Category Archives: 2372


Let me count our shuttles to calm my mind. 1, 2, 3... 15
Let me count our shuttles to calm my mind. 1, 2, 3… 15

Chakotay, in a shuttle in private meditation, is attacked by the Kazon Ogla (from back in “Caretaker”). The attacker is a Kazon boy named Kar (Aron Eisenberg, Nog from DS9) trying to earn his adult name by killing an enemy. After damaging Kar’s fighter, Chakotay rescues him, but Chakotay’s shuttle is quickly captured by a Kazon mothership. Kar begs Chakotay to kill him, as he believes he will suffer a worse fate back with his people. The two eventually escape and end up on a barren planet the Ogla use for training. Voyager comes to the rescue and the Ogla leadership closes in, as well. Chakotay offers to let Kar kill him — figuring Voyager can recover and save him quickly — but Kar instead kills the Ogla leader and is given his name by the second in command (who is elevated to the top spot by Kar’s actions). Voyager then goes about its merry way.

Why it’s important

This episode, in many ways, could fit into TOS or TNG (in fact, it’s similar to TNG’s “The Enemy” in many respects). It’s the classic story of two enemies having to work together and eventually coming to a better understanding.

But the episode is especially significant because it provides so much backstory for the Kazon — an indication that the creators really mapped them out as the bad guys for season two. In this episode, we learn more about the infighting among the Kazon sects, about their weird honor code and how their young men are indoctrinated into their ways and how they were once subjected by another race called the Trabe (who become big players in a key episode later this season).

Voyager is often criticized for being too episodic, but it’s clear that the creators tried something serial in season two — and really began it here. We’ll discuss how successful they were as the season progresses — hint, not all that much — but the effort was definitely there, based on the first items mentioned in “Initiations”.

Glad we could finally open that box we took at DS9 labelled "New phasers, do not open until 2372."
Glad we could finally open that box we took on at DS9 labelled “New phasers, do not open until 2372.”

What doesn’t hold up

This is the first episode we’ve reviewed that gets into Voyager’s seemingly endless supply of shuttles. For a ship with limited resources, the fact that shuttles were wrecked so often was one of Voyager’s most obnoxious cliches.

Also, it’s odd that the Kazon Ogla shows up here. Assuming Voyager is moving quickly toward the Alpha Quadrant, shouldn’t they at least be running into a different sect (an easy fix, by the way)? Put another way, if Ogla territory covers this much area, shouldn’t they have been able to find water and not been so stunned by it in “Caretaker”? I know, I know — I’ll get off the whole water thing from the pilot, eventually.

Last point, Voyager somehow got a new type of phaser (along with the rest of Starfleet) while in the Delta Quadrant. In season one, the Voyager crew used the flat-handled phasers we’d seen throughout TNG and in DS9. But, starting in this episode, we see the curved-handled phasers that also appear around the same time on DS9. Hmmmm.

I hope a get a cool name like Cog, or Bog, or Tog.
I hope a get a cool name like Cog, or Bog, or Tog.

Final thoughts

It is interesting that Chakotay (in dialog with Kar) would make such a big deal about how much the Starfleet uniform means to him when he, you know, was an enemy of the Federation who had sworn off the uniform less than a year earlier. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it’s too bad that he didn’t say something like, “I once forgot how much this uniform means to me … ” This is the kind of nod to continuity that Voyager almost always seemed unwilling to weave in — even when doing so would have been extremely easy. It’s not as if a line of dialog like that would have required more exposition.

That said, Chakotay’s dialog with Kar is pretty well done, if heavy-handed at points. Chakotay was probably the most empathetic character among the main Voyager crew (with the exception of Kes) and it’s believable that he would gain the trust of a young Kazon — or, at least, more believable than if another character had been in his place.

Coming next week …

More Kazon Kraziness.


“Broken Link”

“This never happened on ‘Benson’.”

Odo gets all sick and Bashir is baffled. The crew figures that they need to take Odo back to the Founders, and it turns out they actually caused his illness as a way to make him come home and face the music for killing another Changeling (back in “The Adversary”). Sisko takes the Defiant to the Gamma Quadrant and allows the Jem’Hadar to pilot the ship to the Founders’ new, secret homeworld. Odo is in the Great Link for a while and emerges as a human, without the ability to shape shift. As he begins to struggle with his new existence back on the station at the end of the episode, he sees a transmission of Klingon Chancellor Gowron threatening war with the Federation and tells a shocked Sisko and Kira that he remembers (from his time in the link) that Gowron … is a Changeling.

