Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In Purgatory's Shadow   Rewatch 
May 18, 2016 11:30 AM - Season 5, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Garak and Worf investigate a message which suggests that Cardassian spymaster Enabran Tain is still alive. Upon their arrival, not only do they find Tain, but also General Martok... and someone they did not expect.

As usual, quotes and trivia from the Memory Alpha page on the episode.

Quotes

"What about Garak?"

"I want him back, too. I suppose I don't have to tell you to keep a close eye on him?"

"At the first sign of betrayal, I will kill him. But, I promise to return the body intact."

"I assume that's a joke."

"We will see."
- Worf and Sisko, regarding Garak

"Lying is a skill like any other. And if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practice constantly."
- Garak, to Worf

"I should have never have come here. I should have let that monster die forgotten and alone."

"Well frankly I'm glad you came, misery loves company."

"All my life, I've done nothing but try to please that man. I let him mold me, let him turn me into a mirror image of himself. And how did he repay me? With exile. But I forgave him. And here, in the end, I thought maybe, just maybe, he could forgive me."

"From what I've seen of him over the past month he doesn't come across as the forgiving type."

"I've been a fool. Let this be a lesson to you, doctor – perhaps the most valuable one I can ever teach you. Sentiment is the greatest weakness of all."

"If that's true, it's a lesson I'd rather not learn."
- Garak and Bashir, talking about Tain

"Elim. Promise me one thing."

"I'm listening."

"Don't die here. Escape. Live."

"Let me guess. So I can make the Dominion pay for what they've done to you."

"You wouldn't deny an old man his revenge, would you?"

"I'll do as you ask, on one condition...That you don't ask me this favor as a mentor, or a superior officer... but as a father asking his son."

"You're not my son."

"Father, you're dying. For once in your life, speak the truth."

"I should have killed your mother before you were born. You have always been a weakness I can't afford."

"So you've told me. Many times. Listen, Enabran. All I ask is that for this moment, let me be your son."

(a pause)
"Elim, remember that day...in the country. You must've been almost five."

"How can I forget it? It was the only day."

"I can still see you, on the back of that riding hound. You must've fallen off a dozen times. But you never gave up."

"I remember limping home...You held my hand."

"I was very proud of you, that day."
- Tain's dying words to Garak

Trivia

* The author Judy Klass, (whose novels include the Pocket TOS novel The Cry of the Onlies) pitched the concept of Tain being Garak's father. She commented "though I did not get on-screen credit for it, [it was] the idea that Garak was the illegitimate son of Enabran Tain, and that was one more reason why he's a double or triple agent and a chronic liar; he has had to spend his whole life pretending not to know that the man who is his patron and a 'friend of the family' is his father. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was a gentleman and called me a year after I pitched the idea as a basis for an episode to tell me they were using it, tucked inside another episode, and paying me for it". Klass received US$1,000 for the pitch.

* The Enabran Tain/Garak/Obsidian Order storyline as played out over the episodes "The Wire", "Improbable Cause" and "The Die is Cast", and which saw the Obsidian Order and the Romulan Tal Shiar wiped out in the Battle of the Omarion Nebula, is given a sense of closure. We also find out that the Female Changeling was lying in "Broken Link" when she told Garak there were no survivors from the Cardassian-Romulan fleet.

* There are a number of references to previous episodes: the interaction on the runabout between Worf and Garak recalls their fight in "Broken Link"; Garak's reference to the attack on New Bajor in the Gamma Quadrant recalls Third Talak'talan's claim in "The Jem'Hadar" that the colonists fought well; O'Brien's mention of Lenara Kahn and her work with the wormhole refers to "Rejoined". There is even a reference to The Next Generation in Garak's disparaging remarks about Earl Grey, the favorite beverage of Jean-Luc Picard.
posted by Slothrop (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
When Dukat confronts Kira about allowing Ziyal to befriend Garak, it’s interesting to look at it based on the big reveal in Part 2. Dukat knows he is going to be Emperor of the Alpha Quadrant soon. And he is giving Kira the opportunity to acknowledge she did wrong by him and apologize. If she does, maybe, just maybe he will show her mercy when Bajor is his again. But when she refuses, his mind imagines all the ways he will make her suffer.

