The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Indiscretion

When Kira receives information that might lead to the location of a missing freighter of Bajoran prisoners and their Cardassian guards, she resolves to act on it. But when the Cardassian government insists on sending Gul Dukat with her, Kira is less than impressed – until it turns out that Dukat has personal reasons of his own for wanting to come along. Meanwhile, Sisko must consider the prospect of commitment when Kasidy considers getting a job in the Bajoran sector.

Giving a male character a previously unmentioned child is a popular TV trope, and it’s exactly the one DS9 turns to in this episode, as we learn that Dukat fathered a child with his Bajoran lover – and that finding that child is the real reason he wants to go along with Kira. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the original reason for the mission – that Kira is looking for yet another long-lost Resistance ally, soon fizzles out in the face of this new information.

Of course, just in case this new information humanises Dukat too much, his initial motivation appears to be to kill his daughter in order to spare himself the very public disgrace he once tried to inflict back in Cardassians. In all honesty, this feels a bit overblown, and overall the episode doesn’t quite get it right with regards to emotional impact, but nonetheless it’s worth it to see Kira and Dukat working together. Kira is never going to stop hating Dukat, but she’s strong enough to stand up to him, and it’s clear that on some level Dukat likes her for it.

Meanwhile, Sisko and Kasidy’s relationship is getting serious, which means we get a comedic sub plot in which he almost messes the whole thing up by not reacting with sufficient enthusiasm to her plan to move to DS9. Since their early dates took place in the mysterious gap between seasons three and four, the relationship feels like it’s moved very fast, and whilst I like Kasidy as a character, there isn’t really that much to her at the moment.

Humanising the aliens

  • The Cardassians are portrayed as ever more lizardlike, with Dukat claiming that the arid heat of Dozaria is ‘invigorating’.
  • Dukat has seven children – given their commitment to the state, it seems likely that Cardassians are encouraged to get married and have many children in order to provide the next generation of workers and soldiers.
  • Did Dukat really love Tora Naprem, or has he just mistaken an affair or infatuation for love? Did Naprem love him, or was she overwhelmed by his position and charisma? Relationships in Star Trek are usually very straightforward, with characters falling in love after about five minutes, so we’re probably not meant to consider the nuances.
  • The Breen were mentioned many times in TNG, but this episode marks their first onscreen appearance. They wear full-body refrigeration suits, as their homeworld is said to be a frozen wasteland. I’ve always liked to imagine that the Breen are basically furry wolf-people underneath their suits.
  • Where did Kira and Dukat get the refrigeration suits? Were they spares, or did they actually steal them from a pair of Breen soldiers? It seems more likely to be the former.

Summary – Indiscretion: “It’s a big step.” “A very big step.”

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