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Star Trek DS9 - Season 2 - Episode 05

Star Trek DS9 - 2x05 - Cardassians

Originally Aired: 1993-10-24

Synopsis:
A young Cardassian, orphaned in the war and raised by Bajorans, causes turmoil on the station when his people attempt to reclaim him. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.99

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 43 2 0 4 7 16 25 27 28 11 6

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This episode establishes that Dukat and Garak are enemies. It also establishes Garak's remarkable computer skills. Finally, it's also the first episode to mention the station's original Cardassian name: Terok Nor.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes that the original Cardassian name for the station was Terok Nor.

Remarkable Scenes
- Garak to Bashir: "I'm no more a spy than you are--" Bashir: "A doctor?"
- Garak's hysterical reaction when Bashir mentions what Dukat said to Sisko.
- Bashir addressing Gul Dukat without permission.
- Bashir asking Sisko for a runabout. I love Sisko's sarcastic reaction, since he's been down this road before with Kira. "Will one be enough?"
- Garak's behavior at the Bajoran orphanage.
- Bashir to Garak: "You know how to fix computers?" I love Bashir's tone of astonishment regarding learning about one of "plain and simple" Garak's unusual talents.
- Bashir proving that Gul Dukat was manipulating events to his political advantage.

My Review
This is the second episode to feature a complex political plot involving Garak, a rare treasure. The episode is hardly exciting, but Garak's scenes certainly make up for any lack of interesting plot development. My favorite scenes are the ones where Bashir and Garak borrow a runabout to go to Bajor and then Garak's hilarious behavior at the orphanage. We learn a bit about Garak's relationship with Dukat in this episode, which is obviously strained. We don't learn why though, just that Garak really hates Dukat and that the feeling is most likely mutual. The thing that annoys me the most about this plot is how confused and ignorant the Cardassian boy was made to seem. It's as if he's too stupid to come to a rational decision. A decent, if a bit flawed an episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-11-26 at 11:27am:
    Gul Dukat and Garak are fantastic characters, both have a large role in this episode. The best part is where Keiko cooks Cardassian food. SO ackward -- since she does not know the kid hates the Cardassians.
  • From Bernard on 2010-04-05 at 4:17pm:
    Further to Orions comment, I love the moment when O'Brien and the boy push their respective plates away from each other.

    This episode shines a light briefly on O'Briens own prejudice, hats off for that, furthering his own development as such a small part of an episode.

    As usual Gul Dukat and Garak are a treat to watch. I would rate this episode slightly higher, 6 I think.
  • From omg@kthx on 2011-08-22 at 3:39pm:
    This episode was decent but vaguely unsatisfying. Perhaps a custody battle just doesn't make for very good Star Trek... a similar thing was attempted in TNG: Suddenly Human, and I think done much better there... at least in the TNG episode there were weird alien rituals, traumatic flashbacks, and more credible accusations of abuse... oh yeah, and Picard got stabbed in the chest...

    There just wasn't enough here to be really interesting... I guess Garak got his hand bitten, but that's not quite the same, is it?

    Speaking of Garak, as much as I like his character, and as much as I liked how he explained away his computer expertise as "dabbling... a hobby... like sowing on a button," I think this episode brought him too much into the spotlight. Bashir mentioning him to Dukat, Sisko calling him in to questioning, his attending the custody hearing at the end... I think it's too much limelight and detracts from the mysteriousness of his character.

    Garak was more compelling when he worked out of the shadows, spoke in pure riddles, and "sold suits" out of his tailor shop... when his role was to observe and facilitate the "back channels" of communication, as Sisko put it.

    So, I agree with the reviewer, decent but a bit flawed and unsatisfying. Probably a 5.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-19 at 3:04am:
    Obvious glaring problem: in every legal system in the Western world of which I am aware, a child this age has the right to decide which parent he / she wants to live with. This episode completely misses that point where TNG: Suddenly Human gets it perfectly. In that episode, Picard attempts to persuade Jeremiah Rosa to agree to come live with his human grandmother. Picard obviously knows that the child's choice will be decisive.

    This is of course absent any other compelling issues like abuse, or mental incompetence in the parent. The abuse issue was explored and disproven. The Bajoran father is obviously capable and loving. There is no compelling reason to violate the wishes of the child in this case.

    The end of this episode is terrible: The child is forced to go live with a parent He neither knows nor loves, and the rights of the adoptive parent are trampled upon. (What has he done wrong here, other than provide a loving home for the child?)

    In the end it is not the best interest of the child that prevails: It is the Cardassian father. And where has he been for all these years? did he make any effort to investigate, to determine if his child is still alive?

    A very cruel, irrational and unrealistic ending to an otherwise great episode.
  • From Mario on 2012-03-19 at 9:22pm:
    I did like this episode very much, much more than the average here. It has a lot of intriguing moral dilemmas in it and does not paint them black and white. But I really hated the ending: Forcing the child to leave his adoptive parents (the only one he knows) against his will is in my mind the absolute wrong moral decision and I guess I am not the only one who shares this view.
  • From Penguinphysics on 2013-01-15 at 10:09pm:
    Also, in terms of long term plot development, this is the first episode to refer to the station's original name: Terrok Nor

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