DS9: The Power of Adversaries, Season 2

Continuing our adversaries series, we’re continuing with DS9. Today we’ll see if the trend which separated DS9 from TNG continues in season 2.

As usual, moderate to severe spoilers below.


High: 3
Equal: 8 (mostly Cardassians)
Low: 6
Self: 9

Season two is a marked departure from ‘Q and Prime Directive’ mix from season one. A plurality of episodes are dealing with the Cardassians, usually in an equal[1] adversary role. We also see an overall plurality of ‘Self’ episodes, as the writers now have enough space[2] to start exploring the characters in some more depth.

Perhaps most interestingly, there are only three stories with extremely powerful adversaries, and two of those are because a small number of crewmembers are up against an entire colony or civilization (The other is the Dominion, but that’ll be a story for a later season).

On a slightly different note, S suggested the following scenario, as an exercise for the reader:

“Riker and Dukat are on Earth, during the early 21st century. They are trying to order a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, but the teenager behind the counter tells them no. Who is the adversary, and what is their power level?”

(0 is less powerful, 1 is about the same, 2 is more powerful, -1 is self)

1 (Cardassians)
1 (Cardassians, and the Bajoran ‘Circle’ has “more firearms than a Galaxy-class starship.”
1 (same as previous two, three-parter)
1 (same number of people as the crew, even though the plot was contrived)
1 (Cardassian politics)
-1 (Bashir, Melora, and low-gravity Ability)
1 (Ferengi negotiating story)
-1 (Odo flashes back and meets Kira, Dukat, and Quark)
-1 (Sisko meets someone…or does he?)
-1 (Resettling gamma quadrant refugees away from Bajor)
0 (con-artist, and ‘luck’)
-1 (Odo and his ‘father’)
2 (less powerful civilization, but trapped and left for dead)
-1 (O’Brien)
0 (colonists/trap)
-1 (character stories, hologram generator)
0 (prime directive story)
1 (Cardassian ship)
0 (40 guards, they have a ship)
0 (Maquis)
0 (Maquis, part II)
-1 (Garak)
2 (mirror universe)
-1 (Bajoran politics)
1 (Cardassia)
2 (3 Jem Hadar ships outmatch one Galaxy-class)

[1]There is considerable analysis suggesting that the Federation/Cardassian war was vary one-sided, at least in space. In the context of this analysis though, starting a new war with Cardassia would create far more problems than it would solve, and therefore the Cardassians get an ‘equal’ ranking.


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