Apr 26 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Past Prologue”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue“Past Prologue”
Written by Katharyn Powers
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 1, Episode 2
Production episode 40511-404
Original air date: January 10, 1993
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Bashir is joined at the replimat by a Cardassian—the only one left on the station—named Garak, who owns the tailor shop on the Promenade. Bashir is a bit of a nervous wreck, as the rumors on the station are that Garak is a spy. After they’re done talking, Bashir runs to ops, now convinced that Garak is a spy and thinking that he’s getting to know Bashir to get Federation medical secrets—which he insists are safe with him, to Sisko’s amused relief.

Just when Bashir’s getting really silly—asking a pained O’Brien to put a monitoring device on him “just in case”—Kira interrupts with a Bajoran ship being pursued and fired upon by a Cardassian vessel. This does not fill Kira with warm fuzzies. Sisko warns the Cardassian off, while the Bajoran ship asks for emergency docking.

O’Brien beams the ship’s lone occupant on board just before it goes boom. He identifies himself as Tahna Los, and he requests asylum. Kira recognizes him from her days in the resistance. Bashir takes him to the infirmary while Gul Danar demands that Sisko turn him over. Danar identifies him as being part of the Kohn Ma, a group of terrorists who have continued the violence even after the withdrawal, including against some Bajorans.

Sisko isn’t willing to let the Kohn Ma use DS9 as a shield, but Kira argues the importance of repatriating even splinter groups like the Kohn Ma back into Bajoran society. Tahna admits to Sisko that he has committed acts of violence against Cardassians even since the withdrawal, but he also claims to be tired of the violence and has renounced the Kohn Ma.

Kira goes over Sisko’s head to Admiral Rollman—who promptly informs Sisko that he has a problem in his command. Kira then visits Tahna and makes it clear that she’ll let Tahna be turned over to the Cardassians over her dead body. (O’Brien also tells Sisko that he wouldn’t turn anyone, no matter who, over to the Cardassians’ tender care.)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

Danar meets with Sisko, insisting that Tahna is a wanted criminal and must be turned over to them. But Sisko isn’t willing to set the precedent of turning freedom fighters over the Cardassians, so he’s granting Tahna’s asylum request.

Kira escorts Tahna to guest quarters and they get into a lively discussion about the future of Bajor. Tahna doesn’t want the Federation there, but Kira argues that they’re a necessary evil, especially after the discovery of the wormhole. Without a Federation presence, the Cardassians would waltz right back in and take control of the wormhole and Bajor. She is also working to get the provisional government to grant asylum to any Kohn Ma who renounce the violence and come home.

Lursa and B’Etor show up on the station and are reluctant to turn over their weapons, though Odo convinces them to finally do so, and only after they’ve injured one of his deputies. They then go to Quark’s and just sit. Odo wants to throw them in jail and call the Klingons (the empire lists them as renegades after the civil war they started), but Sisko reminds him that the Cardassians aren’t in charge anymore.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

Garak is also in Quark’s, soon joined by Bashir. Garak claims to be people watching, seeing what people are wearing, which is something that interests him as a clothier, and he particularly is fascinated by Klingon fashion.

When Tahna enters the bar, the two Klingon women finally get up and leave. Tahna meets with them in a rat-infested cargo bay, where they demand their payment. Tahna says it’ll be on the station tomorrow, as he wasn’t able to get it before being shot at by Cardassians. After the trio leave, one of the rats turns liquid and then reforms as Odo. Sisko did, after all, say to keep an eye on Lursa and B’Etor.

Kira tells Sisko that she’s gotten the ministers to convene a hearing on the Kohn Ma and that two more of Tahna’s associates have agreed to come in if Sisko can guarantee their safety. Sisko readily agrees, and Kira expresses gratitude for his support in this. Sisko accepts the gratitude and tells her to make sure she mentions it the next time she talks to Admiral Rollman. “Go over my head again, and I’ll have yours on a platter.” Kira is chastised to say the least.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

Odo reports his findings to Sisko, who believes that the gold Tahna mentioned will be in the hands of the two Kohn Ma coming in the next day. Sisko tells Odo not to tell Kira what he’s found out just yet.

Lursa and B’Etor arrive at Garak’s shop, wishing to turn Tahna over to the Cardassians, assuming there’s a reward. Meanwhile, Kira discovers that Tahna knew Kira was on the station all along and hasn’t renounced the Kohn Ma in the least. But he does insist that the violence is over and that he has a non-violent plan to get everyone what they want. All he needs is a ship.

Garak—after pointing out that two more Kohn Ma have arrived on the station—insists that it’s time Bashir got himself a new suit and that he should come by for a fitting at precisely 20:55 hours.

Kira goes to Odo for advice. No matter what she does, she’ll be betraying someone, and she doesn’t want to betray her people. Odo questions whether or not they really are her people, and finally he goes ahead and summons Sisko to his office, saying there’s someone there who wants to talk to him.

While Bashir hides in the dressing room, B’Etor and Lursa inform Garak that they will be selling bilitrium to Tahna on Bajor VIII’s moon. After that transaction, the Cardassians can have him. Garak informs Bashir that the Cardassians were chasing Tahna because he stole an antimatter converter—combine bilitrium with that, and you’ve got yourself a bomb.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

The crew set up a sting operation, since nobody’s actually broken a law yet. Kira will give Tahna the Yangtzee Kiang and go with him to complete the transaction with Lursa and B’Etor. O’Brien and Sisko go ahead to the rendezvous in the Ganges to swoop in once the transaction’s done and Tahna is officially in possession of an explosive.

A Bird-of-Prey decloaks and the exchange takes place. O’Brien sets course to intercept the Yangtzee Kiang, and Dax announces that Gul Danar’s ship is also en route. Tahna holds a phaser on Kira and tells her to set course for the station or he’ll detonate the device here, which will destroy the colonies on Bajor VIII.

Neither the Ganges nor the Cardassian ship will catch up to the Yangtzee Kiang before it reaches the station—but it turns out that DS9 isn’t Tahna’s target, the wormhole is. If he destroys the mouth of the wormhole, no one will care about Bajor anymore, and the Federation can leave.

Kira shoves the runabout off course, knocking Tahna to the deck. The Yangtzee Kiang goes through the wormhole, and by the time Tahna is able to fight his way past Kira to eject and detonate the bomb, they’re in the Idran system on the other side, where the explosive goes off harmlessly, to Tahna’s fury.

The Ganges arrives through the wormhole, and Sisko gives Tahna a choice: surrender to Sisko or wait for Danar to show up and surrender to him. Not being an idiot, Tahna turns his weapon over to Kira. Before Odo takes him away, Tahna disgustedly calls Kira a traitor.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: Bilitrium is an energy source. When run through an antimatter converter, it becomes a big-ass bomb. If it explodes at warp speed, the radiation will spread over half a solar system.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira is now sporting a shorter hairdo, done at the request of Nana Visitor, who felt that Kira wouldn’t have anything but the most basic hairstyle that would require the minimum fuss.

