Sunday, February 3, 2013

In The Pale Moonlight

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Did you ever dance with the devil "In The Pale Moonlight"? And, after the dance, did you do a little smooching? Maybe a pat on the devil's rump?

It turns out when one thing leads to another, you might end up getting humped by the devil.

The Dominion War goes ever more badly for the Federation, and as the horrific death toll pours in, we hear Betazed was invaded and conquered within hours. It's a name we all know, and we're immediately worried about Lwaxana, her baby, Mr. Homn. Was Deanna there? Nobody here on Deep Space Nine can ask these questions, but that one piece of planetary name-dropping drives it home for me. What wouldn't you do to save your friends and their worlds? (By the way, next up: Andor, Tellar, Vulcan, Alpha Centauri. That little place beside Alpha Centauri everyone's always talking about? Great Chinese food? You know the one I mean...)

Captain Sisko pulls the trigger on a dastardly plan that goes against his every cherished belief. He asks Garak to help him. They'll turn the Romulans from neutral bystanders to Dominion aggressors by any means necessary.

Garak, whose brain is full of spiders, recuits and kills a seriously skeevy forgery expert in order to plant a fake Dominion plan to strike against the Romulan Star Empire on a nasty-ass Romulan Senator. Then he blows up the Senator's ship... to make it all official.

Quick as a wink and neat as a pin, a centuries-old enemy has become a passionate "friend" in the enemy-of-my-enemy sense of the word. The billions of nice old ladies, mixed-race babies, and Mr. Homn-ses might yet live.

And as Garak says through the bleeding mouth Sisko punches in when he learns the trick has turned deadly: "All it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal... and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain."

Wonderfully, there's no easy right or wrong here. It's Sisko doing exactly what that mean old Section 31 purports to do. Lies, bribes, a mere handful of the wrong people killed at the right time. And with a cause so righteous... where's the harm?

Just. Awesome. I'm going to watch it again.

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