Tue
Jun 25 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Duet”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet“Duet”
Written by Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci and Peter Allan Fields
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 1, Episode 18
Production episode 40511-419
Original air date: June 13, 1993
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Kira and Dax are reminiscing about childhood when a Kobheerian freighter asks to dock. They have a passenger on board who needs medical attention, as he suffers from Kalla-Nohra Syndrome. Kira wants to visit this patient, as the only cases of Kalla-Nohra she’s aware of are people who were at a labor camp called Gallitep, which she helped liberate. The survivors of Gallitep are considered heroes on Bajor, and Sisko is more than happy to let Kira go pay her respects.

However, the patient isn’t a Bajoran, he’s a Cardassian, which means he was an overseer at Gallitep. Kira immediately calls security and has Odo put him in a cell as a war criminal. He identifies himself as Aamin Marritza, and he’s not on any list of Cardassian war criminals that Odo has seen—and he’s seen them all—but Kira says that if he has Kalla-Nohra, he was at Gallitep. She enumerates the many horrors she found at that camp when she helped liberate it—rapes, murders, old people being buried alive because they couldn’t work anymore—and Sisko then decides to talk to the prisoner alone. Marritza claims he doesn’t have Kalla-Nohra, that the Kobheerian was mistaken. He has Pottrik Syndrome, which is treated with the same medication, and he says he was never at Gallitep. A drunk Bajoran wakes up to find a Cardassian in a nearby cell, and he’s not happy about it.

Bashir confirms that Marritza does, in fact, have Kalla-Nohra, not Pottrik, which means he was at Gallitep. Kaval, the Bajoran minister of state, contacts Sisko and makes it clear that they want Marritza ASAP. Sisko then goes to Kira and—after making it clear that Minister Kaval doesn’t make personnel decision on the station—tells her that he wants Odo to run the investigation because Kira’s too close to be objective. But Kira plays the friend card that Sisko first laid down on Jeraddo, and asks on behalf of all the victims that she couldn’t save to let a Bajoran do this. Sisko agrees.

Odo has already looked into Marritza. He’s been an instructor at the military academy on Kora II for the last several years, and he did board the Kobheerian freighter as he claimed.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

Kira makes it clear to Marritza that they know he lied about having Pottrik Syndrome and that he had to have been at Gallitep. After warning Kira that she’d be disappointed in his answer to her question of what his position was, he reveals that he was a filing clerk. He was an exemplary clerk, with Gul Darhe’el himself praising his computer filing system. When Kira asks if he witnessed the atrocities, he claims to have seen no such things. He admits to seeing bodies—Bajorans died all the time. “It was a labor camp,” he says blandly, but he only credits deaths to illness, accidents, and Bajoran-on-Bajoran violence over food or blankets. Marritza claims that Darhe’el made up rumors of brutal conditions as a propaganda tool, to let Bajorans continue to think of themselves as victims.

Gul Dukat speaks to Sisko, who demands that Marritza be released. Sisko needs to verify his identity, but Dukat refuses to be helpful, since they don’t have anything to charge him with. Sisko’s now getting it from both sides—Bajor and Cardassia.

Dax sees Kira staring out a window above the Promenade. Kira wants him to be more than a filing clerk, because she wants—needs—revenge for what happened. Dax rightly points out that Kira’s trying too hard for him to be guilty.

Odo has verified that Marritza was a filing clerk at Gallitep. The Bajoran archive has sent the only image they have of Marritza up to the station—but the image of Marritza doesn’t look like the person in their cell. But there is someone else in the image who does look like the prisoner: Gul Darhe’el.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

The prisoner admits, after only a little prompting from Kira, to being Darhe’el. Grinning, he says that Kira can only execute him once, which she views as a disappointment. He also scoffs at the war crimes trial being prepared by the provisional government, as there was, in his opinion, no war—Bajor surrendered.

Darhe’el rants and raves for a bit, gleefully telling Kira what a great leader he was and how Gallitep was a model of efficiency. His subordinates loved him, and gladly went out and killed Bajoran scum for him. Even if Bajor executes him, it won’t change his accomplishments. “The dead will still be dead!” He also pauses to belittle Kira’s resistance cell, referring to it by name.

Odo brings Kira a drink from Quark’s top shelf. She’s shaken by Darhe’el’s ravings. When she mentions his belittling Shakaar, Odo cautions her against discussing her personal life with him—and when Kira says that he brought Shakaar up, Odo’s spidey sense starts tingling. Darhe’el ran a labor camp, he was unlikely to know the specifics of who was in which resistance cell.

Darhe’el claims that he knew who Kira was thanks to Marritza’s brilliant filing system. There were times he thought he was all alone in cleansing the galaxy of Bajoran filth, but those reports on the resistance assured him that he was not. He found that comforting.

