Category Archives: Cardassian

“Treachery, Faith and the Great River”

I'd literally like "God is my co-pilot" to come true, let's grab a runabout and go!
I’d literally like “God is my co-pilot” to come true, let’s grab a runabout and go!

Odo, lured to a planet after a message from a presumed dead Cardassian contact, finds Weyoun, who sent the fake message and wants to defect. He’s a new version of the Vorta clone and he apparently doesn’t buy what the Dominion’s doing and wants to serve Odo, who skeptically sees a kindred spirit. Odo proceeds to take Weyoun back to the station before they’re found by Damar and a newer Weyoun, who has no problem with the Dominion’s plans for conquest. The two send the Jem’Hadar after the runabout — knowing that the Founders would object to it being destroyed with Odo on it. The female Changeling (Salome Jens) appears, and she doesn’t look well (something Damar notices). With the Jem’Hadar closing in, Weyoun tells Odo that he wants to serve Odo in imagined efforts to reframe the Dominion’s thinking. He also tells a shocked Odo that a disease has infected the Great Link, and that all the Founders are dying. After a nifty chase through an asteroid field, the Jem’Hadar close in on the runabout, and Weyoun activates a suicide implant to save Odo, but asks Odo for his blessing as he dies. Odo, who’s never embraced the Founders’ preferred role as gods, accommodates Weyoun and returns home — and acknowledges that his people will now be more dangerous than ever.

Why it’s important

The disease infecting the Great Link has huge implications the rest of the way, as it makes the Founders more desperate and also provides the Federation with leverage to end the war as the series ends. Of course, we learn later that our favorite rogue Starfleet agency is behind the disease, and that Odo was actually the instrument they used to infect the Link when the Founders summoned Odo for judgment back in “Broken Link” (sad trombone).

There’s a subtler piece here, too. The idea from good Weyoun that Odo could teach his people not to be all about conquest and control really shows up here in a huge way — and it plays big into Odo’s decisions at the end of the series.

Oh, and it was a nice bit of continuity that the Cardassian contact Odo leaves to see was likely the guy we saw in the shadows way back in “Improbable Cause”, as the cave for both meetings appears to be the same.

Founder PSA: When you link with someone, you link with everyone they've ever linked with as well. Practice safe linking!
Founder PSA: When you link with someone, you link with everyone they’ve ever linked with as well. Practice safe linking!

What doesn’t hold up

Well, Odo’s runabout sure takes a pounding from the Jem’Hadar. Seems like the ship should have been blown to pieces with all the shots it took. But this is something Star Trek has always been bad at — the Bad Guys Get Destroyed With One Shot But Good Guys Can Take At Least Six Syndrome.

I’ll talk more about the B-plot in a moment, but I don’t really buy Sisko’s obstinacy about forcing O’Brien to make repairs when he doesn’t have the parts. Telling an engineer to get something done in less time than quoted is sort of a Star Trek staple. But it’s not as if O’Brien can wish a gravity net to fall out of the sky.

This totally worked when Jake wanted that base-ball card, trust me Chief!
This totally worked when Jake wanted that bas-e-ball card, trust me Chief!

Final thoughts

The B-plot is rather pleasant, considering it could have been annoying Ferengi drivel or just some by-the-numbers attempt at levity. Clearly, the B-plot was a way to get many of the regular cast and crew involved in the episode (only Cirroc Lofton gets no love, as he continues down the path of the younger sister on “Family Matters”). Colm Meaney and Aron Eisenberg really do a nice job, as does Alexander Siddig.

Even those Trek fans who don’t like DS9 — and I know there are valid reasons for not liking it — should acknowledge that this was the best overall cast, particularly late in the run. Even regular guest stars like J.G. Hertzler become well-realized characters. In an episode that’s at least half devoted to something fairly inconsequential (like this one) a strong cast goes a long way.

Coming next week …

More mind-f***ing for Bashir by our buddies at Section 31.

“Image in the Sand” and “Shadows and Symbols”

Either I'm your mother or the midi-chlorians did it, you pick Ben...
“Either I’m your mother or the midi-chlorians did it, you pick Ben…”

Part one: Sisko’s back on Earth at his father’s restaurant, still searching for answers after Jadzia’s death and the departure of the Prophets. Meanwhile, the war continues and Kira grants permission for the Romulans to set up a hospital facility on one of Bajor’s moons — only to find the Romulans are putting weapons there. Worf is still hurting from the loss of Jadzia, mostly because she didn’t get a warrior’s death. After O’Brien (in a great scene) gets to the bottom of Worf’s problems, Martok steps in, asking Worf to be his first officer on a dangerous mission to honor Jadzia. Back on Earth, Sisko finally has a vision and sees a woman’s face in the sand. It turns out the face belongs to the first wife of his father Joe (Brock Peters) and the woman is actually Sisko’s mother, whom Sisko had no knowledge of and who left Joe and died while Sisko was a small child. Sisko decides to go look for the woman and the Orb of the Emissary, mentioned in the vision, on the planet Tyree, and preps to leave with Jake and Joe. As the episode ends, a young woman arrives at the restaurant, identifying herself as Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer).

