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DS9-In The Pale Moonlight


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#1 Bad Wolf

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 04:09 PM

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Okay well I had very high expectations after all the Niners' gushings over this one.  They were pretty much met too.  Wonderful wonderful job on the acting by everyone involved.  I think I expected Garak's end game plan but I don't now know if that's because of some spoiler I may have heard over the years or if I just didn't expect the Romulans to be that easily fooled.  But I loved the final confrontation between Sisko and Garak.  And I also loved how much Sisko's conference with the Romulan Senator dovetailed with his "practice run" with Dax.

My ONLY question is the timing between the Romulan's discovery of the forgery and the destruction of his shuttle.  Why wouldn't he have immediately exposed what Starfleet had done? It seemed to me that he had time.  Or was it a case of not being able to do it right away because his visit to DS9 was a secret in the first place and he needed to find a way to expose it without disclosing his meeting with Sisko or something.

I'm still going to give it to Tacking Into the Wind for my own personal favorite DS9 ep because of how much pay off is in it but In the Pale Moonlight is certainly in the top five.  

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#2 Redshirt #24

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 04:27 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 20 2004, 09:09 PM, said:

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Okay well I had very high expectations after all the Niners' gushings over this one.  They were pretty much met too.  Wonderful wonderful job on the acting by everyone involved.  I think I expected Garak's end game plan but I don't now know if that's because of some spoiler I may have heard over the years or if I just didn't expect the Romulans to be that easily fooled.  But I loved the final confrontation between Sisko and Garak.  And I also loved how much Sisko's conference with the Romulan Senator dovetailed with his "practice run" with Dax.

My ONLY question is the timing between the Romulan's discovery of the forgery and the destruction of his shuttle.  Why wouldn't he have immediately exposed what Starfleet had done? It seemed to me that he had time.  Or was it a case of not being able to do it right away because his visit to DS9 was a secret in the first place and he needed to find a way to expose it without disclosing his meeting with Sisko or something.
Vreenak was on his way to a conference of some sort when he made the detour to DS9.  Being a Romulan, he wouldn't have made any sort of announcement without firm proof, which he did have--he just had to get away from DS9 to make the announcement, and he wouldn't have trusted anyone else to do it.  So why not at the conference he was going to in the first place?

(Cue the Garak: "Oh, we can't have that, now, can we?")

:)

#3 Delvo

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:02 PM

I'm sure most people's comments on this episode are bound to be pretty serious stuff, but I just have to say it really reminded me of most MASH episodes, at least most of the comedy ones... the ones with all the favors and bargains and wheeling & dealing just so that one character can get one thing he wants that's a rarity in that time and place, usually with the whole thing either seeming to go through but not with the desired results, or just falling apart with everyone pulling out of their various deals because they're not going to get what they were supposed to after all. :D

#4 Cardie

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:07 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 20 2004, 05:09 PM, said:

I'm still going to give it to Tacking Into the Wind for my own personal favorite DS9 ep because of how much pay off is in it but In the Pale Moonlight is certainly in the top five.
It's in my top five, too, but I've gotten to the point where I can't rank order them any more.  (Alphabetically it's The Die Is Cast, Duet, Necessary Evil, In the Pale Moonlight, and The Wire.)

One thing I love about the episode that I only figured out by repeated viewings is that Garak doesn't need the biomimetic gel in order to purchase the data rod.  He has the data rod and needs to gel to blow up the Romulan shuttle.  And, yes, Vreenak wasn't supposed to have made a detour to DS9, so he needs to get his story straight before telling the High Command what the Feds tried to put over on him.  Garak spent a long time undercover on Romulus, and he knows Romulan procedures and psychology quite well.

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#5 Rov Judicata

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:14 PM

I also love Cardie's theory about Garak and the bomb, which is very subtle, but-- I believe-- intentional. My only question is why Garak wouldn't just steal the gel, but perhaps he wanted to test Sisko's resolve... and deflect any questions about how Garak got a rod so easily.

