DS9 Club - S02E05 Cardassians

“... Garak, an amiable fellow if there ever was one” - Gul Dukat.



  • @Joseph and @BeccaEller
    I will do my run through later but my big question to get us started is: Do you think that Sisko made the "right" decision at the end. Defend yourself!

    Honestly I don't think there really is a "right" answer here but I am interested in your opinions. My 2 Star Trek podcasts have given their opinions on it and I had a slightly different one so I am curious. :)
  • @LadyZiyal What are your 2 Star Trek podcasts? I'd love some recommendations.
  • @GaalDornick I listen to The Orb (Deep Space 9 specific), Mission Log (all Star Trek Material in order + extra material) and Listen to the Prophets (Deep Space 9 specific but more casual in nature, 3 guys just chatting about what they thought about each episode)
  • LadyZiyal said:
    @Joseph and @BeccaEller
    I will do my run through later but my big question to get us started is: Do you think that Sisko made the "right" decision at the end. Defend yourself!

    Honestly I don't think there really is a "right" answer here but I am interested in your opinions. My 2 Star Trek podcasts have given their opinions on it and I had a slightly different one so I am curious. :)
    I think he absolutely made the right decision.

    There are three sets of interests here, Rugel’s, the birth father and adoptive parents. It is tempting to say that only Rugel’s interests should matter here, but parents interest matter as well. 


    In terms of Rugel, there doesn’t appear to be any known risk of abuse, neglect or similar factors with either option which would make the choice easy.  So where would he be better off? It’s impossible to say for sure, but it seems as if the more likely answer is Cardassia. While he may be able to continue a happy childhood under the protection of his adoptive parents, the prospect of him having a safe, fulfilling adulthood on Bajor appears remote. It’s clear he has little chance of being anything buy a pariah for most of Bajoran society. Sure, he could leave at some point, but may be ill-equipped to do so.


    That being said, this is a difficult judgement to make, It needs to be weighed against the fact that Rugel considers himself happy at the moment and would presumably choose to stay if given the choice even by the end of the episode (although perhaps out of fear as much as anything).


    Because it is not obvious where Rugel’s interests lay, I’m inclined to base my primary choice on the interest of the parents.


    In this case, it seems clear that Rugel’s birth father has the greater interest here. Rugel’s father had the right to raise him from birth and he neither waived that right, nor acted in way that suggests it should be taken from him. In fact a crime was committed against him to steal that right away.  His right to raise Rugel precedes his adopted parents and as it remains as strong as it ever did, should take precedence.  This is of course sad and profoundly unfair for his adoptive parents, but under the circumstance is as just as anything.

  • This breaks my heart!!! It’s like the story of King Solomon accept nobody wants the baby cut up! I have no idea what the right choice is.

    My nearest frame of reference is my own children. My duughters aren’t actually mine, they came with hubby when we got together. I can’t imagine having them taken from me but I understand that birth parents have rights to the children they birthed. This case is of course different because Rugals dad didn’t give him up.

    i can’t imagine what those poor Bajoran parents are going through! Can you imagine that call to his mom on Bajor? Can you imagine that dad having to explain that her baby isn’t hers anymore? 

    Am am I the only person who cried? Like a lot?

    Of course Garak was his usual amazing self and Dukat was a snake as always. I enjoyed the heck out of the Garak and Basir sleuth crime team parts! I also adore that Garak totally knows how to fix broken databases and computers... of course he does!

    ok @LadyZiyal your turn!
  • This one is SO LONG! So sorry everyone! Episode notes first:

    Okay so this isn’t a favorite episode of mine. Partly because I feel like there are some holes in this story and partly because the themes are quite upsetting to me. Watching it again however, the acting is decent all the way through. It is very hard for me, as a frequent re-watcher of this series, to view this episode as an individual episode. So, I might slip into some things that will be fleshed out later.

    Anyway, as far as we know Dukat and Garak get along here. So, when Dukat says that Garak is an “amiable fellow” it seems legit. Garak is the only Cardassian to stay on the station when the Cardassians pulled out. His story is that was his deliberate choice and we know Dukat was in charge of Terok Nor and Bajor for this span of time. However, hearing Garak laugh (for the first time might I add) at the notion of them being friends we truly off putting.

    It is so obvious that Dukat has something planned from the very beginning! He is an intelligent man so you would think he could obfuscate better than he does in this episode but I suppose the “professional appearance of sincerity” might be all he is really going for here.

    My biggest issue with this episode is the adoption of Rugal at all. Kira says he must be one of the kids “left behind” when the Cardassians pulled out that the Bajorans had “no choice” but to take care of. Even Rugal’s adopted father says they adopted him because they didn’t feel like he should suffer because of the crimes of his parents. He also says that if the Cardassians actually cared about Rugal they shouldn’t have abandoned him on Bajor. This implies that Rugal’s adopted parents adopted him after the Cardassians left. Well, this doesn’t make any sense. Rugal is assumed to be about 12-13 here. His father Pa’Dar last saw him when he was 4 (approximately 8 years ago). They even find out his adoption was approximately 8 years ago so quite soon after this alleged terrorist attack (more on this idea later) and Rugal’s surrendering to the orphanage.

