Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For the Cause   Rewatch 
March 16, 2016 1:07 PM - Season 4, Episode 22 - Subscribe

In which Benjamin Sisko discovers his inner Inspector Javert. Lord let me find him, that I may see him safe behind bars. I will never rest, 'til then! This I swear! This I swear by the stars! Meanwhile, in Garak’s world, it’s lizard time.

All quotes and trivia from, as always, from the Memory Alpha page on the episode.


"I know you. I was like you once, but then I opened my eyes. Open your eyes, captain. Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We've never harmed you. And yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You're only sending them replicators because one day they can take their 'rightful place' on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it."
- Michael Eddington

"I was going to cancel. I've had visions of Ziyal presenting my head to her father as a birthday gift."

"That's a little a paranoid, wouldn't you say?"

"Paranoid is what they call people who imagine threats against their life. I have threats against my life."
- Garak and Quark


* Mark Gehred-O'Connell's original inspiration for this episode was the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. Specifically, Gehred-O'Connell was surprised by the reaction of the American people; "for the first few days after the event, everyone was so sure that it was foreign terrorists. Anyone who appeared Middle Eastern suddenly was under suspicion for no reason at all." As it transpired, the bombing was carried out not by a Middle Eastern terrorist but by Timothy McVeigh, a white American. This led Gehred-O'Connell to speculate what might happen if a terrorist attack took place on Deep Space 9; "in a situation like that, who would they immediately suspect? What if it turned out to be the last person in the world to come to mind? I just wanted to play with that idea. And it ended up being a story where Kasidy Yates turns out to be the number-one suspect." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Only a few remnants of this idea remain in the final episode, but the notion of the perpetrator of a crime being the last person you suspect is still to be seen in the Eddington defection plot.

* Michael Eddington defects to the Maquis in this episode. He later returns to butt heads with Sisko in "For the Uniform" and is killed by the Jem'Hadar in "Blaze of Glory". The idea to have Eddington join the Maquis goes back to the episode "The Adversary". According to Ira Steven Behr the subtext of the scene when Eddington and Sisko discuss rank was that Eddington knew he would never get to wear the red command-level uniform. "For the Cause" explains why. The decision to have Eddington join the Maquis was also prompted by internet rumors that Eddington was a Changeling infiltrator. When the writers heard of these rumors, they decided never to make Eddington a Changeling, but instead to do something with him which no-one would expect. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

* Eddington's final speech in this episode demonstrates Deep Space Nine's move away from the idyllic Federation seen in both The Original Series and The Next Generation. This speech builds upon Sisko's line "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" from "The Maquis, Part II", Quark's speech from "The Jem'Hadar", the 'hell on Earth' of "Past Tense, Part I" and "Past Tense, Part II", and the "paradise never seemed so well armed" line from "Paradise Lost". Of special importance in Eddington's speech is the line "Nobody leaves paradise," implying nobody should have any reason to leave it, nobody should want to leave it, precisely because it is a paradise, and if somebody does want to leave, then obviously, there is a problem somewhere. This recalls Ira Steven Behr's use of the quotation from Harold Pinter and the notion that what may appear to be paradise, actually has weasels under the coffee-table (see 'Background information' for "The Maquis, Part II" for more on Pinter). Taken together, all of these examples serve to further Behr's examination of Gene Roddenberry's utopia and his idealistic view of the future. Eddington's speech however, especially his comparison with the Borg, is perhaps the harshest indictment of the Federation yet seen.

* This episode takes place eighteen months after "The Search, Part I" and five months after "Indiscretion".
posted by Slothrop (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure why it messed up the episode title in the post header... Sorry about that!
posted by Slothrop at 1:24 PM on March 16, 2016

This is a great episode. Penny Johnson as Kassidy Yates is superb, her chemistry with Sisko is great, and their relationship is lovely, so to have her turn out to be the number one suspect was fantastic (especially on first watch. Even on rewatch it is one of those moments that take you aback.) The moment when Jake walks in on Sisko and Kassidy kissing and says, "ok you two, break it up" is fabulous, such a touching scene especially given that he doesn't know what's going on.

