Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “For the Cause”

“For the Cause”
Written by Mark Gehred-O’Connell and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 4, Episode 21
Production episode 40514-494
Original air date: May 6, 1996
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Yates wakes up in Sisko’s bed. Sisko tries to convince her to come back to bed, but she has a meeting with his engineer. After she leaves, he switches to her pillow because it smells like her. Yeah, they’re totally smitten.

Later, Eddington leads a classified briefing that includes Sisko, Kira, Worf, Dax, and Odo. Two weeks ago, the Cardassian’s civilian government requested industrial replicators from the Federation Council, and they’ve granted the request. However, this is being done in secret because the Maquis may try to seize the replicators—or at the very least stop the shipment. Since the Klingon invasion, the Maquis has had a pretty free rein over the Demilitarized Zone. The shipment will pass through DS9 in three days.

After the meeting breaks, Odo and Eddington stay behind with very bad news for Sisko—they suspect that Yates is a Maquis smuggler, though the evidence is circumstantial. Right now, they’re not making any accusations, they just have suspicions, and Odo wants to do surveillance on the Xhosa, but Sisko refuses unless there is solid evidence. However, he does allow as how reasons can be contrived to search vessels.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

Bashir and Garak are watching Kira play springball. Also in the audience is Ziyal. Both Ziyal and Garak steal glances at each other, but Bashir cautions Garak to avoid her at all costs. She’s Dukat’s daughter, and Dukat hates him, plus Kira’s watching over her, and Garak really doesn’t want to tempt fate with her.

Yates comes over for dinner at the Sisko cabin. Jake is struggling with something in a story—he needs to know what an animal smells like—and that prompts Sisko to make a vague (and futile) attempt to query Yates about her flight plans on the Xhosa, but then he drops the subject when he realizes he’s being too unsubtle—and too suspicious.

Ziyal and Garak wind up alone on a turbolift. It’s awkward for a bit, but Garak nicely breaks the ice by asking if she’s going to hurt him. She’s amused by the notion, and they reassure each other that neither has anything to fear from the other.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

An outbreak on Bajor has given Odo an excuse to conduct a six-hour health inspection of outgoing ships, including the Xhosa. However, the inspection will make her late to deliver something to the Tholians (so she says), and she’ll lose the consignment. She goes to Sisko, who lets her go on the theory that she’ll be standing over the inspectors anyhow, so they won’t be able to efficiently covertly search. Instead, he orders Worf to take the Defiant and follow Yates while cloaked (apparently Sisko isn’t even maintaining the pretense of only using the cloak in the Gamma Quadrant anymore), but only to observe and report to Sisko. They follow the Xhosa to the Badlands—a place Yates earlier insisted she tries to avoid—and find them beaming cargo to a Maquis raider.

Ziyal comes into Garak’s shop and invites him to a Cardassian sauna program on the holosuite that she got from Quark. Garak is the only other person who could handle the high temperatures. Garak accepts politely, but as soon as she leaves, he looks very apprehensive.

Sisko isn’t dealing with the report from the Badlands at all well, though at least Yates isn’t smuggling weapons—the cargo she beamed was about eighty percent organic, which means it’s likely food and/or medical supplies. He puts up a good front for Yates (and Jake), though he does agree to Odo and Eddington’s recommendation that they follow her on her next run and arrest everyone if she does make another transfer to a Maquis ship. Eddington, however, needs to stay behind to supervise the delivery of the replicators to Cardassia, as they’ll be coming through the station.

Kira goes to Garak’s shop and threatens him with serious bodily harm if he goes anywhere near Ziyal. However, the fact that Kira is threatening him makes Garak think that his fear that Ziyal will present Garak’s head on a platter to Dukat is unfounded. If that was Ziyal’s plan, Kira wouldn’t discourage him.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

Not wanting to put anyone else in the position to give the order to fire on his girlfriend, Sisko agrees to take command of the Defiant. Before the Xhosa leaves, Sisko goes to the cargo bay to urge Yates to drop everything and go to Risa with him—not even packing a bag. But she can’t abandon her responsibilities, so she declines, reluctantly. Not nearly as reluctant as Sisko is when he takes the Defiant and follows the Xhosa to the Badlands to the same spot as last time. But the ship stays in a holding pattern, which doesn’t track. As Odo points out, terrorists don’t wait around—if you miss a rendezvous, you go home. Fed up with waiting, Sisko, Odo, and two security guards beam over.

Yates, realizing that she’s caught, gives everything up. She was told that the medical supplies she’s carrying are urgently needed. Her objections that she made too many runs recently fell on deaf ears. It’s obvious now that the object was to lure Sisko and the Defiant away from the station. Sisko realizes that the Maquis isn’t targeting the station, they’re targeting the Cardassia-bound replicators.

