**** (4 stars out of 5)
Wisdom of Bookmonkey and Scotch & Comics don't go a week without enthusing about. Which I'd better see sometime soon when I'm not watching men in lizard masks pontificate...
The Cardassian novel 'The Never-ending Sacrifice' (in which seven generations of one family devote long lives to state service and then die) is a towering achievement of the 'Repetitive Epic'. By this time next year, if I survive, this blog will be one, too.
Dax picked up a truly vulgar-looking plant on Lidonia III. Although Dr. Bashir finds a cure for that horrific thing, he can't get "tailor" Garak the help he needs for his appalling headaches.
Using Odo's illegal tap in Quark's, Bashir uncovers Garak has requested a biomechanism classified by the Obsidian Order. That's the Cardassian intelligence agency, more efficient even than the Romulan Tal Shiar and fully ready to disappear people for eating the wrong mayonnaise with their pop-tarts.
Enabran Tain, Head of the Order, gave Garak a brain implant for resisting torture with vast amounts of endorphins. The self-medicating spy turned it on to endure his exile 2 years ago and never shut it off. It's all fun and games until someone has a cerebral hemorrhage! But no matter how ill he gets, Garak never stops spinning elaborate Lie Webs like some fat cat with his tentacles in every pie.
To impress upon "smug" Bashir just who it is he's trying to save, Garak claims he ordered 100 of his own people (including his friend Elim) blown up just to kill a handful of Bajoran prisoners. While suffering withdrawal, he claims instead to have freed five children from torture. And while dying he claims to have been exiled only because Elim betrayed him before he could betray Elim.
Brash Bashir seeks out Tain in retirement, somehow managing to saunter into heavily patrolled space and beam into the man's living room. (Maybe Bashir masqueraded as a Take-Out guy. Tain will gladly pay him Tuesday for a hamburger today!) He gives Bashir the cure, because, as he says "I want him to live a long, miserable life." The creepy old monster reveals that 'Elim' is really only Garak's first name.
"The Wire" begs the question: were there ever such surprisingly wonderful villains as Andrew Robinson and Paul Dooley? They're so slimy they make me want to disinfect my TV screen. And how about that Bashir? The diligent, devoted doctor's deeds of derring-do earned his poster a place of pride on my bedroom wall as a teen. (Although Dax's poster was much, MUCH bigger.)