A Whole New Dukat?
"Return to Grace" Plot Summary:
Dukat and Kira go on a mission together, during the course of which Kira realizes that Dukat has duplicitous intentions regarding the Klingons and learns that Ziyal, Dukat's half-Bajoran daughter, is having problems fitting in on Cardassia which are tearing Dukat apart. In the course of baiting the Klingons, he regains his old status and Kira decides to adopt Ziyal.
I'm finally admitting to myself that the woman I knew as Kira Nerys is gone. The one who's taken her place had a decent episode. I liked discovering that Nerys has a decent amount of technical know-how, and that she could teach martial arts were she so inclined.
But the character from "Past Prologue" and "Duet" and "Necessary Evil" doesn't exist anymore. Nerys wasn't the only one who wanted to puke in the opening, after that litany of how men can get her to agree to do anything - restaurant, wine, massage - too bad for Dukat he didn't know about the last part, he might have gotten his way! What in hell did Kira mean during the teaser telling Bashir that she isn't a diplomat? I can only think of one other label for the woman who make the Tom Rikers and Shakaars of the universe feel comfortable on the station, and it's not "Cocktail Hostess."
At least Dukat had the grace to miss the old Kira, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. I loved discovering that he keeps a nookie count (Why does it not surprise me to learn that Shakaar slept with all the women in his resistance cell?) Dukat's best line was the one which epitomized everything I dislike about Kira this season: "You do like powerful men!" But Dukat sounded DUMB most of this episode, considering that a largely planet-bound resistance fighter knew more about freighter technology and Klingon intelligence than he did. I like the glimmers we saw of the Dukat from "Necessary Evil"; at least I did understand the reasons for wanting a partnership with Kira, given his own diminished brain capacity.
And oh I do SO like seeing Kira snap out orders, no matter what the context. I don't know how I feel about Kira adopting Ziyal. I like the girl, and the actress who plays her, but who know how often we'll see her in a non-token role? On the one hand, we NEVER see mothers on Star Trek - at least no decent mothers, we get Lwaxana Troi instead - so the idea of the Kira-Ziyal relationship has a pretty deep appeal.
On the other hand, this seems like one more step in the ultrafeminization of Kira. I know that it's a staple of Trek to steal from itself, but when two shows which are on the air simultaneously start to sound exactly alike, we have a problem. That discussion in the cargo hold where Kira told Dukat to stop thinking like a commander and start thinking like a resistance fighter who's on his own sounded so much like Chakotay's speech to Janeway on the same topic from Voyager's "Alliances" that I started reciting lines along with Kira. If they want to TNG my DS9, with Klingons every week and female characters who are turning into Beverly and Deanna, the least they could do is grant Voyager some autonomy.
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