Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Defiant   Rewatch 
October 28, 2015 6:39 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Commander Riker shows up on DS9, charms the crew and convinces Major Kira to take him on a tour of the station and the Defiant. After she unlocks the Defiant's systems, he stuns her and steals the ship. Sisko assists Gul Dukat on Cardassia Prime to prevent the ship from entering Cardassian territory.

Trivia (cribbed from here)
* Shannon Cochran reprises her role as Kalita from TNG: "Preemptive Strike". She would next be seen as Sirella in the sixth season episode "You Are Cordially Invited". Cochran and Michael "Tamal" Canavan would later marry each other after meeting on set during this episode.
* Ron Moore: "We had talked early in the year about doing an episode with Tom Riker. Early on we had played with the idea of Tom being the leader of the Maquis movement, that we would suddenly notice that the Maquis was getting a lot better out there and kicking some serious butt. Why? Because Tom Riker has defected, he's their general."
* Sisko's role in this episode is based on the 1964 Sidney Lumet Cold War thriller Fail Safe, where the President, played by Henry Fonda, is forced to help the Russians shoot down an American plane on its way to launch a nuclear strike on Moscow.
* Jonathan Frakes always felt that the character of Thomas Riker should have returned to DS9 and that there should have been an episode where Kira fulfilled her promise to rescue him. The producers however, seemed to be uninterested in finishing the story arc, as in the fourth season pitch letter to freelance writers, Tom Riker appeared on the list of subjects that they were not interested in hearing about.
* This ep introduces a fleet of Keldon-class ships secretly constructed by the Obsidian Order in the Orias system. Later in the third season, we will learn why they were constructed.
* Firsts: Quantum torpedoes are used for the first time by a Federation starship in this episode. In ST:V "Dreadnought" we learn that the Cardassian Union had quantum torpedo technology as early as Stardate 47582 (mid-2370) as a Cardassian ATR-4107 was equipped with them.
* Although not set in the Mirror universe, this episode continues the franchise convention of a character's "evil twin" wearing a Vandyke-style goatee.

Quotes
Kira: "Listen to me! You can't have a runabout! You can not get your medical supplies and I don't give a damn about the colonization schedule! Those colonists can make do with a box of bandages for all I care!"
--
Dukat: "I'd promised to take him to the amusement center in Lakarian City. He always wanted to go, but I never had the time. I told him, 'This year will be different, Mekor. This year I will make the time.'"
Sisko: "I had the same experience with Jake. At that age, they never understand, do they? You just hope that, one day later, they'll look back and say, 'Now I understand. Now I know why he did that.'"
Dukat: "When my son looks back on this day, the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer, on a Federation ship invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday, and he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred, and that's sad."
--
Kira: "...terrorists don't get to be heroes."
posted by zarq (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do the sensor logs ever become useful to anyone but Dukat in future episodes? Because otherwise, it seems like Tom Riker's actions were mostly an exercise in futility with respect to the Maquis' interests. The fleet wasn't about the Maquis.

I guess the only positives from the Maquis point of view were that Riker's crew probably went to a Federation prison, which means that they stood a much better chance of surviving than the rest of the Maquis.
posted by creepygirl at 8:34 AM on October 28, 2015


I've always wanted to see the pitch letters for the various series, just to see what made it onto the list (I've long suspected that "Lwaxana Troi is really Number One from 'The Cage'" was on them), what wasn't on there, and if there were any that were on the list but got made anyway. It seems weird that they did this as a follow-up to "Second Chances", but didn't do a follow-up to this.

Also worth noting, in reference to the exchange between Sisko and Dukat, is the latter's stunning arrogance in trying to guilt-trip Sisko over missing his son's birthday party. Just a little something to keep in mind as we find out more about Dukat and the sort of things that he got up to during the occupation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trivia (cribbed from here)

Memory Alpha is truly a fantastic font of trivia. From the notes on part of a later episode that calls back to this one, which we'll get into more later,
When the staff writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came up with the idea that third season installment "Defiant" would establish a military buildup which the Obsidian Order was involved in and which was so mysterious that even Cardassia's Central Command had no intel on it, the writers likewise had no idea it would lead to a battle later the same season. "We had a vague idea of a first strike," clarified René Echevarria, "but I don't think we knew more than that."
One of the reasons for the vagueness about the sensor log's utility and Tom's eventual fate is that they were left open-ended for future writers to build off of. Which makes it all the more sad that Angry Riker never made it back on the show. He's great in this!

I'm curious how this episode would read to someone who wasn't already watching the show and, moreoever, who hadn't wantched TNG. Half the surprise of the Tom Riker reveal is that of course there's a guest star from the last show. Kelley, Nemoy, and Doohan all reprised their roles on TNG; Frakes appearing here should be totally normal. And then it isn't. The Not Quite An Evil Goatee is a wonderful touch.
posted by cjelli at 8:48 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


This episode was a strong turn away from the surprisingly dull previous episode. As always, the depth of the Cardassian/Bajoran situation is a tremendous asset to the show. Rebellious Riker was a nice turn and I could buy his motivation (that he needs to distinguish himself from Will Riker) even though it was sketched out quite briefly. Jonathan Frakes has made such a journeyman contribution to the franchise (I only recently discovered that he directed the movie Star Trek: First Contact!), but he's never been a star of the franchise. Ultimately I would say he falls somewhere behind the original trio (Spock, Kirk and Bones), the TNG trio (Picard, Data and Worf) and the DS9 trio (Odo, Quark and Kira).