Part two: We learn that Ezri was unprepared to take on the symbiont, so she’s having a tough time adapting to being joined. But she leaves with the Siskos for Tyree. Kira, meanwhile, sets up a blockade to prevent the final pieces of the Romulans’ weapons from reaching their base, with Admiral Ross stuck between Kira and Romulan Senator Creetak (Megan Cole). Worf and Martok head out for their mission to destroy a Dominion shipyard with O’Brien, Bashir and Quark along. The three plots coalesce as Sisko finds the Orb of the Emissary but becomes Benny Russell (“Far Beyond the Stars”) in a mental hospital being told his stories of DS9 aren’t real. Just as Sisko/Russell is about to accept this — and as all looks lost for both Kira’s blockade and Worf/Martok’s mission — Sisko/Russell does a 180 and opens the Orb box instead of smashing it. The wormhole reappears, and an emboldened Kira says she won’t back down, despite the presence of several Romulan warbirds — prompting Ross to step in and force the Romulans out. Martok’s ship successfully destroys the Dominion shipyard and Sisko speaks with the woman who was his mother, Sarah (Deborah Lacey). She is a Prophet who briefly merged with a human woman to … orchestrate Sisko’s birth. Sisko heads back to DS9 a hero, and the staff — included a befuddled Worf — meets the new Dax.

Why it’s important

Well, we learn that Sisko is part Bajoran god, so that’s something. As noted in previous reviews, the DS9 creators really decided to go for broke in the final season-plus. Here’s another example.

The continuation of the Federation/Romulan alliance also is important, though it’s annoying that we see no fallout after this episode — and we later see Creetak as rather buddy-buddy with the DS9 crew, including Kira (hmmm). Meanwhile, we don’t really see how the destruction of the shipyard plays in, but I suppose it can be inferred that it further weakened the Dominion.

Benny you need to calm down. How about a nice glass of kanar.
“Benny you need to calm down. How about a nice glass of kanar?”

What doesn’t hold up

In one way, these two episodes are tough to critique based on our usual criteria. We learn that Sisko is — and always has been — at least partly a descendant of the Prophets, meaning that he was always meant to come to DS9, discover the wormhole, etc. But way back in “Emissary”, the Prophets were all confused about what a linear being even was and certainly didn’t recognize Sisko.

Assuming the Prophets weren’t lying — which is a fairly safe assumption — the guess is that after they met Sisko, they decided to go back in time and make him part Prophet. This squares with what we first learned (sort of) because the Prophets have no concept of time and could move back and forth to do whatever they wanted. But, then, why the interrogation during “Emissary”? The Prophets should have been all like, “Glad you finally got here. This is the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, as you call it. You may use it. We are of Bajor.”

Granted, that wouldn’t do much for exposition in the pilot. But it would have tracked better with aliens who have no concept of a linear existence.

Oh, and does anybody else think it’s weird that Sisko could take a leave of absence and just borrow a runabout? Wouldn’t this be like a captain in the U.S. navy borrowing a fighter jet to go home for vacation? Granted, we’ve seen DS9 officers take runabouts on vacation before, but not for three months. Also, where is Tyree? Is it in the Bajoran system? Is it just some random world Sisko knew about and recognized in his vision? Like the runabout question, it’s not a huge deal. But both are sort of odd.

Final question, with all of our heroes off the station in the second episode, who was in command of DS9? Ross is there, of course, but he was clearly dealing with Kira and Creetak. The only quasi-main character with any sort of rank whom we don’t see in part two is Nog … so I guess he was treating the Ops staff to some root beers?

Final, final question: Jake says, at the end of part one, that he’s packed his toothbrush. Unless this has become an old saying or something — which is possible — are we to believe that dental care hasn’t advanced in 350 years? We’ll note a lot of items like this in DS9’s final season …

I hope you want to spend most of the final season getting to know me!
“I hope you want to spend most of the final season getting to know me!”

