Mark Watches ‘Deep Space Nine’: S04E05 – Indiscretion

In the fifth episode of the fourth season of Deep Space Nine, Kira must accompany Gul Dukat on an uncomfortable mission, while Sisko deals with an uncomfortable situation of his own. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of genocide, racism.

Goddamn, I don’t care how repetitive I’m being: I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.

Vacations with Gul Dukat

This week’s winner of an all-inclusive, expenses-paid trip to a desert locale with their sworn enemy? MAJOR KIRA! Good lord, I LOVE THIS TROPE and I don’t care. It’s such a common one because it makes it unbelievably easy to pull off conflict and character building through the use of it. I knew I was in for a treat just from that runabout scene near the beginning ALONE. I appreciate that the writers don’t hesitate to portray Gul Dukat as they do. He’s interesting as a character because he can be a bigot and charming all at once. On top of that, “Indiscretion” does wonders to show us that he’s a projected image. He works hard to portray himself to others in a specific way. That’s a cultivated thing, and now, we get a chance to see what a hypocrite and mess Gul Dukat truly is.

That’s not to say that he’s secretly lying about his bigotry, though. He spends a great deal of time on that runabout insulting Kira for being Bajoran. He’s both direct and passive-aggressive about it, and it is understandably infuriating to watch. I have a particular dislike for people who sanitize the barbaric things they’ve participated in, or who fill their descriptions of history with euphemisms. Dukat clearly loved to talk about the Occupation as if it was a passive thing that led to “development” of the Bajoran people as a whole. WHICH IS SUCH A NIGHTMARISH WAY TO TALK ABOUT AN ORGANIZED GENOCIDE, OH MY GOD. But it’s so much easier for him to dodge culpability this way! If he speaks of his time as if it was part of some grand plan that ultimately benefited the Bajorans as a whole, it makes him and the other Cardassians sound like heroes.

“Indiscretion” doesn’t allow Gul Dukat to ever reach this point. Kira fights back against every passive bit of nonsense that he utters. When we meet Razka, he also reminds Gul Dukat that he’s no hero, nor will the Bajorans ever forget what was done to them. But it’s Kira’s discovery on the planet where the Ravinok crashed that reveals just how awful Gul Dukat is. The dude had a BAJORAN MISTRESS FOR MANY YEARS and then HAD A CHILD WITH THIS WOMAN and then SENT THEM FAR AWAY SO THAT THEY COULD HAVE A “LIFE” and then…

Well, hold on, let’s just analyze that first bit before I move on. It felt clear to me from the way Gul Dukat spoke of these people that while he may have loved them, he was still interested in his own political standing more than anything else. But I think it’s also significant to note that bigots can still fall in love with the people they’re bigoted towards. Dukat’s love for his mistress and Ziyal did not erase his hatred and prejudice towards the Bajorans. That’s not how oppression works! Yes, it makes him a more complicated character. But there’s a mistaken belief that love can trump all. I hear it a lot when it comes to interracial relationships, specifically those between a white person and a non-white person. There’s this whole myth that mixed race children are the solution to racism, too, and LET THIS EPISODE STAND AS EVIDENCE THAT NONE OF THAT EVER WORKS TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER. The root belief of racial superiority is still there within Gul Dukat!

Anyway, I wasn’t as interested in the ending of this story when compared to the journey to this point. I’m curious to see if Gul Dukat’s decision to spare Ziyal’s life will have any repercussions on his career. That’s what he was most worried about, and given how fragile the government currently is, I can see him getting removed from power over his half-Bajoran daughter. Still, it’s a future story at this point. If Kira had not been with Gul Dukat, Ziyal would most likely be dead. That is the more admirable thing here. Kira fought for the life of someone she didn’t even know existed a few hours prior.


(Also, are all the Breen relatives of Boba Fett?)


Oh, Sisko. HOW DEEPLY I FEEL FOR YOU. Communication is such a deeply complicated thing when it comes to romantic relationships. (Which is not to suggest that platonic ones are necessarily all that different. MANY OF THE SAME COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES SHOULD ALSO BE UTILIZED IN NON-ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS.) I watched Kasidy grow more and more upset with Sisko’s dismissive, conflicted attitude, and I flashed back to many similar moments where expectations, intent, and meaning all collided in an emotional mess. WELCOME TO INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, EVERYONE. Yes, it was obvious that Sisko was uncomfortable with the idea of Kasidy moving to DS9, but he didn’t communicate that to Kasidy in any meaningful way. Instead, he opted for the more passive approach, one that came off as pretty damn inconsiderate.

I had a small worry that I was about to watch this relationship crumble and was prepared to be SUPER SUPER ANGRY about it, but I’m glad that after listening to Jadzia and Julian, as well as his own son (JAKE SISKO FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE, I SWEAR), he was able to recognize that his fear was holding someone else up.


The video for “Indiscretion” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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