The whole Eddington storyline from the start to here has been well done, and to have him turn out to be working with/for the Maquis, and helping set all of this up is some of the best Trek there is imho. This episode is so far removed from any where TNG ever went, and is part of the reason DS9 is the best Trek there is.
posted by marienbad at 3:10 PM on March 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

One of the things that makes this episode great is how quickly Eddington catapults from being a minor annoyance into one of the better villains on the show, even though he's only got two more appearances. I love that the writers caught wind of the changeling rumors and decided to go in a completely different direction with the character, but one that dovetails perfectly with what we've seen of him so far. And it gives him the above-quoted monologue, which is not only a canny bit of observation about the Federation and how it's perceived by people outside of it (I'm sure that that horror of impending assimilation-by-niceness is one of the primary impetuses--impeti?--of the Klingons' abandonment of the Khitomer Accords), but is just staggeringly cruel, given that Eddington is directing it toward someone whose wife was killed by the Borg, which I'm sure that Eddington knew about. (Plus, it's right after the death of the mirror-Jennifer Sisko, which Eddington probably got at least some info about--she was visiting on the station pretty openly before going back to the Mirror Universe--and his plot involved setting up Sisko's first lover since his wife's death.) They've had some pretty great villains so far--Kai Winn, Gul Dukat, the Dominion--but I don't think anyone has been quite so flat-out dickish as Eddington, not even Dukat at his smuggest, and you know that Dukat probably practices that smirk in the mirror for hours. I'll have more to say about Eddington and his Les Miz fixation when we reach "For the Uniform."

Other great things:

- I was a little disappointed that we didn't hear at least a little justification from Kasidy Yates about why she was helping the Maquis. It does seem that, for all the actions of the Maquis against the Cardassians, they don't seem to have taken that much direct action against the Federation, save for trying to steal the Defiant (which is, OK, kind of a big deal). This may be a calculated move on their part, as they depend heavily on disgruntled former Federation citizens and Starfleet officers for many of their recruits, and their thefts can be handwaved away as something that the sort-of post-scarcity society of the Federation can afford. (I say sort-of, because as this episode makes clear, industrial replicators--which in the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual look to have about the interior volume of a largish walk-in closet--are in limited supply, to the point that the transfer of a dozen of them to the Cardassians, themselves a technologically advanced civilization with their own replicators, is kind of a big deal, even though they're not that big. (The Starfleet shipyards are working on one that's big enough to replicate a runabout.) So, even though there are plenty of food-production-scale replicators around, with seemingly plenty of energy to run them, replicators aren't the limitless cornucopias capable of producing as much of anything on any scale desired that a lot of fans seem to think that they are.)

- The scenes between Garak and Ziyal were very sweet, while acknowledging the uncomfortable parts of their pasts, particularly Garak's. I've bitched in the past about how sometimes the Trek showrunners seem to deliberately break up same-sex 'ships by pairing them off with other characters that they don't particularly seem to have chemistry with, and Garak/Bashir seems to be one such 'ship (which makes their bickering at the sportsball match kind of funny), but Andrew Robinson and the actress playing Ziyal (there are three of them throughout the series, which is just kind of silly) manage to sell it.

- Kind of interesting that, in O'Brien and Worf's discussion of the Maquis, it's the Irish actor who takes their side, given that the group that I think of the most as the real-life equivalent of the Maquis is the Provisional IRA.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:40 PM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

The episode was unique for me in that we saw one of the core Starfleet characters show off his dark side - seemingly with relish (at times). Dax went on to say as much.

Surely there must be other examples, but Ben Sisko always seemed to be right on the edge of giving himself over to emotional reactions in the way that Picard and Janeway did not. The quest to get Eddington seemed to me to be a bit of release for him.
posted by ComicsSleepRepeat at 11:21 PM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hey, whaddya know, my rewatch JUST caught up with this one :)

My only wish is that we'd seen more of the Maquis. Like, gotten an actual sense of what "being in the Maquis" looks/feels like. Voyager tried, but apart from the pilot the Maquis stuff was pretty much reminscence, and of course we had the Cal Hudson episodes... but by the time Sisko and Eddington go on the rescue mission later, the Maquis appear as just another Squad of Extras Lairing in the Deep Space Nine Caves.

