Sisko begins plans to retake DS9 as things go from bad to worse on the station. Kira does all she can to save Rom, but Dukat and the Dominion are set on executing the Ferengi engineering genius. Sisko, meanwhile, gets buy-in from Starfleet to try to retake the station on the premise that the wormhole is the “key to the Alpha Quadrant”. He begins massing a big fleet — without Klingon assistance, as Gowron needs more convincing to participate. Then, Sisko gets a message from Kira and Jake — sent through Morn — telling him of the Dominion’s plan to take down the minefield and bring 2,800 ships into the Alpha Quadrant. Sisko leaves with 600 or so ships he has and ends the episode facing a Dominion fleet twice the size.
Why it’s important
Like our last review, the summary covers a lot of why the episode is important. This sets in motion one of the biggest battles of the Dominion War.
Not mentioned in the review is the return to form by Odo — or, at least, the beginning of the return to form. After he seemed lost to the Great Link forever in “Behind the Lines”, his loyalties seem more conflicted here. And that’s a big deal going into the next episode and the rest of the series.
What doesn’t hold up
There’s the awful speech by Dax to Sisko at the beginning of the episode that basically insinuates that Sisko is a desk jockey who doesn’t understand what’s going on amid the fighting. Considering that Sisko was IN the fighting the previous week, the scene was just horribly written (not to mention poorly acted by Terry Farrell, who really seems like she had one foot out the door at this point).
There’s also the sloppy business with Worf and Martok going to the Klingon homeworld to convince Gowron to send ships to help Sisko’s task force. While I can get behind the idea of sending a friend and an enemy to talk to Gowron, it’s too hard to swallow that Starbase 375 (where Sisko was posted), the Klingon homeworld and DS9 are so close that Worf and Martok could get to Gowron quickly enough and return quickly enough to help in the fighting. Remember that the timing of the attack had to be moved up, thanks to Morn’s message.
The Klingon piece, really, just side-stepped something I’m guessing the creators didn’t want to handle: Why not send a cloaked fleet of Klingon ships to DS9, decloak near the station and try to take it back over?
Sure, the station is well-defended. But wouldn’t the odds be better for our heroes if 600 or so ships showed up at DS9 before having their ranks thinned by the Dominion fleet? I know the Starfleet ships wouldn’t have cloaking devices (other than the Defiant, and that’s another matter) but it seems like having the Klingons positioned to enter the fighting late in the next episode was just a workaround for the cloaking issue. In some late TNG, there’s discussion of technology that can detect cloaked ships coming from Romulan space to the Federation. But it’s never very clearly explained. Likewise, the Dominion found ways to detect a cloaked Defiant in some episodes. So, maybe the idea is that a large cloaked fleet would likely be detected anyway? Hmmm …
And, the biggest problem: If Sisko and Starfleet are in agreement that the wormhole is the “key to the Alpha Quadrant” why did they give it up with relatively little effort back in “Call to Arms”? Remember, Starfleet committed resources elsewhere leaving just the station, the Defiant and Martok’s ship as a defense. Even if most resources HAD to be committed elsewhere, couldn’t Starfleet have risked another 20 ships or so — in hopes of maintaining control of the wormhole and successfully completing the other mission?
While this episode works in a lot of ways, it’s a great example of one of DS9’s biggest flaws: The creators would bite off so much as far as problems facing our heroes in efforts to increase the drama that the ultimate solution would be somewhat unbelievable and almost stupid.
We’ll get into this more with our next review, but one of the key points in this episode is that Sisko had to rush his plan without a large number of Starfleet ships that hadn’t yet arrived and without the Klingons (as noted). The creators amped up the drama unnecessarily, as even a fleet of, say, 1,000 ships would have been vastly outnumbered by the Dominion and would have had to take on the heavy-duty station defenses in the hands of Dukat.
Coming later this week …
See above, and get ready for some deus ex machina.