She finds herself stuck between her past as a terrorist and her present as a major in the Bajoran Militia—also between her past loyalty to Tahna and her present duty to Sisko. We also get the first of what will be many long talks between Kira and Odo about Things and Stuff, which will become a backbone of the series.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

Plain, simple: We get our first look at the mysterious tailor who will become such a major part of the show. He befriends Bashir for reasons that likely range from the entertainment value of watching him thumpher about nervously in response to Garak’s possible double meanings to genuine use for him as a method of communicating covertly with Sisko (something Sisko himself figures out in short order). At this stage, it’s unclear what Garak is doing on the station beyond selling clothing. He’s willing to let Lursa and B’Etor believe that he still has pull on Cardassia, though we never see him actually contact home. Indeed, the only person he seems to get in touch with is Bashir, leading one to think that he promised the Klingon women payment he couldn’t come through with. (Of course, the Cardassians never got Tahna, so the Klingons wouldn’t be entitled to payment, exactly...) Either way, right off the bat we get Garak’s trademark charm, layered conversation, euphemisms, and torturing of Bashir, all continued hallmarks of the character.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

For Cardassia! Danar is pissy from the moment he enters Bajoran space, unhappy with Sisko for granting Tahna asylum—and more than happy to say I told you so later on when Tahna’s true purpose is revealed.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo turns into a very tiny rat to spy on Lursa and B’Etor.

Keep your ears open: “You can leave the weapons or leave the station. Your choice. Please make it now.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m the one giving you the choice.”

Odo making it clear to B’Etor (and Lursa) who’s boss on the Promenade.

Welcome aboard: The most notable guest star is Andrew J. Robinson, making the first of many appearances as Garak, the mysterious lone Cardassian left on the station. He will go on to become an important recurring character.

Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh reprise their roles as Lursa and B’Etor, last seen in the “Redemptiontwo-parter on The Next Generation. They’ll next be seen on TNG’s “Firstborn.” In Gul Danar, Vaughn Armstrong plays the second of a record thirteen characters he’d eventually play on modern Trek, having previously been Korris on TNG’s “Heart of Glory,” and next appearing on Voyager’s “Eye of the Needle” as Telek R’Mor. Susan Bay, the wife of Leonard Nimoy, played Admiral Rollman.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

And finally we have our first Robert Knepper moment of the DS9 Rewatch! I totally forgot that Tahna Los was played by longtime character actor Jeffrey Nordling....

Trivial matters: This episode was aired second even though it was produced third (after “A Man Alone”), no doubt in part to take advantage of the appearance of Lursa and B’Etor. Had it been aired in production order, writer Katharyn Powers would have the odd distinction of writing the third episode of both TNG and DS9 (she cowrote “Code of Honor”).

Garak was made a tailor at the suggestion of producer Peter Allan Fields, as an homage to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (for which Fields was a writer): the secret entrance to U.N.C.L.E. headquarters was in Del Floria’s tailor shop.

In the Terok Nor novel Dawn of the Eagles by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison, which takes place during the occupation of Bajor, Kira rescues Tahna from his imprisonment by Cardassians. That novel series also establishes that the Kohn Ma was named after the cell’s two founders, Kohn Biran and Ma Jouvirna.

The episode title derives from The Tempest by William Shakespeare, Act 2, scene 1: “what’s past is prologue.”

With the appearance of the Ganges, all three runabouts assigned to the station have been named. They’re all named after Earth rivers, a trend that will continue throughout the series.

Walk with the Prophets: “Bajor for Bajorans!” As much as “Emissary,” this episode sets up a great many of the recurring themes on DS9. For starters, there’s Bajor’s moving forward from being an oppressed people to a player on the galactic stage, and the different responses Bajorans might have to it. Kira and Tahna represent two different types of freedom fighters. Kira adapts to her circumstances, become a superlative politician—for all that she denies it to Tahna—while Tahna refuses to accept change. He and the rest of the Kohn Ma want to put the toothpaste back in the tube, somehow make Bajor go back to the way things were before the occupation. And he and his people won’t stop the violence just because the Cardassians have pulled out. Kira is fighting for what Bajor is and can be—Tahna is fighting for Bajor was and can’t ever be again.

Meanwhile, we have Garak, whose presence and mystery will be a lovely source of storylines for the rest of the series. The character could easily have been a walking, talking cliché—his double meanings are sometimes a little too obvious—but Andrew J. Robinson imbues him with such charm that it’s impossible not to love the character. And you have to think that he specifically picked Bashir as his proxy because he knew that the naïve young doctor will let his imagination run wild and that that would be fun to watch.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Past Prologue

We also get an excellent example of Odo in action as security chief on the Promenade: making it clear to Lursa and B’Etor that his regulations will be followed, then performing surveillance to learn what they’re up to.

Finally, we get a much better example of how Sisko will be running things. In particular, I like the way he gives Kira everything she wants, shows how useful and cooperative he is, and then drops the hammer on her for going over his head to Admiral Rollman.

Overall, an excellent episode.


Warp factor rating: 8

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s life has given him lemons, but he doesn’t like lemonade!

1. CounsellorDeannaTroi#1Fan
I liked this episode too, and thought it was a very strong episode for such an early entry in the series. It was unpredictable until the very end, and I could never tell whether or not Kira would have been able to stop the Cardassians from taking Tahna into their custody.

The episode also further underscored what I said in the "Emissary" board about what I disliked about Sisko so much -- he's so pompous and douchy he tries to intimidate Kira into doing everything his way. The truth is, Kira was not a Federation officer or citizen, and is under no obligation to follow the Starfleet chain of command. The show makes this quite clear throught the entire series. She is a member of the Bajoran militia and answers to their command. Therefore, he had no authority to discipline her and she should have called him out on this.

Another interesting thing... there seemed to be a constant fear of Cardassian and, later on, Dominion espionage. Where are all of the Betazoids, who are an important member of the Federation and hold commanding Starfleet positions? Shouldn't they have been deployed on this station to find potential spies in such a precarious diplomatic situation?

If I were Sisko, I would have asked for several on board.
2. Ser Tom
A rather good episode to keep things rolling. Garak was definitely one of my favorite characters of the series.
3. Xander
At the time and to this day, I'm still not massively sold on the Duras' sisters involvement. I can understand the function they play but I feel, along with the upcoming Q episode, that it smacks of first season crossover syndrome. I did enjoy the episode overall, I only felt their inclusion pulled me out of the illusion just a tad.
Matt Hamilton
4. MattHamilton
There it is again...Thumpher. I see what you did there. Brooks didn't have that strange delivery here, at least not too much, as we talked about from Emissary, which was good. This episode was a pretty desent follow up to the first as it not only makes good on some of the themes presented there and continues to add new ones. And, Garak, only the greatest Trek character EVER lol. I love everything about his character and the actor who plays him. So much character development was made with him over the course of the series that you really felt like you knew him at the end, at least as much as he would allow anyone to truely "Know" him. The only problem that I have, and this just as good a place to bring it up, is the use of the word terrorist in this show. There are some great stories told about the line between what the Bajorans had to do and what was merely violence for violence's sake. But Kira always refers to herself as a terrorist. Perhaps I'm thinking of it in terms of 21st century America and not 24th century NOT EARTH, but a person fighting for what is right and for their freedom from an oppressor would not, in my opinion, consider themselves terrorists, let alone call themselves that all the time. By that logic, George Washington and those who fought in the Revolution would call themselves terrorists, which, by defintion, some may have been. But they did wear a uniform so one could make a case against that. But what of the conflict between the Isrealis and Palestinians? One side always calls the other a terrorist while they defend their actions and throw the term right back at them. I've always had an issue with that in this show. It might not be tha important, but it took me out of some of the scenes.
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
Xander: Why? If you're a terrorist who wants to blow something up real good, why wouldn't you go to a couple of cash-starved Klingons to buy them from? It gives the viewers reocgnizable villains to hiss at, saves storytelling time, and keeps the plot moving. I don't undertstand the issue, or what "illusion" you're talking about. The only "illusion" being created is that this takes place in the same universe as TNG. How is that a problem, exaclty?

