In the fourteenth episode of the fifth season of Deep Space Nine, WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Well, this is really happening, isn’t it???
Look, as serialized as Deep Space Nine has become, I still didn’t expect that we’d get further stories involving Ziyal, and lord, WHAT AN UPDATE. First, let’s acknowledge one trivial thing: Gul Dukat came out of fucking nowhere to stop Garak from touching his daughter. SERIOUSLY, IT SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME. But you know, the more I think about that moment, the more I’m convinced that it’s not actually all that trivial. In fact, it’s a great way to discuss how Dukat claims to care about his daughter while proving that he cares more about himself.
That’s not exactly a surprising claim to make, of course, since Gul Dukat has been a self-centered character since he was first introduced. At the same time, it’s not that I doubted that he loved Ziyal. That’s been one of the more surprising developments for his character, but that doesn’t mean he suddenly stops being selfish. On the contrary, even in his love for his daughter, he thinks of what he wants. He frames his affection for her on his own whims, desires, and politics. It doesn’t matter that Ziyal has her own reasons for her infatuation for Garak, and I might have understood her father more if he’d been concerned about the fact that she was infatuated with someone. The lack of reciprocation is a more important issue! But Dukat doesn’t see it that way; he’s concerned with his daughter obeying him and respecting the family’s reputation. Which, I might add, is totally in shambles at the moment. Gods, is that why he overreacted? Does he feel guilty for ruining his own reputation, so he takes it out on Ziyal?
THIS IS A GREAT THEORY. Regardless, he’s burned both his bridges here. He insults and threatens Kira (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, THAT WON’T END WELL), then he more or less disowns Ziyal. Great decisions, dude. GREAT.
Surprise, it’s a Garak episode that I loved. SURPRISE. JUST… I can’t deal with this character, and I mean that as a compliment. SUCH DEPTH. SUCH COMPLEXIY. And he surprises me every time he appears on this show, and “In Purgatory’s Shadow” is no exception. After the last time we saw Enabran Tain, I was a little shocked that Garak wanted to go after him, but in hindsight, that’s a silly reaction. It was obvious why Garak was still loyal to him. Tain meant something very specific to him, though of course, I’d always thought of Tain as a father figure. NOT A LITERAL ONE. But Garak would always have done anything for his mentor, no matter the circumstances, no matter the complications put before him.
So once he got captured alongside Worf, I was expecting an episode about the conflict between them, and THAT IS NOT AT ALL WHAT I GOT. I’m still in awe of the escalation here because this was just… I don’t know. It’s a strange thing to describe because my expectations for this story were completely destroyed in the span of ten minutes. I thought that this was going to be a character study, since we’d not gotten any episodes where Garak and Worf were paired up. Guess what? SURPRISE, THE DOMINION IS INVADING THE ALPHA QUADRANT AND ALSO THEY’VE BEEN OPERATING INTERNMENT CAMPS FOR LITERAL YEARS AND ALSO THEY KIDNAPPED JULIAN AND REPLACED HIM WITH A CHANGELING LIKE A MONTH AGO. LIKE, SO LONG AGO THAT HE STILL HAD THE OLD UNIFORM ON. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW.
It’s astounding to me, though, that the writers manage to introduce the biggest plot twist in terms of the Dominion storyline while also giving us closure for Garak and Enabran Tain. The Dominion invade the Alpha Quadrant right around the same time that Garak confronts his mentor, who is actually his father. Oh my god, THIS EXPLAINS SO MANY THINGS, Y’ALL. Why else would Garak have such an intense need to be validated by Tain? Because Tain had an affair, and Garak was the result of that. And my god, given what we know of affairs or illegitimate children based on Dukat’s story with Ziyal, it’s easy to imagine Enabran Tain tormenting Garak his whole life while simultaneously molding him into the person he is now. Seriously, every second more I think about it, I begin to understand Garak more and more. And at least at the end of this, he got to imagine Tain as the loving father he never really was. Thanks, Deep Space Nine, for the heartbreak.
OH, AND ALSO THERE’S A DOMINION WAR NOW. Like… how??? HOW IS THIS ALL HAPPENING ALREADY? I feel like this innocent little episode was going to be about the wacky shenanigans between Worf and Garak, and now look what it has done. Everything is a mess, and the Dominion have invaded the Alpha Quadrant. HOW. UNFAIR.
The video for “In Purgatory’s Shadow” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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