All posts tagged garak

Last Time, on this comment: Garak has lots of context, but no agency. He is a very big archetype, but he isn’t relatable. He’s fuckin’ consistent, but his character arc only twitches slightly upward in the last scene of the damned series.

And now, the conclusion:

Garak is efficacious, don’t get me wrong, he gets shit done. But given that his motivation is to GET BACK TO CARDASSIA, he’s fucking god-awful at it. Not in that he refuses to shoot people or slit throats to get what he wants–though he’s inconsistent at that (like when he lets the Cardassians go in “Cardassians”). No, this genius, wheels-within-wheels mastermind doesn’t come up with a single fucking plan to get himself back to Cardassia. He lives at the pivot point of the fucking galaxy and sits there hemming trousers while looking across the Promenade at Quark who’s swimming in the opportunities available. The one time he has a chance in hell of getting back into the good graces are after he panics, blows up his shop, and then stumbles ass-first into boss-daddy’s half-baked return to glory.

He does have internal conflicts that he struggles with Garak has a conscience and he fights it. He’s a smart enough man to see the benefits of Federation society and the flaws of Cardassian society. So much so that after a certain point he doth protest too much when he says the opposite. It’s great stuff.

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This is a reddit post that I went all-in on so now it’s also a blog post.

Quality is subject to taste, so “best character” is subjective. Despite a literal interpretation which implies an objective truth, each person’s best character is actually their favorite character. Changing someone’s mind on this isn’t a matter of debating established fact; it’s a matter of contradicting what fundamentally appeals to someone and even if you’re invited, it’s a presumptuous thing to do.

But if we imagine that there’s an objective basis for character quality, we have to separate it from the subjectiveness of writing, acting, and directing, insofar as those things do not affect how effectively the story expresses the character’s qualities.

A quick search around the internet doesn’t reveal much about objective measuring of what makes a good character. This means that the internet hasn’t quite reached ‘peak internet’ yet, but it also means that this discussion requires creating broad versions of what measures do exist and then applying them to Star Trek characters.

Agency versus Context

Characters have agency, a place within the story that drives them to interact with the story. Neelix is considered a flawed character because he doesn’t have a place within Voyager’s overall story. He’s crammed into whatever space fits and suffers because of it. Captain Picard, however, fits into the specific story of “Best of Both Worlds” very well in that he’s a natural choice for the Borg to target and he has goals and the agency to move towards them. Even after he fails and is assimilated, he still fights the Borg, even if that fight is a simple as a single tear.

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TV Characters Who Were Meant to be Queer

Whether by network decison, cancellation or ambiguous “changes”, some characters intended to be LGBTQ never were (so far, for some) in the canon of their show.

Though there is some overlap, not included are characters who the writers tried their best to make queer short of confirmation due to censors, including those who have been confirmed after the fact, like Dumbledore and Xena.

sources: Gilmore Girls/Sookie | Criminal Minds/Reid & Prentiss | Sarah Jane Adventures/Luke | Heroes/Zach | Star Trek DS9/Garak



can “Garak wants to come along” be added as an afterthought to every DS9 episode summary, please?

That would have made everyting so much better

Millions almost died because Garak came along, guys.

Let’s be honest; someone dared a DS9 writer they couldn’t make technobabble deadly and sexy and we got “Empok Nor”



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I can’t ship Ziyal and Garak. The age difference…

I always felt weird about it. What were the behind the scenes reasons if you don’t mind me asking?

Heteronormatize Garak.

They also cut down on scenes with Garak and Bashir for this reason as well. 

DS9 might’ve had the first same sex kiss in Trek but that’s about as far as it was allowed to go.

Ugh. Notice how Bashir got so boring about that time and they started pulling plots out of their asses thin air to make him more interesting?



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[I understand that the Cardassians are viewed as monsters due to occupying Bajor, but it only makes sense. Their world is devoid of resources, their surrounding worlds are also devoid of resources, they either have to make something magically trade for things they need, or they need to take over planets.]

I’ve never disagreed with a confession more than this one. I seriously almost deleted it so many times in the queue. I just find it so wrong headed. There is no justification for the occupation. None.

They could have asked for help.

But of course they didn’t because the Cardassians are proud. They think they can work Bajorans to death in the mines and expect gratitude when they’re given a weekend off. They think they can pick a fight with The Federation and eke out a few extra planets because the treaty is just a piece of paper. Then, they think they can harness The Dominion because well, The Dominion signed this other piece of paper, didn’t they?

I do feel bad for the Cardassians. I think what happened to them in the end could be called “justice” and it was directly a consequence of their own actions. It was still an awful thing and I don’t think they deserved it.

I’m not saying that they’re victims. I don’t think it’s just the military that carries the blame for it. Remember that it was the civilian government that called for the pull-out from Bajor, so they apparently had some clout. It was a new civilian government that came to power in “Way of The Warrior” and eventually signed a deal with The Dominion. Sure, Dukat was their frontman, but it was a peaceful transfer of power.

My impression has been the Cardassian citizens were okay with their bloated, ineffective military, out-of-control spy agencies, and corrupt courts putting a foot on the necks of their neighbors. Let the powerful diddle their housekeepers and usher their illegitimate sons into the family business. I imagine that every so often a scandal breaks out and catches the attention of the average Cardassian, so every time Dukat comes to DS9, it’s because he’s trying to get a political enemy onto Cardassia’s version of TMZ.

The average Cardassian citizen can work a hard day, watch “Cardassia’s Most Wanted: Confessions” to know their government is doing the good work of protecting them, then go to bed on a full stomach with government bread bought with Bajoran slave labor.

This has already gone on for too long, but notice that every time one of Garak’s parents dies, it represents an old pillar of Cardassia being destroyed. When Tain “dies” the first time, The Obsidian Order is destroyed. When Tain dies the second time, Cardassia as a sovereign nation is destroyed. Finally, when Mila dies, it heralds The Dominion’s efforts to commit genocide against the Cardassian people. I posit that those events burn away the pillars that supported the corrupt regime; the powerful, their supporters, and the silently complicit.

I’d also like to think that the Cardassia that comes out of The Dominion War is a more sober, reflective Cardassia. They were once, within living memory, a peaceful people. I hope they acknowledge the mistakes of their past. I hope the kids that grow up in the shadow of those cities look to fill more than just their bellies.

Man, I hope they drive old man Elim Garak mad with their “insufferable optimism.” I imagine him on his deathbed now, hearing the news from a young nurse that Cardassia’s started the process of joining The Federation and he just rolls his eyes and says the most sarcastic, dismissive, transparently supportive thing he can thing of and passes away.

But really, I hope that DS9’s eerie ability to predict post-9/11 politics doesn’t extend to militaristic, near-surveillance states with populations oblivious to political corruption and resource depletion.