Some survivors of Gallitep camp out outside Odo’s office, waiting to find out what will happen to the prisoner. Odo learns that the real Marritza apparently requested information about Kira specifically. Over subspace Dukat informs Odo that Darhe’el has been dead for six years. Dukat was at his funeral and everything.

The prisoner wants to ask Kira some questions. Defiantly, Kira agrees to answer. She started fighting when she was twelve. Darhe’el asks how many Cardassians she killed—he’s particularly interested in how many civilians she murdered. But Odo interrupts with the revelation that Darhe’el is dead—and also that Darhe’el never contracted Kalla-Nohra, as he was on Cardassia receiving an award the day of the mining accident. Whoever this guy is, he’s not Darhe’el. On top of that, when he left Kora II, he put all his affairs in order, resigning his position at the military academy, and he also has evidence of cosmetic surgery in his recent past. Based on the evidence, he really is Aamin Marritza, but he wants people to think he’s Darhe’el.

Kira confronts him with this new evidence, but Marritza refuses to admit it, insisting that he’s Darhe’el, the butcher of Gallitep. He couldn’t possibly be Marritza, as he was a bug, a coward who hid under his desk, clamping his ears to block out the awful sounds of Bajorans screaming. It doesn’t take long for him to break. The guilt of what happened at Gallitep so overwhelmed him that he made himself into Darhe’el so that he could be punished, so that everyone could be punished. The only way Cardassia can survive is to stand in front of Bajor and admit what they did.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

And then Kira lets him go. Enough good people have died. She won’t kill another one.

As she and Odo walk him to the docking ring, where he’ll board a transport back to Kora II, the drunk Bajoran runs into the Promenade and stabs Marritza, killing him. When Kira asks why, the drunk says that he was Cardassian, and that’s reason enough. Kira probably surprises herself when she says, “No, it’s not.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko finds himself having to navigate the political waters of Bajor and Cardassia, as both sides want Marritza, and he doesn’t want to give him to either of them until he knows for sure who the prisoner is.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira joined the resistance at age twelve, and was part of a cell called Shakaar. Twelve years ago, she helped liberate Gallitep. She outlines in gory detail the atrocities committed in that camp, the first explicit reference to what Cardassians did to Bajorans during the occupation.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

For Cardassia! Marritza believes that Cardassia can’t move forward until it acknowledges the atrocities they committed on Bajor. He was devastated by the fact that Darhe’el died peacefully in his bed and was honored on Cardassia. Darhe’el’s body was on display for all of Cardassia Prime to see during his funeral, which strikes me as particularly tacky....

The slug in your belly: When Kira and Dax are reminiscing about childhood, Dax talks about how she was a window-breaker, but is deliberately vague as to which “her” she’s talking about.

Keep your ears open: “I do miss working with you, Odo. I miss our games of Kalevian montar.”

“As I recall, Gul Dukat, we played one game and you cheated.”

Dukat and Odo reminiscing about old times.

Welcome aboard: Marc Alaimo returns for the first time since “Emissary” as Dukat. Robin Christopher appears briefly as Neela, setting up her appearance in the next episode, “In the Hands of the Prophets.”

Norman Large—last seen as Proconsul Neral in the “Unificationtwo-parter on TNG, and who’ll next be on TNG’s “Dark Page” and also on Voyager’s “Cold Fire”—plays the Kobheerian captain, while Tony Rizzoli plays the drunk Bajoran and Ted Sorel plays the Bajoran minister.

But the big guest here is great character actor Harris Yulin, who is absolutely brilliant as Marritza.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

Trivial matters: Quite a bit of history in this one: We learn that Kira was part of a specific resistance cell, which was named Shakaar. (The episode “Shakaar” will reveal that it was named after the cell’s leader, Shakaar Edon.) It’s confirmed that Odo worked directly for Dukat when the latter was prefect of Bajor, and also that Bajor initially put up no resistance to the Cardassians, welcoming them peacefully as friends, and the Cardassians basically took over.

Besides the obvious general parallels to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, the plot of this episode in particular took some inspiration from the Robert Shaw novel The Man in the Glass Booth (later adapted into play and movie form).

The character of Anara from “The Forsaken” was intended to be the recurring role that eventually wound up being Neela. Apparently Benita Andre didn’t work out right as Anara, so they replaced her with Robin Christopher in this and the next episode.

The Gallitep labor camp is seen in detail, including the mining accident that led to its occupants suffering Kalla-Nohra, in the Terok Nor novel Night of the Wolves by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison. Darhe’el also appears in the novel Fearful Symmetry by Olivia Woods, and the aftermath of his death was shown in both Dawn of the Eagles by Perry & Dennison and The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack.

The site of Gallitep was also used for an internment camp on Bajor in the novel The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman, David R. George III, & Eric A. Stillwell.

