Monday, May 9, 2011

Classics: DS9 5:19 - Ties of Blood and Water

Overall: 8.3

A strong Kira vehicle.

Plot Synopsis:

Memory Alpha has a summary here.

The Skinny:

I like this episode. I like it because, as Dax's final line in the opening scene suggests, it does show us exactly how far Kira has come without necessarily diluting that kick-ass quality I love so much. Besides the obvious fact that Kira exhibits admiration and love for a Cardassian, we also see that she has retained her connection to Kira-Yoshi. I don't think Kira the freedom fighter - or even the Kira of five years ago - ever imagined that she would one day become a mother (of sorts). But a pregnancy - however unintended - has a way of changing your point of view.

I also like this episode because the writers take care to highlight its larger context: the fallout of Dukat's recent alliance with the Dominion. I appreciate the opportunity to see that not every Cardassian of rank approves of Dukat's choice. I'm also very much like Weyoun in that I find the not-even-veiled hostility which now exists between Dukat and our leads to be endlessly entertaining. Dukat and Sisko's "talk" in re: the poisoned kanar is especially classic.

There is a flaw in the way this episode is written, however: the writers spell things out a little too obviously at times -- especially with Kira's semi-monologue after Ghemor's death. If they had juxtaposed the flashbacks involving the death of Kira's father and the present-day scenes involving the death of Ghemor without extended comment, I think we in the audience would've been more than capable of deducing the reason why Kira is, for a time, so eager to avoid Ghemor's sickbed. Still, this criticism does not in any way diminish the strength of Nana Visitor's performance in those final scenes.

Writing: 8.0

Even though it violates the maxim that a writer should show rather than tell, there is much to like in this script.

Acting: 9.0

As I said, Nana Visitor in particular does a great job.

Message: 8.0

Racial or national guilt should never take the place of individual guilt. Kira has known for a while now that not all Cardassians are equally culpable for the Occupation, but it's still nice to see her live that lesson.


WORF: Major Kira, friends with a Cardassian. It seems wrong.
DAX: You should've known her five years ago. Back then, I never thought she'd be friends with anyone. (Heh.)

O'BRIEN: Message from Cardassia. It's from Gul Dukat. He's demanding to speak to you.
SISKO: Put him through.
DUKAT [on viewscreen]: Ah, Captain Sisko. Always a pleasure.
SISKO: Still calling yourself Gul? I'm surprised you haven't promoted yourself back to Legate by now.
DUKAT [on viewscreen]: I prefer the title Gul. So much more hands-on than Legate. And less pretentious than the other alternatives: President... Emperor... First Minister... Emissary...
SISKO: How about Dominion Puppet? (Oh, snap!)

GHEMOR: Dukat, I have a week to live -- maybe less. Do you really expect me to trade my silence for a few short days under the Cardassian sun?
DUKAT: It is where you belong, Ghemor.
GHEMOR: And it's where I'd be this very moment if you hadn't betrayed our people to the Dominion. Good day, Dukat.
WEYOUN: He doesn't seem to like you very much. We're going to have to do something about your public image.
KIRA: Gentlemen.
DUKAT: You haven't heard my entire offer. We do have something else I think might interest you. Your daughter, Iliana.
GHEMOR: Iliana? I --
KIRA: Don't listen to him.
DUKAT: Your daughter is alive. I know where to find her.
GHEMOR: I want to believe you, Dukat, but even if I did, let's just say I don't like the company you're keeping. You and I might have come to an agreement, one Cardassian to another. But now dealing with you means dealing with them, and that makes the price too high.

DUKAT: Major. Sorry to disturb you.
KIRA: Sorry enough to leave? (Zing!)
DUKAT: Your defense of Ghemor is admirable. But did it ever occur to you, you may be fighting the wrong battle? Do you recall the massacre at the Kiessa Monastery?
KIRA: Kiessa. What's that got to do with Ghemor?
(Dukat hands over a PADD.)
DUKAT: See for yourself. That is his official military record. You can verify anything on there with Bajoran Intelligence if you like.
KIRA: You are really enjoying this, aren't you? Huh? All your sick little games.
DUKAT: I must admit, I do get a certain perverse pleasure out of it. Read it or not, it's up to you.
(After a pause, Kira throws a mug at Dukat. Dukat moves out of the way, and the mug hits the wall and shatters. Damn.)
KIRA: I promise you, Dukat, I will make you pay for all of this one day.
DUKAT: Maybe. But not today.

