Whilst commemorating the birthday of her long-deceased mother, Kira receives an unexpected call from Gul Dukat. Apparently keen to unburden himself of a long-held secret, Dukat claims that Kira’s mother did not die when Kira was three, as she’s always believed, but was actually Dukat’s lover for many years. Driven to find out the truth, Kira uses the Orb of Time to show her a vision of her own family’s past.
This is yet another episode where I have mixed feelings. The bulk of the episode, which is set in the past, is very good – we finally get to meet Kira’s family and have an insight into another aspect of the Occupation, namely the role of comfort women. We always knew deep down that they must exist, but here Kira has to confront the fact that her own mother was the lover of her most hated enemy, Gul Dukat.
From a pragmatic perspective, Kira Meru did what she did in order to survive, and to earn enough food for her husband and children not to die of malnutrition. And yet Kira cannot forgive her mother for enjoying the luxuries of her new life, and for being quite taken with Dukat’s charm and charisma. In Kira’s view, anyone who sided with the Cardassians was just as bad as they were, and yet now she has to accept that one of those people was her own mother – and what’s more, that Kira and her brothers might have died of malnutrition had Meru not done that.
All that being said, I wasn’t a fan of the way this story was set up. Previously unmentioned revelations about a character’s family are already a mainstay of a show that is running out of steam, and so I always regard them with scepticism. And here, the revelation begins with Gul Dukat just happening to want to talk to Kira about this long-held secret. After a few days of grumpiness, Kira then manages to talk Sisko into letting her use the Orb of Time, assuring him that the Prophets won’t let anything go wrong with the timeline. Where were they during Trials and Tribble-ations, then?
- Kira’s brothers, seen in this episode as children, were mentioned back in season two as having been keen springball players in their youth. Apart from that, we’ve never seen Kira talk about them or go to visit them, even though Bajor is only a few hours’ travel away from DS9.
- Taban’s recorded message for Meru may have meant to reassuring, but I didn’t really see it as such. Taban is basically telling Meru how much rides on her continuing to be a comfort woman, which, whilst true, must only make her feel more isolated from her family and unable to ever go home.
- Whilst it’s not really possible to find malnourished and underweight people to play the Bajorans, let’s assume that all those good looking minor characters were actually scrawny and starving. Did the Prophets make Kira also appear underweight to others, given that she comes from a present where she is healthy and well-fed? Yes, present Kira is still slim, but the legate specifically refers to her as bony.
- Does Kira actually go back in time here, or is it all an Orb vision – a sort of Prophet-powered holosuite experience?
- Kira upbraiding O’Brien and Bashir for slacking off and chatting in Ops is very amusing.
Summary – Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night: In which Kira learns that Gul Dukat was banging her mother.