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JayTheTrekkie

In The Pale Moonlight

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Episode Name: In the Pale Moonlight

Episode Number: 19

Production Number: 543

Season: 6

Directed by: Victor Lobi

Summary: Sisko realizes there is only one hope of winning the war - the Romulans, who signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, must be convinced to join the Federation/Klingon Alliance. Sisko recruits Garak to manufacture evidence from Cardassia that will bring the Romulans into the war.

..........

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This episode clearly shows the war's effects on the crew of Deep Space 9, and on Sisko, in particular. The fact that he's willing to bend the rules to this extent in order to bring the Romulans to his side shows not how committed he is to winning the war against the Dominion, but also how the war itself seems to have changed his entire decision-making process. It's difficult to imagine Sisko enlisting Garak's help earlier in the series, but with the fate of the Federation hanging in the balance, he doesn't hesitate to call on the services of someone he doesn't trust, because he knows that Garak and only Garak can accomplish the task that's set before him. What is even more amazing is that Starfleet Command approved his entire plan, which shows that they, too were willing to do whatever it took to protect the Federation- shades of Section 31's attitude.

--Captain Sisko

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I believe this to be one of the best DS9-episodes. I'll rate it a 9.5. This is IMO the best example of DS9's shades of grey, and the steering away from Roddenberry's vision.

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This was an excellent and devious episode. Like 'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges' later on, we see elements of the Federation willing to do just about anything when it comes to survival.

Oh and we have one of the most memorable (and quoted) scenes in here to boot :)

"It's a FAAAAAKE!"

- Vreenak

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Great non-Gene episode. One of my favorites as well, although the entire 7th season is excellent TV.

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I don't like this episode. I lost so much respect for Sisko in this episode. He kept saying he was doing it to save lives, but he didn't give a damn about the lives of the Romulans.

I also can't believe Starfleet would condone such an act; it goes against everything they stand for.

4.

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I also can't believe Starfleet would condone such an act; it goes against everything they stand for.

Keep in mind that Starfleet is charged with protecting hundreds of billions of Federation citizens. It's not a stretch at all to believe that they would go for such a plan. And even if they didn't, they would likely have been ordered to by the civilian Federation Council, who would almost certainly care more about survival in the long-term than sacrifice of principles in the short-term.

This is one of my favourites from DS9. It's got no space battles or fight scenes but it still shows the harsh impact of the war on all the characters. Garak's duplicity is brilliant, too. I love how he planned to kill Vreenak regardless of whether he believed the forgery or not.

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I don't like this episode. I lost so much respect for Sisko in this episode. He kept saying he was doing it to save lives, but he didn't give a damn about the lives of the Romulans.

I also can't believe Starfleet would condone such an act; it goes against everything they stand for.

4.

I'm not sure what you mean by Sisko "not caring about Romulan lives," as it was Garak who killed Vreenak, not him. Sisko was furious when he found out about Vreenak's death, and he became even angrier when he realized the truth about Garak's intentions. One could argue that Sisko was risking Romulan lives in trying to convince them to join the war against the Dominion, but as Benjamin himself stated, the Founders would likely have dealt with the Romulans following the Federation's defeat, thus placing those same lives at risk.

--Captain Sisko

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This is my favorite single episode of DS9.

Saw it again just the other morning, and I love it just as much the umpteenth time as I did the first. This episode is DS9 in a nutshell; prim and proper Starfleet officers in an environment where their upstanding ethics and morals don't always work for them as they would on a Federation starship. Starfleet would never (openly) approve of falsifying evidence to drag former foes into their war, but look at the stakes; the freedom of the ENTIRE Alpha Quadrant. Is that not worth the sacrifice of principles of ONE starfleet captain? I live in the United States; a country with a lot of blood on its hands, and this episode spoke to me very deeply. We (as a country/society) have done many horrible things to be the country we are today. And even within the utopian Federation, each member planet (even Vulcan) has some war and bloodshed in their respective pasts. This episode reminds us that no matter how high our morals are, there are ALWAYS potential circumstances where we have to put those high-minded ethics aside in order to accomplish an even more worthy goal (in this case, the VERY survival of both the Federation and the Klingon Empire). The United States tortured enemy combatants after 9/11 in attempts to avoid another such calamity down the road. While I personally despise even the idea of torture, I have to ask myself; if it prevented another slaughter of 3,000 innocents (or more), was it worth it? A very HARD question....

Garak is sort of Sisko's 'tour guide' down the River Styx, as it were. He escorts Sisko through a journey to the darkest reaches of his own soul. He is the sort of 'gray' character (in ethics and literal skin coloring) Sisko realizes he needs to do those things that he could never bring himself to do personally. Many of us enjoy steak; few of us could slaughter the cows needed. This is the episode where Sisko had to really PAY for the steak.... and the episode is absolutely delicious. It's also a very good Garak episode as well. Again, it's the shorthand definition of the show itself in many ways....

What can I say? This one is a solid ten in my book. :thumbup:

PS: And to those who say "Starfleet would NEVER do that"?

