Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Darkness and the Light   Rewatch 
May 8, 2016 10:03 AM - Season 5, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Someone's killing off the members of Kira's former resistance cell, one by one, and apparently saving her for last... but she's one mean mother(-to-be).

From Memory Alpha &c.:

- This is the first Trek script from Bryan Fuller, now better-known for creating or co-creating series such as Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me and Hannibal... and will be the showrunner on the new Star Trek series. (Potential spoilers in that link, although at this stage they may only be rumors or not set in stone.)

- Of all the Deep Space Nine episodes Ronald D. Moore worked on, this is one of his favorites; "It really came across as I intended it, and in some ways, much better, a powerful, dark piece of television that ends in a really unexpected way." Moore particularly likes the moral ambiguity of the debate between Kira and Silaran Prin. Of this scene, he comments, "both are right and both of them are wrong." Moore was also very happy that the fact that Kira remains fundamentally Kira in the scene with Prin, that she doesn't apologize and acknowledge her own guilt. According to Moore, "typically, when you get into a scene like this in television or even film, your heroine is confronted by the man from her past who's been wronged by her in some way, and usually she'll say 'You know what? I feel bad, too. You're right. I wish I didn't have to do those things that I did. Can't we all just get along?' But that would have been so phony, especially in this situation. So I respect the fact that Kira looked at Prin and said 'Screw you! You expect me to feel sorry for you? Fifteen million Bajorans died in the Occupation. You people were on our land, you didn't belong there, and you were all guilty!' I mean that's pretty bold. You can't say whether it's right or wrong – it's the stance of a terrorist. But it's what I felt Kira absolutely believed at the core of her being."

- More combadge follies: Sisko's combadge flips above and below his grey shoulder pad in between scenes in this episode due to the mixed use of the incorrectly made jacket from "Rapture" and the new correct one that was used for the remainder of the series.

"I was 13 when I joined the resistance. I'd been hanging around the Shakaar base camp for a couple of weeks--you know, running errands, cleaning weapons, that kind of thing. Then one night, they had an ambush planned and they were a man short, so I volunteered but everyone thought I was too young, too small. Lupaza stuck up for me. She said I had the heart of a sinoraptor and they didn't have much choice. Furel made some kind of joke. I don't remember what it was but I do remember that Lupaza hit him. She was always doing that. They loved each other in some way. But it was up to Shakaar, and he stared at me for a long time before he decided that I was big enough to carry a phaser rifle after all. So we set the ambush up along a ridgeline that night and waited. I was so cold. My hands were shaking. I was so afraid that one of them would look at me and think that I was nervous that I kept biting my fingers to keep the blood flowing. We must have waited there three or four hours before the skimmer appeared. It set down right where Furel said it would. And when that hatch opened and that first Cardassian appeared, I just started firing and I didn't stop 'til I'd discharged the entire power cell. When it was all over, I... I was so relieved that I hadn't let anyone down I, I was giddy. Furel told me to stop grinning, that it made me look younger, but I couldn't help it. I was one of them. I was in the resistance. [holding her earring] Lupaza made me this... out of some of the metal from that skimmer."

- Kira, after Lupaza and Furel were killed
posted by Halloween Jack (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is a fantastic episode, from the way it opens to the way it ends.

At the start, when the monk is killed in the open, you have no idea what is going on, or why he is killed, it leaves you intrigued. And then the messages start coming for Kira, and the deaths continue, and you are just waiting to see how it plays out. Kira is excellent in this, the way she copes with what is happening to her former resistance cell members, although the teleport to Odo's office and accessing his personal security files would surely have gotten her a reprimand.

And it just goes on with these awesome ways of killing the different people in the cell, one by one (or two in the case of Lupaza and Furel) until Kira has tracked down who is doing it, and then goes to him.

And that end part is superb. The way Silaran Prin traps her and when he has her trapped he stays in the dark, monologing, and it is fantastically well written stuff, talking about "the creature" and "the light" and "the dark."

I assume Odo and Sisko locate her via her com badge or runabout signature, but by the time they turn up, it is all over, Kira has outwitted Prin, and killed him.

I have to agree with the comments in the FPP about the dialogue between them: Kira shouldn't back down, and Silaren shouldn't see it from her side, only his. When he shows her his face, and you see what she did to him, you can see his point - that he was just a servant, not one of the people who decided to invade, that ran the occupation or the labour camps, and did he deserve what he got or not is left open to the viewer. Such great writing!

The direction in this is great, at the start it focuses on the small group and then the one, and then it moves around the statiopn, mainly following Kira, and is fairly tight on the shots, so we are with her all the way, and then at the end, with the use of the darkness and shadow in Silaren's home, and the way we hardly see him, and Kira is just lay there, in the light, unable to move, and it has this scary, claustrophobic feel to it. Superb.
posted by marienbad at 4:23 PM on May 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I feel like this episode worked better for me before I saw the Hannibal series. Now, retrospectively, it feels a bit like "Trek plays at grimdark" -- much like certain episodes of VOY (which I wish I could remember specifics of, and yet I don't). Of course, the long-gestating plot, theme, and character arcs help support this one in a way no VOY episode could have benefitted from.

