DS9 6x19: In The Pale Moonlight



Yes, it's rewatch time. Don't judge me; do you really think I'd be doing this if there were anything else good to watch on TV?

Anyway.

O my frelling gods. Now this is why DS9 was the best balls-out fucking godsdamned genius Star Trek series EVER.

It dispenses with the ‘road to hell paved with good intentions’ stuff early on; good move. Now we’re primed and ready for a story that gels with the above, and we kind of know what's coming next.

Sisko: “That was my first moment of real doubt, when I started to wonder if this whole thing was a mistake. So I went back to my office and there was a new casualty list, waiting for me. People are dying out there every day! Entire worlds are struggling for their freedom! And here I am, still worrying about the finer points of morality! No! I had to keep my eye on the ball; winning the war, stopping the bloodshed - those were my priorities. So I pushed on. And every time another doubt appeared before me, I found another way to shove it aside."

Sisko: "Who's watching Tolar?"
Garak: "I've locked him in his quarters. I've also left him with the distinct impression that if he attempts to force the door open, it may explode."
Sisko: "I hope that's just an impression."
Garak: "It's best not to dwell on such minutiae."

And then their dirty back-street dealer won't sell for money, only biomimetic gel. Nice touch, writers. Oh the inhumanity!

And Garak goes: "All I had to do was add some petty bickering and mutual loathing" -- and in my head there's Data going: "Could you please continue the petty bickering; I find it most intriguing."



Garak: "That's why you came to me - isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing. Well it worked! And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant - and 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 call that - a bargain."

Sisko: "So. I lied. I cheated. I bribed a man to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all… I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again… I would."

Now this is real sci-fi. The whole 'measure of a man' idea, the 'what a piece of work is man; so noble in faculty', the guilt and turmoil and angst but THERE'S NO COSMIC ANGST because people accept that a Captain's gotta do what a Captain's gotta do - and bloody well get on with it. Sisko knows it’s wrong - but he goes with it because it might be the right thing to do in a whole universe of wrong. What's WRONG is seeing his friends and friends of friends on fucking casualty lists; what's NOT wrong is getting an entire race of people dragged into a war a year or two before they would do the self-same thing anyway.

When I was younger and I saw this for the first time? Altered my reality. Made me more charitable toward a certain shift in moral flexibility. I don't think it made me a bad person - but sure as whisky makes me find my true core and therefore fight like a klingon, it made me aware of wartime shit that before meant nothing.



Good writing? Goes without saying. Questionable content? People, THAT'S WHAT STAR TREK IS ALL ABOUT. It made me think, it made me alter my perception, for just a little bit, so I understood why and how good people do bad things for good reasons. Or are they really bad things anyway? Another mind-frelling rant for another mind-frelling day.

For now? Peach and lube, people. Peach and goddamned lube.

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