Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S04E22 – For the Cause

In the twenty-second episode of the fourth season of Deep Space Nine, this is NOTHING BUT PAIN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

There’s a pervasive, almost sickening dread throughout “For the Cause.” As the evidence against Kasidy mounts higher and higher, I kept assuming the worst, right up until the worst actually happened. I WOULD LIKE THIS NOT TO BE THE CASE, but alas, here we are. LET’S DISCUSS.

Kasidy Yates

It’s clear now that both plots in this episode are meant to mirror each other. They’re each about paranoia, suspicion, trust, and loyalty, though they end up in completely different places. At the start of “For the Cause,” however, I didn’t assume the worst. I figured that we’d get a story about mistaken identity or miscommunication. Perhaps Kasidy had been set up or was a dupe! Everything would be fine, right?

I theorized this for a number of reasons. The Kasidy/Sisko relationship was still fairly new, and we hadn’t seen her for a while. We also hadn’t had a Maquis episode in a while, and I didn’t think of them as much of a threat to… well, anything. But I suppose that’s the point, and in hindsight, this episode addresses how these things had been folded into the background of the narrative. The Maquis are still trying to survive, their struggle still persists, and the Federation’s flaws still matter. The complicated political fabric of this part of the quadrant informs much of what we see here, too, from the Cardassian desperation to the Federation’s need to constantly expand its membership.

And on top of all of this, the script makes this story intensely personal. It would have been bad enough to learn that longtime characters were willing to betray Sisko (more on that in a bit), but the fact that the show chose Kasidy to secretly be Maquis all along stings more than anything else. Sisko had not seen anyone romantically since Jennifer, and his relationship with Kasidy has felt so unique. AND PERFECT. LET’S JUST SAY THAT BECAUSE IT TOTALLY IS. Good relationships are based in trust, too, so that’s why this hurts as much as it does! Sisko is trapped between his duty as a Starfleet officer and his need to treat Kasidy in good faith. Does he allow Odo and Eddington to do their jobs, even if it means distancing Kasidy in the process?

My guess – since this isn’t vocalized at any point – is that Sisko couldn’t believe that Kasidy was lying by omission this entire time. He takes that personally. And why shouldn’t he? He’s the commander of Deep Space Nine, and if Odo and Eddington’s suspicions are correct, then that means that not only did he allow a Maquis smuggler onto his station, but he entered a relationship with her. THAT STINGS. A LOT. And yet, I kept this tiny sliver of hope alive because I wanted so badly for this to end well. Maybe Kasidy was being forced to drop off medical supplies and food to the Maquis!!! Maybe there was some extenuating circumstance!!! Maybe she found it morally just to provide those supplies to help out a suffering group even if she wasn’t a part of them!!!

Nope. Kasidy is Maquis, and so is Eddington. In some sense, that’s a real weird twist because I cannot see a single clue to this in the past episodes. I suspect it wasn’t planned at all and instead, the writers more or less decided to change these characters’ arcs. However, I’m utterly for it when it comes to Eddington because of that blistering monologue he gives at the end of the episode. Maybe I don’t remember little hints along the way, but lord, who cares when it allows Deep Space Nine to level such an intense criticism against the Federation? It’s a satisfying moment because the show finally states, in a definitive and undeniable way, that the Federation is not paradise for everyone. That’s what we’ve always been told about it, explicitly in The Original Series, quite frequently throughout The Next Generation, and near the beginning of Deep Space Nine. But none of the other series have ever been able to be as critical of the Federation quite like DS9 has, and I appreciate it. I appreciate it so much because that is how this show manages to separate itself from the pack. The writers give nuance to the Maquis by showing us why people would willingly choose to leave a utopia.

Because it’s not a utopia for them.

As for Kasidy? I don’t know that I’d say this twist is nonsensical. She is a deeply empathetic and political person. I can see why she’d sympathize with the Maquis and even why she’d choose to join them. Her betrayal of Sisko is a lot harder to stomach, but she’s a complicated person who has an entire life outside of that man, and that’s never been more obvious than now. Her return at the end of “For the Cause” at least demonstrates her willingness to hold herself accountable and to stay in Sisko’s life. I desperately hope she’ll return, but I don’t know how the show will deal with that.



Like the main plot in this episode, Garak’s trust of Ziyal is the focus of his story. He’s got a history with Gul Dukat, so any interaction with his daughter would be laced with complications. Can he trust her? Can he trust Dukat? Is he just being paranoid? In many ways, this plot was more of a humorous break than anything else, especially that scene with Quark and Garak in the shop. Is Garak’s suspicion justified?

Unlike the ending to the Kssidy plot, Ziyal comes clean about her intentions, and there’s no insidious plot at work in her invitation for Garak to join her in a holosuite. Truth be told, both these characters are largely alone, separated from their people and their culture, unable to return, and Ziyal just wants company. She wants someone who can tell her what her home is like. And that’s a pretty cool thing that she can find that in Garak.

The video for “For the Cause” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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