Episode 3.7: Civil Defense

This is a solid mid-season episode that is a nice mix of action, the theme of becoming a man, and a bit of character development.  I would consider this a bottle episode with three different bottles, and one bottle is kinda soft.  The Ops Center and the security office are fairly rigid bottles; Sisko, Jake, and O’Brien are bottled up, if one considers the bottle to be “down below.”  Mostly, I think this episode gives us a bit of tension and action for the crew at trying to stop the Cardassian program.  Gotta give the Cardassians credit; they don’t miss a beat.  Every step made by the crew is bested by a pre-programmed countermeasure.  Ultimately, the crew does not actually defeat the program.  The program finishes, but the explosion is diverted.

I enjoyed how the episode continually escalated.  The solutions to deactivate the program felt clever.  I particularly liked how Sisko tried to simply surrender to the program.  Kira’s leadership of the Ops crew was haphazard, and I loved that.  She begrudgingly makes desperate choices (like destroying the life support to give them more time), then charges ahead with full gusto for her decision.  Her leadership attempts to project confidence, but nervousness shows through.  With every turn, she staves off destruction, but brings an even worse impending doom around the corner.  One note I have is, “Kira has the look of a woman riding a bronco.”  Quark and Odo have a wonderful time in Odo’s office.  They each compliment the other; Odo calls Quark devious, and Quark says Odo has integrity.  While Odo’s compliment turns out to be mostly words, the fact that Odo was trying to be nice shows that he has friendship with Quark, enough to honor him near death.

This is a major turning point for Jake’s journey to manhood.  As I think I’ve said in the past, the opposite of a man is not a woman; the opposite of a man is a child.  Jake takes on responsibility in ways no child should ever have.  He is tested on whether he “has what it takes” or not.  His father directly puts him into danger so that all three can survive (which is a major step for Sisko to see his son as a man).  Jake meaningfully contributes to the escape plan.  He fights to stay with his father to continue to help.  And had he not done so, O’Brien would have died.  He chose, of his own accord, to step into danger to save another.  Given my personal understanding of paths to manhood, this series of events is a major milestone for Jake.  Jake is fighting for himself and those around him (in a very visceral way in this episode).  The lending of trust from father to son in these crucial moments is also a key requirement; it gives the boy confidence.

This episode offers some insight into Dukat and Garak’s prior animosity.  Dukat’s father trusted Garak in some capacity, though never expanded upon.  Dukat tried to kill Garak years ago.  Garak recognizes and antagonizes Dukat for his advances upon Kira.  The utter shock on both Dukat’s and Kira’s face is fantastic.  Garak’s observation proves true throughout many more seasons, resulting in some excellent episodes (eg Wrongs Darker than Death or Night, Ep. 6.17).  This explains why the animosity is so heated.  There’s family involved for Dukat, so he takes it personally.  Garak sees Dukat as the epitome of the old guard in Cardassia.

Random Thoughts:  1) Hard to pin down a main character here.  All of the crew plays a small role in the episode.  Jake gets a nod.  Kira too.  2) I was talking with a friend a few months ago, and he dropped that line about manhood: “The opposite of man is not a woman; the opposite of a man is a child.”  This resonated with such truth to me.  So much of false manhood is wrapped up in anti-womanhood.  I cannot speak to the journey a girl takes to become a woman.  I can, however, say that for a boy to become a man, it has nothing to do with rejecting femininity.  For a boy to become a man, he must put down his childhood things and take up the mantle of being an adult with respect, humility, and pride.  Machoism is the worst enemy of manhood.   3) 75th Rule of Acquisition!  4) I did give this one the Bajoran Sovereignty theme, as it is Bajor struggling to control it’s greatest asset.  5) Kira makes a clear leadership move by stepping out from cover first.  6) There are 2,000 people on the station as of this episode.  That’s a pretty small town.  I grew up in a town of 4,000.  7) When working to change the flow of the explosion into the shields, Sisko works with a frantic pace.  Nice touch.  8) The shields were upgraded.  This is in preparation for the Dominion, and these moments lead to the station becoming fully capable of defending itself in Way of the Warrior (Ep. 4.1).

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~ by Joshua Black on December 5, 2016.

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