Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 2 Episode 5


Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Oct 24, 1993 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
181 votes
  • Garak takes an interest in messing up Dukat's life

    Touching on some of the same themes as TNG's depressing fourth season episode, "Suddenly Human", "Cardassians" is about another hard-luck custody battle - but it's notable for bringing back Andrew Robinson in the B story, built around the continuing relationship between Bashir and Garak. The pairing is gold, and their scenes engaging as the first time around.

    The Cardassian boy himself gets the A story, with Vidal Peterson playing the kid with a mix of anger and frustration any boy his age would have in this situation. He gives the adults something nice to play off of, but because of the heavy subject matter, some of the scenes are slow and awkward, and it takes the plot a while to get moving. (It might helped had the show cast a younger child as the Cardassian boy to allow the character to be less sulky and more innocent. The downside would be that his relationships with the adults would be less complex; but the episode doesn't really take the time to explore these anyway, and this would allow for more of the focus to be on Garak and Gul Dukat, the latter of whom is excellent as the episode's heavy, even if his evil plan is more convoluted than that of a Scooby Doo villain.

    With a nicely laid out story and some backstory for the station, "Cardassians" is a fine episode, but not much more.

  • How can you go wrong with both Garak and Gul Dukat

    Like TNG's "Suddenly Human", this episode starts from the premise of an interstellar custody battle. But this is not TNG, and that initial premise develops into something much more interesting than another "issue show".

    This episode is titled "Cardassians" for a reason. We get Garak's 2nd appearance on the show, and the first substantive look at Gul Dukat. Those two characters pretty much dominate the episode when they're onscreen. But you have nice assists from Bashir and Sisko, with a particularly amusing late-night runabout scene. The O'Brien scenes seem a little grafted on, though obviously relevant to the character. One final note: the Cardassian orphans scene on Bajor is truly heartbreaking.

    Overall, recommended - a great sign of the show's decreasing dependence on the 2nd- and 3rd-tier episodes that populated the 1st season.
  • An interesting character piece, exploring issues of prejudice and self-hatred, but ultimately botched by a half-baked poorly thought-out script

    When Garak is attacked by Rugal, a Cardassian war orphan who is being raised by Bajorans, a veritable can of worms is opened, culminating in a bitter custody battle between Rugal's adoptive parents and his Cardassian father.

    'Cardassians' is a reasonably engrossing and well-characterised story, which gently explores issues of prejudice and racism - the highlights being the scenes between Rugal and O'Brien, who is still having trouble setting aside his disdain for all things Cardassian (as indeed, is Rugal - who has been brought up to hate his own kind).

    There are problems however and it's hard to avoid the feeling that the script is ultimately rather muddled and half-baked. The issue of child abuse is raised but promptly (and unsatisfactorily) dropped, while the conclusion - both to the courtroom drama and Rugal's fate - is severely botched and ultimately doesn't make much sense. Still, it's great to see Garak back in what is only his second appearance in the series.
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