Part one: The Breen weapon from the previous episode is stumping the Federation and its allies. Klingon ships can be adjusted to compensate — meaning the Klingon fleet must take on the brunt of the combat duties. Gowron (Robert O’Reilly) shows up, gives Martok an award and then assumes command of military operations. Meanwhile, Sisko sends Kira, Odo and Garak to help Damar’s resistance effort. While they’re en route, Bashir discovers that Odo has the disease that’s infecting the rest of the Great Link. At Damar’s base, Kira’s group encounters resistance (see what I did there?) from the Cardies, but presses on. Back on the station, Bashir discovers that some medical records for Odo he received from Starfleet were faked, making him and O’Brien theorize that our old buddies at Section 31 were behind the cover-up — and likely the disease itself. Meanwhile, Odo displays the first signs of the disease.
Part two: Gowron is taking big gambles with the Klingon fleet — apparently to bolster his own personal glory — and Sisko backs Worf’s plan (without asking for details) to fix the situation. Meanwhile, Kira and Co. continue to help Damar, eventually stealing a Jem’Hadar ship equipped with the Breen weapon, despite internal strife among Damar’s band and a deteriorating Odo. Martok refuses to challenge Gowron at Worf’s behest. Then, during a briefing with some nameless Klingons, Worf challenges Gowron’s plan to attack a well-defended Cardassian planet. The two start fighting, and Worf kills Gowron (!) and turns over control of the empire to Martok. Meanwhile, Bashir and O’Brien devise a plan to draw Section 31 to the station, by making them think that Bashir has figured out a cure to the disease.
Why it’s important
The advancement of Damar’s resistance cell and his development as a character are huge pieces. We’ll talk more about Damar below, though, as much of what happens with him is character-based.
Now, Worf killing Gowron is one of the bolder and bigger moves in any Star Trek series. The two had been friends or enemies dating back nearly a decade and the transfer of power (as done in a way only a Klingon could love) was huge. That Sisko would tacitly endorse Worf’s plan to kill the head of state of an allied empire is pretty freaking amazing. I know the idea is that the Federation is desperate and that Sisko doesn’t really KNOW what Worf’s planning. But still. Damn, Gina.
Some other developments in these two episodes — including the Dukat/Winn storyline from part one — are really inconsequential in the big picture, or, at most, incremental. But the Section 31 plan to commit genocide on the Founders is pretty freaking huge. There’s some goofiness with the plan and how Bashir and O’Brien figure it out, as we’ll discuss.
What doesn’t hold up
Let’s talk about how Bashir learns Odo is infected. It all starts when he requests some medical records from when Odo was scanned during his trip to Earth in “Homefront”. Why wouldn’t Bashir — who’s had access to Odo for seven years — have his own scans? There have been times when Odo was really sick and Bashir was trying to help him. Wasn’t he scanning Odo while he was treating him?
Speaking of which, why would the comparison scans matter? Remember that Odo was turned into a human as a punishment by the Founders back in “Broken Link” — a time Bashir was taking a TON of scans of Odo, BTW — and was left with virtually no Changeling stuff in his body. Then, in “The Begotten”, a dying baby Changeling merges with Odo, making Odo a Changeling again. In other words, would the scans taken before Odo lost his shapeshifting abilities be at all helpful? I know there’s the whole bit about “the drop and the ocean” or whatever when it comes to Changelings and the Great Link, but it doesn’t sound like Bashir wanted to study Changelings. He wants to study Odo specifically. And, if so, the scans from “Homefront” should be of no help to him.
Last thought on this point. It’s a little convenient that Bashir and O’Brien are so accurate in guessing that Section 31 was behind the disease. Their supposition certainly makes sense, but they operate on no real proof. What if, after all their sleuthing, someone else had been behind the disease?
Meanwhile, there are a lot of weird little things in these two episodes.
— Kira’s education of Damar’s dudes seems extremely basic, considering that most of the Cardassians should have known how a resistance works based on the recent war with the Bajorans. Shouldn’t they have known how autonomous cells operate and why?
— Speaking of Damar’s resistance, does it seem strange to anyone else that he, Kira, Odo, Garak and Rosot (John Vickery) all go on the mission to steal the Jem’Hadar ship? That would be like George Washington taking his four top advisers to steal a British naval vessel. It’s more likely that some underlings would have been assigned to do it. We’ve talked about this issue before with DS9, though.
— Martok mentions, early in part one, that 1,500 Klingon ships will start raiding Dominion targets, and it’s then said that they’ll be outnumbered 20 to 1. Considering that no reinforcements have come from the Gamma Quadrant — and that the loss of 2,800 Dominion ships in “Sacrifice of Angels” was a big deal — how do the Dominion and the Breen have 30,000 ships? If the Breen, on their own are so formidable, why haven’t they done something on their own, previously? No, this is another example of DS9’s creators amping up the stakes unnecessarily. Why not simply say 10 to 1, or even 5 to 1?
— Gowron is too stupid for words in these two episodes. It’s a shame, because the end result is interesting — but making Gowron look like a total moron wasn’t necessary.
The Dukat/Winn stuff, in which Dukat goes blind because he reads the forbidden Bajoran texts, was just filler. The Damar/Kira story is probably the strongest of the arc at this point, even if it’s more character-centric, as Damar is making huge leaps as a character. His decision to kill Rosot (in a great scene on the captured Jem’Hadar ship) was a huge indicator of where he believes he needs to take Cardassia. Kira calling Damar out about killing innocents in an earlier scene was wonderful — and Garak telling Kira that she was right to say it was a brilliant decision by the creators. For all three characters, we see just how far they’ve come.
Coming next week …
One of the strangest episodes of DS9, as Bashir and O’Brien have their last buddy episode — INSIDE SOMEONE’S MIND?