Trekathon 331: Tribunal (DS9)

April 1st, 2012

Miles O’Brien goes on trial for war crimes.

Once again there’s a Federation double standard on display here. There’s a lot of lip service in other episodes about respecting other cultures, but no one at any point here suggests the Cardassians have a right to their own judicial system. We spend way too much time establishing the whole ‘this isn’t our system’ thing. But ‘innocent until proven guilty’ isn’t even a universal Human approach, why would aliens sign up? And that’s pretty much half the episode here. I know we’re meant to think ‘Oh no, it’s a terrible show trial’, but they don’t earn it. They’re honest about what’s happening throughout, and it may not be the adversarial system we’re used to, but it is a system. Surely Odo knows that, at least.

It’s a fairly nice story outside of that, with a good mystery resolved without too much technobabble. And there’s some nice performances by O’Brien and Odo. The Cardassian judge and defender chew the scenery a bit, but that’s more a product of the silly setup.

331 down, 406 to go.