It's a pity Quark doesn't get involved, though.
Yeah, I've always found that odd, especially since it works as a kind of final lighthearted group outing before the war arc. Quark was already side-lined enough at this point.
I find it odd that Jake was left out of the caper while Kasidy was involved. Jake was actually shown enjoying Vic's program before, but Kasidy's friendship with Vic was invented to include her in this episode. A slight adaptation to the story and she could easily (and more believably) have been replaced by Jake.
Paper Moon wrote:
A better comparison might be to ask if O'Brien's reaction to Voyager's "Fair Haven" program would be comparable to your own, GodBen.
My reaction to Fairhaven is something I think about whenever the topic of Sisko and Vic comes up, and it is true that a part of the reason for my strong negative reaction to Fairhaven was due to those episodes playing fast and loose with Irish history. So it has always made sense to me that a black person in the future might have a problem with Vic's program. The difference between me and Sisko though is that I'm more vocal about my cultural identity, so it doesn't surprise people if I go on a rant about perceived slights towards Irish people. Sisko never really vocalised his connection to his cultural identity (although I do agree that it's there in the background via his clothes, art, etc.) so when he suddenly starts speaking passionately on the subject it is a little weird.
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (*****)
I mentioned back when reviewing Inquisition
that Bashir has an interesting double standard when it comes to black operations. On the one hand, he strongly objects to Sloan and section 31, but one of his closest friends is a former spy who assassinated countless individuals in his former profession and shows no remorse for it. It's interesting then that this episode begins with a conversation between Bashir and Garak about Garak's previous assignment to Romulus, which is treated as a light-hearted discussion among friends, including jokes. Garak probably did unconscionable things on Romulus, possibly even including murder, but to Bashir that is just part of the intrigue of Garak.
Then Sloan shows up and indicates that he wants Bashir to keep his ears open while on Romulus, and suddenly Bashir thinks such acts are barely conscionable. Bear in mind that what Sloan actually says isn't so bad, he's just looking to the future beyond the Dominion war and anticipating the threats of the potential political landscape. But Bashir is so idealistic that he chases after Sloan with a gun, scaring the bejesus out of Ezri.
is similar to In the Pale Moonlight
in that it's about the lengths that Starfleet is willing to go to in order to win the war against the Dominion, but the key difference is that the main character in this story isn't compromised. Sisko chose to be duplicitous and ended up getting in over his head, while Bashir is tempted to play spy but ends up doing the right thing in the end. That's a no less interesting way to go, and it suits the character better anyway. Bashir is idealistic, he completely believes in the ideals of the Federation, so it makes sense that he would choose to stand his moral ground when he's put on the spot. Sadly for him, that was exactly what Sloan was expecting Bashir would do and Bashir got played, by both Sloan and Admiral Ross.
Admiral Ross is another interesting part of the episode. The trope of the corrupt admiral has been used time and time again in Star Trek, but with Ross it finally has a real impact. Not just because Ross is a recurring character that we have come to trust, but also because his reasoning can't be ignored. He's trying to end a war and save lives, and the episode doesn't condemn him for his role in the conspiracy. Is Ross's practical approach the right way to do things, or is Bashir's idealism the better way? The episode doesn't choose. In the final moment of the episode, even Bashir is left doubting.
In some cases, awarding an episode five stars is a no-brainer, such as Duet
and In the Pale Moonlight
, but sometimes it requires some humming and hawing. Inter Arma
is a case of the latter. There are some niggles with the episode; Sloan's plan may have been a bit too perfect, and the idea that the head of the Tal Shiar is working with Section 31 is almost too difficult to believe. But I am a sucker for conspiracy/spy stories, and this episode has a great tone to it and some wonderful twists to the tale. It also has an excellent final act that leaves us to ponder the necessity of a group like Section 31 before they get involved in DS9's final chapter.
Sykonee's Counter: 36
According to MA, Praetor Neral previously appeared as a Proconsul in TNG, which is something I hadn't realised before. So there you go, Sykonee
, your counter is back in the lead.