Review: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – “Duet”

duet014Is a Cardassian war criminal aboard?
This is a very powerful episode, ably led by Nana Visitor and a brilliant guest spot from actor Harris Yulin as Aamin Marritza. It feels almost like what I would imagine a confrontation with a Nazi concentration camp officer to be like. Full disclosure: Nearly all of my mother’s family was in the Holocaust. Her parents both survived Auschwitz.

Marritza was a filing clerk at the Gallitep labor camp during the Cardassian occupation. This was a camp Major Kira helped to liberate. Many atrocities were committed there, including murder and the rape of women in front of their own children.

But Marritza has had himself surgically altered to appear like Gul Darhe’el, who ran that camp. (There are shades of one of my favorite TNG episodes, “The Defector,” here, but I don’t mind.) He does this so he can be punished for the atrocities he couldn’t stop, being just one man. His hope was that his punishment would force a change back on Cardassia (again, shades of “The Defector).

The interactions between Kira and Marritza are so strong. His performance is incredibly compelling, sometimes over the top, but in the right way, and there is quite a lot of passion in her.

Kira will never forget the horrors of the Cardassian occupation. But she is slowly finding a way to live without blaming all Cardassians for it. The Bajoran story has been interesting since we first met Ensign Ro on TNG and it continues to be.

The episode stays strong until literally the last minute, when a Bajoran stabs Marritza in the back. I bought that, though I saw it coming when the stabber, who had appeared earlier in the episode, was seen again. I just wish somebody had called for medical assistance. You could still let him die, but they just stand there. Nobody calls for help.

– Evan Bindelglass

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