Fri
May 10 2013 2:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Captive Pursuit”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit“Captive Pursuit”
Written by Jill Sherman Donner and Michael Piller
Directed by Corey Allen
Season 1, Episode 5
Production episode 40511-406
Original air date: January 31, 1993
Stardate: 46477.5

Station log: A dabo girl brings a complaint to Sisko about Quark sexually harassing her, though she also admits that said harassment is actually part of her employment contract with Quark. Sisko promises to deal with it, but before he can do so, an unidentified ship comes through the wormhole. It’s a single-person vessel, which is badly damaged. The occupant refuses to abandon his ship, but O’Brien is able to tow him in (and talk him through it). Given how skittish the guy is, Sisko suggests O’Brien meet him alone at the airlock.

O’Brien boards the ship. Once the occupant comes out of hiding—he has a personal cloak—he identifies himself as Tosk, which is apparently both his name and his species. O’Brien promises to fix the ship, assuming Tosk will help him figure out how it all works.

Tosk very reluctantly follows O’Brien onto the station—they can’t start repairs until the reactor cools down. O’Brien explains about the station and the wormhole and Starfleet’s mission to seek out new life and new civilizations. He also shows him around the Promenade (including watching Quark throw a cheating gambler out), and then brings him to quarters. Tosk wants to get started on repairs, and O’Brien promises they will soon. Tosk only requires seventeen minutes of rest per day, and his sustenance is built into him. After O’Brien leaves, Tosk calls up station schematics to find out where the weapons are stored.

O’Brien reports to Sisko that Tosk is obviously on the run, and his ship was definitely fired on. Sisko tells O’Brien to stay close, and he’ll also order Odo to keep an eye on him.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

Tosk talks O’Brien through the repairs to his ship. O’Brien figures it’ll be ready to go in a couple of days, but Tosk needs to leave sooner than that. While O’Brien’s staff works on the ship, O’Brien takes Tosk to Quark’s. The Ferengi tries to entice Tosk with a holosuite adventure, but Tosk says he lives the greatest adventure imaginable—but he won’t give specifics about it.

Odo catches Tosk messing with a security junction. Tosk refuses to explain what he’s doing beyond, “I must prepare.” Odo takes him into custody, and O’Brien determines that he was trying to break the security on the weapons locker. Tosk insists that he has committed no crime—in fact, he’s appalled by the notion—and he begs Sisko and O’Brien to let him die with honor.

Another ship comes through the wormhole with the same energy signature as Tosk’s ship. They scan the station and then attack the station’s shields, bringing them down as a prelude to boarding. A firefight breaks out on the Promenade as a bunch of red-suited, helmeted hunters go after Tosk. Most of them go down, but one hunter is able to break into Odo’s brig and find Tosk in his cell. The hunter is greatly disappointed that Tosk allowed himself to be caged, saying it’s the most disappointing hunt in history. He will be brought back alive, the greatest dishonor for any Tosk.

Sisko, however, is more than a little pissed off that the hunter has disrupted the station, damaged property, and is now ordering Sisko to release Tosk into his custody, an order Sisko is not at all inclined to follow.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

The hunter explains to Sisko that Tosk has been bred specifically for the hunt, and that they are considered honorable and noble, training all their lives for the hunt. However, the hunter will make sure that travel through the wormhole is henceforth off limits to the hunt. Sisko agrees to return Tosk to the hunters’ custody. However, after O’Brien pleads his case, Sisko is willing to grant Tosk asylum—if he asks for it.

But he won’t ask for it. To hide behind the Federation would be an even greater dishonor than being brought home alive. He lives for the sole purpose of outwitting the hunters another day. He appreciates O’Brien’s offer, and thanks him for it, but to accept it would go against everything he believes.

O’Brien goes to Quark’s in a cranky mood. Quark tries to talk to him, but O’Brien won’t have any of it—but Quark persists, and O’Brien, in the midst of chatting with him, has an epiphany. After a stop at a security station, O’Brien takes over the prisoner transport from Odo, saying it’s on orders from Sisko. Odo angrily goes to Sisko to complain, while O’Brien escorts the hunter and Tosk—leaving his combadge behind. He takes the hunter through a security field which goes off at the hunter’s weapon—O’Brien having previously increased the field’s output by 200%. O’Brien socks the hunter in the jaw and then runs off with Tosk to the latter’s ship.

The hunter contacts his people: “The hunt is back on.” He actually sounds happy about it.

On ops, they figure out what’s happening in about half a second. Odo says he can seal off the access tunnel where Dax’s sensors have found O’Brien and Tosk, but Sisko tells him there’s no hurry. Tosk and O’Brien make it to the ship, Tosk taking care of any hunters in their way. Tosk leaves, wishing O’Brien well (his version of it, anyhow: “Die with honor,” which is probably not on the chief’s agenda).

O’Brien reports to Sisko, who gives the chief a major ass-chewing for the stunt he pulled, particularly the part where he took off his combadge so he could ignore Sisko. O’Brien then expresses confusion as to how they got as far as they did, and Sisko blithely says that one got by ’em. O’Brien thanks him and leaves, and only then does Sisko smile.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: O’Brien gets to learn about Gamma Quadrant engineering—for example, an arva node is the equivalent of a ramscoop.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark takes his role as a barkeep seriously—for all that he prefers that O’Brien not call him that (which, of course, only makes O’Brien use the term more)—and tries to get O’Brien to open up. After that’s a huge success, he goes to talk to another customer (who seems to be half-asleep, half-drunk, or both).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

Quark also has a sexual harassment policy in his employment contract, but in his case it’s a policy that allows him to sexually harass his employees. On the one hand, this is revolting. On the other hand, Sarda, the dabo girl who complains to Sisko in the opening, signed the contract without reading it, which is spectacularly stupid, and makes it very hard to sympathize with her. (Her defense that she’s not a legal expert is thin—she can obviously read...)

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo disguises himself as an abstract painting on a corridor bulkhead near a security junction that Tosk messes with.

It was already established that Odo doesn’t allow weapons on the Promenade; this episode firmly establishes that Odo himself never uses a weapon, either. (Leaving aside any other considerations, it would get in the way of his shapeshifting...)

For Cardassia!: O’Brien blithely refers to the Cardassians as “Cardies” at one point, a racial slur that you don’t usually hear from Starfleet personnel.

Keep your ears open: “Glass jaw. No wonder you wear a helmet.”

O’Brien to the hunter after he drops him with one punch.

Welcome aboard: Scott MacDonald makes his first TV appearance here as Tosk; he’ll be back in a week on TNG’s “Face of the Enemy” as Sub-commander N’Vek, and also appear again on DS9 (as Goran’agar in “Hippocratic Oath”), on Voyager (as Ensign Rollins in “Caretaker”), and on Enterprise (in the recurring role of the Xindi Dolim). Gerrit Graham plays the First Hunter; he’ll be back on Voyager’s “Death Wish” as a member of the Q-Continuum. Kelly Curtis plays Sarda the dabo girl.

Trivial matters: Makeup designer Michael Westmore based his design for Tosk’s makeup on an alligator. This episode garnered DS9 an Emmy nomination for makeup.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

A major inspiration for the Tosk-hunter setup is the seminal (and oft-adapted) 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

The hunter refers to the wormhole as “the anomaly,” which will be how Gamma Quadrant natives continue to refer to the wormhole throughout the series.

Tosk and the hunters (which totally needs to be a band name) are the first known Gamma Quadrant species to appear on the show (we only later find out that Odo is). Tosk’s cloaking technology is very similar to that of the Jem’Hadar (not to mention the method by which the hunters breed them for a particular purpose), and it’s likely that the Hunters are part of the Dominion, though that’s never mentioned, since the characters never appear again onscreen.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

We do see another Tosk in the novel Rising Son by S.D. Perry, which features Jake Sisko traveling through the Gamma Quadrant.

The episode’s co-writer Jill Sherman Donner has an impressive resumé, having served on the production/writing staff for The Incredible Hulk, Baywatch, Magnum P.I., Freddy’s Nightmares, and Voyagers! She appears to have retired from the TV business, as she has no IMDB credits in this century.

Walk with the Prophets: “I am Tosk.” Just last night, I was having a conversation among myself, Tor.com’s Ryan Britt, fellow Trek novelist David Mack, and editor Marco Palmieri on the subject of DS9’s first season and how generally weak it is. One of the others commented that “Duet” was really when the show came into its own and that prior to that the show hadn’t found its voice.

I cited “Progress” as an episode that did so prior to “Duet,” for many of the same reasons, in fact, but I realized watching this today that this should’ve been what I cited, because, damn, this is a good episode. It’s a good Star Trek episode, it’s a good Prime Directive story, it’s a good creation of an alien culture, and it’s a strong DS9 episode.