Final thoughts

Ambiguity surrounding the Prophets aside, I love these two episodes, particularly part two. The cross-cutting between the three plots really works, and that things get better for Worf and Kira as Sisko decides to open the Orb box was well done — and the visuals with Martok’s ship are some of my favorite in the series. And though I’ve never been a huge fan of “Far Beyond the Stars” — Avery Brooks’ performance was over the top and most of the other characters played by the regular cast were really annoying — I’ll give the creators credit for calling back to that episode here.

There’s also, of course, the introduction of a major character in Ezri Dax. While the creators rammed a lot of “Ezri Fun!” down our throats in the seventh season — “Prodigal Daughter” and “Field of Fire” almost seem like they were required by de Boer’s agent for her to join the cast — she mostly works in the season’s first two episodes. The scene in the runabout in part two just after she’s been space sick was a bit much, but it actually gave Cirroc Lofton something to do, which doesn’t happen much in the seventh season. De Boer seems to have studied Terry Farrell’s performance, which was a nice touch. But season seven’s slight drop in quality can be traced in part to too much Ezri.

Finally, the scene in which O’Brien brings a bottle of blood wine to Worf’s quarters to find out what’s bothering our favorite Klingon really shows how good the DS9 actors were in their roles. For Michael Dorn and Colm Meaney — who had been playing these characters for more than a decade — the ease of the conversation was just so great. “You call that a visit?!” “I enjoyed it.” Perfect.

Oh, and gotta love any mention of our old buddy Reg Barclay from TNG. “Who could forget him?” Worf says, hilariously.

Coming later this week …

Nog does his best Corporal Klinger impersonation. Oh, and the Founders are dying, or something.

“Tears of the Prophets”

We're all in love here. So nothing bad is going to happen. At all. Have fun in the battle I'm going to go read some Anton Chekov.
“We’re all in love here. So nothing bad is going to happen. At all. Have fun in the battle I’m going to go read some Anton Chekov.”

Sisko is tasked by Starfleet with planning a new offensive against the Dominion. As Damar and Weyoun ready for the attack in their closet/headquarters on Cardassia Prime, Dukat shows up, telling them that he can use a captured Bajoran artifact to enlist the Bajorans’ pah-wraiths (introduced back in “The Assignment”) and destroy Sisko in the process. Sisko readies to attack a planet in Cardassian space and is contacted by the Prophets, who tell him not to leave. Sisko, of course, chooses his duty over the Prophets’ warnings. The battle is a success, but a possessed Dukat shows up on the station as it’s happening and deposits a bunch of evil energy — I’m not really sure how else to describe it — into one of the Bajoran Orbs, killing Jadzia in the process. Sisko returns to the station with the wormhole gone and Jadzia dead (though the Dax symbiont is saved and sent to Trill). As the episode ends, a saddened and somewhat lost Sisko is back at his father’s restaurant on Earth, searching for answers.

It's as if millions of voices cried out at once then were suddenly... sorry, wrong franchise.
“It’s as if millions of voices cried out at once then were suddenly… sorry, wrong franchise.”

Why it’s important

This is another episode in the Dukat random-element series. It also connects him with the pah-wraiths, which is an important relationship through the end of the series, as we’ll see.

The Federation and its allies going on the offensive is big, too. The tide of the war was clearly turning at this point.

And then there’s Sisko and his slow and steady march toward a stronger connection with the Prophets. That will come to fruition more in the next few episodes, but it’s shown here. The Prophets clearly are watching and mindful of everything Sisko does — which is a (believable) departure from what we saw way back in “Emissary”.

Scene from the unreleased military procedural spin-off "NCIS: Lakarian City"
Scene from the unreleased military procedural spin-off “NCIS: Locarian City”

What doesn’t hold up

First of all, it’s weird — and clearly contrived — that Dax was left behind in command of the station. The more natural and common thing would have been to have Kira on DS9 and Dax on the Defiant with Sisko. But then, Dax wouldn’t be on the station when Dukat arrived and wouldn’t be caught in the crossfire.

Also, I find it hard to believe that Sisko would allow Garak on the Defiant’s bridge after “In the Pale Moonlight”.

Oh, and this is as good as time as any to bring this up. Dukat beams aboard the station (from parts unknown) because Dominion transporters can operate over extremely large distances (we learn it’s like three light years in a few episodes). So, why wouldn’t the Dominion get three light years away and just beam hundreds of Jem’Hadar on board the station?

Here I am, in a place where I'm almost never at. Asking the prophets if they like Becker.
“Here I am, in a place where I almost never go, asking the Prophets if they like ‘Becker’.”