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Matt Hamilton
6. MattHamilton
@1 She is not a Federation citizen or a member of Starfleet, that is correct. But she still must follow the chain of command. She is a member of the Bajoran militia with the rank of Major and Sisko is a Captain in Starfleet. Even in militaries here and now, a Lt. in say the Amerian army would have to salute a Captain in the British Army, and they are not exempt from being talked down to or dealt with so long as their commander is not present. I'm sure that's not exactly how it works but still...
Keith DeCandido
7. krad
MattHamilton: long before "terrorist" became such a boogeyman word after the events of the fall of 2001, Trek dealt quite a bit with the concept, starting with TNG's "The High Ground" (which pointed out the very dichotomy you raise re: George Washington), and continuing to DS9 and Voyager, which both had self-describing terrorists as opening-credits regulars (Kira, Chakotay, Torres).

It's gonna be interesting doing this rewatch in light of the decade-plus baggage the word "terorrist' has acquired in our society.

Also: I intend to use the word "thumpher" as often as possible, just to piss everyone off. *big cheeky grin*

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
David Levinson
8. DemetriosX
I had forgotten that Garak showed up so early. He was also one of my favorites and his eternal delight in knocking Bashir off balance and keeping him that way, despite their growing friendship and Bashir's waning naivete, is always fun.

The first season is so bad in my memory that this episode is a real surprise. It has a maturity and coherence that is far more the hallmark of the middle seasons, while I always thought of the first season as being mostly dreck like "Move Along Home".
9. CounsellorDeannaTroi#1Fan
In Afghanistan, US military commanders do not discipline or give orders to Canadian military personnel. They understand the Canadians follow the orders of their own government and don't have the authority to reprimand or boss Canadian military personnel around. We leave discpline and orders of Canadian forces up to the Canadian captains and generals.

I think Sisko was way out of line here, and it made him sound pompous and vindictive.

I'm sure he was upset that Kira went over his head, but he's not her boss.

I think a big "SHOVE IT" was in order from her in that scene.
Keith DeCandido
10. krad
CounsellorDeannaTroiFan: You're completely wrong, and your analogy is faulty. Kira is a major whose specific assignment is to be Sisko's first officer under his command. Yes, she's part of a different service, but her specific assignment is to be under Sisko's command. She is bound by Sisko's orders as long as she's assigned to Deep Space 9. If she did tell him to shove it, she'd be reassigned, possibly also demoted, and almost certainly disciplined by the Bajoran Militia.

If she was just some random Bajoran major then, yes, you'd be right, Sisko couldn't give her orders. But her current billet is that of being Sisko's second-in-c0mmand, which means she has to follow his orders or be reassigned. Period.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Matt Hamilton
11. MattHamilton
@CounsellorDeannaTroi#1Fan I'm not an expert on this at all, so forgive my ignorance on this issue. I understand that US military commanders would not disciplineor give orders to Canadian personnel, however, would they not if they were placed in your unit? Being that we're discussing TV/Film...even way back in Von Ryan's Express, Sinatra's character was upset that the German officer did not salute a superior officer and the camp was full of Brits who recognized that he was the highest ranking officer and deferredto his command. So, in that sense, Sisko is very much Kira's "Boss". He is her commanding officer on the station and she is the second in command. Also, she went to a "Starfleet" Admiral (who I had no idea was Nimoy's wife, very nice bit of trivia there) over Sisko's head so I thought he was very much in line with what he said and did. On that station he is in charge and she is beneath him in rank.
Thomas Thatcher
12. StrongDreams
"You know, the sad thing is, I really am a very good tailor."

Love that line, it says everything.
13. Susurrin
Also: I intend to use the word "thumpher" as often as possible, just to piss everyone off. *big cheeky grin*
I'm all for the use of made up words. I bargnozzle them all day long, but for some reason 'thumpher' is just so odd that I want to Cornpigeon myself each time I read it!
Matt Hamilton
14. MattHamilton
@Krad...yeah, they did do a lot with the terrorist/freedom fighter concept. Especially in DS9, I applaud what they were attempting to do and say, especially in hindsight. A lot of what has happened since 2001 really makes DS9 shine all the brighter I think, especially in later episodes dealing with Earth Security. Also, Thumpher flew right out at me because of that so, go ahead, I look foreward to finding the word throughout the rewatches from now on lol
15. RobinM
Garak remains one of my favorite DS9 characters. His use of Julian to pass information on and the begining of their relationship is just as entertaining for him as it is for us. It also begs the question how do governments function when the population thinks nothing of blowing stuff up to get there various points of view across?
16. Athersgeo
Whenever I watch Emissary, I always watch this episode afterwards. It's got the same strong character moments as the pilot but with the added bonus of some actual real plot.

I also like the fact that it introduces Garak, although I think Andrew Robinson rather overdid the whole innuendo thing in this episode - rathere than being mysterious Garak comes off as a character from a 1970s Carry-on film. (I can almost hear him going "ooooh matron!")

Overall a really good, solid episode.
17. Erik Dercf
What Kira did was way out of line no matter what her position is. So I'm glad that by the end of the episode she was proven to be in the wrong when it came to Tahna. It was one of those moments that teach trust in your new relationships before you tarnish them. If she were with a Klingon commander I can only imagine that a fight to the death would have been in order over what she did. So, Sisko's reaction showed a uniquely Starfleet approach to the situation.
I enjoyed this episode because we got to see more of the station and the characters and vehicles on it.
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
I think it actually makes a little more sense to put "A Man Alone" before this one. I think there's a very small continuity error somewhere in broadcast order, though I don't remember what it was.

I have to admit, the Garak character always kind of bugged me. I mean, he's supposed to be this master spy, but... he's always going out of his way to act as devious and untrustworthy as possible, which is the worst possible thing a spy could do. So either he's a really, really bad spy, or... well, I had a theory that I built one of my DS9 episode pitches around back in the day, that Garak was deliberately trying to get people to suspect him and try to outwit him because he wanted to stay in practice at playing mind games with people. I had a pitch where Garak manufactured a whole crisis by dropping subtle hints and manipulating people in this grand web of deception, all purely as a game to keep his mind sharp in his exile. But Robert Hewitt Wolfe rejected it because he didn't think Garak would do all that for no reason. I never actually got around to explaining my reasoning as mentioned above, because I was a really, really bad pitcher. I'm not sure he would've agreed with it anyway, but I'm still inclined to believe it, because otherwise Garak's just the most incompetent spy since Maxwell Smart.

@4: Despite all the emotion that's been attached to the label in media rhetoric, terrorism is just a tactic like any other. It's a tactic used by a weak group against a more powerful group that can't be defeated by force. The idea is to use random violence and intimidation to make the enemy's population so afraid and disheartened that they choose to withdraw. Sometimes it's used for malicious ends, but sometimes it's used to liberate an oppressed population from their occupiers. It's a tool, just like a tank or a missile, except it's a tool used by those who don't have tanks or missiles and need to use cruder or more devious means.

We disdain terrorism because it's a tactic being used against us by others at this point in history. But if your own country were invaded and conquered by an immensely superior force and your only hope of defeating them was by trying to frighten and demoralize them, to turn their public opinion so heavily against their occupation that they chose to withdraw, then you'd see a much more positive attitude toward terrorism. Sure, it would probably be labeled as "freedom fighting," but it is still terrorism by the literal, propaganda-free definition of the word -- a tactic based on creating terror and dismay in the enemy so that they defeat themselves where you cannot. (And this has been dramatized in shows like V or Falling Skies where Earth has been conquered by aliens and the heroes use terrorist methods to fight back.)
20. Erik Dercf
On another note in regard to the word terrorist and the whole situation over Kira going over Sisko's head on the issue of Tahna this episode somewhat resounates for today over issues regarding some borders around the world. It certainly makes me hope that their is more trust in those places with a clear chain of command that holds respect for thoses being commanded and those being served. It has to be a difficult tight rope for any commander to walk.
Dante Hopkins
19. DanteHopkins
@1 I don't quite understand your problem with Sisko. To me its as confusing as krad's problem with Geordi LaForge:) Sisko from the start is quite an effective commander, and if he's somewhat brusque its because of the unique nature of his command: having non-Starfleet personnel assigned under him, and having to build a bridge between Starfleet and the Bajoran Militia, not to mention the Federation and Bajor, particularly at this early stage. Moving on...

I loved this episode. I remember watching in 1993 and thinking, "That was great! Glad I got in on this show from the beginning!" Andrew Robinson pretty much steals every scene he's in as Garak, and over the next six and a half years he was a joy to watch, as you never really knew what to expect from "plain, simple Garak." Also enjoyed how this one set up so much of what we would come to enjoy over the years to come: Kira's personal conflicts, the Kira-Odo chats, the Garak-Bashir chats, the weekly Cardassian ass-hat, and so on. Just a great ride this one, start to finish.
Matt Hamilton
21. MattHamilton
@CLB. Yes, I completely agree. The literal definition of the word is exactly what Kira and all those who were in the underground with her were and what the Kohn Ma are. It is a nice flip of the coin in this episode though, showing how he is a terrorist as we understand it today and how what she did was completely different being that it was during the oppression of her people. I think I get this view from watching a news segment when I was younger. I don't remember on what news magazine it aired but they were speaking to a Palestinian and he was upset at being called a terrorist even though he was lobbing Molotav Cocktails or whatever. His tactics were and are terrorism, however he was displeased at the title being used to describe him. He insisted that it was they, the Isrealis, who were the terrorists! So, I think I'm just going back to that memory and saying, those who commit terrorist acts, though they are that by the literal definition, probably would not consider themselves terrorists and certainly wouldn't call themselves that, unless they were a Vulcan and it was only logical. They would, rather, in my opinion, referr to themselves as liberators or freedom fighters or something that made them sound better. However, Kira does admit that she killed way too many people, too many Cardassians, so perhaps she's using the word because of that. Either way, I try to avoid thinking in terms of a post 9/11 world, and America specifically but that's rather difficult sometimes. Also, I also thought that Garak being blatant about everything was a bit odd at times. I chalk it up to 2 things; 1) That was just the writers and Andrew Robinson did brilliantly with what he was given and/or 2) He knew that being a spy was what everyone suspected anyhow so he just went with it, but told so many lies, truths and half-truths as to keep eveyone guessing as to what was actually happening at the same time as he was using these tactics, as well as his brilliant smile and charm to knock people off of their game and reveal things. Your theory plays into that too. He's doing it all because they know anyway as well as to keep his wits about him.
Matt Hamilton
22. MattHamilton
@12 That line, "...I am quite a good tailor." is actually a bit heartbreaking too. It does say it all, but at the same time, you realize that he hates the fact that he is good at it. Though it serves as a living for him to make in his exile, he hates it, despises it...all the more reason to be doing what he does later. I wanted to say something there but I'm trying to remain spoiler free for people just in case. Have you read Robinson's A Stitch in Time? It gives a lot of light to the Garak character and, when considering the novel andthat line together, kind of heartbreaking.
23. CounsellorDeannaTroi#1Fan
Forgive me, but I thought that one of the main points of conflict in the first 2-3 seasons was that Kira believed her loyalty was first and foremost to Bajor, she didn't believe she owed any loyalty or submission to the Federation, and that's why there was so much tension between her and Sisko.

I doubt Bajor would have wanted her following his orders if they believed it put their own people at risk, and I think she knew this, and it is why she felt it necessary to defy him from time to time.

I don't agree that the Bajorans would have disciplined or demoted her if they believed defying the Federation was truly necessary.

We will have to agree to disagree on this. :)
Matt Hamilton
24. MattHamilton
@23 You're absolutely right that some of the conflict in those seasons was Kira feeling more loyalty toward Bajor (as she should have, even if she couldn't stand the Provisional Government) but the point still stands that Sisko had every right not only to be angry with her, but to put her in her place considering that she is, in fact, under his direct command. That doesn't change no matter what her feelings of loyalty are. This is a great place for debate lol and DS9, I'm sure, will cause a lot of it, probably more so than any other Star Trek series insofar as the politics are concerned.
25. Scavenger
@18 The thing is, at least at this point in the series, Garak isn't a master spy. He's a former master spy, who's cover has been blown by the people he used to work for. EVERYONE knows he's a spy...even if he isn't anymore. So that's the role he has to play for now, the spy who isn't who is.

@23 All opinions are not equal. Kira was part of a joint military unit set up by her government to serve under Starfleet's command. Her disobedence would be seen the same as if she disobeyed a comman from a higher ranked member of the militia, maybe even worse as it jeordizes an alliance that the politicians want. She might not need to salute, but she damn sure needs to follow orders.
26. Susurrin
Kira was part of a joint military unit set up by her government to serve under Starfleet's command. Her disobedence would be seen the same as if she disobeyed a comman from a higher ranked member of the militia, maybe even worse as it jeordizes an alliance that the politicians want. She might not need to salute, but she damn sure needs to follow orders.
Sure, she should have. But that conflict between the characters. People making decisions that are wrong or with suspect motives is the EXACT reason why DS9 was my favorite Trek TV series of the next gen stuff. I like my characters to have character and that means conflict.

After all, can you really blame Kira for thumbing authority at this point? Her people have just been liberated and she sees the Federation as just another faceless enemy that could slip into the Cardassian's role. I'd be suspect of them as well, after all to her the sort of partnership the Federation is offering might just seem too good to be true...after all what is the Federation getting out of the deal? (Remember it was before they even knew the wormhole existed that they were offering help) That would seem too good to be true to most.
27. Scavenger
@26 ??????
The discussion isn't about how Kira acted, but if Sisko was right, and IN the right, to come down on her for it.
28. Susurrin
@26 ?????? The discussion isn't about how Kira acted, but if Sisko was right, and IN the right, to come down on her for it.
I wasn't saying that it was. The conversation made me think about what I wrote. Always good to know that the thread police are out in full force.
Jack Flynn
29. JackofMidworld
Garak is a great character, and I love the way he plays with Bashir, especially so early on.

Also, I was only 3 hours late getting here today and you've already got 27 comments! A great turnout!
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
@21: You're right. When Kira called herself a terrorist, it simply shows that she was honest, that she didn't try to hide the fact that she'd done terrible, dark things, even if they were necessary for the greater good. There's a lot of integrity to that. She didn't hide behind propaganda or deny her culpability. She told it like it was. And that's what makes her better than someone like Tahna Los. She knew that what she'd done was a necessary evil, so she stopped doing it once it was no longer necessary. Someone who glorified it and sanitized it would have less incentive to stop doing it, and would be more likely to continue the fight and hurt innocents like Tahna tried to do.