Eddington briefs his security people on how the replicators will be transferred, a method known only to him and the people in the wardroom, and no one else—not even Bajoran security. There’s also to be a full communications blackout for nine hours. After they leave, Kira enters and Eddington says he needs to take command of the station for the next few hours and then shoots her, locking the wardroom. Once the replicators are loaded on a Vulcan freighter, Eddington puts a junior-grade lieutenant in charge of the station, leaves his combadge behind, and enters the freighter.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

By the time the Defiant returns, Eddington’s long gone, as are the replicators. Eddington contacts Sisko and tells him to leave the Maquis alone—their quarrel is with the Cardassians, not the Federation. Sisko promises to track Eddington down if it’s the last thing he does.

Garak joins Ziyal on the holosuite. Garak wants to know why she invited him, especially since both Dukat and Kira (two people who don’t agree on much) urged her not to trust Garak and to stay away from him, as he’d kill her without a second thought. Garak allows as how that’s actually true, but Ziyal just wants the company of a fellow Cardassian. She’s offering friendship with someone who can actually tell her stories of the home she’ll never be allowed to live in.

Odo insists that they’ll never see Yates or the Xhosa again, but Yates comes back to the station on her own (she left her crew behind on a Maquis base) to turn herself in. She did that because she loves Sisko and doesn’t want to lose their relationship, even if she does wind up in prison. Sisko has her arrested, and she says, “I’ll be back.”

Sisko’s reply: “I’ll be here.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko is forced into a nasty situation as he has to put his duty ahead of his girlfriend. As it is, Yates gets far more rope than she might otherwise because she’s dating the captain…

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira is appalled that the Cardassians are getting more industrial replicators than the Bajorans got, though Eddington points out that Bajor is one world, while the Klingons have devastated multiple Cardassian worlds. She also wins at springball, threatens Garak with bodily harm if she goes anywhere near Ziyal, and for the second time gets shot by a Starfleet officer who’s really working for the Maquis.

The slug in your belly: Dax tries to stay optimistic regarding Yates with the fact that she’s supplying humanitarian aid to the Maquis, but her later attempt to give Sisko a pep talk is slapped down.

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf makes an absolute statement that terrorism isn’t honorable. O’Brien comments that he shouldn’t say that in front of Kira.

Preservation of matter and energy is for wimps: Odo defaults to draconian measures: surveilling the Xhosa, arresting Yates right away, wanting to leave deputies behind on the Xhosa when they leave the Badlands.

For Cardassia! Klingon devastation of Cardassian worlds is more brutal than was previously believed, which is why the Detapa Council is asking for industrial replicators.

Plain, simple: Garak reminds Quark at one point that he’s not being paranoid with regards to Ziyal. “Paranoid is what they call people who imagine threats against their life. I have threats against my life.”

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Yates and Sisko have moved on to the sleeping-together stage of their relationship. Meanwhile, Quark insists to Garak that Ziyal inviting him to the holosuite is a date, even though Garak protests.

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: Garak and Ziyal enjoy a Cardassian sauna on the holosuite, while Nog sends Jake a holosuite program that pits the 1961 Yankees against the 1978 Red Sox (Sisko insists that the Yankees will cream them, and he’s right).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

Keep your ears open: “You know, in some ways you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You’re more insidious. You assimilate people and they don’t even know it.”

Eddington’s Maquis manifesto.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

Welcome aboard: Recurring actors Andrew J. Robinson, Penny Johnson, and Kenneth Marshall are all back as Garak, Yates, and Eddington. Tracy Middendorf takes over from Ciya Batten as Ziyal (when the character next appears in season five’s “In Purgatory’s Shadow,” she’ll be played by Melanie Smith, who will continue in the role thenceforth). Steven Vincent Leigh plays Reese and John Prosky plays Yates’s Bolian crewmember.

Trivial matters: Mark Gehred-O’Connell’s inspiration for the story was the reaction to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, where most people were completely sure it was foreign terrorists, and were therefore gobsmacked when it turned out to be U.S. citizens who carried out that horrible tragedy.

The notion of Eddington defecting to the Maquis was first conceived when “The Adversary” was being produced, due in part to rumors that Eddington would prove to be a changeling. The producers were, at that point, determined to have Eddington not be a changeling, and instead he was a Maquis member.

Eddington’s story will continue in “For the Uniform” next season. Yates will return in “Rapture,” having served her prison sentence.

The Tholians’ obsessive punctuality mentioned by Yates was seen in their only appearance to date in “The Tholian Web.”

