Saturday, November 17, 2012

4-14. Return to Grace.

Kira and Gul Dukat, reluctant allies.


Kira has agreed to go to the Cardassian outpost Korma to attend a Bajoran/Cardassian conference about the Klingon threat. She is startled to find that her escort is none other than Gul Dukat. Dukat was disgraced and demoted with the exposure of his half-Bajoran daughter, Ziyal (Cyia Batten). He now commands a lowly freighter, with no realistic prospect of anything better to come.

Dukat's ship reaches Korma without incident. But the outpost is a lifeless shell, both Cardassians and Bajorans wiped out by a Klingon attack. One Klingon vessel is still in the area - but it ignores the freighter, as the vessel is no threat to it and there is no honor in destroying it.

It's a dismissal that Kira and Dukat are determined to punish. But first Kira will have to teach the stubborn career military man a few things about fighting effectively against a stronger enemy...


Capt. Sisko: Barely present, though his reaction to Gul Dukat's arrival at Deep Space 9 is amusing.

Major Kira: She tells Ziyal that she can never forgive Dukat for his actions during the Occupation. Even if he regrets those deeds now, something Kira isn't particularly convinced of, she cannot forget how many innocents died at his hands or on his orders. She can put it to the side when they work together, as long as they are focused on the work. She even seems to enjoy having someone with a similar ability to solve problems on hand to push her to solutions that much faster. But then he'll say something to remind her of the Occupation, and she sees the devil who tormented her people once more. She does recognize that Dukat's love for Ziyal is real, however, and she respects that and his loyaey lty to his people. They will never be friends, but they are something other than enemies at this point.

Gul Dukat: "Everything I have lost, I will regain. It is only a matter of time." Dukat continues to be arguably the show's most compelling character (him or Garak - I go back and forth). On the one hand, he is genuine in his love for his daughter and in his loyalty to his people. He is also fierce in his ambitions, however. Having lost all his former influence, he sees all his actions against the Klingons through the prism of restoring his own lost glory. In quiet moments, he reflects on ways he might revenge himself on rival Cardassians - That is, when he isn't pursuing his futile (and more than slightly creepy) attempts to charm Kira. Much like a scorpion, his nature is such that Kira is right not to trust him, not even when he's an ally.


The season's second Kira/Dukat episode directy follows up on Indiscretion, showing that Kira's intervention did have consequences. Everything Dukat feared when he decided to kill Ziyal is borne out in the wake of his choice to spare her. This kind of use of continuity is one of the key elements that distinguishes DS9, for me, from its other Trek contemporaries.

This is a better episode than Indiscretion. Though I enjoyed that episode, Kira was allowed to get too comfortable with Dukat, apparently forgetting all about their past in the middle part of the show. This episode is much stronger in balancing their current alliance against their bitter past, a past which is constantly present. This brings an extra level to their interactions, by keeping Kira uncomfortable even as she assists him in achieving his goals. That Dukat is right about them being a good team is evident, and it's equally clear that Kira hates how right he is about that. 

The tension with the Klingons was established in The Way of the Warrior, but has since been relegated to a largely static background element. This episode advances the conflict, showing that the Klingons are continuing to intrude on Cardassian space in a highly coordinated way. We don't know where this is going yet, but the events of this episode and the choice Dukat makes at the episode's end seem to indicate it will be going somewhere.

A good episode, with excellent character interplay between Kira and Dukat and some real tension. Season Four continues to show DS9 at its best.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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