Date: August 19, 2020
Season 6, Episode 19
Musical Accompaniment: iTunes on random, songs that start with the letter ‘S’.
Interstellar News: It rained… a lot. Also, it’s Wednesday. Also also, I’ve decided to change the order a bit: summary, quote, my thoughts.
So what had happened in “In the Pale Moonlight” was…: Sisko starts a personal log recounting the last two weeks. He’s sick of posting casualty lists and thinks that bringing the Romulans into the war would help turn the tide for the Federation. Dax helps Sisko to see he’ll need proof so he enlists Garak who inadvertently gets every one of his contacts killed, so they decide to manufacture evidence. Sisko has to bend and break a lot of rules and then it’s showtime when Senator Vreenak comes to DS9. He figures out it’s a fake but his ship explodes on the way back from meeting with Weyoun, as per Garak’s doing, and the Romulans believe the fake story and ally with the Federation. Sisko says he can live with the high cost and then deleted the log.
Sisko: I’m not an impatient man. I’m not one to agonize over decisions once they’re made. I got that from my father. He always says worry and doubt are the greatest enemies of a great chef. The soufflé will either rise or it won’t. There’s not a damn thing you can do about it, so you might as well just sit back and wait and see what happens. But this time the cost of failure was so high I found it difficult to follow his advice.Sisko in the middle of his personal log.
Garak: The more the Dominion protests their innocence, the more the Romulans will believe they’re guilty because it’s exactly what the Romulans would have done in their place. 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’d call that a bargain.Garak, making a damn good point no matter how awful it is to think about.
“Every man has his price.”: This entire episode was framed as an email you write and then delete without sending because you just needed to get it off your chest. In “Far Beyond the Stars” we got to see tired Sisko who didn’t know how much more he could give, and here we get to see resolved Sisko who just needs a damn win. He hasn’t fully thought through the plan and he’s thinking that it will all work out in the end, and he’s sort of right… just not at the cost he expected. Betazed falls, the home to Troi and Lwaxana, and Sisko develops a two step plan: get Garak to contact someone and get the plans.
Unfortunately for Sisko the flowchart gets a bit more complicated. Garak’s contacts are dead, but he has a way to fabricate evidence… just get someone pardoned from a Klingon prison, easy peasy. Oh wait, then Quark almost dies and Sisko has to give even more to… dare I say… bribe the Ferengi, who is just too damn giddy about Sisko being a little less Starfleet and a little more crime boss. Just like we’re on an infomercial, but wait… there’s more! Now someone needs biomemetic gel and Bashir gets his genetically engineered undies in a twist and it’s all for naught because the Senator sees right through the deception and is absolutely pissed. Sisko is crushed, thinking he failed and thinking that all of those lives and bargains were for nothing, when suddenly the tides turned because Garak was able to do what Sisko couldn’t.
A few other thoughts. Sisko should have threatened Tolar before he created the holoprogram and he also shouldn’t have gotten mad at Garak for killing Tolar because the Klingons were going to anyway since the program didn’t pass for being the real deal. Even though it was fake Damar, you could still tell how pissed he was to be saying things to Weyoun and how badly he wanted Cardassia to be free of the Dominion. I also don’t know why Sisko can’t play it shocked and outraged that it was a fake, he could have said he was told it was real and how it made sense to him. Lastly, this reminds me a bit of what Kira’s mom did. She chose to protect her family by doing anything necessary, even if it meant selling her heart and soul and body to Dukat. Sisko may not have sold his body but his soul is totally gone, he’s just trying to project his AQ family. This shows us Sisko is a real person, with real flaws, and not the hero who always wins… but the one who tries so damn hard. We are living in a world today where if everyone buckled down and did what needed to be done, we will have kicked Covid’s ass, but instead many people are acting selfishly. I rate this episode 9 slices of prosciutto, the super good stuff you get at the butcher, but only because I know the plot twist at the end and I don’t think it will pack as much of a punch on a rewatch. Tis a super excellent episode though.