“The Maquis, Part II” isn’t a completely successful episode of Star Trek, but it is an important step towards Star Trek: Deep Space Nine coming into it’s own. Meanwhile, “The Wire” is completely successful and completely nuts. Plus! Why is Richard so excited to meet Tuvok? Seriously, someone tell us.
Yeah, The Wire is truly first-rate. I like how it takes Garak on his own terms: as an ex-spy, he’s someone who has spent so much of his life lying to others (and also to himself) that absolute truth is not something he can intellectually accept anymore. So the voyage of the episode is hearing these stories and in any other TV show, you’d assume you’re getting closer to the truth with each one. But you’re not. There’s no reason to assume that Tain is lying at the end, and he undermines everything Garak has said, at least factually. This is likely why the initial fan reaction to the episode, according to the DS9 Companion book, was so negative–easy to forget just how spoon-fed TV audiences were in the early 1990s. But it’s not as though it was all worthless–the stories don’t convey factual information, but they convey Garak’s underlying feelings quite well, useful lies that convey emotional truths. This is how Garak thinks and operates, and the point is made conveyed through structure and subtext instead of some three page speech by a character, which is pretty sophisticated for Star Trek. Or just in general.
As for The Maquis: as backstory for Voyager, written by its creators, it could have been worse. Definitely the second half is better because Ira Behr wrote the teleplay and added the best bits. But I’ve never been a huge fan of it as a whole–the big battle at the end is I think as big as the show has done a space battle before, but nobody cares about Cal Hudson or Sisko’s relationship with him, and we know the main characters will be fine, so there really aren’t stakes there. A runabout got dinged up, who cares. They go through them like Voyager would go through shuttles, except that there was logic to DS9 replacing their runabouts.
(Apparently Behr is now working with Ron Moore on Outlander, which the wife is a big fan of. Not quite up my alley, but we compare notes on the choices their shows made sometimes.)