"Cardassians" Plot Summary:
A custody debate erupts around a Cardassian war orphan adopted by Bajorans. While Sisko attempts to find out how the boy is being treated by his adoptive parents amidst accusations of abuse, Garak helps Bashir uncover a Cardassian conspiracy centering on the child, who was kidnapped from his high-ranking father and placed in a Bajoran orphanage to be used later for leverage. Sisko ultimately awards custody to the biological father, despite the boy's wish to stay with his Bajoran parents.
A timely plot - part Baby Jessica, part interracial adoption controversy - this episode started strongly when the Cardassian boy bit another Cardassian while hurling racial epithets against someone who, on the surface, appeared to come from the same background as himself. Rugal was well-written and well-played, as were his adoptive father, whom I sort of suspect of abusing the boy, and the biological father, who showed a balanced combination of guilt, caring, and guile.
The O'Briens finally looked impressive - he trying to reconcile his feeling with his responsibilities, she trying to teach and nurture the boy when he was temporarily placed in their care. Moreover, Bashir and Garak have terrific chemistry, and I liked watching them investigate together. But the episode turned into a political minefield and wrapped up to quickly, giving the issues, the plot, and Rugal the short shrift. I didn't by Garak's machinations, Dukat's unexpected involvement, or Sisko's all-too-abrupt ruling - without visitation rights for the only parents Rugal even had, without counseling for any of the parties involved. I actually wished for Deanna Troi!
Deep Space Nine Reviews