In any case, not much I can say about that hasn't been said a million times. To me, this is DS9's finest hour.

[The only thing about this episode that I don't like is something Peter David did with in the "Tales of the Dominion War" anthology:

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In that story, David establishes that the romulans eventually found out about Sisko's involvement in Vreenak's death, which led to a Romulan/Human war. I don't buy that for a second, for reasons I'll get into later. But I thought I'd post quickly ,so other people could say what they think about it...]
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#6 SeamusSaidPoit

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:20 PM

Not that I'm usually an politics kind of guy (and god forbid I don't want to start something OT-y in here, especially on this particular topic), but like a lot of the Dominion War storyline...did this episode suddenly feel a lot more relevant all of a sudden? False information about a the intentions of one state persuades another state to go to war?

I'm just liking that a lot of the Dominion War stories from 5 years ago almost seem "ripped from the headlines" now...
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#7 Delvo

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:53 PM

Hotspur Rovinski, on Sep 20 2004, 06:14 PM, said:

I also love Cardie's theory about Garak and the bomb, which is very subtle, but-- I believe-- intentional. My only question is why Garak wouldn't just steal the gel, but perhaps he wanted to test Sisko's resolve.
Or he's just not able to steal highly guarded supplies from Federation medical facilities.

#8 KRAD

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:54 PM

Rov, I'm curious what your problem with that particular bit in "Stone Cold Truths" was. Keep in mind, BTW, that this was from the perspective of someone 150 years in the future who was trying to make a point.

Also, just BTW, there's an upcoming DS9 novel called Hollow Men, being written by Una McCormack, that's going to deal with the aftermath of this episode. :)
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#9 Delvo

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 07:58 PM

SeamusSaidPoit, on Sep 20 2004, 06:20 PM, said:

Not that I'm usually an politics kind of guy (and god forbid I don't want to start something OT-y in here, especially on this particular topic), but like a lot of the Dominion War storyline...did this episode suddenly feel a lot more relevant all of a sudden? <details omitted>
People can read whatever political message they want into almost any show or movie (several shows have been described as inherently leaning to BOTH sides by different people, Babylon 5's President Clark has been compared to BOTH of the two most recent American Presidents, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera), and it's best left unsaid because of that plus the fact that it can't contribute to real discussion of the show and thus can't do anything but start political wranglings. There's no way to make such a statement without inherently picking one side of a debate and using it to challenge the other like a slap in the face.

#10 Christopher

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 08:35 PM

Cardie, on Sep 20 2004, 08:07 PM, said:

One thing I love about the episode that I only figured out by repeated viewings is that Garak doesn't need the biomimetic gel in order to purchase the data rod.  He has the data rod and needs to gel to blow up the Romulan shuttle.
I never thought of that.  It could be true, but it seems like conjecture to me.  Anyway, it sort of illustrates why I don't think this episode is quite as effective as most people think it is.  To me, it was basically a story about Sisko letting Garak manipulate him.  I don't really believe that all of this was the only possible way to get the Romulans into the war.  I've always felt it was just Garak taking advantage of Sisko, manipulating him into compromising himself, bringing down the high-and-mighty Starfleet hero by trapping him into doing things Garak's way.

I think Sisko's mistake was in so readily accepting Garak's proposal to fake the evidence.  If he'd walked away after Garak's contacts failed, maybe Sisko would've proceeded to come up with another plan for getting the real information (and I'm sure he was right that the information did exist -- even if a meeting like the "faaake!" recording never happened, undoubtedly the Dominion would've had the conquest of Romulus on their agenda somewhere).  Maybe Odo could've infiltrated Dominion HQ on Cardassia and retrieved the evidence.  I mean, I doubt the Dominion, which is run by the Founders, would really equip its facilities with extensive anti-changeling defenses.

