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@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.
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
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
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
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.