Friday, June 8, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)

A transport vessel drops off a big shot Cardassian on Deep Space Nine. In our terms it's kind of like former President George Bush Jr. strolling Baghdad's sunny side streets... all by himself some evening.

The space bus driver mentions that his passenger's got a rare condition. The illness is a sure sign that this guy was at the Gallitep Forced Labour Camp, liberated by Kira's resistance cell.

Accused of war crimes, the Cardassian lumbers into action and flees nearly three yards! He's calling himself Amin Marritza the Perfectly Innocent File Clerk. Right.

Gallitep was an atrocity. The Bajoran slaves were raped, beaten to pulp, and buried alive when they got too old to dig. Waving this aside, Marritza talks breezily to disgusted Major Kira from behind his forcefield. He praises the exemplary work of Gul Darhe'el, who ruled the camp by fear and cleverly created "false" rumours of screams and torture to keep order.

Safely at his desk on Cardassia, Dukat calls to demand the man's release. "Distasteful" "Bajoran Hate Mongers" and "Personally Responsible" are some of the clever phrases he turns at Sisko.

Photo evidence arrives. Darhe'el, "The Butcher of Gallitep", looks a heck of a lot like the filing clerk in Odo's cell. Confronted, the prisoner brags with a mad gleam in his eyes. "I would order my men to go out and kill Bajoran scum... they'd come back covered in blood, but they felt clean... because they WERE clean."

Kira, killing Cardassians since she was twelve, regrets that many were civilians. Her prisoner voices no regret whatsoever for his casual attempted genocide.

Yet Dukat says Darhe'el's been dead for six years. What gives?

Bashir finds the Cardassian dosed himself with a dermal regenerative used after cosmetic alteration. He's really Hitler's office flunky, wearing an Adolf mask and double-dog-daring the Israeli girl to just shoot him, already. When Kira gently calls him on it he boasts louder, trying to rush his execution. "The thought of leaving any survivors behind was repulsive to me!"

Marritza breaks down and sobs, begging to be punished for his cowardice and complicity.
"Cardassia will only survive if it stands in front of Bajor and admits the truth!"

"Duet" gets me choked up every time. Fictional atrocity is only a faded echo of the real horrors humanity has perpetrated and endured, of course. But this particular fiction oozes guilt and shame, real suffering behind false faces. Legitimately awful, and kind of beautifully painful. I still can't watch it comfortably. Masterful work, and a sign of astonishing things to come on Deep Space Nine.

No comments:

Post a Comment