Synopsis: This episode re-introduces one of our favorite characters from season 1, Garak, Cardassian Tailor/possible spy and Dr. Bashir’s best lunch buddy, who will thankfully begin getting his due as an amazing character this season. Are you ready for Garak, internet? I don’t think you are.
We open with Bashir in the station’s Holiday Inn Express Breakfast Buffet, where he suddenly notices Garak at a nearby table and makes a face all like, “oh, right! My friend no one’s seen in a year despite the fact that we both live on the same space station!”
He goes over to say hi and plays detective by correctly guessing what Garak’s drinking. I would suggest he parlay this skill into some sort of interstellar-neo-vaudeville act, but when Garak asks how he knew, he responds, “the odor is unmistakable,” in a way that is frankly really creepy and I do not think that would get him a lot of tips.
But Garak says his gross drink soothes his nerves, and today he had a particularly rough morning at his shop (tailory?) because there’s this one Bajoran engineer who keeps coming in with the sole purpose of ruining his life, which sounds hyperbolic unless you’ve ever worked in a customer service industry.
Bashir says he always has wondered who Garak’s customers even are, since Bajorans probably all hate him just for existing. I have asked this question many times myself. Garak non-answers that he likes to think that his tailoring is so mightily awesome that it can overcome racism, and that he establishes trust with his customers. Bashir pointedly suggests that Garak’s trusting customers are “open” with him and “tell him things.” Bashir has a deep belief that Garak is a Cardassian spy, and refuses to leave it alone. Because he’s Bashir, this makes Garak more fun to hang out with, not less.
Garak chuckles “I’m no more a spy than you are…”
“A doctor,” Bashir cuts in. Sick burn!
Garak scolds him for letting his imagination run away with him, and then their banter is interrupted by an odd sight: a crusty old Bajoran dude has arrived on the promenade with an adolescent Cardassian boy in tow. They sit down at the Holiday Inn Express Breakfast Buffet as well, and the boy gives Garak an odd, almost fearful look. Bashir is all, “that’s weird, do you guys know each other?” and Garak says “no,” and avoids adding, “you racist.”
All the same, some instinct causes him to go over to the two and put his hand on the Cardassian kid’s shoulder and comment, “I couldn’t help but notice what a fine young man you have here.” Everyone scowls at each other. Suddenly, the Cardassian kid grabs Garak’s hand off his shoulder and bites it really hard, making Garak yell and run back to Bashir for a quick examination. The kid runs into the arms of the Bajoran dude, who is still scowling stoically. I’m kind of wondering what Garak expected, here. I mean, you don’t just walk up and touch strangers’ children without asking, even if you do think it’s some sort of Elizabeth Smart situation. Violent biting may be a bit disproportionate, but it’s certainly understandable.
After credits, Bashir lankily bounds off the turbolift in Ops for his weekly Main Character Meeting and tells everyone that Garak was attacked at the Holiday Inn Breakfast Buffet, conveniently failing to mention that it was kind of provoked. Odo’s interest is piqued at once, Irishy and Jadzia seem more interested in making cracks about the whole thing. Bashir explains that it was a Cardassian boy who did the attacking, and that settles it: Odo is in action. Strangers biting people on his station? This will not stand.
Bashir says that the Crusty Old Bajoran calls himself the boy’s father, and Kira volunteers that the kid was probably one of the Cardassian orphans left behind when the occupation ended. Just then, Gul Dukat calls, and Sisko responds in his office.
Gul Dukat has somehow already heard about this and had time to become incensed. Sisko admits to being impressed by this response time, and Dukat is all, “no matter how magical I am at the moment, is it true he was attacked by a Cardassian kid brought there by a Bajoran dude?”
Sisko confirms this, and Gul Dukat says that he’s been warning everyone about this for ages. He says that there’s an ongoing issue with Cardassian war orphans being raised by Bajorans to hate their own kind. To be fair, I think raising children to hate Cardassians just happens to be a huge part of the Bajoran parent’s handbook, I don’t think what race the particular child is makes any difference. He says this confirms his suspicions, and he wants Sisko to investigate the shit out of this so he can use the story as anecdotal evidence to have all of the war orphans returned to Cardassia.
