‘Tribunal’ (DS9) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

I didn’t like this ‘DS9’ episode when I first saw it and I still don’t like it. I have been able to gain a clearer idea as to what the episode was about. But it still does not make me like it more than before.

This episode is quite significant in terms of behind-the-scenes. For you see, this is the first ‘DS9’ episode to be directed by cast member Avery Brooks a.k.a. Commander Sisko. And it’s not the last. 🙂

In the episode, Chief O’Brien is on his way for a vacation with his wife Rosalind Chao as Keiko. But he goes off into a runabout; O’Brien meets with an old crewmate of his – John Beck as Raymond Boone.

This episode does have some connections to Chief O’Brien’s days on the starship Rutledge back in the ‘TNG’ episode called ‘The Wounded’. It’s a past O’Brien would prefer to forget in this instance.

Just as O’Brien and Keiko are on their way to vacation (they left their daughter Molly with someone else), their runabout is stopped by Cardassians. They’ve come to search their ship and arrest O’Brien.

With no idea what’s going on, O’Brien is taken to a prison on Cardassia Prime where he suffers harsh treatment at first. He’s raped; tortured and even has one of his teeth pulled out. It’s quite disturbing.

Eventually he’s treated well as he meets his appointed advocate Fritz Weaver as Kovat. It turns out that O’Brien is to be put on trial where the verdict has already been made. He has been found guilty.

Now this story showcases what the Cardassian judicial system is like. And I know this is of a new alien culture, but the way Cardassians handle justice is unfair and wrong to me as well as to humans.

Cardassians seems to have a sick, twisted way of condemning their criminals without giving them a fair trial. O’Brien hasn’t a clue what he’s meant to have done but the Cardassians believe that he does know.

The Cardassians want O’Brien to reassure the population on Cardassia Prime that he’s willing to accept the crimes he’s committed. But O’Brien knows he’s an innocent man and will not adhere to it.

Meanwhile, back on DS9, Sisko; Keiko and the DS9 team are aware of the situation taking place for O’Brien. Odo requests to be O’Brien’s ‘nestor’ during the trial as he and Keiko go to Cardassia Prime.

I like that scene where Odo meets O’Brien in his prison cell. O’Brien emotionally breaks down when he finds himself wrongfully accused. I do like Odo reassures O’Brien in this difficult situation he is in.

Eventually, during the trial, moderated by Caroline Lagerfelt as Makbar, things aren’t easy. This is especially when Odo tries to plead for O’Brien’s case and yet he’s refuted countless times by Makbar’s rule.

Back on DS9, the crew find a number of warheads are stolen and are probably in possession of the Maquis. They also find that this recording of O’Brien’s voice has been made to access the warheads.

The recording was fabricated and it happens to have been made by Raymond Boone. Odo tries to present this new piece of evidence at O’Brien’s trial, but the judge refuses to accept it. That’s unfair!

The DS9 team try to interrogate Raymond Boone on his actions, but he refuses to say anything. Eventually, a shadowy figure in the infirmary tells Bashir that Boone isn’t a Maquis agent in this case.

This leads to the DS9 team to examine Boone in the infirmary after finding some hard evidence he’s not human as he appears. Boone tries to escape, but is prevented and is later revealed a Cardassian.

Back at the trial, just when O’Brien is about to be condemned unjustly, Sisko brings Boone in and the trial stops. Judge Makbar willingly sets O’Brien free. He is clear of all charges. That disappointed me.

At least, that’s when I saw the episode years ago. It’s only until recently I’ve been able to understand what was going on. It seems ‘Boone’ was surgically altered to fabricate evidence and frame Starfleet.

Yeah, the Cardassians were trying to frame Starfleet in that they were aiding the Maquis. Why they would do that isn’t clear. Maybe it’s because the Cardassians want DS9 back. That must be the case.

‘Tribunal’ isn’t one of my favourites. I can understand what the Cardassians were doing this whole time. It makes them less likeable when they can be sadistic with making O’Brien become their victim.

‘Tribunal’ (DS9) rating – 4/10

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