Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S07E22 – Tacking in the Wind

In the twenty-second episode of the seventh season of Deep Space Nine, I am certain everything just happened in this episode, but let’s be real: it’s gonna be ridiculous from here on out. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

Trigger Warning: For talk of genocide, imperialism.

Good god, what an EXPERIENCE.

Section 31

Let’s talk about the smaller plot before we talk about the BIG ONES. After the previous episode, I figured that this would be the time for Miles and Julian to come up with their plan to infiltrate Section 31. In hindsight, that’s a silly idea. How can you infiltrate an organization that has stayed hidden for 300 years? Do they even have a central location??? Probably not. Instead of pushing forward with a plan, the script focuses on Julian and Miles’s frustration, which includes a brutally awkward scene where Julian snaps at his friend. He goes four days without sleep and makes no progress at all! Thus, the story is steeped in this sort of impossibility. The Dominion couldn’t figure out a cure, so how can one dude without the same sort of resources possibly accomplish something the Founder or the Dominion could not?

I love that Miles’s tentative solution is not to pursue discovering a cure, but to instead get someone else to tell them about it. Now, whether or not they’re able to pull that off is a huge unknown. Section 31 agents have to be well-trained to handle interrogation or torture, so what could Miles and Julian possibly do to compel someone from Section 31 to talk? I have no idea, but I STILL LOVE THIS ABSURD PLAN AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT UNFOLD.

Two Empires

The vast majority of “Tacking Into the Wind” follows two incredible events happening in parallel with one another, suggesting a future we may never get to see within Star Trek canon. I’m perfectly okay with that, though, because of the scope of this episode. It’s so small, relatively speaking, and yet both plots unfold something grandiose and shocking. The future of the Klingon and Cardassian empires are at stake, and yet we don’t even realize that until things have escalated RIDICULOUSLY FAR.

Take the story with Gowron, for example. The problem of Gowron’s ego and his petty vendetta seemed so impossible because of the rules set in place by years worth of Klingon continuity. Indeed, that’s why Ronald Moore’s script is so vital: for the first time in a while, HE THROWS THE RULES OUT when it comes to the Klingons. That’s why it’s so frustrating that Martok operates with his hands tied. He can’t defy Gowron because, as a soldier, he is duty-bound to obey his commander. That’s how Klingon honor works! Thus, Worf’s initial plan to have Martok challenge Gowron can’t work. No matter how badly they all disagree with Gowron’s tactics, they’re stuck.

I found it refreshing, then, that Ezri is the one who makes Worf consider things in another light. She’s an honorary member of the house of Martok, sure, but she’s distant from Klingon culture, unlike Curzon or Jadzia. She has a perspective that’s a combination of her past experience with her current detachment. That’s why she tells Worf: Who cares? Who cares about maintaining the Empire when the Empire is so corrupt and conservative? And her point is based on LITERALLY ALL OF KLINGON CANON IN THREE STAR TREK SHOWS THUS FAR. Which I love!!! I love that her point hits so perfectly on the pulse of what Klingon mythology has become: bloated, complicated, corrupt. Where is there honor in a government where those in power can exploit the very ideals of their culture in order to stay in power?

I am still floored by Worf’s confrontation with Gowron. HE JUST SAYS NO. NO!!! He outright refuses Gowron, challenges him to a fight, GETS THROWN THROUGH A GLASS TACTICAL MAP, has his bat’leth ripped in half, and still manages to kill Gowron. And in a stunning callback to his conversation with Ezri, Worf refuses command, handing power to Martok, urging the man to usher in a new age for Klingons. HE IS A MAN WITH NO NOBLE BLOOD WHO COMES FROM POVERTY AND NOW HE’S THE HEAD OF THE KLINGON EMPIRE OH MY GOD.

Of equal wonder is the transformation of Damar. WHICH TAKES PLACE DURING A HEIST I was very pleased with this. But the theft of a Jem’Hadar warship with Breen technology – while important for the Dominion War plot – is almost immaterial to what else happens. Rusot, in many ways, represents a traditional and stereotypical Cardassian, of which there must be tons of in Cardassia as a whole. He’s arrogant, believes he is superior to other cultures and races, and views Kira with contempt and disgust. In his eyes, she exists to gloat and nothing more. He cannot even recognize that she is legitimately helping with the Cardassian rebellion; instead, he goads her with his theory that she’s only around so she can kill more Cardassians.

I’ll say it outright: he projects like a motherfucker in this episode. In her place, I imagine Rusot would want to kill as many of his enemy as possible because he is that vindictive and cruel. Yet Rusot cannot view himself through this lens. He views the occupation of Cardassia as a violent, oppressive act. But Cardassia’s occupation of Bajor? Well, that’s morally right. A necessity. Part of a proud history.

However, it’s Damar who finally begins to understand Kira and those like her. The cost of that empathy, though, is his wife and son, murdered by the Dominion out of revenge for his treason. Y’all, I was left breathless when, after Damar decried the brutality of the Founders, Kira casually reminded him of his nation’s exact same brutality. I had hoped that Garak was right, that Damar’s vulnerability left him in a place of understanding, but I didn’t know! The man’s temper is notorious, so what if he agreed with Rusot? What if he supported his attempt to murder Kira and take the Jem’Hadar ship for Cardassia?

Yet Damar’s execution of Rusot comes with a declaration: the old Cardassia is dead. What that will mean in the long run remains to be seen, but Y’ALL. HOLY SHIT. Is this it? Is Cardassia really going to change???

Hey, it’s something positive to look forward to because I DON’T FEEL GOOD ABOUT ODO. I am real worried that Odo is going to die before Julian can get ahold of a cure. As I said in the video for this episode, we’re at the end! There are only four more episodes left, and that’s it. Meaning: anything can fucking happen now. Anything. I worry that every sign here is telling me that this is it, y’all. So: no? Can we not???

The video for “Tacking in the Wind” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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