It’s in keeping with the military philosophy Dukat expounds on later, about making your enemies understand they were wrong to oppose you, before you destroy them.

Kira understands what he is doing and won't be intimidated, but all she sees is some jerkoff running around in a used Bird-of-Prey.

The other thing I found interesting is how Cardassian fathers run their families like their professions. Which makes sense in a military-run culture that emphasizes family. Of course the father would be the general of his family. And by having a relationship with Garek, Ziyal is fraternizing with the enemy; when she refuses to return to Cardassia with Dukat, she is committing insubordination. Not being raised on Cardassia, Ziyal has absolutely no idea how intensely her father feels betrayed by her.

And Tain the spy views Garek as either an intelligence asset or liability more than a son.
posted by riruro at 12:53 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not being raised on Cardassia, Ziyal has absolutely no idea how intensely her father feels betrayed by her. And Tain the spy views Garek as either an intelligence asset or liability more than a son.

Interesting correlation. They should've called this episode "Father Knows Best"! ...No they shouldn't
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:55 AM on May 19, 2016


I watched this and the next episode back-to-back last night, so I'll try to keep them separate here.

- That's an interesting analysis of Dukat from riruro above. I tend to believe that it applies more to Dukat than it does to, say, Tain, even though both men have threatened or tried to kill their children when they became a potential threat to their positions. Mostly, I think that it's Dukat being particularly Dukatty, and in particular because he is about to be Space Emperor, and it is just killing him to have to go around pretending that these people are somehow his peers. These people should be his subjects and why won't they just do as they're told and why can't he just throw Garak over the balcony and Ziyal has her own mind and Kira is acting like Ziyal is some sort of Bajoran and, oh, the man-pain. Tain is probably quite a bit more ruthless in terms of what he's done or caused to be done (I'm pretty sure that he's the one who ordered Garak to torture Dukat's father), but he usually comes across as much more avuncular, helped by being played by Paul Dooley, one of the most avuncular of actors. (Although his deathbed scene, with his sightless eyes and his running down his personal shit list, helped counter a lot of that.)

- This is a big Garak episode (as is the next one), and Andrew Robinson makes the most of it. Garak and Worf's bit in the runabout before they're captured is great; they have a real Quark-and-Odo dynamic going, helped by Worf having been the one who caught him trying to nuke the Great Link last season, and yet Garak is still able to almost get Worf to believe that he should get a chance with Starfleet, appealing to their mutual status as exiled outsiders. (I don't think that there would be a snowball's chance in hell of Garak even briefly being considered for the Academy, although a certain other group that hasn't been introduced in the show yet would doubtless be very interested in acquiring Garak as an asset.) Again, that deathbed scene: "It was the only day."
 (And something that I noticed is that the only cut away from Garak and Tain in this scene was a brief reaction shot of Bashir. As we'll see in the episode after next, he's got his own regrets and lingering anger regarding his own father.)

- Speaking of Bashir, one of the things that's always fascinated me about Alexander Siddig is the bit of trivia that he's Malcolm McDowell's nephew, because once you know that you can't unsee it. In particular, one thing that he and McDowell have in common is a very flat, cold, appraising stare, which he makes excellent use of in this episode as the changeling-Bashir. (IIRC, there was also some of that in the first-season episode "The Passenger", in which he's possessed by an alien, although his acting wasn't received well here.)

