Thursday, November 28, 2013

5-13. For the Uniform.

Michael Eddington (Kenneth Marshall),
leader of the Maquis.


A Maquis informant gives Sisko a long-awaited lead in his pursuit of Michael Eddington (Kenneth Marshall), the once-trusted security officer who betrayed Sisko eight months earlier. Eddington is now a leader in the Maquis, and he has been waiting for the inevitable rendezvous with his old captain. He activates a virus he had planted deep within the Defiant's systems, allowing him to escape after warning Sisko that it is time for him to "walk away."

Starfleet apparently believes so, as well. Captain Sanders (Eric Pierpoint) tells Sisko that Eddington's pursuit has been taken away from Sisko and assigned to him. Starfleet apparently has lost confidence in Sisko's ability to get the job done, believing that his personal feelings are clouding his judgment. When evidence surfaces of a Maquis attack located too far away from Sanders' position, however, Sisko disregards orders, taking the still-damaged Defiant out to track down the Maquis leader once and for all!


Capt. Sisko: Took Eddington's betrayal as a personal failure. Not only did he fail to notice anything was off about his officer, he actually recommended him for a promotion. Though we haven't seen him pursuing Eddington (whom I don't believe has even been mentioned since For the Cause), he has apparently been trying to track him down for eight months without success. Once he finally does have the scent, he pursues his quarry relentlessly. To defeat Eddington at the end, he orders a particularly ruthless action - an order that gives Worf and Kira a moment's pause before they follow it.

Dax: Though she supports Sisko's actions, she also tells him to remember his insistence on pursuing Eddington without authorization the next time he wants to lecture her about hot-headedness. She continues to act as a friend, listening as Sisko vents. She also picks up on the key point about Eddington's love of Les Miserables,allowing Sisko to fold that into his own tactics.

Odo: Only has a small role in this episode, but he does get a couple good moments. His best bit comes early on. He asks Sisko if he had ever reminded Starfleet that they assigned Eddington because they didn't trust him. When Sisko replies that he hasn't brought that up, Odo says: "Please do." Good to see that the constable has neither forgotten that snub nor forgiven it.

Eddington: During his time on Deep Space 9, he prepared for being a fugitive by planting viruses in the systems of both the Defiant and the station. Though he is definitely a criminal, he sees himself as the hero of the story. He compares Sisko's pursuit of him to Inspector Javert's pursuit of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. This tic, complete with his actually calling Sisko "Javert" in later conversations, ultimately makes Sisko realize that Eddington's view of himself as the "romantic hero" is a weakness he can exploit.


DS9 picks up the Maquis thread for the first time this season, in a direct sequel to last year's For the Cause. The episode not only marks the return of Eddington and the Maquis storyline, it features one more welcome return as well: writer Peter Allen Fields. Fields wrote some of the best episodes of Seasons One and Two. Duet, The Circle, Necessary Evil, and Blood Oath were all his. He also collaborated on Dax (one of the best early episodes) and Crossover.

While this script isn't up to most of the level of most of those shows, it is still a good, tight thriller. It does a good job of ratcheting up the stakes for Sisko by showing how much Eddington's betrayal was a personal insult to him."He played me... And what is my excuse? Is he a Changeling? No. Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No. Is he a wormhole alien? No. He's just a man, like me - And he beat me!"

Judging the episode only as itself, with no broader context, Sisko's turmoil is a great strength. It makes the chase very personal, and adds a needed emotional level to the proceedings. In the greater context of the series, though, his rage doesn't fully convince. It's been eight months... and in all that time, Sisko hasn't mentioned Eddington nor has he seemed particularly on-edge. We're apparently meant to believe he has been following up leads to find Eddington offscreen. But with that pursuit getting not so much as a throwaway line until now, I can't quite buy into it.

None of which stops this from being good entertainment. The story is swiftly-paced, and does a fine job of making Eddington into a formidable opponent. We see him outmaneuver Sisko twice in the first twenty minutes, then see him trick both Sisko and Capt. Sanders around the midpoint of the episode. His tactics are well-played and believable. Also, since each of these encounters sees Eddington fooling Sisko yet again, it effectively builds Sisko's anger at being fooled by a man he had once trusted.

The ending is effective in wrapping up the plot of the episode without tying off the Maquis strand. As Sisko says, his actions in this episode maintain the balance of power in the disputed region without actually stabilizing the larger situation. The show clearly plans to revisit this thread. I just hope it won't take another eight months for it to do so.

Overall Rating: 7/10.

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