Of course, that wouldn't have been as deep and morally challenging a story.  But I still feel Sisko was weak here, that he let Garak dictate the rules of the game too easily.
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#11 Cardie

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 08:48 PM

Christopher, on Sep 20 2004, 09:35 PM, said:

I never thought of that.  It could be true, but it seems like conjecture to me.  Anyway, it sort of illustrates why I don't think this episode is quite as effective as most people think it is.  To me, it was basically a story about Sisko letting Garak manipulate him.  I don't really believe that all of this was the only possible way to get the Romulans into the war.  I've always felt it was just Garak taking advantage of Sisko, manipulating him into compromising himself, bringing down the high-and-mighty Starfleet hero by trapping him into doing things Garak's way.
But of course, and that's why I love the episode.  ;)

Seriously, though, the point is that if you want something to happen desperately enough, and someone provides you with a way to get it done with only a slight ethical hiccup, it is so easy to grab onto that instead of sticking to your moral guns and risking failure.

The stuff about the gel is conjecture, but I think it's safe conjecture.  Bashir makes a point of saying that the gel has to be so strictly controlled because it can, among other things, be used to make organic explosives.  

It's more probable for me to imagine that Garak has a few Cardassian optilithic data rods hidden in his quarters than enough explosive to destroy a shuttle.

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#12 Christopher

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 07:52 AM

Cardie, on Sep 20 2004, 09:48 PM, said:

It's more probable for me to imagine that Garak has a few Cardassian optilithic data rods hidden in his quarters than enough explosive to destroy a shuttle.

Cardie

Hmm, yeah -- on the other hand, there are ways to sabotage a shuttle that wouldn't require bringing explosives or any other foreign materials on board.  Warp engines can blow up real good when things go sufficiently wrong.
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#13 Redshirt #24

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 08:35 AM

Christopher, on Sep 21 2004, 12:52 PM, said:

Cardie, on Sep 20 2004, 09:48 PM, said:

It's more probable for me to imagine that Garak has a few Cardassian optilithic data rods hidden in his quarters than enough explosive to destroy a shuttle.

Hmm, yeah -- on the other hand, there are ways to sabotage a shuttle that wouldn't require bringing explosives or any other foreign materials on board.  Warp engines can blow up real good when things go sufficiently wrong.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

True.  But a random warp core breach wouldn't have had quite the same effect as a crude but obvious-after-the-fact bomb taking out a Romulan Senator and his entourage.

#14 Delvo

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 09:41 AM

...it also had to be made to look like the Dominion had done it.

#15 Christopher

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 07:37 PM

Well, a warp core breach is just one possibility.  No doubt a creative assassin (and surely Garak qualifies) could find a number of ways to rig a ship to explode in a way that would require no extra material to be brought on board and would leave enough evidence to confirm that it was sabotage.
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#16 Douglas

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 07:56 PM

First off, wasn't the Romulan senator coming *back* from the conference when he stopped over at Deep Space 9?  It has been awhile since I saw the episode but I seem to recall Garak saying to Sisko that the Romulans would assume he got it at the conference.

To be honest, I had never thought about whether Garak used the biomemetic gel to blow up the shuttle, but either way he could pin it on the Dominion:

1) The Dominion are very skilled at biotechnology, therefore organic explosives are just the sort of thing that the Romulans would view as evidence against the Dominion.

2) Garak actually did need to trade the gel for the rod, but used mopre traditional methods to blow up the shuttle.  He used a technique ripped screaming from Obsidian Order training to do it.  Deliberately leaving traces pointing to a Cardassian agent (when the senator's visit to Deep Space 9 was still secret) would instantly throw blame on the Dominion.

#17 Christopher

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 08:23 PM

Douglas, on Sep 21 2004, 08:56 PM, said:

First off, wasn't the Romulan senator coming *back* from the conference when he stopped over at Deep Space 9?  It has been awhile since I saw the episode but I seem to recall Garak saying to Sisko that the Romulans would assume he got it at the conference.

That was my impression, though I'm not 100 percent sure of the timing.
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#18 cylkoth

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 11:11 PM

^^I'm just now getting a chance to watch this, and Garak said at the start of the planning, that the senator would be attending the conference, but could be persuaded to make a detour to the station to meet with Sisko, which creates the impression that he stopped before going to the conference. However, Worf reports the ship exploded on the way home to Romulus...