“Remember when we had that KLINGON CIVIL WAR?”

Why it’s important

Well, Odo’s role as someone torn between two worlds (really, two quadrants) was a major thread of the entire series. It was a big shock when he lost his shape-shifting abilities — and an even bigger shock when he told Sisko and Kira that Gowron was actually a Changeling infiltrator. But, actually, the creators quietly — or inadvertently — made the events here blow up in the Founders’ faces. Skip ahead a few graphs if you want to avoid spoilers …

In DS9’s final season, it’s learned that the Founders are dying of a mysterious disease. It’s later learned that a rogue Starfleet organization — which we’ll soon meet — infected Odo when he was at Starfleet headquarters in “Homefront”/”Paradise Lost”, and Odo subsequently infected the Founders.

Here’s where things get interesting. Odo almost certainly infected the Great Link when he was called to be judged in this episode. He doesn’t interact with any Changelings (that we know of) between “Paradise Lost” and “Broken Link.” He regains his shapeshifting abilities in “The Begotten”, but he doesn’t link with another Founder for at least another year or so. And, by that point, no ships were coming and going from the two quadrants, meaning Odo couldn’t have had the disease and passed it to another Changeling who would have carried it to the Gamma Quadrant. So, really, the only chance Odo had to infect the other Changelings was in “Broken Link”. It’s likely he was infected again, early in the sixth season, when he briefly colludes with the female Changeling (Salome Jens) while the Dominion occupied DS9.

Last point on this: The Changeling threat really seems to fade into the background after the middle of the fifth season — even though we’ve been told the Founders have been all over the Alpha Quadrant for years. While it’s never exactly stated, one wonders if those Founders stopped impersonating people because they got infected — and instead reverted to a more typical military campaign.

Anyway, the disease is a big key to the Federation winning the war, even if you discount my theory on why the Changeling threat faded away and simply figure that what happened in this episode caused the Founders to get sick and later provided Odo a  huge chip to end the war earlier than it would have otherwise.

Spoilers over. 🙂

“So, tell me again why you all mimicked Odo’s hair and face?”

What doesn’t hold up

I guess I could question whether the Founders could really turn one of their own into a human. But the abilities of Changelings have always been pretty amazing. It’s incredible, for instance, how they can impersonate humanoids with such precision that they can out doctor Julian Bashir (which we see in season five) out-Klingon General Martok (as we also see in seasons four and five) and navigate the Defiant and understand its systems (as we saw in “The Adversary”). That Starfleet’s sensors can’t detect the difference between a Changeling and a human (or a Klingon, or whatever) has always been pretty amazing. I guess that means that Changelings can mimic internal organs while being scanned? Hmmmm …

So, sure. Maybe they can make Odo a solid and cause him to start deteriorating from the other side of the galaxy. Why not, I guess?

Otherwise, I kind of hate that Garak tries to set up Odo in this beginning of this episode. It’s quite odd that Garak would do this, and that a Bajoran woman would enlist his assistance in her attempt to go after Odo. It’s not appallingly bad. It’s just kind of bizarre.

Final thoughts

Props to the creators for a bit of continuity. Gowron mentions the Klingons’ claim to the Archanis system, mentioned way back in “Day of the Dove” on TOS. It’s a very small thing, but nods like that make Trek’s history much richer.

Otherwise, I really liked the moment between Quark and Odo as Odo walks through the promenade in his sickly state. It’s pretty clear that Quark and Odo are each other’s closest friend on the station (though the Kira/Odo stuff later changes that some) despite their rivalry. And, while I hated the Garak setup stuff, his presence on the Defiant to keep Odo occupied and his interaction with the female Changeling was vintage Garak — as was the classic exchange between Garak and Worf as Garak tries to use the Defiant’s weapons on the Founders’ homeworld.

Coming later this week …

Sisko, Worf, Odo and O’Brien go undercover … as Klingons? It happened, people.

“For the Cause”

“F*ck you, f*ck you, f*ck you, you’re cool , f*ck you– I’m out.”

