Please feel free to comment on my review.
The fifth episode of Season 2 of ‘DS9’ focuses on the sensitive issue of young Cardassian children adopted into Bajoran families. The result for a young Cardassian boy is debatable, but we’ll get to that.
‘Cardassians’ also features the second appearance of Andrew J. Robinson as Garak. Yeah, surprising that he only made one appearance in ‘Past Prologue’ in Season 1 and soon he becomes a popular character.
Bashir meets up with Garak, still unsure whether he’s a Cardassian spy but still being friendly to him. Their lunch gets interrupted when he sees a Cardassian boy with a Bajoran man as his adoptive father.
Garak goes over to greet them, saying the Bajoran man has a handsome young boy. But the Cardassian boy, Vidal Peterson as Rugal, bites Garak on the hand. Yikes!!! All Garak did was pay him a compliment!
It turns out Rugal the Cardassian boy has been brought up by Bajoran parents who have taught him to hate and fear Cardassians. This is in spite of the fact Rugal is a Cardassian himself and he ignores it.
I don’t know what it is about Bajorans hating Cardassians, and yes I know the Cardassians did terrible things to them, but the Bajorans’ hatred for Cardassians seems rather childish now. They’re just mean!
Shouldn’t they try to overcome their prejudice? I’m surprised the Circle didn’t kill Rugal at some point. Anyway, news travels fast as Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat contacts Sisko regarding this incident with Garak.
How did Dukat know about this incident so quickly? Who told him, that’s what I want to know? Anyway, Gul Dukat informs Sisko that he’s trying to bring orphaned Cardassians back home from Bajor.
Now there is the argument that this ‘DS9’ episode bears some similarity to the ‘TNG’ episode called ‘Suddenly Human’. And in that regard, I can where that’s coming from since the plots are quite similar.
In both episodes, there’s a young boy who lives with a family of another species after an adoption. A way needs to be found on whether to return that boy to his adoptive family or return him to his real one.
Whilst I don’t consider ‘Suddenly Human’ to be a favourite episode of mine from ‘TNG’, I appreciate what it was trying to do. Though ‘Cardassians’ is better than ‘Suddenly Human’, I did not like its result.
I’ll explain what I mean by that in a bit. Rugal is soon taken to be looked after by Chief O’Brien and his wife Rosalind Chao as Keiko. Rugal insists that he didn’t do anything wrong! Well, clearly you did, boy!
I mean, you bit someone’s hand. Even if it was Cardassian whom you’ve been brought up to hate, that’s still considered wrong. Anyway, Rugal’s taken in though O’Brien is unhappy with the arrangement.
But O’Brien softens as he gets to know Rugal and what he’s like as a Cardassian child brought up by Bajorans. O’Brien is surprised by how Rugal fiercely hates Cardassians in what they did to the Bajorans.
Rugal doesn’t even eat a Cardassian meal prepared by Keiko during dinner. I think that was the wrong way to do it, Keiko. Give Rugal some Bajoran food on your first evening having him. Not Cardassian food!
Meanwhile, Garak suspects more than meets the eye on what is happening and acquires Bashir to help him in an investigation. They travel to Bajor to find records whilst also seeing Cardassian children.
This episode also features Robert Mandan as Kotan Pa’Dar, the actual father of Rugal who is a Cardassian politician who wishes to be reunited with his son. But Rugal wants nothing to do with him.
It turns out there was a political conspiracy going on with Dukat to ruin Pa’Dar’s career by sending his son to be adopted on Bajor. During a hearing, Bashir exposes Dukat being responsible in all of this business.
And in the end, Rugal is given to…Pa’Dar. Okay, I know Pa’Dar is the real father of Rugal here, but in the ‘TNG’ episode ‘Suddenly Human’, the boy Jono was given the choice to be with his adoptive family.
Here, it’s like Rugal was forced to be with his Cardassian father without his objections heard to be with his Bajoran family. Unless there is a sequel to Rugal’s family disputes in ‘DS9’, I found this unsatisfying.
As I said, ‘Cardassians’ is better than ‘Suddenly Human’ in terms of a gripping plot, though the political conspiracy maybe a little baffling for some viewers. But I did find this story having an unsatisfying end.
‘Cardassians’ (DS9) rating – 6/10
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