The Great Star Trek DS9 Rewatch: Ties of Blood and Water

When former Cardassian dissident Tekheny Ghemor arrives on board DS9, Kira is delighted – hoping that he will be an outspoken opponent of Dukat’s alliance with the Dominion. But Ghemor is dying of a terminal illness, and he is here to spend his last days giving Kira vital intelligence about the Cardassian government. But having already lived through her own father’s death, can Kira cope with the loss of another father figure?

If there’s one thing DS9 likes to do, it’s to bring back recurring characters and promptly kill them off. Not too long ago, Kira lost her good friends and allies Furel and Lupaza, and now she’s put through the emotional grinder again with the loss of someone who came to be an important father figure to her. Through flashbacks, we learn that Kira has already had to deal with the loss of her biological father – and that she chose to go on a raid against the Cardassians because she couldn’t face being at his side when he passed away. Will she run away from Ghemor too?

Whilst it’s good to be reminded that even our heroes aren’t always stoic and impassive in the face of death, this story did feel a bit drawn out in places. To make the point that Kira must face the death of a father figure instead of running away, we have to sit through over forty minutes of Ghemor receiving palliative care and reciting the names of various Cardassian seniors, whilst Gul Dukat turns up in a futile attempt to get him to shut up and die quietly.

Facing death

Most of the DS9 cast have been through a tough time. Let’s see who’s had the most funeral invitations.

  • The Siskos: Ben and Jake have of course lost Jennifer, not to mention mirror universe Jennifer. They’ve also had to deal with Joseph’s health issues over the years.
  • Kira has lost both her parents, Bareil, Furel, Lupaza, and no doubt countless allies during the Resistance. And now of course she has lost Ghemor as well.
  • Odo hasn’t really lost anyone, but he did kill another Changeling.
  • Dax has already lived seven complete lifetimes, and thus has lived through the deaths of all her previous hosts. Add that to the fact that she’s not allowed to re-associate with her families from her previous lives, and she’s had an awful lot of moving on to do. Not to mention the loss of friends such as Kang and Koloth on her various adventures.
  • Worf has of course lost his biological parents, his first mate K’Ehleyr, and effectively his brother Kurn. And he still has the loss of Jadzia to come.
  • Quark, Rom and Nog have presumably experienced the loss of Quark and Rom’s father, Keldar.
  • O’Brien probably lost a lot of friends in the Cardassian War.
  • Bashir might just be the luckiest of all – except that as a doctor he’s had to experience the loss of many patients.

Other points

  • This episode introduces Weyoun V, the fifth Weyoun clone and successor to the one who was killed in To The Death.
  • Does there really have to be a special Cardassian ritual where dying people reveal their secrets? It feels a bit contrived, especially as Ghemor might well have decided on his own that it was logical to pass on as much intelligence as possible before he died.
  • I hadn’t quite got around to complaining about how I didn’t like Kira’s dress-style maternity and post-maternity uniform as much, and now the belted original style is back. Hooray!
  • You have to dig a grave pretty deep to prevent a body from being dug up by animals. Did Kira really dig such a deep grave for her father all by herself? I guess the Bajorans are a deeply spiritual people, otherwise cremation or vaporisation would surely have been a more practical corpse disposal method during the Occupation.
  • Even though it’s ultimately just an excuse not to be around a dying man, Kira must have known full well that Ghemor was unlikely to have become a legate without having some involvement in the Occupation. Even if she didn’t want to admit it, she must have been aware on some level that he wasn’t pure and innocent.

Summary – Ties of Blood and Water: The relentless slaughter of recurring characters continues.

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