Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Darkness and the Light”

“The Darkness and the Light”
Written by Bryan Fuller and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Michael Vejar
Season 5, Episode 11
Production episode 40510-509
Original air date: January 6, 1997
Stardate: 50416.2

Station log: Vedek Latha leads a retreat in a cave on Bajor. He lights a candle and he and the other vedeks kneel around it. Beams of light suddenly emit from the candle on all the vedeks, then only on Latha, and then a disruptor blast kills him. Latha was part of the Shakaar Resistance Cell.

While Kira’s being treated by Bashir—complaining that the herbs she’s taking negate the sedatives she takes to sleep—Odo sadly informs her that her former comrade is dead. When she returns to her quarters, Kira has a message waiting for her: an image of Latha and a mechanical voice saying, “That’s one.”

There’s no point of origin of the transmission. Kira then gets another transmission with no point of origin, but this time it’s another old comrade, Fala, who wasn’t part of the cell, but regularly passed on information to them. She’s incredibly paranoid, convinced that someone’s trying to find her and kill her. Kira offers her asylum on the station, and sends Worf and Dax—on their way back from a starbase—to pick her up. But something goes wrong in the transport, and she’s killed. Odo theorizes that someone placed a device on her person that would scramble someone’s transporter pattern upon rematerialization.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light

A padd is enclosed in a shipment of Saurian brandy that arrives at Quark’s, encoded to Kira. It has an image of Fala and the same mechanical voice saying, “That’s two.”

Fala’s involvement with Shakaar was kept secret, so the attacker might be someone who was affected by an attack made by Shakaar with information gained from Fala. While Kira and Odo are discussing it, Odo’s security feed is hacked with an image of Mobara, another member of the cell and the words, “That’s three.” Odo tries to track Mobara down.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Kira, Odo, O'Brien, Sisko

Kira returns to her quarters, accompanied by a Bajoran bodyguard, plus a Starfleet security guard outside. Despite this, Furel and Lupaza get on board the station, having snuck past security, and take out the bodyguard, not realizing he’s there to protect her. They offer to hunt down and kill whoever’s doing this, like it’s the old days in the resistance. They insist on staying with Kira, which means that O’Brien has house guests (who try to shoot him when he walks in the door).

Dax and Nog go over the three recordings. Nog is able to determine—thanks to his mighty lobes of doom—that it’s a composite of several different recordings, and that it’s a female voice, not Cardassian. Eventually they determine that it’s using recordings of Kira’s own voice.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Kira, Dax, Nog

There’s an explosion in the O’Brien quarters. Furel and Lupaza are killed, and Kira runs to try to help them, but collapses from a placental laceration (not before she beats up three security guards). She wakes up in the infirmary, Bashir having cured the laceration, and then she tells Odo the story of how she joined the cell at the age of thirteen.

Odo says a hunter probe was attached to a freighter en route to the station, then did a visual survey until it found Furel and Lupaza then attached itself to a window. He has narrowed the suspect field to twenty-five people, and he wants to narrow it further before letting Kira know who they are.

Kira transports herself to Odo’s office to get the list, then transports herself to a runabout and leaves the station. She eliminates three names from the list, and then investigates a fourth, Silarin Prin, to a remote world near the Demilitarized Zone. Kira shoots a holographic Cardassian, which distracts her long enough for Prin to shoot her and restrain her on a chair. Prin rants and raves quite a bit, eventually revealing that half his face is badly burned. He’s disappointed that she’s unrepentant. He was a servant, who cleaned uniforms for Gul Pirak. The Shakaar cell placed a plasma charge outside Pirak’s bedroom, which destroyed the entire wing of the house, killing Pirak’s family and injuring Prin. Pirak murdered fifteen Bajoran farmers because they wouldn’t display a Cardassian flag, and Kira has no regrets. No Cardassians belonged on Bajor, and they were all legitimate targets.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Prin

Prin, though, went to great lengths to preserve innocent lives. He only killed the intended targets, there was no collateral damage. For that reason, he won’t kill Kira until after he removes the baby from her womb. She convinces him to give her a sedative, though, and he agrees. After she falls unconscious, he lowers the force field restraining her, at which point she kicks him—the sedative having been negated by the herbs she’s been taking—and then grabs her phaser and kills him. She’s rescued soon thereafter by the Defiant.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: Kira masks the runabout’s ion trail with a polaron field, making it difficult for the Defiant to track her movements.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Worf, Dax

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira basically bullied her way into the Shakaar cell at the age of thirteen. She’d been hanging around running errands and such when they were one person short of what they needed for a mission, and so she convinced them that she was big enough to hold a rifle. She went on the mission, and when it went down, she shot her rifle until the power cell ran dry. When it was over, she grinned from ear to ear—even though Furel told her it made her look younger—thrilled that she was now part of the resistance.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: Odo has to call in a lot of favors to get a suspect list together of people who might have a particular mad-on for the Shakaar cell.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Kira, Odo

The slug in your belly: At Starbase 63, Dax mocked Captain Ramirez and challenged him to no-limit tongo, not knowing that he was a champion. Worf, who gloats a bit, refuses to lend her the two bars of latinum she owes him.

Rules of Acquisition: Rule #111 is quoted by Worf, of all people: “Treat people in your debt like family—exploit them.”

