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Apr 01

Star Trek DS9: Honor Among Thieves (Ep 6.15)

Colm Meaney is a good actor, and it seems that any episode where the Chief is the main subject, is a winner. “Honour Among Thieves” has Miles O’Brien sent in as an undercover agent for Starfleet trying to ferret out information about a Starfleet traitor. The organisation (as it is euphemistically known) he is to infilatrate is The Orion Syndicate – an interstellar version of the Mafia with its own code of ethics and rules. Ethics, you say? From gangsters? Well, that’s what this episode revolves around, and the reason this ep works so well is that it uses O’Brien. His “everyday man” disposition creates a realistic and believable feel that ends up deceiving Bilby, his boss in the Syndicate.

Miles gains Bilby’s trust playing into the role of a “tinkerer down on his luck” very well. And trust him Bilby does. Bilby “witnesses” O’Brien which basically holds Bilby responsible for any stuffups O’Brien makes. Bilby isn’t a thug. He knows his line of work is not optimal, but he has a family to care for and this is the only thing he knows how to do. Family was a prominent concept with Bilby pointing out more than once, “family is the most important thing.”

The scene where Bilby makes a character assessment of O’Brien is poignant. “…a man who doesn’t have a friend in the entire quadrant…” The statement is interesting, because O’Brien looks like a man who actually *could* be that down on his luck. The irony, of course, is that O’Brien in Trek is the portrayal of the idea “family man” who has a whole bunch of mates back on DS9.

When O’Brien unknowingly sets Bilby up to die at the hands of the Klingons, the feeling of sympathy for Bilby hits in. Sympathising with the enemy it may be, but can you really blame him? Bilby is arguably as much an “everyday man” like O’Brien is. Only that he’s working on the wrong side of the law.

All in all, this episode is an intelligent one. O’Brien is put through another torturous episode (remember eps like “Hard Time” and “The Assignment”?) where his humility, down-to-earth attitude and common man sensibilities are thrown into a situation he doesn’t deserve. Thumbs up to this competently acted episode.