I guess what I'm saying is, it would've been nice to have an all-Maquis episode in the same sense that, say, "Second Skin" is an all-Cardassia episode. Especially if Penny Johnson had been the focus of it.

Pitch: "For the Cause" instead ends on the "is she or isn't she" note concerning Yates' Maquis affiliation; soon, an ep focuses on one of the leads who Yates doesn't know too well (maybe Kira) surgically altered to appear Very Nonhuman and tasked with infiltrating a Maquis world, with personal stakes for Sisko inasmuch as Yates might be on that same world (and it turns out she is). Moral tension ensues, especially if Kira is the infiltrator and starts sympathizing with their cause. It ends with Yates volunteering to go back to DS9, as here.
...'course, then you lose the Dick Eddington stuff.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:22 AM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

You're more insidious. 

There's that word!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:47 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was never a huge fan of Ziyal/Garak, but I like the way it's portrayed here, where Ziyal admits to having thought of killing Garak, and hanging out with him is a pragmatic decision more than anything else:

GARAK: Why am I here? Am I to believe that you've invited the sworn enemy of your father simply to enjoy the heat?
ZIYAL: You really think I asked you here to kill you? Well, it did occur to me. Kira and my father both told me that you used to be an agent of the Obsidian Order. That you had my grandfather tortured and killed, and that you could easily kill me without a second thought.
GARAK: Although I seldom credit the Major or your father with being entirely trustworthy, in this case they're both telling the truth.
ZIYAL: You know what else is true? I don't care. I'm half-Bajoran and that means I'm an outcast back home. I can't go back and neither can you. So we can either share some time together or we can ignore each other. I spent five years in a prisoner of war camp by myself. I don't need your company. But if you'd like to stay and share the heat with me, maybe tell me something about home that I don't know, then I would welcome your company. And I get the feeling you would welcome mine. Either way, it's up to you.

Alas, going forward, they decided to go with Ziyal as wide-eyed naif, which was a whole lot less interesting.

I've always wondered why they didn't have Jake and Ziyal interact more. They're about the same age, they both lost their mothers at a young age in traumatic fashion, they both have powerful fathers, and they're both creators (he's a writer, she's an artist). Also Jake doesn't have the Bajoran/Cardassian baggage to deal with. It seems like they'd have a lot of common ground and a lot to talk about, and the writers kind of struggled to find ways to include Jake on the show in later seasons.
posted by creepygirl at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am just not sold on some of the presentation here. I like the concept that the Federation turns out to be not so great, but it's going to require some serious retconning. Let's look at Eddington's speech:

Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We've never harmed you.

Well, stealing the Defiant was a pretty big deal, but I think that the big thing is the Federation doesn't want the Maquis to rekindle a horribly bloody war?

Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join

I'm not going to look it up, but didn't Cal Hudson make some speeches about how all they want is to live on their farms in peace, or something? Now Eddington is mad that we aren't making war war war!

You know, in some ways you're even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation

See, the Borg aren't all bad! Although it doesn't seem like they take much time to explain what assimilation means...and then they don't give you any maybe this isn't such a great "plus" in the Borg column.

You assimilate people and they don't even know it

So we've watched four seasons of Sisko trying to convince Bajor to assimilate. He seems interested in making sure they know what the plans are and more importantly seems very respectful of whether they want to be assimilated. And this is totally consistent with how joining the Federation has been presented throughout TNG. So if that's not realistic, then OK--but like I said, there's going to have to be some serious retconning.

What I don't understand is why the Federation doesn't tell the Cardassians that if they want replicators and escorts to defend from Klingon attacks then maybe there should be some renegotiation of this DMZ. We know that the Federation is highly motivated to solve this Maquis problem. Sounds like the Cardassians are over a barrel (and anyway this new regime seems a lot more chill). I think the Maquis have a legitimate complaint here, and I think Eddington might have pointed that out rather than this dubious, self-flattering idea that the Federation is mad that the Maquis have left the club.
posted by polecat at 10:42 PM on March 18

And I just remembered that Dukot was mad that the new Cardassian government was going to negotiate a settlement with the Klingons. So the Federation are apparently being real dummies about this.
posted by polecat at 10:47 PM on March 18

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