- Lots of other good things about this episode: the sense of impending dread at the prospect of the Dominion invasion, references to past shows (Lenara Kahn, yay!), and Martok coming back (double yay!). One thing about that, though. Lots of people talk about the mystery of the runabout being parked nearby with the equivalent of the keys being left in the ignition, but something else that occurs to me: that one cell has the former head of the Obsidian Order, the chief of staff for the Klingon military, a well-known former operative for the Order, Starfleet's resident Klingon expert, and a genius doctor, among others. Isn't that, well, a lot of really capable people to put in the same cell?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:41 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Because I bounced around a lot sampling DS9 on Netflix, this episode was one I saw somewhat early in being exposed to the show. I had seen a few Garak episodes, thankfully, so the power of his performance here wasn't diminished by unfamiliarity. One thing I was really impressed by was that Garak struck me as a character I had never seen in Star Trek without being so far out of the norm as to be disruptive. Here was this cranky, catty, cutting, claustrophobic guy who turned into the hero of the episode. Garak is seemingly a favorite around these parts; I think he may be the most nuanced character to appear in Trek.
posted by Slothrop at 9:01 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think he may be the most nuanced character to appear in Trek.

I don't think it's even a contest.
posted by rocketman at 9:41 AM on May 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


that one cell has the former head of the Obsidian Order, the chief of staff for the Klingon military, a well-known former operative for the Order, Starfleet's resident Klingon expert, and a genius doctor, among others

Well, Tain's dying, Martok and Worf are neither hackers nor capable of overpowering a base full of Jem'Hadar, and they presumably don't know Bashir is a genius. Now, Garak... yeah, that's harder to explain. You could chalk it up to 371's Vorta being underinformed about what the Dominion clearly understands about his backstory, but the Dominion has never shown signs of being that poor at internal information sharing. I figure this Vorta might be overconfident--his prison IS on an asteroid, after all--and maybe that factored into it. That's also the only good excuse I can come up with w/r/t the runabout (they tried to address the runabout point in "Inquisition," but it came off kinda weak).
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:27 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Minor clarification: I don't think that the Dominion necessarily knows about Bashir's genetic augmentation, but his being the youngest person ever nominated for the Carrington Award is probably within the scope of what they'd find out when they were picking who to grab. (About which, I would think that O'Brien would have made more sense in terms of swapping out someone who could both sabotage the station emitters and rig a bomb in the runabout... unless he's still being monitored by Odo or someone following "The Assignment." Bashir would be less obvious of a suspect.) Bashir still isn't the kind of person who would be adept at jury-rigging the transmitter--I don't think that he'd pretend that he couldn't in order to hide his enhancements, under those circumstances--but in general it just doesn't make sense for the Jem'Hadar to put all the smart people together, unless they're just not used to taking prisoners, which is likely. The only reason why they'd keep most of them alive is for potential interrogation if they thought of something else to ask them, or simply because they couldn't imagine even that group being a potential threat.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:48 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


About which, I would think that O'Brien would have made more sense in terms of swapping out someone who could both sabotage the station emitters and rig a bomb in the runabout...

I bet the writers considered it, then said, "Nah, we've been too cruel to O'Brien lately."

but in general it just doesn't make sense for the Jem'Hadar to put all the smart people together, unless they're just not used to taking prisoners, which is likely. The only reason why they'd keep most of them alive is for potential interrogation if they thought of something else to ask them, or simply because they couldn't imagine even that group being a potential threat.

Yes, it's a bit strange that they never showed or even hinted at any questioning. Then again, it only just now occurred to me that one possibly key reason they'd take prisoners is for the benefit of any Founders who might stop by 371 and ask for a "template" from the Alpha Quadrant to impersonate. (Real Bashir didn't seem to know about Fake Bashir when told, IIRC, but he may have been observed remotely by a visiting Founder who he never saw.) So maybe they have an explicit directive from the Founders to NOT execute prisoners without a damn good reason, since you never know when John Q. Enemy Combatant's likeness might be useful. And we definitely know the Founders play the long game.

