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Star Trek DS9 - Season 3 - Episode 09

Star Trek DS9 - 3x09 - Defiant

Originally Aired: 1994-11-21

Wil Riker's renegade duplicate steals the Defiant and attacks Cardassian territory, forcing Sisko to assist Gul Dukat in stopping him. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.95

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Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode resolves the loose thread of the ultimate direction for the character of Thomas Riker at the end of TNG: Second Chances. It also explains why the Defiant didn't use its cloaking device in Cardassian territory during DS9: Second Skin. Finally, it also provides a crucial piece of setup for the kick-ass Dominion conflict later this season.

- There was no mention of the destruction of the Enterprise in this episode. They really should have taken care of that nitpick, or aired this episode before Star Trek VII: Generations.
- Why is Kira on duty in the scenes just after Bashir relieved her?

- Dukat claims the Central Command and the Obsidian Order's adversarial relationship with one another has (somehow) maintained stability in the Cardassian government for five centuries.

Remarkable Scenes
- Kira getting pissed at everybody.
- Riker stealing the Defiant!
- Sisko and Odo telling Dukat the story of Thomas Riker.
- Sisko's visit to Cardassia Prime. I love how Dukat makes a fool of himself.
- Riker: "Tough little ship."
- Dukat and Sisko discussing their sons.
- Kira chewing out Riker, telling him he's bad at terrorism.
- The Defiant battling Cardassian ships!
- Kira convincing Riker to surrender.

My Review
Another very nicely done episode in which Dukat is an ally. A very exciting episode at that. The idea to bring back Thomas Riker was certainly interesting, but I have misgivings about how it was done. The whole episode was basically an excuse to get rid of Thomas Riker's character, but when Kira promised to free him from Cardassian prison at the end it kind of obligated the writers to revisit his character at some later point in the future which I doubt will ever occur. Watching the Defiant strut her stuff, kicking the crap out of Cardassians was a lot of fun indeed, and watching Sisko on Cardassia Prime was excellent drama as well. Even though very flawed, I still think the story was nicely woven together.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-06-22 at 4:11pm:
    I think your review was much too nitpicky. I mean, who really cares about the uniforms? It's Jonathan Frakes. He doesn't wear ds9 uniforms! ;) And all that with the airing schedule.... honestly who cares again. Most people watch these out of sequence with the movies anyway.

    I think it was absolutely AWESOME continuity to bring back Riker's double and not just abandon that interesting plot line from TNG. The whole Cardassia Prime thing was really cool, too. The only problem I had was not getting to see all the Defiant's information on the shipyard being discussed at the end. Wonderful episode, and great way to bring in Jonathan Frakes!
  • From omex@omex on 2011-09-10 at 9:01pm:
    I thought the politics in this episode were portrayed very well. I don't have first hand experience, but I understand that the final resolution is very realistic. This is how things get done in both international and domestic politics. There are multiple interests involved, there's duplicity, there's inter-agency secrecy and strife (like the Obsidian Order's secret machinations in the Orion Sector), and conflicts are resolved through bargaining, with a special role for the fall guy, or the sacrificial lamb (Tom Riker).

    I love how Dukat is set in opposition to the Obsidian Order, which is encroaching on his authority. Also love how in the end, even though he wants the information from the Defiant, he recognizes that, "Someone has to pay for the damage that's been done, and I don't want that someone to be me." Again, the politics are great.

    Probs: I'm not sure I'm crazy about how Kira was portrayed in this episode. It seems like she should've been a little more sympathetic to Riker given her history. I mean, she's certainly been very sympathetic to the Maquis in previous episodes, so she seems just a little out of character.
  • From Wes on 2012-12-10 at 2:59pm:
    Memory-alpha says: "Although this episode was screened three days after the release of Star Trek Generations, the stardates indicate that it takes place shortly before. This makes sense, as Riker and Sisko's conversation would seem to indicate the Enterprise is still active."
  • From AW on 2015-12-04 at 2:32am:
    Another great RDM episode.
  • From Zorak on 2016-05-15 at 11:22am:
    Of all the time's I've ever had to suspend my disbelief at something in Star Trek, the thing Tom Riker does once he makes off with the Defiant might be the hardest to accept. I'm talking about him ripping off his false sideburns. Are you telling me that he loved his goatee look so much that he was willing to risk this super important Defiant heist by wearing a disguise instead of simply growing out his beard a little for real and then shaving it later? That's completely insane.
  • From tigertooth on 2016-09-25 at 11:20pm:
    Good point, Zorak!

    As to the "problem" of Kira being back on duty, I believe that's because she took her mandated day off and presumably enjoyed at least two of the things Bashir ordered her to enjoy.

    I wish the Cardassia Prime set looked bigger. Or somehow different -- it looked too much like a starship bridge to me.

    Anyway, this was great. Tom Riker was fun, all the Dukat stuff was great, the various interplays between Cardassia-Starfleet, Central Command-Obsidian Order, Sisko-Dukat, Starfleet-Maquis, Kira's relationship to the Maquis... really well put together and executed.
  • From JB on 2020-07-17 at 6:02am:

    Riker said he was "passing through" DS9 on his way to Risa. Isn't DS9 on the outskirts of Federation space? Sloppy writing.
  • From Gaius Gracchus on 2021-08-15 at 10:47am:
    Great use of Frakes, and all episodes where Alaimo gets to play off Brooks as an ally of necessity are can't-miss.

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