The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Defiant

A stressed and overworked Kira is delighted with a change of pace when she befriends Will Riker, who is visiting DS9 during shore leave. But when she decides to show him the Defiant, he forcibly takes control of the ship, revealing himself to be Will’s transporter duplicate, Tom Riker. Tom has defected to the Maquis, and he plans to use the Defiant to attack the Cardassians.

Although far from perfect, Defiant remains an action-packed episode that has a lot going for it. On the one side, we have Sisko holding his own on Cardassia Prime, as he works with Gul Dukat and Obsidian Order representative Korinas to retrieve the Defiant. There’s a lot of tension between the three sides, and it’s just unfortunate that Gul Dukat comes off worse than he deserves – tactically, Sisko is more on the ball than he is, whilst the Obsidian Order have the edge when it comes to knowing their secrets and everyone else’s.

Meanwhile, Kira acts as a foil for Tom Riker, a man desperately seeking an identity of his own now that Will basically has the good version of his life. Once a terrorist herself, Kira knows what it’s like to believe in a cause and get your hands dirty for that cause – and she can tell that Tom doesn’t feel the same way. Joining the Maquis isn’t about helping the colonists in the Demilitarised Zone; instead, it’s Tom’s way of carving out his own path. And unfortunately for him, that nets him an ignominious end in Cardassian custody – and in plot limbo.

Every day’s great at Quark’s

  • First, something I forgot from Meridian. Bashir reckons that Quark is letting Dax win at tongo because he fancies her – well, either that or Bashir is just saying that because he too is upset that Dax has found someone else. Personally, I like to believe that Dax really is that good at tongo, and that Quark would never deliberately lose face by letting a female win.
  • Last episode, Quark gave Kira a free holosuite session, bottle of fizz and gambling tokens. This episode, she gets free food and drink, a holosuite session and some gambling tokens, courtesy of Bashir.
  • Doesn’t Sisko have some kind of remote lockout code he can use on the Defiant?
  • Similarly, when phaser fire is detected on the Defiant’s bridge, why doesn’t its advanced security system lock out the bridge controls – at the very least from everyone who isn’t its regular bridge crew?
  • As if O’Brien doesn’t have enough work doing maintenance of DS9, he seems to be spending his overtime hours fixing the Defiant.
  • Maquis operative Kalita is seen here working with Tom Riker. We last saw her in Pre-Emptive Strike – the episode that keeps getting callbacks.
  • Tom pretends to be angry with O’Brien to avoid the risk of revealing himself by making small talk. O’Brien seems a bit puzzled by this at the time, but doesn’t recall this when it’s revealed that it was Tom and not Will Riker that he saw boarding the Defiant.
  • The moment when Tom peels off his fake beard to reveal that he isn’t Will is amusingly silly. “Behold, I am evil, for I shave differently to Will Riker!”

Fanfiction possibilities

  • The fiery romance between Riker and Kira.

Summary – Defiant: Tom Riker goes out with a whimper.

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