@23: You're making this more complicated than it has to be. Or rather, you're ignoring the very simple thing that Keith already pointed out. Namely, her specific job was Sisko's first officer. That was her role in the organization. Yes, being his first officer often means being free to question and challenge him. Spock often disagreed with Kirk, and Riker often disagreed with Picard. That's part of a first officer's job, to offer an alternative perspective. But that doesn't change the fact that he or she is under the commanding officer's authority and has to follow a chain of command. Opinions are one thing, protocol and hierarchy are another. The problem Sisko had wasn't that Kira disagreed with him, but that she tried to actively undermine his authority by going behind his back.
Matt Hamilton
32. MattHamilton
Takes me a while sometimes to get my point right lol. I realized long ago that sometimes when I'm writing something like in a discussion like this that I'll say something and then fully flesh out my point as I write. Sort of like when I'm writing a story without an outline, which I really perfer. Just a fair warning to everyone else during the rewatch :)
33. DeborahB
I absolutely love the rewatch - followed over from TNG's rewatch, which I loved as a teenager. I started watching DS9 on Netflix just to follow along with this - somehow, I never watched it before. Netflix has "A Man Alone" as episdoe 2. Anyone have any idea how many other discrepencies Netfix has in it?
34. Ashcom
@18 - I think looking at Garak's behaviour that way is simply taking a too human-centric view. In one of the later episodes, when O'Brien is put on trial in a Cardassian court, we see how their warped form of justice isn't just "oh look how evil we are", they literally cannot understand the concept of a fair trial as we would see it. I think Cardassian spies don't have to use subertfuge in the way ours do, because everyone on Cardassia simply expects to be spied on, all the time.

Regarding terrorism, I always balk at the term that has been used here of a "post 9/11 world". It's actually a "post 9/11 America". I grew up in the UK in the seventies, we were under constant threat of IRA terrorism throughout my formative years. It's only America that only discovered it existed 12 years ago. The question of whether or not terrorism is a legitimate tactic is a thorny one. For instance, in the case of the IRA, it can be argued that terrorism didn't work, because it wasn't until they gave up their weapons and got round the negotiating table that real progress was made. On the other hand it can be counter-argued that if the terrorism hadn't occured in the first place, the negotiations would never have been initiated.

In this case, the Bajorans achieved their objective, the withdrawal of the Cardassians, at least in part as a result of terrorist activities. Major Kira was always portrayed as a blunt, no nonsense, no beating around the bush sort of person. As such, I think she is just calling a spade a spade.
35. ChrisC
@1/23 Yes it is generally accepted on coalition ops that an officer's home nation does the major disciplining slap-down, following an in-field admonishment and submitted report by the aggrieved 3rd party; and that it's also understood that an officer may report back (preferably diplomatically!) to their own national superiors without reproach. We could also debate under what reporting matrix the Bajorian milita on DS9 operate relative to Starfleet (OPCOM, OPCON, TACON, etc). However the key offence is that she went around Sisko not to Bajor (which is likely to be within her rights) but instead to Starfleet. That's completely outside her purview and as she's meddling in UFP chain of command space, gives Sisko the latitude to express his own views directly. Failing that he could keep stum and ask Bajor to remove her, but that's not good storytelling!
Chris Nash
36. CNash
@33 - Netflix is going by production order rather than broadcast order, which is incorrect but still logical. Check out Keith's "Trivial Matters" section again.

"Past Prologue" is one of those episodes that I'd forgotten everything about, having only seen it the once, and after rewatching it I started to understand why. It's a good story, full of great character moments for Kira, Odo and Bashir (and an excellent introduction for Garak - he knows he's making Bashir incredibly uncomfortable, and keeps on doing it anyway because it's fun!), but to me there's nothing that really elevates it to "special" - so to me it remains mediocre and forgettable.

Having said that, it's a good analysis of what makes a terrorist, and how that definition can change depending on one's point of view. It's interesting that Sisko didn't immediately grant Tahna amnesty, despite pressure from Kira and her friends in the Provisional Government - he wasn't willing to just side with the Bajorans even though he's on their station in their space, which to me is the mark of a great mediator.

There's an angle that the episode doesn't really go into in depth on (except for O'Brien's line advising Sisko not to), and that's the question of whether Starfleet should give Tahna over to the Cardassians when they know, or suspect, that he'll most likely be tortured and abused while in their custody. In the UK at the moment, the European Court of Human Rights is not allowing the UK government to deport a radical Muslim preacher back to his homeland of Jordan, as the Jordanese authorities have a history of using methods of torture to secure evidence from suspects in their custody. It's not exactly equal to this episode - the UK wants to hand him back to Jordan - but nonetheless, the plot of the episode reminded me of it.
37. ChrisC
It amazed me that after all the years of peace, that the Klingon Empire and the UFP didn't seem to have here, a suitable law enforcement cooperation framework / treaty. One that could have had the Duras sisters detained on sight pending extradiction; let alone preventing repeat visits to trade (TNG: Firstborn). They certainly had a system by season four. Not only in place but also apparently mature enough to survive the marked downturn in diplomatic relations; otherwise a request would have been rejected out of hand without even a hearing, when they tried to get their hands on Worf (DS9: Rules of Engagement).
That's at least one Galaxy-class starship loss that could have been avoided!
38. Mac McEntire
While the word "terrorist" certainly brings out strong reactions in all of us, I personally see this episode not about governments and treaties, but more an extension of the first season’s old-timey “frontier town” vibe. This is really jumping out at me as I rewatch these episodes along with you guys. In this metaphor, the station represents the struggle to bring law to a lawless land, just like the small town sheriff struggling to keep order as the railroad (wormhole) changes life dramatically. The Duras sisters can stir trouble and for Garak can make with the mischief because they’re way, way out on the frontier.

I also find it interesting that the second episode puts its focus on the Bajor/Cardassia tensions, instead of the wormhole. After all the excitement over discovering it, you’d think the writers would get back to it right away. It goes to show the strength of the writing and acting that we can have the mysteries of the Gamma Quadrant on the back burner while exploring other aspects of the setting.
39. Kyle A
An interesting thing that isn't mentioned. At the end, after Tahna has been arrested and he calls Kira a traitor, there was that moment where Sisko steps closer to her and they look at each other for a second, before walking down the corridor together. After seeing how torn up Kira was by this point in the episode, there seemed to be something conveyed between the two of them in that second with no dialogue, almost Sisko's way of telling Kira she can trust him after all that. But without saying it.
Jenny Thrash
40. Sihaya
A terrorist may used to applying psychological pressure, both through group acts of terror on the larger society and through individual acts of intragroup enforcement. Kira is a lieutenant in the military now, but her original training is a bit different, less formal and more likely to involve an all-round set of competencies and the requirement for individual iniative. If she was with a guerilla group, she might work with people as a squad, but I always got the distinct impression that she operated more as an individual spy, forming teams or breaking into individual missions as necessary, and adjusting to the command as it hid, reappeared, was jailed, was replaced, etc. To her a commander would be more like a handler - a resource. Sisko is right to remind her of the structure, but her actions are hardly surprising.

I have a question, because I haven't watched the show in a million years - how new is Kira to the Bajoran military, and how new is the military itself? Are we talking about an institution that operated even as a puppet institution under the Cardassians, or are we talking about an institution so new that the word 'stable' is only applied to the cavalry?
Dean Tucker
41. StoryCottage
Bashir in these early episodes, and seasons, still don't sit well with me and his revelation later in the series.
Christopher Bennett
42. ChristopherLBennett
@34: Interesting take on Garak. It doesn't change my opinion that the character was annoyingly broad a lot of the time.