    My issue with this is that the Cardassians didn’t leave Bajor 8 years ago. They have only been gone from Bajor for a year (give or take a couple months). I find it EXTREMELY unlikely that the Cardassians would allow Bajorans to adopt Cardassian children. Pa’Dar’s reaction to the idea that his son was raised by Bajorans (whom he obviously views as lesser people) partially supports this. And the fact that Bajorans weren’t citizens at this point. They were slaves. So even if Cardassian children were abandoned/orphaned and placed in orphanages I doubt any Bajorans were allowed to adopt at all. If any Cardassian people saw Bajorans with Cardassian children during the occupation I can imagine their response. If anything, orphanages would be good places for Cardassians to find more labor. So anyway, this is my big deal with this episode. It doesn’t bear out for me and I find the rest of it hard to follow because this seems to contradict itself. Letting a Bajoran adopt a Cardassian child would mean that child would be raised as a slave to be a slave. Even with Garak eventually telling us that children without parents have no status on their planet it still seems like that would be preferable than allowing “their” children to be raised as slaves for them.

    The Bajoran father does seem to love Rugal and feel a lot of righteous angst on his behalf. He is a bit insensitive to the fact that their son is OBVIOUSLY a Cardassian. So telling him about the cruelty and awfulness of Cardassians just tells Rugal that he is horrible when he looks in the mirror and remembers he is one.

    Minor notes: Bashir is a horrible investigator at this point. He asks leading questions. It was pretty obvious that orange dude was lying and his disappearance after this just supports it.

    In contrast is Garak’s masterful direction of Bashir. His creepy moment of standing over Bashir’s bed was horrifying though lol.

    Keiko giving Rugal things to eat that even she should know he won’t be interested in is a bit embarrassing here too but it is rather realistic. Painful to watch...but real..

    Miles and Rugal bonding was nice. Miles doesn't have a many good experiences with Cardassians obviously. He is biased but there are moments where he can see it and tries to be better. This is also quite real to me.

    Sisko's face at being woken up for random, unsupported requests is so funny!

    Sadly, the message of "We can't save everyone" runs hard through the orphanage scene of this episode.  Truly heartbreaking.

    The climax scene where Bashir comes into the hearing is so good! Watch Garak in this scene. He doesn’t do anything except stare at Dukat smiling, all the way through to the end. His stare with Dukat as Dukat storms out of the room is so meaningful!

    I imagine that Dukat was thinking of ways to kill Bashir through this scene. It certainly bears out through his face.

    Finally, the big reveal! Pa’Dar and Dukat are political enemies and have been for MANY years. So at best, Dukat heard about the terrorist attack on Pa’Dar’s house and discovered Rugal was alive before anyone else. Rather than be a good (or even normal) person Dukat decided that Rugal was a pawn to be placed in his metaphorical arsenal. He “stored” Rugal away not even knowing if he would use this pawn someday! So basically he arranged for this elaborate situation not even knowing if it would be useful and kidnapped a boy. I personally find it more likely that Dukat himself tried to assassinate Pa’Dar and stole Rugal in it’s wake to hurt Pa’Dar and also for the pawn situation. This however is all based on what we find out about Dukat later and not in this episode. It is interesting that Dukat is shown as a monster from the very beginning though, even if it isn’t exactly highlighted. 

  • @Joseph and @BeccaEller So this is my response. 

    One of the podcasts had a host who thought that Sisko made the wrong decision to send Rugal back with Pa'Dar. I can't remember his complete reasoning but I think the basic idea was that Rugal was expressing very clearly his wishes to stay on Bajor. He thought that since the boy was a preteen or possibly young teenager, his voice should be given more weight than it was. Teenagers are rough enough as it is and forcing them to live with people they don't know and possibly have been taught to hate seemed like a horrible idea to this podcaster. His partner hosts couldn't figure out which was the right decision. The other podcast kind of skated over this issue without addressing it directly by saying something like "there are no good answers here". 

    My opinion is very close to yours I believe. I am not as articulate at Joseph but my basic structure is that Rugal wasn't "lost". He was kidnapped. His identity was never a question and it was known his father was alive. So this wasn't a mistake. It was deliberate kidnapping. Even if Dukat gave him away the initial kidnapping can't be ignored. If my child was kidnapped and then given in good faith to a happy, good couple who raised him well I would still expect to get my son back. I would hope however, that I would understand that the couple did nothing wrong either and try to allow my son to have some relationship with them as well. I don't know if I would actually be able to, but I would hope I could. 

