In the twenty-first episode of the seventh season of Deep Space Nine, somehow, everything gets worse because that’s the reality I live in now. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For talk of consent, genocide, and ableism (in re: blindness)
TOO MUCH HAPPENED. WHERE DO I EVEN START.
I want you all to know that my autocorrect just changed Gowron’s name to “Go wrong.” AND THIS IS 100% APPROPRIATE BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS GOING TO GO WRONG, Y’ALL. It’s so infuriating to think about the timing of Gowron’s ego play because he’s literally coming in at the worst possible time to enact this horrific savior narrative. He mistakenly believes that this is his chance to take the Klingon Empire into glory. Why? Because he’s seen the mythologizing that’s happening around Martok, whose sense of duty and his ferocity as a warrior has kept the Klingons and the Federation in this war. Instead of leveraging that success, he just comes in and usurps it. Look, Martok doesn’t want to be a celebrity or a savior or a martyr; he just wants to win. There’s an easy solution here: Gowron could consult Klingon’s greatest tactician for his plans, but give the appearance that he knows what he’s doing. Instead, he is arrogant, dismisses any concerns that Worf and Martok have, and appears to be setting into motion the most foolish move yet in the war.
GREAT. Someone stop him. Worf, challenge him to a fight or something, I DON’T KNOW.
I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. WHAT THE FUCK, DEEP SPACE NINE. Even when this was just a story about how Starfleet was ready to let Odo die in order to guarantee that all the Changelings would die, this episode was fucked up. Watching that struggle unfold was enough! I got it! You didn’t have to do me like this and reveal that STARFLEET CREATED THE VIRUS THAT IS NOW KILLING THE CHANGELINGS. Section 31’s response to the threat of the Dominion was to willingly commit genocide. It’s why Julian was initially denied Odo’s medical records from three years prior and why Starfleet ultimately sent fake files to him. The sheer cruelty of this hasn’t even fully hit me yet. All those good things that Odo did for the Federation and Starfleet mean nothing; he’s now a part of the enemy in the end. And look, using Odo as the only reason why Starfleet shouldn’t do this is bad politics because LET’S NOT USE GENOCIDE AS A WEAPON. I hate the Founders, too, but genocide oh my god.
The next episode is gonna be ridiculous, isn’t it? PLEASE TELL ME IT’S A HEIST EPISODE AND O’BRIEN AND JULIAN ARE GONNA GO STEAL THE CURE FROM STARFLEET.
Kai Winn and Gul Dukat
In another context, I might have cause to celebrate. The idea that Gul Dukat’s decision to disguise himself as a Bajoran has gloriously backfired is a beautiful thing. I cherish the image of him being forced to beg for any money to feed himself and house himself. He has to rely on the kindness of the very Bajoran people he hated and despised so much! It’s got a poetic justice to it, you know?
Except there are two problems with this, one internal and one external. Kai Winn’s “punishment” of Gul Dukat comes right before she then sits down and CONTINUES READING A DEMON BOOK ABOUT FREEING ROGUE WORMHOLE ALIENS WHO WILL ASSUREDLY MURDER EVERY BAJORAN WHO THEY DEEM UNWORTHY. Like… I can’t be excited because a part of Kai Winn gets it, and the rest of her? She is perfectly fine with genocide herself, as long as it restores her to power. Secondly, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of celebrating blindness as a punishment, since that further stigmatizes people who are actually blind. It contributes to the idea that blindness is a bad thing, something to be suffered, you know?
I continue to be astounded that Kai Winn is so close to gaining some sense, yet she veers away from it in the end. I get it, though; her quest from power may be extreme, but I get it. These are the costs she’s willing to enact to obtain her deepest desires, and as horrifying as they are, they also aren’t real. They’re just concepts, ideas, things she might to wriggle out of because that’s what Kai Winn does. She tries to avoid responsibility. But can she do that now, playing with a fire that burns so complete?
I mentioned this on video, but one of my favorite things about this arc at the end of season 7 (and it really does seem like it’ll finish out the show) is that the writers have found all these new avenues to explore stories. While Julian and O’Brien’s loyalty to Starfleet is tested, while Gowron assumes commands at the last minute, while Odo deals with the same disease that’s killing the Founders, Kira is given a frustrating and disturbing assignment: teach the Cardassians how to be a successful resistance force. It’s fitting that this is happening alongside Gul Dukat’s storyline because of the role reversals we’re getting onscreen. Dukat must cope with the reality of poverty on Bajor. Meanwhile, the Cardassians learn just how cutthroat the Bajorans had to be in order to dispel them, and guess what? THEY DON’T LIKE IT. That’s unsurprising, of course, because most of them still haven’t properly accepted that what they did to the Bajorans was wrong.
Let this episode stand as evidence of that. Despite that they are outnumbered by Cardassians loyal to the Dominion, despite that they’re on the run from people who could easily wipe them out, and despite that they must rely on the generosity of the Federation for supplies and survival, they still cannot resist antagonizing Kira. If it weren’t for Damar, would they have even bothered not to just kill her? They barely keep their animosity at bay, DESPITE THAT SHE IS OBVIOUSLY HELPING THEM. And she has the skills to do what she says! She beat them. Yet they can’t help but see her as the enemy, someone to be distrusted and second-guessed and hated.
Seriously, y’all are gonna have to get along or you’ll lose. In an instant. Basically, though, I’m still shocked at how far this show has come. It’s not what I ever would have expected of it, but HERE WE ARE.
The video for “When It Rains…” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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