As for your point on terrorism, actually 9/11 has caused a lot of Americans to forget that we were afraid of terrorism well before then. Not long ago I watched a 1989 episode of War of the Worlds: The Series where the local cop who had been suspicious and hostile toward the secretive alien-hunter heroes suddenly became ultra-cooperative the moment they claimed they were hunting terrorists. It's been a panic-button word for a long time.

And I wasn't discussing whether terrorism was a "legitimate" tactic, just saying that it's a tactic like any other. It's a means to an end, not an end in itself. Personally I think that firing a missile from an offshore destroyer to blow up a building, or dropping bombs on a city from an overhead aircraft, is no more "legitimate" or honorable than sneaking in a truck with explosives in the back. It's all equally ugly and brutal and bloody. The difference isn't one of morality or the justness of one's cause, just of available resources.

@36: I don't think there's anything incorrect about production order over airing order in this case. The DS9 Companion also puts "A Man Alone" before "Past Prologue," and points out that "Alone" contains more of the exposition you'd expect from a first post-pilot episode. So I'd call that the correct order here. The reason "Past Prologue" was aired first probably had more to do with production delays or the network's preferences than the producers' intended story order.
alastair chadwin
43. a-j
Re Garak
His conspicuous behaviour never bothered me. After all, he's the only Cardassian on the station and as such would always be a public figure. I very much like ChristopherLBennett's suggestion that he's partly behaving extravagantly in order to alleviate his boredom and unhappiness. I would have loved to see that episode made, by the way. Did you ever publish it as a short story or similar?
I felt his chastising of Kira was surprisingly mild to be honest given that she broke the chain of command and embarrassed him in front of his superior officer. I always found Sisko to be the most realistic of post-Original Series Star Trek COs. That's not a criticism of the others, they were written as idealised figures which is fine within their own shows. But here on DS9, the rules are different and a tetchy CO angry with a difficult and insubordinant first officer works for me every time.
44. ChrisC
@40 I don't think it was ever established onscreen how far back the Bajorian milita can trace its history (nothing on Memory Alpha either). However there was a Bajorian Occupational Government and if we draw on lessons from our own history (as most Trek writers tend to do), foreign occupiers that go to the trouble of leaving a puppet govt in place, usually leave a vestiage of a local police or internal security force. Thus preserving the illusion of local support (think of the token Bajorian security officer who knocks on the door to execute a search, before a squad of Cardassians troop in and proceed to wreck the place).
Kira as a recent resistance fighter is new to the formal military as are other milita characters referred to in the early seasons. Again looking to our own history, you'd expect much of the milita personnel to be new; either because the organisation is brand new or because those that served alongside the occupiers, were - at the very best - forced to quit and be left alone and ostracised. Other historic alternatives include: being put up agaisnt the nearest courtyard wall, or being included in a rash of poorly investigated, unsolved murders that occur over the following decade.
Chris Nash
45. CNash
@39 - I caught the look that Kira and Sisko share, too, but I'm still not sure how to interpret it. Kira almost looked like she was pleading with Sisko - I hesitate to say "for acceptance", as it seems out of character for the headstrong Major Kira, but it works as a moment of vulnerability for her.

@43 - yes, perhaps "incorrect" was the wrong word to use in this case. As a general rule, I like to use broadcast order over production order whenever possible (otherwise you'd get oddities like Tasha Yar returning from the dead to appear in "Symbiosis"), but this isn't always preferable - for example, when watching Firefly!
Matt Hamilton
46. MattHamilton
@34 America didn't "Discover" terrorism 12 years ago. We have had attacks lobbed at us for a while now. Even in the 80's and the first Trade Center bombinb in the 90s, not to mention overseas attacks. But yes, England has had more of it on a personal level while Americans tend to ignore much of the world. However, it is not a Post 9/11 America, it most certainly is a Post 9/11 world, and, being from the UK, you should know this. The UK is our closest ally and have been with us through this "War on Terror". In the ways that 9/11 changed us it changed the whole world because of policies enacted by the United States and her allies such as England. The wars waged, drones etc. are most assuredly a Post 9/11 "WORLD" and not just the United States. A lot of our citizens tend to ignore the outside world, but our policies still effect the globe at large. That is why episodes like this and many others, especially in DS9, when watched in hindsight such as this rewatch, really hit home to many of us because they are showing something, telling us something about ourselves and had we just paid attention then...
Sara H
47. LadyBelaine
One of the reasons I am so happy about this rewatch project is that while I recall being an avid DS9 watcher and remember highly enjoying it, I don't remember the actual episodes with as much fondness or clarity of invidual TNG (or for that matter, VOY) episodes. I suppose that might a symptomatic of the fact that DS9 was arc-based instead of individual, distinct episodes, I suppose.

The only episodes I remember very clearly are the gimmick-y ones like the tribbles one with Dax totally rocking the miniskirt and go-go boots, and also the nightmarish 'Red Squad' one. I wonder if this rewatch will trigger any memories.
Christopher Bennett
48. ChristopherLBennett
@43: I did write my Garak story as a submission to the Strange New Worlds anthology, but it wasn't accepted. I think it was one of my proposed stories for the DS9: Prophecy and Change anthology, but the editor selected a different one of my pitches. So no, I've never published that story. To honest, it probably wasn't good enough anyway, too clever and convoluted for too little payoff.

@45: I tend to prefer production order unless there's a specific story reason for a different order. Sometimes episodes are intentionally written in one order and produced in another (like TNG's "Unification II" being shot before "Unification" to accommodate Leonard Nimoy's schedule), but sometimes episodes are aired out of order due to network whims or production schedules or the like, and in those cases I see no reason to favor airdate order. For instance, TOS episodes were aired out of production order because of network preference or because some episodes' special effects took longer to produce than others, but there was absolutely no story reason for that order. And at least in its first season, production order provides a smoother flow and continuity than airdate order. (Kirk complaining about his "new" yeoman Rand in "The Corbomite Maneuver" makes far more sense if it's her first appearance than her fifth.)

@47: DS9 was an episodic series for the most part; it just had stronger continuity among its episodes than its predecessors did. There's this pervasive myth that "episodic" and "arc-based" are opposites, but they aren't. Most shows made over the past few decades have been a mix of both; just the proportions differ. And there were only two points where DS9's episodes were blatantly serialized -- the first six episodes of season 6 and the last ten episodes of season 7. The other 160 episodes were indeed episodic, allowing for the occasional 2-parter and the 3-parter that opened season 2. But it was an episodic show with strong continuity, as opposed to TOS, an episodic show with weak continuity, or TNG, an episodic show with moderate continuity.
49. Kyle A
@45: The reason I mentioned that exchange at the end was because of Kira's momentary vulnerability after being run through the ringer and seeing this as the first point that the bridge started to be built between her and Sisko. That is why I see that moment as so significant to both of their development. It is also interesting that krad used that as the header shot for his review of this episode.
50. MJSS
Not to get too spoiler-y, but Kira and Odo's conversation in this episode looks an awful lot like it's foreshadowing A Certain Plot Twist. Especially:

KIRA: How could I possibly turn against my own people?
ODO: Are they? Your own people?

