“Blaze of Glory”
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe & Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 5, Episode 23
Production episode 40510-521
Original air date: May 12, 1997
Station log: Nog is over for dinner at the Siskos, where they’re eating squid in a sauce made of pureed tube grubs. (Jake loves it right up until he hears what the sauce is.) Nog is currently on a security rotation, and he’s not happy at how Klingons aren’t taking him seriously, or even acknowledging him.
Martok reports to Sisko with a coded message from the Maquis—a bit of a surprise, since the Maquis were believed to be wiped out by the Dominion after they absorbed Cardassia. The message is for “Michael,” saying the missiles are en route to Cardassia. Martok reveals that the Klingons provided the Maquis with cloaking devices, which they could have used on the missiles themselves. Sisko and Martok fear that such a strike by humans will result in retaliation against the Federation.
Worf and Dax search the Badlands in the Defiant but they can’t find them, and the Defiant can’t stay in the Badlands too long as it’s too powerful to remain undetected in the plasma storms, even while cloaked. So Sisko goes to Eddington, currently in prison, to try to get his assistance in narrowing the search. But he’s uncooperative, not even willing to admit that he’s the Michael the message is for, nor is he willing to provide the abort code for the missiles, or the location of the launch site. Whatever compassion he might have had was burned out of him when the Maquis were slaughtered by the Dominion while he listened to the reports of the massacre from his jail cell. All he wants now is to lie in prison and wait for the Jem’Hadar to blow up the station he’s being held on.
So Sisko doesn’t give him a choice. He takes Eddington in shackles onto a runabout and heads into the Badlands to find the launch site. Eddington is less than cooperative, though, and decides to throw Cal Hudson in Sisko’s face, informing Sisko that Hudson was killed by the Cardassians.
As they search the Badlands, Sisko detects two Jem’Hadar ships. His response is to casually wander aft and get a raktajino. He’s betting that Eddington’s death wish is nonsense and that he’ll take the helm and plot an escape. Sisko even frees Eddington from his shackles. Sisko wins that bet, and Eddington gets them away from the Jem’Hadar and even agrees to take him to the launch site. But he promises that when it’s all over, he’s going to kill Sisko.
Eddington’s first trick for getting rid of the Jem’Hadar doesn’t work, so plan B involves realigning the impulse engines while they’re still active so they spit out exhaust that can ignite a plasma tendril. It works, despite Eddington shaking the ship up enough to give Sisko a head wound.
Nog’s first attempt to gain the Klingons’ respect by arresting them when their noise level hits 70 deciBels (the legal limit for disturbing the peace) fails when he falls down from leaning back in his chair in Quark’s. Plan B is to get them to move along when loitering on the Promenade—in Jake and Nog’s old spot, no less, which gets his blood boiling. He throws regulations into Martok’s face and threatens arrest, which is enough to get Martok to laugh with respect at the Ferengi’s cojones and move along. Later, when Nog and Kira bump into Martok (after Nog recovers an earring clip Kira had lost), the general treats Nog with respect, to Nog’s glee.
Eddington takes Sisko to the launch site, which is on Athos IV—where they find two Jem’Hadar. They only have one phaser, which Sisko gives to Eddington while he goes around and attacks the Jem’Hadar with a pipe. Amazingly enough, this works. Now armed with Jem’Hadar rifles, they head to the launch site, coming across tons of dead bodies along the way. Eddington is devastated; the Maquis were his responsibility and he failed them.
They take out two more Jem’Hadar and then go into the “launch site”—actually a hidden room where the final dozen survivors are hiding, led by the woman in the recording. That woman is Rebecca Sutherland, Eddington’s wife, and there are no missiles, the message was a code saying they’d come to Athos IV, which was their fallback position if things went into the toilet. It was all a ploy to get Sisko to come take him to the Badlands in a runabout so they could be extracted.
Sisko decks Eddington for lying to him, and then they head to the landing site. They’re ambushed, and Eddington is shot. He stays behind to hold off the Jem’Hadar while Sisko leads Rebecca and the others to the runabout. Eddington is killed with his wife’s name on his lips, while the runabout flies to freedom.
Well, freedom for Sisko, anyhow. He and Dax talk about how Eddington died the way he lived, Maquis to the end.
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? You really shouldn’t realign the impulse engines while the impulse engines are still running. It’s very very dangerous.
The Sisko is of Bajor: Unlike the last time he dealt with Eddington, Sisko is remarkably even-tempered, and does a wonderful job playing Eddington, even though Eddington is, in fact, playing him the entire time, too.
Rules of Acquisition: Quark has to be treated in the infirmary because he told Morn that there was a good chance that the Jem’Hadar would be invading Deep Space 9 soon. Morn snapped, panicked, hit Quark with a barstool, and ran naked through the Promenade.
