Dukat character - writer's mess?!

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Dal Rassak, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Nagisa Furukawa

    Nagisa Furukawa Commander Red Shirt

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    Spoonfeed is the perfect word. I took out my DS9 Companion to get what Behr says on the subject, and since Behr suggests to "deconstruct things," that's what I'll do:

    Heh, you always know when people start off what they're saying with stuff like this that by the end, he's going to end up completely contradicting it. It's like the guy who starts a racist rant by saying, "Now, I'm not a racist, and I have many black friends, BUT..."

    (Just to be clear, that's an extreme example I'm comparing Behr too; what he said was nowhere near that bad, but it's the same sort of "I want to make clear that usually I don't agree with what I'm gonna say, but now I'm gonna say it..." method of explanation.)

    Here, I think is the big issue for Behr. Dukat's change in character has nothing to do with the mumbo jumbo Behr says below and everything to do with overreacting to a couple of people on the Internet. Yes, I'm sure there ARE people who thought that because Dukat was charismatic, genocide must be okay and yes, those people are wrong.

    But the integrity of the fiction shouldn't be used as a personal soundboard to argue back with a few nutjobs online, and in doing so, they threw the baby out with the bathwater. There are many more people who understood that Dukat was a vile person who did horrendous things... but thought that the fact that he genuinely thought he was doing the right thing, and was genuinely capable of doing nice and kind acts for those he cared about, was what made him such an interesting villain. "Guy does bad things but thinks he's the hero" is an interesting story. "Guy turns into a cackling supervillain with glowing red eyes" isn't. Having Sisko address the camera and say, "THERE IS PURE EVIL AND IT'S DUKAT" or turning Dukat into a Pah-Wraith toadie who cackles while doing evil things for no reason like killing Jadzia doesn't dispute the people who somehow think genocide is okay; it just makes a good character into a shit one.

    This is pure "????? Huh?!" territory. But it's clearly pseudo-intellectual twaddle used to justify the real reason they did it (to spoonfeed what was obvious to most of the audience to a couple of wackos and ending up choking them by shoving so much food down their throats). Not a million miles from Dukat actually... :rommie:
     
  2. Muldfeld

    Muldfeld Ensign Red Shirt

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    I remember thinking that at the time.

    Still, when I hate someone, I do talk like Sisko does. I see it now as a reflection of Sisko's anger and hatred than a factual description. I thought Dukat returned to his initial self in that last 10 episode arc. I think the fear by Behr was in reading fans trying to make him out to be a hero and that Bajor's occupation wasn't so bad as to deserve his hatred. That really frightened him.

    Edit: Ignore my previous paragraph because the poster before me already wrote what I was referring to.

    What I LOVE about Behr is that he has a strongly political and moral conscience to his writing. Star Trek isn't interesting to me without him.
     
  3. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    THIS!!!
     
  4. CommanderRaytas

    CommanderRaytas Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Are the writers in the business of morally educating people? Let the audience decide who's interesting, and who isn't. Even if we start liking a villain, so fucking what? That at least means they managed to create an interesting character. Most of us are aware that stuff on tv isn't real, and most of us aren't going to try taking over the galaxy just because we have a thing for an "evil" fictional character. Jeez.
     
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  5. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it would've been more interesting if Dukat wasn't a true believer, just a vessel for power. If he realized that Sisko commanded the Bajoran Gods and to destroy them is to destroy Sisko's power. He is just chasing the power to control, and beat, Benjamin Sisko because he is emissary.

    The final showdown was weak. It's like the writers just wanted to have a reason for their to be an emissary in this time of the series. I thought guiding Bajor after the Occupation was reason enough; that he would bring peace to them. Really, the idea that Sarah had a child with the prophets--the whole story arc for the emissary in season 7--wreaks.
     
  6. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have to say... I think Sarah sisko was ok...

    It doesnt have to be a retcon

    maybe she was one of hte more adventerous prophets... And they dont exist in linear time so maybe they went back to arrange for this guy to come by... even though they hadnt met linear beings yet.

    like it or not, it works with entitys outside of Linear time.
     
  7. Dal Rassak

    Dal Rassak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nice to have so many people agreeing with me on this point...

    To me the whole attraction of Dukat as a character was his ambivalence - the fact you could despise his actions while admiring him almost against your will.

    Evidently, he was a bad guy - most people have a few redeeming features, and the fact that he had those as well doesn't change the fact that he was essentially a ruthless, power-hungry, self-obsessed bastard.
    And, of course, he believed he was a good guy. That was what made him so realistic. Everyone thinks their own actions are justified. And certainly your classic dictator types never think of themselves as evildoers. Hitler was convinced he was a good guy. So was Idi Amin. It goes with the territory.
     
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  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think that's what Dukat's intentions were when he first sought out the Pah-Wraiths--he thought he could control their power to his own ends.

    But, as we had seen all the way back in "Prophet Motive," that species did have the power to overwrite the minds of humanoids in their image. And that's what I think the Pah-Wraiths did to Dukat: destroyed his free will.



    BTW, for those of you who liked "Covenant," I have the PERFECT soundtrack for that episode.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uod4zDdhofY
     
  9. Kuni

    Kuni Cadet Newbie

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    I came to this board and decided to resurrect the old thread purely because most of what the OP said resonated so much with me. I have been watching DS9 for the first time on Netflix and I found so much of it very interesting. Especially the earlier seasons, wrestling with this idea of occupation, Bajoran and Cardassian cultures, alien value systems, hate, anger, resistance, justifications - all of it pulled me in. A big appeal of this show has been the villain / anti-hero / villain-hero character of Dukat, as the masterful creation at the hands of Marc Alaimo.
    Therefore I also I find myself repulsed and disgusted by what was done to that character in the Waltz episode and afterwards (to the point that I needed to sign up here and vent, it annoyed me so!). I had to force myself to watch episodes from season 6 post his "breakdown" and season 7, and I could only get through them by convincing myself that it is not the same character at all. Otherwise I would not have been able to get through this material at all. I think it was named perfectly in this thread already: compromising the story led by such intricate characters in the name of a simplified metaphor that is being rammed down the public's throat is creative suicide, and I feel like this is what has been done on this show.

    The only part that I do not fully agree with is the original quote below:

    [LEFT][/LEFT]

    The fall from grace that happens in after Ziyal's death to me felt very, very real. That was the moment where I felt in harmony with Dukat ending up like this. Yes, I did love to hate him and yet at the same time I was rooting for him to in some way find a way to redeem himself, turn his self-aggrandizing around and realize the truth. I rooted for it maybe even beyond what was actually plausible when the show was trying to depict a narcissist. But this temporary insanity was hinted at earlier, I think. I could see it in previous episodes, especially in Dukat's overbearing flirting scene with Kira, where she confronts him over the "betrayal" and he tries to justify it by what he gets in return.. I see a glimpse of a madman already there. So this tragic fall made sense to me. It did not seem weak or pathetic, it seemed just pure tragic. In some way it was the last curtain call, the higher you climb just to feed your ego, the lower you will fall - and you will take those unfortunate, who you loved and who loved you back, right down with you. It felt cathartic, in those moments there were hints of a classical tragic hero, out of the pages of antiquity. Very visceral, sad, lost chance, just tragic.

    What followed, starting from Waltz and beyond, is such a character assassination like I have rarely seen before. I agree with all arguments about him appearing pitiful, needy, lacking any sort of charisma whatsoever when having lost the "military" edge. He did not appear as someone who thinks and plots anymore, and that was where a part of his charisma as a villain was rooted in. Marc Alaimo said in an old interview (in Hamburg, available on youtube) that he wanted Dukat to be a thinker. Ultimately using his thoughts to feed his desires and wants, but a thinker nonetheless in the first reaction. It was only when you cornered him, he would lash out, be ruthless, kill without batting an eye and without mercy or regret (which he constantly claimed anyway). This thinking dimension was something so sorely lacking that just explaining it away by "but he is crazy now" is not enough. It just made what they did to this character, a favorite of mine, cringe-worthy. Such poor writing, and I also think, an insult to an excellent actor.
     
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  10. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Can we close this topic please?
     
  11. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think a lot of people agree the character went off the rails in Waltz.

    I disagree that Dukat could ever be described as heroic or 'great'. Up to his breakdown I think his character was very consistent. He was a narcissistic personality whose every word and action was affected for the cause of his own survival and to be considered great by others. The one exception to this is when Ziyal is involved. Other than that he never did anything that didn't have the motive of receiving personal accolades.
     
  12. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

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    Dukat was made into the anti-Sisko by the end of the show.

    Sisko being the hero and Dukat the main villain Dukat had to apparently be like Sisko and had equal.

    He was a fine character and I'm not very sympathetic to the Pagh Wraith thing but whatever.

    The prophets were alien and immoral not angels but for simplicity sake they invented the prophets' demons. Which to me is stupid. If the prophets were actually worthy of being considered gods/archangels I would have been more open to it but their not gods either in the ultimate sense or the moral sense.
     
  13. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon * Not Really Savage Moderator

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    Welcome to the TrekBBS @Kuni . :)

    As a rule we do not like old threads like this being resurrected. However, since you have added meaningful content and it has generated further discussion I will leave it open. In future if you see an old thread that interests you please start a new thread and link back to the old thread.

    For a brief overview of TrekkBBS rules, pleas have a look at this post. Thanks!
     
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  14. Six of Twelve

    Six of Twelve Captain Captain

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    I liked Dukat up until the time he joined the Dominion. He was the "worthy adversary" type, who was multi-faceted, who had virtues, as well as faults. And his character seemed to grow, as he was able to work well with Sisko in several episodes and seemed almost "human" at times, and was even able to work with Kira. I liked him best when he was commanding the freighter, fighting the Klingons, and Kira was even momentarily tempted to join him, for a brief moment.

    But then they ruined him by having him join the Dominion, lose his sanity, and then the whole Pah Wraith cult nonsense. They essentially turned him into a one-dimensional, cardboard cutout villain with no redeeming qualities, whatsoever. Marc Alaimo has said he was unhappy with the change in direction his character took.

    I wish they could have brought to DS9, the original Cardassian character he played, Gul Macet, and allowed Alaimo to play Macet as a good character firmly on Sisko's side, without any of Garak's ambiguity or Dukat's narcissism.
     
  15. Kuni

    Kuni Cadet Newbie

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    @Savage Dragon I apologize profusely. I did not mean to stir the board, and I promise to familiarize myself with all rules and guidelines before I have a need to vent again :D thank you for being understanding and welcoming!

    @Six of Twelve I always wondered how Marc Alaimo felt about the change that took place. Not difficult to guess he probably did not like it, but I have seen or read anything about his opinion. That's interesting!

    Just to clarify, I do not think of Dukat as heroic - I was referring to that fall from grace as an ultimate lost chance at his redemption, and that felt tragic to me, along with the fact that he pulled Ziyal down with him, the only person he (arguably) loved. In order for redemption to happen, the character has to repent and remain sane. No chance of that here.
     
  16. Savage Dragon

    Savage Dragon * Not Really Savage Moderator

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    No problem. If there is anything not covered by the rules that you are wondering about feel free to ask. Mods don't bite!
     
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  17. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    [COUGH]T'Bonz[/COUGH] :whistle:
     
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  18. Six of Twelve

    Six of Twelve Captain Captain

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    I belonged to the Marc Alaimo fan club back in the 90s and his opinion of the change was published in the club newsletter. He had a lot of fan girls back then, haha
     
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  19. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In season 3 and 4, Dukat was presented as a more grey villain. But was he ever really? What grey villain could really do the things we know he did? I think the writers called BS on themselves at some point and realized, no, a decent person could not do the things we know he did.

    I don't think Dukat had virtues as well as faults. I think his greatest faults made him really good at projecting virtues. I think he's the Cardassian equivalent of a certain Earth politician you probably know who I'm talking about.

    He joined the Dominion to make Cardassia great again.
     
  20. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

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    So Marc Alaimo was dissatisfied with his character's progression, apparently Avery Brooks was unsatisfied with where Sisko ended up, Siddig wasn't satisfied with being an augment, Visitor and Auberjonois weren't happy were their pairing.

    So was every actor/actress on the show dissatisfied or mad or whatever at the end? Seems like none of them liked either the show's direction or their character progressions?