I realize they didn't come up with that twist until about a year after this was filmed, but the conversation is... impressively fortuitous. Sort of like the Lars' lines in Star Wars about how Luke might turn out like his father.
51. lvsxy808
Episode 1x02:
Kira is fighting for what Bajor is and can be—Tahna is fighting for Bajor was and can’t ever be again.
Episode 7x22
Damar is fighting for what Cardassia is and can be—Rusot is fighting for Cardassia was and can’t ever be again.
52. McKay B
"Meanwhile, we have Garak, whose presence and mystery will be a lovely source of storylines for the rest of the series. The character could easily have been a walking, talking cliché—his double meanings are sometimes a little too obvious—but Andrew J. Robinson imbues him with such charm that it’s impossible not to love the character."

I always believed that, when the double meanings are too obvious, that means they were actually triple (or more) meanings.
53. McKay B
A few more comments:
- According to tvtropes, Robinson has stated that one of the reasons Garak liked teasing Bashir was out of romantic attraction. Also, as far as how Garak can be a "master spy" when he's so obvious about being a shady character ... well, I think the correct reasons have been discussed, as long as you combine several Comments together. He's retired/outed; he's acting melodramatic to amuse himself; and the writers frankly weren't interested in the effort that would have gone into making a TRULY subtle spy-type character (and yet still revealing enough about him to the audience to make him interesting).
- Saying Kira had no obligation to obey Sisko is ridiculous. It doesn't matter that she's not affiliated with the Federation. It wouldn't matter if Sisko were only an Ensign rather than a Captain. Kira's own militia/government has sent her to BE the executive officer for Sisko, and that same militia/government has also GIVEN the Federation (and its chosen representative officer) jurisdiction over the governance of DS9. Also, Sisko's confrontation of Kira about this chain of command is truly a brilliant moment for showing why he is the commander that DS9 needs. Moments like this are why I respect Sisko a lot more than Kirk or Janeway.
- If we want to discuss Kira's past bluntly, but the word "terrorist" has picked up connotations of evil that make it incompatible with this 90s series, then the term "guerrilla fighter" seems like it would serve just fine.
54. Zabeus
My first reaction to that was "What the hell? When did TVTropes turn into a gay fanfic site?" but you are correct. From Wikipedia, citing an interview at
Robinson's initial performance as Garak received scrutiny...Robinson denied that his portrayal was intended to portray Garak as homosexual, and, rather, implied that he was omnisexual. ...
"I had planned Garak not as homosexual or heterosexual but omnisexual, and the first episode I had with Bashir played that way gave people fits. So I had to remove that characteristic from him."-Andrew J. Robinson
That's interesting. Also there's no problem with using terrorist if that's what the show's characters used.
55. Xander
Sorry for the delay getting back - personal business and timey-wimey stuff.

In relation to my comment about the Duras' sisters: It's a personal opinion but I felt it made the Trek universe feel far too small and it was too much of a coincidence to have them just *happen* to be involved. It worked better with the son of Duras in "The Sword of Kahless" - his presence felt more organic to the story.

In relation to the realism of Tahna and his actions: to this day, the Provisional IRA are still "at war" with the UK. Despite the peace process and the fact the situation is a lot more equal for all parties, they still insist on bombings and assaults until they achieve the absolute ideal of their cause. Although the threat to mainland Britain is minimal, they are still doing great harm to their own. My personal concern is that Scottish Nationalists might start doing something similar following the upcoming independence vote.

The whole situation is still treated a lot better here than in "The High Ground" which handled it with kid gloves.
56. McKay B
@54: I'm sorry to hear that he "removed" his opinion of Garak from the character. I'd figured his crush on Bashir, as well as his overall bisexual classification, had continued throughout the series, just without being focused on, and I liked it that way. IMO, fiction needs more characters with non-majority sexual orientations who don't make their sexual orientation the main focus of their personalities.
Iain Cupples
57. NumberNone
My personal concern is that Scottish Nationalists might start doing something similar following the upcoming independence vote.

This is completely off-topic, but needs to be addressed. I don't mean to be rude, but I have never heard such a fanciful claim in relation to Scottish nationalism in my entire life. Scottish nationalism has existed as a formal political movement for over 75 years and there has never been even the faintest whisper of a suggestion of a hint of terrorist activity: it has always been and will remain, regardless of the referendum result, completely committed to being a solely democratic movement. The suggestion to the contrary is quite honestly offensive, as well as ridiculous.

Even the SNP's worst enemies have never seriously countenanced the idea that Scottish nationalists might turn to terrorism if denied by the ballot box - not least because they have been denied by the ballot box many times before, and have never before done so.
Nick Hlavacek
58. Nick31
@31 - That's exactly how I would describe Kira's attitude. She's not going to make excuses for what she did, and her integrity means she's going to call it like it is. She's a character who likes things in black and white but is forced to live in a world of gray. Lots of her maturing as a character over the series is her ability to regcognize that about herself and accept it.
As far as Garak goes, I always figured that he was just doing what he needed in order to survive and messing with everyone's mind was nothing more than one more tool in his arsenal. Actually at this point it was possibly the only tool, but he used it well. That line about the sad thing being he really was a good tailor - just a very well written and delivered line. Speaks volumes about Garak, right from the beginning.
59. Noblehunter
I wonder if how Kira came to speak English has something to do with her using the word terrorist. It's unlikely pre-occupation Bajor (they were all peaceful-like, right?) had words for "terrorist" or "freedom fighter." So they come up with a new one to describe the resistance fighters. And somewhere along the line the new word is equated to "terrorist" rather than "freedom fighter".
60. Zabeus
Do we even know that Kira (or anyone in particular) speaks English?
61. Noblehunter
They're all talking to each other and we hear English, so I assume it's English. :P

Kira either learned "English" or it's the universal translator at work. And one or the other is translating bajoran for "resistance fighter" into 'terrorist', for whatever reason.
62. Xander
@57- oh, have you not heard of the short-lived but idiotic Scottish Liberation Army? They were very active in the Seventies and allied themselves with the IRA in a misguided attempt to get "freedom" from the union. Even in the past few years, numpies from my own hometown in Kilwinning were done for sending parcel bombs to several people associated with Celtic football club simply because they supported that particular football team. Parties like Combat 18 and the National Front have a very vested interest in the result of next years ballot. I know this because, for better or worse, I come from that kind of narrow-minded, bigoted background capable of such violence. I'm not saying it WILL happen, I'm just pointing out that patriotism remains the virtue of the vicious and it could be used as a motivator for extremely right-wing people to commit terrible wrongs.

I'm Scottish and I love my country - I also think we've got bigger issues than devolution and independence to worry about.
James Nicoll
63. JamesDavisNicoll
I'm not saying it WILL happen, I'm just pointing out that patriotism remains the virtue of the vicious and it could be used as a motivator for extremely right-wing people to commit terrible wrongs.

Oh, they don't have to be right-wing. The FLQ, for example, were Marxist-Leninists.

And I am not sure about the Brigade d'Autodefense du Francais, right versus leftwise. They carried out a war of terror on the Second Cup chain of cafes in 2000. The fellow who got done for that was a former FLQer, though.