The 1961 Yankees were the “M&M boys” team, as that was the year that both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were chasing Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record. Maris wound up breaking it by one; Mantle succumbed to injuries and so didn’t finish the season, coming up short of the record. The Yanks went on to win the World Series against the Reds. The 1978 Red Sox spent most of the season in first place, but that year’s Yankee team came back from 14.5 games out to tie the Sox, resulting in a one-game playoff that the Yanks won on Bucky Dent’s now-infamous home run. Apparently, the holosuite version of Sox couldn’t keep it that close against the M&M boys, as the holographic Yanks won 7-3.

Ziyal mentions that Garak had her grandfather tortured, which tracks with what Dukat mentioned regarding Garak and his father in “Civil Defense.”

This is our first time seeing anyone actually play springball, which seems to be a combination of handball and hockey…

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

Walk with the Prophets: “I do my job, Chief.” Once again, DS9 views the status quo as just one of those things they can set on fire any time they feel like it, and it’s magnificent. Two recurring characters turn out to have Maquis leanings, and it provides a real shot in the ass to everyone. There’s been so much changeling stuff that the Maquis plotline has fallen by the wayside, so it comes back here with a serious vengeance, nicely tying into the Klingon invasion of Cardassia, too.

Having Eddington be a bad guy is a great move on several levels. First of all, Eddington just isn’t that interesting—or at least he wasn’t until he contacted Sisko for his final screw-you. That magnificent speech he gives turns him from a bland security dude there mostly to occasionally fill in for Colm Meaney when he’s off making a film or to give Odo someone to talk to someone who promises to be a really good villain. (He’ll fulfill that promise in “For the Uniform” and “Blaze of Glory.”) He pushes all the right buttons with Sisko, with the knife-twisting Borg analogy as the perfect sign-off—not content with taking his girlfriend away (at least for a time), he also reminds Sisko of his dead wife.

That speech is a wonderfully twisted look at the Federation, and it’s the closest the Maquis ever get to being sympathetic. Not that they’re actually sympathetic, but at least you can sorta kinda see where they’re coming from in Eddington’s speech—they want to be on their own on the worlds they built.

I’m really disappointed that in the discussion amongst Worf, O’Brien, and Eddington about the Maquis (in which Eddington maintains his cover by saying he has no opinion about the Maquis one way or the other), nobody brings up the fact that the Maquis could’ve just moved. It’s a big galaxy, and yes, those worlds are their homes, but there are other homes out there. They were given a choice to stay in the Federation by going elsewhere, and they chose to leave the Federation by staying behind and becoming terrorists. The very first act the Maquis performed was the destruction of a Cardassian freighter, and that act alone meant that there was no way they could be “left alone,” as Eddington requests later. O’Brien says that they’re defending their homes, as if that justifies everything, and while the ceding of those worlds to Cardassia was ridiculous, staying behind and becoming terrorists was not the only option.

Anyhow, Yates’s culpability here is mitigated by the fact that she was providing medical supplies and food, which is the sort of thing Starfleet does, even for people they have a bigger animus against than the Maquis, so she comes across as someone doing the right thing, at least, but to do so, she has to lie to the man she loves.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on For The Cause

And it’s lies that lie (sorry) at the heart of the episode. Yates has been lying to Sisko all along, though it’s as nothing compared to the lies Eddington has told. It’s especially impressive to see this truth come out, given that Sisko told Eddington in “The Die is Cast” that he trusted Eddington because he wore a Starfleet uniform.

Ultimately, this episode succeeds in making the Maquis a legitimate threat again by having them hit our lead character right where he lives. So much of this episode’s plot is dictated by the fact that the person they think is a Maquis smuggler is sleeping with the captain. And, of course, Sisko gives her an out at the very end with the Risa trip, one that you know Yates wants to take, and probably suspects why he’s giving it to her—but she thinks she’s taking important medical supplies, and that’s not a mission she can turn down. That compassion is part of why Sisko loves her and part of why she makes both a good smuggler for and patsy of the Maquis.

Mention also must be made of how magnificently delightful Avery Brooks and Penny Johnson are. The banter between them is beautifully scripted by Ronald D. Moore and acted superbly by Brooks and Johnson. Which, of course, serves to make the outcome all the more tragic.


Warp factor rating: 9

Keith R.A. DeCandido reminds everyone that he has a bunch of stuff coming out in the next few months: his latest Star Trek book, The Klingon Art of War; two anthologies that have Cassie Zukav stories in them, Out of Tune (edited by Jonathan Maberry) and Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental (edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jeffrey Lyman, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Lee C. Hillman); an essay for the book New Worlds, New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics; a short story in the superhero anthology With Great Power; and the “Merciless” adventure for the Firefly role-playing game Echoes of War. If you’re not following Keith on Facebook or Twitter or reading his blog, why the heck not??????


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