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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: When It Rains...

"I need to borrow a cup of goo."

Dr Bashir makes a disturbing discovery, Kira is forced to work with Cardassians again, Gowron upsets Martok, and Dukat continues to scheme.

This is, as the Netflix menu reminds us, Part 5 of 8 in a serialised story focusing on the Dominion War and building up to the two-part series finale, which follows straight after Part 8. That means the structure of the episode is much more like the shows we've become familiar with in the 21st century than the 1990s shows that were contemporary with DS9, including TNG and Voyager. Those series tend to have an A plot, which is the core action of the episode, and a B plot, a smaller, character-based and usually ship-bound story. Strange New Worlds, which returns to episodic story-telling, brought that back recently in 'Among the Lotus Eaters'. This episode has more of the structure of an episode of Game of Thrones, advancing several different storylines with different characters in different places.

One of the things that's been sort of brushed under the carpet since Deep Space Nine ended, though it was sort of brought up in Picard and then dropped again, is just how horrific Section 31's actions during this war actually are. Here, Bashir finds out that a division of Starfleet has tried to commit literal genocide by infecting Odo with a disease that will kill all of the Changelings. I mean, I hope I don't have to explain that Genocide Is Bad, people. OK, we know Section 31 is Black Ops and they do morally dubious things. And we've seen Sisko wrestle with doing Bad Things, For The Greater Good, in 'In the Pale Moonlight'. But this is another level of horrifying, and the franchise as a whole still hasn't really dealt with it.

Poor Kira having to work with and train Cardassians is yet more psychological torture for her, especially since the group includes Damar – as she reminds us, he killed Ziyal. In seven years of Deep Space Nine, I've lost count of the number of times Kira has been forced to work with Cardassians she hates for one reason or another. At least she has Odo with her this time.

The relationship-slash-conspiracy between Gul Dukat and Kai Winn continues. I like this storyline and I find the tension and conflict between them compelling, but at the same time, there's something just incredibly... icky... about the whole thing. It's partly because of the deceitful way Dukat got Winn to sleep with him, as however awful she is, she didn't deserve that. But there's also just something that really makes my skin crawl about the whole thing. I can't decide if it's brilliant, clever television or just a creepfest. I did very much enjoy Winn humiliating Dukat and kicking him out onto the street, though.

The smallest storyline in this episode is the replacement of Martok by Gowron as Commander of the Klingon forces. This is one of those stories that is building slowly over the course of these episodes, so the main takeaway is the building tension between Martok and Gowron and Gowron's military recklessness. Martok is one of those Deep Space Nine characters who came in for a small role and was just so awesome, everyone fell in love with him and his role grew and grew. So even though Worf and Picard basically got Gowron the Chancellorship, I think we're all of Martok's side on this one.

Bits and pieces

– The Starfleet uniform really suits Kira, especially with her longer season seven hair. Unlike TNG's Counselor Troi, she didn't need the uniform to get decent storylines or to be taken seriously, and she had a solid reason for not wearing it until now, but it's still kind of cool to see her in it.

– Bashir and Ezri's romance continues to stumble forward. Or maybe backwards. When Ezri is trying to talk to Bashir and he keeps cutting her off, I wanted to reach through the screen and shake him to stop him talking.

– I like that Bashir's genetic engineering is partly what enables him to catch Starfleet Medical in a lie (because he has such a good memory). It's a nice plot-relevant of that fairly late revelation from season five.


Kai Winn: Remember your place, Dukat.
Dukat: I thought my place was in your bed.

Kira: Odo wasn't a collaborator.
Rusot: I guess that depends on your definition of collaborator.
(I mean, he's kind of right. Like... Odo really was a collaborator. Sort of).

Final analysis: One of those episodes that progresses a bunch of ongoing storylines, with the shocking revelation about Section 31 and the Changeling disease at its core. Three out of four reminders that Genocide Is Bad, Starfleet!


  1. I agree with you about DS9, it represented a transitional phase between the episodic series that characterized genre shows up until then and the serialized storytelling that was common afterwards. And given it's setting and premise, continuing plotlines fit this interation of TREK better than any other.

  2. Worf and Picard only got Gowron the Chancellorship because he was better than the alternative. The lesser of two evils. Actually, at the time they didn't know much about Gowron, and I assume that's because the writers wanted to leave things open.


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