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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Episode 4

Past Prologue

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Jan 10, 1993 on Syndicado
out of 10
User Rating
197 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Stardate: 46412.3

Major Kira's loyalties are questioned when she helps an old friend, now a suspected terrorist trying to destroy the Bajoran Wormhole, who seeks asylum on DS9.

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  • DS9 introducers plain, simple Garak

    Taking its title from a quote from William Shakespeare's The Tempest ("what's past is prologue"), this Kira episode tests the Major's loyalty in the predictable A story. Even this early in the series, viewers will be a step ahead of the action and before too long will know where the story is going and what the inevitable outcome will be. But what's really special here is the B story, about Dr. Bashir making a "new friend". His name is Garak, and he's a "simple Andrew Robinson plays up the subtext, which is why I'm using these annoying quote marks like I'm Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. and despite the high profile appearance from the Duras sisters, he easily steals the show. Meanwhile, Siddig El Fadil (Dr. Bashir) turns in an impressive performance of his own and begins to find his character.moreless
  • Major Kira's loyalties are tested, and we are introduced to plain, simple Garak.

    I seem to recall that this episode is pretty much par for the course as far as the 1st season is concerned. A major theme for Major Kira's character is introduced - her discomfort at transforming from a terrorist/freedom fight to an establishment bureaucrat, and how that transformation will challenge her loyalties at many turns.

    We also see her history place her at odds with Sisko, a tension that would quickly be blunted by their friendship but remain for a long time. Her close friendship with Odo - her confidante and conscience at this point - is also introduced, though we'd have to weight until the 2nd season to understand its roots.

    This was also the first episode to push DS9's moral ambiguity. Up until this point, the Cardassians had been pushed on us as villains - "Chain of Command" had aired only two weeks earlier. The writers exploit this to surprise us with a Bajoran villain - not the last one in the series.

    We also meet Garak here. It's something of a shame that he appears only once in the first season, but the key ingredients of the character (and his relationship with the naive Bashir) are already here.

    Not a great episode, but laying down the roots for things to come.moreless
  • Could have been Better all around.

    The Dramatic Scenes could have been more DRAMATIC like when Sisko tells Kira he will "have her head on a platter" it did not create a tense situation. You could even say she was all right with it lol. Jadzia could have been used more on this episode and Odo is good but not the guy we have come to love. Garak is a really great guy to meet I have to admit I really like the way he is introduced into the Series. In this episode we get to better know the situation in Bajor and Bajorin Politics. As well as get to know of the past of Major Kira.moreless
  • A standard 'divided loyalties' story where Kira finds her chequered past catching up with her

    I always found this episode a bit slow and dull...and still do to an extent. It's certainly disappointing following the spectacular pilot (I believe this was the first regular episode to air). But it's still a decent enough character exploration of Kira, who I liked a lot better here than I did in the pilot (Nana Visitor seems to have 'clicked' into the character - perhaps it was the hairstyle change?!).

    The theme of freedom fighters reluctant to relinquish their fight (even in the face of victory), is handled reasonably well. It's notable how many of the themes handled by DS9 are still relevant now - if not moreso than ever before.

    The character conflicts are nicely done, although the execution (particularly in terms of directing and music) is lacklustre and Jeffrey Nordling gives a particularly poor performance as Tahna. I guess it goes to show that there IS actually a former Bajoran terrorist who is blander and less charismatic than Shakaar - and his name is Tahna Los.moreless
  • Kira meets an old friend from the past Tahna now turned criminal, while Garak and Dr. Bashir get close

    Interesting episode, more of a dramatic plot used to introduce Garak and gives us an insight into Kira's personality.

    Her old friend Tahna Los is being chased by Cardassians for crimes of war, he even confessed to killing a member of the government. Because the Cardassians have come on Bajorian space Sisko interferes and gives Los temporarily asylum.

    However he doesn't buy Tahna's innocent. Eventually Kira learns that Los wants to use a bomb and she struggles with priorities with the Federation and her Bajorian roots.

    Good episode, Tahna was porrayed as a rebel but then looked more like a crazy terrorist than the end willing to put the lives of many Bajorian's at stake. The Cardassian Gul Danar was right it would have been better to hand him over but then again we would have this episode.

    Dr. Bashir and Garak start to know each other, Garak passes himself of as a saint while Bashir subtlety tells him the opposite. Their exchanges are humorous and memorable.

    Decent episode.moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Alexander Siddig

Alexander Siddig

Dr. Julian Bashir

Barbara March

Barbara March


Guest Star

Gwynyth Walsh

Gwynyth Walsh


Guest Star

Vaughn Armstrong

Vaughn Armstrong

Gul Danar

Guest Star

Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson


Recurring Role

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Nitpick: When Odo suggests locking up the Duras Sisters, Sisko says he can't do that because they haven't broken any laws on the station. However, they had clearly assaulted one of the Bajoran security officers when they wouldn't give up their weapons.

    • According to the stardate for this episode, it actually takes place before the previous episode, "A Man Alone", and after the pilot.

    • Nitpick: The bilitrium explosive is supposedly powerful enough to close the entrance of the wormhole; yet the shockwave from it being detonated so close to the Ganges doesn't affect the runabout at all.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Bashir: You're very kind, Mister Garak.
      Garak: Oh, it's just Garak. Plain, simple Garak.

    • Kira: I have to say this, Commander, when we first talked I wasn't sure you... (pause) ...this wouldn't have been possible without your support. I want you to know it's appreciated.
      Sisko: Be sure to mention it the next time you chat with Admiral Rollman.
      Kira: Sir...
      Sisko: Go over my head again and I'll have yours on a platter.

    • Bashir: You know, some people say that you remained on DS9 as the eyes and ears of your fellow Cardassians.
      Garak: You don't say! Doctor, you're not intimating that I'm some sort of spy, are you?
      Bashir: I wouldn't know, sir.
      Garak: Ah! An open mind. The essence of intellect.

    • Odo: Cardassian rule may have been oppressive, but at least it was simple.

    • Odo: You can leave your weapons or you can leave the station. The choice is yours.
      Lursa: Who are you?
      Odo: I'm the one giving you the choice.

    • Bashir: It's about Garak... I'm afraid this relationship has gotten a little out of hand.
      Sisko: How's that?
      Bashir: He wants me to buy a suit!

  • NOTES (6)

    • In the DVD release this episode is listed as the fourth, even though it is third by air date.

    • Vaughn Armstrong, who appeared in this episode as Gul Danar went on to play Admiral Forrest on Enterprise.

    • The Enterprise offloaded 3 Runabout class ships to DS9. The first was seen in the pilot and was named Rio Grande, a river in North America that partly forms the division between Mexico and the United State. The other two are introduced in this episode and are named Ganges and Yangtzee Kiang. The former is named after the major river in India and Bangladesh, and the latter is named after the third longest river on Earth and is located in Asia.

    • The character of Garak is first introduced in this episode. It was to be Garak's only appearance in the series, but the producers liked Andrew Robinson's performance so much, that they brought the character back many times through the course of the series.

      At one time, Andrew Robinson was offered a full time role on the series. He declined, despite almost appearing more than Cirroc Lofton.

    • Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) do not appear in this episode.

    • This was Lursa and B'Tor's only appearance on Deep Space Nine. They would appear again in the Next Generation episode "Firstborn", and later die in the movie Star Trek: Generations.