Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S03E24 – Shakaar

In the twenty-fourth episode of the third season of Deep Space Nine, THIS IS SUCH A COOL STORY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: For talk of warfare.

COMMITMENT, Y’ALL. COMMITMENT. That is what Deep Space Nine does consistently with its writing, and it’s why it’s become my favorite of all four of the series that I’ve seen. (Granted, I have a lot more of Voyager to watch, so we’ll see. WE WILL SEE.) It doesn’t matter that this is a self-contained story, one that’s largely resolved in just forty-odd minutes. “Shakaar” worked so well for me because it communicated a lot in a very short amount of time. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.


There is an UNREAL amount of worldbuilding in this episode, y’all. Granted, the conflict here relies on our understanding of Kai Winn’s past within the series, which… surprise, everyone. I LOVE HOW SERIALIZED DEEP SPACE NINE IS. But let’s say that you didn’t catch the past episodes; this script tells you so much regardless. You can tell from Louise Fletcher’s performance that Kai Winn loves to use condescension and passive-aggression in order to get what she wants. (SHE IS SO PERFECTLY CAST IN THIS ROLE.) The long conversation between Winn and Kira in the beginning helps us to understand the need that Winn has: she wants Kira to convince an old resistance fighter to return technology that is helping to purify the poisoned, toxic soil on Bajor. And we even know why that is important, too! Aside from being told by Winn that this could lead to Bajor being able to export resources for the first time since the Cardassian occupation.

So it’s a big deal. A very big deal. Kira knows this, but the script also helps us to understand why she cares so much about Shakaar, Furel, and Lupaza. Hell, there was even a moment (which you can see on the video) where I was confused as to why Shakaar was so reluctant to return the soil reclamators. Why risk his life for something that would most certainly benefit other people? When my confusion was cleared up, I understood how complex this predicament was. Ultimately, this was about fairness. How was it fair that Shakaar and his people waited three years for these machines, only to have them taken away from him just two months into their use? Why would Shakaar have to sacrifice the well-being of his people in order to help others?

This is a deeply political struggle, and it’s one that forces Kira to make a decision. Does she support the well-being of Bajor as a whole, or does she support her longtime friends who deserve the chance to better their own soil, too? It’s a struggle that’s unfolded countless times in the real world, and I think it’s represented beautifully here.


Here’s where I found “Shakaar” most electrifying and satisfying. I think it would have been a lot easier for the writers to have the action unfold in this story over the course of a day or two. Indeed, I figured that once Winn dismissed Kira from her responsibilities, we’d see the lengths Winn would go in order to stop Shakaar. I never assumed that Kira would be a part of them. Even when she made the choice to run off with Shakarr and support him, I anticipated a quick end to that arrangement. How could Kira leave her duties on DS9 for that long? Would Winn tolerate Kira’s defection for more than a day or two?

No, the writers decide to have Kira defect to Shakaar’s side FOR LITERAL WEEKS. Yes, the time passes between scenes, but I didn’t find this unbelievable. Instead, given what I knew of Kira, I totally accepted that she had made such a significant stand against Kai Winn. Look how passionate she was prior to this decision! She was so convinced that there was a diplomatic way to resolve this situation. However, Winn demonstrated quite obviously that she had no intentions of ever resolving this conflict with anything other than force.

So Kira made her choice. YET EVEN MORE BRILLIANT, SHE AND SHAKAAR ARE TOTALLY AWARE OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT THEY’VE DONE. Granted, that self-reflection comes once they’re forced into a possible skirmish with Bajoran troops. It’s no longer an abstract concept: at some point, they will have to kill other Bajorans in order to get what they want. Unsurprisingly, neither of them are willing to do that. It’s a twist that feels credible because we have such a great sense for who these characters are. Both of them love Bajor and would do anything for their country. Except, of course, killing their own people.

I just… y’all, the look on Winn’s face when Shakaar, Kira, and Lenaris reveal their plan to have Shakaar run for First Minister is one of the BEST THINGS EVER. As I said before, it’s a satisfying story that hits all its beats perfectly and gives a cathartic conclusion for these characters. BRAVO, DEEP SPACE NINE. BRAVO.

The Zone

So, did O’Brien purposefully hurt his shoulder, or was it a genuine accident? I suppose it doesn’t matter much, but I enjoyed that there was a subplot within “Shakaar” that was 100% not serious at all. It helped to break up the main story without distracting from it. Also, when are we getting an episode about Morn? Thanks.

The video for “Shakaar” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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