In the penultimate episode of Season One we are faced with one of Major Kira’s greatest fears and struggles. Originally airing on June 13,1993, this is Duet.
Station Log Stardate undetermined: Duet
Kira comes face to face with a Cardassian who may be a war criminal, however when his identity is called into question, Kira must determine if she is seeking justice or only vengeance.
When a freighter arrives at DS9 with someone suffering from Kalla-Nohra Syndrome, Kira rushes to the infirmary to meet with the Bajoran who she is convinced is a survivor if a mining accident at a labor camp. Upon her arrival she is shocked to find it is a Cardassian who is suffering from the disease and immediately calls security.
Immediately, the Cardassian tries to run when Kira accuses him of being the war criminal who helped to run a Cardassian Labor Camp during the occupation. Sisko questions her motives and she explains that the only way that he could have contracted the disease is for him to have been at the labor camp that many of her fellow Bajorans were horribly abused and killed. Sisko, understanding where she is coming from agrees to talk with their new guest only to find that Aamin Marritza claims to have an entirely different disease and implies that he has never been to Bajor, let alone a labor camp.
Even though Marritza claims a different disease, Bashir finds that the Cardassian does indeed have Kalla-Nohra indicating that he is indeed one of the war criminals from the occupation. Sisko is soon contacted by a minister from Bajor who informs Sisko that they will take this Cardassian no matter what Sisko’s choice is. Sisko realizes that his first officer has spilled the beans to Bajor.
Sisko informs Kira that he wants Odo to conduct the investigation but Kira begs to be allowed to be the one to do it. She wants to be able to be the voice for all of those who could not fight back when the Cardassians occupied Bajor. Sisko reluctantly agrees.
Although Marritza claims to be nothing than a file clerk, Kira begins to conduct her inquiry into Marritza’s past. Marritza claims to have never been to Gallitep although he does have Kalla-Nohra Syndrome. After being called out, he admits to being a filing clerk at the records office at Gallitep. He admits to being there even though he still claims to have nothing to do with the suffering of the Bajorans at the labor camp. He is now a military instructor for Cardassia who teaches…filing. He claims that there was indeed no atrocities at Gallitep but only the rumor of such events spread by the Cardassians themselves to sow the seeds of despair among the Bajorans.
Sisko contacts Gul Dukat who refuses at first to cooperate in the investigation into Marritza. After a brief discussion, Dukat informs Sisko that if Marritza is harmed, he will hold the Commander personally responsible for it. Odo soon finds that some of Marritza’s story that the name was a filing clerk on Gallitep and that he is indeed an instructor at a Cardassian academy. It is when they find one of the only known images of the Commanding officer of the Gallitep Labor Camp Gul Darhe’el that they realize that the man they have in custody is none other than that very man.
Kira immediately confronts Marritza with her new intel that he is indeed the Butcher of Galitep, Gul Darhe’el. She informs him that there will be a tribunal for him to answer for his war crimes in which he pushes back indicating that there is nothing for him to answer to. He tells her that he has no remorse for his actions and that he would do it again, no matter the consequence. He informs her that even if he dies, the Bajorans can never undo what he has done, he has indeed won.
After talking with Odo about the situation, Odo realizes that Darhe’el knows more than he should about Kira and her membership in the Bajoran underground. He claims that he knows her from the files Marritza kept on the Bajorans at the labor camp. Meanwhile Bajoran survivors of Gallitep arrive on the station to witness the capture of Gul Darhe’el.
Odo begins to investigate deeper, contacting Gul Dukat about the situation and soon learns that Gul Darhe’el is indeed dead and that the man in custody may not be the man they believe. After presenting the evidence he acquired, Odo indicated that it seems that the man they have in custody wanted to be caught and is not who he claims to be. He may in fact be Marritza, the file clerk, who wants to be caught for crimes he feels guilty for. Julian reveals that not only is he Marritza but he may have undergone an operation to make him look like Gul Darhe’el himself.