Well; they're right. Starfleet didn't. Garak did. Garak is NOT Starfleet. Sisko asked Garak to kill the cows so Starfleet could enjoy its future steak (victory over the Dominion and salvation of the Alpha Quadrant). Sisko quietly paid the price with his soul; a relatively small price for the future. And I also counter with this; Starfleet also has Section 31. They probably would have been capable of doing this.

Edited by Sehlat Vie

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PS: And to those who say "Starfleet would NEVER do that"?

Well; they're right. Starfleet didn't. Garak did. Garak is NOT Starfleet. Sisko asked Garak to kill the cows so Starfleet could enjoy its future steak (victory over the Dominion and salvation of the Alpha Quadrant). Sisko quietly paid the price with his soul; a relatively small price for the future. And I also counter with this; Starfleet also has Section 31. They probably would have been capable of doing this.

Um....those who say Starfleet wouldn't do that forget Archer and his theft of warp coils, Picard and RIker going undercover as thieves with archological thieves, Starfleet ordered the genocide of an entire race (sure, it was the Borg, but still), SIsko fired biological weapons into planetary atmospheres hunting down Eddington. To name just a few instances.

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This episode is a 10. Screw it. It's an 11.

It gets its praise for good reason. Not only was it just a good plot line, but it took Trek to a new place. Sisko and Garak needed more episodes together because wow...what a team. Same with Odo and Garak. So do Worf and Garak. And Garak and Bashir.... Garak just seems to be awesome to play off in a plot line no?

But seriously, this episode was a great twist in the big Dominion War arc. I liked that it compromised Sisko's own morality and Garak showed just how hard it was to be a "saint" when you didn't live in paradise.

I hate to be cruel. I hate to be mean, but I find myself amused by the hatred some fans give this episode in general. I think it ruined the fantasy that Starfleet always succeeded because Kirk and Picard were just that good. That the reason SF succeeded here, succeeded there was because human enlightenment kicked barbarian ass. While Kirk and Picard did kick ass...this episode kind of hit that S31 feel to it. That there were behind the scenes actions that turned out alright in the end, but it came at a heavy cost.

There really should have been a S31/Sloan episode with Garak after this. I would have loved to have seen them try to recruit him.

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This episode is a 10. Screw it. It's an 11.

It gets its praise for good reason. Not only was it just a good plot line, but it took Trek to a new place. Sisko and Garak needed more episodes together because wow...what a team. Same with Odo and Garak. So do Worf and Garak. And Garak and Bashir.... Garak just seems to be awesome to play off in a plot line no?

But seriously, this episode was a great twist in the big Dominion War arc. I liked that it compromised Sisko's own morality and Garak showed just how hard it was to be a "saint" when you didn't live in paradise.

I hate to be cruel. I hate to be mean, but I find myself amused by the hatred some fans give this episode in general. I think it ruined the fantasy that Starfleet always succeeded because Kirk and Picard were just that good. That the reason SF succeeded here, succeeded there was because human enlightenment kicked barbarian ass. While Kirk and Picard did kick ass...this episode kind of hit that S31 feel to it. That there were behind the scenes actions that turned out alright in the end, but it came at a heavy cost.

There really should have been a S31/Sloan episode with Garak after this. I would have loved to have seen them try to recruit him.

Damn, Founder.... it's like you mind-melded with me! Took the words right out of my keyboard... :laugh:

I agree; screw a 10.... it IS an 11. This is my favorite episode of DS9. Period. No hemming, no hawing, no maybes.... just the BEST.

spinaltap-11.jpg

And yes, I too get an almost Garak-like perverse pleasure of watching this episode make prim-and-proper ST fanboys squirm... :happy:

PS: One last point, though; while I too would've LOVED to have seen Garak & Section 31 forced to work together at some point, I doubt they would EVER trust Garak enough to try to recruit him. Look at everything S31 put Bashir through because they weren't sure of his trustworthiness; Garak's initiation would take about nine years.... :laugh:

Edited by Sehlat Vie

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Good point on S31 never trusting Garak enough to actually have him as a member. But it certainly would have been interesting to see him work with them one time. :P

One oddity about this episode? Where the fudge is Romulan space? I love, love, love, love DS9 but they sure weren't particularly good with universe building in terms of quadrant spaces. Same thing with VOY (by the end of season 7, they should have been well into the Beta Quadrant).

I know they were trying to simplify the war into Alpha Quad v. Gamma Quad. But this episode was especially egregious in this. The maps (which admittedly are not canon) often depict that Earth is dead center in the line between the Alpha and Beta Quad. Klin and Rom space is in the Beta Quad while Bajor and Cardassia is in the Alpha Quad. Both are seperated by the UFP's space. This episode implied that the Dominion would attack Fed. ships and then run into Romulan space to prevent the UFP from going after them. The Romulans sat back and didn't stop the Dominion from violating their territory because they enjoyed watching the UFP being beaten bloody by the Dominion. My problem is...if you use the maps...such as...this one:

http://www.programwitch.com/startrek/Star_trek_map2.jpg

That means the Dominion would have to cross the entire UFP to get to the Romulan borders. How and why would they do that? It never made sense to me. Even Memory Alpha had had to conclude that Romulan space is actually located in the Alpha Quad. A theory I do not like...

