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Dark Reality

The absolute greatness of "In The Pale Moonlight"

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I just watched DS9 6x19 "In the Pale Moonlight" for the third time today - the first time when I watched DS9 in sequence, the second time a month or two ago, and tonight again, though my fiancée and I are about a season away from seeing it in sequence. I couldn't help myself, though - it's a great episode.

 

From the beginning to the end, this episode shines. Not a dull moment at all, and the ending is STILL satisfying to watch. I want to stand up and cheer so many times in that episode.

 

This is really the defining point, not only in the Dominion War, but in Sisko's character, mostly what sets him apart as a Captain compared with Picard and Janeway. And I don't think it's something Kirk would have done, either. (I don't know Archer.)

 

Some say "Pale Moonlight" is the best Deep Space Nine episode. Some take that a step farther, say it's the best Star Trek episode bar none. At first I was willing to disagree, at least with the second statement. I preferred TNG's "The Inner Light" and Voyager's "Blink of an Eye" until I saw "Pale Moonlight" - at that point it was easy to say I had a favourite from the three Trek series that mattered to me. And then from DS9 I also liked "Duet" and "Children of Time". But after going all the way through DS9, there was only one episode I wanted to watch out of turn (though Duet's in Season 1, so I caught it again on the second run-through, and for that matter I'm about 5-6 episodes away from "Children of Time").

 

The rest of this post requires the spoiler feature, so if you haven't seen this great episode, I recommend that you do before proceeding.

 

Click for Spoiler:

First of all, how justified do you think Sisko was in fabricating evidence that the Dominion was planning on attacking Romulus at some point during or after their invasion of the Federation? Sure, the means justify the ends, but Starfleet is supposed to be the most honourable group in the AQ - possibly after the Klingon Empire - and lying, cheating, and stealing isn't what Starfleet officers do. Then consider that the Dominion was, in fact, probably planning on invading the Romulan Empire anyway (why would they not?) so maybe Sisko was justified. If he's fabricating evidence of a meeting which probably took place anyway, does that make it less wrong?

 

Then - at what point, if any, should he have decided the costs were too great? Bribing Quark? Acquiring 85 liters of bionmetic (sp?) gel? And then, I have to wonder - if Garak knew the holographic record wouldn't pass inspection, or at least had a good chance of failing, why not simply replicate one? Maybe a replicated one would fail inspection, but wouldn't a replicated one fit in with Garak's suggestion at the end, that any flaws would be attributed to the explosion? The biggest supporter of the Dominion in the Romulan Empire is seemingly killed by the Dominion after leaving one of their planets (his stop at DS9 was secret) - it would probably still stand.

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As I'm sure you already know, you'll get no argument from me on the point of In the Pale Moonlight being the best episode of any Star Trek series.

 

It was very well written and puts you in a situation of doing something that goes against your morals in order to save hundreds of billions of people from either death or deep oppression.

 

Click for Spoiler:

As Garak said at the end, the life of 1 criminal, 1 Romulan Senator and the self respect of 1 Starfleet officer is well worth it when you consider what was at risk. So I believe Sisko was justified in doing what he did. Just as i believe that killing Hitler in 1938 would have been justified or killing the 9/11 terrorists on September 10th. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

 

 

As for replicating a holo-recording rather then doing what they did, I think Garak understood that if it failed the first inspection he could and would blow up the Romulan ship. The recording would be good enough to pass the second inspection but had he replicated one himself it would likely have failed even that inspection.

 

 

The other episodes that you mentioned are all great episodes and I watch them whenever I get a chance and I'd add a couple of Enterprise episodes to that list also, such as the true story of "First Contact" with the Vulcans as seen in "Carbon Creek". "North Star" was also a great "western" style story and I always enjoyed "First Flight" also just to name a few.

 

Oh, as to Archer... The Archer of seasons 1 and 2 wouldn't do what SIsko did but I believe the Seasons 3 and 4 Archer would.