Later, the Crusty Old Bajoran is explaining to Sisko and Bashir that he doesn’t want any trouble, and he sure wishes the Cardassian government had been so interested in the war orphans a year and a half ago when they left dozens of them to fend for themselves on the streets. He also refers to the Cardassian Kid as “my boy” right off the bat, which is somehow extremely comforting – maybe because I’m from the south, where the only way a certain generation of men can express emotional attachment is through the language of ownership.
Sisko wants to know why he adopted “his boy,” and he says he and his wife felt that the Kid shouldn’t have to suffer for the crimes of others. Sisko is dubious about any parenting strategy that leads a child to bite an adult in a crowded breakfast buffet, and the Crusty Old Bajoran points out that Garak totally overstepped their personal space boundaries. Bashir protests that Garak was just trying to be friendly (and racist), and Sisko floats Gul Dukat’s concerns that they’re raising this kid to hate Cardassians.
The Crusty Old Bajoran is all, “oh, well, yeah, of course.” He says that they just told him the truth about the occupation and what that Cardassians did, and that now they consider him a Bajoran as well, and they love him as much as if they’d given birth to him. Sisko and Bashir look at each other like, what do we do with that?, and I can’t say that I blame them. I’m all for being truthful with kids, but damn, maybe no kid needs to know that much about his heritage. I mean, it bothered me when I found out that my great-great-grandparents owned slaves, and my parents are also white. I can’t imagine how awful I would have felt if they were telling me about atrocities my ethnic group performed on their ethnic group.
In Quark’s, the only conundrum is that this one guy is on a winning streak at the tables and that makes Quark sad. Bashir chuckles as he comes in to say hi to Winning Guy, who was apparently a witness to the Biting. I guess he came in on the same transport as the multi-ethnic father and son, because Bashir asks if he knows the family well.
The Winning Guy is extremely hesitant to talk, and says that he met them a few months earlier when the Crusty Old Bajoran was looking for a job and went to their house a couple of times. Bashir asks if he noticed anything weird while he was there, and the Winning Guy says it must suck to be the Cardassian Kid, hated by his own parents, and goes on to describe beatings and emotional abuse. However, I would like to note that he phrases all of these things in the passive voice, raising no evidence or specific instances in which he actually saw abuse, and I can’t tell how much of this is actually conjecture on his part.
Like, if I had actually seen a kid being abused by his adoptive parents and a doctor specifically asked me about it, I think I would be all over it, like, “yes, I was there visiting on June the 23rd and he told the kid to go out and get a Space Switch so he could give him a proper Space Beating and then he turned to me and said, ‘it is because he is a Cardassian.'” I wouldn’t be trading in all this “oh, yeah, you can totally tell from the way he won’t talk to strangers” bullshit.
Bashir asks none of these questions, he simply returns to Sisko and the Crusty Old Bajoran to ask him how those rumors make him feel. The Crusty Old Bajoran denies it, and wants to talk to his son, and suggests that the whole thing is some sort of Cardassian conspiracy, which is not really helping his case.
Sisko says that they want the kid to stay with Keiko O’Brien until the whole thing is sorted out, presumably because after a few hours with her he will no longer consider anything his parents did to him abusive (rimshot). After being assured that the Kid is being taken from him either the easy way or the hard way, the Crusty Old Bajoran reluctantly brings the Cardassian Kid out.
The Kid protests that he didn’t do anything, and Sisko puts on his Soothing Voice™ and says that he isn’t in trouble, he just needs to come with them and can even visit with his dad later if he wants. The Crusty Old Bajoran reassures him that he can go and not worry, because these are “humans, not Cardassians.” Whoa, that guys is pretty effing racist.
