Category Archives: Cardassian

“What You Leave Behind”

Hope you like CGI ships getting blowed up!
Hope you like CGI ships getting blowed up!

The DS9 crew, aboard the new Defiant, sets out for Cardassia as part of a huge allied fleet set on ending the war.  Back on Bajor, Dukat (still appearing as a Bajoran) has his sight back and returns to Kai Winn, who has discovered how to release the pah-wraiths from the fire caves — and was waiting for his return to do it. Meanwhile, the Dominion learns Damar is alive on the streets of Cardassia Prime, fomenting rebellion. After Damar’s forces cut power to Dominion headquarters, the female Changeling goes bonkers and starts killing Cardassians indiscriminately. This prompts Damar, Kira and Garak to mount an assault on Dominion HQ. By this point, the Federation and its allies have pushed the Dominion and Breen fleet back into the Cardassian system — as the Cardassian ships have switched sides. As Damar’s party gets into Dominion HQ, Damar is killed — but Kira and Garak capture the female Changeling and Garak kills Weyoun. The female Changeling refuses to surrender, telling Kira that the Jem’Hadar and the Breen will fight to the last man. Kira sends a message to the Defiant, and Odo beams down to talk to the female Changeling. He links with her, she surrenders, and he cures her of the disease and promises to take the cure to the Great Link (as she is likely facing jail time for war crimes). Odo also tells Kira that he’ll be joining the Link for good.

There is... another... Weyou... No there's not!
There is… another… Weyou… No there’s not!

With 800 million more Cardassians killed, the war is over, and the papers are signed back on DS9. Worf becomes Martok’s Federation ambassador, Odo will go back to the Great Link, the O’Briens get ready to head to Earth so Miles can be an instructor at Starfleet Academy and Sisko and the gang have one last night out at Vic’s. On the dance floor with pregnant Kasidy, Sisko realizes he must head to the fire caves and stop Dukat and Winn. An empowered Dukat nearly defeats Sisko, but with a dying Winn’s help, he’s able to grab Dukat and fling both of them into the flames. The pah-wraiths are forever trapped and the Prophets save Sisko — but he must stay with them for an unknown amount of time. When the crew can’t find Sisko, he returns briefly and tells Kasidy he has to leave, but that he will return, “in a year … or, maybe, yesterday.” Worf and O’Brien leave and Kira returns from taking Odo to the Gamma Quadrant. Back on the station, Kira’s left in command, with Quark still at his bar, Nog a newly minted lieutenant and Bashir and Ezri a happy couple. The series ends as Kira hugs a mournful Jake while he looks out a window on the Promenade toward the wormhole.

Why it’s important

As the final episode of Trek’s most serial show, a lot of things happen. The war ends, Cardassia lies in ruins, peace returns, the pah-wraiths are banished, Dukat, Damar, Weyoun and Winn all die, Odo returns to the Great Link, Worf heads to the Klingon homeworld, Garak returns to Cardassia, O’Brien leaves for Earth and Sisko essentially becomes a god.

In other words, a lot of ground was covered here. Say one thing for DS9, it didn’t pull punches and closed NEARLY every open question in a whirlwind of a final two hours — and a final eight episodes.

“This one’s for my homies trying to reconcile the timing of all these events.”

What doesn’t hold up

The absolute most disappointing thing that the creators botched would have been a character moment. It’s simply inconceivable that Sisko wouldn’t say goodbye to Jake. It was a poor decision not to have a final moment with Kasidy AND Jake. The bond between the Siskos was one of the things that series got right from day one, and to not do it justice in the final episode was simply terrible. Remember that “The Visitor” — in which Jake must deal with Sisko’s sort of death —  is widely considered to be DS9’s best episode.

There are some other odd things about this episode — some of which seem like they might have been editing issues. Some of them have to do with the timing of events — particularly in concurrence with “Star Trek: Insurrection”.

