Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Maquis, Part II”

“The Maquis, Part II”
Written by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Corey Allen
Season 2, Episode 21
Production episode 40512-441
Original air date: May 1, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: After a summary of Part 1, Hudson hands Sisko his uniform, saying it’s been feeling a little tight lately. He thinks that defending the colonies is a nobler cause than being in Starfleet. Hudson insists that Central Command is smuggling weapons into the Demlitarized Zone, which are being used against the colonies—but he doesn’t have proof. Sisko wants to obtain the proof and show it to the Federation, but Hudson isn’t interested in diplomatic solutions anymore. He’s answering violence with violence. When it’s clear that Sisko won’t help him (Hudson asks him to let the Maquis use DS9 as a maintenance port), Hudson stuns him, as well as Kira and Bashir, and leaves them behind.

When they wake up, they fly back to the station. Sisko’s request to speak to Central Command and Starfleet Command is fulfilled by Dax faster than expected, as a legate from the former is en route, and Admiral Nechayev from the latter is waiting in his office. Dukat wasn’t on the planet where they found Hudson, so Sisko tasks O’Brien with trying to figure out where he was transferred off before meeting with the admiral.

Nechayev informs Sisko that Cardassia is on high alert after Dukat’s kidnapping. She also expresses concern with Odo’s position as security chief, and wouldn’t a Starfleet officer be better? She orders Sisko to establish a dialogue with the Maquis, try to get them to listen to reason. Sisko neglects to inform her that he’s already tried that, and he doesn’t inform her of Hudson’s defection, either. As soon as she leaves and Kira enters, Sisko rants and raves for a bit about how it’s easy to be a saint in paradise, but while Starfleet Headquarters is in the middle of a poverty-and crime-free Earth, out in the DMZ all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Kira very approvingly says she gets what he’s saying.

Odo summons Sisko to his office, where he’s captured one of Sakonna’s accomplices: Quark. The Ferengi insists that the time he spent with Sakonna was purely social, but that insistence doesn’t last long, and he gives her up, adding that her timetable was tight, so whatever she needed the weapons for, it was going to happen soon.

After Quark promises to provide a list of everything Sakonna bought, Odo asks Sisko two questions: if he can go along with Sisko when he searches for Dukat next (he says yes) and how long he should keep Quark in prison (“Forever”).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Sisko meets with Legate Parn next. Parn says that Dukat was the leader of a group of misguided military officers who were funneling weapons into the DMZ. The other conspirators have been arrested, and as far as Parn is concerned, Dukat can stay a prisoner of the Maquis. Neither Kira (who spends the entire conversation being completely ignored by Parn) nor Sisko believe a word he says, but it does confirm that Central Command has been shipping weapons into the DMZ, they’ve just scapegoated some folks for it (including Dukat).

Now that Central Command has left him for dead, Sisko’s even more motivated to find Dukat (to Kira’s dismay). O’Brien traces five possible planets he could’ve been taken to, and Sisko takes Odo and Bashir on the Rio Grande to check them out.

On one of those planets, Sakonna tries a Vulcan mind-meld on Dukat, which fails thanks to his training. They didn’t have a backup plan for interrogating him since, for all their protestations that they share little in common with the Federation, they’re still Federation citizens at heart and so won’t resort to nastier means of extracting information—something Dukat reminds them with great glee.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

However, Sisko, Odo, and Bashir get the drop on them. Dukat insists they shoot, but Sisko wants to talk. Dukat takes matters into his own hands by slugging Sakonna (the second time he’s done that) with handcuffed hands, and then Amaros fires on Sisko. Starfleet wins the ensuing firefight, and Sisko orders them all taken prisoner—except for Amaros, whom he sends to Hudson with a message: he hasn’t told Starfleet about his defection, he still has Hudson’s uniform, and there’s still time to end this without further violence.

Back on the station, Dukat enjoys a post-trauma feast. He and Sisko compare their respective governments’ forms of jurisprudence—on Cardassia, the verdict is known before the trial begins, and it’s always “guilty.” When Sisko asks if they ever condemn an innocent person by mistake, Dukat insists that Cardassians don’t make mistakes. Dukat then proves that statement wrong by asking why it was Sisko who rescued him rather than Central Command, at which point Sisko takes great glee in informing Dukat that he’s been found guilty of espionage. Dukat realizes that Central Command has cut him loose, having never told him in the first place that they were sending weapons into the DMZ.

When Dukat thanks Sisko for rescuing him, the commander barely manages to keep a straight face when he says that Dukat would’ve done the same for him.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Dukat sits in on a staff meeting, at Sisko’s invitation. Odo has the list of weapons Sakonna bought from Quark, and it’s extensive. They’re preparing for all-out war. Dukat theorizes that the Xepolites are being used by Central Command to ship the weapons into the DMZ.