For Cardassia! Apparently, the Maquis were on the verge of declaring themselves an independent state, and Cardassia was in no shape to stop them from doing so—at least until the Dominion showed up.
Victory is life: It took three days for the Jem’Hadar to annihilate the Maquis, leaving only a few left on Athos IV.
Tough little ship: The Defiant is too powerful to stay hidden in the Badlands, even while cloaked, as it’s so overpowered that it’s detectable amidst the plasma storms regardless.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Turns out Eddington’s married. Who knew?
Keep your ears open: “I can barely see two meters in front of me. How will I know what I’m aiming at?”
“I’ll be the one holding the pipe.”
“Attacking two Jem’Hadar soldiers with a pipe? That’s a brilliant plan.”
“It could be worse.”
“I know. It could be me holding the pipe.”
Eddington and Sisko discussing hand-to-hand combat strategies.
Welcome aboard: Kenneth Marshall is back for the final time as Eddington, while Gretchen Garman plays Rebecca. Plus we’ve got Aron Eisenberg and J.G. Hertzler as Nog and Martok.
Trivial matters: Dukat said in “By Inferno’s Light” that the Maquis were on his list of things to deal with now that Cardassia was part of the Dominion. This episode establishes that they were taken care of pretty seriously.
This is the last time the Maquis storyline is seen on DS9. Chakotay, Torres, and the rest of the Maquis on Voyager will learn of the elimination of the Maquis by the Jem’Hadar when they receive letters from home in the episode “Hunters.”
The novel Avatar Book 1 by S.D. Perry establishes that Ro Laren and a very small group of Maquis who survived the Jem’Hadar’s massacre fought a guerilla war against the Dominion. Those Maquis would later be pardoned after the Dominion War. Similarly, the Maquis crewmembers of Voyager were pardoned in Homecoming by Christie Golden, which took place right after the ship’s return home in “Endgame.”
Klingon assistance to the Maquis mentioned by Martok is also seen in two of the eBooks in the Slings and Arrows miniseries, Robert Greenberger’s A Weary Life and your humble rewatcher’s Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment.
Eddington’s death scene was based Steve McQueen’s death scene in Robert Wise’s 1966 movie The Sand Pebbles.
Walk with the Prophets: “Rebecca…” This is a fun episode to watch, mostly for the banter between Eddington and Sisko, which is some of the best work Avery Brooks and Kenneth Marshall have done together. This actually works better than the Javert-Valjean dynamic that Eddington forced on “For the Uniform,” and has some superb moments. The verbal fencing between the two characters is electric and the screen just lights up when the two of them—who are so much alike and so very much can’t stand each other—go at it.
But ultimately, the episode’s a bit of a letdown, rather like the entire Maquis arc was. The storyline just never really worked. The treaty that forced the issue was fairly stupid, though not entirely unrealistic, but the Maquis just never were convincing as tragic heroes, especially because—and I know I keep harping on this—their first official act was to blow up an empty freighter on a crowded space station. Forget whether or not the Bok’Nor was a viable target or not: they blew it up on Deep Space 9, a hugely crowded port of call filled with innocent civilians. Yes, the damage was limited to the Bok’Nor itself, but there was no guarantee of that outcome. Hundreds of lives, most of whom had nothing to do with the Maquis conflict, were endangered. And that was just the beginning. It didn’t help that Voyager, for which the entire Maquis setup was created in the first place, did absolutely nothing with it (despite pretty much all the pre-show hype being about how the show would be about the conflict between Starfleet and Maquis).
In this episode, the final nail in the Maquis’s coffin is Eddington’s hubris. He never imagined that his plan to have the Maquis declare their independence and become a sovereign nation could have failed. He never imagined that the Cardassians would be strong enough to fight back. He never imagined having to deal with the Jem’Hadar or that if he did, that they would find Athos IV (given that he was DS9’s security chief going back to first contact with the Dominion, he really should have known better).
Still, the episode is fun to watch for the sake of the banter between the captain and the Maquis, and we do actually close out a plotline for once. Best of all, we get closure with the revelation of Cal Hudson’s death without having to suffer through what passes for acting by Bernie Casey.
It’s a fitting end to both the Maquis storyline in general and Eddington’s in particular. But the latter is far more compelling, and that’s both the episode’s strength and weakness.
Warp factor rating: 6
Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at the Highland Library Comic-Con this coming Saturday, the 26th of July in Highland, New York, along with authors Linda Zimmerman and C.L. Schneider, comics writer Todd Dezago, cartoonist Roger L. Phillips, and makeup effects artist Danielle Masterson, as well as a dozen local cartoonists and various fan clubs. Information can be found here.