Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Strange Bedfellows   Rewatch 
December 5, 2016 11:34 AM - Season 7, Episode 19 - Subscribe

(Series Finale - Part 3 of 9) Unfortunately, despite the title, not a bedroom farce (with the deliberate exception of The Power Couple Who Shall Not Be Named), but still plenty to chew on: Martok reveals to Sisko that the real war has just begun, a prisoner is a pain in the neck for Weyoun, Quark pours one out for a homie, Damar considers the man in the mirror (prior to asking him to change his ways), Winn does a heel/even-worse-heel turn, and Worf and Ezri? They're just hangin' out.

I had a pet Memory Alpha, had him since I was a boy--a filthy, mangy beast, but in his bony breast beat the heart of a warrior:

- This episode was originally entitled "Eclipse", following on from "Penumbra" (an area of half shadow), and "Umbra" (an area of deep shadow).

- It is in this episode where the character of Damar begins the Cardassian Rebellion against the Dominion. Damar becoming a hero was a popular plot line amongst the fans, who found it somewhat unexpected, but Hans Beimler argues that the seeds for his 180° shift in attitude can be traced back to the sixth season episode "Behind the Lines", where it is first established that he is a heavy drinker; "Ira has really good instinct, even when he doesn't know why he wants to do something. It was his idea to make Damar a drinker, but he didn't know back then that he wanted to make him a hero. It was answering the question, 'Why is Damar drinking so much?' that led us there. Damar had a conscience and that ultimately told us where we needed to go."

- Beimler also states that from the very start, the character of Damar was always destined to go places, irrespective of his low-key introduction in the fourth season episode "Return to Grace"; "When we decided on Casey, we cast somebody who was better than the role. That meant we could expand the role from what was originally there." As Ira Behr puts it, "The fact was that we could take this character who started out with two lines and over the course of a few years, turn him into a complicated character with the weight of the universe on his shoulders."

- No one was happier with Damar's transformation than actor Casey Biggs, "They started to turn me into a comic book hero. I got to step out of the shadows and save the day!"

- After Damar ceases drinking in this episode, he appears to be lit in a different manner, with less harsh lighting, and softer shadow areas around the face, giving him a warmer look than before.

- Of Weyoun's attempts to convince Damar that the Breen joining the Dominion is a good thing, Jeffrey Combs comments, "That's the used car salesman in Weyoun. He slips into that persona easily. 'Look, don't worry about the details. I'm on your side here. I want you to have this car at a good price. Just sign here. You have nothing to worry about. You can trust me.'"

- According to Ira Behr, Marc Alaimo never wavered from his belief that at heart, Dukat was an okay guy. He'd developed his theory during the shooting of the third season episode "Defiant", a landmark show in terms of rendering Dukat a more ambiguous character from a moral standpoint, and despite all that Dukat had done, Alaimo still felt there was good in him. As Behr says, "In Marc's mind, I believe he felt his relationship with Winn was legitimate in some way, and that, in some wacky fashion, it was Dukat's bid for legitimacy. I mean Marc was actually upset when we had him hit Solbor. Until the very end, he wanted Dukat to be the hero of Deep Space Nine."

- For this episode, there were two scenes that were filmed but did not make it into the final cut:
-- Kira tells Kasidy that even though her father wasn't a religious man, he attended services because he loved her mother, and she was religious.
-- Kasidy surprises Sisko during the blessing ceremony, and concludes the ceremony for him.

"Well, hello! (guffaws)"
"I'm glad to see you find the death of my predecessor so amusing."
"Oh, you misjudge me. I miss him deeply. Here, let's drink to Weyoun 7!"

- Damar and Weyoun 8

"You have the biggest ego of any man I've ever known."
"Considering how many men you've known, that is quite a statement."

- Ezri Dax and Worf

"Am I supposed to be embarrassed because Jadzia had a few lovers before you?"
"A few?"
"You're right. It was more than a few. It was dozens. Hundreds. In fact, I don't think there was anyone aboard DS9 who wasn't her lover!"