As they leave, Sisko gives the Crusty Old Bajoran a look, one which I think means: “You are making some bad parenting decisions, here, but I acknowledge that you are doing the right thing by giving me your son as an act of faith.” The Crusty Old Bajoran just looks crusty.
In sick bay, Bashir is patching Garak up and saying that it was actually rather fortunate that he was bitten, because now they’re “saving a boy’s life.” Oh, please. This is going to be one of those episodes where Bashir gets a wrong picture in his head of how the world is and ruins everything trying to fix what ain’t broke. I can just tell.
Bashir muses that this might also help Gul Dukat and his war orphans situation, and Garak is all, “saywhatnow?” Bashir spills about the Gul Dukat call, and says that he never knew Gul Dukat and Garak were friends.
This makes Garak literally shake with laughter, and when Bashir clarifies that Dukat wants to bring all the war orphans home from Bajor, Garak’s face suddenly darkens as he says, “does he?”
He asks Bashir if he really thinks the Cardassians just forgot about the war orphans, because if Cardassians are one thing, it’s meticulous. He also drops the bomb that Gul Dukat was in charge of the Bajoran withdrawal. Aha!
We return to Sisko’s office, where we’re all on the “hooray we saved that kid from an implied abusive home on the pseudo-evidence of one witness with the help of our good friend Gul Dukat, noted scout leader!” train. Sisko and Dukat are on skype, and Sisko says it’s too soon to get excited because the boy could still be returned to his adoptive parents. Gul Dukat says that seems unlikely after the accusations of Winning Guy, and Sisko points out, “that’s all it is at the moment. An accusation.” Well, I’m glad someone’s being level headed about this.
Gul Dukat says he has confidence is Sisko’s thoroughness, and Sisko asks where they’d even send the Kid on Cardassia, seeing as it’s kind of a big planet and he’s still, you know, an orphan. Sisko wonders if he has any relatives still on Cardassia, and Gul Dukat innocently asks for a sample of the Kid’s DNA to run through their databases. I’m not sure what he’s up too, but my suspicion alarm is definitely going off. Sisko says they’ll send the DNA right off, no questions asked or subpoenas needed, and suddenly Bashir, who has just exited the turbolift, inserts himself into the conversation, which does not make Sisko happy.
Bashir innocently asks if he can ask a question, and Gul Dukat somehow remembers his name and agrees, even if he’s obviously confused why he’s being addressed by some random Starfleet doctor. Bashir asks if it’s true that Dukat was in charge of the withdrawal, which Dukat confirms, and Bashir, in the voice of voice of a child asking the president why his daddy doesn’t have a job anymore, asks why the Gul chose to leave all the orphans behind.
Gul Dukat icily says he was ordered to leave them behind, and Bashir is all, “O rly? By whom?” Gul Dukat says that it was the Civilian Leaders, and Bashir counters with, “If I understand the Cardassian political system properly” in a tone that says and believe me I do, “Civilian Leaders have no direct authority over military officers.” Gul Dukat smirkily changes the subject and asks who’s been “tutoring you in Cardassian social studies.”
You can just tell Bashir has been waiting to be asked this question, because he drops the pitch and speed of his voice for maximum dramatic effect as he says, “your old friend, Garak.”
Gul Dukat hardens, and he reiterates that the Civilian Leaders made him pull out of Bajor – which he didn’t want to do – and made him leave the orphans behind – which he really didn’t want to do, and has regretted ever since. Then he hangs up.
Bashir immediately tells Sisko that Dukat is lying, and Sisko is all, “based on what?” I don’t see why that Winning Guy in the bar could tell whatever sketchy story he wanted with no proof but Bashir needs evidence to back up what is obviously Gul Dukat trying to pull a fast one. Bashir says Garak thinks there’s something else going on, and Sisko is all, “like what?”