GHEMOR: Nerys, is something wrong?
KIRA: Yes there's something's wrong. You lied to me.
GHEMOR: About what?
KIRA: About everything. But let's start with Kiessa Monastery.
GHEMOR: Kiessa.
KIRA: You were there, weren't you?
GHEMOR: Dukat told you.
KIRA: The Cardassian army burned Kiessa to the ground. Seventeen monks were killed.
GHEMOR: But they were hiding weapons for the Resistance. Weapons that were being used to kill my friends. It was war. It was easy to despise you. But you weren't the monsters, we were. I wish I'd never joined the military, never volunteered for duty on Bajor. But I did. And I can't change that, no matter how much I might want to.
KIRA: So instead you hid the truth from me.
GHEMOR: No, Nerys. I didn't want you to hate me.
KIRA: It's what you deserve. (OUCH.)

DUKAT: Ah, Captain. Can I help you?
SISKO: I thought we should talk. I realise I haven't been much of a host.
(He has brought a bottle of kanar, and glasses. They go to a table under the watchful gaze of Security.)
SISKO: Here, have some kanar.
DUKAT: No, thank you. I'm not particularly thirsty right now.
SISKO: I insist.
DUKAT: I said no thank you. I never touch kanar on an empty stomach, Captain. It's bad for the digestion.
SISKO: In this case, that's something of an understatement. Because in that bottle is enough voraxna poison to kill at least a dozen Cardassians. It was delivered to Tekeny Ghemor less than twenty minutes ago.
DUKAT: Fascinating.
SISKO: What's wrong, Dukat? Are you afraid Ghemor's going to say something that might undermine your cosy new position?
DUKAT: Tread with care, Captain. You're coming dangerously close to accusing the head of the Cardassian government of attempted murder.
SISKO: Is that what I'm doing?
WEYOUN: (cheerful) How delightful! The mysterious plots, the subtle innuendos, the veiled threats. It's all so entertaining!
(Weyoun drinks the kanar.)
DUKAT: What?
WEYOUN: Oh, my. That is quite toxic, isn't it?
DUKAT: Are you insane?
WEYOUN: Vorta are immune to most forms of poison. Comes in handy when you're a diplomat. (ROTFL!)

KIRA:If you've got something to say to me, Constable, say it.
ODO: I understand you've stopped visiting Ghemor.
KIRA: He lied to me. I thought he was different, but he's just like the rest of them.
ODO: Is he? Really? I've seen his file, too, Major. He was nineteen when Kiessa was destroyed. He'd been in the military for less than a year and was only one of four hundred soldiers at the monastery. There's no way of knowing if he even fired a shot.
KIRA: He shouldn't have been there at all.
ODO: This isn't about Ghemor's war record. If it really mattered, you wouldn't have waited for Dukat to hand it to you. You would have looked it up yourself.
KIRA: What are you trying to say? That I should go back down there?
ODO: Ah. No, I wasn't saying that at all. Are you?

BASHIR: I thought you should know that Ghemor's condition has deteriorated. He'll be dead within the hour.
KIRA: Thank you for the information, Doctor.
BASHIR: Is that it? Thank you for the information? Ghemor is dying.
KIRA: I heard you.
BASHIR: Major, he wants to see you.
KIRA: Well, I don't want to see him.
BASHIR: Major, please, it's almost over. There's no more questions to ask, no more work to be done. Just go to his quarters and sit with him.
KIRA: I said no. Don't ask me again.
BASHIR: Fine. You must do what you want. But I think you're making a mistake. Regardless of what Ghemor's done in the past, he doesn't deserve to die alone. Nobody does.

BASHIR: Cause of death was CNS failure brought on by Yarim Fel syndrome. One witness was present, a Major Kira Nerys of the Bajoran Militia. Witness's statement is attached. Major, we're done here.
KIRA: That's it? A quick postmortem, a statement from the witness and a little paperwork. It seems so straightforward.
BASHIR: It never is.
KIRA: He got so quiet toward the end. I could hear him whispering things. His wife's name, Iliana's, even mine. Then the pain just got too much for him and he just lay there, breathing. And at the end of every exhale, there was this pause, and I thought that's it. It's over. Then he'd force another breath, and another. I started counting them. One hundred, two hundred, three hundred. He fought for every last second. I don't even think he knew I was there.
BASHIR: He knew. You gave him what he needed. He didn't die alone.
KIRA: Maybe he gave me something I needed. I missed my father's death by less than an hour. Did you know that? Less than an hour. I always told myself that it was bad luck, bad timing, the will of the Prophets. But the truth is, I didn't have to go when I did. I could have stayed a while longer. I saw my chance to get out and I took it. I saw so much death during the occupation, I felt so much pain. But my father, he was my strength, and I couldn't stand to see that strength slipping away. So I ran.
BASHIR: Just like you tried to run from Ghemor.
KIRA: He reminded me so much of my father. Going through it again, I just couldn't face it.
BASHIR: But in the end, you did. You were there for Ghemor.
KIRA: I owed it to him. I owed it to my father to get it right this time. (The dialogue is really on the nose here, but I have to put this scene in the highlights because Nana Visitor's performance was quite good.)

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