Sisko is the best captain.
Avery Brooks might be the best actor to play a captain.
Its hard to argue definitively that anyone in Trek is a better actor than Patrick Stewart so I’ll admit I’m hedging a bit here, but I think Brooks is definitely in contention. All of the actors are great in their own ways, and I think I’d actually argue that Kate Mulgrew is probably nipping at both of their heels, but I don’t think anyone is clearly better than Brooks.
Just watch this monologue. His delivery at the end is so perfect. “I can live with it. I CAN live with it.”
(Clip has spoilers for the DS9 episode In The Pale Moonlight if for some reason you haven’t ever seen it.)
This episode and this ending really demonstrate what set DS9 apart. And it’s hard to imagine any of it would have worked nearly as well without someone like Avery Brooks playing Sisko. It shows Sisko did what he needed to do to save the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant. It also shows that he knows it was wrong. While he’s working on convincing himself he can live with it, that he has to find a way to live with it, you can see and hear that he’s not so sure he really can, or that he should. He wants to be able to live with it, but he’s also not sure that’s what he really wants. We get that from his voice, from his posture, the way he moves around and looks at the camera. Watch the way he almost takes a drink over and over again but never quite does it.
That never would have worked with an actor who wasn’t on that level, or without the kind of stage training that Brooks has. This is a classic theatrical monologue. He’s talking to himself and to the audience, he’s wrestling with himself so much, and is trying to convince himself and the audience of something but we can see how much of a struggle that is. It’s so perfect. One of the best moments in all of Star Trek.
Anyway, I just saw this clip linked by @tomshaps on twitter in a twitter thread on comic book narration and couldn’t help but take a short break and get some of my thoughts out about it. I’ve long loved this episode and just wanted to gush about this scene and Brooks for a bit.
It may be time for another DS9 re-watch.