Meanwhile Nog gets to show off the power of his ears by discerning details about the recordings sent to Kira, prompting Dax to declare, “I’ve made it a policy never to argue with someone’s lobes.”

There is no honor in being pummeled: After quoting a Rule of Acquisition, Dax expresses surprise that Worf knows them, to which he solemnly retorts: “I am a graduate of Starfleet Academy. I know many things.”

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Worf, Dax

For Cardassia!: Gul Pirak insisted that the farmers in the region of Bajor he was responsible for display the Cardassian flag on their homes. When they refused, he had them killed, and made himself a target of the Shakaar resistance cell.

Keep your ears open: “You’ve been smirking ever since we left the starbase.”

“I do not smirk. But if I did, this would be a good occasion.”

Dax bitching, and Worf not-smirking.

Welcome aboard: William Lucking and Diane Salinger reprise their roles as Furel and Lupaza, having previously appeared in “Shakaar.” Lucking will be back again in flashbacks in “Ties of Blood and Water.” Randy Oglesby, last seen as Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel in “Vortex,” returns as Prin, putting his powerful voice to good use. Jennifer Savidge plays Fala, and Aron Eisenberg is back as Nog.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Kira, Furel, Lupaza

Trivial matters: This is the first Trek story from Bryan Fuller, whose original pitch was a riff on the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. Fuller would go on to write another story for DS9 (“Empok Nor”) and write for Voyager, eventually joining the staff of the latter show, rising to co-producer by the seventh season. Fuller has gone on to an impressive career, creating or developing and producing several shows including Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, and Hannibal.

Michael Vejar returns to directing Trek with this episode, not having worked on the show since “Coming of Age” in TNG’s first season. He’ll go on to direct six more DS9 episodes, as well as many many episodes of Voyager and Enterprise.

Kira’s time in the resistance is chronicled in some detail in the Terok Nor novels Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison, as well as the short story “The Officer’s Club” by Heather Jarman in Tales from the Captain’s Table and the Double Helix novel Vectors by Kristine Kathryn Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith.

Walk with the Prophets: “You’re just a bitter old man out for revenge.” The climax of this episode is magnificent. Confronted with the badly injured, deranged lunatic who has killed her friends, when told that his revenge is because of a terrorist attack that killed innocent people, Kira does not do the thing that television in general and Star Trek in particular have conditioned us to expect. She does not repent, she does not try to ask forgiveness. Screw that—she was fighting for a home that was violently ripped from her and her people. As Kira says to Prin, “For fifty years you raped our planet, and you killed our people. You lived on our land and you took the food out of our mouths.” That’s all that matters to her, and as far as the Bajorans were concerned, no Cardassian on Bajor was innocent because those Cardassians were on Bajor where they didn’t belong.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Kira

So yeah, she blew up a house. It was a horrible, awful thing she did, but she was fighting a more horrible, more awful thing the only way she knew how.

Having said that, Prin’s absolutely right in what he says. It doesn’t justify his actions—but then Kira’s feelings about the Cardassians don’t justify her actions, either. But nobody involved in the Cardassian occupation of Bajor is clean, and Prin’s attempt to cast everything in the titular terms of darkness and light is crap. It’s one big muddy shade of gray.

There are several other nice bits in the episode, from the delightful Worf-Dax banter on the runabout, which serves to make Fala’s violent death that much more nasty, to Nog showing off his lobes, to the very welcome reappearance of Furel and Lupaza, the only members of the cell besides Kira and Shakaar whom we actually know, and unlike the others, their deaths mean something (though scripter Ronald D. Moore and actor Jennifer Savidge do a good job of making Fala a tragic figure).

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Prin

But ultimately getting there is a total mess. Somehow Prin—a person who isn’t even entirely rational, a person who narrates his life out loud, and a person whose background is as a glorified dry cleaner—manages to manipulate technology to a superhuman (super-Cardassian?) degree, to commit several perfect murders and deliver several anonymous messages, which leave no trace and give no clue as to their attacker with all the super-fantastic twenty-fourth-century technology at their disposal.

More fundamental than that though is the simple fact that Prin is targeting members of the resistance cell that was run by the guy who’s now First Minister of friggin’ Bajor. The station and the planet of Bajor should both be on lockdown at this point because Shakaar is now a target—yet the only time Shakaar is even mentioned is when Kira’s telling Odo the story of how she joined his cell. There’s no sense of any urgency beyond giving Kira bodyguards, which makes no sense because one of Prin’s likely targets, based on the evidence, is the First Minister of friggin’ Bajor. This should’ve been a major investigation involving the Bajoran Militia, whatever police force there is on Bajor, Odo and his people, Starfleet security, and more. This should’ve been the biggest investigation in the history of the sector, especially once O’Brien’s quarters were blown up, because now Starfleet personnel are in danger in addition to Bajoran citizens.

Deep Space Nine, The Darkness and the Light, Sisko, Kira, Odo, Prin, Bashir

The climax is, as I said, excellent, but getting there is a process that strains all credulity, from the perfection of Prin’s success to the lack of urgency of the people investigating it.

Warp factor rating: 5

Keith R.A. DeCandido has a new book coming out this fall: a Sleepy Hollow novel based on the FOX TV series, entitled Children of the Revolution, to be published by Broadway Books. For more on this and other SH books, including preorder links, check out the Sleepy Reads web site.


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