Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reason #24 Why I Love DS9 - Duet

"What you call genocide, I call a day's work."

There are many reasons why I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and why it remains my favorite of the Star Trek franchise.

Reason #36: "Duet"

Like most shows the first season of Deep Space Nine had its ups and downs. With a new show, especially one with as large an ensemble as this one, it always takes a little while to work the kinks out. The fact that one of the show's best episodes took place during this first season makes it all the more special.

When I saw "Duet" I knew I was hooked. This is the episode that turned me from a loyal, but casual, observer into a true fan of the show in general and Major Kira (Nana Visitor) in particular.

The show begins with the arrival of a Cardassian file clerk named Aamin Marritza (Harris Yulin) who stops at the station for medical assistance for a rare medical condition which could only have been caused by his presence at Gallitep labor camp during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.

Kira immediately arrests him and in trying to determine his identity learns he is Gul Darhe'el - the head of the Gallitep camp and the man responsible for the deaths of thousands of Bajorans.

The verbal fencing between Kira and Marritza is terrific, but the truth of the situation is far more complex than Kira is at first willing to admit. A little digging from Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Kira learns that the man posing as Darhe'el is only his file clerk, still haunted by the events years before and hoping some good might come from a public trial and execution of a man as reprehensible as the one he has chosen to portray.

Marritza's selfless act is wasted when he's immediately killed on the Promenade after his release once his true identity is revealed. When Kira asks his assailant why, knowing he wasn't the Butcher of Gallitep, the Bajoran says simply, "He's a Cardassian! That's reason enough." Kira, whose view towards this Cardassian has turned completely around over the course of the episode can only reply, "No, no it's not."

The best writing will hit you in the head and heart, as "Duet" does beautifully. Widely regarded as one of the show's best episodes (both Visitor and Armin Shimerman, along with several of the show's writers, count it among their favorites) it's one more reason why I rank DS9 my favorite of the Star Trek franchise.

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