When Kira sets off on a mission to find the survivors of a long-lost Bajoran ship, Dukat insists on accompanying her.
Plot Summary: Kira learns that wreckage has been found from the Ravinok, a Cardassian ship that was transporting Bajoran prisoners – including a close friend of Kira’s – when it disappeared several years earlier. Kira plans to leave immediately to investigate, but Sisko tells her that the Cardassians have also learned of the discovery and want to send a representative on a joint mission. The representative turns out to be Dukat, who alternately brags and flirts until she orders him to be quiet. They track the wreckage to a system with a desert planet and find twelve graves. Dukat finds a bracelet in one of them and weeps, confessing to Kira that it belonged to Tora Naprem, a Bajoran woman who was his mistress. Since so many survivors are unaccounted for, including Kira’s friend, they scan the area and discover that the Breen are using both the Bajorans and Cardassians from the Ravinok to mine dilithium for them. Having looked at the Ravinok’s manifest, Kira asks Dukat about the identity of another passenger, Tora Ziyal, whom Dukat confirms is his daughter with Naprem. To Kira’s horror, Dukat adds that he finds the girl alive, he will have to kill her to protect his family and career from scandal. Kira vows that she won’t let that happen. The two manage to steal Breen outfits and break into the prison camp, where they rescue most of the prisoners, though Kira learns that her friend died years earlier in a cave-in. Though Kira tries to keep Dukat within view, he sneaks off to find Ziyal, who recognizes him and is overjoyed to see him. Dukat aims a rifle at her and Kira comes to try to save her, but the girl says that if Dukat doesn’t want her, she would rather die. Overwhelmed by this devotion, Dukat decides to take her home to Cardassia with him. Meanwhile, back on the station, Sisko and Yates have a disagreement when she considers taking a job on Bajor and living on the station, but Dax, Bashir, and Jake help them work it out.
Analysis: Like so many Deep Space Nine episodes, “Indiscretion” gets much better once one has seen the entire series. I’m pretty sure there are continuity errors – Dukat’s affair with Kira’s mother would overlap his affair with Naprem – and I have trouble reconciling Dukat’s behavior at this point in his career with the megalomania we see before and afterward, but the story sets up a lot of details that become important later, from Dukat’s affection for and Kira’s friendship with Ziyal to the unscrupulousness of the Breen. A lot of the plot of “Indiscretion” is rather predictable; Dukat never would have gone on such a mission if he didn’t have a personal interest in it, and given his obvious interest in Kira, it isn’t hard to suspect that he had a half-Bajoran child with a Bajoran mistress – which is the wrong word, though Dukat insists that it was a love affair, the consent issues for a Bajoran during the Cardassian Occupation are hugely problematic. I find it rather disturbing that the episode title and the A-B plots seem to parallel Dukat’s decision to seduce a Bajoran woman and Sisko’s trying to decide whether he’s ready for a serious relationship with Yates. It’s unsurprising that Dukat acts like an entitled Hollywood producer, much harder to believe that Sisko acts like a sci-fi nerd who needs advice from his own son to have the only relationship he’s had since the death of his wife. The romantic tension between Sisko and Yates seems forced as a result, though it’s easier to swallow on a rewatch having seen how it will develop. More disappointingly, the fireworks that usually fly between Kira and Dukat seem contrived, particularly when they show off how hilarious they find it that she has to remove a spike from his butt.
Some of this is a result of the pacing and the order of events in the episode. It would have made more sense to give us background no the lost ship before halfway through the storyline, since it’s hard to piece together who was on on the Ravinok and why. I’m not sure whether or not we’re supposed to believe Dukat when he says he was sending his lover and child not to a prison camp but to be met with transport to a comfortable exile; if he’s willing to kill Ziyal in the present to protect himself, surely he would have been willing to lock her up where no one could talk a few years earlier. Though Kira shows some of her old fire when she tells Dukat she won’t let him kill Ziyal, she’s unrecognizable for most of the rest of the episode – letting Sisko convince her to take a Cardassian along just by calling her Nerys, letting Dukat not only flirt but insult the Bajoran people for so long on the runabout that I was ready to shoot him for her, treating Dukat like a grieving lover and not like a man who didn’t do nearly enough to track down missing Bajorans and Cardassians alike when the Ravinok first went missing because it might have exposed his secret. Most importantly, she fails to point out that he is still the same murderous thug who disposed of inconvenient Bajorans during the Occupation and is willing to do the same to his own daughter. It isn’t that she’s trying to maintain some friendly sway over him because she doesn’t have any; it’s Ziyal’s appeal, not Kira’s, that convinces Dukat to let the girl live. Ziyal is a great character and the emotions of the episode work mainly because she has the conviction the others lackm but the Kira I know would have shot him in the rear while pretending to be checking his wound, beamed him back to the runabout, put him in stasis, and rescued the Breen captives herself. Bajor may have made peace with Cardassia, but this is Kira! With Dukat! There’s no way that forgiveness comes so easily to her.
You all know that I love relationships with my sci-fi, I love pretty much every pairing on DS9, I’m thrilled at the notion of a captain in a serious relationship. But a Sisko who takes advice not only from his teenage son but from a Ferengi – I hate Quark’s asides on women the same way I hate Seth McFarlane’s jokes about leering at boobs, even when they’re supposed to be obvious satires – and from Bashir, who appears to know less about how to have a sustained relationship with a woman than he knows about curing Jem’Hadar addiction to Ketracel-white. It’s a relief when Sisko admits that losing Jennifer in the line of duty has something to do with his fear of getting too close to Yates, but why doesn’t he say so earlier, to her, without having to run his every emotion by his old-male-friend-now-in-a-female-body and his son-who-has-his-own-problems? I have a hard time believing he’s only just realized it, since it seems so obvious to everyone. I like that Yates makes her decision about the job completely separately from what’s going on with her love life – it’s a great opportunity for her whether Sisko approves or not – but during the dinner scene, asking him how he feels then storming out, she doesn’t seem particularly better suited than he does for a solid relationship. In fact, I suspect the reason Kira seems surprisingly dull with Dukat and Sisko seems rather uninteresting with Yates is that Sisko and Kira have better chemistry than either of the above; that much is obvious even in the two minutes they spend sparring about Bajor. I think the writers needed to do a better job creating sparks between Sisko and Yates before lighting that particular torch, though it works out in the end.