Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For the Uniform
May 15, 2016 11:58 AM - Season 5, Episode 13 - Subscribe

One day more, Another day, another destiny, This never ending road to Calvary; These men who seem to know my crime Will surely come a second time, One day more...

Brief housekeeping note: per a previous suggestion, what do people think about this being moved to Monday? I think that the drop in comments probably is a temporary effect due to Game of Thrones and/or end of spring semester/graduation (in America, anyway) preoccupation with other things, but I'm good with Monday or whatever.

But Memory Alpha comes at night, with its voice soft as thunder:

- Sisko's actions in "For the Uniform" generated a lot of discussion. Ronald D. Moore commented: "Now we've stirred it up and let people really argue about this. Sisko took an action, and took a step that probably Picard wouldn't have. That's what made it an interesting episode. I could see Kirk taking this action. It seemed to me like what Sisko did was basically level the playing field again. Eddington goes and poisons some worlds, puts some stuff in the atmosphere that makes the Cardassians have to leave. He didn't destroy the ecosystem or the biosphere, because he wanted the worlds for the Maquis. Sisko just did the same thing, but did it to the Maquis, rendered some worlds uninhabitable to Human life. It was pretty drastic action. He's out on the frontier, he has some difficult decisions to make, and it solved the problem. He pulled Eddington in off his ship and he got results. I respected him for doing it. It was a bold decision and it worked. I think sometimes the characters have to do the right thing, even if its difficult, and make a tough decision and not worry so much about keeping their hands clean, and not be so obsessed about what the rules are sometimes. I think that Kirk was more than willing to bend a rule every once in a while to serve the greater good. I think that's what Sisko did".

- The scenes on the USS Defiant bridge showing the crew operating the ship manually and relaying communications through Nog were written as a homage to a similar scene in the 1958 Robert Wise movie Run Silent, Run Deep. Ira Steven Behr commented: "Great idea. I loved it. We wanted it to feel like a submarine movie, and we kept talking about Run Silent, Run Deep, for those scenes". This episode contains a subtle reference to the 1938 Michael Curtiz film The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The scene where Eddington forces Sisko to look at the Maquis refugees is very reminiscent of the scene in the film where Flynn's Robin Hood takes de Havilland's Maid Marian to feed the starving peasants. This episode also contains a brief nod to the 1947 movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which is based on the 1939 short story of the same name. Dax remarks, "The secret life of Michael Eddington." As is the case with Walter Mitty in the movie, Eddington sees himself as a dashing protagonist, the "hero of his own story" in the words of Sisko.

- In a deleted or unfilmed scene, O'Brien and Bashir discuss Eddington and their opinion of him. The scene also mentions that Starfleet Accounting gets bills from Quark. O'Brien also tells Bashir a story Eddington told him about a Orion slave girl and a Talorian, a quadrupedal species. At the end of the scene, the pair realize they actually liked Eddington.

- The name of the Maquis raider that Chakotay commanded, and that Voyager pursued into the Delta Quadrant, was the Val Jean.

"Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
"No."
"Please do."

- Odo and Sisko

"Les Misérables?"
"You know it?"
"I can't stand Victor Hugo. I tried reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I couldn't get through it. It was so melodramatic, and his heroines are so two-dimensional."
"Eddington compares me to one of the characters--Inspector Javert--a policeman who relentlessly pursues a man named Valjean. Guilty of a trivial offense. And in the end, Javert's own inflexibility destroys him. He commits suicide."
"You can't believe that description fits you. Eddington is just trying to... get under your skin."
"He did that eight months ago. What strikes me about this book is that Eddington said that it's one of his favorites."
"There's no accounting for tastes."
"Oh, let's think about it. A Starfleet security officer is fascinated by a 19th-century French melodrama, and now, he's a leader of the Maquis--a resistance group fighting the noble battle against the 'evil' Cardassians."
"It sounds like he's living out his own fantasy."
"Mmm. Exactly. And you know what? Les Misérables isn't about the policeman. It's about Valjean--the victim of a monstrous injustice, who spends his entire life helping people. Making noble sacrifices for others. That's how Eddington sees himself. He's Valjean. He's Robin Hood. He's a romantic, dashing figure, fighting the good fight against insurmountable odds."
"The secret life of Michael Eddington. How does it help us?"
"Well, Eddington is the hero of his own story. That makes me the villain. And what is it that every hero wants to do?"
"Kill the bad guy."
"Ah, that's part of it. Heroes only kill when they have to. Eddington could have killed me back at the refugee camp, or when he disabled the Defiant, but in the best melodramas, the villain creates a situation where the hero is forced to sacrifice himself for the people, for the cause--one final, grand gesture."
"What are you getting at, Benjamin?"
"I think it's time for me to become the villain."

