May 20 2024


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Retro Review: For the Cause

8 min read

Eddington gives Sisko evidence that Kasidy Yates is a Maquis agent, forcing Sisko to investigate his lover.

Plot Summary: Just after the Federation decides to send replicators to Cardassia to help with rebuilding after Klingon attacks, Eddington and Odo warn Sisko that they have circumstantial evidence that Kasidy Yates may be a Maquis smuggler – a grave concern for Starfleet, which fears that the Maquis may seize the shipment of replicators. Though happy in his relationship with Yates and disbelieving the accusations, Sisko tells Odo to proceed with an investigation. When Yates appeals to Sisko, telling him that a health inspection would make her freighter late for a rendezvous with another ship, Sisko lets her leave without the inspection but orders Worf and the Defiant to follow her. Worf observes the freighter entering the Badlands and encountering another ship, forcing Sisko to acknowledge that Yates is likely working for the Maquis. After trying to persuade her to go to Risa with him instead of making her next delivery, Sisko decides to follow her ship to its next rendezvous on the Defiant, putting Eddington in charge of the replicator transfer. While Yates waits in the Badlands, presumably for another Maquis ship, with the Defiant observing under cloak, Eddington stuns Kira with a phaser and tells his security detail that he is under orders to take temporary control of Deep Space Nine. When Odo begins to wonder whether Yates really planned to lure Sisko away from the station, Sisko beams aboard her ship, where she says she was told only to wait for a Maquis ship. Before Sisko can return to the station, Eddington and the replicators disappear aboard a Vulcan freighter working for the Maquis. Sisko promises to court-martial Eddington, and though he tells Yates that he will wait for her, he turns her over to Starfleet custody to be tried and imprisoned when she returns to the station to accept responsibility for her actions. Meanwhile, Ziyal tries to begin a relationship with Garak, who at first suspects her motives, then accepts that as Cardassian exiles, they have much in common.

Analysis: Though “For the Cause” isn’t one of my favorite episodes, I remember being rather shocked when it first aired that after spending so long setting up Yates as a love interest for Sisko, and finally showing viewers that the two had become intimate, the writers decided to destroy that relationship for the foreseeable future in a way that neither left Sisko free to date as widely as Kirk nor to mourn Yates and move on. In retrospect – knowing that these characters are going to get married and conceive a child – it’s fascinating to watch this huge crisis in their relationship, a crisis from which I did not really expect them to recover, and it’s not entirely clear whether they expect it either no matter what promises they make to one another. This is because the source of their conflict, the Maquis, is never properly discussed between them, neither here nor later. By the time Eddington is done playing Jean Valjean to Sisko’s Javert in “For the Uniform,” we know most of his grievances against the Federation and the reasons for his sympathies with the rebels who feel that Starfleet abandoned them after trying to take their homes away for a peace treaty with Cardassia. And really, at this point, they make more and more sense. Cardassia is on paper at least an ally of Bajor and less an issue for the Federation than the Klingons with whom they’re at war. Couldn’t Starfleet at least mention if not make a priority of stopping the persecution of the settlers in Cardassian space before sending all those replicators to help Cardassia rebuild its empire? Even Kira only gets one sulky “Bajor didn’t get so many replicators” before being sidelined and shot. The fact that Kasidy is more concerned with telling Ben she loves him than explaining why she is working for the Maquis is at the core of what’s wrong with this episode.

Because she’s apologetic and comes back to face trial, all will be forgiven by Sisko later on, and it’s supposed to be forgiven by the audience even now. But that makes Yates seem either frivolous or gullible – either she accepted the Maquis runs because she didn’t care about breaking the law or she accepted them because she’d been talked into feeling sorry for the Maquis without their cause truly being her own. During the long dragging scenes where Sisko and Odo wait to see whether her freighter will meet with a Maquis ship, there’s plenty of time for a scene with Yates that will explain her actions – whether she took the job for money or because she lost someone close to her in a Cardassian attack or out of the same resentment that Eddington expresses toward the Federation and its hypocrisy. But the script is determined to try to drag out the suspense, even though by then it’s obvious she’s either guilty as hell or not really who she seems to be (the first time through, I was half-expecting to learn that she was really a Changeling testing Sisko). The chemistry between Yates and Sisko takes a long time to develop, which might be because they’re both adults wary of diving headfirst into romance, but for a moment it seems like that might be because she’s always had a secret agenda and he might always have suspected as much. I will confess that I wanted her to be more like Eddington – a spy, a power player, someone with passionate feelings about the politics of the region in which she lives and works, someone who might teach Sisko something just as Cal Hudson did when Sisko lost his best friend to the Maquis. He may not like them, but Sisko can’t pretend not to understand them, especially not when he has a first officer who feels a certain kinship with them.

There are so many opportunities squandered in the last minutes, apparently because the writers hadn’t yet made up their minds about whether they wanted to keep Kasidy as a love interest for Ben or write her off entirely. Imagine if he discovered that he was the sort of man who could fall for a woman’s wiles so that she could use his station as a base to help her cause. Imagine if she confessed her love yet added that the safety of the colonists mattered to her even more. Imagine if he asked her why and she refused to answer, leaving him to wonder whether she, like Eddington, was hiding her true personality and feelings behind a bland, pleasant veneer. To this day I’m not sure what Yates believes in beyond the importance of family, which never comes into play in “For the Cause.” If Sisko doesn’t look quite as stupid as he might for failing to notice that the woman who shares his bed is also sharing supplies with terrorists, it’s largely because Odo looks more foolish; he has the opportunity to transform into a box and hide on Yates’ ship, but he doesn’t, choosing instead to obey Sisko’s orders to the letter for a change and let her go unobserved. He fails to notice that Eddington is acting suspiciously and takes hours to guess that maybe diverting Sisko is the only reason Yates has been sent on yet another supply run to the Badlands. Okay, maybe Odo doesn’t notice that Eddington is acting suspiciously because no one has really taken the time to get to know Eddington, who once seemed like an ambitious Starfleet officer – as with Yates, it’s hard to figure out whether he passionately wants to help the Maquis or just passionately wants to be in charge of things, easier to do as an outlaw than in a rank structure. The episode focuses on Sisko’s courtly dilemma, love versus duty, at the expense of the far more interesting dilemmas of these closet Maquis living among Starfleet officers, unable to argue the causes closest to their hearts to protect their undercover agenda.

What works best about the Sisko/Yates/Eddington storyline is that it’s not Ziyal/Garak. The only believable moment of that entire subplot for me is when Bashir sees Garak paying attention to Ziyal and gets jealous, excuse me, concerned. I know that there’s a contingent of readers here who like to claim that this is my own personal perversion, so let me add that when I interviewed Andrew Robinson in 2000, I asked him whether the relationship between Garak and Ziyal was an attempt to heterosexualize Garak, and he said that while he had never specifically asked the writers, there was “never really any investment on their part” in developing the relationship, while he had always played Garak as having crushes on both men and women (“I thought, this is an alien! Who knows what alien sexuality is, if indeed there is strict heterosexuality or homosexuality, those delineations…that was more interesting to me in the playing of Garak”). Even though Ziyal is now being played by an older actress, the character seems much too young for Garak and the two have too little in common besides being the only Cardassians on the station – yes, they’re both in exile, but Ziyal is the beloved daughter of Dukat while Garak is his bitter enemy. There’s no chemistry, there’s little conversation – in fact the most exciting moment of the courtship is when Kira tells Garak what she’ll do to him if he hurts Ziyal – and, as we know after the fact, there are no consequences, for not even the death of one of the principals will have much emotional impact upon the other during the Dominion War to come. I like to assume that the spy Garak simply can’t resist the opportunity to find out whether Ziyal is plotting to kill him or recruit him as an ally, and then, finding a simple offer of pleasure with no strings attached, he can think of no reason not to occupy himself while Bashir plays toy soldiers with O’Brien.

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29 thoughts on “Retro Review: For the Cause

  1. We all know Andrew Robinson played Garak omnisexual that’s not why we think you have an obsession it’s because it seems that almost every review these days has some male/male fantasy in it. It’s not even subtle comments anymore you might as well be writing slash fiction…

  2. And who cares about the intent of the actor? Actors act, they don’t write. Garak was heterosexual because the writers, clearly, wanted him to be. If Andrew Robinson was injecting something else into his performance, that’s fine as an actor’s method… but it does nothing to the story or characters. If an actor uses his dead wife to conjur a tear it doesn’t change the motivation for the character as written… it’s just what the actor does to perform the character… and if Andrew Robinson felt that the character of Garak was played better when he internally was pretending the character was gay… okay… doesn’t make the character gay, omnisexual, bisexual, asexual, or anything else beyond the intended heterosexuality as written and intended.

    George Takei is gay. In George Takei’s head, George Takei’s never been straight. Does that mean he cannot use his homosexuality to inform a heterosexual character? Or, because George Takei thinks about having sex with men, does that mean that all relationships Sulu could’ve ever had would’ve been based in homosexuality because the internal thinking of the actor isn’t straight? And does that disconnect invalidate the very existence of Demora Sulu? Hardly… He’s an actor. He’s doing a performance. And, even if he makes up a backstory or internal dialogue for the character, it doesn’t change the character… And because George Takei is gay it doesn’t mean Hikaru Sulu is… he’s clearly not… and, regardless of what anyone with an agenda wants, the simple reality is that Garak isn’t gay because he wasn’t meant to be gay.

    You folks that are pro-homosexual, you can’t have it both ways… You folks almost uniformly want to suggest that being gay isn’t a choice. Which is fine. But, then, don’t try to make it a choice. Garak is heterosexual. Trying to make him something else, whether it’s the reviewer after the fact, or the actor during the performance, the reality is the reality… and that’s that Garak is heterosexual.

    If Andrew Robinson wants to create a gay character and perform him that way, okay… He didn’t create Garak, he didn’t control Garak, and nothing I have ever seen indicates in any way that Elim Garak was gay… in fact, there’s plenty of evidence that he wasn’t.

  3. You’ll come to discover that facts and reality don’t hold up very well with Michelle.

  4. I always interpreted the Garak/Ziyal “relationship” as being a very real connection…but an ALIEN one, in several ways. First, as Andrew Robinson says, both of them ARE aliens. We only ever see one other example of Cardassian courtship (the Cardassian scientist who takes a shine to O’Brien and thinks he’s flirting when he’s being cranky with her) so we have no idea what Cardassian culture thinks is appropriate on any level. They also both have every reason to be extremely cautious, which is going to have a cooling effect on any chemistry between them. And lastly, I personally find it fairly easy to imagine that they might be drawn to each other solely because they’re the only representatives of their people on the station — even if just to form a friendship.

    I suppose in some ways, I do wish they had not chosen to make it an actual courtship. DS9 already abounds with non-romantic friendships between opposite sex people, so it would not have been shocking to leave Garak and Ziyal’s relationship on that level.

    The biggest failure, in my opinion, is follow-through. Ziyal’s death has lasting repercussions for Dukat but you’re right that Garak seems to show no long-term consequences. Granted, Garak is somewhat adept at hiding his true thoughts and feelings, but the whole relationship could have been sold much more firmly to the audience if we’d seen even a few minutes of Garak breaking down while having lunch with Bashir, or something along those lines. We certainly see plenty of OTHER moments of vulnerability in the latter seasons, so inserting this would not have been out of character. In the end, I think Robinson is right — the whole relationship is somewhat desultory and leaves us wondering why they bothered. DS9 is the most relationship-heavy Trek, and they dropped the ball on this one.

  5. So, your insults are now in Haiku format, or what? That wasn’t really intelligible…

  6. Insults, dogpoo? Just pointing out your ego driven crap. Fact, not insults, dogpoo.

  7. Dude, do you ever add anything value to these discussions, or are you trying to single-handedly prove how it’s easier to vehemently disagree with something than it is agree with something, even when a few comments are already demonstrating that??? Do you have a cogent reason for believing Garak was gay, or is it another excuse to crap out of your mouth.

    Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is about speculating Garak’s sexual orientation. In retrospect, any hints of a romance between Ziyal and Garak seemed like a feeble way to bring the two exiled Cardassians together. Garak was old enough to be her father for cryin’ out loud! Not that I’m fully against that sort of thing, it’s just creepy. And throw in that the biggest failure was Ziyal’s death had little or no effect on Garak. I just think Garak in the same light as Craig Ferguson–pretending to be gay because Americans are such prudes.

  8. You’ll come to discover that facts and reality don’t hold up very well with Doopoo.

  9. Funny, then, isn’t it, that you refuse to actually talk on the basis of facts, reality, or anything other than these silly rejoinders… pardon, this perpetual single silly rejoinder?

    Dogpoo… oh, you are just so witty, you know, the first few hundred times… maybe… but, no… not really.

    You want to discuss facts or reality with regard to something? Let’s.

    But, as per your usual, you’ll either ignore this or come back with another “Dogpoo” comment.

    I’m not sure what you’re after… if you think you’re going to drive me away, well, try again. The simple reality is that the longer you continue on like this, the more people accept that what I’m saying has to have a crumb of truth because you’re so obviously crazy. So… lol if the goal is to annoy me, well, mission not accomplished. If the goal is to make yourself look like a nutjob loser who has no opinion of his own, but rather defines himself in opposition to me, well, kudos.

    The simple reality is that Kirk didn’t date a single person in the entire history of Star Trek aside from Antonia, the woman on the hill in Generations… and that’s only apparent because he intends to ask her to marry him, which, at least, implies a perpetual relationship. Other than that? Not a single instance ever presented beyond singular or semi-singular encounters… nevertheless, fleeting… that’s not dating. Did he date? Maybe… But to address Sisko’s dating habits based on Kirk’s, when Kirk’s either don’t exist or have never been observed is not particularly accurate…

    Insert Dogpoo “quip” here __________________.

  10. Upon extended consideration, I’d even include Edith Keeler… she was certainly the closest thing to dating Kirk had in TOS… and that wasn’t exactly him being a lothario. So, I still fail to see what Michelle was suggesting, except a misunderstanding of the character of Kirk.

  11. I might be stupid and all the other things you say, but I am not a proven liar or a fraud.
    Turds like you Dogpoo really don’t deserve the time of day.

  12. “Turds like you Dogpoo really don’t deserve the time of day.”

    And yet…………….. I do so appreciate you giving me that which I do not deserve. Thank you, thank you so very much. I don’t know what I’d do without you. You complete me.

  13. But he did create Garak. Even if he hadn’t, the actor’s intent is at least as important as the writer’s in television. If somebody writes a book, it’s all well and good to say that their intent is what matters (although even with books there’s a whole school of thought (with which I disagree) that the author’s intent is irrelevant to the meaning of the story).

    But television, like film, is a collaborative medium. The choices the actors, directors, and producers make are all a party of not only how the story is told, but what the story is.

  14. We get it. You either are 15, or have the emotional maturity of a 15 year old. You are very unhappy that you come from a country that, despite being very lovely and hobbit-filled, is of no global importance whatsoever. NZ could disappear into the ocean today and, while that would be sad, nothing would really change in the global economy or in any area of significance. I’m sorry this disturbs you so much that you have to make yourself look ridiculous in front of strangers.

  15. While it’s true that Kirk wasn’t ever really shown dating someone, people around him sure did act like he dated quite a bit. McCoy in Court Martial upon meeting the prosecutor said something to the effect that all of Kirk’s old friends looked like her. The Shore Leave planet picked up Ruth out of his mind. I mean, it would have been nice to see some of these relationships, but it wasn’t really that kind of show. Nevertheless, Kirk’s backstory includes the fact that he was a ladies’ man.