Kira returns to Marritza’s cell and once again challenges his veritas. Darhe’el was not on Gallitep when the mining accident occurred and could not have Kalla-Nohra Syndrome. She soon determines that this is indeed Aamin Marritza who feels guilty for not helping the Bajorans but only hid and lamented the deaths of all of the innocent people there. He wants to die for being there, feeling the burden of guilt that he can no longer bare. He believes that every Cardassian should be punished, that Cardassia needs to acknowledge it’s guilt for the crimes they committed.
Kira releases Marritza who, as he exits the station is attacked and killed by one of the Bajoran residents. Kira sees first hand, in her own people, the hatred they have even against innocent people only because of what race they are.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a very deep and very important episode even more so today than when it first aired. On the surface it is a metaphor for the Holocaust and the hunt for Nazi’s who committed war crimes in places such as Auschwitz, Dachau and many others. This was a real and devastating event that to this day is denied by people who refuse to admit to the truth.
It is obvious that the Cardassian occupation of Bajor is a direct reference to the events of World War II and the Nazi occupation of much of Europe during that time. This event still resonates today with many people still harboring feelings that the Third Reich encouraged. We are even seeing some of those people rise to power in nations across the world because many people have taken to believing much of the propaganda that has been disseminated through the newer mediums of social media and the like.
When we first meet Kira Nerys we are introduced to an angry freedom fighter who sees every Cardassian as an enemy, regardless of their position in the culture. To her, every person from Cardassian is guilty of the subjugation of her people, no matter where they were at the time or even if they were alive during the actual occupation of Bajor. While she is justified in her feelings of anger and injustice at the hands of her oppressors, she finds soon finds that she has taken these feelings further than she had realized. She, in her own way, has become just as bad as the Cardassians who saw all Bajorans as less than them. It is in this that we see some serious growth in her character while also getting a touch of that classic Trek Socio Political commentary.
This is about perception of both sides of the coin and reminds us that just because a part of a society is responsible for something terrible, the entire society is not to blame for these acts. Look at the Crusades in the medieval period. This was a group of people who used Christianity as a weapon and an excuse to kill, rape, pillage and subjugate entire nations. How about we look closer to home? The Klu Klux Klan itself is a ‘Christian’ organization but is founded in the opposite of the teachings of Christ, allying itself with intolerance, hatred and bigotry. The KKK is not representative all Christians, but by someone who is being pursued by either of these groups it could certainly seem this way. The same can be said for ISIS and how they do not represent all Muslim people. There is a matter of perspective that takes a very strong person to recognize that they need look at the bigger picture and not judge a people by the actions of one group.
It is in this episode that Kira realizes that she has been lumping all Cardassians together, when there is every possibility that there are good Cardassian people out there, ones like Marritza. Imagine coming face to face with your worst enemy, the personification of everything you hate only to realize that the person before you does not deserve your disdain. For her to go through such a tragic event in her life it is somewhat justified for her to have such a deep seeded hatred in her, but it really shows how strong of a person she is to be able to begin overcoming that very hatred.
On the production side, Nana Visitor did an amazing job in her role showing the range this actor has. Initially coming off as a gruff militant person, she is starting to show the kinks in Major Kira Neyrs’ armour. We get a really solid character development for Kira throughout the series and this is just the beginning.
Additionally, Harris Yulin did an amazing job as the guilt stricken Marritza. The first time I saw this episode it was very much a ‘who do we believe’ situation with him. Utterly convincing.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We meet Neela, a Bajoran technician working with Chief O’Brien. She’ll be important later.
This episode references the practice of WWII war criminals who changed their identities when they fled Germany after the war. This made it more difficult for them to be tracked down and be held accountable for their crimes. One of the most famous was Joseph Mengele the ‘Angel of Death’ who conducted horrible experiments on prisoners in Auschwitz.
To learn more about the Holocaust and the atrocities that took place there, this site from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is an invaluable place of information.
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Late To The Game 4/5/2019
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