- Ezri Dax and Worf

"They'll just make another copy of him, you know. You should've killed me. There's only one Damar."
"I will keep that in mind."
"I'm sure you will."

- Damar and Worf, after the latter kills Weyoun 7

"Go. Crawl back to your Prophets. Beg their forgiveness. Live the rest of your life... in Sisko's shadow!!"

- Dukat, to Winn

"It was an unworthy impulse."
"Worf, we're not gods, or Prophets... We're people. We make mistakes."

- Worf and Ezri Dax
"It appears all we have left to do is to be executed."
"Sounds like a lazy day to me."

- Worf and Ezri Dax, after having made peace
"Why should we trust you?"
"You can either trust me, or you can stay here and be executed."
"I vote for option one."

- Worf, Damar, and Ezri Dax, after Damar enables their escape

"[The Prophets] have never spoken to me; never offered me guidance, never trusted me with the fruits of their wisdom and now I am supposed to step down as kai in order to be blessed by them? No."

- Kai Winn
posted by Halloween Jack (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Lots of chickens coming home to roost and shit in the fan in this one. The scene with Kira and Winn is just solid goddamn gold.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:42 AM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Until the very end, he wanted Dukat to be the hero of Deep Space Nine

His method had become unsound.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:07 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I remember being frustrated by Nicole de Boer's performance in this episode. I couldn't really tease out if it was due to the character's somewhat ill-advised concept (immature person coexists with an effectively immortal consciousness), direction reflecting that concept ("now, Nicole, ramp up the petulance here"), or an actress being asked to work outside her limits.

This is also another one of those episodes (as is true for most of these closing-arc ones) where I feel that the lack of real world-building behind the Bajoran religion exposes itself through an inadequate characterization of Kai Winn. To a degree, Dukat's characterization is thin as well, yet Alaimo's willful insistence on acting against the notes and even the direction he was given brings the character the depth that was otherwise not written. While Louise Fletcher's earlier-season performances and even in some episodes of this arc reflect her skills and capabilities as an actress, this one just didn't sell me. I can quite easily buy the development of a sexualized relationship between her character and Dukat, but she didn't have to abandon her religion - her profession - in order for that to occur. By writing that her sexuality overcomes her life's work, the story invokes a misogynist trope and then doubles down on it by having her retreat from the consequences of her actions - she literally becomes a witch who casts a spell, motivated by vengeance, on Dukat. Just weak.

The earlier episodes in which Dukat and Nerys spar with one another are richer expressions of Dukat's sexuality and self-concept. Imagine Kai Winn sleeping with him despite her knowledge of his possessed state and instead of fighting him for the favor of the pah wraiths she sought to understand them as a religious professional with the express idea of excorcising him and keeping her people safe, while not incidentally increasing her power and prestige on Bajor and beyond. Now, doesn't that sound more like the Kai? I just don't see this analytic, deeply religious person suddenly going "MIIIINE MY PRECIOUS MIIIINE." Makes no sense.
posted by mwhybark at 5:03 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can quite easily buy the development of a sexualized relationship between her character and Dukat, but she didn't have to abandon her religion - her profession - in order for that to occur. By writing that her sexuality overcomes her life's work

I don't think that you're quite getting Kai Winn. To boil things down a bit, she's getting into the Pah-wraiths because they're talking to her, and she thinks that she's finally getting on some sort of parity with Sisko WRT the Prophets, and after she finds out the truth, well... they're still the ones talking to her. For her, it is all about Team Winn and who is willing to be on it, no matter how much she rationalizes it with piety and The Good of Bajor.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:48 PM on December 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Winn and Dukat teaming up (however unwittingly) always made sense to me. They are birds of a feather: Both of them will do anything for power, but their ambition is yoked to a need to believe that they are Chosen Ones, that they are meant to rule. It's not enough for either of them to claw their way to the top; they have to believe that they were destined and uniquely suited to occupy the throne all along. Dukat really believes his paternalistic nonsense about being the best and most benevolent prefect for Bajor, and Winn really wanted the Prophets to speak to her directly, as much to validate her faith as her ambition.