Final thoughts

Sisko’s talk with Dax’s coffin is a high point of the episode, but so is the initial discussion with Damar, Weyoun and Dukat. One of DS9’s strengths was the great supporting cast who played truly well-developed characters. Jeffrey Combs, Marc Alaimo and Casey Biggs just hit it out of the park in this episode, and Alaimo’s delivery about Dukat being a “new man” was pitch perfect.

Oh, and I don’t care for Vic Fontaine so I won’t write about him much. Sorry!

Coming next week …

New Dax, same as the old Dax. Except shorter.


My finely tuned captain-sense tells me that nothing could go wrong at all with a high value prisoner transfer like this. Nothing. At. All.
“My finely tuned captain-sense tells me that nothing could go wrong at all with a high-value prisoner transfer like this. Nothing. At. All.”

Sisko is on board the U.S.S. Honshu, a ship taking our old buddy Gul Dukat to a hearing regarding his alleged role as a war criminal. Dukat, of course, had a major breakdown when the Federation retook DS9, and he’s not quite all there. Then, the Honshuu is destroyed by some Cardassian ships and Dukat rescues an injured Sisko and lands a shuttle on a desolate planet — where all they can really do is talk and wait to be rescued. Dukat — who’s hallucinating the entire time — wants Sisko’s approval or at least forgiveness so much that he makes it look like he’s transmitting a distress signal, when he’s really not. Sisko discovers this, and Dukat attacks him. A fed up Sisko finally agrees to talk out Dukat’s past — and gets Dukat to admit that he wanted to kill the Bajorans all along. Sisko nearly escapes after clubbing a distracted Dukat, but Dukat leaves in the shuttle (which apparently was working all along) and tells Sisko he intends to seek revenge on the Bajorans. Dukat then lets a rescue party led by Worf on the Defiant Sisko’s whereabouts. In the Defiant’s sickbay, Sisko tells Dax that he’s sure now that Dukat is “pure evil” and that the two will likely face off again. Thunderclap.

Why it’s important

Dukat’s careening path from ambitious opportunist to crazy psycho is really put in place here, after a pit stop in between in which he was in a mental hospital (which we only  learn about in passing). Dukat, of course, becomes DS9’s random element through the end of the series, not truly acting in the Dominion’s best interest but with motives that (somewhat annoyingly) alternate between getting Sisko and letting him go (as he did here) and getting back at the Bajorans and looking for their worship.

This, of course, wasn’t the first episode since the Federation retook the station, but it is the first one after “Sacrifice of Angels” that we reviewed. So, as a sort of footnote, this episode is one of many where life on the station sort of has returned to normal.

“Let’s play a game of Weyoun clone or hallucination!”

What doesn’t hold up

Too often in late DS9, our heroes (or our main characters) seem to be the only people out of dozens or even hundreds who escape after a ship is destroyed. Why the DS9 creators couldn’t have just said that there were 100 survivors or something is beyond me.

Also, isn’t it odd that Kira and Odo are apparently getting orders from Starfleet and passing them on to Worf and the other Starfleet folks? After the Honshu is destroyed, Kira and Odo are talking in Sisko’s office and then tell Worf, Dax, Bashir and O’Brien that they only have a brief window to find Sisko before starting on another mission. I could probably swallow if Kira on her own was getting the briefing, but Odo? What an odd choice.

In the future, we make everything shiny, including casts. Because... because it's more futuristic!
In the future, we make everything shiny, including casts. Because… because it’s more futuristic!

Final thoughts

“Waltz” is, of course, classic DS9. It opens up the deep canvas of the show’s history with great acting and dialog. Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo bring their absolute A games as actors who clearly got to know each other’s rhythms over the course of several seasons. Words only can’t really do justice to some of the scenes in the cave.

Coming later this week …

We learn about Starfleet’s dark underbelly in one of DS9’s most controversial episodes.

“Sacrifice of Angels”

I shall hit this "base ball" into what they call "right field."
“I shall hit this ‘base ball’ into what they call ‘left field’.”

