The Maquis, Part OneBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 12, 2004 - 4:30 PM GMT
See Also: 'The Maquis, Part One' Episode Guide
Old Starfleet friend Cal Hudson arrives on the station to try to win Sisko's assistance in fighting Cardassian aggression against Federation settlers in the Demilitarized Zone. Sisko is sympathetic, as is Kira, especially when they learn of the atrocities the Cardassians have been committing against civilians who were formerly under Starfleet protection.
Yet when Hudson takes Sisko hostage and reveals that he is the leader of a rebel group called the Maquis, which intends to use whatever means necessary to stop the Cardassians - even if it means opposing or even fighting Starfleet - Sisko is forced to ally himself with Gul Dukat in an effort to stop the Maquis from starting a war between Cardassia and the Federation. They are successful, but Sisko feels terrible for destroying the life of his oldest friend.
My favorite Sisko episode all season, I loved the little glimpses into his past, when his wife and friends were around and he was a different person. This episode was his "Past Prologue": I've often been angry at Sisko for not understanding Kira's perspective on the Bajorans, but I think he realizes now what she's been fighting for and how hard it is to decide when it's worth turning one's back on one's friends in the name of an abstract like peace. It was interesting how similarly Cal Hudson and Kira talked about the Cardassians. These bad guys are BAD guys, something rare on Trek - usually as we get to know a civilization, like the Klingons, we get lots of messages about accepting alternate ideologies, even if they permit spousal abuse or ritual degradation of women.
The Maquis are a fantastic idea for Star Trek - a group that doesn't put abstract ideals above the lives of citizens, which does not believe that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one. They have values! They have resources and initiative! Considering how inconsistent the Prime Directive has been on recent Trek - I'm not even sure what it stands for anymore - it's refreshing to see a group of citizens which is not afraid to defend what they've fought for.
There were lots of references to TNG'S "Journey's End," the episode where Wesley Crusher discovered that the Cardassians were wiping out the Native American settlers in the DMZ while the Federation stood by. Is a holocaust permissible under an ideology of tolerance for others' values? I don't think so, and neither do the Maquis.
The directing made good use of the contrasts between the clean, efficient urban meeting rooms versus the dark places where the Maquis do their dirty work. Dukat seemed rather out of sorts; I loved him demanding, "Shoot them!" but I found his discussion of this situation with Sisko quite muddled. Hudson made a better foil for Sisko, seeming so like him in temperament until pushed beyond tolerance.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.