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Recap / Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S01E03 "Past Prologue"

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Look, it's the first appearance of fan favorite Garak! (And his "Jazz Hands"!)
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A Bajoran terrorist tests Kira's loyalties to the Federation when he attempts to rid Bajor of the Federation for good.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Quark and Jake do not appear. For the latter, it's the first of many episodes to not feature Sisko's son — albeit it also makes this one of the few Season 1 episodes where the B-story doesn't revolve around Jake and Nog (the latter of whom also doesn't appear).
  • Badass Boast: After Kira contacts Admiral Rollman to protest Sisko's actions.
    Sisko: Go over my head again, and I'll have yours on a platter.
  • Blatant Lies: Plain, simple Garak.
  • Bothering by the Book: The "routine procedures" Dax makes the Cardassian go through are apparently quite lengthy. When Danar rages about the delay, Sisko says it's all because of the damage the Cardassians did to the station when they turned it over.
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  • Conflicting Loyalty: Sisko tells Kira he will not tolerate divided loyalties in his command when she immediately presumes Tahna is innocent because the Cardassians were chasing him. Kira does find herself caught between her old friends, who have become total extremists, and the Federation/Bajoran government, which she believes will help Bajor despite her mistrust of them.
  • Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction: Bilitrium + antimatter energy = Wormhole-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": When Bashir calls Garak "Mister Garak".
    Garak: Just plain, simple Garak.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is the first episode to feature gold-pressed latinum. However, here it's suggested that its worth is measured in weight, rather than slips, strips, and bars. In addition, there's mention of only gold rather than gold-pressed latinum.
    • The religious significance of the wormhole to Bajor is not brought up when Tahna tells Kira of his plans to collapse it. While Tahna could easily be an atheist, or otherwise not care about/believe in the Prophets, it's strange that Kira wouldn't mention them at all. The wormhole's Bajoran designation as the Celestial Temple, home of the Prophets, isn't fully fleshed-out until In the Hands of the Prophets.
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  • Everyone Has Standards: Kira admits she doesn't like the Federation's presence but feels Tahna's plan to get them to leave is going too far since he wants to destroy wormhole, the access to which could give Bajor wealth and power in the future.
  • Hint Dropping: After pointing out a couple of Bajoran terrorists, Garak suggests that Bashir visit his shop at a very specific time to buy a new suit. It takes a couple of repetitions for Bashir to realize that he is dropping a hint, and even then he has to go to Sisko to affirm that this is spy stuff.
  • Hollywood Density: Tahna pays the Duras sisters 13 kilograms of latinum, which is 28.6 lbs of the stuff. But you wouldn't know it weighted that much from the way Tahna and B'Etor handle the satchel it is in.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Between Garak and Bashir; according to the actors, this was deliberate.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Garak cuts Bashir off before he can finish.
  • I Warned You: Gul Danar starts to say this to Sisko, but Sisko angrily hangs up on him.
  • Karma Houdini: The Duras Sisters slip away scot-free for assisting Tahna. They'll get what's coming to them in Star Trek: Generations.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: With Tahna's plan foiled, he's given two choices: Surrender to the Federation, or be handed over to the very pissed off Cardassian forces. He wisely surrenders to the Federation.
  • The Quisling: Tahna accuses Kira of selling out to the Federation.
  • Reality Ensues: Kira goes over Sisko head to protest his actions to Admiral Rollman. Rollman has her own business to concern herself with and didn't care for Kira interrupting it, and tells Sisko about Kira's protests to warn him she's acting suspicious. Sisko in turn isn't happy that Kira went over his head.
  • Red Herring: The audience is led to believe that Tahna wants to construct a powerful bomb to blow up DS9, ending the Federation's presence in the Bajoran system. Turns out his actual plan is to construct a powerful bomb to collapse the wormhole, which is the only reason outsiders have any interest in Bajor in the first place. Kira still doesn't approve.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The Kohn-Ma are still fighting Cardassians after the withdrawal, and resent the Federation presence as no different than the Cardassians who just left.
    • The Duras Sisters are this to the Klingon Empire after House Duras lost the civil war that was intended to bring them into power.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Fan-favorite Garak makes his first appearance.
  • Silent Offer: Garak negotiates the price for a terrorist with two Klingons in this way, using an electronic tablet instead of paper.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tahna wants to free Bajor at any cost, even if it means destroying the means for Bajor to gain wealth and power. He states himself that he doesn't want Bajor to be powerful, he wants it to be free.
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