-- Dax and Sisko

"Sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins."

- Dax, to Sisko (last lines)
posted by Halloween Jack (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Brief housekeeping note: per a previous suggestion, what do people think about this being moved to Monday? I think that the drop in comments probably is a temporary effect due to Game of Thrones and/or end of spring semester/graduation (in America, anyway) preoccupation with other things, but I'm good with Monday or whatever.

Please no - although some of my weeknight network shows have had their finales, the addition of the Monday/Tuesday Person of Interest burn-off means my Tivo is still pretty full. I just got to both of this week's DS9's tonight.

As to this episode - I get that they were going for a submarine movie feel, but all I could think of was Galaxy Quest.

I was surprised that Sisko's biological weapon hit was real, kept waiting for some reveal of a trick. I get that it was supposed to be something specific to non-Cardassian humanoids, but I had to wonder about the indigenous animals/plants & water supply. I don't know - maybe this week's nuclear bomb detonation on Arrow has me especially twitchy about this kind of plot.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2016


This one contains perhaps my favorite Terrifying Avery Brooks Line Read, when he totally loses it and bellows "YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!!" at Eddington.

This one also introduces the holo-communicator, which they used in only two or three total episodes. I'm certain the factor that led them to try this out was Actors and their Acting—the cast's desire to actually interact with the people they talk to, rather than a screen. What nobody thought through was, wouldn't it look dopey if somebody was sitting down during a holo-comm-exchange? Since the mechanism is shown to filter out everything but the person, they'd just be sitting in thin air.

Not to mention that, in terms of baseline sci-fi coolness, a dude just standing there (albeit within some glowy lights) is far less cool than a flat screen that you talk to.

As to this episode - I get that they were going for a submarine movie feel, but all I could think of was Galaxy Quest.

Thanks for that. Now that's all *I* will be able to think of :p

I was surprised that Sisko's biological weapon hit was real, kept waiting for some reveal of a trick. I get that it was supposed to be something specific to non-Cardassian humanoids, but I had to wonder about the indigenous animals/plants & water supply.

Yeah, it's just about Sisko's darkest moment until "Pale Moonlight." IIRC they don't come back to Sisko's planet-poisoning again later, and that's kind of a shame. Should it have resulted in him being drummed out of Starfleet? Probably not—the fact that they were humans is not supPOSed to matter in light of Vaunted Federation Ethics. But it seems to me that it should have been an unofficial mark on his career—the kind of thing that other officers would murmur about behind his back. Maybe what prevented that was (1) they're just Maquis and (2) the Federation generally, and maybe Starfleet too, doesn't seem to pay much attention to what goes on in the DMZ. (Come to think of it, isn't this all happening right around the time of the Borg attack on Earth from First Contact? Maybe everybody was distracted by that.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:52 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


When shows or movies do a heavy handed, "HEY! this is just like the plot of [INSERT MORE FAMOUS STORY HERE]" it usually turns me off. It mostly worked here, although Eddington calling Sisko "Javert" was a little grinding. I can buy that Eddington was sort of delusional with his own hero complex. And it was worth it to get the Dax-Sisko discussions about the story, because of course Dax doesn't like Victor Hugo.

(I was half expecting her to say she'd somehow met him and he was a jerk. But she's not quite that old. According to the ST wiki, the Dax symbiont will be born in 2 years.)

The holographic phone was out of nowhere. I kept waiting for them to use it to trick Eddington somehow. Guess it's sole purpose was to make face to face conversations more dramatic.

I was waiting for the "YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!!" line and it still sent a chill down my spine.
posted by 2ht at 11:21 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I tend to be on Team Sisko WRT the appropriateness/legality of his actions. The second Borg incursion (Star Trek: First Contact) would have happened just after this episode, going by the stardates, but the threat of the Dominion was looming, of course, and the conflict with the Klingons was still officially going on. The Federation had already been embarrassed by one high-level defection of a Starfleet officer, Cal Hudson, before Eddington, and Eddington had proven himself to be a serious threat, not only by disabling the Defiant but also the Malinche, an upgraded Excelsior-class ship. Plus, Eddington had shown himself willing to risk civilian lives to get what he wanted, with the attack on the Cardassian evacuation vessel. Sisko may have been brought in front of a board of inquiry to justify his actions, which certainly shocked some of the crew, Worf especially (his reaction to the order to fire the torpedoes was perfectly calibrated). But I think that it was important that Sisko not only stop Eddington's plan but also quickly redress the damage done to the Cardassian colony by in effect simply making the humans of the Maquis colony trade places with them; both the Cardassian civilian government and the alliance with them vs. the Klingons are shaky enough that not disturbing them justified a potential threat to the human colonists. (As we'll see very shortly, that turned out to be a wasted effort, but nobody really knew how quickly the status quo would change.)

Plus, of course, Eddington was a total dick. One of the reasons why his adoption of Valjean as a role model was hilariously inappropriate was that he originally started out as a pretty close Javert analogue, with his sabotaging the Defiant's cloak on the order of an admiral. (He out-Javerted Odo, which is no small accomplishment.) That may have been part of his impetus for rebelling against Starfleet, along with his disappointment with not becoming captain, which he mentioned to Sisko when he got his promotion in "The Adversary." (And it's really, really interesting that, although it's not clear when exactly he went over to the Maquis, he poo-pooed Sisko's suggestion that he transfer to the command branch.) But, mostly, I think that he went over to the Maquis because it gave him a chance to be a dick while wrapping himself in the hero's cape. Even when he's talking to Sisko right after he defected, when he's ostensibly trying to convince Sisko that he's right ("I know you. I was like you once, but then I opened my eyes. Open your eyes, captain."), he throws in that bit about the Federation being like the Borg, to a guy who lost his wife and former ship to them. He really pulls out the stops in this episode, constantly needling Sisko and calling him "Javert" and positively gloating at how Sisko has to follow Starfleet and Federation rules but he doesn't, like a chaotic neutral murderhobo in an RPG taunting the paladin in the party that they have to be good but he doesn't. He also outs himself as a space racist, begging Sisko to think of the humans (speaking, of course, to Bajoran Jesus, whose best friend is a conjoined Trill and whose command staff are majority non-human). In fact, I'll go full Space Godwin and say that the other regular character whom Eddington reminds me of the most is Dukat; they both have that same sort of glittering, contemptuous stare that they mask with a Smug Snake exterior overlaid with the sheerest veneer of gentility. (I'd love to have seen the two of them share a holding cell; I think that Eddington would have come off much worse for the experience--even when Dukat was a prisoner of the Maquis, he was laughing in their faces.) I suspect that there's probably more than a few Maquis with similar inclinations; Voyager hinted at that a bit. (In retrospect, it's interesting that, even though the Val Jean wasn't a big ship, it still had infiltrators from both the Federation and the Cardassians, plus a straight-up murderer and misfits of various stripes.) And, of course, there are also the colonists, who want their own planets with their own versions of the best society so badly that they're willing to leave the comfort and security of the Federation. Even so, Eddington stands out, not only because of his talent (and, even with a lot of his effectiveness coming from his specific military occupation, he is very good at what he does) but also because of the degree of his self-delusion.

And he's really not aware of just how much he's wrapped up in his role/self-image/rationalization of his whole You're Not My Father thing, which leads to the lengthy exchange between Sisko and Dax that I quoted above, in which Sisko realizes that he can hack Eddington's script. I think I've commented here before about the repeated metafictional references in this show, which will become more important as the show goes on. (And, really, it's something that's been used throughout Trek, to greater or lesser effect; you could go all the way back to "The Cage" and the Talosians offering Christopher Pike the equivalent of an unlimited holodeck pass if he agrees to go to stud for them.) It's also an interesting reflection on Sisko, who seems to think that he's just now deciding to play the villain--but this is the same guy who, in the first episode, threatened to throw Nog in jail if Quark packed up and left, and who also pretty easily got into the roles of his mirror-universe counterpart and a Klingon warrior. He wasn't necessarily a super-nice guy to begin with, at least all the time. (He of course does have his good and even nurturing side; one of the most touching bits was his outrage at his having taken Eddington out to a baseball game. This is a guy who supports, encourages and mentors not only his own son but also Nog and even Worf, in a way that I don't remember Picard ever doing.) And boy howdy does he ever get into the Ahab thing (not exactly untred ground for Trek), even given that Avery Brooks seems to have a certain taste for the scenery. I wonder if some of the crew had occasionally wondered if Sisko would snap one day and just flip the table; there is a certain Trek trend for captains to lose their shit, as with Matt Decker, Garth of Izar, and Ron Tracey, not to mention Benjamin Maxwell. (There are probably others that don't come to mind immediately.) It's practically an occupational hazard.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:54 AM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


But, mostly, I think that he went over to the Maquis because it gave him a chance to be a dick while wrapping himself in the hero's cape. Even when he's talking to Sisko right after he defected, when he's ostensibly trying to convince Sisko that he's right ("I know you. I was like you once, but then I opened my eyes. Open your eyes, captain."), he throws in that bit about the Federation being like the Borg, to a guy who lost his wife and former ship to them.

Hah, I never thought of that. I knew there was a reason I hated Eddington.

there is a certain Trek trend for captains to lose their shit, as with Matt Decker, Garth of Izar, and Ron Tracey, not to mention Benjamin Maxwell. (There are probably others that don't come to mind immediately.) It's practically an occupational hazard.

And out on "the frontier" I imagine the risk is that much greater. One could say Sisko *did* do this in "Rapture."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:07 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I agree that this was a good episode, but constantly calling Sisko Javert became grinding and annoying after a while. And the idea of using the book and the discussion about heroes and villians getting sort of meta was a bit naff.

One thing I did wonder is how was Eddington able to put the cascade virus in the Defiant's systems and no-one noticed until now, a virus so virulent it practically took the ship down. Eddington seems to be some sort of super-villian, able to outsmart everyone to be honest, so I was glad when he got taken down.

There are some awesome moments in this one, though. When Sisko tells the crew they are going to launch the torpedos, there is a moment of silence, and even Kira looks shocked, which was fantastic. And as mentioned above, Worf's look when he is told to launch them is another short and fantastic moment.

But this is ultimately the episode where we see how far Sisko will go to catch Eddington, a man who he feels "beat him," and it turns out to be very far indeed.
posted by marienbad at 2:11 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


What is disturbing to me is that when the Maquis were introduced in early DS9 and late TNG, the term only referred to those in the DMZ who took up arms against the Cardassians. But from this episode forward, Maquis appears to encompass all former Federation citizens living in the DMZ. So does Starfleet consider all the humans in the DMZ enemies? I think they do.

Based on the hostility to Ensign DeSeve and Ro in TNG and Tom Paris in the first episode of Voyager, it's clear Starfleet officers really, really do not like deserters, or those who otherwise disgrace the uniform. TNG, DS9 and Voyager showed us that the Maquis ranks are full of former Starfleet. It's likely the entire Maquis leadership are Starfleet defectors.

So there must be a lot of captains who, like Sisko, have felt betrayed by officers under them leaving for the Maquis. And if they are half as angry as Sisko, they probably are pleased his actions taught those punks a much needed lesson.
posted by riruro at 1:24 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, Starfleet needs to review its security systems and intelligence systems big time. Ro Laren, Cal Hudson, and Eddington! Man, someone high up shoulda been fired by now.
posted by marienbad at 1:49 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


But it seems to me that it should have been an unofficial mark on his career—the kind of thing that other officers would murmur about behind his back. Maybe what prevented that was (1) they're just Maquis and (2) the Federation generally, and maybe Starfleet too, doesn't seem to pay much attention to what goes on in the DMZ. (Come to think of it, isn't this all happening right around the time of the Borg attack on Earth from First Contact? Maybe everybody was distracted by that.)

Between that and how quickly events start unfolding in the next couple of episodes, it's possible the hierarchy didn't really have time to take in what he'd done, and by the time they reasonably could have, Sisko's personally negotiated a treaty with the Klingons and has probably the single most important command in the entire fleet, so I guess they figured they'd just live with it.
posted by Copronymus at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2017


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