Honestly, I can’t point to a significant flaw in the episode, and only one or two insignificant ones (the opening with the dabo girl falls flat, e.g., especially since Sarda is never seen or mentioned again). It’s a great vehicle for the always-magnificent Colm Meaney, who turned a transporter button-pusher on TNG into a significant recurring role, and then a starring role on the spinoff from the sheer power of his awesomeness. O’Brien’s easygoing style goes beautifully with a superb performance by Scott MacDonald (in his first TV role!) as a character O’Brien himself perfectly describes as the galaxy’s greatest straight man.

The script takes the hunter/Tosk dynamic seriously as a cultural thing, doesn’t judge either the hunters or Tosk for what they do—only how they go about it, mostly in terms of dragging DS9 into their hunt. (Also Gerrit Graham’s hunter really is a dick, which I suspect is half the reason why Sisko let O’Brien get away with what he did.)

A good, solid, well-put-together episode anchored by two excellent performances.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Captive Pursuit

 

Warp factor rating: 7


Keith R.A. DeCandido writes books and stuff.

35 comments
Nick Hlavacek
1. Nick31
I think that the perception that the first season was weak might stem from how consistently good later seasons were. I'd forgotten about this one as well but it was a very good episode. This is just one more example of Sisko's good leadership style: enforcing the regs and chewing people out when they deserve it, but at the same time backing them up when they do the right thing.
dragontrainer
2. dragontrainer
I tend to like when we see little bits that the crew has to deal with like the sexual harassment policy, without the show feeling the need to follow up on it. I want to be able to believe a station commander will look into something when they say they will, without having to see the resolution.

It seems this is how Sisko's day might really go. He's not just saving the station/Bajor/quadrant everyday, he's dealing with HR disputes and resource allocations and other more mundane issues.
Sean Dowell
3. qbe_64
Completely agree with the quality of the episode juxtaposed against the quality of the first season. When I saw this episode title, I actually said "Tosk was in Season ONE?!?"
George Salt
4. GeorgeSalt
I never liked this episode. For me the plot is too derivative of Richard Connelly's 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game. Many variations of that plot have appeared on TV over the years and there is little here that is fresh or original.

Also, I find both the Tosk and the Hunters rather uninteresting. First contact with visitors from the Gamma Quadrant should have been more memorable.

It's hard to believe that a group of aliens appear unannounced, beam a boarding party on the space station and engage in a firefight, and Sisko simply chalks it up to a cultural misunderstanding. Then again, perhaps after a century of contact with the Klingons, humans of the 24th century have come to expect just about anything from visiting aliens!

This episode will probably spark yet another discussion of the Prime Directive. I suppose Sisko's hands were tied by the fact that Tosk refused to ask for asylum or resist his return to the Hunters. I think that O'Brien's solution -- release Tosk and give him a head start on the Hunters -- was the correct one.
Mahesh Banavar
5. maheshkb
"On the other hand, Sarda, the dabo girl who complains to Sisko in the opening, signed the contract without reading it, which is spectacularly stupid, and makes it very hard to sympathize with her. (Her defense that she’s not a legal expert is thin—she can obviously read...)"

Show of hands: How many of you have read your entire credit card contracts?

:)

Thanks for doing these rewatches. I like TNG a lot, and followed the whole rewatch. I only recently watched DS9, and was not particularly impressed, except in some rare cases (this being one). I look forward to reading your perspectives.
dragontrainer
6. Rootboy
When I went through DS9 last year, I agree this was the best one so far this early in the run. Colm Meaney is awesome, Tosk is adorable, and when the hunters show up there's a pretty great action sequence on the Promenade. The show will fly much higher, but this is a perfectly respectable hour of genre TV.
dragontrainer
7. Eben Brooks
I disagree that the first season was "weak". DS9's first season was stronger than much of TNG's entire run. There are really only three true stinkers ("A Man Alone", "Move Along Home", and "The Storyteller"), and the rest of the season, if not stellar, is consistently good storytelling.
Christopher Bennett
8. ChristopherLBennett
I agree, this was a really good episode, one of the season's finest. MacDonald was so sympathetic as Tosk that it's hard to believe he's the same guy who played the cruel, malevolent Dolim on ENT (and it's interesting that his Trek career is bracketed by playing reptilian aliens). And I loved the Tosk makeup design.

When the producers developed the Dominion, they were thinking that Tosk and the Hunters would turn out to be members and that the Dominion were the ones who bred the Tosk and gave them their Jem'Hadar-like shrouding ability. But the opportunity to mention it never arose.

I'd quibble with the statement that Tosk is both the character's name and the species' name. I took it to be that he didn't have a name, that saying "I am Tosk" is merely a description of what kind of game animal he is, like caribou or deer. Or maybe the word simply means "prey." Since he had no identity except as prey, the culture gave him no name.

@7: I agree that compared to a lot of shows, DS9 started out very solid, because it already had a staff and crew that had the basics of telling Trek stories down pat so they could hit the ground running. I'm not sure I'd entirely agree with your list of clunkers, though. We'll see how that turns out as the Rewatch progresses.
dragontrainer
9. Cybersnark
Was Tosk's cloak a technological device or a biological ability?

I ask because a Jem'Hadar's shroud is biological (it's one of the first things they lose if they start going into ketracel white withdrawal). If Tosk can cloak without technological aid, it would add even more evidence that he's related.
Dante Hopkins
10. DanteHopkins
When I think back to DS9 season 1, besides "Emissary", this episode immediately springs to mind. Definitely a high point of the first season, and the first episode with species coming from the Gamma Quadrant was handled excellent. A suspenseful hour of television, from the mystery of Tosk to the arrival of the hunters. And we got to see the first glimpses of Sisko's great command style, as stated above, giving them hell when they break the rules, but backing them up when they do the right thing. And Colm Meaney shines in this one, truly fleshing out the complex Miles O'Brien. Just great stuff.
dragontrainer
11. DavidS
@5

Credit card contracts, no but we all should know the gist of them by now. Employment contracts, which is what this is, absolutely every time since it's critical to know where you stand in respect to your employer. Sure, Ferengi probably laden those down with tons of legalese but you should still read it.

Or hire someone to do it for you.
Or run it through a textual analysis program in the computer.
Or find another job.
dragontrainer
12. Patrick Depew
I can see why people would think in retrospect that the first season was weak. I think it was because they still focused on single episodes and didn't really create any overriding arcs other than the always present Emissary and Cardassian/Bajoran history backstories.

This episode basically felt like a Season 1 TNG episode that was meant to focus on one of the main cast members. In that respect it succeeded. It re-establishes O'Brien's chief (pardon the pun) characteristics and gives him someone to play against in both Tosk and The Hunter, to a lesser degree.

I'd agree that this was a solid if unspectacular episode.
David Levinson
13. DemetriosX
I think I would call this more a 6 than a 7. It is a solid episode, but may look a little better than it is because of what surrounds it.

Along with telling us more about O'Brien, we also get a good look at Sisko's command style. We see that he personally approves of what O'Brien has done, but where Picard might have gently admonished him for his actions, Sisko tears him a new one without openly letting him know that he was all right with what happened. Certainly O'Brien can read that from the fact that he and Tosk got as far as they did and there don't seem to be any consequences, but it has to be an assumption.

And O'Brien's use of the "Cardie" slur is another clue that he has something of a history with Cardassians.
Keith DeCandido
14. krad
DemetriosX: We already know O'Brien has a history with the Cardassians -- that was spelled out way back in "The Wounded."

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
dragontrainer
15. RobinM
This is one of my favorite episodes of season 1. O'Brien shines as more than a button pushing engineer but as a Starfleet officer. Tosk is adorable and I'm glad he gets away from the Hunters. The Hunters are jerks who deserve what they get.
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
@15: Err, except the Hunters get exactly what they wanted all along: a challenging hunt, the opportunity to continue chasing after their prey.
dragontrainer
17. Alright Then
This is one of my favorite episodes of the series, mainly because it focuses on the everyman qualities of Miles O'Brien. Got to love the way he calls Tosk "friend" when they first meet. Like something out of an old western---white man befriends Indian, "Kemo Sabe."

Plus, Tosk and the hunters (yes, great band name) are interesting aliens of the week, hinting at some even more interesting aliens from the Gamma Quadrant...
dragontrainer
18. Mac McEntire
This is a fun episode, with a lot of high adventure moments. The shootout on the promenade is great, as is Tosk's big leap through air during his escape (little green dude is spry!)

It’s too bad we never Tosk or his people again. I imagine there could have been a fascinating follow-up story, in which a Tosk (all the Tosks?) stood up to the hunters, and gained some independence. The Dominion conflict could have been the catalyst for such a thing, and it could have made for an interesting compare-and-contrast with the Bajorans having so recently gained their freedom from the Cardassians.