Sisko, Kira, O’Brien, and Dukat take a runabout to intercept a Xepolite freighter. It has a sensor-proof hull, they’ve raised shields, and they refuse to allow Sisko to beam over to inspect their cargo. Dukat then stands up and throws his weight around, intimidating the Xepolite captain into capitulating.

Back on the station, Sakonna and Quark are sharing a cell, and the latter tries to point out to the former that the price of peace is at an all-time low. Now that everybody’s armed to the teeth, but nobody has an advantage (since Central Command now has to disavow the shipments into the DMZ), that’s the best time to acquire peace, because once you start using the weapons, the price will skyrocket to the point where it’s unattainable.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Quark convinces her and she confesses to Sisko that the Maquis is targeting a hidden weapons depot on a Cardassian colony, but she doesn’t know which one. Dukat says he can find out the location (he’s on the outs with Central Command, but he still has friends), and while he’s doing that, Sisko goes to meet with the council that Amaros and Kobb serve on, making one last plea to stop the violence, and also warning them that he knows about the attack on the depot. Besides, with the Central Command’s supply lines cut off, there’s no need for the Maquis to even exist anymore.

Hudson enters, and Sisko presents him with his uniform. Hudson phasers it into atoms and makes it clear that he’s fighting a war and diplomacy is no longer any kind of option.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Dukat has learned that the targeted depot is on the Bryma colony. Sisko takes all three runabouts to the system. The Maquis only have two ships capable of mounting the weapons Sakonna purchased, so they’ll have numbers at least. O’Brien deploys sensor drones in the system’s Oort cloud to detect their arrival. Sure enough, two ships show up. Sisko pleads with Hudson to turn back; Hudson pleads with Sisko not to put him in a position where he has to fire on his old friend.

The ensuing firefight is comparatively tame, as neither side really wants to hurt the other. In the end, one Maquis ship is drifting, and the Orinoco is badly enough damaged that the Mekong has to rescue them. That just leaves Sisko versus Hudson. The Rio Grande’s engines are down so they can’t move—Hudson’s weapons are down, so he can’t fire back. Hudson is at Sisko’s mercy, but Sisko tries pleading with him again, to Dukat’s annoyance. It doesn’t work, and Hudson gets away. Dukat expresses his disappointment in Sisko’s letting sentiment get in the way of what needs to be done. Sisko tartly informs Dukat that he won’t be losing any sleep over that.

Sisko gets a commendation for preserving the peace. But he’s fairly certain he’s only delayed the inevitable.

The Sisko is of Bajor: On the one hand, Sisko does good work here, doing everything he can to keep the peace, even going so far as to rescue Dukat in order to use him. But the one step he won’t take (at least until the very end) is to betray his friend. He deliberately lies to a superior officer (a court-martial offense) about Hudson’s status and gives him every opportunity to stand down and not let the situation get out of control. For his part, Hudson does nothing to earn this consideration, as he shoots Sisko in the teaser and then fires on his ship in the climax.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira gets to play fly-in-the-ointment during every scene with Parn and Dukat, snarking the Cardassians off (often with justification) at every opportunity. But she’s also obviously (and reluctantly) impressed with Dukat’s takedown of the Xepolite.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Rules of Acquisition: When Quark is lecturing Sakonna in the cell, he quotes the Third Rule: “Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.”

For Cardassia! Once it becomes obvious that the jig is up with regards to their arming their colonies in violation of the treaty, Central Command wastes no time in disavowing any knowledge and scapegoating some “rogue operatives” (probably people who were politically out of favor already) as well as Dukat, who had already been captured and who therefore made an easy target. Pity it didn’t occur to them that Sisko would go ahead with a rescue attempt anyhow.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo transforms his arm into a lasso to grab Amaros and throw him to the ground. Honestly, that’s an application of Odo’s shapeshifting that should’ve been used more often….

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Keep your ears open: “Do you expect us to believe that a Vulcan would be interested in you for your lobes?”

“Vulcans are a species that appreciate good ears.”

Odo expressing doubt that Sakonna would be interested in Quark for any reason other than business and Quark with a fairly obvious rejoinder.

Welcome aboard: Back from Part 1 are Tony Plana as Amaros, Bertila Damas as Sakonna, Michael Rose as Niles, Amanda Carlin as Kobb, and, of course, Marc Alaimo as Dukat and Bernie Casey as Hudson. Prolific voice actor Michael Bell shows up as the Xepolite; he last appeared in “The Homecoming” as a Bajoran prisoner, and was also Groppler Zorn in TNG’s “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Natalija Nogulich makes her first DS9 appearance as Admiral Nechayev—she had appeared thrice as Nechayev on TNG, in “Chain of Command, Part I,” “Descent,” and “Journey’s End.” She’ll be back on DS9 in “The Search, Part II,” and also appear in TNG’s “Preemptive Strike.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Finally, John Shuck, one of the great actors of our time, appears as Legate Parn. It’s one of four roles Shuck has played on Trek, the others being the Klingon ambassador in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; a member of the chorus in Voyager’s “Muse”; and the Klingon geneticist Antaak in the two-part Enterprise story “Affliction” and “Divergence.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Trivial matters: Scripter Ira Steven Behr’s original intent was for Hudson to die at the end of the episode, but he was overridden by executive producer Michael Piller. After seeing the dailies, Piller reportedly realized that Behr was right. However, we won’t see Hudson again onscreen, and he’ll die off-camera at some point prior to “Blaze of Glory.”