As the episode begins, Sisko and the fleet head to Cardassia. If you figure the amount of time it would take to get to Cardassia Prime amid all the battles,  get the female Changeling to surrender, and get back to DS9, at LEAST a week has gone by. That’s probably overly conservative, but it’s a nice, easy number to remember and it serves our purposes. Now, keep in mind that Dukat and Winn leave for the fire caves around the time Sisko’s fleet leaves. And they’re in the caves during the battle. Stay with me on why that’s important …

After the war is over, negotiations commence and the female Changeling signs the treaty. Then, Sisko gets wind of the fire caves thing that’s happening and heads to Bajor — where Winn and Dukat are just wrapping things up. I’ve got to ask — how long were Winn and Dukat in the fire caves? Based simply on the events of this episode, it had to be at least a couple weeks. That seems just impossible. And other events in Trek make this botched sequence EVEN WORSE.

We didn’t review “Star Trek: Insurrection” as it’s a pretty inconsequential movie based on our site guidelines. But Worf’s presence on the Enterprise-E in that film is sort of explained by hinting that the Dominion and the Federation are negotiating a peace treaty while Worf’s away.

So, in other words, Dukat and Winn are in the fire caves as the Federation fleet gets to Cardassia, battles the Dominion forces, gets the female Changeling to surrender and returns to the station — and while Worf has a zorch and a fun adventure with the Enterprise-E crew. Worf is present for the treaty signing and he heads off with Martok afterward. So, it’s really not a stretch to think that Dukat and Winn were in the fire caves for like a month!

There are easy ways this could have been fixed, BTW. Winn, after sort of banishing Dukat, could have decided to go to the fire caves AFTER the Federation won the war — possibly because she thought she’d never have another chance to undermine Sisko. The pah-wraiths could have had something to do with the timing, too. Or, even better, Worf could have joined the Enterprise-E crew after leaving DS9 but before officially taking over as Martok’s ambassador.

But, as it stands, the only conclusion one can draw is that Dukat and Winn were in the fire caves for at least two weeks, probably much longer. And that is just implausible.

Last minor gripe: The creators also seemed to forget one of the original points of DS9 — getting Bajor ready for Federation membership. This could have been EASILY covered by a line of dialog in the finale’s final moments about Kira getting ready for a ceremony about Federation admission. The scene with Nog and Kira in Sisko’s old office would have been perfect. Instead, that matter is left entirely unaddressed. Weird.

I've been in these clothes for like a month!!
“I’ve been in these clothes for like a month!!”

Final thoughts

OK, so the timing issue clearly bothers me a lot. I think it’s because “What You Leave Behind” was ALMOST so freaking good — and where it was bad, it was bad in places that were SO easily fixable. There’s one other item that I’d put on the list of decisions that I disagree with — though it’s more of a weird choice than a bad one: It’s too bad that the creators didn’t let Damar live and become Cardassia’s new leader. Given everything he went through in the seventh season, it would have been a nice moment to see Damar thanking Sisko, Kira, et. al and telling them Cardassians everywhere owe the Federation and its allies their thanks. Showing a somewhat dystopian Cardassia Prime was an interesting choice — but it’s not the one I would have made.

That said, the finale had some really great moments. Odo’s goodbye to Kira was incredibly well done and O’Brien and Bashir’s goodbye was nicely handled. I also liked Ezri waving goodbye to Worf, in a scene that was an obvious callback to Jadzia waving goodbye to him in “Tears of the Prophets”. (Of course, the lack of Jadzia in any of the flashback montage was pretty ridiculous. The creators probably should have spiked the idea if the best they could do for Worf’s memories was a shot of him smoking a cigar — which he shouldn’t have even remembered — in “Our Man Bashir”.)

Flawed finale and all, DS9 still gets major points for its ambition, its acting and its continuity. While it’s not the most popular Trek series and is even considered a black sheep by some, it was the only Trek show other than TOS that could be considered ahead of its time. Comparing DS9 with “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire” is not a stretch — though the latter two series are, obviously, superior. Compare Voyager with either of those series, and, well, your back might give out like mine just did.

DS9 wasn’t perfect. It had too much Ferengi crap, it was very hit-or-miss until late in the second season and it often bit off WAY more than it could chew. But, it’ll always hold a special place in this Trekkie’s heart.

Coming next week …

A final look at DS9, before we get into Voyager country.