The Federation is sending a bunch of heavy-duty replicators to Cardassia to help rebuild the battered empire following the Klingon invasion. Eddington is leading the efforts and he and Odo tell Sisko that they suspect that his new main squeeze, Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) is smuggling goods to the Maquis on her freighter — something they confirm by following her ship to the Badlands in a cloaked Defiant. They plan to arrest her and the Maquis on their next trip — a big part of the episode is Sisko not wanting to arrest her — but the Defiant lies in wait as Kasidy’s ship waits for hours for a rendezvous. It turns out the whole thing with Kasidy was a ploy by the Maquis, specifically Eddington, who has defected(!),to get Sisko and most of the senior staff off the station to steal the replicators. Sisko leaves Kasidy’s ship behind to try to catch Eddington, but he’s too late. Eddington contacts Sisko and gives him a blistering speech about his reasoning, and Sisko vows to hunt down Eddington, even if it takes the rest of his career. Kasidy returns to the station to face the music and tells Sisko she’ll return to him after some time in prison.

Why it’s important

This is another example of the creators showing Cardassia in really bad shape following the Klingon invasion. That’s important considering where the Cardies turn for help in season five.

It also shows the expanding grasp of the Maquis, who had largely been forgotten about in season four (probably because the Klingons were taking so much focus). Eddington’s defection isn’t a galaxy-shaking domino, though we learn later that the Maquis scored their biggest victories under his leadership (at least, that’s what he says).

In a bigger picture way, this is a good example of why DS9 was a compelling show. On TNG or Voyager, it’s very likely we never would have heard of Eddington again. But we see two more episodes involving him, one of which is a personal favorite of mine — and both are pretty significant moments in the DS9 tapestry.

“Don’t worry, Ben. I’ll be back. And then I’ll disappear for a while and then I’ll be back and be really important to you.”

What doesn’t hold up

I’ve always wondered where the hell Dax was at the end of this episode. It’s true that Sisko, O’Brien, Worf and Odo are on the Defiant while Eddington does his thing — and, of course, he stuns Kira. But Dax was fourth in command and must have been in the holosuite or eating steamed azna while Eddington stole the replicators.

Speaking of Eddington’s plan, it all comes together a little too well, doesn’t it? That he was able to so cunningly get Sisko, Odo, Worf and O’Brien off the station — and stun Kira — was pretty incredible. And, really, it’s disappointing to think that the junior officers would be dumb enough (and that Eddington would know they would be dumb enough) to go along with everything he did.

Beyond that, how did Sisko — yet again — justify using the Defiant’s cloaking device in the Alpha Quadrant? This was expressly forbidden from what we learned in “The Search”, but Sisko pretty much ignores that rule whenever he thinks it’s appropriate. Hmmm.

“I’m looking forward to playing this character for many years.”

Final thoughts

While Kasidy Yates vacillates between being an important character (like in this episode) to being not important (like when she only appears once in the sixth season) to being important again (like when she shows up for most of the last leg of the final season). We haven’t had a real chance to dive into the character, though she did show up in “The Way of the Warrior”.

Oh, and I suppose you COULD argue that Garak’s new relationship with Ziyal — a rather weak subplot — is somewhat significant given later events. Still, Ziyal’s later importance has more to do with her father Gul Dukat than with Garak. Also, it’s odd that another actor plays Ziyal here, and that another one will play her when we see her again. This was DS9’s weirdest casting issue, BTW.

This episode is probably best remembered for Eddington’s f-you speech to Sisko. It’s well-acted and well-written — and the idea that the Federation is “insidious” is a good theme of DS9. But why did Eddington get to this place with his assessment of the Federation? We never see any motivation for it, as he’s always been a fairly by-the-book dude. It’s too bad the creators didn’t try to sew up on of their goofiest misfires of season four and give Eddington some motivation at the same time. Put on your fan-fiction glasses for a second …

Hilariously, Eddington (Starfleet head of security on DS9) is nowhere to be seen when the Klingons attack. Hell, he’s not even mentioned! The creators should have used this as an opportunity to explain where Eddington was at that point. With just a few lines of dialog, they could have established that he was on a mission and witnessed the Maquis hit in the crossfire during the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. Remember, Sisko did everything he could to save the heads of the Cardassian government, but didn’t (apparently) let the Maquis know the Klingons were coming. That could have easily enraged Eddington into defecting.

Coming next week …

Here come the judge, here come the judge for Odo.


“No, that’s really the Sisko. I know, I know — he looks different with the shaved head and the goatee.”

