Star Trek 421: Waltz

421. Waltz

FORMULA: Duet + The Enemy + The Ascent + Liaisons + Frame of Mind

WHY WE LIKE IT: The last 10 minutes.

WHY WE DON'T: Getting jerked around on the Defiant.

REVIEW: With a title remindful of Duet, you expect a great confrontation between two great characters. Dukat and Sisko have had a talk coming for a while now. Waltz is not quite on Duet's level because there's no epiphany possible for Sisko. For Dukat, maybe, but for the first 35 minutes, it begs the question: What are we learning about Dukat that we didn't already know? After all, we knew he was mad, we knew he was a self-important megalomaniac, we knew he thought of the Bajorans as his children and never understood why they hated him so much.

It's only in the last 10 minutes that the episode becomes something. Finally we understand that Dukat has been bonding himself to Sisko in a most unhealthy way. Not content to be just homologous by virtue of having commanded the station, he aims to become the anti-Emissary (even here, he speaks with visions incarnated as the people he knows). His epiphany is that he actually does hate the Bajorans, and Sisko has just forced him to admit it. In a very real sense, Sisko is responsible for the path Dukat finally takes, and for anything that happens to Bajor as a result. A vendetta is born, but of course Dukat leaves Sisko alive. As usual, he has a pathological need for witnesses to his victories.

Before he is outright pushed to evil, the episode keeps things interesting with Sisko at Dukat's apparently tender mercy, and with well directed visions (Kira laughing her head off is particularly fun). The rescue mission by the Defiant is less well handled, manipulating us with red herrings and timing choices. An inane and unnecessary tension builder that leaves you frustrated rather than engaged. The planetside scenes are suspenseful enough without it.

LESSON: Carrie's mom was right - They're all gonna laugh atchoooooooooo!

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Though the last moments are powerful, it takes way too long to get there.


Matthew Turnage said...

Kudos for two Stones references in the captions in one week.

I agree that Waltz really only elevates itself in the last few minutes of the episode. The first time I saw it I found it rather interesting but on subsequent viewings it can get a bit tedious.

Siskoid said...

To be fair, it's the SAME reference :D.

Stephen said...

dukat- " i should have killed them all!!!"

sisko whacks him from behind and knocks him out

sisko- " and that is why you are not an evil man."

genius lines dukat's monlogue and rationale is so pervertedly genius and sisko proves just what a bad ass he is this episodes one of my faves just for that scene.

Anonymous said...

There's no better time to mention how completely opposite Sisko and Dukat were.

Dukat: wanted to be loved by the Bajoran people; went a tiny bit easier on them just to buy their love and respect; the Bajorans weren't buying and he hated them for it.

Sisko: had no compelling drive to be loved by the Bajoran people; did everything in his power to aid and protect the Bajorans simply because it was right; the Bajoran people loved him for it.

I will go one step further and say that Dukat was actually the Cardassian version of Michael Scott from "The Office": so desperate to be loved that he made one indefensible business decision after another.


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