Louise Fletcher sells the hell out of the complexity of Winn's faith. From the first moment we see her she truly believes she is following the path laid out by her gods. She just doesn't figure out until much later which gods those are.* Her faith is real, but ambition blunts her discernment, so she lacks the self-awareness to distinguish between the Prophets' will and her own will to power. Her thirst to be Chosen and to speak directly with her gods is evident in a conversation with Kai Opaka, again in her attempts to speak to Possessed Kira in The Reckoning, and later in her vision of the Pah-Wraiths. Her betrayal of the Prophets is motivated as much by her disappointment -- even heartbreak -- at their rejection as it is by her hunger for power, and absolutely consistent with everything else her character has said and done.

*This reading of Winn's arc scoots uncomfortably close into predestination and cheapening the moral weight of her choices, but that Winn and Sisko get to make certain choices about their respective roles relative to the Pah Wraiths' and Prophets' plans indicates that their free will is basically intact. The Prophets couldn't stop Sisko from marrying Kasidy and the Pah-Wraiths probably couldn't have stopped Winn from stepping down if she'd taken Kira's advice.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 11:39 PM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just don't see this analytic, deeply religious person suddenly going "MIIIINE MY PRECIOUS MIIIINE." Makes no sense.

I think it does make sense because I think she's neither deeply religious (if we mean that, to be deeply religious, she must be capable of putting her faith ahead of her personal ambition), nor particularly analytic, if we judge by her inadequate planning or outright bungling of various schemes over the years (the school bombing in season 1, the soil reclamator thing from "Shakaar").

Her betrayal of the Prophets is motivated as much by her disappointment -- even heartbreak -- at their rejection as it is by her hunger for power

Yeah, and on rewatch, you really notice how the seeds for her whole big "FUCK THE PROPHETS" twist were sown. All those little flutters in her eyes when she said stuff like "The Prophets have never spoken to me" and "Well, you're the Emissary, aren't you?"

This reading of Winn's arc scoots uncomfortably close into predestination and cheapening the moral weight of her choices, but that Winn and Sisko get to make certain choices about their respective roles relative to the Pah Wraiths' and Prophets' plans indicates that their free will is basically intact. The Prophets couldn't stop Sisko from marrying Kasidy and the Pah-Wraiths probably couldn't have stopped Winn from stepping down if she'd taken Kira's advice.

Interesting point. I don't think the presentation of the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths through the series would make much sense if they could override free will all the time whenever they want.

Predestination, though...those are muddier waters, as was hinted at in another recent episode thread. If Sisko was always meant to be the Emissary, then he had to come to Bajor, but since he's Starfleet, he couldn't come to Bajor until the Cardassians withdrew. But it's far from a historical inevitability that the Cardassians were always meant to withdraw when they did—a minor hiccup of diplomacy could've resulted in a very different-looking DMZ (or none at all), potentially to the benefit of Cardassia's continued occupation of Bajor, potentially for another seventy years. So does that mean that
1- the Prophets are in the habit of hedging their bets and possessing individuals from various far-flung species to create new would-be Emissaries just in case? Or
2- Sisko being Starfleet induced the Prophets to somehow nudge the Cardassian withdrawal into happening at around the right time? (But I thought the Prophets had no concept of time...) Or
3- perhaps more plausibly, Sisko was the Emissary because (as Sarah said, IIRC) "it could be no one else," and it could be no one else because he's Starfleet?? And because his career arc positioned him, as of the Cardassian withdrawal, to take over Terok Nor? Did they foresee all this and choose Sarah Sisko accordingly? Is it not so much "predestination" as "planning ahead using the wormhole-alien equivalent of Gray's Sports Almanac"?

This is probably one of the reasons some people dislike DS9: the perception that we're supposed to shrug our shoulders and say "They're gods, don't try to explain it." IMO it doesn't exactly cheapen the finale or the overall impact of the show—I mean, c'mon, people still like Moore's BSG and they were WAAAAY more pseudomystical and COMPLETELY making stuff up as they went along.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:22 AM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think I'd back off a bit from my comment above in that it's not really all about Team Winn; as Ursula Hitler said back in the comments on "In the Hands of the Prophets", there is a tiny heart beating in those robes, which keeps her from being Space Dolores Umbridge. Speaking of that episode, this past weekend and last night I watched it and the trilogy that opens up Season 2 ("The Homecoming", "The Circle", and "The Siege"), and it really is something how well Winn's character is set up right from the beginning; in the trilogy, she's kind of semi-seductive toward Jaro when they're discussing her throwing her support behind his government, but when Kira and Dax show up with the evidence against him, she's the first one to grab the PADD and promise to investigate him. Her faith isn't a sham--I think that she really did take beatings from the Cardassians rather than become a collaborator during the occupation--but she's also obviously able to rationalize her switching teams by asking where the Prophets were when their people needed them the most, the way that the Pah-wraith cultists did.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


And speaking of those earlier episodes, I was surprised at how enjoyable they were. (I didn't join the rewatch until after that.) It is painfully obvious, though, that Bareil/Kira were never going to be a believable pairing; there's more support for the Kira/Jadzia shippers there. Even though Winn's secret ally in "In the Hands of the Prophets" was obvious almost from the very beginning, it added a nice touch of paranoia to the trilogy, and left me wondering if any of the Bajorans staying on the station were members of the Circle.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:03 AM on December 6, 2016


OMG, this anecdote from Memory Alpha is hilarious:
It was during the shooting of this episode that a joke was spawned at the expense of the Breen; "How do you defeat a Breen?" "You ask him to walk across the room." As assistant director B.C. Cameron explains, "We were working on "Strange Bedfellows", and it was the last scene of the day. Everybody was tired. We were shooting on the Dominion ship's bridge, and the Female Shape-Shifter was supposed to walk in and be introduced to the Breen commander. So I went over to the Breen background extras and told one of them – a great guy named Wade Kelly – to walk across the set and go out the door when we start rolling. But the minute we rolled camera, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake. Poor Wade couldn't see, but he was determined to give it a shot. Sure enough, he gets to an angled piece of the wall that was sticking out and trips, hitting the wall with a big clunk. Then he tries to see if he can find a way past this thing. But he just keeps going clunk, clunk, clunk. I'm thinking, 'Stop, Wade. Just stop.' But he keeps going and finally he gets past his piece of wall and heads for the doorway. But he forgets there's a threshold there, trips over that, grabs the walls, trying to hang on, finally gets out the door. By this time, I can't see him, but I can hear this huge noise, like he's ricocheting off the walls out there like the ball in a pinball machine. It was the funniest moment of the entire series."

posted by zarq at 9:33 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is it not so much "predestination" as "planning ahead using the wormhole-alien equivalent of Gray's Sports Almanac"?

This is a much better way of putting it, thanks! I don't think Winn's arc is omnipotently predestined, but wanted to acknowledge that as a potential drawback of my reading.

Bareil/Kira were never going to be a believable pairing

My partner describes Bareil as "a nice tall jar of mayonnaise," which, yeah.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:41 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dukat and Winn are both evil but Dukat is more vicious and resolute, as befits his fascist lizard nature. Winn struggles to convince herself she's acting for the greater good, and if her rationalizations fail her, the guilt and doubt sets in. Dukat is always the hero of his own story, the rationalizations run all the way down, and if you push him too far his hissing id takes over. Winn cares deeply about Bajor in her own twisted way. Dukat really only cares about his own power and glory, always.

Winn briefly bests Dukat by blinding him, but really she was doomed as soon as they met. Winn has some sort of conscience, she needs to be right. She's a villain who probably has some sleepless nights. Dukat just needs to win, and he'll climb over your corpse to get the prize.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:11 PM on December 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


« Older Star Wars Rebels: An Inside Ma...   |  Podcast: My Brother, My Brothe... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments