S3E20 & 21 - Improbable Cause and The Die Is Cast

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dnaphil
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S3E20 & 21 - Improbable Cause and The Die Is Cast

Post by dnaphil »

I selected this episode for the impact on the Dominion conflict as well as the introduction of Mila, and another encounter with Tain.

Whew. This could have been the season finale but wasn't for some reason.

These two episodes raise the stakes on the Dominion conflict. We find out that the Obsidian Order and the Tal Shair are working together (terrifying), they plan a pre-emptive strike on the founders, only to be betrayed by a Changeling who has infiltrated the Romulans. Not only does this plan not work, but it's clear that the Changelings are ahead of everyone else.

With this as a backdrop, we get to see Tain and Garak for a bit and see their dynamic. These two episodes are great Garek episodes as it gives him a chance to go back to his old world, but when confronted with interrogating Odo, we see that Garak's exile has changed him. There is no going home for Garak.

The interrogation scene is especially harsh and the acting in it is great. To see Garak desperate for Odo to confess anything to make it end, and then Odo giving up his deepest secret...amazing acting.
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RobAbrazado
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Re: S3E20 & 21 - Improbable Cause and The Die Is Cast

Post by RobAbrazado »

When I came across these episodes for Watch Club, I realized I didn't remember them well, so I decided to give them a watch over a couple lunch breaks. Wow, am I glad I did!

As @dnaphil mentioned, the prospect of Obsidian Order and the Tal Shiar working together is terrifying, yes...but also so compelling! Like...I would watch that spin-off, I think. Or at least a spin-off movie. I picture it as being a kind of an...Evil Leverage. :D

But, yeah, that aside, this was another great episode (or two) for getting to know Garak, Tain, and Garak-and-Tain. :D Something that really stuck for me was Tain being impressed at the level of Garak's deviousness. (When Tain understands that Garak blew up his own shop to foil the assassin.) That's gotta be ego-boosting or at least validating for Garak to hear. And I like how Tain just doesn't give a fuck. He is so far from a cartoon villain. Like...he's evil? I guess? But he is not mustache twirling, or even angry, really. Like...it's clear he resents the shit out of Garak for some past sin, but even then, he recognizes Garak's value, and he even states explicitly that he can't forgive Garak, but he's willing to let the past be the past so they can work together again. Tain is supremely pragmatic, and yet still somehow as operatic and larger-than-life as any Caradassian we've seen. Basically, Tain uncompromisingly regards Garak as a traitor (the sin for a Cardassian, I assume, based on Garak's lessons to Bashir about Cardassian literary themes), and yet Tain doesn't appear to hold a grudge against Garak, really. When confronted with Tain's responsibility for the attempt on Garak's life, both Garak and Tain basically shrug and say, "Yeah, I get it. Had to happen. But now that that's done, we can work together, right?" Amazing.

The big thing that struck me narratively about this couple of episodes was...actually similar in some ways to a previous Odo team-up that struck me. Back in "Shadowplay," I was struck by the idea that Odo and Dax are effectively immortal beings, and it was an interesting thought exercise for me to think of the two of them together. In this couplet, Garak and Odo make an amazing pair, and for textual reasons this time instead of subtextual. Early on, they talk openly about both their opposing philosophies (truth versus obfuscation) and their similarities in practice (how they both value secrets, and how that allows them to understand each other). By the end of the second episode, though, I realize that the two of them are going through narrative parallels, as well. Both Garak and Odo are exiles from their homelands and their people. For very different reasons, sure, but they are both people that are both dedicated to intense secrecy and haunted by their isolation. Not only that, but by the end of the second episode, both have been offered opportunities to come out of exile. Garak's opportunity came relatively early on at his reunion with Tain, and he jumps at the chance, willing to leave everything about his DS9 life behind. Odo's opportunity comes at the very end, when the Changeling infiltrator offers him the chance to come home. And despite we as the audience already knowing Odo's overwhelming secret desire is to go home, he still chooses to remain in exile and once again chooses his DS9 people over his biological family. Strong stuff!
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dnaphil
Posts: 234
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:10 pm

Re: S3E20 & 21 - Improbable Cause and The Die Is Cast

Post by dnaphil »

@RobAbrazado Those observations about Odo and Garak are so astute. Their shared desire to go home, and the path each one follows makes for great drama.
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