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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weird Star Trek Episodes - In the Pale Moonlight aka “That Was Cold-blooded!”

Captain's Log: Stardate... ugh. I am never drinking "Quark's Secret Surprise" again.

Yeah, I quoted Dave Chappelle/Rick James for the nickname of this episode. The nickname definitely fits, I’ll give it that. I doubt the actual song does. Anyway, “In The Pale Moonlight” takes place during Deep Space Nine’s sixth season. The show is deep in its “Dominion War” era that sort of started in the fifth season. It’s a war that’s not going so well on Starfleet’s side. So, why is this episode in this “weird” bucket? You’ll find out below.

The episode is narrated from Sisko’s point of view. It flash backs to a few days ago when he was getting reports on Starfleet’s casualties from this war. When word about the Romulan’s non-aggression treaty with the Dominion is talked about, Sisko gets an idea. He realizes that the Romulans need to join their side in order to beat the Dominion. He gets with Garak, a sometimes shifty Cardassian, in order to get info on their battle plans. Sisko knows that doing this may turn into a messy affair, but he’s determined to do it. Since Garak can’t find proof that the Dominion will turn against the Romulans, it’s decided that they’ll forge it in the order to fool the Romulans.

Garak has Sisko arraign a forger named Volar so the evidence can be manufactured. In order to make this happen, Sisko has to break some rules to keep him out of trouble.  He had to bribe folk like Quark and lie to Dr. Bashir about some weird chemicals. When the evidence is made, Sisko and Garak get a Romulan senator named Vreenak to secretly come to the station in order to view this evidence. Unfortunately, Vreenak and his guys find out that the evidence is fake (“It’s a faaaaaaaake!”) and they leave in a huff.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, your mileage may vary), Garak figured this might happen. During the testing, he planted a bomb (along with some Dominion evidence) on the Romulan ship. It blows up as Vreenak is heading back to Romulus. He also “took care” of Volar to keep all of this on the down low. Sisko is furious at Garak, but Garak predicts that his acts may get the Romulans into the war. His prediction is correct as the Romulans enter the war on Starfleet’s side. In the end, Sisko knows he did wrong, but realizes it was for the best.

So… is this a good episode? You’re dang right it is! Peace, God Bless, and go get your groove back or something.
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Wait, I already did this joke for the one of the worst Trek episodes ever. I might as well do it to a good one too.

You know I have to say something about this episode. This is a great episode from a good season of the show. DS9 was still on when I started to watch it, so I know I saw this episode when it aired way back when. The story is pretty dark. I mean, you have a main protagonist who’s part of a pretty happy-go-lucky organization lying, cheating, and being an accessory to murder. It makes you question if the ends truly justify the means. It’s definitely one to talk about.
I didn't know that Sisko was fearful of Garak's jazz hands.

The acting is pretty good. Avery Brooks puts in a good performance as a questioning but determined Sisko. Sisko was probably the best captain to do a type of story with because of the position he’s in. Andrew Robinson also put on a pretty chilling performance as Garak. Usually, Garak is presented as just a man with many contacts. What you might forget is that Garak can be pretty devious when he needs to be. Basically, he’s on his own side when it comes down to it.

I vividly remember seeing this episode in college and then going on Facebook to this big Star Trek group. I believe it’s defunct now. I put a question out there about how other captains would handle this situation of getting the Romulans into the war. Personally, I know Kirk and Picard would find another way. As for Janeway, I’m honestly not sure. You never know what the woman who had an alliance with the Borg would do. I also doubt Archer would do it but you never know.

Overall, this is one of DS9’s best episodes. It may even be one of Trek’s best episodes in general. While it does spit in Gene Roddenberry’s face on what he envisioned Star Trek to be, you have to admit that this is still really good. After all, isn’t science fiction supposed to put these types of questions out there? Is it not supposed to question what may be right or wrong? The episode may not fit with standard Trek, but it does give a lot to look at. The best Trek episodes do that. Well, I’m outta here. Peace, God Bless, and be wary of Cardassians especially if they hem clothing.

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