And it was Sisko who used the word bomb when confronting Garak, so Cardie's theory that Garak used the gel to make one holds up-and I'm pleasantly shocked that I never put it together that he wanted the gel for that purpose. I'd always assumed he simply did something mechanical to the engines..

Andy Robinson seemed to be having too much fun in this episode.  :D
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#19 Rov Judicata

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Posted 21 September 2004 - 11:39 PM

Delvo, on Sep 20 2004, 05:53 PM, said:

Hotspur Rovinski, on Sep 20 2004, 06:14 PM, said:

I also love Cardie's theory about Garak and the bomb, which is very subtle, but-- I believe-- intentional. My only question is why Garak wouldn't just steal the gel, but perhaps he wanted to test Sisko's resolve.
Or he's just not able to steal highly guarded supplies from Federation medical facilities.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Highly guarded supplies? I didn't know the Federation had any of those.


KRAD, on Sep 20 2004, 05:54 PM, said:

Rov, I'm curious what your problem with that particular bit in "Stone Cold Truths" was. Keep in mind, BTW, that this was from the perspective of someone 150 years in the future who was trying to make a point.

Kebron explicitly states that the Romulans found out about all of this "many years later". Consider he's living to at least 170 or so, that has to mean quite a few. I don't think it fits the Romulan psyche to fight a war with a fellow superpower decades later over the incident. The 'mentor' also doesn't dispute that the lie led to a war, but instead falls back on the "any means neccasary" argument, which implied-- to me-- that it was a fairly undisputed fact. The more I think about that, the less it works. How does that work? What would the Romulan strategic objective be, exactly?

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Also, just BTW, there's an upcoming DS9 novel called Hollow Men, being written by Una McCormack, that's going to deal with the aftermath of this episode. :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hrm... well, I imagine that TPTB won't let the novel series take the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire to war. But I look forward to reading it. I guess I'm not saying it's impossible, but I am saying I don't see how it works.


Christopher, on Sep 20 2004, 06:35 PM, said:

I don't really believe that all of this was the only possible way to get the Romulans into the war. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I disagree. Remember, Betazed just fell to the Dominion, and the war is worsening.  The Federation is literally staring into the abyss. If anything, my objection is that Sisko didn't go far enough, and just let Vreenak leave with information that had the potential to destroy the Federation. Given that the ship was in the hangar, I'm sure an accident involving... explosives... could be arranged. I wish Sisko had at least contemplated it. Ah well.
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#20 KRAD

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Posted 22 September 2004 - 01:27 AM

Hotspur Rovinski, on Sep 21 2004, 11:39 PM, said:

Kebron explicitly states that the Romulans found out about all of this "many years later". Consider he's living to at least 170 or so, that has to mean quite a few. I don't think it fits the Romulan psyche to fight a war with a fellow superpower decades later over the incident. The 'mentor' also doesn't dispute that the lie led to a war, but instead falls back on the "any means neccasary" argument, which implied-- to me-- that it was a fairly undisputed fact. The more I think about that, the less it works. How does that work? What would the Romulan strategic objective be, exactly?

Who knows? And who cares? Like I said, Kebron was making a point. I think you're taking a very simplistic view of the Romulans, assuming they're all monolithic, and that their political situation will remain the same (which we know it won't, given that the entire senate was turned to pixie dust at the beginning of Nemesis, and the guy who engineered the coup and his entire support structure went boom at the hands of the Enterprise at the end of the film; the Romulan Empire's in for a lot of changes in its power structure, methinks).


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Hrm... well, I imagine that TPTB won't let the novel series take the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire to war. But I look forward to reading it. I guess I'm not saying it's impossible, but I am saying I don't see how it works.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that Una's book would follow up on the thing in Peter's story. The thing in Peter's story is something that will happen quite some time after the "present" of the novels, and isn't something that's likely to be dealt with any time soon. Hollow Men takes place during the late sixth season of the show.
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