the story: Kira reunites with her would-be Cardassian father.
what it's all about: A sequel to "Second Skin, "Ties of Blood and Water" is another example of the producers finally coming back to the momentum of the third season as they used the fifth to reclaim ground lost in creative policies instilled by the studio in the fourth...I think maybe this will be the last time I talk about that...
Like "The Darkness and the Light" earlier in the season, Kira finds herself once again confronted with her complicated past, but this time, and actually the first time in the series, events fans have witnessed for themselves. "Second Skin" was a classic in vein of "Duet," the first episode Star Trek fans in general really took notice of Deep Space Nine, in which Kira was forced to confront the complexities of Bajoran relations with Cardassians, who had for decades oppressed them. It introduced a man tricked into believing Kira was his daughter, in much the way Next Generation's classic "The Defector" was about how the state sometimes lies to force individuals to expose themselves.
This Cardassian's return wasn't strictly necessary, but it's welcome all the same. This time he and Kira are on much more equal footing, although once again they become pawns in Cardassian politics. (Strange; in the first two seasons it was always Bajoran politics, but this was another shift seen in the all-important third; it was just as well, because as with any politician Cardassians just love to hear themselves talk.) The timing, for once, is absolutely perfect in the fifth season, because Dukat has just revealed that he's aligned the Cardassians with the Dominion, and thus made them bad guys again. This has the effect of making Kira's paternal figure, Tekeny Ghemor, all the more sympathetic, as he now seems, aside from Garak, to be the last of the good guy Cardassians.
Really, "Ties" is a throwback to the storytelling of the early seasons all the way around. Once more Kira is forced to grapple with her conclusions, as Dukat throws conflicting information at her, and like so many times before (notably, "The Collaborator") she's forced to sift through it. It's good work, and it's the last time this sort of story happens in the series (successfully, anyway; Kira has another such adventure next season in "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night," which clearly tries way too hard to follow the tradition), another nod to the massive shift about to take place with the advent of war...
franchise- This is one that will make most sense to Deep Space Nine fans.
- series - See the above.
- character - Kira says goodbye to a dear friend.
- essential - We also see the return of Weyoun and thus another major bridge to the future...
Lawrence Pressman (Ghemor)
Marc Alaimo (Dukat)
Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun)