Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 03 E 09 Defiant

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Riker has some intense tête-à-tête with Kira. Don't get too excited, it's not that Riker.
It's time to spin the "Kira is pissed off" wheel. The winner this week is...overworked!

Yes, DS9's walking temper tantrum is getting run ragged by work order after work order around the station. It finally comes to a head when she snaps at Bashir who needs a runabout to transport medical supplies. The good doctor notes how overworked and stressed she is, and forces her to take some time off.

Forcibly parked at Quark's, he orders her to relax with various stress relieving tools. And if she doesn't use two of them, she's gonna come back tomorrow. Well, someone offers to assist her in relaxing: Will Riker.

The bearded one is on his own vacation after Dr. Crusher finally forced him to take some time off. Running into Kira, she offers to show him the new U.S.S. Defiant. After a brief bit of harshness between Riker and O'Brien, Kira powers the ship up...and instantly gets phasered by Riker. Faking a plasma conduit malfunction, Riker makes off with the ship.

Two people beam on board, and "Riker" removes his fake sideburns. This is Thomas Riker, the accidental copy from "Second Chances".

And the bad news doesn't stop there. With Dukat on board the station, Odo delivers the info that Thomas Riker is a part of the Maquis. And he's in possession of a lethal new battleship. It's not hard to guess where they're heading with it. Sisko and Dukat reluctantly join forces and head for Cardassia Prime.

Monitoring the situation with an Obsidian Order observer in the room, the Defiant attacks Outpost 61. But Sisko notices they made no attempt to cloak and that the Warp Signature is off. It's a decoy. The actual Defiant uncloaks and destroys Outpost 47 before heading straight into Cardassian territory.

As the Defiant continues to carve a swath of destruction, Sisko again notices something odd: The attacks have forced the Cardassian fleet to leave the seemingly unimportant Orias system undefended. Dukat orders a ship there, but is stopped by the observer. The Orias System is under Obsidian Order protection.

The Defiant is headed for the system with an entire Cardassian fleet on their tail. Things get odd when they arrive. Three Cardassian ships move from the planet to defend it. Under the order of the Obsidian Order. Who are forbidden to have said ships.

As Kira tries talking down Thomas, Sisko and Dukat work out a deal: Sisko offers him the Defiants logs, which contain some valuable info on this mysterious sector. In exchange, he wants his ship and the Maquis to be returned to Federation space for trial.

Dukat won't accept this until Sisko makes a concession: He'll give him the logs and Riker. So long as Thomas isn't sentenced to death like the Cardassians are so apt to do.

Thankfully, Thomas still has some shred of his other self's honor. To save his crew, he accepts a life sentence in the Lazon II labor camp. And gives Kira a parting kiss before being beamed away.

Tropes featured:

  • The 47 Society: Cardassian Outpost 47 is destroyed by the Defiant.
  • Aborted Arc: Kira promises to save Thomas one day. Not counting the expanded universe, that's the last we ever hear of it. The writers were apparently interested in doing a follow-up at the time, but nothing ever came of it by the time the show ended.
  • Anti-Villain: Tom Riker - he's the bad guy because he hijacks the Defiant and goes marauding through Cardassian space. But he still tries to act like a Starfleet officer, even surrendering in the end for the sake of his crew.
    Kira: No, you're trying to be a hero...and terrorists don't get to be heroes.
  • Beard of Evil: Full beard=Good. Goatee=Bad.
  • The Big Board: The action is portrayed via viewscreens and sensor panels rather than scenes of dramatic space combat.
  • Call-Back:
  • Doctor's Orders: Bashir brings Kira up short by invoking his authority as CMO to immediately relieve her of duty. When she protests, he states that not even Commander Sisko can override his judgment in matters of a medical nature.
  • Enemy Mine: The situation forces a team-up between sworn enemies Sisko and Dukat.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dukat spends most of the episode stewing because he missed his son's 11th birthday party.
    "When my son looks back on this day, the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer, on a Federation ship invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday, and he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred, and that's sad."
  • Foreshadowing: The Obsidian Order's fleet of ships hidden in the Orias system would come into play a few episodes later
  • Hammerspace: Where Thomas Riker got that phaser from, nobody quite wants to know. But he definitely wasn't wearing it a few seconds before that.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: How Thomas Riker justifies himself to Kira.
  • Inter Service Rivalry: It's made quite clear by this episode that the Central Command and the Obsidian Order do not get along. At all. The Political Officer from the Order just makes it worse.
  • Noodle Incident: Pretending to be Will, Thomas claims to have once walked away from Quark's with a small fortune and a dabo girl. Based on what Jadzia says, the story has at least some truth to it.
  • Not So Different:
    • Sisko and Dukat both know what it's like to have to break promises to their children because of their jobs.
    • Lampshaded when the Obsidian Order officer orders sensitive information locked down in Sisko's presence and Sisko notes that he'd do exactly the same thing if there were a Cardassian officer aboard DS9.
  • Not So Similar: Thomas Riker tries to appeal to Kira's history of fighting Cardassians, but she hits back that he's trying to play the selfless hero when she would've used the Defiant during her resistance days to wreak untold destruction.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dukat when told the Defiant was hijacked for the Maquis.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: 'Will' Riker snapping at O'Brien for no apparent reason.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Kira accuses Thomas of simply wanting to find a way to escape Will Riker's shadow and be different.
    Kira: This is about you, isn't it? You and that other Will Riker out there, the man with your face, your name, your career. You are looking for a way to set yourself apart, some way to be different.
  • Plea Bargain: After some negotiation, Sisko agrees to let the Cardassians keep Thomas Riker if the Cardassians agree to arrange a sentence for him other than death. They settle on life imprisonment in a Cardassian labor camp.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Dukat's briefing with Sisko and Odo shows both sides of it. He warns that the Cardassian government won't believe their story of a transporter duplicate stealing the Defiant; instead, they'll insist the Federation let the Maquis have it and use this event as an excuse to attack the Demilitarized Zone in force. Dukat helps Sisko, however, out of concern of the Federation acting to defend their colonies and a war erupting during a tense situation.
  • Properly Paranoid: Downplayed. Thomas Riker was right about the invasion fleet's existence, though a later two-parter will reveal he was way off about its true purpose.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: A Jonathan Frakes character drops by "coincidentally" a few days after Star Trek: Generations was released.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • When Jadzia tells Riker she was there that night at Quark's a year ago, he initially looks worried. On a first viewing, you're led to believe Will Riker is just concerned about paying back a debt. On the second viewing, you realize Thomas Riker is worried someone there can unravel his cover story.
    • Thomas Riker chewing out O'Brien on the Defiant. It seems so out of character, but upon re-watching, it's clear he didn't expect O'Brien to be there and wanted to get him out of there ASAP in order to carry out his plan.
  • Spot the Imposter: Averted with Thomas Riker since he is a perfect duplicate of Will, right down to fingerprints and voiceprint. Played straight later when Sisko points out the "Defiant" the Cardassians are chasing near Outpost 47 is a fake - the warp signature is right, but the phase variance and subspace harmonics don't match.
  • Stealth Insult: When Sisko is proven right about a suspected feint by the Defiant, the Obsidian Order's liaison very passive-aggressively insults Dukat's command acumen by praising Sisko's.
    Korinas: Commander Sisko, you should be commended. I only wish we had someone with such keen tactical instincts who could have prevented this invasion of our territory.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Averted with Sisko and Dukat, who get along fine while trying to navigate this crisis. Played straight with Dukat and his Obsidian Order observer.
  • The Men First: Turns out that like Will Riker, Tom cares about the lives of his crew, which Kira uses to convince him to surrender.
  • Wham Line: "You did it, Tom."
  • Wham Shot: Riker shooting Kira. And then removing his sideburns, revealing himself to be Thomas Riker.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tom chews Kira out when she sabotages the Defiant and nearly gets herself killed in the process. It's clear he's more upset about the latter than the former.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Thomas Riker truly believes in the Maquis, but unlike other former Starfleet officers, he still wants to be seen as an idealistic hero when (as Kira says) he's just a terrorist.
  • You Know What You Did: Thomas Riker pulls this on O'Brien, to drive him off and avoid arousing suspicion from him. O'Brien clearly does not know what he did, but Riker's rank is too high for him to protest.
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