Walk with the Prophets: “How many Cardassians did you kill?” Many people view this as the first episode of DS9 worth watching after a poor first season. I personally think this does an injustice to “Past Prologue,” “Captive Pursuit,” and “Progress,” but still, this is absolutely brilliant stuff, deservedly lauded as one of DS9’s greatest, and indeed one of Trek’s finest hours.

Up until now, the Cardassians have basically been bad guys. We fought a war against them, they were re-arming in secret (“The Wounded”), they tricked an admiral into authorizing a murder (“Ensign Ro”), they tortured Picard (“Chain of Command”), and they occupied Bajor for decades. In fact, in Gul Darhe’el (or, at least, Marritza’s interpretation of his erstwhile boss) we get our most vile Cardassian, the leader of a labor camp the mere mention of which sends Kira into a righteous fury.

But this episode reminds us, both subtly as Marritza’s true character is revealed and bluntly at the end with Kira’s final line, that Cardassians are people and they come in all shapes and sizes. For every Darhe’el, for every Dukat, there’s also a Marritza who was just a frightened filing clerk who was stuck in a charnel house and too much of a coward to do anything about it. Kira can happily blame Darhe’el for being a villain, but though she’s more than happy to condemn Marritza just for being at Gallitep at first, ultimately she can’t fault him for not being a hero.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Duet

What I like about this episode is that both Kira and Marritza have the exact same goal. Both of them have a primal need to speak for the dead, to give justice to all the people who endured indignity and humiliation and torture and rape and death. Both of them observed the horror of Gallitep, only to have the architect of that nightmare die peacefully in his sleep, given a grand funeral, and have a monument erected in his honor.

But Kira at least can take some solace from the fact that she helped liberate the place. Marritza just hid under his bed, held his ears, and hoped that some day it might stop, but did nothing to achieve that end. Not that there was much he could do, a lowly filing clerk assigned to work for a monster.

Kira wants Marritza to be Darhe’el as desperately as Marritza wants her to believe it, and it’s for the same reason: someone has to pay, and Cardassia must face up to what they as a people did to Bajor. Harris Yulin gives the performance of a lifetime here, playing Marritza’s double-bluff perfectly, from old man with an illness pretending like he doesn’t know why he’s in jail who deliberately gets caught in a lie to remain in a cell, to raving bigot when he’s pretending to be Darhe’el, to a broken man who needs to wash the blood off his hands. And Nana Visitor matches him step for step, Marritza’s deliberately provocative questions and comments designed to piss her off, to make her want to kill him, to guarantee that she’ll put the noose ’round Darhe’el’s neck. Visitor’s tremendous capacity for facial expressions serves her particularly well here, the way she modulates from sympathy to fury when she realizes that the Kalla-Nohra sufferer is a Cardassian overseer rather than a Bajoran victim, the magnificent give-and-take between her and Marritza, and then going back to sympathy after Odo and Bashir make it clear that this isn’t Darhe’el, but a filing clerk who wants everyone to think he’s the Butcher of Gallitep.

Honestly, if this entire episode had just been a series of scenes between Visitor and Yulin, it would’ve been one of Trek’s best episodes, and that’s justifiably what “Duet” is remembered for, but that takes away from the excellent supporting work around them, particularly from Rene Auberjonois and Avery Brooks. It’s Odo who pokes the most holes in Marritza’s story, and who’s able to get Dukat to release Cardassian records to confirm that Darhe’el is dead and Marritza’s the guy in the cell. (Marritza was no doubt counting on the Cardassians’ obsessive need to control information to allow him to pass as Darhe’el in the first place.)

And Sisko is a rock in this episode. Tellingly, three different people want Sisko to do something he doesn’t want to do: Minister Kaval wants Marritza sent to Bajor for execution and wants Kira to handle all of it, Kira wants to lead the investigation, and Dukat wants Marritza released unconditionally. The only one of those three who get their way is Kira, because unlike Kaval and Dukat, she doesn’t make demands or threats or try to play on sympathy that may or not be there. Instead, she makes an argument, a passionate one, and she asks to be the one to investigate, going so far as to use the friendship that Sisko claimed back in “Progress.” (I also like that, when Kira asks to be excused to the infirmary in the opening, Sisko gives her permission first, and then asks why.)

The ending is a little too depressingly free of subtlety, but it drives the point home, and I think it’s important for Kira to have had to say out loud that being Cardassian is not by itself enough to condemn a person.

 

Warp factor rating: 10


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be briefly at Wizard World New York on Sunday the 30th of June at 2pm to do a panel on “Storytelling Across Genres” with Cici James and Kaila Hale-Stern of Singularity & Co. and fellow authors Myke Cole and Alaya Dawn Johnson.

