Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S05E23 – Blaze of Glory

In the twenty-third episode of the fifth season of Deep Space Nine, Sisko tries to stop a war. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Sometimes, I feel like the writers realized that in the Maquis, they’d created a force that had a legitimate reason to dislike the Federation, and in order to keep Star Trek a largely positive force for the Federation, they had to make the Maquis out to be villains and terrorists. If this is indeed the last we’ve seen of the Maquis – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case – they more or less fizzled out, victims of their ambition and perhaps a case of the writers not knowing what else to do with them. At the same time, I don’t want that to seem condescending, mostly because I STILL HAVE LOTS OF DEEP SPACE NINE TO WATCh, and this show often likes to keep me totally unprepared. The tragedy of the Maquis might be unfulfilling in one sense, but in terms of motivation Michael Eddington?

Goddamn, it’s an incredible story.

Indeed, it’s Eddington who both returns to Deep Space Nine and exits it in a blaze of glory. For me, that’s what made this episode feel so huge and so starkly personal. Yes, it’s about Sisko trying to stop the Maquis from annihilating millions of Cardassians and jump-starting the Dominion War, but that’s only the premise. Once Sisko sought out Eddington for the location of the missile launch site in order to shut them down, “Blaze of Glory” became about a different kind of struggle: the battle of ego. This is about two men who have similar ideas of loyalty and duty, but are on opposite sides of a conflict. Sort of. Because once you start thinking about it, they don’t disagree all that much. It’s the politics at work. One side opposes the Maquis, the other is part of it. Yet they both want the Dominion War brought to an end, just by different means.

In hindsight, you can tell that Eddington relied on this to get Sisko to do exactly what he wanted of him. He knew that Sisko couldn’t resist the threat of war; he knew that Sisko couldn’t resist turning to himself for information; and he knew that Sisko’s hatred of him would be a strong motivating factor. He played the man, and GOOD LORD, Sisko was not happy about that. But you know, he was pissed off by being tricked by Eddington in the first place! It made so much sense to me to see Sisko erupt in anger once he’d realized he’d been tricked again. Even worse, though: I think Sisko would have rescued those people from the Jem’Hadar anyway. Eddington never really needed to trick him, except he did so because he wanted to. It’s why he found it so amusing that Sisko got injured in the Jeffries tubes in the shuttle. It’s why the whole thing felt like one giant ploy of revenge.

Even if the “revenge” was fake, Eddington’s chance to get back at Sisko wasn’t. However, even after everyone is saved, Eddington makes a bizarre choice: he remains behind to go out in a blaze of glory, despite that no one really needed that. Sure, he delayed the Jem’Hadar soldiers, but by how much? I like the idea that Jadzia presents in the final scene. Eddington wanted to be the leader who would be remembered forever for his dedication and loyalty, and when he came upon Athos IV and saw the devastation, after most of the Maquis had already been eradicated, I believe made a decision. He was going to go out in a way that would turn him into a legend. Now, he’d be remembered as the man who had heroically remained behind to allow his fellow Maquis escape the Jem’Hadar.

Pretty romantic, indeed. Practical? Not in the least, but Eddington cared a lot about how he was perceived. In that sense, he’s like Sisko, too, and it’s a huge reason why these two fought so bitterly against one another. I’ll miss Eddington, though; Kenneth Marshall was so good as him!

The video for “Blaze of Glory” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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