    Still not an episode I enjoy but I must say that it was rather well done except for that one plot point I can't seem to get past in my head. 
  • I kinda figured the Cardassian occupation work similarly to the Roman take over of Britain. So the Cardassians were a presence but being as the Bajoran family was rural the overseeing wasn’t as tight as other places. So in my head at least the force wherever Rugal was living kinda never got on its feet after the explosion and craziness that made Rugal an “orphan” in the first place. We know Pa’Dar went right back to Cardassia after that and we don’t know what really happened after as far as who was the boss. Having the mixed race or unwanted or orphaned kids left makes perfect sense in our own world history cause that happens every war. 

    All of yhis my just be my my unnatural ability to Yes, And in shows I love... maybe?
  • I don't know much about the Roman takeover of Britain so I can't really speak of historical examples. This is my weakness in analyzing stories is some things seem really implausible to me that very well could be backed up by history. I respectfully disagree but I have no basis to support it. Pa'Dar did leave pretty soon after the attack and we don't know how the Cardassians on Bajor did business with each community. My biggest thought here (albeit a bit predictable) would be what if a Nazi soldier (or even Nazi sympathizer/supporter) saw a Nazi child being raised by 2 Jews? What would be the response. This is a bit sketchy because obviously it is a lot easier to tell the difference between Cardassians/Bajorans than Jews/Nazis. The Cardassian occupation of Bajor is supposed to mirror several military overtakers throughout the series. The Cold War, Vietnam and World War 1 and 2 depending on what the episode needs. So maybe this episode was more on the light side (except Rugal mentioned the Cardassians "slaughtered" over 10 million Bajorans during the occupation (this was over a 50 year period though...) which is a rather specific comparison. 

    I have been trying to pay close attention to Cardassian social structure/beliefs and cultural identity through my recent rewatches and I have read the book "A Stitch in Time" written by Andrew Robinson (Garak) which give considerable insight into their ideas of family, species divides and military vs civilian policy. Like I said, I had a hard time holding to just this episode. 

    I could totally be wrong! Your answer does make the plot make more sense. It just doesn't mesh with what I had pieced together in my head as Cardassian policy. 
  • @LadyZiyal ;

    Although I enjoyed this episode (basically any Garek-focused episode is gonna get me) I agree with some of the issues you raise. In particular the episode plays way too fast and loose with the timeline issues you raise. It doesn't add up well and its a distraction. 

    While I can accept the possibility that @beccaeller raises of Rugel's case in particular, there is an implication throughout that this is a:

    a) a long-standing issue
    b) connected specifically to the departure of the Cardassians from Bajor.

    These don't add up. The fact that Rugel's particular situation doesn't fit the broader issue that is at stake adds to the confusion. 

    I really like what they do with O'Brien in this episode. For one, the slow burn of O'Briens anti-Cardi attitude pays off for the first time in this episode (beyond simply adding a bit of shading to O'Brien's character). 

    One of the best and most frustrating things about Garak is the constant allusions to depth and history which only ever get partially resolved. We really start to get that in this episode. The laugh at the idea of him and Dukat being friends just pulls you in (and is indeed mindly upsetting). Even from that laugh though we learn so much. We can infer that:

    • Garak was at one time a reasonably important figure. He obviously operated at a simlar enough level to Dukat that the idea that they would or would not be friends can even be engaged with in this way.
    • He has enemies among Cardassians, including military figures. This perhaps could have been inferred before, but this confirms it.
    • Garak is willing to share this much with Bashir. Nothing Garak does is on accident, even a belly-laugh. He could have just smiled and accepted Bashir's comment, but instead didn't and in doing so would have known he was showing him several cards. 

    Bashir is a shit investigator, but a decent prosecutor. I thought the final seen played well to the kind of legal procedurals upon which its clearly influenced. 

    The standing over of Bashir at sleep also stood out to me, and reminded me of the many Agent Sloan scenes to come in later years. Also, we will learn later that Bashir supposedly sleeps with a Teddy Bear at night ("In the Cards" one of my all-time favourites). Unfortunately we never see the bear in any Bashir sleeping scenes outside that episode. This seems like a missed opportunity. 

    I really like the bit at the end where Sisko raises the possibility of helping the other orphans and getting brushed off. Even the 'good' Cardassians we learn, are still Cardassians. 

  • If I was Bashir I would never sleep again. There are way too many people that break into his quarters and just stand over him waiting for him to wake up. It can't even be considered paranoia because it happens too damn much! The weird part to me is how easily he just accepts it haha. It is like halfway through the series he just thinks, "Yeah sometimes I wake up to half-strangers in my bedroom. No big deal."
  • My new headcannon: He starts sleeping with the Teddy Bear *after* Garak surprises him the first time. 
  • @Joseph I accept this heat cannon! I believe the bears name is Cook-a-laka. I do really love how they very slowly build on Garak back story til the honest to goodness end of the series! Our Plain Simple Garak is anything buy and I love watching it unfold!!!
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