Friday, June 3, 2022

Star Trek: Past Prologue

Episode: "Past Prologue"
Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 1, Episode 3
Original Air Date: January 9, 1993

Tahna Los, an old friend (but not a lover, refreshingly) of Major Kira's, arrives on Deep Space 9 with the Cardassians in hot pursuit.  He requests political asylum and it's not an easy call for Commander Sisko.  Tahna is a member of Kohn-Ma, a ruthless Bajoran terrorist organization.  But as O'Brien warns Sisko, and we know ourselves from the most recent TNG episode, giving a prisoner over to the Cardassians is no small matter.

"Past Prologue" is primarily a Kira development story as well as providing meaningful background on the Cardassian-Bajoran conflict.  We have cameos by the Duras sisters.  Best of all, the episode introduces Garak! 

Garak, officially a clothier with a shop on the promenade, is the last Cardassian on the station.  His loyalties are unclear.  Is he a spy?  He certainly possesses the skills and instincts of the craft.  Can he be trusted?  He is awfully charming.  Too charming?  

Unfortunately, we won't see him again until Season 2.  One of DS9's greatest strengths is the depth of the bench.  The list of secondary characters who get meaningful development surpassing most of the TNG principals is long.  Garak is the gem.  Seriously, if not for Odo, he'd have a solid case for best character in the series.  I'll spare the suspense.  None of the initial questions are ever satisfactorily answered.  All the better.  His value is obvious from the first instant he appears on screen, eyeing Bashir lustfully.

We get a memorable exchange between Sisko and Kira on the bridge.  Watch here.  At our house, we have a phrase for these moments: "You've been Siskoed!"

Acting Notes

Rene Auberjonois (Odo) was born June 1, 1940 in New York City and spent parts of his childhood living in both Paris and London.  He graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) with a BFA in 1962.

Auberjonois was arguably the most accomplished actor ever to take on a principal Star Trek role.  Before DS9, he'd already been nominated for four Tony awards, winning one for 1970's Coco, starring opposite Katharine Hepburn.  He was the original Duke in Big River, a role and a show (based on Mark Twain's Huck Finn) with a significant Star Trek legacy.  Brent Spiner (TNG's Data) also performed the Duke on Broadway as did Ken Jenkins, a TNG Season 3 guest star.  Jenkins's son Daniel was the original Huck.  Bob Gunton, a TNG Season 4 guest star, was the original King.  Auberjonois also already had an Emmy nomination for the principal role of Clayton Endicott III on Benson.  On the big screen, he was Father Mulcahy in the film version of M*A*S*H.  The highlight of his considerable voice acting career was Chef Louis in Disney's The Little Mermaid.  

Yup, all of that was before DS9.

Auberjonois was married to his wife Judith for 56 years until his death in 2019.  They had two children.  When he was diagnosed with lung cancer and declined the most drastic treatment, Auberjonois elected medically-aided death instead, a right protected by California law.


  1. I love thos actor from MASH to The Eyes of Laura Mars. He was so hood in Benson. I had no idea he asked to be ..put down...sort of speak. It's his right and this has been on Star Trek before...the right to die.

    1. I don't know Eyes of Laura Mars - sounds like one we might like, actually.