With the series off to a strong start it is time for the episodes to begin exploring each of the main characters and the new world of Deep Space Nine itself. Today’s episode explores loyalties and friendship. Originally airing on January 10,1993, this is Past Prologue.
Station Log Stardate Undetermined: Past Prologue
After a Bajoran Terrorist arrives on the station, it becomes apparent that Kira must choose between her fight with the Cardassians and her loyalty to the Federation and the Bajoran Provisional Government. Things get more complicated when additional visitors arrive in the form of the Duras Sisters, Lursa and B’Etor.
A Cardassian tailor named Garak introduces himself to Doctor Bashir at the Replimat and begins to invite the young Doctor into a conversation. Unnerving the young Doctor, Garak invites Bashir to his shop to talk and become friends. After Garrak leaves, Bashir, fully unnerved, rushes to Ops and reports that Garak ‘the spy’ has made contact with him. After being brushed off the station detects a Bajoran scout ship under attack by a Cardassian Warship. Just as the Scout-ship is about to explode, a Bajoran man claiming to be Tahna Los is beamed aboard the station requesting political asylum. He then recognizes Kira.
After Tahna collapses, Kira reveals that she fought alongside the man during the Cardassian Occupation. The Cardassians who were pursuing him demand that Sisko turn Tahna over but the Commander refuses, pending an investigation. In a discussion with Kira, Sisko discovers that, not only is Tahna a member of a group known as the Kohn-ma but that she believes that men like him are necessary for the Bajoran government to survive. It is clear that Kira has her priorities set on Bajor but her passion seems to be swaying her attitude away from Sisko and the Federation. Sisko interviews Tahna in sickbay where he learns more about the situation.
Sisko talks with Gul Danar and informs the Cardassian commander that the Commander plans to grant Tahna asylum until further notice. Gul Danar is upset but reluctantly accepts the situation. Meanwhile, In Kira escorts Tahna to his new quarters where they get into a heated discussion about Bajor and the Federation. Tahna believes that the Federation is just another form of subjugation where Kira sees the need for their presence. After Tahna assures her that he is no longer affiliated with the terrorist group known as the Kohn-ma, she informs him that she is working with the Provisional Government to grant amnesty to former members of the terrorist cells.
On the Promenade, Odo greats Lursa and B’Etor and, after confiscating their weapons, he informs Sisko of their presence. Both he and Sisko are concerned about their appearance on the station and, even though Odo wants to lock them up, Sisko denies him the pleasure, informing the Station Security chief to ‘keep an eye on them’. Not long after, Julian Bashir meets up with Garak at Quark’s bar where it seems he is watching the same Klingon duo that Odo and Sisko were concerned about. As they watch, Tahna and the Duras sisters leave the bar together and meet up in one of the cargo holds of the station. Disguising himself as a rat, Odo listens in on their conversation, discovering that they are indeed working together on something…but what? Soon the sisters visit Garak the Tailor where they claim to be able to deliver Tahna Los to the Cardassian government via him. Providing Julian with a chance to ‘discover’ this information on his own, Garak requests that Julian ‘buy a suit’ at 20:55 hours that night.
Kira meets with Tahna where he informs her that he is indeed working with the Kohn-ma and that he has a plan to save Bajor and end the oppression without a single shot fired. He challenges her that she will not go straight to Sisko with the information as she is loyal to Bajor. As Kira struggles with her loyalty, she visits Odo for guidance. She is torn between her new position as liaison of the Provisional Government and her loyalty as a Bajoran Freedom Fighter. She realizes that she could stand up against them and betray her past or stand up for what she is now responsible for. She makes her decision and discusses the matter with the Commander. Later that night Julian visits Garak as requested where he learns that Tahna has the makings of a bomb that could destroy the entire station or something of even greater value.
Kira joins Tahna on a runabout where they rendezvous with the Duras Sisters’ Bird of Prey. The Sisters supply Tahna with the explosive material he needs and, just as Sisko and O’Brien begin their interception, Gul Danar’s Cardassian Warship makes its way to capture Tahna. Tahna informs Kira that he will detonate the bomb and destroy the nearby colonies if she doesn’t take them to the station with the Bomb. She soon learns that he intends to destroy the wormhole entrance so that Bajor is no longer a valuable asset to the Federation or Cardassia. Kira takes the runabout into the Wormhole where Tahna activates the bomb in the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko contacts Tahna and gives him an ultimatum, release Kira or face Gul Danar. Tahna relinquishes his weapon and is arrested.
In the end, Kira realizes that she has a new position in the future of Bajor, one that doesn’t involve being a rebel.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is an excellent second episode that really begins to establish the dynamics between the characters. Using the rebel ‘freedom fighters’ as a backdrop, it really forces Kira into a position to determine her responsibility as the Government Liaison for Bajor. Kira is so used to being a freedom fighter that any form of structured responsibility is alien to her. In her eyes she can make no ground if she doesn’t perceive everything as a fight and this soon shows itself as a bit of a conflict both internally and externally.
She does not want to let go of her past, defending Bajor on the front lines but, realizes that, now that those days are over, she needs to use those skills in other ways. It is a very difficult transition as, in giving up her terroristic activities, she feels that she is not only betraying her world but her past as well. The appearance of Tahna Los only fuels that self doubt in a way that she had not considered. Already unhappy with the Federation presence, she allows Tahna to sway her more toward the idea that the Bajorans would be better off without Federation assistance, not fully realizing that, without the Federation, nothing could stop the Cardassians for returning in force. It is a scary proposition for her but she soon learns that some fights do not take place on a battlefield.
To Kira, Ben Sisko is the personification of her dislike of the Federation, so, of course, she lashes out at him at every turn. In time they become trusted friends but this early in the game it is a rocky relationship to say the least. There is a great scene where she goes over his head and reports him to his commanding Admiral. The Admiral informs Commander Sisko of the breach of protocol and Sisko sums up his terms with Kira in one sentence, ‘Go Over my head again and I’ll have yours on a platter.’ It is a pivotal moment in the episode and one that really shows just how serious Sisko is about his position on the station.
This episode also begins exploring the relationship between Kira and Odo as she goes to him for advice concerning Tahna Los. This shows that Odo is one of the few people on the station she feels she can trust and is only the beginning of a very deep friendship as we progress through the series.
Gleanings and Cool Bits
Although this is the second episode aired of the season, this episode is listed as the third episode on streaming services such as Netflix.
The case of the undetermined rank. Throughout O’Brien’s career it has been undetermined as to exactly what rank he holds. It will not be until much later in this series that he is finally given a proper non-com rank. In TNG it was determined that he was a noncom when he met Worf’s father in the episode ‘Family‘, but he still had the pips for Lieutenant. In this episode he is shown to have an Ensigns rank. The mystery continues…
The role of Admiral Rollman was played by Leonard Nimoy’s wife Susan Bay.
We get to see the beginnings of both the relationship between ‘Plain simple Garak’ and Julian Bashir as well as a spark of the future friendship between O’brien and Bashir. This also begins the mystery of just who this ‘Plain Simple Garak’ really is. Andrew Robinson nails the role and is always a delight when he is on screen as the Cardassian Tailor.
This marks the final appearance of the Duras Sisters prior to their demise on the movie Star Trek Generations.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: A Man Alone
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Late To The Game 11/15/2020 (Originally published 2/27/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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