Episode 3.9: Defiant

The title of this episode has at least four meanings.  The obvious one is because it is the USS Defiant that is stolen.  The second is because Tom Riker is defiant at his other self, Will Riker.  Kira claims Tom feels the need to separate himself from Will, so he defiantly aligns himself with the Maquis, not Starfleet.  Third, the defiant nature of the Maquis is the root cause of the conflict in this episode.  Lastly, the Obsidian order defies the terms of their existence by having military-grade equipment.  This episode is a clever use of a TNG character to get a crossover with Jonathan Frakes that lays some nice groundwork for a pivotal, future episode (The Die is Cast, Ep. 3.21).  The Obsidian Order fleet has a much grander purpose than destroying some rebelling colonists; it will be used in a failed attempt to destroy the Founders’ homeworld.  I like how this episode brings several elements together.  Some nice action too.

There are some human personalities that really love being a part of a cause.  While I think that Kira is right that Tom wants to separate himself from Will, I also think that Tom wants a cause to fight for.  He acts like a hero, not a terrorist.  He sees the Maquis fighting for their homeland, and Tom is willing to go to any length to assist in their struggle.  But he tries too hard at being strategic; he wants to strike the grand blow to save the colonists in the DMZ.  Unfortunately, use of the Defiant is a much bigger danger than Tom ever realized.  As enumerated both by Kira and Sisko, the Defiant simply raises the stakes too high for the Maquis conflict.  It is enough to incite full scale war between the Federation and the Cardassians.  Kira truly has grown in her ability to see the bigger picture.  She isn’t simply a terrorist anymore; she can see the kind of danger the Defiant poses to the lives of the colonists through the escalation scenario.  Tom’s final agreement to surrender himself for the lives of his crew is completely a Starfleet thing to do, and not a terrorist thing to do.  Him kissing Kira was an attempt to give Tom more of that big hero feel, but it felt out of place.

I love these episodes where Sisko and Dukat are forced to cooperate.  Dukat is appalled at Starfleet’s lack of control over their own equipment.  But his smugness is short lived as Dukat’s own ability to control his resources is severely lacking; there are entire fleets that are not under Central Command’s jurisdiction.  Sisko and Dukat are evenly matched, and an equitable bargain is struck between them.  Sisko rescues Kira and retrieves the Defiant intact.  Dukat gets his intelligence, a scapegoat, and evidence to Central Command that he retained control of the situation.  This episode is good evidence of how Sisko and Dukat are foils of each other.  Here they are equals who have similar problems over lack of control of their resources.  Their bargain favors neither party.  Both are enemies of the Obsidian Order.  Both have similar experiences with missing their children’s birthday parties.

Random Thoughts:  1) The opening scenes with Bashir, Kira, and Quark are quite enjoyable.  I enjoyed how Quark takes Bashir’s orders seriously and ensures Kira has a good time.  Deep down, Quark loves to be someone who helps people have a good time.  I think he gets great joy out of these moments.  On Bashir’s side, his outburst at Kira is completely out of concern for her, and he couldn’t give care less about his runabout needs.  2) Jonathan Frakes was billed only as “Special Guest Star” and was not given a character role.  Nice deceptive touch.  3) Kira promises to come for Tom, but we never find out if she did.  This is the only appearance of Tom Riker is DS9.  4) Tricia O’Neil, who portrays Korinas the Obsidian Order Observer, also was the captain of the Enterprise-C in the TNG episode Yesterday’s Enterprise (Ep. 3.15).  5) Korinas has information on the Romulans loaning a cloaking device to the Federation because the Obsidian Order is in cahoots with the Tal Shiar.  6) The Defiant is reconfigured to be resistant to antiproton scans.  This change stays, I believe.  7) I like these subtle reminders that Kira’s day job is being a bureaucrat.  8) Huzzah, a goatee!  Clearly an homage to the evil twin trope.  9) Sisko helped design the Defiant, in his time between Wolf 359 and commanding DS9.  10) Tom calls the Defiant a “tough little ship.”  This mirrors Will’s use of the same term in the movie First Contact.  11) The terms of the use of the cloaking device are to only use it in the Gamma Quadrant.  12) The Cardassian ships really had a reptilian or manta ray look to them in this episode.  I think that’s exactly the feel they were going for with those ship designs.  13) From his time on the Enterprise, O’Brien had the best chance of seeing through Tom’s façade.  So Tom rudely put the enlisted man in his place to get him off the ship.

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~ by Joshua Black on December 12, 2016.

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