The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Second Skin

When evidence surfaces that Kira was at a Bajoran detention camp that she is certain she has never been to, she heads to Bajor to investigate the contradiction. But instead she wakes up on Cardassia Prime – as a Cardassian. Kira is told that she is really a deep cover Obsidian Order operative named Iliana Ghemor, and that her memories of her life as Kira Nerys are all false. Kira refuses to believe this story, but how long can she hold out against the Obsidian Order?

Even though the reasoning behind this episode is a bit shaky – surely there was an easier way to set up Legate Ghemor – it’s still an enjoyable outing. The first time I watched it, I was completely drawn into Kira’s panic and horror at waking up with the face of her enemy, and even now I almost want the Iliana story to be true. Whilst it would burn an avenue for exploring Bajoran spirituality and issues, imagine how amazing it would be to explore Kira coming to terms with her true identity. She’d be a mess of conflicting feelings and memories, trying to reconcile her new life and her old.

What is real?

  • Bashir has just returned from a conference where the Klaestrons unveiled a new burn treatment. The Klaestrons were last seen accusing Dax of murder in Dax.
  • Why did Entek even need to involve Kira? Yes, she looks like Iliana, but given the amount of cosmetic surgery they had to do to change her looks, they could have used anyone. Why not use a real Obsidian Order operative, surgically alter them, and send them to play Iliana? They could uncover Ghemor’s true allegiances without needing to involve Kira at all.
  • Why was “the drugs would have worked on Iliana” even an excuse for not using the real Iliana? Entek could easily have administered a placebo under the guise of the real memory drugs.
  • Where did Garak get his command codes from? His original Obsidian Order codes must have been revoked on his exile, so presumably he extorted or bought new ones from his contacts.
  • We learn that the reason Garak endured the hateful environs of DS9 for so long is because he worries that, if he ever were to leave, the Obsidian Order might kill him. Given his contacts and skills, it’s amazing he can’t disappear to another planet. Legate Ghemor is able to find a safe planet to flee to.
  • Ghemor replicates hasperat for Kira. Hasperat was last seen in Pre-Emptive Strike.
  • Kira’s mother was an icon painter who died of malnutrition in a refugee camp when Kira was three – or at least that’s what Kira believes. We’ll find out the truth about her mother later in the series. Her father died fighting the Cardassians.

Summary – Second Skin: As long as you don’t think about the logic too deeply, this is a good episode.

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