Since one of the few consistent things we're hearing about Nu-TV-Trek is that it'll be "different," and since Fuller is the showrunner, I can't help but wonder whether he's really gonna bring the grimdark with it. Like, try to out-dark DS9 and even BSG. It wouldn't surprise me if that was what happened...not that it'd be doomed to suck or anything. No, what would doom it to suck would be another Rod Stewart theme song.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

One of the things that I really like about this episode is that it subverts the whole "stalked by a serial killer" paradigm. All the elements are there: the varied methods of murder, the taunting messages (using Kira's own voice--one thing that was missing was a revelation of how Silaran could not only get the voice samples but leave the messages wherever Kira happened to be on the station at the time; I figured that he probably hacked the station's comm system, which is probably still part-Cardassian tech like most of the station's systems, to track her badge), even the way he addresses her in the third person during his Hannibal Lecture [TVTropes] in his best "it puts the lotion on its skin" style.

What breaks the paradigm is that he's trying that shit on Kira, and Kira is the one who volunteered to be a child soldier at thirteen and chewed on her own fingers to keep from being mistaken for a scairdy-cat. She sheds one solitary tear for Lupaza and Furel, then gets busy bringing the fight to the creep, in a series of deft moves that reminded me of O'Brien's similar impromptu covert ops in "The Assignment." And when Silaran is deep into his monologue, she breaks him out of it with that great rant that Ron Moore notes above. (The similarities of it to Buffalo Bill's third-person addressing of Catherine Martin in The Silence of the Lambs probably isn't coincidental; either the movie or the book or both noted that serial killers often deliberately depersonalize their victims in one way or another.) That may have been the factor in sufficiently throwing him off of his game enough to not notice or check that she hadn't actually lost consciousness when he tried to sedate her. (And something else; this is purely my headcanon, like my long speculation about the Prophets in my comment on last episode, but didn't he seem to be, well, pretty damn good at assassination for a mere tailordry cleaner? Wouldn't that have been an ideal position to put an agent of the Obsidian Order in? And might that not explain some of his anger at the cell--not that they'd incurred "civilian" casualties, but that he hadn't seen it coming? Like I said, just speculation.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:45 AM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

(Tangential, but it seems like these Sunday threads generate less discussion. I wonder if we'd be better off moving to a Monday viewing?)
posted by 2ht at 3:13 PM on May 9, 2016

Yeah, I kind of felt bad for Lupaza and Furel, who I would have liked to see more of in the series, but this episode is a great example of one of the great constants of DS9:

You Do Not Fuck With Kira Nerys.

Or, to paraphrase Odo, "If Kira wanted you dead, you would be."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:06 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Prin's disfigurement wouldn't be that severe in the 24th century, would it? Surgeons are able to make a person look like a member of another species and change him back, and it's not a complicated procedure. So repairing Prin's face should be pretty simple. The conclusion to make is that Prin has refused treatment for years due to his metal illness.

I will concur that the Kira and Prin conversation was great. What I found interesting is that Prin's argument seems counter to what we know about Cardassian culture. Which doesn't seem to have much of a distinction between soldiers and civilians; every Cardassian's first duty is to the state. And the Cardassian military has no qualms about killing Federation and Bajoran civilians.

Prinn likely took the job on Bajor beleiving the Occupation really was a humanitarian mission. How would he know any different? All the information out of Bajor is controlled by the Cardassian military. So he arrives on the planet ignorant about the cruelty of Occupation, the nature of the Resistance, and how much the Bajorans hate the Cardassians. Obviously, the attack completely shattered him.

I think by Prinn's logic, the Bajorans are far more violent and cruel than the Cardassians. After all, Cardassia never kills innocent people! Anyone put to death by Cardassia deserved it. But he witnessed Bajorans kill innocent people.
posted by riruro at 10:08 PM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

That makes a lot of sense, riruro. I always felt like something was missing from the Prin character, and the idea that he was duped by Cardassian propaganda (with such tragic consequences) fills that in a little. IIRC it's implied, at best, in the episode as-is; then again, had it been dealt with openly, it could have detracted from the whole Pregnant Kira drama. On rewatch, I was surprised that the scene in Prin's double-wide takes up so much less of the episode's running time than I thought it had.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:00 AM on May 13, 2016

I feel like this episode worked better for me before I saw the Hannibal series. Now, retrospectively, it feels a bit like "Trek plays at grimdark"[...] Since one of the few consistent things we're hearing about Nu-TV-Trek is that it'll be "different," and since Fuller is the showrunner, I can't help but wonder whether he's really gonna bring the grimdark with it. Like, try to out-dark DS9 and even BSG.

Have you seen his other series? Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies are tonally miles away from grimdark. And I believe he's said that he wants to get back to the color and adventure of the original series. (If I had to pick a worry, it would be that he might actually veer too far in the opposite direction, and make it a little too kooky and crazy - but I don't actually think that's super likely either.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2016

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