Archive for the ‘Bajor’ Tag

“Duet” DS9, Season 1, Episode 18

This is quite possibly the single best stand-alone episode I have yet seen in a Star Trek series.  I was completely unprepared for the superb quality of this episode when I casually sat down to watch part of it over lunch.  Part of it turned into, there is no way I’m turning this off until I see the end.  I have a special place in my heart for the one-hour TV episodic drama, but there have been few times when I have been so very riveted.  

I started watching DS9 about two months ago and I absolutely love it.  I mean really love it.  Voyager level love here.  The series started off well and has only gotten better as season 1 moves along.  I am really looking forward to what this series has to offer over the long haul.  That being said, I did not like all of the characters at the outset.  Major Kira primarily.  She’s loud, aggressive, quick-tempered, and bit too much of a victim for my taste.  At least that’s what I previously thought.  Really she is quite a compelling character.  Sure she has some irritating traits (more attributable to her Bajoran race than to the actress), but she is wonderfully layered and complex.

The reason I bring her up is because “Duet” is a Kira centric episode.  We get to see, essentially for the first time, the profound impact the Cardassian occupation had on her.  Further, what that occupation involved.  We learn that the Cardassian occupation of Bajor was similar in many respects to the Holocaust.  Extermination and genoicde were used to describe the scenario.  Kira witnessed the effects of this genocide as it was happening.  In “Duet” we really see her scars (and in many cases open wounds) laid bare.  Here’s her description of the events at Gallitep (the labor camp at issue in the episode) to Sisko:

“Commander, if you’d been there twelve years ago when we liberated that camp, if you’d seen the things I saw… All those Bajoran bodies, starved, brutalized… Do you know what the Cardassian policy was?! And I’m not even talking about the murder, murder was just the end of the fun for them! First came the humiliation. Mothers, raped in front of their children, husbands beaten until their wives couldn’t recognise them, old people buried alive because they couldn’t work anymore….!!”

Kira spends the entire episode delving into the life of a man she believes she knows she hates.  A man who identifies himself as Marritza (later as Gul Darhe’el, and eventually confirms he really is Marritza) who worked at one of the Bajoran labor camps Kira fought to liberate.  The plot twists in this episode were dizzying but extremely well timed and effective.  By the end of the episode Kira has completely changed her opinion of Marritza.  The two characters connected when Marritza finally admitted his guilt in the labor camp atrocity yet he also showed showed an emotion Kira did not expect, profound remorse.  It was through his repentance that Kira was able to finally see past Marritza as a Cardassian (a people she hates), to a person she could connect with as they both feel immense grief over the genocide at the labor camp.  

Marritza was an incredible character that came in for a brief moment and did the impossible: he managed to change Kira’s opinion of Cardassians.  I’m very glad her perspective has changed.  I think she will now be a far more complex and interesting character as she will, inevitably, have to be a leader among Bajoran’s as they work to shift from hating their former oppressors, to eventually tolerating them.