Bashir says that he’s never really sure what Garak’s thinking, he sort of has to deduce it, and Sisko’s dismissal becomes immediately palpable, and he’s all, “you think you can just come in here with your hunches and your gut and make me look like an idiot in front of the commissioner? Do it again and I’ll have your badge! I only have one more week until retirement, goddamn it!”
Jadzia, who I did not even realize was in the room, seems dubious as well, asking if Garak has a motive to hurt Dukat. Bashir admits that they don’t seem to like each other very much, and Sisko demands to see him in his office later in the day.
Meanwhile, in Chez O’Brien, the Cardassian Kid is playing GameBoy on the couch when Irishy comes in. Irishy does not seem too pleased to see him there, but visibly decides not to make an issue of it and goes to help Keiko set the table. He wants to know if Keiko sent Molly over to a friend’s place, and Keiko says that Molly is asleep in her room because she’s so worn out after playing with the Cardassian Kid all afternoon.
This horrifies Irishy, but to me it’s evidence that the Kid is actually being well-brought-up, even if his parents are racists. An 11-or-12-year-old boy stuck in a strange house with people who he doesn’t know cheerfully spends his whole afternoon entertaining a toddler? I’m pretty sure that’s the dictionary definition of “what a nice young man.”
Anyway, Irishy can’t believe his wife let their kid play with someone who almost bit a dude’s fingers off, and Kaiko assures him that she supervised the whole time and the Kid is really very gentle. Irishy says that “gentle was bred out of those Cardies a long time ago,” and Keiko looks at him, like, “I’m sorry, did you just say that to your Japanese wife?” She tells him he just said a very ugly thing, and for the second time ever I’m extremely proud of Keiko.
She summons the Kid for dinner, and when she turns around with his plate she finds that he’s in his chair, praying with an intensity normally not seen outside of tent revivals and GOP debates. He prays in the Bajoran style, touchdown-ref hands, and when he finishes, a befuddled Irishy asks what the hell is on his plate.
Keiko perkily says that she found a recipe for a stew with Cardassian meat, which she thought the Kid might enjoy. Both Irishy and the Kid look miserable, and find common ground for a moment when they both push their plates away in disgust. Later, Irishy is working late on his Space Computer, when the Kid appears and sits quietly on the sofa. You can see Irishy debating whether he should say something, and then he gamely says, “can’t sleep?”
The Kid asks what is going to be done with him, and Irishy says the Kid should have a say in what happens to him, and shouldn’t be afraid to tell Commander Sisko what he wants. The Kid says he just wants to go home, and Irishy says that’s totally understandable, seeing as how he’s a Cardassian and all, and the Kid’s like, “no, home. Bajor, duh.”
Irishy asks if it’s hard being a Cardassian on Bajor, and the Kid bristles that it’s not his fault he’s Cardassian. Irishy says there’s nothing wrong with being a Cardassian, but the Kid seems to think there is. He says that Cardassians are terrible, and everyone knows it, and his parents hate them. Irishy asks why he’d want to live with someone who hates him, and the Kid says his parents just hate other Cardassians, and have always been perfectly lovely to him. Irishy snorts and is all, “seriously?” and says that even he, a human child, was occasionally spanked by his human parents. Can I just express how disappointed I am that spanking is still a thing three hundred years from now in space?
The Kid seems taken aback as well, and says his parents never laid a hand on him, because they follow the teachings of the Prophets, which are apparently weirdly progressive in some ways. The Kid asks what Irishy thinks about Cardassians, and Irishy starts stuttering, clearly still thinking about Keiko’s condemnation earlier. He says that you can’t hate a whole race of people, and he’s met some Cardassians he didn’t like and some Cardassians he did.
The Kid looks extremely sad, and says he wishes he wasn’t Cardassian because Cardassians killed over 10 million Bajorans in the occupation. Heavy.
After the commercial, we cut to Bashir all cozy in bed in what I assume are footie pajamas. They are blue, so if there was an emergency in the middle of the night he could run right out the door and people would still know he was a science officer. Suddenly, he senses that all is not right in his room – he starts, and opens his eyes to see Garak calmly sitting in a corner and staring at him. This actually becomes something of a theme throughout the series, whenever someone wants to sneak into a room and watch someone sleep and then hold a disquieting conversation, it’s always in Bashir’s room, and not, say, Jadzia’s, as you might assume.
Garak tells Bashir to get dressed, because they’re going to Bajor, presumably after stealing a sweet ride. Bashir, after getting dressed, goes to visit Sisko, who is not happy he was awakened. However, my pajama/uniform color correspondence theory is kept alive by Sisko’s dashing red dressing gown.
Bashir asks for a runabout, because Garak needs to go to Bajor but wouldn’t say why. “Well, by all means,” Sisko deadpans. “Will one runabout be enough?” Just then, he gets an urgent incoming message from Gul Dukat, who apologizes for calling so late. Either time is different on Cardassia, or Gul Dukat sleeps in his uniform. I prefer to believe the latter.
Gul Dukat says that they ran the Kid’s DNA, and surprise, surprise, he’s the son of one of their most prominent politicians, who was on Bajor eight years ago. Apparently everyone thought the Kid died in a terrorist attack, and now the Politician is delighted to hear that his son is alive and is already en route to the station. You’re welcome, Sisko!
Sisko slowly explains that the Kid wants to go back to Bajor, and there isn’t any evidence that his parents are abusive, and the guy who originally alleged that there was abuse can’t even be found anywhere. Gul Dukat does a great job of setting me up to make an Elian Gonzales joke and signs off.
Bashir muses that Garak must have somehow heard about the Politician coming to the station, and Sisko finally decides that this is fishy and gives them clearance to take the runabout.
They arrive on Bajor and hit up a Bajoran “resettlement center,” to ask about the Kid, who seemingly passed through there. The Bajoran Lady who runs the place is looking at Garak all judgily, but she doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with Bashir. He gives her the names of the Kid and his Bajoran parents, and seems disappointed when she doesn’t immediately remember them. I think it’s a little weird that everyone assumes that she has this encyclopedic memory of every orphan she’s ever met, like, doesn’t she want to look it up in her records somewhere? She’s probably moved a lot of orphans in the last couple of years, I don’t know if we should be relying on her memory.
Garak says that they’re trying to find out about the circumstances surrounding the Kid’s adoption, which would have been about eight years ago (so there’s even LESS chance she would have remembered him off the top of her head). The Bajoran Miss Minchin says that the Cardassians were still occupying the place, so there won’t be any records. Garak assures her that Cardassians, for all their faults, keep the shit out of their records, so there must be some someplace. The Bajoran Miss Minchin is rolling her eyes so hard they look like they’re going to pop out of her head.
She says that she didn’t even work here then – she was in the underground. She emphasizes that last word just enough to let Garak know she hates him. He responds brightly with, “really, maybe we have met!”
Bashir asks to examine her computers, but they don’t work. Garak reveals a heretofore unknown knowledge of computers, which he waves off as a “hobby” and fixes the orphanage’s computers right there. Garak says that the weird thing is that none of the right names are in the computer – not the Kid’s, not his parents’, nowhere. He says it was either misfiled or they’re at totally the wrong place, but I guess all of the orphanages on Bajor have networked computers, because that makes sense, so they can check on the other ones from right there and then put them on a flash drive to look at later.
As they’re talking, a Cardassian girl peeks at them from behind a fountain and a bunch of other orphans come to stare at Garak in wonderment as well. The first little girl asks if they came to take them back to Cardassia, and Garak awkwardly says no and jogs rapidly away from her sad sad eyes.
Later, on the runabout, Garak tells the computer to make a database of all the orphan data he took without asking, but Bashir tells the computer not to listen and to shut down the engines. Garak says he gets that Bashir is upset, because orphans are sad, and that’s not his fault. Bashir says that Garak is playing games, and he wants to know what they are, or he will pull this shuttle over he swears to God.