The Maquis will next be seen in “Tribunal” and in TNG’s “Preemptive Strike.”

To keep things consistent, the characters of Nechayev and Evek were regular presences in the Maquis storylines of the 1993/1994 season, with Natalija Nogulich and Richard Poe appearing in both TNG Maquis episodes and each appearing in one part of this storyline. Evek will also be the one chasing Chakotay’s ship into the Badlands in Voyager’s pilot, “Caretaker.”

Hudson enters the council chambers flanked by a Native man and a Klingon woman, possibly a foreshadowing of the characters of Chakotay and B’Elanna Torres on Voyager.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II

Dukat mentions that Cardassians only have show trials, and that the verdict is determined before the trial ever starts. We’ll see this in practice in “Tribunal” later this season.

This DS9’s first time showing a Vulcan mind-meld, first seen in “Dagger of the Mind” in the original series, and seen numerous times since. This is also the first time we’ve seen it not actually work.

This is the last episode of Trek to be directed by Corey Allen, who helmed the TNG pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Walk with the Prophets: “It’s easy to be a saint in paradise.” On the one hand, this is a step up from Part 1 in that our heroes actually do stuff. The episode is also a superb showcase for Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo, as Sisko and Dukat are at their best here. You almost want to cheer when Dukat rips the Xepolite a new one, likewise after Sisko’s rant about how the Maquis aren’t living in paradise. For that matter, Dukat being completely in control of his own interrogation is a spectacular scene, a real villain showing these people play-acting at how it’s done.

Armin Shimerman gets a great scene, too, when he talks Sakonna into confessing. His economic argument for peace is brilliant, one that’s completely Ferengi, yet completely (as he says) logical.

In general, this episode really displays for the first time DS9’s willingness to challenge the Federation utopia—not by tearing it down, but by complicating it, and maybe kicking it in the ribs a couple times.

On the other hand, it’s not entirely successful in making the Maquis out to be tragic victims, mainly because at no point do we see what the conflict is about. We see the destruction of the Bok’Nor, an unjustified act of terrorism (the ship’s cargo bay was empty, which means the weapons they were allegedly delivering either already were delivered or hadn’t been picked up yet, making it a purely retaliatory, and murderous, gesture). What we don’t see are Federation colonists being harassed by Cardassians (we get two reports, one in Part 1, one in Part 2, and the one in this episode is about a food replicator making people sick, which is hardly justification for blowing things up). No, the Cardassians aren’t innocent victims by any stretch, as is made abundantly clear by Legate Parn’s bullshit story and the Xepolite freighter they stop, but the Maquis have blown up a freighter with more than 70 innocent crew on it, and have targeted a civilian colony that’s unlucky enough to be on top of a weapons depot. There’s nothing redeemable in any of that, especially since the colonists were given the opportunity to relocate. Yes, it would mean abandoning their homes, but their decision to choose a planet over their own safety (it’s not like it’s a secret that the Cardassians would be awful landlords) doesn’t give them free rein to commit murder.

Having Sisko’s oldest friend be the leader of the Maquis is intended to make everything more difficult for Sisko, but there are several problems there, both script-wise and acting-wise. We’ve never heard of Cal Hudson before, for all that we’re told he’s Sisko’s oldest friend, and his behavior in these two episodes is pretty appalling. His response to Sisko’s accusation of seeking vengeance rather than justice is, “I prefer ‘retaliation’,” which just makes him sound like Dukat, using rhetorical trickery to make himself look better. Every overture Sisko makes is met with a slap in the face, without even considering the point of view of the person who’s supposed to be his best friend. Sisko repeatedly (most notably in his rant to Kira) at least acknowledges and understands Hudson’s point of view, but Hudson never once does the same for Sisko.

To top it all off, Bernie Casey remains absolutely dreadful in the role, wooden and flat. They would’ve been better off dropping that character and letting Tony Plana’s Amaros be Sisko’s old friend, since Plana can actually, y’know, act. (TNG would do this much better a few weeks later in “Preemptive Strike,” by having the Starfleet defector be someone we actually know and give a damn about in Ro Laren.)

As with Part 1, points for a good use of Dukat and for setting up a new status quo, but the story itself doesn’t entirely work.

 

Warp factor rating: 5


Keith R.A. DeCandido is at RocCon at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York this weekend, alongside Star Trek actors J.G. Hertzler, Tim McCormack, and Chris Doohan (son of James), and lots more cool folks. He has a table, so come on by and say hello!

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