Richard Henry Bain (who staged a one-man attack on the new head of government of Quebec) seems to fall outside the usual spectrum of Canadian and Quebec politics, judging by his claim that his legal team are God and Jesus Christ. As far as I know, the standard translations for the Christian Bible are quiet on the question of whether or not their messiah or the Holy Father passed the bar in any part of Canada but personally I am inclined to be skeptical.
Christopher Bennett
64. ChristopherLBennett
@59: Bajor is a whole planet with a history stretching back tens of thousands of years, far longer than human history. I'm sure that history includes plenty of different cultures and value systems that came into conflict at various times. Even if they were generally at peace before the Cardassians came, it must have taken time for them to achieve that balance, and surely they were familiar with the concepts of war, fighting, and terrorism from their long history.
65. Happytoscrap
I had no idea how "current" these rewatches were. I just finished up a TNG rewatch and rated all the shows. Every five or six episodes I watched/rated, I came here to see how my ratings stacked up. Then I started rewatching DS9. To be honest, I probably only saw about 2/3rds of the DS9 episodes so this rewatch is going to be more of a watch/rewatch for me. DS9 was never part of my religion like TNG was. Just finished the first dozen episodes of season 1 DS9 and realized that I had outpaced my official rewatcher.

Now I'm kind of lost.

Overall, the first season of DS9 seems more organized and thought out than the first season of TNG. From Picard to the Duras sisters to Q and Vash to even O'Brian and later on Worf, it ties in well with TNG. So far, this seems to be one of the stronger episodes of season 1. Good introduction of Garek and a good highlight on Kira's conflict of interests.

I do like lemonade but I've always hated that expression. Life never hands me lemons. I can make good with lemons. Life hands me dog poop.

So far, I seem to feel the same way about Julien Bashir that Miles O'Brian does. I remember O'Brian coming around to Bashir in later seasons. I don't recall me following the chief in that regard.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
66. Lisamarie
I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Although maybe I need to be careful of the comments here :) Interesting take on Garak - at first I wasn't really sure if he was a spy or not, and the rumors were just based on prejudice and assumptions. But if he is a spy, I can see the acting obvious as just part of the ploy - kind of a I know that you know that I know kind of thing, to lull one into complacency.
In all honesty, my emotions are still a little raw from current events, so I was quite willing to let Tahna rot. But I really love the description of Kira as somebody fighting for what Bajor COULD be, as opposed to Tahna who is still fighting for what Bajor was and cannot return to, and for whom terrorism has almost become an end in and of itself.
Iain Cupples
67. NumberNone
@Xander 62 - yes, I'm aware of the SNLA. A handful of idiots who haven't, to my knowledge, caused a single injury, and certainly not a fatality, in their entire existence: whose membership is so low that for periods of time it was actually thought to be zero. To suggest that the SNLA are proof that a 'No' vote could lead to Scots turning to terrorism is absurd.

Patriotism is not 'the virtue of the vicious', any more than any other belief is. Scottish nationalism (with a few exceptions) is not right-wing, it's moderately left-wing, firmly wedded to democratic means, and utterly opposed to terrorism.
68. Gerry__Quinn
Happytoscrap @65: When life hands you dog poop, make compost.
69. critter42
One thing I haven't seen remarked on re: Kira's going over Sisko's head (granted, we're almost 70(!!) posts in, so I may have missed it if someone brought it up). KRAD made this statement in the article: 'Kira adapts to her circumstances, become a superlative politician'.

As this episode demonstrates, she's not there yet. Regardless of her feelings about the Federation, regardless of the actual legalities of who has the authority to command her, I think what everyone is missing is that the DS9 first officer post is at its heart a POLITICAL post. At this point she may know this, but doesn't really UNDERSTAND the implications. Her actions could have killed her political career (Sisko could have easily called the Provisional Government and told them to get him someone easier to work with) and any hope she had at helping Bajor through the post-Cardassian reconstruction.
Joseph Newton
70. crzydroid
This was a meh episode for me, and the pacing was kind of slow. The character and the actor playing him were kind of uninteresting to me. Also, you knew right from the start that that guy was still going to turn out to be a bad guy, not worthy of asylum. I suppose if you thought about it more, you could've also guessed at how his interactions with Kira were going to go. It was fun to see Garak, but that was about it.

What I think is interesting though, is that this episode is a good example of the differences between DS9 and TNG--this is more of a politics in the day to day lives of people, and TNG political episodes are more about big moral questions.

Your putting the toothpaste back in the tube analogy was pretty good. I was like, "Guess what? Bajor has space travel and other people know about Bajor, so you'll never go to this isolationist paradise that you seem to want."
71. stardreamer
I would like to think that if this episode were being filmed today, Lursa and B'Etor would be allowed to have practical armor instead of the fan-service boob windows.

I had forgotten that Damar shows up so early on! His character becomes much more important later in the series.

@18: Garak knows perfectly well that everyone on the station assumes he's a spy. Why shouldn't he act like a caricature of one, just to mess with people's heads? That strikes me as something well in keeping with his character as we come to know it.

@42: Good point. Terrorism is a tool. It's also a tool that comes with a lot of ethical baggage, which makes it a good one for staging dramatic conflict. IRL, being willing (or not) to engage in terrorism says something about both the individual and their cause. (Exactly what it says is highly context-dependent.)

@53: As I've heard it, both Robinson and Siddig have stated that the slash subtext was something they mutually agreed upon. So this is Word of God from the actors.They may have had to back it down a bit, but it never entirely disappears.

@61: Technically, what they all speak is Federation Standard. This is a standard (pardon the pun) tactic when you're writing about an interstellar civilization with multiple cultures -- you postulate a common trade & diplomatic language that everyone speaks, which just happens to be the language your audience will understand. I think of Federation Standard as being *like* English, and probably evolved from English, but not necessarily exactly the same.
Christopher Bennett
72. ChristopherLBennett
@71: Damar doesn't show up until season 4's "Return to Grace," as a member of Dukat's freighter crew. The Cardassian here is Gul Danar, played by Vaughn Armstrong.

As for the language, there have been numerous onscreen references to characters speaking English, and English-speaking characters from the past in time-travel episodes have never had trouble understanding Federation characters even when they didn't have communicators to translate for them. The phrase "Federation Standard" was never actually used onscreen, only in tie-in novels and comics.
73. Ganon
I feel like I'm missing out on some kind of in-joke with "thumpher". Could someone enlighten me?
Joseph Newton
74. crzydroid
@73: During either the announcement for the DS9 rewatch or The Emissary review (I forgot which and I'm too lazy to check), Keith used the word "thumpher," I think to describe Dr. Bashir's behavior. Someone called attention to it in the comments and a small discussion ensued.
75. Data Logan
Not surprising to me that Kira might be "pleading for acceptance" in that final look between her and Sisko. Although not referenced in this episode, we must remember that it wasn't very long ago that she discovered that he was the Emissary, practically a demi-god in her religion, which she is very faithful to.
This was always a very interesting dynamic in their relationship to me. Unfortunately, it won't really be addressed until the 4th season episode "Starship Down", and then only minimally.
77. David Sim
"Go over my head again Major, and I'll have yours on a platter."

That's my personal favourite quote from Past Prologue. I love the way Winrich Kolbe directs the shot (which Krad has thoughtfully put up for us to see) where Sisko towers over Kira, showing us visually as well as in Sisko's words who's in charge here.

Something occurred to me at the end; when the bomb goes off in the Gamma Quadrant, it almost looked like sending up a flare. Do you think that was the moment when the Dominion realised about the wormhole? We never knew exactly when they became aware of incoming traffic from the Alpha Quadrant, but this seemed as good a time as any. Its only a theory, but if its true, Kira and Tahna are responsible for all of the misery that will happen from the end of Season 2 onwards.
Keith DeCandido
78. krad
To give credit where it's due, it's Chris Lough of who picks all the photos, not me. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
79. David Sim
OK then, thanks Chris Lough.

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