Garak explains that the Cardassian Politician who is supposedly the Kid’s father was the Cardassian Civilian Leader who wanted to pull out of Bajor, which means that he and Gul Dukat are big-time political enemies, so it’s suspicious as fuck that Gul Dukat has taken an interest in this and held their hands all the way. Garak says he believes in coincidences, but he doesn’t trust them.
Back on the station, Irishy O’Brien is awkwardly inviting the Cardassian Politician into his home. The Kid is off somewhere with Keiko, and Irishy suggests they have a chat before he gets back. The Cardassian Politician says he hasn’t seen the Kid since he was four, and Irishy breaks the news that the Kid hates all Cardassians including himself, and may not even want the Cardassian Politician back in his life. The Cardassian Politician is unwilling to accept this, and says that family is everything on Cardassia, and they all honor their elders and live in old-timey log cabins and sing hardy folk songs to the flickering light of kerosene lamps and shit.
Anyway, he’s super upset because he feels like a failure as a family man, even though he didn’t know the Kid was alive, and now he’s ashamed and feels like a disgrace. Just then, Keiko brings the Kid back, and he and the Politician just sort of stare at each other until the Politician pulls out a photo album because he can’t think of anything else to do. He explains why he totally thought the Kid was dead, and says that he was in such pain he couldn’t even stay on Bajor, and the Kid actually goes so far as to say that the Politician deserved to get his house and whole family blown up. Oh, and he also calls him “a Cardassian butcher.” I think it’s going well!
He’s all, “you’re not my dad!” and says he’s never going back to Cardassia, ever.
Later, the two dads are yelling at each other in Sisko’s office. Sisko recommends an arbitrator who is of neither race, and both of the dads think Sisko would be good at it, since he seems like a stand-up dude and has a son himself. Sisko is just about to schedule the arbitration when Odo comms in to let him know that Gul Dukat is on the station, bitches.
When we come back from commercial, Sisko voices over that Gul Dukat’s inprompteau appearance leads him to believe that they’re being manipulated, and also that Bashir and Garak are at the computer, working round the clock to invade the privacy of thousands of war orphans. So far nothing relevant.
In the custody hearing heard round the galaxy, Sisko casually notes to Gul Dukat that he’s come a long way to sit in on family court. Gul Dukat gives him bullshit about how supportive Cardassians are or something, and literally says he’s here “representing the children.” Sisko is all, “uh huh,” and asks if it’s true that they’re political enemies. Gul Dukat is all, “never mind that, think of the children.” Sisko starts the trial before he can break into song, and asks the Politician to go over his kid’s disappearance.
In sick bay, Garak has come to the realization that Dukat is too smart to leave a file behind for them to find. He thinks it was purged, so their only hope is to find the person who wrote the record in the first place. Her name is luckily provided on their flash drive of highly invasive information.
In the trial, Sisko asks the Kid if he remembers anything before being adopted, and what the first thing he remembers is. He says his first memory is of his dad teaching him how to swim, and he and the Crusty Old Bajoran grin at each other, and frankly it’s sickeningly adorable.
In sick bay, Bashir has gotten the Records Lady on the horn, and she says that she remembers the Kid perfectly because he was the only Cardassian boy in the orphanage at the time. She also says his situation was super weird because most of the Cardassian kids they get are brought in by Bajorans when they’re found wandering the streets, and the Kid was physically brought there by a Cardassian lady in a military uniform. She was attached to a command station at a command station called Terok Nor.
At the trial, Irishy is testifying about the Kid’s behavior when he met the Politician when Bashir and Garak come in and ask to interrupt. Sisko steps aside and gives them the floor. Bashir asks Irishy to confirm that the Politician spoke to Irishy of feeling disgrace, and asks the Politician what’s going to go down when the government reveals that his son was alive all this time.