“Extreme Measures” and “The Dogs of War”

Should we, you know, enter his mind. No I just want to do that 'sitting in a chair when you wake up thing' to him first.
“Should we, you know, enter his mind?” “No I just want to do that ‘sitting in a chair when you wake up thing’ to him first.”

Part one: Odo’s back on DS9, and he’s not doing well. Bashir and O’Brien, acting on their plan from “Tacking into the Wind”, lure Sloan (William Sadler) from Section 31. Once they capture him, he triggers a suicide implant, so Bashir and O’Brien use Romulan mind probes to enter his dying mind — which, conveniently, looks like DS9 — to see if they can find the cure to the Changeling disease (bah). The plan generally works, through a bunch of Voyager-style nonsense. But Bashir has to choose between getting all the secrets of Section 31 from Sloan’s mind or escaping in time to save Odo. Or something. What a mess of an episode.

And over here is where I had my Gul Lesset Interrogation Action Playset(tm)
“And over here is where I had my Gul Lesset Interrogation Action Playset(tm)”

Part two: Kira, Damar and Garak take their stolen Jem’Hadar ship to Cardassia Prime for a meeting with some Cardies who say they want to join the rebellion, but it’s a trap, the Jem’Hadar ship is destroyed and the trio must hide in Garak’s childhood home, which had belonged to our old buddy Enabaran Tain. Shortly thereafter, they learn that the Dominion has destroyed all of Damar’s bases. With few other options, Kira, Damar and Garak take the rebellion to the streets. Back on the station, Odo’s cured and is informed that Section 31 infected him way back when to infect the other Changelings — and that the Federation Council is unwilling to share the cure with the Dominion. Oh, and Sisko gets a new Defiant-class ship, which is renamed to honor the ship destroyed earlier in the arc (and allowing existing sets and optics to be used!). At the same time, Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn, whom we first met in “The Nagus” but who has showed up in numerous Ferengi nonsense episodes) contacts Quark, through a garbled transmission, and tells him he will be the new Ferengi leader. Zek then shows up on the station and tells Quark he actually wants Rom to be the new Nagus (see the garbled transmission above). With Ferengi culture becoming more human, Quark pledges to keep his bar a staple of Ferengi tradition (meh). The episode ends as Sisko, Ross and Martok discuss strategy now that the Dominion and the Breen are pulling back as the Federation can now defend against the Breen weapon. The Federation alliance decides to go on the offensive, in hopes of finally ending the war.

"Busboy, Resistance Leader, Grand Nagus: The life and times of Rom"
“Busboy, Resistance Leader, Grand Nagus: The life and times of Rom.”

Why it’s important

As DS9 draws closer to the end, the plot summaries sort of explain the significance of the episodes. The Dominion pullback is the biggest domino here, as that emboldens the Federation and its allies to try to stick a fork in the fighting.

But getting the cure to the Changeling disease is actually a huge domino, as we’ll see in our next review. Without the efforts of Bashir and O’Brien, it’s likely the war would have lasted a lot longer — as we’ll see.

We also see the end of the Ferengi storylines (mercifully). While the Ferengi characters would often be well used in places (like Quark and Rom’s role in and around “Sacrifice of Angels”), one of DS9’s biggest failings was the thinking that at least two episodes a year had to be Ferengi-dominant, resulting in some of the worst showings the series produced. So, while it’s pretty laughable that the Nagus would have enough power — and enough desire — to change the entire Ferengi culture, apparently based on his experiences in the past seven years, it’s also sort of appropriate.

And it’s a big deal. In the span of about four episodes, DS9 will change the ruler of three major Alpha Quadrant entities — the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union and the Ferengi Alliance.

What doesn’t hold up

“Extreme Measures” is just a terrible, terrible episode. Colm Meaney and Alexander Siddig do what they can, as usual. But the premise and the execution are just awful. Sloan’s mind looks just like DS9? Please. Sloan has the exact formula for the cure to the disease affecting the Founders memorized? Ridiculous. Bashir and O’Brien do all of this unsanctioned (aside from some limited notification of Sisko)? Stupid. It’s too bad, because the Bashir/O’Brien friendship was a real strength of DS9, so it’s hard to figure what the creators were thinking on this one. It frankly comes across as low-rent and trite — a combination of TOS budget limitations and Voyager nonsense.

“The Dogs of War” is a better episode, but so much happens in it that it’s kind of a blur — and it doesn’t even get into the Dukat/Winn stuff. Frankly, the creators’ decision again to shoehorn the Ferengi into stories hurts things. It’s also unfortunate that the creators decided that the Ferengi should evolve to be more like humans (and in a ridiculously fast way). I remember watching this episode in 1999 and thinking that somehow, Rom would bring a bunch of Ferengi ships to help the Federation in the series finale — which would have made what happened here a stronger story. But, of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, it’s just more bad-comedy drivel — even if Max Grodenchik puts in a nice performance in his last outing as Rom.

Final thoughts

These two episodes are probably the weakest in the final arc so far, though “The Dogs of War” isn’t really awful. The finale, of course, has some issues — but we’ll get to that later this week.

Coming later this week …

The finale. Duh. I just said that.


“When it Rains … ” and “Tacking Into the Wind”

I challenge you all to a bug-eyed look contest. I win!!
“I challenge you all to a bug-eyed look contest. I win!!”

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.

Is Kira gonna have to choke a b***h?!
“Is Kira gonna have to choke a b***h?!”

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.

Now hand me my pimp hat and pimp chalice.
“Now, hand me my pimp hat and pimp chalice.”

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.

Can you tell me if it was a Section between 30 and 32 that did it?
“Can you tell me if it was a section between 30 and 32 that did it?”

Final thoughts

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?

“Strange Bedfellows” and “The Changing Face of Evil”

Laugh it up, you just did the nasty with Gul Dukat
Laugh it up, you just did the nasty with Gul Dukat

Part one: Damar is outraged that the Dominion is willing to give so much of Cardassia to the Breen, and is further outraged when Weyoun essentially sacrifices an entire order of Cardassian troops. Meanwhile, Dukat (still posing as a Bajoran) continues to manipulate Kai Winn — eventually revealing that he’s a servant of the pah-wraiths. With Worf and Ezri scheduled to be executed on Cardassia Prime (after they were turned over to the Dominion by the Breen) Damar helps them escape, telling them that the Federation has a friend on Cardassia. Back on the station, Winn decides to accept the pah-wraiths — feeling the Prophets have turned their backs on her — and vows to work with Dukat to destroy anyone who stands in their way.

Related: There was a world series on at the time. Or would've been had baseball survived into the 24th century.
Related: There was a World Series on at the time. Or would’ve been had baseball survived into the 24th century.

Part two: Worf and Ezri arrive back on the station (having delivered Damar’s message) and a horrified Sisko learns of a Breen attack at Starfleet HQ on Earth. With the Dominion and Breen celebrating, Damar begins plotting against them. Dukat (still posing as a Bajoran) gets Winn to pull some ancient and forbidden texts that are supposed to reveal how to release the pah-wraiths from the Bajoran fire caves (mentioned in “The Assignment”). About this time, Sisko learns that the Dominion is about to retake the Chin’toka system (captured by the Federation in “Tears of the Prophets”) so he takes the Defiant and joins a Federation-Klingon-Romulan fleet to try to stop them. But the Breen employ a new energy-dampening weapon, destroying the dozens of Federation-allied ships, including the Defiant (!) after Sisko and crew manage to escape. Back on Bajor, Winn’s assistant Solbor (James Otis) has figured out who Dukat really is and reveals it to Winn. But Winn doesn’t want to be exposed and kills Solbor with a knife. Blood from the knife touches the previously blank pages of the forbidden texts, providing a way for Dukat and Winn to continue. Back on DS9, Sisko and Ross are freaking out about stopping the Breen when the station intercepts a message from Damar to the Cardassian people, urging them to join his new rebellion.

Why it’s important

The plot summary really covers a lot of the big items, but the Breen’s attack on Earth and Starfleet HQ is another huge moment in DS9’s final seasons (and in keeping with the not-F-ing-around approach we’ve noted before). Damar formally starting his rebellion is huge — and the furthering of Dukat and Winn’s plan is equally important in DS9’s final arc.

I don't think Santa Anna was setting fire to Sisko's model house, Chief.
“I don’t think Santa Anna was setting fire to Sisko’s model house, Chief.”

What doesn’t hold up

I hate Winn’s bold pronouncement in “Strange Bedfellows”,  mostly because it seems cheesy and so at odds with her more complex stance in “The Changing Face of Evil”. But oh, well.

Now, one thing I’ve never understood. Why did the Bajorans keep the forbidden texts in the first place? For a spiritual people who revere the Prophets — and faith is supposedly what kept the Bajorans together over the years — why not just destroy the forbidden texts? Hell, given that they were essentially being wiped out by the Cardassians for 50 years, it’s amazing that the Bajorans were able to preserve the texts at all.

Beyond that, how in the hell did the Breen get all the way to Earth? As far as we know, the Breen have no cloaking technology, so they must have gotten past Starfleet’s defenses before being able to attack the planet. Now, we saw the Borg do this way back in “The Best of Both Worlds”, but that was after they destroyed 40 starships — at a time when Starfleet wasn’t all that mobilized for war.

And, finally, it’s just way too convenient that the female Changeling tells Weyoun not to destroy the Defiant escape pods. Her reasoning is that the survivors will spread fear when they return and talk about the new Breen weapon. But that information would have been conveyed in one way or another. Honestly, if I were the Founders, I’d do anything possible to knock off Sisko, considering he has a direct line of communication to god-like beings who destroyed 2,800 Dominion ships at one point.

Final thoughts

Complaints above aside, “The Changing Face of Evil” is a highlight of DS9, from the destruction of the Defiant to the founding of Damar’s rebellion. In both cases, the DS9 creators showed they were really going for broke, even if they had to do so with some goofy logic (like the escape pod bit).

It’s really a credit to DS9 that the final chapter narratives all fit together for the most part, given how many balls were in the air.

Coming later this week …

More final chapter fun, with Gowron donning a dunce cap.

“Penumbra” and “‘Til Death Do Us Part”

I totes want to marry you, I just gotta run it past my dead non-linear time moms first...
“I totes want to marry you, I just gotta run it past my dead non-linear time moms first…”

Part one: Worf is lost after the Klingon ship he was commanding is destroyed by the Dominion. The Defiant has to call off its search, so Ezri, against orders, takes a runabout and eventually finds him in the Badlands. Quickly, the Jem’Hadar find them and destroy the runabout, forcing Worf and Ezri onto a jungle planet without any means of escape. Meanwhile, the female Changeling (Salome Jens) is still in bad health, despite Weyoun’s efforts, and is up to something that she doesn’t want Damar to know about. Back on the station, Sisko asks Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) — whom we’ve seen like twice since she got out of prison — to marry him. Back on Cardassia, Dukat shows up asking an embittered Damar for a favor, and later appears surgically altered as a Bajoran. Ezri and Worf, after several days of bickering, end up doing the nasty — only to be caught off guard and captured by some Breen troops. Sisko, back on the station, has  a vision where his mother, the Prophet Sarah (Deborah Lacy) tells him he shouldn’t marry Kasidy.

Part two: As Ezri and Worf, as Breen prisoners, talk about their feelings, Sisko tries to make sense of what Sarah told him and old pal Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) shows up to help with the wedding. Then, Winn has a vision from what she believes are the Prophets — but are actually the pah-wraiths — telling her she must bring about the restoration of Bajor, as the Emissary has faltered. Back on Cardassia, a clearly disillusioned Damar provides Dukat (who talks about his embrace of the pan-wraiths) with forged travel documents and Dukat urges Damar to be the leader Cardassia needs. Then, Dukat posing as a Bajoran farmer, shows up on the station and seeks Winn’s guidance, only to make it appear that he is the guide the pah-wraiths told her about. Meanwhile, Sisko has told Kasidy that the wedding is off and Weyoun, the female Changeling and Damar (who is being told less and less by Weyoun) are on a trip for a mysterious rendezvous. Sisko eventually decides to defy the Prophets and has Ross marry him and Kasidy. The episode ends as the Breen turn over Ezri and Worf to Weyoun’s party and Weyoun tells them the Dominion and the Breen are now allies.

