“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 20 & 21)

Episode 20: The Maquis, Part I

As the Cardassian transport ship Bok’nor prepares for departure from DS9, a man in a Starfleet uniform makes adjustments to some equipment. Moments after departing, this ship explodes, killing everyone on board! It doesn’t look like an accident; The Federation and Bajor expect retaliation by the Cardassians. Cmdr. Calvin Hudson (Bernie Casey- who went from the NFL to acting) arrives to discuss a tense situation; he is the attache to the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone. He is also an old pal of Sisko (Avery Brooks) since their Starfleet Academy days; he has no kids and is a widower. Hudson tells Sisko that the Federation’s decision to give away territory to the Cardassians was a bad idea. However, Sisko believes the treaty made after the Federation’s war w/ the Cardassians is reasonable.

Hudson: [of Dax] That woman knows more about me than any woman ever has. More than my wife even.

Sisko: Tell me about it.

When he returns to his quarters, Sisko is surprised to find Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo), who says that Federation citizens were responsible for the attack of the Bok’Nor. Dukat and wants to show Sisko something in the Demilitarized Zone. On the way in a runabout, they receive a distress call from a Federation merchant vessel under attack by Cardassians. The attackers ignore Dukat’s orders to stand down, but before the runabout can intervene, an unidentified Federation vessel appears and destroys the Cardassian ships!

Dukat: Now do you begin to see, Commander? That without any help from either one of us they’ve managed to start their own little war out here.

A beautiful Vulcan woman (associated w/ the saboteur), Sakonna (Bertila Damas), approaches Quark to talk business. He plans a fancy dinner for her that night, trying to “melt her cold heart.” After he toasts the Vulcan people as “a very noble race,” Sakonna explains that she wants to buy weapons! Quark almost can’t believe it. Somewhere on the station, the saboteur is abducted.

Quark: Rule of Acquisition number 214: Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.

Sisko and Dukat arrive at a colony in the Demilitarized Zone to find Hudson and several others in a heated debate w/ Gul Evek (Richard Poe), Hudson’s Cardassian counterpart. Evek shows them the video confession from the alleged saboteur, William Samuels, then brings in his corpse (claiming it was suicide). This outrages the colonists; Amaros (Tony Plana) leaps across a table to attack Evek. Hudson calms everyone down; he later tells Sisko that Samuels may have been guilty, but these colonists “have a right to defend themselves.” He warns Sisko about the Cardassians, saying they’ve been smuggling weapons to their colonies. On the way back to DS9, Dukat denies that the Bok’Nor was transporting weapons.

Dukat: Of all the Humans I’ve met, you strike me as the most joyless and the least vulnerable.

Sisko: I am when I’m with you.

O’Brien confirms that the device that destroyed the Bok’Nor was of Federation origin. Sisko has Dukat’s quarters secured, but Sakonna and several colonists kidnap him. A group called “The Maquis” claims responsibility. Sisko, Kira, and Bashir track the kidnappers to a planet in an area known as “The Badlands.” They beam down and are captured by armed Maquis members; Hudson (now out of uniform) is their leader!

Hudson: I’m glad to see you had no trouble finding us, Ben. It seems that one disaster after another keeps bringing us back together again.

The teleplay for Pt. I was written by James Crocker. This ep marks the first appearance of the Maquis, whose origins are shown in TNG: Journey’s End (1994). The Maquis are named after the French Resistance against Nazi occupation (1940-1944), but their situation is more similar to French citizens in Algeria during that country’s war w/ France in the 1950s. The Maquis usually wear bright colored outfits, including vests and unique accessories. At the suggestion of the director (David Livingston), costume designer Robert Blackman made a revealing outfit for Sakonna. When Berman saw it, he told Blackman to tone it down; the form-fitting gown is a different look for a Vulcan.

