Star Trek 338: Second Skin

338. Second Skin

FORMULA: Face of the Enemy + Profit and Loss + Duet + Cardassians

WHY WE LIKE IT: Cardassian Kira is a babe.

WHY WE DON'T: Are Cardassian plots getting too convoluted to be believable?

REVIEW: While it may seem like it's derivative of Face of the Enemy, it's a whole lot more. Kira is once again asked to reevaluate her thinking on Cardassians and traumatically so, by being mutilated and turned into something she loathes. But in the process, she gets a taste of Cardassian family values and learns that there are honorable Cardassians out there (Marritza being a coward and so not really of the same breed as Ghemor.

And Ghemor does become a figure of pathos through this, one you can see Kira bond with. Their farewell scene is effective and emotional. The real enemy here is the Obsidian Order, whose reach extends far indeed. Too far? Their plot is incredibly elaborate, but not impossible. The trick with knowing Kira's intimate memory could simply be that they implanted it there by some means, just one false memory to make her question all the others. Still, Kira is as smart as a whip, laughing through an interrogation and figuring out the Order's plans before everyone else. She should have realized she was Iliana though when Ghemor told her she could have been an artist. Kira's never been good at that despite her djarra (as we'll learn, but already mentioned in The Circle).

Who says Order, says Garak, and he's here too. As always, he's entertaining and joins the always increasing number of people extorted by Sisko. Like Dukat, he's quite good at intimidating Guls. I especially enjoy his words after killing Entek: "A pity, I rather liked him." That alone should be enough for Kira to heed Ghemor's warning about the "plain, simple tailor."

LESSON: There will come a day when whoever has to go through 6 hours of make-up every day will turn to you and say "spend a day in my chair". In the business, this is called "Quark's Revenge".

REWATCHABILITY - High: Garak always enlivens whatever episode he appears in, but aside from dramatic necessity, he's not required to make Second Skin good. A really nice Kira vehicle that puts the Order in its right context.


cardboardjudas said...

I read once somewhere (memory alpha i think) that they were going to leave the status of Kira being or not being a spoon-head up in the air before they decided on making sure she remained bajoran. That would have i think been a superior ending. A good episode still though.

Siskoid said...

It's nice that they considered changing the status quo that much, but I'm glad they didn't go for it, personally.

A stronger ending to the story perhaps, but not a stronger arc for Kira overall.

Floyd Lawton said...

Longtime reader, first time caller...

This episode has one of my favorite Garak moments in the whole series when he saves the whole mission by rattling off Obsidian Order authorization codes that override the orders of Central Command, then as soon as the Cardassian officer is off the screen Garak remarks,"oh that, just something I overheard while hemming some pants." Even when his cover is completely blown, he immediately resumes the "simple tailor" guise.

I caught 60% of the show hit or miss when it was originally on syndication and have been rewatching the whole series this summer on Netflix. After reading your blog for the last five years it's been fun to watch the show and read along with your archive reviews.

Siskoid said...

That's what they're there for, enjoy the journey!


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