Star Trek (DS9): Civil Defense – SF Debris

Opinionated DS9 episode guide shows that it’s not all fun and games when you take a station dedicated to slave labor and try to turn it into a family-friendly port. Who knew?

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  1. I would have rated this episode a little higher myself. Watching it for the first time it felt incredibly tense and kept you wondering how they were going to fix each problem as every solution just led to a greater threat.

    • It’s not about a first time viewing usually. Its how an episode hold up after being seen two, three, five times, over the course of 20 years in the context of, and in comparison to, the series as a whole.

      It IS a good episode, that’s why it’s above average. But its not upper tier for the show as a whole.

      • It’s an important distinction to remember in these reviews. DS9 is generally considered very high quality and SFDebris clearly agrees. A 6 for DS9 would probably be an 8 or 9 for an Enterprise episode of equal quality in acting, writing, directing, etc.

  2. Instead of shooting the life support system, couldn’t Kira have unplugged it, or flipped a circuit breaker?

    • No, because they were locked out of being able to do anything, including overrides or turning the power off. And everything is hard plugged into the station, you can’t just unplug a component like you can with a tv… expecially not when its shooting death lasers at you.

      • Yeah, hard-plugged just means you bypass the receptacle and have the machine wired to the circuit breaker. If they don’t have fuses or circuit breakers then the ministry of labour should shut the station down. They also should have wiped the OS, or even physically replaced the original Cardassian hard-drives long before any of this happened. I can’t really tell you what the CEC or NEC codes are for death lasers, but I’m guessing they should have been removed as well. I would accept the vital life support system not having an E-stop, except that it doesn’t just provide oxygen, it would have to handle nitrogen co2 and the filtration of unwanted gases. There are many ways the system could fault where it would itself become a hazard, so yes it needs an E-Stop button.

        • Star Trek future tech is not good about safety features or backups. They’ve had plenty of episodes where the manual override was in a place where it couldn’t be physically accessed or where it was wired into the thing that needed over-riding. To say nothing of their security precautions and password systems…

          • Let’s also not forget the TNG episode where Data had to appear to be dead before it occurred to anyone to restore from backup and reboot. Geordi acted like he’d invented warp drive when he came up with that idea.

    • We are talking about Major Kira.

      Incidentally my favorite character in all of the Star Trek universe.

  3. Maybe you should start giving two ratings. One rating relative to the series and one rating relative to all of Star Trek. Because it seems like a 6 for DS9 is like an 8 for Star Trek in general. It’s just so weird to see these DS9 reviews that are mostly positive and filled with praise, with a few minor critiques and nitpicks, that get average or slightly above average ratings.

    As for this episode, there are so many great little character moments. That little moment where Dukat knocks the baseball off of Sisko’s desk just tells you so much about him. He already has the upper hand, and he’s asserted his dominance and control over the situation by sitting at the desk like he still runs the station, yet he still commits this petty act to rub things in Kira’s face.

  4. So we’re to believe that either Dukat was the only Cardassian commander whose superiors suspected would cut and run in an emergency, no slave rebellion ever reached the point where the Cardassian commander felt the need to cut and run, OR Dukat simply never heard of the policy that doesn’t allow commanders to cut and run from a slave revolt and allows them to be slaughtered?

    So did Dukat spend all that time recording things for the various events or is it more of a simulation using the image of the current Cardassian overlord? It might have been an interesting twist for it to have been Sisko’s image the computer used given that he’s station commander.

    • Or maybe the computer detected that it was Dukat trying to cut and run so it played a message for Dukat. If it had been another commander who tried to run, the computer might have played a different message. Or maybe they only recorded a message for Dukat because he was in charge of Terok Nor and they didn’t want to waste time recording messages for every officer on the station.

      There’s probably also politics involved. Cardassians are always scheming to sabotage each other in power plays. Dukat has a lot of political enemies who would love to see him disgraced.

      • My point isn’t just this case. The Cardassians are professional bastards and presumably have slave colonies all over their empire. They have to have had policies regarding commanders in revolt situations. So either a revolt NEVER got out of hand enough for those policies to be enforced, Dukat was a guy they especially hated (but then why is he in command at all), or he’d simply never heard what happened in those other revolts which given his nature seems unlikely.

        • Or revolts have gotten out of hand before but the state controlled media covered it up.

          Cardassia is a totalitarian state. They would never want anyone, including their own citizens, especially their own citizens, to know how fragile their empire really is.

          As for Dukat being in command despite being hated, it’s been established that Cardassians like to plot and scheme. It’s entirely possible that someone who hated Dukat put him in charge just so he would fail and get disgraced. And we know Central Command has no problem playing those kinds of games since they pulled that trick on Dukat with the Maquis. They put him on the assignment to deal with the Maquis just so they could frame him for supplying weapons to the Cardassian colonists. That could have been their plan for Bajor. Maybe someone higher up in Central Command knew that they couldn’t hold on to Bajor and they needed someone to blame when things went bad, so they put Dukat in charge in hopes of making him a scapegoat.

  5. Dukat was that one villain they never really could get the balance right. He was essentially the commander of a concentration camp, but we also see he’s not a card carrying villain. He’s a patriot to he people and does love his family. He even seems to have respect for Kira. He even sees his time at Terok Nor as a benevolent stewardship. He probably even believes other Cardassians would have been much harsher, and he may be right. He lacks the self awareness to see himself from a non-Cardassian military viewpoint.

    That’s complexity in a character, but since he’s removed from this position before the series, we don’t see the worst of him most of the time. His siding with the Dominion was a good move from that angle. It also somewhat put him in the powerless side of the equation, as well. However, having him go bat-sh!t crazy ultimately took away much of the complexity. He was they pure villain.

    • This grayness extended to Marc Alaimo himself. Often he forgot he was playing the Cardassian version of Hitler, but they did such a good job making him likable that he thought he was playing one of the good guys until they fully swung the other way late in the series.

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