Now if you’ve only seen TOS and TNG, then seeing a suicide mission on a ST show could be shocking! If you are re-watching the series, then you know that the Maquis aren’t the only group who resort to such (extreme) tactics. Another bold move was having members of the Maquis in Starfleet uniforms; a few had previously been in this organization. Starting w/ TNG, the writers wanted to introduce people different from Starfleet, while creating an opportunity to do cross-overs and enhance the franchise.

Episode 21: The Maquis, Part II

Sisko demands to see Dukat; Hudson accuses Sisko of siding w/ the Cardassians over him. Hudson claims the Maquis want only peace, while Sisko says they want revenge. The two officers try to convince each other, but when Sisko refuses to join the cause, Hudson stuns all three of them w/ phasers!

Admiral Nechayev refers to the Maquis as “a bunch of irresponsible hotheads” and instructs Sisko to talk w/ them (unaware of the gravity of the situation). The Cardassian legate (a very high official), Parn (John Schuck- a veteran of ST movies/series), arrives w/ a message that Central Command won’t tolerate the smuggling of weapons to Cardassian colonies, which is what was done by Dukat. Sisko and Kira don’t believe it; Sisko realizes that Hudson was telling the truth. Meanwhile, Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Sisko interrogate Quark in a holding cell. He admits he arranged for Sakonna to acquire weapons, unaware then of the Maquis; he believes an attack will come very soon.

Sisko: …It’s easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the demilitarized zone all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints, just people-angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not.

At an unknown location, Sakonna attempts a Vulcan mind meld w/ Dukat, which doesn’t work (as he can block his thoughts). Sisko, Bashir, and Odo arrive and try to resolve the situation peacefully, but Dukat gets impatient, causing a fight. The Maquis are captured, but Sisko lets Amaros go to deliver a message to Hudson. They bring Dukat back to the station, where he learns of Parn’s accusations. Then, w/ Dukat’s help, they catch a Xepolite trader transporting weapons on behalf of Central Command.

Quark: Look, I know the Cardassians can’t be trusted. I know the Central Command would like nothing better than to wipe out all the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone.

Sakonna: Then you agree with our position.

Quark: Not for a second. Because your position is illogical.

Sakonna: Do you propose to lecture *me* on logic?

Quark: I don’t want to, but you leave me no choice.

Quark talks Sakonna into revealing to Sisko that the Maquis are planning to destroy a Cardassian weapons depot in the next 52 hours; she doesn’t know the location. Dukat promises to find out the location. Sisko visits Hudson again, asking him to reconsider abandoning his career. Hudson declines, symbolically destroying his Starfleet uniform.

The DS9 crew is waiting in three runabouts when the two Maquis ships arrive at the weapons depot. They attempt to disable one another; finally, only Sisko’s runabout and Hudson’s raider remain, with Sisko’s engines and Hudson’s weapons offline. Sisko allows Hudson to escape, much to Dukat’s dismay. Sisko wonders if he has prevented a war or merely delayed it.

The teleplay for Pt. II was written by (future showrunner) Behr; he’s very proud of this ep and considers it to be one of the most important early eps in establishing the darker ideology for which the show would become famous. It’s not all topsy-turvy, but ST is getting more complicated; Dukat and Sisko (former enemies) team up, a Vulcan (from peace-loving race) buys weapons, and a farmer/family man becomes a saboteur. The admirals in Starfleet can’t relate to problems faced by those living a different reality than theirs back on Earth, as Sisko comments to Kira. It’s true that every problem can’t be solved w/ a treaty (as Hudson says). His jaded view of Starfleet hints at what he eventually becomes- an outlaw. Behr intended to have Hudson die at the end, but Piller opposed it; Piller later commented to Behr that he was right.

One thought on ““Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 20 & 21)

  1. The way I am watching this right now makes it hard to follow the Cardassian / Maquis plotline, but I remember how much I *didn’t* like the darker tone of DS9 when it was originally airing and how much I appreciate it now!

    Liked by 1 person

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