Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Betrayal At Home Is All “For The Cause”

The Good: Character, Acting, Plot, Surprise
The Bad: Timing in the series, Abruptness
The Basics: When Sisko's romantic interest appears to have betrayed him to the Maquis, paranoia ensues and the viewer gets a tight episode.

By the end of the fourth season, one of the plots in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that seemed quite dead was the Maquis plot. The Maquis were a group of renegade Federation citizens living in the Federation/Cardassian demilitarized zone who rebelled against the establishments and created violence and mayhem. The Maquis remain vital on Star Trek Voyager but seem dead on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In "For The Cause" the Maquis resurface and close to home. In the a-plot, it is brought to Sisko's attention that Kassidy Yates is the prime suspect in running supplies to the Maquis. Sisko, in love with Kassidy, must face this possibility that she is betraying him at the deepest levels. Odo and StarFleet security chief Michael Eddington work to keep Sisko from being hurt, but he takes charge of the situataion. While Sisko investigates, Ziyal finds herself lonely and she attempts to befriend the only other Cardassian on the station: Garak.

Ziyal has been recast; she is played by Tracy Mittendorf in "For The Cause." Mittendorf plays Ziyal fine, though she is obviously older than the last person to play Ziyal (Cyia Batten). Ziyal has a very reasonable desire to be around anyone who reminds her of familiar people and Garak is an intriguing character to have her meet. The dynamic of Garak, Kira and Ziyal created in this episode is a good one. It makes a lot of sense that Kira would be upset over Ziyal and Garak meeting, knowing that Garak has a shady past.

Kassidy and Benjamin Sisko have a real sense of conflict to them in this episode and that works quite well. After all, things had been going to well for them. The suspicion that Odo and Eddington raise with their accusation in the teaser instantly causes an effect on Sisko and how it develops through the episode makes a compelling conflict. Anyone can relate to the suspicions in a relationship and "For The Cause" does it with intelligence in an adult fashion.

A lot of what the episode does right is in the acting. Nana Visitor and Andrew Robinson breathe life into the b-plot as Major Kira and Garak. Visitor has a great nurturing quality to her that is finally able to be expressed through her character and she infuses it in Kira with a reasonable portion, making it completely believable. Similarly, Robinson keeps Garak ethereal, just on the edge of being menacing in a way that makes his loneliness even more profound. Keeping his character emotionally distant even from Ziyal, Robinson creates a tension between the two characters that works quite well.

Similarly, the tension between Kassidy and Sisko could not have been maintained or created even if it was not for the talents of Penny Johnson and Avery Brooks. Johnson has natural chemistry with Brooks and in "For The Cause," her denials feel very much like a woman hiding something and she does it well. Brooks does a great job playing Sisko brooding over the potential betrayal. When the truths come out, Brooks plays Sisko with a believable amount of disappointment and frustration as well as ambiguity.

"For The Cause" is ideal for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because it works on the premise one understands the importance of the relationships Sisko has. Without knowing how long it has taken Sisko to open up to Kassidy, her potential betrayal seems so much larger an issue. Still, both plots appeal to basic human desires and needs and it is fairly accessible to all.

Part of the essential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for the important relationship issues that arise.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the turnaround season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my Star Trek Index Page!

© 2012, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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