Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek DS9 #8: For the Uniform
#8: For the Uniform
Sisko is in a Maquis colony on Marva IV to meet with an informant that claims to have information about the former Starfleet officer Michael Eddington, now the leader of the Maquis. The captain is met by none other than Eddington, who had already discovered the informant. Eddington transports away, and is pursued by Sisko aboard the USS Defiant. Sisko enlists the help of Captain Sanders and his ship, the USS Malinche, in delaying Eddington until the Defiant can arrive. When it seems that Sisko has got his man, Eddington triggers a cascade virus, disabling all of the Defiant's computer systems, leaving it effectively dead in space. This virus was planted by Eddington before he left Starfleet, further highlighting the depth of his betrayal.
After being towed back to the station by the Malinche, Captain Sanders informs Sisko that Starfleet has ordered Sanders to take over the hunt for Eddington. Sisko is furious about this development, as he took Eddington's betrayal personally.
The crew of DS9 learn of a Maquis raid on two Bolian freighters carrying selenium and rhodium nitrite, two seemingly innocuous materials. However, the Maquis use the chemicals to create cobalt diselenide, a chemical hazardous to Cardassians, but harmless to most humanoids. The Maquis attack a Cardassian colony with these biogenic weapons, forcing the Cardassian population to evacuate and opening the planet to Human colonization.
Sisko decides to take a barely-functional Defiant (due to the damage from Eddington's virus) to hunt down Eddington, and prevent further attacks on Cardassian colonies.
The Defiant encounters a Maquis raider signature inside plasma fields. When they approach it, they receive a transmission from Eddington. After a bit of banter, Eddington offers Sisko a copy of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, calling it one of his favorite books. Finally, the crew realizes that the Maquis Raider signature is a fake, there isn't really a ship there.
Later, the Defiant happens upon the Malinche, which has been ambushed by the Maquis who disabled their engines. They were fooled by a trick similar to the Defiant: their sensors detected a Cardassian freighter in distress, when they lowered their shields to transport the crew, they found that the sensor readings had been faked. In their moment of vulnerability, the Maquis attacked.
Back on DS9, Odo reveals that Eddington probably uses a Breen settlement as a base to keep his unstable weapon components. Based on that intelligence and Sisko's knowledge of Eddington, Sisko deduces the next target: Quatal Prime.
However, they arrive too late, only to see two fleeing raiders and transport ships evacuating the planet. The Defiant manages to destroy one of the raiders, but the other, Eddington on board, disables a Cardassian transport. With the plunging vessel out of transporter range, Sisko is forced to let Eddington escape in order to save the Cardassians.
When Eddington sent Sisko Les Misérables, he compared Sisko to a character in the novel, Javert, "a policeman who relentlessly pursues a man named Valjean, guilty of a trivial offense". Sisko realizes that Eddington sees himself as Valjean, the hero of Les Misérables, and that Eddington's self-perceived heroism could be used against him. In Sisko's words: "I think it's time for me to become the villain."
Sisko then proceeds with the same strategy the Maquis had been using, he prepares to launch biogenic weapons at a Maquis settlement. Sisko broadcast a message telling his intention. After Sisko launches the weapons, Eddington realizes the captain isn't bluffing. Sisko announces that he plans to continue his campaign against all of the Maquis colonies in the DMZ. Eddington offers to turn over the Maquis' stocks of biogenic weapons. Sisko shouts that that isn't enough. This leads Eddington to turn himself in to prevent further attacks, thus fulfilling the self-sacrificial part of his hero fantasy.
In the aftermath, Cardassian and Human colonists are resettled on the poisoned colonies, exchanging their former homes. Back on DS9, Eddington is turned over to Odo, and Dax has Sisko confess that he hadn't cleared his plot to poison the Maquis colonies with Starfleet.
Why it Made This List
What's not to love about this episode? Just like Our Man Bashir, it highlights the differences between TNG and DS9. Picard would never have gone to the lengths Sisko did. Heck, the TNG writers never would have made such a high level person a traitor, especially considering there were no high level people besides the main cast. Anyway, we see Sisko experience humiliation and a want for vengeance, and we see him go to the emotional extreme and lengths which Picard would never have done.
The episode also has significance in the storyline. It just about seals up the Maquis, and sets the stage for the Maquis's grand finale, "Blaze of Glory" (another good episode). It does this effectively, and is a very significant episode.
The episode also introduced a new technology that, while it only lasted two episodes, I personally liked: the holocommunicator. Instead of a 2-D viewscreen, ship-to-ship communications were done so that each side saw a 3-D hologram of the other, and they could talk back and forth. This really contributed to the story, because it felt as if Eddington was actually standing on the bridge.
Lastly, the episode had some major character interactions between Eddington and Sisko. You could really get a feel for the relationship between the two & Sisko's anger toward Eddington. Avery Brooks played Sisko convincingly, and demonstrated his anger perfectly. When Sisko decided to become the villain, you could tell he wasn't bluffing.
In closure, I leave you with this meme of The Sisko: