Lwaxana Troi and Jeffrey Combs have pleased Odin so far. Will number three please the All-Father as well?
(Find out who number three is after the break)
Elim Garak (DS9)
That’s right: No. 3 is plain, simple Garak. For me, this was a no-brainer. Garak has always been one of my favorite Star Trek characters because…well, I don’t really know a thing about him. He’s one of those uber-mysterious characters whose loyalties are never quite clear. Is he a Cardassian spy? A patriot? A self-serving maniac? Just a tailor? Does he actually care about Julian, or is he just pumping him for information? None of these questions are really answered throughout the entire run of DS9.
On the surface it seems like Garak is an ex-member of the Obsidian Order who has been exiled from Cardassia whose only desire is to be able to return home. As the series goes on, we learn that is true, but there is still uncertainty about what his presence on DS9 means for him, Cardassia, Starfleet and Bajor. We know he has a past with the Obsidian Order, which is a covert Cardassian organization, but what was his role with it? Has he done truly evil things? And what does he think about his past now? We get little hints about his possible connection to the assassination of several Romulan politicians while posing as a gardener. This is an element of his past that is often referenced, but his connection to the deaths is never confirmed.
There are elements to all of these questions that are hinted at and touched upon, but there is never a fully definitive answer. And we’re never fully sure about just how far Garak will go to get repatriated. We never even really learn why he was exiled in the first place. In Season 2’s “The Wire,” Garek’s life is being threatened by an implant he received while in the Obsidian Order. Dr. Bashir tries to get information about his past from him so that he can save his life and Garek tells about three different stories about why he was exiled including a story about accidentally causing the death of several important Cardassians, a story about taking pity on some Bajoran refugees and also claiming he was framed. The only thing about Garak that we know for sure is that he was responsible for the arrest and execution of Gul Dukat’s father. And I won’t even get into the plethora of memorable quotes about the concept of truth that can be attributed to Garak. Check out Memory Alpha for yourself to see them.
Now the question is: can we even be sure that Garak is actually RNR’s No. 3 in our list of top five recurring Star Trek characters? Am I even telling you the truth? Well, as Garak would say, “Truth is in the eye of the beholder.”