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Well, it WAS you who got "Pale Moonlight" in my head as a great episode to look forward to, but had you - or anyone else - not, I would have still discovered it, perhaps loved it even more as there had been no hype surrounding it. I generally hold hype against something - if only a little - but "Pale Moonlight" surpasses any hype. I mean, solid acting from everyone, Sisko and Garak in particular, through the whole thing. I wonder if "Pale Moonlight" is Avery Brooks' best acting - if so, he should be proud of it.

 

Click for Spoiler:

I don't like what Garak said at the end. Add to his list the ten operatives (was it 10?) who died trying to get him his information, and whoever would be hurt by the misuse of the bionmenic gel. I think what Sisko did would have been the equivalent of the US giving Iran nukes to prevent 9/11. You'd be damned either way. In the short term, it's worth it, but we don't know about the long-term repurcussions.

 

Had to mention Enterprise... I'm kicking myself for not having downloaded that when I had broadband, before I moved. As I've said before, I couldn't get into the first episode - but I do want to watch it all the way through one day. It's Star Trek - how bad can it be? And the alternate universe episodes, the episode about First Contact, and the temporal cold war are all topics that have me curious.

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Regarding this thread,

 

Quoting a famous point eared politician:

 

"The needs of the many outway the needs of the few, or the one"

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A good episode. It was nice to see that Sisko would do what was necessary to achieve victory over the Dominion. :tribble:

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One of the best ever Trek episodes out of any of the series.

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After going through this thread again I think I'll have to watch the episode again, I have it saved on one of my TiVo's (Been there for about 2 years now).

 

I've said it many times and I'll say it again, in my opinion it is the greatest episode in all of Star Trek.

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Creatively this episode took this franchise to new heights.

 

Deep Space Nine is far and away the best Star Trek series and "In The Pale Moonlight" is one of its finest episodes.

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Oh, as to Archer... The Archer of seasons 1 and 2 wouldn't do what SIsko did but I believe the Seasons 3 and 4 Archer would.

 

It is still different, however. The Dominion mostly used subterfuge and intrigue and infiltration before going into all out war. Sisko's actions, even though occurring after all out war had begun, were still morally questionable on many levels, and were even a struggle to him. It was using questionable tactics, inconsistent with what it meant to be a Star Fleet officer, to gain a necessary ally in a fight for freedom of Alpha quadrant. There will always be the question of whether or not there was any other way to get the Romulans to join on the side of Federation allies,

whether or not Sisko did that which was expedient. 'Course, Sisko has let that question go........

 

Archer's choices were after the fact of an unprovoked slaughter leading to the deaths of millions, and the promise of the total annihilation of all humans. He had no other choice, in his race against time, to let go of lifelong constraints .... what was considered acceptable behavior of an officer and gentleman. While he had to change, it was circumstances that forced him to change, and the necessity of the change I think made it less of a struggle for him to make 'less than moral' choices.

 

I think Archer struggled with it more later, after getting back to Earth. But he did not do a lot of soul searching in the process. And later he and others also concluded that he had to do what he had to do.

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I think Archer struggled with it more later, after getting back to Earth. But he did not do a lot of soul searching in the process. And later he and others also concluded that he had to do what he had to do.

I agree, he did what he had to do. I also believe that Sisko did what he had to do too. Not bringing the Romulans into the war would have meant the deaths of untold tens of millions if not hundreds of millions. Not just human, but throughout the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

 

I still remember the first time I saw the episode, it just blew me away. So much so that I had to re-watch it then and there.

 

To this day I have not seen a better episode of Star Trek in any form, movie or TV.

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Not bringing the Romulans into the war would have meant the deaths of untold tens of millions if not hundreds of millions. Not just human, but throughout the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

 

It still did. Only it was Cardassians that died in millions instead. Bringing the Romulans in on whatever side was an escalation. Sisko did it because he knew his side was loosing. Or perhaps we should say our side beeing humans.

 

What I like about Sisko and in the pale moonlight as opposed to Archers behaviour is that Sisko doesn't make any fuzz about validating his actions. He does the wrong thing, and deals with his conscience but in the end admits, I did this because I wan't to win. Then erase the record, and leaves us to think what we will of that. What I can't stand about Archers attitude is that there seems to be this hint that, oh we ae only acting like pricks because we're forced to. We don't really wan't to be (Ignore me, I'm using profanity)s but they attacked us. You see this idea lingering still that we're good and they are bad. I didn't get that from pale moonlight in the same way.

 

So kudos to Sisko for showing his true face. Boo sucks to you Archer for your posturing.

Edited by Hooray for boobies

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Not bringing the Romulans into the war would have meant the deaths of untold tens of millions if not hundreds of millions. Not just human, but throughout the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

 

It still did. Only it was Cardassians that died in millions instead. Bringing the Romulans in on whatever side was an escalation. Sisko did it because he knew his side was loosing. Or perhaps we should say our side beeing humans.

 

What I like about Sisko and in the pale moonlight as opposed to Archers behaviour is that Sisko doesn't make any fuzz about validating his actions. He does the wrong thing, and deals with his conscience but in the end admits, I did this because I wan't to win. Then erase the record, and leaves us to think what we will of that. What I can't stand about Archers attitude is that there seems to be this hint that, oh we ae only acting like pricks because we're forced to. We don't really wan't to be (Ignore me, I'm using profanity)s but they attacked us. You see this idea lingering still that we're good and they are bad. I didn't get that from pale moonlight in the same way.

 

So kudos to Sisko for showing his true face. Ya boo sucks to you Archer for your posturing.

True, Millions of Cardies died at the hands of their "allies" and us (The Federation). But, I say there would have been 100x the deaths had the Federation lost. The total destruction of the human race was discussed at one point, Tens of millions of Vulcans would die, Betazoids, Andorians, Klingons and how many other races.

 

With the Dominion winning the war in the end you could be talking about tens of billions of deaths as opposed to millions.

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Could be. Though one wouldn't put such an idea above our own allies the Klingons or the Romulans either. I also seem to recall Gul Dukat at least beeing stictly opposed to eradicating earths population. Not for reasons you or I would consider perhaps, and I'm not saying the alternative would be a lot better, but I think it is too easy to generalize.

 

But the main point is that bringing the Romulans in on whatever side is an escalation of the war, and Siskos method for achieving this is just as questionable as the purpose itself.

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This episode deserves to be rated in the top five of all Trek episodes, if not first. What I truly appreciate is the look into the darker side of human nature. Something I think the writers and producers wanted us to see. A part of us that we all keep hidden to some degree but utilize when you have no other good option. Sisko's statement at the end that he can "live" with his decision reveals more about we are willing to do to not only win but survive as well. And even that decision, although forced upon him by Garak, had the price of killing a few Romulans to ensure that it would work. To paraphrase, the needs of the billions over the needs of the millions. Referring of course to the loss of life in the alpha quadrant had the Dominion prevailed.

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A few years ago (2005 or 2006) we did a series of polls for all of the series and included every episode for each season where we voted the best episodes from each season. Then we took each seasons high vote getter and voted the best episode for that series and then took each series best vote getter and put it in a poll with the other series top rated episode.

 

Out of all the episodes, "In The Pale Moonlight" was voted the best episode in the Trek universe (the STF Trek Universe anyway lol). So according to STF it is the #1 episode out of them all.

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I would certainly throw that one in, among any number of others from DS9, as standouts in memory for me. Some powerful drama. I wish those who are not st fans, would sit down, and give shows such as these a try-and how then could they not see, how st does among other things, one certainly well, whatever the series-portray humans-or people who are despite their alien origin, in many ways just like us....were there a more timely topic, than war, and choices....not to state either 'side' here.

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