DS9 Season 1, Ep19: “Duet”

An Announcement: “Duet” is the first truly great episode in DS9. It is the moment that signals that the writers have finally stopped screwing around and are ready to air the most amazing Star Trek anywhere – they begin thinking long-term, planning, sowing seeds. From here on out, there are more good episodes than mediocre, and more awesome than not. If you haven’t been watching along, we strongly suggest that you begin here.

Synopsis: We open in Ops, where Kira and Jadzia seem to be discussing their childhoods while they check on the station’s vitals. It would seem to me that Jadzia has the advantage here, since the Dax sybmiont has actually had about seven different childhoods to choose from, but maybe she’s chosen to stick to one out of politeness. Kira must have has the same thought, because while Jadzia lingers on her love of nighttime window breaking, Kira playfully asks “which you are you talking about?” which makes Jadzia look sort of amused and guilty at the same time, like Kira caught her stealing candy.

Just then, they’re hailed by a Kobheerian freighter who would like to dock. Kira clears them, and the captain reveals that he has a passenger who needs medical assistance on-board. Sisko says to beam him directly to sick bay, but Kira seems stunned by the revelation of the man’s illness: Kalla-Nohra Syndrome, a chronic condition for which the traveler apparently forgot his medicine. Jadzia is all business, letting Bashir know about the patient he’s about to receive. Bashir has never heard of Kalla-Nohra, so you can bet he’s going to spend his next few minutes alone rocking back and forth, frantically flipping through the antique copy of Gray’s Anatomy that his parents got him for graduation muttering “I’m a good doctor, I am, I am, I am.” I have to imagine that Bashir has strange coping mechanisms.

Kira, still seeming completely taken aback, asks Sisko if she can go to sick bay to visit the newcomer. She explains that the only cases of Kalla-Nohra she knows of occurred due to a mining accident at a Bajoran forced labor camp, so this person must be a survivor, and she is a total fangirl, so she wants to go get an autograph. Sisko seems a little moved by this moment of non-anger-related emotion from Kira, and tells her to take as much time as she wants.

She heads to sickbay, expecting to see an old, adorable Bajoran person (perhaps like the farmer whose house she ignited in “Progress“). She is in for a surprise! The patient in sickbay is pretty clearly a Cardassian gentleman. Kira immediately comm badges to Odo, saying that she needs a security team in sick bay right away. Because if he isn’t a Bajoran, and he has a disease that only people at a Bajoran forced labor camp have – well, let me put it this way.

Imagine that you are highly acclaimed director/producer/Jewish person Steven Spielberg. Now imagine that you, Steven Spielberg, live in a world where there is such a thing as “Auschwitz syndrome,” a disease that one could have only contracted by spending an extended amount of time at that horrible place. Now, imagine that you’re hanging around your mansion one day, and one of your butlers comes into the study to tell you that there is someone here to visit you who has Auschwitz syndrome, and you, Steven Spielberg, get super pumped and proceed to drawing room number seven to ask them to tell you everything they know and why they didn’t consult on your critically-acclaimed film Schindler’s List, and you bound in there expecting to see a very old person with blue numbers tattooed on his or her arm, but instead you see a very old person who, many years ago, had a swastika carved into his forehead forcibly by Brad Pitt and Eli Roth.

That is pretty much what is happening to Kira right now. Continue reading

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