|Sisko suspects Kasidy of being a Maquis agent.|
With the Cardassians focused on rebuilding after the Klingon assault, the Maquis influence has been allowed to grow. With Starfleet rendering aid to Cardassia by sending a shipment of replicators to them, Commander Eddington (Kenneth Marshall) briefs Sisko on concerns that the Maquis will attempt to intercept the shipment. Sisko orders steps taken to secure the station while the replicators stop at Deep Space 9, but Eddington and Odo have one further worry. The possibility of a Maquis smuggler on Deep Space 9.
Their suspect is Sisko's lover, Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson). While all the evidence is circumstantial, it is significant - particularly when Kasidy denies familiarity with star systems Sisko knows she has visited. As the coincidences grow, so do Sisko's suspicions. Meanwhile, Garak begins showing an interest in Ziyal (Tracy Middendorf), Gul Dukat's half-Bajoran daughter... and being Garak, it seems likely that this interest has some ulterior motive.
Capt. Sisko: His first impulse is to deny Odo and Eddington any additional investigation of Kasidy. His sense of duty is too strong, however, and he gives them discretion to inspect her ship and to follow her in the cloaked Defiant. At every turn, he provides Kasidy with opportunities to escape. When she prepares to leave for a rendezvous that will almost certainly end in her arrest, Sisko meets her on the docking ring and begs her to just drop everything and run away with him to Risa. Brooks' performance has gone from strength to strength this season, and he is once again excellent here.
Eddington: As the man in charge of Starfleet-related security on the station, this episode allows him to emerge from the background. A notable scene occurs when he is accompanying the Defiant, following Kasidy as she makes her rendezvous. O'Brien and Worf argue their views of the Maquis: O'Brien sympathizes with their defense of their homes, while Worf views them as dishonorable for betraying their Starfleet oaths and turning to terrorism. Eddington refuses to give his opinion, stating that his place is just to follow orders: "I do my job... Starfleet says to find the Maquis, I'll find the Maquis. They tell me to help them, I'll help them. My opinion is irrelevant." In a more unguarded conversation with Sisko, he reveals some issues with Starfleet's refusal to simply allow the Maquis to leave the Federation, comparing the way the Federation expands to enfold new worlds to the assimilation of races by the Borg.
Garak: When Ziyal approaches him in his shop, he reacts with suspicion, worrying that the daughter of his sworn enemy may plan to kill him. Quark has some fun at his expense, a few well-placed observations leading Garak to second- and even third-guess his own instincts. Finally, he just directly confronts her about her motives... all the while concealing a weapon in case she turns out to be something other than just a lonely and innocent girl.
Kasidy Yates: After being prominently mentioned in The Muse, it's hardly a surprise that Kasidy is strongly featured in the very next episode. The character is a delight, as always. Penny Johnson is a strong actress who plays well opposite Avery Brooks. The strength of both actress and character keeps her from ever getting overwhelmed by Brooks or Sisko. In an episode in which these two strong-willed people, each of whom cares deeply about the other but also about their commitments, their scenes cannot help but resonate with emotion and tension.
I've commented before about how the emergence of The Dominion and the Klingon/Cardassian conflict has marginalized the development of Bajor. The Maquis strand, which was established in late Season Two, has also been pushed very much to the side by these other conflicts. I don't think the Maquis has been the central focus of an episode since Season Three's Defiant, and they've been only barely mentioned in Season Four.
For the Cause brings the Maquis back into focus, and does so in a way that's very personal for our regulars, Sisko in particular. By creating a situation in which Sisko suspects Kasidy, we once again see the Maquis strand putting Sisko at odds with someone he cares about: Cal Hudson in The Maquis, Kasidy here. That personal focus is even more effective here, because Kasidy is a character we already have come to know and because Penny Johnson's performance far outstrips Bernie Casey's wooden, "collect-the-paycheck" work of the earlier two-parter.
There are many good elements here. I appreciated Sisko's desperation to allow Kasidy an out. Even at the end, when he is finally convinced that she must be guilty, he gives her a chance to escape. "Kasidy Yates is my responsibility," he tells Odo, in a tone that brooks no argument. I was also glad to see the episode remember that the situation with the Maquis is a complex one. They are responding to injustices against them by the Cardassians, ones which Starfleet willfully ignored to preserve a treaty the other side was violating. These are not cardboard villains; the argument between O'Brien and Worf, and the later conversation between Sisko and Eddington, reminds the viewer just how messy the Maquis situation is.
With an ending that demands follow-up, it seems a safe bet that there will be more made of the Maquis strand in Season Five. Personally, I look forward to seeing the fallout.
Overall Rating: 8/10.
Previous Episode: The Muse
Next Episode: To the Death
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