Sisko’s fleet begins fighting the vastly larger Dominion force while Dukat watches with glee and prepares to take down the minefield around the wormhole. At Damar’s suggestion, Kira, Jake and Leeta are all taken into custody (where Rom was being held pre-execution), leaving Quark as the only member of Kira’s resistance cell able to do anything. Quark, getting an assist from Ziyal, frees Kira’s team, and Kira and Rom work to disable the station so it can’t remove the minefield. The Defiant eventually breaks through the Dominion lines — with some late help from Worf and the Klingons — and sets course for the station. Odo picks his side and helps Kira and Rom, but Rom is just a second to late — and cuts the station’s weapons after the minefield has been destroyed. The Defiant arrives just in time to watch the mines explode and Sisko sets course into the wormhole, where the ship runs into the huge Dominion fleet. Then, the Prophets summon Sisko, asking him if he’s trying to die. Sisko talks the Prophets into intervening — “If you want to be gods, BE gods” — which they do, after telling Sisko there will be a penance. The Dominion ships disappear, and the Defiant comes out of the wormhole, firing on a disabled DS9. Weyoun orders evacuation and a retreat to Cardassian space and a stunned Dukat starts to fall apart. He finds Ziyal, who admits to helping Kira, and just as Dukat has apparently forgiven her, Damar shows up and shoots and kills Ziyal. After the Dominion evacuations, Sisko and company retake the station and find Dukat, a broken man from the ordeal.

Get another actress to play... my corpse...
“Get another actress to play… my corpse…”

Why it’s important

That’s likely the longest plot summary we’ve written, so you can tell that a lot happens here. The Federation retaking DS9 is a HUGE domino, of course — as is the decision by the Prophets to take on a more active role in “corporeal matters,” which plays into the seventh season in a major, major way. And then there’s the matter of Dukat …

Dukat’s breakdown and subsequent actions, which we’ll get into in future reviews, really change the math for the rest of DS9. Instead of merely fighting the Dominion, Sisko must face a random element in Dukat who decides to take on the Bajorans, Sisko and the Prophets because of their actions there.

The first rule of acquisition is... don't f**k with the brothers Quark!
“The first rule of acquisition is… don’t f**k with the brothers Quark!”

What doesn’t hold up

Before I get started, let me be on record as saying I really like this episode, despite what may come across as ranting.

As the episode begins, occupied DS9 has at least a handful of Dominion and Cardassian ships in the area. There’s no discussion of these ships being sent to help with the fighting. And yet, they seem to magically disappear after Rom disables the station’s weapons. This is very important, in that the Dominion gives up the station (too easily) when the Defiant emerges from the wormhole. If even one of those ships was still around, it could have at least tried to take on the Defiant. I know that subsequent dialog establishes that the Starfleet/Klingon ships were on their way to the station after breaking through the Dominion lines. But if the Dominion had kept even a ship or two at DS9, they might have been able to hold off the Defiant until the station’s weapons were fixed so they could hold off the Starfleet and Klingon attackers.

And, BTW, we KNOW that some Dominion ships were still at the station, as the Dominion used them to evacuate its personnel. The creators somewhat weakly sidestep this by not showing the evacuation ships, meaning that maybe they were just shuttles or something that would have been unable to stop the Defiant. But that’s really weak sauce, as it would suggest that the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta would be cool putting a Founder in a small (and presumably lightly armed) ship in the middle of a war zone (among a host of other reasons).

And, frankly, Weyoun and the female Changeling are just WAY too chill about losing the station. Keep in mind that a season-plus later, we learn just how much the Dominion doesn’t like to lose.

As long as the complaint fest is going on, let’s address the fact that the Defiant still has the cloaking device on loan from the Romulans — despite the fact that the Romulans (at this point) have a non-aggression pact with the Dominion. The cloaking device is disabled during the battle early in the episode, but it is mentioned. Shouldn’t the Romulans have gotten that back when the war started?

While this is a criticism that might be best addressed after this episode, it makes sense to mention here: Why wouldn’t the Dominion take action against some weird wormhole aliens who just (apparently) destroyed 2,800 of their ships? After this episode, Dukat is the only one who seems to grasp the Prophets as a threat and a potential enemy. That’s really unlike the Dominion, who take every opportunity to strike out at perceived foes. We learn after this episode — too late, really, as the question is left unaddressed until the end of the season — that the Prophets will begin keeping ships from using the wormhole, preventing reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. That’s another reason the Dominion likely should have been looking for ways to attack the Prophets.

Victory is assured. I mean only a crazy set of circumstances... from "left field" could stop us now!
“Victory is assured. I mean only a crazy set of circumstances… from ‘left field’ could stop us now!”

Final thoughts

Of course, I could quibble with the deus ex machina allowing Sisko to get rid of 2,800 Dominion ships. Watching this in 1997, I felt the ending was a cheat. But I’ll give the DS9 creators credit for how they incorporated the penance later — and how they use this as a springboard to make the Prophets more active participants. Put another way, it was a cheat — but it was a well-done cheat after the creators (in true DS9 style) stacked the deck too highly against themselves and our heroes.

Lastly, I really love that Quark kind of saves the Alpha Quadrant here.

Coming next week …

We see just how badly this all messed up Dukat.