Monday, April 10, 2017

Deep Space Nine 6x17 "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night"

rating: *

the story: Kira travels back in time to investigate Dukat's claims about her mother.

what it's all about: It's almost inexplicable, that three of the four episodes in this stretch of the sixth season (this, as well as "Change of Heart" and "One Little Ship") could be so badly miscalculated in what is otherwise one of the most calculated periods in franchise history (only the next season, plus the third and fourth seasons of Enterprise can possibly compare, as well as portions of Voyager's second). 

"Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night" is the last time Deep Space Nine attempts to chase the legacy of one of its own classic episodes, "Necessary Evil" from the second season.  "Evil" was a trip back to the Terok Nor era of the station, when the Cardassians still ruled it, during their Occupation of the Bajoran home world.  "Things Past" from the previous season also made the attempt, but its success was equally muddled.  It's not so much the idea of revisiting the earlier time that's the problem, but the tortured excuses used in both episodes, both of them doubling up, unnecessarily, on the compromised nature of life under Cardassian rule.

It's a good thing, at least, to meet Kira's family, regardless of how it happens.  In that sense "Wrongs" is almost like an update of the classic Animated Series episode "Yesteryear," in which Spock, too, visits his own past (it served as the basis for how the character was depicted in the 2009 movie reboot).  And it's good to see Dukat in his prime, before everything fell apart for him.  A confident Dukat was always the best Dukat.  Even if he was such a villain in his prime (really, the third season, especially "Civil Defense" and "Defiant," features the best Dukat).  It's a problem in that regard, too, especially as we meet up with Dukat again later in the season and he's on a mad quest that will forever seal his destiny, not to mention how we'd last seen him ("Waltz") when he was clearly on his way there.  "Wrongs" really has nothing to do with any of that.  It's almost as if the producers simply thought it was a good idea to remind fans what Dukat was like before he went completely mad, since the six-episode arc that began the season really didn't have definitive Dukat material until his daughter was murdered in front of him.  Seems like a creative oversight clumsily corrected in "Wrongs."  Plus trying to remind people what makes Kira relevant outside of her relationship with Odo, which was about to finally hit its stride with "His Way" three episodes later.

In the end, "Wrongs" and its fellow misfires from this stretch in the middle of the season feel like misguided filler.  At least the season got really good again right after this, and continued bold storytelling for the rest of it, which led to renewed creative juices for the final season that followed.

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - Really, there's nothing here skeptics can't find done better elsewhere. 
  • series - Needlessly duplicates past storytelling without adding anything new.
  • character - We meet Kira's family, we see Dukat in his "prime."
  • essential - Such a wasted opportunity.  Almost would've been better to scrap the Kira material and focus on the character traits that would ultimately prove Dukat's downfall.
notable guest-stars:
Marc Alaimo (Dukat)
Thomas Kopache


  1. But it does beg the moral question now doesn't it? Should Kira travel back in time and take the low road by spying on her subversive mother?


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