  16. Well, I admit my perspective is a little skewed as a writer myself, but I think the actor informs the character, but he does not define him fundamentally. I mean, take any series and any character. If the writers and showrunner have a specific aspect in mind for a character, the actor cannot violate that. It’s like cannon. You can play around with it, augment perceptions about it, but you cannot violate it. In the same way, an actor can interpret the role, but you cannot define or redefine it in a way that violates the intent of the people that control the entire vision of the series… and since they wrote him as heterosexual, whether Robinson played around with inference or anything else, fundamentally, the character is still heterosexual.

    But, I see your point.

  17. But, I think that’s a somewhat modern distortion… He wasn’t dating those women, he was, for the most part, bedding and then leaving them. That’s not dating in the way it was presented in 1966. He was a cad. He was presented as a guy that wasn’t a reliable guy for a perpetual relationship… I fully agree, he was a ladies’ man, but that wasn’t from “dating” them…

  18. There was an implied length of relationship between Kirk and Carol Marcus, why else the “I did what you wanted… I stayed away” line from Kirk in Wrath. There was also the “little blond lab technician” he “almost married” that may or may not have been Carol… but that is about all I can think of that hasn’t been mentioned by someone else already.

    On the matter of Garak, I will say that I never thought of him as gay, more as a person shrouded in layers of lies so deep that even he did not know where they ended. Garak’s father was the head of the frikin Obsidian Order for cryin out loud. The single most feared black ops/intelligence agency in the Alpha Quadrant…. possibly excepting Section 31 (though I personally despise that part of DS9), even the Tal’Shiar look like amateurs next to the Obsidian Order, and Garak was his father’s right hand. Do I believe it possible that in the course of his highly successful career in intelligence Garak may have slept with men and women in the furtherance of his mission… yes I do, just as I believe it possible that Natasha Romanova (Marvel’s Black Widow) slept with men and women in the furtherance of her missions for the KGB, even for SHIELD for that matter.

    One of my favorite Garak bits was from the Mirror Universe episode where Quark, Rom, and either Brunt or Nog had to steal a cloaking device for Mirror Worf to rescue Zek. The scene at the end where they gleefully reveal to Mirror Garak how much inferior he is to their Garak as a spy, assassin, interrogator, and jailer, is beyond a doubt one of the finest Ferengi moments ever IMO.

  19. One final though, a good superhero counterpart (in terms of relationships to women) for Kirk is Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, who despite a long relationship with fellow hero Black Canary, has been involved with literally hundreds of women, like Kirk he also has an illegitimate son Connor Hawke, who became Green Arrow during a period when Oliver was dead (awesome death, almost a shame they reincarnated him, Kevin Smith did a good job on that though so its ok).

    Oliver was once asked by Connor (before he knew Connor was his son) if he loved any of the many women he was with, and he replied “All of them”. Connor then asked “But would you have died for any of them” to which Oliver replied “Every one of them”.

    Sometimes even a cad has a heart.

  20. When I said that he was a cad, I didn’t mean to leave the impression that he wasn’t still a rather flawless hero. That’s one of the things about Kirk… he is absolutely a hero… a hero hero, not an anti-hero like JJ Abrams wants. So, yeah, I’d say you’re spot on with your Oliver Queen analogy. Both men are absolute heroes willing to do what must be done, regardless of the consequences… And, yeah, that doesn’t make him settling down material, but it doesn’t take away his connection with them. I’m just saying that using 1960’s Kirk as anything for 1990’s Sisko is silly and inaccurate on many levels.

  21. No worries there man, I totally agree, Sisko is nothing like Kirk in his relationships with women. I will admit to being really unhappy with the end of Sisko’s arc, and him having to leave Cassidy and Jake and his unborn child to join the prophets, the whole ending to me felt a bit rushed, and not as well thought out as could have been.

  22. On a different topic, this episode will lead to two more stories arcs concerning Sisko and Eddington. The next one where Sisko becomes a 24th Century Inspector Javier to Eddington’s 24th Century version of Jean Valjean.

    Loosely translated, a 24th Century version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserabes.
    How quaint!

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