By that reasoning, the Dominion should if anything be way more into taking prisoners than most warring entities we've seen—and maybe they're so blithe about it (e.g. "Ah, just leave the runabout floating there, NBD") precisely because they take sooo many prisoners. Like, if there really are at least 371 internment camps, you've gotta start running out of competent Vorta after a while, especially in the midst of a major galactic war.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:56 AM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Prettty much everything I wanted to say about this episode has been said in thread already, or in the FPP

I like how Ziyal stands up to Dukat, and is one of the few people who can do that and get away with it, without him going beserk. Dukat's conversations with Kira are, as mentioned, great - there is a great interplay between them and, again as mentioned, Kira is not cowed by Dukat.

With regards to the Runabout - The commander tells them that outside of the dome is airless void, and so I imagine no-one has ever escaped from there before, so maybe they feel safe or maybe they are a little complacent.

One thing I did wonder about though: with the changeling replacing the doctor - how does it have the doctors memories? How does it know where things are on DS9, where the doctor lives, his medical knowledge and so on? How does that work? Anyone? Because that for me is the main failing in all of this "imposter" Bashir plot line. How does the changeling know about medical stuff?

The scene with Garak and Tain when Tain dies is magnificent, with both actors playing the roles perfectly. The cut to the doctor when Garak talks about "as your son" is a nice touch as well.

Again the direction in this one is superb, the close shots of Garak and Tain really draw you in, and the rest of it is handled well. The scene in the runabout with Garak and Worf is handled well, as they are stuck in close proximity, and the feeling of being stuck in a runabout with Garak for ages and how awful that would be comes across, it is almost claustrophobic (like a directorial foreshadowing!)
posted by marienbad at 2:16 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing I did wonder about though: with the changeling replacing the doctor - how does it have the doctors memories? How does it know where things are on DS9, where the doctor lives, his medical knowledge and so on? How does that work? Anyone? Because that for me is the main failing in all of this "imposter" Bashir plot line. How does the changeling know about medical stuff?

They...hired a Betazoid?
But seriously, whatever they did, it likely has some connection to the DS9 Simulation from "The Search, Part II" ...it stands to reason that, following "first contact" with anybody from the Alpha Quadrant, the Founders would've made it their business to learn as much as possible about the space station parked immediately on the other side of the wormhole, and given that their modus operandi is infiltration and manipulation, that would have to include basically everything about the command crew. I guess I'd always just assumed that, since the Founders had already been shown to be far more skilled at impersonating people than Trek's typical Alien Replicon of the Week, they must've done their homework somewhere offscreen. I think, in a way, that's scarier than if they'd, say, hooked Real Bashir up to some kind of memory-stealing machine.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:39 AM on May 21, 2016


In family-centric Cardassia, being the unacknowledged illegitimate son must have been extremely difficult. No wonder Garak can take a punch.
And it puts his efforts with the orphans in a different, sympathetic light.

Martok and Worf commending Garak's overcoming his claustrophobia reads as more hamhanded than I remembered.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2016


I would think that O'Brien would have made more sense in terms of swapping out someone who could both sabotage the station emitters and rig a bomb in the runabout... unless he's still being monitored by Odo or someone following "The Assignment."

O'Brien makes more sense in some ways, but the odds of getting caught would also go up by an incredible amount just from having to be around his family. Even beyond just the massively increased number of interactions you'd have to navigate through (especially since Kira was also living there at the time), you'd have to fake a whole marriage to Keiko which includes all sorts of experiences, in-jokes, and other little stuff that you just couldn't feasibly pick up from the outside. Meanwhile, Bashir has some friends, but none who have known him for all that long, and his friendship with Miles is honestly probably not that hard to fake. Plus Bashir has infinitely more free time to skulk around the ship and fiddle with things without a family life to worry about.

I mean, I don't really think the writers considered this at a level much beyond "It's been a while since Julian got to do something fun", but there's a decent argument that, of the core crew, Bashir has the easiest life to fake. He certainly has the fewest long-term personal relationships of any of them (except Odo).
posted by Copronymus at 9:38 PM on September 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


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