My only guess is that the Klingons established territory in the Cardassian area of space (After their invasion) and for some odd reason, the Romulans did as well near there. So the space that is being violated is not the space of Kronos or Romulus (Neutral Zone) but some minor star systems they've taken over near Cardassian space. Like DS9 = Federation space, despite the fact it's far from Earth? IDK.

I just bring that up because this episode emphasized heavily that the Dominion was running around in Romulan space...

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The Romulan borders were always kind of wishy-washy anyway.

In TOS they said a subspace message would take "over three weeks" to get from the neutral zone to Federation space (granted, subspace com might have been a tad slower a century before), yet in "First Contact" the Enterprise E zips over from the neutral zone to Earth (!) in plenty of time to join what was clearly a lopsided fight was probably wasn't in progress for very long.

Go figure... :confused:

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they sure weren't particularly good with universe building in terms of quadrant spaces.

The whole quadrant system NEVER really worked. In TOS they referred to loads of different "quadrants" - presumably they forgot what the word means - but by TNG's The Price, they established the four quadrants as we currently understand them.

This resulted in the Okuda's Encyclopaedia drawing up the galaxy as you described, something that was copied in pretty much every subsequent ST reference book, including the generally very good "Star Charts" book. - It looked good, but it never really worked like that in practice.

The "Beta" Quadrant, despite apparently being home to both Klingon and Romulan empires, is almost never mentioned in any series of Star Trek. Only about once in ST:VI, once in DS9, and about four times in Voyager.

In both DS9 and Voyager, you would think they would mention the "Beta Quadrant" a lot more; in terms of the Dominion war and Voyager getting home, but it's almost completely forgotten about. The only thing anyone seems bothered by is the "Alpha Quadrant". This generally seems to indicate that, contrary to the maps, the Klingon and Romulan empires could well be in the Alpha Quadrant after all... which begs the question, just what exactly is in the Beta Quadrant..?

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they sure weren't particularly good with universe building in terms of quadrant spaces.

This generally seems to indicate that, contrary to the maps, the Klingon and Romulan empires could well be in the Alpha Quadrant after all... which begs the question, just what exactly is in the Beta Quadrant..?

Whatever (and wherever) the writers needed it to be... :laugh:

There's a reason I don't take canon too seriously. ;)

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they sure weren't particularly good with universe building in terms of quadrant spaces.

This generally seems to indicate that, contrary to the maps, the Klingon and Romulan empires could well be in the Alpha Quadrant after all... which begs the question, just what exactly is in the Beta Quadrant..?

Whatever (and wherever) the writers needed it to be... :laugh:

There's a reason I don't take canon too seriously. ;)

I'm too much of a nerd to not take it seriously. :P

And I have no idea how to answer that, Zef'No.

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they sure weren't particularly good with universe building in terms of quadrant spaces.

This generally seems to indicate that, contrary to the maps, the Klingon and Romulan empires could well be in the Alpha Quadrant after all... which begs the question, just what exactly is in the Beta Quadrant..?

Whatever (and wherever) the writers needed it to be... :laugh:

There's a reason I don't take canon too seriously. ;)

I'm too much of a nerd to not take it seriously. :P

And I have no idea how to answer that, Zef'No.

You can steal mine... :laugh::P

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Its no sectret that DS9 is my all time favorite show, and this episode my favorite of the series but one thing has always left me curious.

While sisko "breaks" starfleet code and most certainly the ethics, thanks in part to garak who seemed to be a driving force, the comments in the show made by sisko in certain scenes about how he has to clear things with starfleet or how Bashir files an official complaint with starfleet over the biomemetic gel, makes me wonder how much starfleet knew of this whole operation.

Surely if they knew some parts , then surely they would seek to be updated on progress, did starfleet know everything or did sisko lie to them as well ?

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Interesting question. If you go by STID the only reason Kirk was called on the carpet was because his and Spock's reports contradicted. This implies that the way Command gets its info is still by the reports filed by the officers. So Sisko could control the information sent to them. However, I find that hard to believe because with the "technology" they have Command should be able to monitor everything. (Just look at NSA and real life today.) So either Command knew or there are strong privacy laws/regulations in place to allow this type of information control by an officer to still exist.

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From what I remember - what he cleared with Starfleet was the part about creating the false recording of the Dominion planning to attack Romulus in the future. He cleared that and the gel for that operation.

I don't think Starfleet Command knows about Garak blowing up the shuttle. But they had to have figured it out. They knew Sisko was trying to trick Vreenak with a false optolithic rod and lo and behold - his shuttle is destroyed with such a rod that has a recording of the Dominion wanting to invade the Romulan Star Empire. The Tal Shiar will assume he found it and tried to run back to Romulus with it. The Dominion supposedly destroyed his shuttle to prevent him from reaching the Empire. IDK. It doesn't make sense because if the Dominion did that - you'd think they'd check to make sure no such rod was in the debris....

But I think Starfleet does know the whole truth or at least...they suspect. It could be one of those things where they're like "It's better if we don't know the details. Plausible deniability."

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