen. And Moritza's breakdown loses absolutely none of its power with repeated viewing, the sign of a truly great episode.
Even TNG, which I still tend to like better, did not produce such a moving episode until its second season (Measure of a Man). Pure brilliance...
- From John on 2011-12-06 at 10:49pm:
While the rest of the characters are well utilized, particularly the brilliantly-written Marritza, the weak link (as usual) is Kira. No surprise there, as she is one of the most irritating and one-dimensional characters in the entire Star Trek canon. Her constantly over-dramatic indignation gets very tired very quickly, and detracts from an otherwise gripping episode.