This miniature house needs a miniature clock... right... there.
“This miniature house needs a miniature clock… right… there.”

Why it’s important

Well, the big item is the establishment of the Dominion-Breen alliance, which tilts the war back in the favor of the Dominion for a while. While we don’t learn a ton more about the Breen in the coming episodes, we learn more about them than we had in all of second-generation Trek. Other than one episode, “Indiscretion”, back in season four and that one dude in the Dominion prison camp,  the Breen had only really been mentioned in previous episodes. They were sort of the Dr. Selar of aliens up until this point (seen briefly, mentioned as filler dialog a lot).

We also see more of how Damar is disillusioned with the Dominion. His actions later in the final DS9 arc will be as important as any other character — but more on that in our next review. And, of course, there’s Dukat and his manipulation of Winn that will lead to the ultimate showdown with Sisko at the end of the series. More on that in the next several reviews.

No... we weren't in Return of the Jedi. We're totally different!
“No… we weren’t in ‘Return of the Jedi’. We’re totally different!”

What doesn’t hold up

I have a real problem with the Kasidy storyline. Nothing against the character or the actor. But it bothers me that a character who clearly hasn’t been that big a part of Sisko’s life (based on everything we’ve seen on screen) would suddenly become so important that he’d defy the Prophets’ warnings.

Think I’m being overly critical? Consider that Kasidy showed up in five episodes since she was tossed in the big house after helping the Maquis back in the fourth season. She shows up once in the fifth season, twice in the sixth and then twice in the seventh (both of which are inconsequential nonsense episodes) before the final arc. What’s missing is where she was after showing up in the fifth season prior to the Dominion taking the station (was she on Bajor the whole time?) and where she was while Sisko was on Earth for three months trying to reconnect with the Prophets (shouldn’t she have been around to help him through everything, or at least been mentioned?). Did she go out for cigarettes, or something?

The question of where she was while Sisko was on Earth is particularly egregious as we know she was still heavily involved with Sisko based on her appearance in the episode right before Dukat killed Jadzia and cut off the Prophets from Bajor. At least, in the fifth season, you could argue that maybe she and Sisko had a cool-down period after she showed up in “Rapture” and before the Dominion retook the station.

There was a really quick way of fixing this, by the way. All the creators needed to do was insert some vague line of dialog in “Penumbra” about how Kasidy or Sisko is happy that they stayed together despite all the “ups and downs,” or some similar language. Instead, making Kasidy so important to Sisko here — despite her absence at times when she shouldn’t have been absent — is really sloppy. It’s Voyager-level continuity, to be blunt.

Otherwise, these two episodes have too much annoying Ezri/Worf prattle — but at least that situation is mostly resolved by the end of the second episode. And I do find it odd that it’s so easy for Dukat to make it onto the station and not be detected as a Cardassian. But, oh, well.

We're two power-hungry psychopaths. This'll turn out great!
“We’re two power-hungry psychopaths. This’ll turn out great!”

Final thoughts

We’ll be reviewing all eight of DS9’s final episodes, but in two-episode chunks where appropriate. When it’s all said and done, there will likely be more DS9 episodes reviewed on this site than any other series, as a result of the serial nature of the show and the ambition of the creators.

Despite the Kasidy ridiculousness, there’s a lot of good stuff here, but my favorite storyline is the one involving Damar, who becomes one of the show’s most complex characters. That’s fascinating, given his introduction as a glorified extra back in “Return to Grace”. The creators lucked out that Casey Biggs was up to the challenge.

Lastly, it’s weird that Kasidy mentions how her mother would want her wedding to be presided over by a minister. It’s a quick throwaway line, but it’s really strange, considering there’s been no evidence of organized religion for humans since TOS (and even then, most of the references in Kirk’s time were vague). Gene Roddenberry, of course, was a known atheist. The line was typical of late DS9, however, when the evolved-and-advanced humanity trope of TNG sort of was kicked aside even on small details — like using Earth days of the week on a space station with 26-hour days and the increased use of 20th-century culture even among the station’s non-humans (Odo and Kira embracing Vic Fontaine, etc.).

Coming next week …

The final arc continues — and the Breen make things more interesting.