I also read Dukat's line about his son's birthday and the lesson being hatred as being either forced (by the writers) or duplicitous (on the part of Dukat). Dukat loves being disingenuous, so that's the most charitable reading of it. It seems it would be a necessity in a totalitarian state like Cardassian society to have an outsider to hate...

Kira's 'terrorists don't get to be heroes' line was terrific!

The one part that didn't work for me was Riker sweeping Kira up into a passionate kiss. It felt so pat and cheesy that once I could see it coming, I started laughing and laughed pretty much through the credits.
posted by Slothrop at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also read Dukat's line about his son's birthday and the lesson being hatred as being either forced (by the writers) or duplicitous (on the part of Dukat). Dukat loves being disingenuous, so that's the most charitable reading of it.

I read it as disingenuous, but I'm not sure -- as often, with Dukat -- whether he's lying to Sisko or to himself.
posted by cjelli at 10:17 AM on October 28, 2015


Memory Alpha is truly a fantastic font of trivia.

Their Voyager recaps have much more extensive trivia notes than DS9, and are a joy to read.

From the notes on part of a later episode that calls back to this one, which we'll get into more later,

Thanks for mentioning this! I couldn't decide whether to include the continuity followup in the post or not, and eventually decided against it. But I shouldn't have. These are rewatch recaps and spoilers are to be expected.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on October 28, 2015


Tom Riker peeling off the side parts of his beard is literally one of the best visual gags in all of Star Trek.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:45 AM on October 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, the unexplained O'Brien diss is perfect.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:47 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah! I forgot all about that! So the diss is never explained?
posted by Slothrop at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2015


The one part that didn't work for me was Riker sweeping Kira up into a passionate kiss. It felt so pat and cheesy that once I could see it coming, I started laughing and laughed pretty much through the credits.

This actually worked well for me, only because it made me groan and start thinking that it was going to be a terrible episode with Riker trying to be a space playboy or something and then he steals the Defiant and everything gets awesome.

And I read the ragging on O'Brien as a ruse to make him walk out ticked off and distracted, so he'd be less likely to notice something was up.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:10 PM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think it's to keep him from going "Hey, remember that time on Risa?" or something, and then catching Tom out on the details. It's actually the perfect tactic to use with O'Brien, because most likely he'll think, "Well, bad things always happen to me, so I must have done something to piss him off."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:33 PM on October 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


"I'd promised to take him to the amusement center in Lakarian City."

Boy, I bet Cardassian theme parks are tons of fun! Government-mandated amusement for your own good, citizen. Do you think you can get raw taspar eggs on the midway?
posted by Servo5678 at 1:24 PM on October 28, 2015


It's actually the perfect tactic to use with O'Brien, because most likely he'll think, "Well, bad things always happen to me, so I must have done something to piss him off."

"Bloody Paradans probably accidentally erased that memory when they were copying my memories to the duplicate last year."
posted by creepygirl at 8:19 PM on October 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Boy, I bet Cardassian theme parks are tons of fun! Government-mandated amusement for your own good, citizen. Do you think you can get raw taspar eggs on the midway?

For me that was another false note in Dukat's rhapsody... Are there theme parks in North Korea (which is maybe the best current analogue to Cardassia)? It just seems too far outside the boundaries of the way the show has defined Cardassia so far... Maybe later episodes will give us a more varied society.
posted by Slothrop at 4:35 AM on October 29, 2015


Are there theme parks in North Korea

North Korea is a theme park at nation-state scale.
posted by rocketman at 5:03 AM on October 29, 2015


Are there theme parks in North Korea



For what it's worth, yes there are.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:03 AM on October 29, 2015


I feel like there should be a shooting star trailing past ... [The More You Know] :) Thanks!
posted by Slothrop at 7:15 AM on October 29, 2015


I like that it's the Amusement Center.

Like, even fun things in cardassia have to be bleakly efficient.

I wonder if poor Mekor got to go there sometime in the next 4 years...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:20 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Riker's O'Brien snub confused me at first, because although it made me instantly realize (remember?) that he must be Tom Riker, I thought I must not have been paying attention and that everyone had known he was Tom all along. I remember that Tom Riker was created from a transporter mishap, and that O'Brien used to be transporter chief on the Enterprise, and thought maybe he had something to do with the original glitch and that was why Tom was so rude.

Eh, I was confused and distracted through most of the episode, really. I know it's all building to future plot stuff, but since I'm just 'la-la-la can't hear you' skimming past comments that go too in depth on upcoming episodes, this one didn't do much for me.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:39 AM on October 29, 2015


Chief O'Brien at Work: A take on Riker
posted by juiceCake at 7:53 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Man. I really wish we could've seen how the news of Tom Riker's turn to the Maquis and his fate on Cardassia affected Will Riker. Could've been a great opportunity to explore his character more. Frakes is a pretty good actor; I always wished they gave him more to do.
posted by duffell at 1:57 PM on February 20


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