54 comments
TBGH
1. TBGH
I agree! Great episode
TBGH
2. Tesh
The guy over at SFDebris loves this one, too.

I remember this being a bit talky when I first saw it, even for Trek, but I was impressed. Rewatching it only makes me appreciate it more. It's definitely one of my favorite DS9 episodes.
Christopher Bennett
3. ChristopherLBennett
Definitely a great episode. Reading a summary of the plot does make it seem a bit convoluted, with some unlikely twists, but the story is very powerful and Yulin and Visitor do amazing work, especially Yulin.

I believe that this episode, like TNG's "The Drumhead," was written as a moneysaver, a bottle show focused on an intimate interpersonal drama so there wouldn't need to be a lot of money spent on action, sets, and FX. After the calamity of "Shades of Gray," they were resolved never to have to resort to a clip show again, so when they needed a costcutting episode, they went for these intense character-driven pieces instead. And we should be immensely grateful for it.

The main thing that bugged me was the "zoom and enhance" scene where they extracted information from a photo that shouldn't have been available at all. I guess the idea was that it was a holographic image, so they could rotate it and bring hidden parts of it into view -- Blade Runner did the same thing -- but it wasn't entirely convincing.
TBGH
4. Alright Then
A magnificent hour of Trek. Maybe DS9's best, but that's thankfully a hard choice to make. So many good ones to come.
TBGH
5. joe gallitep
My wife, who has really bad insomnia, did a massive re-watch of DS9 from beginning to end in two weeks. I was so surprised to see that this episode was in the first season, it really is such an excellent episode that we usually clump it in with the later excellent ones. Yes- the ending is frustratingly and annoyingly predictable, but absolutely necessary. This story sets up DS9 as totally being ahead of its time.A totally awesome story and one that totally deserves more recognition.
Matt Stoumbaugh
6. LazerWulf
The concept of a "good" Cardassian makes me think of Garak, then makes me realize that we haven't seen him at all since "Past Prologue". When do we get to see him again?
TBGH
7. Patrick Depew
This is just an absolutely brilliant episode. There's really nothing more that needs to be said.
TBGH
8. Hunter fan
One thing that didn't strike me at the time the episode aired, but struck me after a few viewings was this: Marritza states his goal is forcing Cardassians to come face to face for their actions and atrocities. But by posing as such a powerful man who had such a public funeral, the Cardassians are going to know the man being tried as Darheel is not, in fact, Darheel.

Instead, they'll most likely think a bunch of vengeance seeking Bajorans made all this stuff up. After all, if the Bajorans are claiming this guy is Darheel when he clearly isn't, what else are the Bajorans making up?
By having the central lie so easily disprovable to a majority of Cardassians, you're not doing anything at all except making the Bajorans seem like hysterical liars.

Anybody following this train of thought?
George Salt
9. GeorgeSalt
Normally, space drama isn't my cup of tea; however, this episode is outstanding. Definitely worthy of a '10.'
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
10. Lisamarie
The only thing that still niggles me a bit is that first Maritza was pretending to be random old guy, then he said he was Maritiza and THEN said he was Darhe'el. It seemed like he was banking on them finding the various inconsistencies in his story, but it seems like a lot to bank on. And yes, I also had the thought that it seemed pretty silly to pretend to be Darhe'el when he was obviously and verfiably dead. But, I got the impression Maritza was a bit off the deep end and for him it was all about the symbolism. SOMEBODY has to pay...

I was convinced for awhile that it WAS Darhe'el. And when he gave his big speech about the labor camp and how glorious it was, I turned to my husband and said, "If I ever become a supervillain, I want to be just like him!". He totally owned his magnificent bastardy.

But once more of the story started coming out, I actually became convinced that he was some random Cardassian whose (civilian) family had been murdered by Kira's cell, and this was all a ruse for him to get close to Kira so he could extract his own revenge. So, that made the 'real' twist that much more satisfying to me.

Although I guess I no longer want to be him when I become a supervillain ;)

And YES, when does Garak come back, I was asking my husband that too!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
11. Lisamarie
Oh, and I definitely got some Silence of the Lambs vibes during all the prison interrogation, although that was more when we thought he was actually the villain and just trying to unnerve Kira.
Matt Stoumbaugh
12. LazerWulf
@8: The fact that Marritza is provably not Dar'heel (And I'm spelling it that way on purpose, because the REAL guy is so obviously a heel) is not the point. Neither side denies Dar'heel's actions, it's just that the Cardassians don't view them as crimes. By putting "Dar'heel" on trial, Marritza hopes to force the Cardassians to look at it from the Bajoran side, regardless of the fact that the "Dar'heel" on trial is not the real Dar'heel.

Besides, up until Odo dropped the "Dar'heel can't have the disease" bomb, I was half-expecting to see that Dar'heel had faked his own death and taken Marritza's place. Why? I don't know. (He's on third, and I don't give a darn!)
TBGH
13. Lalo
I admit that on my first rewatch of the series (some years ago) I got teary-eyed. I still do just thinking about it--this guy, this Cardassian who had no other sin in life then to be stationed somewhere horrific, wanted so badly to make his people see...

I wonder if he would have gotten his wish if he had survived.

I also wonder if he is part of why Kira is later more willing to believe that Tekeny Ghemor is as genuine as he says and builds that relationship with him (for good or ill) and why she's willing to overlook Ziyal's parentage to form a bond with her.
Matt Stoumbaugh
14. LazerWulf
@10: "The only thing that still niggles me a bit is that first Maritza was pretending to be random old guy, then he said he was Maritiza and THEN said he was Darhe'el."

The "random old guy" he was pretending to be WAS "Marritza". That was the name he gave the freighter captain.

What niggles me is the whole "Pottrick's Syndrome" angle. In order to get the Bajoran's to believe that he was Dar'heel, he couldn't just go up to DS9 and say "Hey! I'm Dar'heel! Arrest me!", so he had to pretend to be "Dar'heel pretending to be Marritza" first. But, suppose it really was Dar'heel (and Dar'heel really had Kalla-Nohra), if there was a convenient Scape-goat disease that had the "exact same treatment" why wouldn't he tell the freighter captain that that was what he had, in order to obtain his treatment without raising suspicion?
George Jong
15. IndependentGeorge
@6 -
The concept of a "good" Cardassian makes me think of Garak, then makes me realize that we haven't seen him at all since "Past Prologue". When do we get to see him again?
Garak is easily my favorite character in the entire Trek universe, but he really isn't "good" by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, he's a pretty cold blooded, ruthless, and amoral murderer. We just happen to catch him while his talents are pointed in the right direction (usually).
Don Barkauskas
16. bad_platypus
According to IMDB, Garak's next appearance is in S2E5 "Cardassians," then in S2E18 "Profit and Loss." After that, he appears twice more in S2, 7 times in S3, 6 in S4, 5 in S5, 6 in S6, and 8 in S7 (including the last 5).
treebee72 _
17. treebee72
@13. Lalo - I started to tear up just reading the recap!

This is one of the best hours of TV period.
TBGH
18. Nix
I note that DS9 went to this well again, almost exactly (though the breakdown was of a different variety), in the sixth-season episode _Waltz_. And, if anything, it was even better, because it taught us numerous important things about not two crucial characters, and served as a major turning point for the series as well. Not bad for an episode that takes place almost entirely on one set. (It was surely more expensive to make, though, not a bottle show. New sets, special effects -- but it was still an intense one-on-one character piece. Plus, the second time it used Sisko and Dukat, and letting an old stage actor go theatrical in one-on-one work is always a good idea. B5 had the same good idea, also twice...)
Christopher Bennett
19. ChristopherLBennett
@14: But Marritza wanted to raise suspicion. He wanted to look like he was a Gallitep veteran pretending he wasn't one. So he told the freighter captain one thing and then told the DS9 crew another so that they'd catch him in the lie and dig deeper.
Jordan DeLange
20. killtacular
"in the novel The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman, David R. George III, & Eric A. Stillwell."

There is no way this book is about what I think it is at the moment.

/Seriously, great episode. Another instance here of the episode the unevenness of the first batch of episodes stopped mattering, and I was or less going to be hooked.
Michael Burstein
21. mabfan
I think this episode routinely falls into the top ten when fans rank DS9 episodes. And it's usually the only one from first season.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Matt Stoumbaugh
22. LazerWulf
@19: Well, yes, I realize that was MARRITZA's motivation, but the point of the double-bluff is that they're only supposed to see through the first part (Dar'heel as Marritza), which means the second part (Marritza as Dar'heel) should have been flawless. The fact that they're supposed to see through the lie is a given, but WHICH lie they see through is vital to his plan. If they see through the wrong lie, his facade is broken.

And, yes, I realize that the whole point of the episode is that the DS9 crew will eventually see through both lies, but, really, this should have been solved a bit earlier.

Sisko: How did you contract Kalla-Nohra?
Marritza: I don't have Kalla-Nohra, I have Pottrick's Syndrome.
Sisko: Then why did you tell the freighter captain that you had Kalla-Nohra? Did you want to get caught by Major Kira?
Marritza: ...Crap.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
23. Lisamarie
@14 - I thought at the beginning he tried to deny he was Maritza (or at least, that Maritiza was at the camp) and it wasn't until his disease was confirmed that he admitted to being the filing clerk.

I understand it was all meant to create suspicion, it just depended on everybody doing their due dilligence and catching him in his lies.
TBGH
24. Brian Eberhardt
Loved this episode; was rock solid. This is the one that seperated DS9 from TNG.
Alan Courchene
25. Majicou
@20: Ha! I never thought about that title, really. 34th Rule of Acquisition: "War is good for business." A fine read.

There is an s-f novel by Charles Stross called Rule 34, and that actually DOES refer to the rule you're thinking of.
TBGH
26. critter42
@3 - re:"zoom and enhance" - I sorta agree - however it is MUCH easier for me to suspend my disbelief seeing it in Blade Runner and Star Trek than seeing David Caruso do the same thing right before ripping his shades on or off...
Joseph Newton
28. crzydroid
Freaking A! I think a spam filter killed my comment because I posted a link. I shall have to try and strip the hyperlink from it this time.

I started off by saying I was a little skeptical that this would be a good episode, because everyone was raving about it so much, and I sometimes find that my opinions of good episodes seem to be the exact opposite of a lot of peoples. So I was very pleased with this one. I think it definitely deserves a high rating, but the guest star's excellent acting is what really makes the episode.

Also, I was excited to finally see Cardassians again. I had just been wondering when we would see them. I tend to think of DS9 as having set up the Cardassians as the primary villain and Dukat as Sisko's personal nemesis early on in the show, and I expected to see a lot more of them in season 1. It was a little surprising to see the show trying to be more "Trekky" when I thought the premise of the first season had been around the Cardassian conflict.

@3: The "magnify and enhance" usually bugs me too, and PhD Comics had a good comic about it:
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1156

However, maybe in Star Trek time, they have a camera (such as holographic imaging that you mention) that captures a lot of information and the vector of the light, so it can be refocused after the fact, and that's what they're doing here:

https://www.lytro.com/camera
TBGH
29. Mac McEntire
I always thought the episode ended too abruptly, and that it needed a heart-to-heart between Kira and Sisko at the end (TV constraints notwithstanding) to process what had happened. Rewatching it now, though, I think the episode ends right where it needs to. It's understood that there's still a lot to process, without the script sitting us down and telling us that.

Agreed that Harris Yulin is great. I also really liked him the handful times he showed up as a watcher on Buffy.

The IMDb page’s photo for this episode is a pic of Marritza eating. Is that really the best image they could come up with?
TBGH
30. Hunter fan
Another thing I'll say: Nana Visitor turns in another excellent performance. She was rarely, if ever, a scene stealer, but she seemed to have a good idea of what her abilities were and work well within them. There's very rarely a certain point where you can say "THAT line, THAT delivery was excellent." It's more that the whole performance builds on itself, IMHO.

She always seemed to be one of the most consistent actors on DS9. By that I mean, for example, Avery Brooks was better in many eps, but there were a lot of times when his over dramatic delivery and almost Shatner-like habit of weirdly parsing his sentences left me rolling my eyes. (Not to turn this into a debate on Brooks' acting, more just explaining what I meant by consistent.). Visitor on the other hand, rarely rose to phenomenal levels, but rarely turned in a stinker either.

I know that contrasts with how a lot of people felt about Kira and Visitor, but this episode really epitomizes the point. There's not really one scene with Yulin that you can point to where you say Visitor clinched the performance, but the overall impression was good acting and a well-realized character.
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
@28: That Lytro camera is fascinating. I'm also reminded of a technology I've read about that can extrapolate the approximate shape and position of objects around corners or behind obstacles by precisely computing the arrival time and angle of the photons that impinge on it and thus being able to calculate how far they travelled and what they bounced off of.

I think the TV show that handled the "zoom and enhance" trope best was FlashForward. They had a blurry video image of a suspect that they wanted to enhance, and rather than taking a single still frame and magically cleaning it up to crystal clarity in ten seconds, they sent it off to a government lab that spent weeks analyzing consecutive frames of the video, using data from one frame to fill in gaps in another frame, and thus extracting enough cumulative data from the whole video to do a rough reconstruction of the suspect's face.
TBGH
32. slybrarian
I love the episode, although having recently been watching some TNG I have to wonder about Bashir's medical skills. Poor Maritza gets stabbed twenty feet from the infirmary and is left to bleed out while people stand around gawking. Meanwhile Picard waltzes around after getting stabbed right through the heart in a bar.
Mike Kelmachter
33. MikeKelm
What I love about this episode, and about DS9 in general is that previous events have more of an impact on the characters than in previous shows. In TNG we didn't see much lasting impact of one episode on the other in terms of the characters. Picard is made into a Borg and tortured by Cardassians, Riker is kidnapped by aliens multiple times, Troi is psychically raped multiple times, Data is kidnapped by a collector, LaForge is kidnapped and brainwashed by the Romulans... in none of these instances is the character fundamentally changed by their experiences. Ironically, only O'Brien, who was a supporting character, is influenced by previous events, when he mentions how Setlik III changed him.

But in Deep Space Nine, the characters come into play affected by previous events and throughout the course of the show are altered by what happens to them. This is a good example how Kira, who is convinced that all Cardassians should pay for the Occupation, begins to realize that they aren't the monsters she's made them out to be. Her interactions with Gul Dukat, Ziyal, Garak and Damar help her evolve her views on Cardassia so that by the end of the show she is actually helping liberate Cardassia from the Dominion.

Because the characters on this show come into the series so fully formed and continually evolve, you can have pure character driven shows like this one that is more reminiscent of drama rather than sci-fi. Take away the makeup and the setting and this could be an episode of Law and Order as much as it is Star Trek.
TBGH
34. Bobby Nash
One of my favorite episode of DS9. The chemistry between Yulin and Visitor was perfect.
TBGH
35. Andy Holman
@32. That's one of those inconsistencies about Star Trek medicine that we just have to live with, it seems. It's the same with an extra - the doctor will usually just check for a pulse and quickly say, "He's dead," but when a main character is temporarily dead, the doc will stop at nothing to resusitate them.

That's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it's the overall impression that I remember. ;)

-Andy
Keith DeCandido
36. krad
MikeKelm: Given how plot-centric the Law & Order franchise is, and given how allergic to characterization Dick Wolf tends to be, I'm not sure that's the best comp. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
TBGH
37. RobinM
This is one of my favorite DS9 episodes despite being kind of depressing. Visitor and Yulin are just amazing together.
Chris Nash
38. CNash
While Marritza's performance as Darhe'el is fantastic - charismatic and deranged at the same time - I cant't help but think that he oversold it somewhat. He gleefully admits to committing atrocities at Gallitep, almost as if he wants someone to examine his motives more thoroughly and uncover his whole plan. In other words, it's a cry for attention. Marritza may very well believe that the Cardassian people need to know and understand what went on during the Occupation, but assuming Darhe'el's identity, knowing that Darhe'el is dead, wasn't the best way to go about it - if he did manage to get to a war crimes tribunal, the Cardassians would simply dismiss it as "vile Bajoran propaganda that defiles the memory of a war hero" or something else along those lines.

Marritza is desperately seeking some form of absolution, but not for Cardassia - for himself. He couldn't handle the guilt-by-association that he relies on to get Kira to notice him, and even if he can't get Cardassia as a whole to acknowledge the atrocities, he's content to be punished for them, despite not being nearly as culpable as he believes he is.

Did anyone else think that the final shot, in particular, was blocked a little like a stage play? The overhead angle, and the way the onlookers (and Odo and the drunkard) are arranged around Kira and Marritza. I'd like to see this episode reimagined as a two-man play; just Kira and Marritza debating the Occupation from their own (or Marritza-as-Darhe'el's) points of view.
Jack Flynn
39. JackofMidworld
Can't add much that the comments haven't already covered, so: Great episode.
George Jong
40. IndependentGeorge
@32, @35 - I suppose you could justify it by saying that Picard was stabbed while he was an 20-something cadet in his physical prime, while Maritza is an elderly Cardassian at the end of his life, in a place not equipped for a Cardassian medical emergency.

My personal theory, though, is that Miracle Max was at the bar with Picard.
TBGH
41. tortillarat
It'd been so long since I watched this one that I'd completely forgotten it existed. Now that I've seen it again, it definitely ranks among the best DS9 episodes in my book.
TBGH
42. ad
Kira desperately wants Marritza to be Darhe’el as desperately as
Marritza wants her to believe it, and it’s for the same reason: someone has to pay, and Cardassia must face up to what they as a people did to Bajor.

Of course, this goal only makes sense if the Cardassians did something on Bajor that they think they should be embarrassed by. If they think their actions were justifiable "facing up" to them makes no difference.

By analogy you can demand that the US Army "face up" to Shermans march to the sea, or that the RAF "face up" to bombing Hamburg until you are blue in the face without changing anything. They always regarded those things as legitimate acts of war, and were perfectly proud to have done them.
Christopher Bennett
43. ChristopherLBennett
@42: Maybe it's more about making the galaxy see what Cardassia has done, so they can't hide it from view. Making a big public spectacle of the trial would've brought more interstellar attention to the atrocities.
Chris Nash
44. CNash
@42 ad - a better comparison would, IMO, be to the My Lai massacre that took place during the Vietnam War. It caused global outrage, even amongst Americans. The difference here, though, is that America's involvement in Vietnam was already tremendously unpopular, while the Bajoran occupation is never shown as having been unpopular with non-military Cardassian citizens.
George Salt
45. GeorgeSalt
@38: He gleefully admits to committing atrocities at Gallitep, almost as if he wants someone to examine his motives more thoroughly and uncover his whole plan. In other words, it's a cry for attention.

