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.
Pictured: losing the standard 15-20% gratuity for drink-guessing
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.
“Past Prologue” is a solid episode on backstory and introductory grounds. It introduces the Cardassian mystery man Garak, who works on the promenade as the station’s tailor (a career that has inexplicably not become obsolete 350ish years from now in space). Garak has an espionage past that the show winks and nods to the audience about, and he and Dr. Bashir have a cute little bromance where they meet for lunch every day and Bashir accuses Garak of being a spy and Garak denies it unconvincingly.
The trouble with this episode is that that’s only the B-plot, and, much as we love Garak, we can only watch so many episodes about Kira and Bajor and terrorism, and we need to save up our chips for later in the series when episodes meeting that description are top-notch. The A-plot here really just informs us about Kira’s previous terroristing about, as I like to call it, and lets us see some conflict between her previous terrorist self and her current (?) stand-up self. An old terrorist buddy shows up, Sisko wants to imprison him for war crimes, Kira goes over Sisko’s head to get the guy in the clear, and Sisko is hurt because he thought they were BFFs.
Her old buddy, it turns out, wants her to help him blow up the wormhole (?) so that everybody will leave Bajor alone (solid plan, buddy), and Kira is all torn for way too long, before finally deciding to be a grown-up and spill everything to Sisko. There’s a sting operation and a chase, and Odo captures the terrorist guy and Kira and Sisko are all like, “Feds for LIFE, bishes,” because now they really are BFFs.
And that’s what you missed on: that episode we didn’t particularly want to watch.