Episode 4.5: Indiscretion

In this episode, Dukat becomes quite a bit more complex as both a character and a villain. This man is an arrogant, self-absorbed megalomaniac who has a twisted love affair with Bajor and her inhabitants. Ziyal is the physical embodiment of Dukat’s split nature. He is deeply Cardassian in his inflexible rules and his superiority complex. But he has a love for Bajorans that oscillates between slimy, lust-fueled interactions to genuine compassion, even if that compassion is executed through his insensitive and arrogant methods. His relationship with Ziyal gives Dukat his most relatable quality; he has strains of both good and evil within him. This is only present in his character while Ziyal is alive, however. Especially after she dies, Dukat descends into a madness that is part evil, part insane. By allowing her to live, he finds compassion for someone who he knows will only cause him pain everywhere else in his life. It’s really easy for us to create caricatures of our enemies in life. But all people, even the most terrible ones, I truly think have good within them. Like Dukat though, they might only show it to their most intimate relationships. And I would challenge anyone who thinks they don’t have enemies. They might not be storybook ones, but all of us have people we disagree with, we might secretly try to rival, or who antagonize us.

Dukat and Kira’s argument over whether the Occupation helped the Bajorans was short but immensely fascinating to me. Dukat’s attitude is certainly laced with Cardassian arrogance, but some of his arguments should make us wonder. The Bajorans are better prepared to handle the galaxy as it is, especially with more villainous foes on the other side of the wormhole. They become more cautious, able to endure hardship, and have a stronger military. Good qualities for a dangerous galaxy. However, it is extremely important to note that this assumes that being a quiet, contemplative race is a less important than these things! I envy these qualities in the pre-Occupation Bajorans. In fact, Kira argues that Bajor accomplished all it did in spite of the Occupation. I would say that the Bajorans who do retain the contemplative nature (Opaka and Bareil practice it; Kira finds it as she grows) are able to prevent the Occupation from hardening them. Instead, it allows them to be pliable for the needs of the greater whole of Bajor. I think the ultimate arrogance of Dukat here is not that he assumed that the Occupation made the Bajorans stronger (which tragedy often does), but that their strength was his definition of strength.

As with many subplots, Sisko’s actions with Kasidy have a refreshing, lighter tone than the main plot. It has a humorous undercurrent, with Sisko appearing to be the typical commitment-resistant man, but I like how they connected this back to a very personal fear of his. His job is what killed Jennifer, and the last thing he wants to do is expose someone else he loves to that kind of danger. That is meaningful, and I think it’s clear at the end that his hesitancy is justified. But thankfully it isn’t enough to overcome how well suited Kasidy and Sisko are for each other. She is a strong woman, accepting of the dangers that come along with Sisko.

Random Thoughts: 1) I’m not unaware that 2 of the 3 people I listed as contemplative are dead (effectively). Their contemplation lead them to risk much, accomplish much, and pay with their lives. 2) Odo and Kira are seen meeting for the weekly criminal activity report. It has an intimate undertone, as Odo knows what Kira will do before she does. 3) Waiting 52 hours is two days in DS9 time. A station day is 26 hours. 4) Dukat does have knowledge of the Bajoran people, by respecting their burial customs. Kira also knows enough of Cardassians’ high respect for family. 5) Bajoran faith mirrors most faiths, by placing importance on the soul, not the body. 6) The Bajoran Resistance was fairly sophisticated. They implanted key people with trackers. 7) Kira takes a strong interest in Ziyal from this point forward. I think she sees her as abandoned by her father and motherless by tragic circumstance. Kira herself was orphaned early in her life. 8) Jake has surpassed his father in some ways. His and Nog’s advice was filled with wisdom. 9) The Breen are first introduced. 10) Dukat and Ziyal have a tumultuous relationship. A big portion of that, I think, is that Ziyal is traumatized by Dukat wanting to kill her right off the bat, and she had to convince him otherwise. 11) Thanks to Ziyal, Dukat loses his career, family, and power.  12) When Dukat sits on the spine, that is a pivotal moment for Kira’s relationship to him.  In that moment, Kira starts to see Dukat as a person, not just a villain.

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~ by Joshua Black on July 13, 2017.

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