In many ways, Marritza's initial plan and his subsequent actions are irrational, but I'm OK with that because Marritza has been traumatized by his experiences and appears to be psychologically unbalanced. Marritza is probably suffering from what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Harris Yulin conveyed that beautifully. For me, Yulin's performance makes this episode work. Yes it's a cry for attention -- probably a cry for help from someone who is suffering; however, that doesn't mean his other motives, such as his desire to see Darhe’el punished, are insincere. There is a lot going on in Marritza's troubled soul.
Chris Nash
46. CNash
@46 George - yes, exactly. My point sort of got buried in my analysis somewhat, but that was basically what I was getting at - that Marritza was mentally unbalanced (hence Kira's line that he'll be "getting the help needs" back on Kora at the end of the episode), and while his plan was superficially exactly what he claimed it to be - punishment for Darhe'el, shining a light on the atrocities etc. - at its core, it was about Marritza getting punishment for his own (perceived) guilt.

My original post was mainly a response to people picking apart Marritza's plan and saying that it'd never realistically work - that's not the point, there's more than one level to it.
Phil Parsons
47. Yakko
I have to admit the ending didn't seem obvious to me when I first watched the episode 20 years ago. In fact it was doubly shocking through sheer chance. Since TNG and DS9 were both syndicated programs their airtimes varied from market to market. Here in Dallas they were broadcast on a Paramount owned local station and every episode was shown twice a week - first on Sunday and then rerun again on the following Saturday. I set my VCR to record "Duet" on its first showing but the tape ran out right as Kira and Marritza were walking on the promenade and having their dialogue about how if there was to be a new Cardassia it would need men like him. I was so enamored of the episode I watched it two or three more times that week - each time assuming that all I had missed was a final exterior shot of the station and the executive producer credit. I tuned in for the encore broadcast on Saturday to retape it and only then did I see the last thirty seconds with Marritza's murder. It really hit me like a punch to the gut.
TBGH
48. Charles O.
I've been watching TNG and now DS9 for almost a year and a half - and reading these posts for most of that time. Today, I've finally caught up. Excited to be along for the ride in real-time now. And what a great episode to finally catch up on.

I actually like that his plan doesn't totally make sense. I think he's desperate and full of many different emotions. He wants personal absolution, he wants progress for his people, he wants to prove to himself that he's not a coward. In fact, right up until he explained his true motive, my best guess was that he genuinely believed in the cause but was disgusted with his own cowardice. So he killed off himself, allowing himself to play the role of his hero.

That's not what's actually going on, but I think there's a sliver of that in him, which certainly helps to situate his plan.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
49. Lisamarie
So, is this the first time we see a Cardassian who actually represents more than what we've seen so far - who wants progress for his people, as athe post above me put it?

Because I know there's the TNG episode where you meet the Cardassian who is a double agent (and also says he wants his culture to be more than what it is) and part of his cover to get him back to Cardassia is to pretend to have captured a Bajoran (this is Lower Decks, right?) - but that's a seventh season episode, iirc, so that wouldn't have actually aired at this point, correct?
Keith DeCandido
50. krad
Lisamarie: Correct. This episode aired at the same time as the end of TNG's sixth season, and "Lower Decks" (with the Cardassian double agent who wound up inadvertently getting Sito killed) was in the seventh season. Prior to this, the Cardassians we'd met were all at best not filled with the purest of motives, and at worst total assholes: Macet and his crew in "The Wounded," Dolak in "Ensign Ro," Madred and Lemec in "Chain of Command," Ocett in "The Chase," Dukat and Jasad in "Emissary," and Danar and Garak in "Past Prologue."

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Dante Hopkins
51. DanteHopkins
Not much to add. A compelling hour, one that even a 13-year-old me sat through in rapt attention at the marvelous performances. Truly truly set DS9 apart in regards of storytelling.
TBGH
52. tigeraid
Dammit, I was on vacation and missed the re-watch of my all-time favourite Trek episode!

I now have nothing to add, except that this episode eventually let to Kira as probably my favourite Trek character of all time.
TBGH
53. David Sim
Many people view this as the first episode of DS9 worth watching after a poor first season. I personally think this does an injustice to Past Prologue, Captive Pursuit, and Progress.

I also think it does an injustice to Dramatis Personae, which I think is a terribly undervalued episode in DS9's first season. Also, when Kira asks Dax which host she's talking about being a window breaker, Jadzia may not have been referring to one of her female hosts; it certainly sounds like something Curzon or Torias and yes even Joran might have done.
Stefan Raets
55. Stefan
This was a fantastic episode. The actor playing Marritza was able to do something similar to Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs: believably control the interrogator from his cell. Great performance. This is my first time through the series, and I admit I was losing hope a bit with some of the weaker episodes in Season One, but this one got me very excited to keep going.

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