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Old August 10 2010, 08:00 PM   #16
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

You're right GAL...I just was so focused on her protecting the baby- but you're right- maybe she was-in her way.
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Old August 10 2010, 11:13 PM   #17
Fleet Captain
Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

Under stress, people revert to training, if they have had any. Instinct or habit if they haven't. For Kira, it is a combination of all of the above: training and instinct especially.

She has just experienced extreme mental and physical stress. Two close friends murdered in her own quarters. A ruptured placenta, internal bleeding. She reverts to her training and instincts. A Cardassian is killing members of her resistance cell. She has been doing this her entire adult life. Find the killer. Hit back.

It's 100% in character. What would have been 100% ridiculous would have been for her to act perfectly rationally in that scenario. A character with different instincts and different training would doubtless have reacted differently, but for Kira this was appropriate. She had spent most of her adult life living in caves as a terrorist: those instincts are still there, not far beneath the surface, despite a few years of a relatively comfortable life on DS9.
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Old August 11 2010, 04:28 AM   #18
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

Oh, that makes it even WORSE--I'd forgotten she had a ruptured placenta!!! So that just increases the risk to the baby even further if she starts gallivanting around the galaxy to get into it with a known murderer. Sorry--she was completely and totally in the wrong on this one; another solution should have been devised. Period. Neither way is a 100% guarantee, by any means, but concern for the child should have come above concern for her own life or her own pride.

As to if I would want to kill the guy who hemmed pants for the Nazis? Let me put it this way. I would not know if that person was a slave himself, a victim, or just unable to do anything about his situation for other reasons. I might still end up killing that person, but I can tell you I would at least allow myself to have a conscience, to mourn the fact that it was necessary, and take absolutely no pride or joy in it. ANY killing is a shame, when it comes down to that necessity, and should be mourned even when we absolutely must do it. I am not a pacifist--never will be. But I would want to make sure that I did not sacrifice my soul in the process.

If that hypothetical pants-hemmer survived, IRL, and did what Prin did, I would be furious, angry. And if there were a face-to-face confrontation, I would feel justified in killing him as a result of those actions (because NOW we have actions that make him a clear and present danger--more than just collateral damage, but an actual target in and of himself). But you can bet that privately, even if I never said it to his face, I would feel very badly about what happened and feel the need to pray for forgiveness.
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Old August 11 2010, 04:17 PM   #19
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Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

Oh boy. The Darkness and the Light is an episode that I am never sure if I really like or dislike. It was really the episode that left me with the most uncomfortable feeling... which I suppose was the intention. In some ways, it foreshadows Ron Moore's work on BSG where the heroes' morally ambiguous and often repugnant behavior. I should really watch it again to see how I feel this time. I have to say that I never thought about the baby thing, but Kira's attitude towards 'collateral damage' of her actions did trouble me a lot. On one hand, I understand where the attitude comes from, and it is a great thing that it helped keep the character of Kira edgy rather than pacifying her too much, which seemed to be a danger in the middle part of the show... And Flemm makes very good points...

flemm wrote: View Post

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And like I said, Kira didn't even have to repent for what she did, in Silaran's presence. Even something after the fact would've made it more understandable.
However, the whole point of the episode was to cast Kira in a problematic light, morally speaking. In that sense, it would have been counter productive to show Kira as repentant. Good characters have real flaws, that is to say traits that can cause them to do unsettling and problematic things in certain circumstances. Kira is one of the few examples in Trek of a fully-realized character largely because of episodes like this where her convictions and past history cause her to do things that are troubling for the audience but justifiable to her. This is a good thing.
flemm wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
The Cardassian government is ultimately responsible for the fact that noncombatant Cardassians died--but this should be recognized as a tragedy and a further atrocity by Central Command, rather than celebrated as Kira did.
Kira does not celebrate what she did. She refuses to apologize to a man that has just killed two of her closest friends and is threatening to kill her. It is perfectly in character for her to remain defiant in those circumstances.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And let's not forget how hypocritical this is of Kira: when Aamin Marritza decided he was ready to die to make a point about the wrongness of the Occupation, she didn't want to let him do it once she realized who he was and what he was really trying to do. She even said outright that he was NOT responsible for the atrocities of Gallitep, that just being there, and being Cardassian wasn't enough. She was ready to excuse him...I mean outright EXCUSE him.
There is nothing hypocritical about it. Kira would doubtless have considered Marritza a legitimate target during the Occupation. After the Occupation, killing him because he was a Cardassian was unjustifiable. He had sought to atone for the crimes of the occupation and Kira was able to see the nobility in that. There is no comparison with Prin, who sought to teach Kira a lesson with a series of killings.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
But like I said, even some sort of private mourning or atonement, something that Prin couldn't see and would never be a "victory" for him, would've helped. But there was NOTHING, and that was disgusting.
Showing Kira repenting afterwards in prayer might have worked ok as well, but I think I prefer that the episode leaves us with a more troubling vision of Kira, since its goal was to explore a darker side of her character.

I agree, though, that Ties complements this episode quite nicely in a number of ways.
... However, my answer to the question, was it true to character for Kira is a bit less straightforward. I would say it was in character, but only if we assume that her attitude was not the whole story, and that deep inside she did feel troubled by what she had done to Prin and others. Remember early season 1? That was Kira right after the end of the Occupation, at her angriest, most hardcore, hating Cardassians and not trusting the Federation... yet as early as "Past Prologue", she admitted that she wasn't proud of some of the things she had done as a resistance fighter/terrorist, and in "Battle Lines" we saw more of how troubled she was by it. In "Return to Grace", she says that this kind of life "eats away at your soul". So to imply that, by season 5, she somehow had a perfect peace of mind with it, would be really out of character, IMO.

I agree that it makes sense for Kira to have that attitude, and I'm sure that she is sticking to the view that her actions were right because Cardassians were all legitimate targets. As a resistance fighter, she had to believe that in order to be able to fight, and even years later, she needed to feel that she was justified in everything she had done. But what Kira says, especially when she is/has been fighting her enemies, and what she feels inside may not always be the same thing. While she may have learned to accept that there are shades of gray in the world, she needed to have a clear-cut attitude what is right and what is wrong in order to keep her sanity. It often felt like she would go back to her old black and white "Cardassians = evil, we were right to kill any of them" stance whenever she felt threatened by doubts, insecurities and guilt. Her anger had been what kept her going so many years, it was what she always hung onto throughout the horrible years during the Occupation, what kept her from being overcome with pain and desolation. This is one of the reasons I love the character so much - she is so strong, but at the same time she has so much vulnerability, so many deep issues.

This is why I always felt that "The Darkness and the Light" was an episode that should have had a follow-up, that we should have seen her deal with some suppressed feelings of guilt. In a way, Silaran Prin was the epitome of that violent, ugly part of her; one might say that she [and others from Shakaar's cell] created him, made him into a deranged serial killer, just like she and Bajorans had had to become violent and ruthless and full of hate as a result of what Cardassians were doing to Bajor. (How did Dukat put it, with perverse admiration? "A Bajoran born out of the ashes of the occupation, a Bajoran tempered with Cardassian steel".) And he felt just as justified in his actions. If I were writing DS9 fiction, I'd have Prin appear in Kira's nightmares long after - together with other Cardassian victims and Cardassian murderers and Bajoran victims (we know there were Bajorans who died and were hurt in the attacks, too) and Bajoran collaborators...and maybe Dukat, and her mother, and a lot of other tormenting issues that she never properly resolved on the show. Kira grew tremendously during the course of the show, but I thought that there was still a lot that could be dealt with. (And BTW, for those reading Trek lit: while I've really enjoyed DS9-R so far - I'm up to Mission Gamma: Twilight - and Kira's characterization has been very good, I feel there's been something lacking - it's just a bit too on the safe side. I'd have her haunted by her old unresolved issues, to the point of almost breaking down, at least one more time, before leaving them behind.)
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Old August 11 2010, 07:36 PM   #20
Fleet Captain
Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Oh, that makes it even WORSE--I'd forgotten she had a ruptured placenta!!! So that just increases the risk to the baby even further if she starts gallivanting around the galaxy to get into it with a known murderer. Sorry--she was completely and totally in the wrong on this one; another solution should have been devised. Period. Neither way is a 100% guarantee, by any means, but concern for the child should have come above concern for her own life or her own pride.
The question of whether Kira was right or wrong to do what she did is only one possible question that can be asked of this episode, and not really the one I have been addressing.

First, there is the question of whether or not it was in character. What makes it a good episode, in my mind, is precisely that what she did was simultaneously wrong (or at least extremely dubious), and also in character. To put this another way, it is good that this episode found a way to have Kira act in a disturbing manner that was perfectly in character.

I agree with DevilEyes' caveat that these events are only in character in the sense that what we see in this episode is not the whole story. However, clearly it isn't. Just looking at season 5, Ties comes back to some similar questions, and gives different insight into the character.

Then there is the question of whether Kira acted in a purely selfish manner, to save only herself, or out of pride. I think the answer is clearly no. She felt the killings had been her responsability, and that therefore she had to try to end them before others were killed by someone trying to prove a point to her. The baby's life was linked to her own at this point, so when she acted on instinct to find her attacker, she was protecting the baby as much as herself.

This brings up the further point that people do not necessarily act rationally under this kind of stress. Therefore, an objective analysis of risk is not going to determine how an individual acts in this type of scenario.

The fact that Kira may be perceived as being in the wrong in this episode is only the beginning of the conversation and not even the most interesting part. That is in effect a given, and part of the episode's basic premise.
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Old August 11 2010, 08:18 PM   #21
Pemmer Harge
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Re: "The Darkness and the Light"- was it true to character?

Yes, I think it's in character.

Regarding what Kira says to Prin, I think she really believes it and it's logical based on her character that she would. That doesn't mean it's the whole story. People are complicated and often contradictory as hell.

As for "endangering the baby" a) I don't think she did and b) who cares anyway? It's a TV show!

I like this episode a lot and I think it actually did moral ambiguity and complexity better than some of DS9's more celebrated episodes.
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