As for the dabo girl’s contract, maybe that was just Quark’s roundabout way of saying he liked her…
Joseph Newton
19. crzydroid
I thought this episode was pretty good...up until the point where O'Brien broke him out of prison, at which point it all just seemed to fall apart. Not to mention the question of what Sisko did put in his report to Starfleet...

I especially had problems in the breakout scene with the way O'Brien nonchalantly glanced at all the aliens Tosk had killed, as if this were no big deal or they were unconcious or something. I started to get a sense with this (and some of the other first season episodes so far) that I was watching all these DS9 characters I knew being put into silly situations, like a fanfic or something. Granted, there are some pretty silly stories near the end of season 6 too, so maybe it's par for the course here.

As a side note, between this and a similarly themed Enterprise episode, it seems that Star Trek writers don't like hunting (based off of lines like, "Centuries ago we used to hunt animals for sport," etc, etc).
dragontrainer
20. Ashcom
I think this episode contrasts rather nicely with the still to come "Move Along Home", in that both are attempting to present the alien cultures of the Gamma Quadrant as having a slightly malevolent warped morality. The difference being that this one really works, whereas the later episode is just unutterably dumb.

I think a lot of why it works is not just the script, but the fact that Scott MacDonald and Colm Meaney actually do pull off an excellent double-act, which manages to sweep aside other concerns.

I agree that the lack of concern over dead aliens was somewhat inconsistent, especially in a Star Trek universe where "phasers on stun" seems to have become the norm. But actually, in a society where "die with honour" is a salutation, it is likely that the hunter race themselves would not be concerned by those deaths.
David Levinson
21. DemetriosX
@14 Krad
Sure, but that was on TNG. I think this might be the first reference for DS9, though subtle. And there may have been people who were watching this, but hadn't seen "The Wounded". In any case, the fact that they haven't forgotten about that bit of his backstory and might just be aware that it had implications for the overall run of the show was refreshing to say the least.
dragontrainer
22. Erik Dercf
Die with honor! This is my favorite O'Brien episode and it is a total bromance. I wish Tosk would have showed up in later seasons to return the gesture that O'Brien made and continue the friendship that was created here.
Chris Nash
23. CNash
One of season 1's more memorable adventures; this episode, amongst others, really defined Deep Space Nine for me. This was one of the episodes that seemed to go out of its way to say "We're not like TNG". The gradual building of friendship between O'Brien and Tosk was played very well, especially in the scene where O'Brien switches from being suspiscious of Tosk's story to openly defending him to the rest of the senior staff in Ops. Sisko tries to exert his authority in a situation that's rapidly going out of his control - so his dressing-down of O'Brien in the final scene is very understandable. And there's a few character beats too - Quark's sexual harrassment contracts, Odo's personal rule of never using weapons.

A small niggle, going forward: the station crew have to get used to meeting new species on a regular basis due to their unique position at the mouth of the wormhole, and so it's surprising that a more qualified first contact specialist wasn't assigned to DS9 for this explicit purpose. This episode serves as an excellent demonstration of why one is needed.
Keith DeCandido
24. krad
DemetriosX: Actually, O'Brien's background with the Cardassians came up twice before, once in "Emissary" when talking to Kira as they were about to square off against Gul Jasad ("You know what they do to prisoners, Major"), once in "Past Prologue" when talking to Sisko about Tahna Los ("You wouldn't want to turn a man -- any man -- over to their tender mercies").

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher Hatton
25. Xopher
crzydroid 19: "As a side note, between this and a similarly themed Enterprise episode, it seems that Star Trek writers don't like hunting (based off of lines like, 'Centuries ago we used to hunt animals for sport,' etc, etc). "

Well, yeah. They're civilized. They also don't have a death penalty, or use money (except when they do) and no one in the Federation is poor. It's Gene Roddenberry's utopian future.

You can invent a utopia where blood sports are still practiced. This is GR's, and frankly I'd rather live in his. In fact that was the innovation of Star Trek: a future that people would actually like to live in.
Erik Harrison
26. ErikHarrison
Just watched this one (as part of my "watch for the first time/rewatch from childhood" thing). Solid Star Trek.

