Friday, March 18, 2011

Classics: DS9 5:11 - The Darkness and the Light

Overall Rating: 9.2

The writers were aiming for a deeply meaningly psychological drama...a way to use Kira's vulnerability to the advantage of the scripts instead of simply hiding her until she had her baby - and they accomplished that in a round about way. What we really got was a picture of the strength of Kira's character and the maturity she possessed that she lacked in her days as a terrorist.

Plot Synopsis:

A full recap may be found here, courtesy of the DS9 Encyclopedia and Lexicon.

The Skinny:

SABR Matt: While my sister will comment (rightfully so) on this episode's highlight worthy "Kira shows off her awesomeness" moments (it is, in fact, rather hilarious that, eight months preggers, it takes six trained security officers to stop Kira from venting half the habitat ring into space), I like to highlight the softer side of Kira as well. I don't think this script is limited to showing how much of a bad-ass she is (of course, neither does my sister, but that's why we split up our commentary, so that we both have something to say...LOL). We actually see that Kira's motivation, even when she's reduced to once again becoming, essentially, a terrorist on the run, comes entirely from LOVE. Love for her friends, her fallen family, her home...the Cardassians were conquerors...on Bajor they didn't have love to fight for...not really. And that's why they lost. Love is also the singular distinction between Kira's brand of terrorism and the terrorism perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists. It's why we can look at Kira's past with respect, rather than moral questions and condemnation. She really did have her back against the wall as a resistance fighter...and she really was fighting for all the right reasons. The same cannot be said of Jihadis, nor can it be said of Cardassians.

I think the central brilliance of this episode is that it basically boils down Kira's youth into a 45-minute explanation. She starts out not wanting to hurt a fly. Then a malevolent foe arrives and starts killing everything she holds dear. Motivated by love (and anguish), she goes hunting for the unprovoked assailant. When the assailant makes an unwarranted moral equivalency, she is not fooled into having any sympathy (and neither are we in the audience). The Darkness and the Light misses the mark only in that this obvious parallel is not properly highlighted in the denouement.

Stephanie S.: I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this episode because it marks Kira's Triumphant Return after a half-season notable for the character's relative absence (due to Real Life Circumstances, of course). On a visceral level, what I enjoy the most about this episode is the reappearance of Kira's fire. The fact that Kira can, in a fit of desperation, take down three security guards while extremely pregnant is just hilarious to me. To my mind, that's classic Kira. You want strong female characters? I've got your strong female character right here.

Of course, this episode also mines Kira's violent past for material, and in this respect, it's quite serious. What I find particularly laudable about Ron Moore's script is that it doesn't pull any punches. Kira's rage as a member of a formerly conquered race is neither blunted nor sugar-coated; instead, it's portrayed with unflinching honesty. She doesn't apologize for the glee she felt the day she killed her first Cardassians, and she doesn't apologize to Prin for what happened to him -- and I think in this case, it would've been inappropriate for her to apologize. For one thing, as Dr. House would no doubt remark, in murdering Kira's friends, Prin lost his right to demand such an apology. Moreover, while terrorism is a particularly ugly tactic of warfare, that really was the only recourse the Bajorans had. Should Kira be sorry that she used the one method available to her to help free her people? I don't think so. The fact that she has, in previous episodes, expressed regret is an indication that she is a great soul, not that she and her Cardassian oppressors share the guilt.

Writing: 9.0 / 8.5

SABR Matt: I'm not sure why my sister finds it difficult that the wounded melodramatic Cardy is incapable of being smart enough to make remote weapons. I routinely ignore any engineering challenges to plots like this's sci fi. My only complaint is that the conclusion seems tacked-on...that even Kira doesn't seem to understand the difference between her and her would-be killer (even though during the altercation, she understands it just fine).

Stephanie S.: You have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit to accept that Prin - aka Mr. Purple Prose - could perpetrate all of his murders via remote control. I also feel that Kira's last line is a somewhat clumsy summation of the theme of the episode. But even with its flaws, this script is certainly a nice vehicle for Kira, and we tend to like Kira vehicles here at Right Fans.

Acting: 9.0 / 9.5

I think some of the purpleness of the script should be blamed on Randy Ogelsby (Prin)...rather than on the words. I think he played his part rather non-eloquently. The rest of the cast - especially Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, and of course...William Lucking and Diane Salinger (Lupaza and Furel) - were excellent.

Message: 10.0 / 9.0

I think it's important to know the difference between terrorism in self defense and the kind of terrorism against which we are at war today. Terrorism is a last recourse...a kind of warfare that should be reserved for enemies who think nothing of putting civilians in the line of fire to deter you and who give you no choice but to fight in your own defense. Above all else, it should be motivated by love, not by hatred/jealousy and (as is the case today in many places) boredom. I think this script sees the moral distinction between Prin and Kira quite nicely and places Kira squarely on the correct side of the ledger.


BASHIR: Have you been taking your makara herbs?
KIRA: Absolutely. Mostly.
BASHIR: Kira, you have to take them. Your progesterone levels are way too low.
KIRA: But if I take the herbs, then the sedatives you gave me don't work.
BASHIR: Yes, the herbs do act as a counteragent, but I thought you said you weren't having any trouble sleeping and that you didn't need any sedatives?
KIRA: I don't. But Julian, those herbs taste like something that crawled out of Quark's ear. (LOL)

O'BRIEN: How you feeling?
KIRA: Fine. Exhausted. I didn't sleep much and Julian's got me back on those herbs again.
O'BRIEN: I know. I heard you pacing all night.
KIRA: I'm sorry.
O'BRIEN: Don't be. I would've gotten up and kept you company, but I figured you wanted to be alone.
KIRA: I couldn't stop thinking about Latha. All those fire fights and bombings he lived through just to be killed during a religious ceremony. You know, if I wasn't pregnant I would be down on Bajor right now trying to narrow down the suspects.
O'BRIEN: You're safer on the station.
KIRA: That's what's driving me crazy. I'm sitting here eating breakfast while someone may be hunting down my friends. I'm a Major in the Bajoran militia. I should be down there trying to protect them.
O'BRIEN: Right now you're needed here, protecting someone else. (aww...sweet scene)

DAX: You've been smirking ever since we left the Starbase.
WORF: I do not smirk. But if I did this would be a good occasion.
DAX: How was I supposed to know that Captain Ramirez was a three-time tongo champion?
WORF: You might have asked before mocking him and then allowing him to up the stakes to a no-limit game.
DAX: I didn't lose that much.
WORF: Two bars of latinum. I hope you have it.
DAX: I have it. Most of it. Worf?
DAX: Fine. I'll borrow it from Quark. He likes me. (LOL!)

KIRA: Why didn't the transporter security system detect the device?
DAX: We're not sure. The system is programmed to scan for remats, so whoever did this has a sophisticated understanding of our security protocols.
KIRA: And a vendetta against the Shakaar resistance cell.
SISKO: I thought you said that Trentin Fala wasn't a member of the Shakaar.
KIRA: She wasn't, at least not officially. Fala spent the occupation cleaning floors in a Cardassian records office in Dahkur Province. She passed us information for years without anyone catching on. But she was always so afraid. Afraid that she'd be caught and executed. But she never stopped. I once told her that I thought she was braver than all of us, because she had to live with her fear every day. Even after the occupation was over, she didn't want anyone to know that she was secretly helping us. She was worried that someone would come looking for her for revenge.
SISKO: Looks like her fears were well founded.

VOICE: That's three.
KIRA: Mobara. He was in the Shakaar.
ODO: Where does Mobara live?
KIRA: Er, Musilla Province, at the university. Engineering school.
ODO: I'm sending an emergency message to the authorities in Musilla. Maybe it's not too late. Are you all right?
KIRA: No, I'm not all right! I haven't slept in three days, someone is killing my friends, and my back! Sorry.
ODO: No apology necessary, Major. They haven't been able to contact Mobara, so they're sending a search party to the university right now. They'll let us know what happens. Major, if I may make a suggestion? Why don't you return to your quarters and rest for now? It may be several hours before they're able to make a complete search.
KIRA: Maybe you're right. But let me know the moment you hear something.
ODO: You have my word.

KIRA: Don't move!
FUREL: Hold it!
KIRA: Furel?
FUREL: Nerys?
(Lights up.)
KIRA: You're lucky I didn't shoot you.
FUREL: I could say the same about you. What are you doing creeping around in a dark room with a phaser.
KIRA: I live here!
LUPAZA: What about him?
KIRA: This is Lieutenant Brilgar. He's station security. He's here to protect me? (ROTFL!)

FUREL: We beamed into the bedroom about five minutes ago. We heard somebody moving around in here. I thought it was you
LUPAZA: But it turned out to be a man with a phaser
FUREL: And I tried to tell her that we should contact you before we came.
LUPAZA: You did not.
KIRA: I should have you both thrown in the brig. But I'm glad to see you.
FUREL: It's good to see you. (aww)

LUPAZA: It's for you.
KIRA: For me?
FUREL: A gift.
(Kira opens the box.) KIRA: (with about as much enthusiasm as someone receiving a dead rat) Makara herbs.
FUREL: You're supposed to take them during your pregnancy.
LUPAZA: She knows what they're for. We thought you might have trouble getting fresh herbs on the station, so we picked them last night.
KIRA: (still not happy) Thanks. (but deciding it's the thought that counts) Really, thank you.

GUARD: Major! You can't go in. There's a hull breach and
KIRA: Get out of my way!
(Kira punches the guard.)
GUARD 2: Major, please.
(She fights past the guard and gets to the door.)
BRILGAR: Major, no! You'll vent the whole corridor!
(Kira punches him too, but the baby intervenes and brings her to her knees. Then she passes out. - awesome)

KIRA: I was thirteen when I joined the resistance. I'd been hanging around the Shakaar base camp for a couple of weeks, running errands, cleaning weapons, that kind of thing. Then one night they had an ambush planned and they were a man short, so I volunteered. But everyone thought I was too young, too small. Lupaza stuck up for me. She said I had the heart of a sinoraptor and they didn't have much choose. Furel made some kind of joke. I don't remember what it was, but I do remember that Lupaza hit him. She was always doing that. They loved each other in some way. But it was up to Shakaar and he stared at me for a long time before he decided I was big enough to carry a phaser rifle after all. So we set up the ambush up along a ridgeline that night and waited. It was so cold my hands were shaking. I was so afraid that one of them would look at me and think that I was nervous, that I kept biting my fingers to keep the blood flowing. We must have waited there three or four hours before the skimmer appeared and set down right where Furel said it would. And when that hatch opened and that first Cardassian stepped out, I just started firing. And I didn't stop till I'd discharged the entire power cell. When it was all over, I was so relieved that I didn't let anyone down that I was almost giddy. Furel kept telling me to stop grinning, that it made me look younger, but I couldn't help it. I was one of them. I was in the Resistance. Lupaza made me this (her earring) out of some of the metal from that skimmer. How were they killed?
ODO: Someone attached a small hunter probe to the hull of a Talavian freighter. When the ship docked at the station, the probe detached itself and then began a visual scan of every room in the Habitat ring. Once the probe found its assigned targets, it attached itself to the window and exploded.
KIRA: Do you have any leads?
ODO: My sources on Cardassia have given me a list of possible suspects. They all have the computer skills, the opportunity and the motive to carry out these attacks.
KIRA: You must have called in a lot of favours.
ODO: One or two.
KIRA: How many people are on the list now?
ODO: Twenty five.
KIRA: Can I see it?
ODO: Not just yet. I'd like to narrow it a little.
KIRA: You're afraid I'm going to take the names and go charging off after them.
ODO: Something like that.
KIRA: You're right. I probably would. (and then she does...LOL)

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