I absolutely ADORE this episode for doing something that you only occasionally see in the Trek series: creating a TRULY, TRULY diverse alien race right from the get-go. Of all the foes created for the series TNG and later, only the Cardassians reached the depth and diversity of friendly races like humans and Bajorans.
As I've said in numerous other threads...it's not JUST Macet who contributes to this. It's the entire triad. Macet, for his part, reads like a more levelheaded version of Dukat--I know the episode review refers to him as being untrustworthy (and I am probably biased between the DS9-R's take on him, plus my own work on the character in Sigils and Unions
), but he struck me as someone stuck between a rock and a hard place: wanting peace but also being required out of duty to keep the Federation from stumbling onto a rearming effort that he may not have agreed with. Later "political players" like Legate Turrel I think would be based on Macet.
There's Telle, that I think became the Cardassian stereotype: arrogant, duplicitous (though thuggish in his particular case), xenophobic, and I kind of suspect able to commit acts of brutality without the blink of an eye.
And then there's Daro. MAN...talk about underappreciated character right there. For someone who had just a few lines compared to Macet, he was the one that just blew me away. Quieter, thoughtful, and, it seems, deeply haunted by the past, though Daro seems more withdrawn, he reminds me of Japanese WWII pilot Saburo Sakai
in that while he believed very strongly in doing his duty, he doesn't feel good about the things he got involved in (and probably not the leadership that ordered them, either). I really felt like he was sincere in wanting to befriend O'Brien, and man...I had this sense he was right on the verge of saying something that could've been HUGE in terms of helping both men find peace. And when O'Brien cut him off and stormed out--I just think that was an awful loss for them both.
Very strange how a scene can be played that low-key and yet feel so powerful. I'd say Time Winters (who played Daro) is an overlooked star in this episode.
This episode made a huge impression on me from the start. I only saw it once, probably back in the mid-90s...yet 6 or so years later, when I got the soundtrack to the movie Black Hawk Down, I heard this song. I didn't know the name of it at the time, and I'd never heard it with anything beside the melody. Only once had I heard it, but because this episode had burned such an impression into my mind, I knew it IMMEDIATELY and could hum right along. It was "The Minstrel Boy," of course.
I don't think I've EVER had such instant recall of a song heard only once, after such a long period of time--or the feelings that went with it.
Incredible episode. I had better shut up before I write a novel based on it.
Oh wait...I already am.