It’s the birthday of Star Trek: Deep Space actress Louise Fletcher!
Kai Winn was awful, repugnant, judgemental, and all-around a disturbing individual on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In other words; she ruled. Credit to Louise Fletcher, who brought the villainous spiritual leader to life on the series, as it’s not always easy to make a villain achieve the type of reaction they’re intending for.
Sometimes a villain can rub the audience the wrong way and get them to tune out, other times they may become fan favorites and entice the audience to see their actions as justified; simply because they want to like the character.
That was not the case for Fletcher and her character, Kai Winn. While almost motherly and wholesome in her interactions at first, viewers got a sense of her judgemental behavior and her inauthenticity when it came to platitudes and interactions. She truly was an amazing villain on the show, but why does she not get that kind of praise?
One reason; Gul Dukat.
Gul Dukat out shown Kai Winn, which is saying something because Louise Fletcher ruled!
Fletcher on any other series would’ve been deemed the best villain. Even on The Next Generation because many Star Trek fans don’t see Q as a villain, more so an antagonist. Winn was evil in a relatable way. At first, you got the sense she was the crabby soccer-mom at the PTA, who would do anything she could to make sure she was always in power, and her cronies were always heading the committees.
She seemed, relatively, harmless. She was more of an annoyance than anything. Yet, she started to use her political and religious ties to gain serious power and influence. She started putting lives at risk and even sided with the Pah-wraiths and the Dominion to gain power.
Gul Dukat on the other hand was charming, rogueish at times, and even able to get fans to sympathize with him. That was until he went full racist on the Bajorans, revealing his true feelings to the audience. The way he played everyone was masterful and he died as he lived, a bastard.
Kai Winn’s conclusion with the Deep Space Nine story saw go the opposite way. After years of stabbing everyone in the back for her own gain, she finally did the right thing and helped Captain Benjamin Sisko defeat Dukat once and for all; though some may argue even that was because the Pah-wraiths favored Dukat over her, making her jealous, we like to think she came around to the light. Needless to say, whatever her reason, Kai Winn did the right thing in the end.
A moment that wouldn’t have mattered as much if it wasn’t for Fletcher and her brilliant portrayal of her.
So we want to wish Fletcher the happiest of birthdays and salute the magnificent villain that was Kai Winn for all of the fist-clenching-rage she induced in us.