WARNING: This article has spoilers for DS9's "Indiscretion". If you wish to avoid spoilers, then keep a discreet distance.
In brief: A little on the predictable side, but most of it was nicely executed.
Brief summary: Kira finds herself joined with Dukat on a mission searching for survivors of a prison ship -- and finds a secret Dukat has kept hidden for years.
Most of "Indiscretion" worked for me pretty well. Although the ending of the main story was about as surprising as seeing the sun rise in the east, Kira and Dukat are two characters that work together almost as well as Sisko and Dukat have in episodes past -- and as a result, the execution of the story made it worth watching despite some relatively tired elements to it.
One element that was not particularly tired and that I liked involved Kira's search for the Ravenock. The search itself wasn't a big surprise -- but given the call out of the blue she got from Razka to start the search, it felt in many ways like a setup. Most times we've seen a case like this, it's actually been one, so it's nice to see a situation where mysterious offers are actually legit.
However, the interesting parts of "Indiscretion" weren't really in the story -- they were in the character interactions and the insight we got into those characters. Dukat in particular made for some interesting observations; might his lost daughter help account for his interest in orphans, as we saw starting about two years ago? Does he honestly believe that the Cardassian occupation of Bajor was a net help for the latter world, or was he just trying to tweak Kira a bit? Is Dukat veering towards an openly pro-Bajor stance on Cardassia? None of the answers is particularly clear, but just having the questions more brightly illuminated is an interesting view in itself, and one that's appreciated. (It's also a credit to the way Dukat's been written and
acted up to this point that despite the episode very clearly setting us up for Dukat to change his mind and not kill Ziyal, part of me almost wondered at the very end if he was going to kill her after embracing her. The Dukat of three years ago well might have.)
In many other cases, it was simple snippets of dialogue that helped outline things. I think the worries about Kira losing her edge are a trifle unfounded at this point; although the "if you hurt that girl, I'll kill you" threat was a bit on the dull side, her sharpness was in full flower earlier when Dukat started going on about the occupation
helping Bajor. ("Which part? The massacres or the strip-mining?") Her tone may have been a little quieter than we've seen in the past, but the anger and the venom was still there. (Between that and Razka's almost ... makes you forget [about Dukat's atrocities]", Dukat must not have been feeling very popular that week.) Other points, like Kira's claim that Dukat wanted to be stopped or he wouldn't have told her about Ziyal, and her terrifically tossed-off note to Dukat that she got the Cardassian military codes for the Ravenock from Bajoran
intelligence before she left, both helped immensely as well. "Very good, Major" -- very good indeed.
It's also nice to see tech that is decently presented, though. Primarily, that's because it was kept to a minimum. We didn't particularly care why they couldn't transport down, or how Kira would be able to trace paths of possible survivors -- and neither did the episode. A sentence or two of "well, there's this interference/these radioactive tracers from the resistance" was all that was needed to get the story moving along. That strikes me as a positive step -- let's hope it's not an isolated one.
There were two elements that brought the story downhill a bit, however. One was isolated, but still hurt -- the "ooh, oww, get it OUT!" scene with the sandspine had me absolutely cringing from start to finish. The other, as I've already said, is that the story felt a little tired, especially at the end. I like the idea of Dukat having a half-
Bajoran daughter -- the result of an "indiscretion" he's determined to keep secret. However, the "I will kill her"/"I won't let you"/"Too bad, I'm going to anyway"/"Oh, can't after all" style of the last twenty minutes was almost totally expected, and that took away from the power quite a bit, at least where I was sitting.
Dukat's farewells to Kira at the end are interesting, though. When she asks whether Ziyal will cause him difficulties back home, "I'll let you know" is a rather ambiguous response. Is he grateful to Kira for her influence, angered by it, or both at once? In a show that otherwise ended on some rather unambiguous notes, it was good to see at least one shade of gray make its way into the close.
That sort of ambiguity shines out even more when one compares it to the "B" plot of "Indiscretion", the Sisko/Yates interactions. If elements of the main story felt a little worn around the edges, the side-story felt downright worn through. I don't think I've met anyone yet who didn't see the Sisko plot coming as soon as Kasidy started talking about potentially moving onto the station, and familiarity of that magnitude really does breed contempt at times. The execution made up for it somewhat; Dax's and Bashir's casual discussion of
Sisko in the third person while he was sitting right there was pretty amusing, for instance, and Jake's managing to totally ruin Sisko's breakfast by simply answering "what's new?" was close to priceless. I also liked Sisko admitting that his worries weren't just generally about getting into another relationship after Jennifer's death, but that he was worried about feeling responsible for another lover's death the way he felt responsible for hers. Despite all those things, though, the subplot felt like a net drag on the show.
That would seem to cover most of the ground, then. A few smaller points:
-- Odo's learning. He's finally learned not to bother Kira when she's on a tear. Good for him. :-)
-- I don't know if it was deliberate or not, but something about the way Dukat carried himself and the lighting when he first spotted his daughter made him look old, and somewhat tired. Deliberate or not, it seemed pretty powerful to me.
-- For anyone wondering why Razka looked and sounded so familiar, we've seen the actor before in Trek. Roy Brocksmith also played Kolrami, the annoying strategist, way back in TNG's second season "Peak Performance." He's shown up a lot of other places as well, but that's the connection for those looking for a Trek-related one.
-- After a few weeks, I've now come to a decision about the new opening music; the added "rhythm" is damned distracting. The first half (until the "main" part of the theme) is as good or better than the original version, but after that I'd definitely prefer the original, hands down.
That's about it, I think. Like "Hippocratic Oath" before it, "Indiscretion" wasn't a knockout -- but it was still pretty decent. So far, DS9's gone four episodes this season without anything that's really missed the mark -- that's promising!
So, wrapping up:
Writing: A little tired in the basics, but most of the incidentals in the execution worked quite well.
Directing: Not a whole lot stood out either way, but things seemed to work well enough.
Acting: Visitor was pretty good, and Alaimo was outstanding. Brooks did well given what he had to work with.
OVERALL: Hmm. A 7, I think. Pleasant enough.
Dax's past comes back to haunt her -- past wife, that is...
Tim Lynch (Harvard-Westlake School, Science Dept.)
"Well, it could've been worse. He could've said 'it's a VERY big step.'"