However - the bit with the Dabo girl seems over the line. It's not sexual harassment. It's clear that sex period is part of her duties. While we can imagine such a thing in the ST universe, and even imagine having to deal with it on DS9, we have a main character who bought a sex slave. Well, maybe not slave, because she signed a contract and wasn't pressured to do so. But it's pretty despicable.

Also, a minor flaw - when the Hunters transport in for the first time I laughed out loud. They look like overweight fellows in bad Daft Punk Halloween costumes.
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
@27: No, not a slave -- more of a personal prostitute, since it's part of the job she's paid for. Slaves don't get paid.
dragontrainer
28. Zabeus
@26,
He's a Ferengi - it's par for the course.
Yes, he becomes lovable Quark, and we pretend that he was just being a comical lecher, but I think that's just Star Trek's whitewashing its own canon into something presentable for TV. If this were a novelization, it would've been presented a lot darker/as a matter of fact. In other words I don't think they went over the line enough, but that's understandable.
dragontrainer
29. Happytoscrap
I agree that up to this point, this was the best episode of DS9. It remains the best season 1 episode all the way until "Progress" several episodes later.

I definitely wish we saw more of the Tosk in later episodes.
Don Barkauskas
30. bad_platypus
Ashcom @20:
But actually, in a society where "die with honour" is a salutation, it is likely that the hunter race themselves would not be concerned by those deaths.
It's also likely that part of the enjoyment of the hunt is the risk, so the hunters would see the deaths as a price you pay for not being skillful enough.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
31. Lisamarie
I have to agree with @26 - I have been able to like Quark as a character so far (despite his obvious shady nature) but the whole roping a woman into unwanted sexual advances thing is just too much of a kick the dog moment for me...and what really irritates me is that it seems like it is almost meant to be a 'ha ha ha, that rascal Quark!' kind of moment in the show. As for the people trying to blame Sarda for not reading the contract - perhaps she should have, but I feel like it is generally reasonable to assume that a contract does not include sexual favors. And nobody should have to hire a legal expert just to sign a job contract; all this would do would victimize the unemployed poor trying to find jobs and unable to hire somebody to properly interpret the contracts they are signing.

Otherwise, not much to add that has not been said regarding the portrayal of another culture with a different mindset than us, and loved the O'Brien/Tosk interactions.
dragontrainer
32. McKay B
Guys, while individual Ferengi may have good hearts (or, more accurately, are just *starting* to develop them through the role models they're interacting with in other cultures), the Ferengi culture as a whole is SUPPOSED to be despicable. Quark is a good guy for a Ferengi ... but he's still grown up in a value system so misogynistic that contractual sexual harassment doesn't hardly ping his conscience's radar. One of the main themes of the whole episode is tolerating alien values that are, well, alien. (And Sisko does say he's going to "take care of it.")

But as for reading contracts, and Sarda being a moron -- I don't always read my contracts thoroughly, no, but you can bet your butt I would if the person on the other end was a Ferengi! That's cultural awareness 101 in the Alpha Quadrant ... and she flunked. I can't quite bring myself to say she deserves what she's getting, but ... well, she's sure trying.
dragontrainer
33. SnookyTLC
The Prime Directive was supposed to be for pre-warp cultures, so we wouldn't contaminate them and make them think we're gods. No one who arrives at DS9 in a warp-driven high-tech spaceship should apply. There could be another directive for these instances, such as a diplomatic directive, but not the Prime Directive. That detracted from an otherwise enjoyable episode.
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
@33: That's a common misconception. The Prime Directive does apply to warp-capable cultures as well; as we saw in TNG: "Redemption," it meant that the Federation couldn't get involved in the Klingon civil war because it was strictly an internal matter, a part of their culture's independent development (though that changed once it was proven that the Romulans were behind the conflict).

At its core, the PD is a statement that the Federation shouldn't force its beliefs or agendas on other cultures, period. That means not revealing our existence to cultures that haven't yet discovered alien life on their own, but it also means not meddling in other warp-era cultures' internal politics and society. The PD as applied to warp-era cultures says, for instance, that the UFP can offer humanitarian aid or mediation in a conflict, but can't favor one side over the other or intervene militarily. It's about respecting other civilizations' right to self-determination, and that's just as valid a principle for warp-capable cultures as prewarp ones.
dragontrainer
35. David Sim
I agree with Erik Dercf that O'Brien and Tosk are more like a bromance than an odd-couple pairing. That final photo of the two of them at the bar was the perfect way to end the review. They make such a cute couple!

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