The Politician says that his career will be over when this gets out – I guess this is the Cardassian equivalent of having an Argentinian mistress or a secret black baby – and Bashir says that it’s interesting timing, considering that there’s about to be an inquest regarding an attempted military coup on Bajor. An inquest at which (spoiler alert!) Gul Dukat is one of the key witnesses. At this point Gul Dukat goes into damage control mode and literally says “I suggest we return to the issue of the children.”
Bashir carefully lays out a complicated case involving missing paper trails, Bajoran provinces, and Records Lady. Gul Dukat waffles while Garak beams behind him, and Bashir asks Dukat if he knows of Terok Nor. Dukat reveals that DS9 was called Terok Nor. But wait, wasn’t Dukat in charge of DS9 during the occu… oh SNAP. Bashir confronts Dukat with Records Lady’s evidence about the Kid’s orphanage arrival.
Bashir asks if it’s possible that somebody who worked for Gul Dukat dropped off the Politician’s kid for the express purpose of humiliating him eight years down the line, which, you have to admit, is really great planning. Gul Dukat storms out, Bashir rests his case, Garak looks proud that his little doctor is all grown up and engaging in espionage, and everybody’s happy except we still haven’t resolved who gets custody of this kid. But there are only a few minutes left in the show, so Sisko wraps it up in an voiceover saying that it was a tough call but he’s going to send the Kid back to Cardassia even though his adoptive parents aren’t abusive after all.
I can’t help but think that the Crusty Old Bajoran is going to have a tough conversation with his wife when he gets home: “I let you take our kid to the space station for one weekend and you lose custody of him to complete strangers?”
Sisko and the Politician are strolling along, and the Politician says that Gul Dukat won’t release the embarrassing intel on him now, and Sisko coolly says he hopes he’ll use his influence to help other war orphans, which makes the Politician delightfully uncomfortable. Irishy and the Kid come into view, with Irishy enthusiastically reminding the Kid that he can come and visit any time he wants. Awwwww.
The Politician seems befuddled when the Kid doesn’t want to talk to him, and Irishy and Sisko look at him all like, “don’t be a dick, dude.”
Back at the Holiday Inn Express Breakfast Buffet, Bashir says there is still one mystery left unsolved: why Garak worked so hard to expose Dukat. Garak says he never tells the truth because he doesn’t believe the truth exists. Bashir is all, “so you’re not going to tell me,” and Garak says he just needs to be observant and follow the clues. He leaves the table with a jaunty, “until next time!”, leaving Bashir to chuckle to himself quietly.
That’s our Garak!
Meredith’s Analysis: This episode, as the title indicates, features some amazing character development for Cardassian individuals and Cardassians as a race. We begin to see how intrigue-y and backbite-y their culture is – I mean, Garak didn’t have to think twice to logic out Gul Dukat’s deception, and Gul Dukat didn’t even seem terribly ashamed of himself when his plot was revealed. Everybody seems to feel that that’s just the way the Cardassian government operates. Decade-long plot to discredit your political enemy by kidnapping and then conveniently finding his child? Meh, par for the course.
Individually, this episode is a great reintroduction for Garak, who was only in one episode in the first season, and came off as a little creepy, honestly. Here he’s just bombastic and sarcastic and an overall great time. We also delve further into Gul Dukat’s character, learning how smarmy and untrustworthy he can be, not to mention how good he is at long-term revenge-getting.
Tim’s Analysis: Any time Garak is in an episode, it’s a good idea to watch him as though he’s the main character. There’s a huge amount of story being told by his body language at any given moment and this episode is a great example. The way he taps into Bashir’s need to be involved in something bigger is just perfect. He could absolutely have brought up the mission at lunch, but he chooses to wake Bashir up like James Bond instead. Bashir of course just eats this up and jumps at the chance to go on an adventure and Garak is all too happy to play tour guide, walking Bashir to the evidence one piece at a time and looking at it, shocked. At this point, we really don’t know Garak’s past, but Bashir’s spy theory is looking stronger. It’s like Sherlock Holmes re-imagined with Holmes as an excitable puppy and Watson as a KGB agent with a fistful of bacon.