An old Bajoran ship emerges from the wormhole and its pilot is Akorem Laan (Richard Libertine, otherwise known as the editor on “Fletch”) a famous poet lost for two centuries. He’s convinced that he’s the Emissary as he found the wormhole and the prophets first. Sisko’s initially relieved, but Akorem starts messing things up by saying the Bajorans should revert to a strict caste system. Such a system would prevent Bajor from joining the Federation and prompts a crazy vedek to kill someone from an unclean sect. Sisko and Akorem go into the wormhole, and it turns out the whole endeavor was a sort of test for Sisko (seems like “The Matrix” creators watched this episode). Akorem is sent back to his own time, the caste system is abandoned and Sisko finally starts to embrace his role as Emissary.

“I prefer Jars of Clay, and that band sucks.”

Why it’s important

Much of the Bajoran stuff from DS9’s first couple seasons was forgotten by mid- to late-DS9. That’s too bad in some ways, as the trilogy to start season two was really good TV. But its lasting consequences were minimal as Bajor just sort of fell in line (other than our old buddy Kai Winn) as the series went on.

But Sisko’s role as Emissary became increasingly important. Having him embrace it here was crucial for the character, as Sisko went from a career Starfleet officer — see his discussion with Worf at the end of “The Way of the Warrior” — to a person who embraced being a religious figure. For three-and-a-half seasons, this was a point of tension for Sisko. After “Accession”, Sisko not only takes the Emissary ball. He runs with it.

Also of importance is the idea that the prophets are “of Bajor” a point first made here. What exactly this means is never explained, but the fact that the prophets have a stake in what happens in linear time is a very important factor in what we see later, particularly in the Dominion War.

Yay! Keiko’s back. Let the bickering begin!

What doesn’t hold up

Of course, the change in the prophets is rather abrupt. Back in “Emissary”, the prophets just sort of tolerated passage through the wormhole and didn’t get linear beings. The Bajorans had built a religion around them, but it certainly appeared as if the prophets hadn’t done anything intentionally to stoke that — even if the orbs they sent were at the center of the Bajoran faith.

Here, it’s pretty clear the prophets helped propagate the religion. Their earlier connection to Bajor isn’t explained — which is fine — but the break from what we saw in season one is abrupt. Now, we learn later that the prophets occasionally would change things after learning about them, so maybe after “Emissary”, they decided to up their game. But that doesn’t make sense for a species that knows no difference between now, the past and the future.

Lastly, I’m surprised no Bajorans wondered whether Sisko did something untoward to Akorem. Remember that these are the same people who very quickly decided Sisko wasn’t the Emissary. Wouldn’t someone have asked some tough questions? Hell, it’s kind of amazing that Kai Winn — who is said to have sided with Akorem — didn’t pop up and fight Sisko.

Final thoughts

A lot of people don’t like the Bajoran DS9 stuff, but I think that had more to do with timing than anything. The Bajoran infighting happened while the series was really getting its sea legs. I think the issue isn’t that the Bajoran stuff was weaker material. I just think it mostly occurred when the actors and writers were fine-tuning their games. Avery Brooks, in particular, grew into the Sisko role as the series went on. Heck, the scene here with Nana Visitor, in which Kira tells Sisko she plans to leave to follow her caste and become an artist, is one of the stronger character moments in the series — especially if you remember where the characters started when the series began.

Now, maybe you could argue that DS9 as a series really took off when the stakes were greater — when the fate of the galaxy was in play, instead of the fate of one (relatively) insignificant planet. Of course, that’s one of DS9’s lasting legacies, that what was at first a rather inconsequential setting became so important in the greater Star Trek tapestry.

This episode also has one of DS9’s best laugh-out-loud moments. The subplot involves Keiko returning to the station and telling O’Brien she’s pregnant. The stuff with O’Brien and Bashir missing each other is nice (if a little forced) but Worf’s reaction to learning Keiko’s preggers — Worf, of course, delivered Molly O’Brien back on TNG — is priceless. A written summary doesn’t do it justice, so just go watch the episode.

Oh, and because it pops up here — when Quark tells O’Brien and Bashir about their usual Thursday night holosuite fun — does it bother anyone else that DS9 uses traditional Earth days? Keep in mind that the Bajoran day is 26 hours long …

Coming later this week …

Is Sisko sleeping with the enemy? Seriously, that was in the old promo.

“Return to Grace”

“I’m a bad guy, I’m a good guy, I’m a bad guy … “

Kira is escorted to a conference by none other than our old buddy/overseer of genocide Gul Dukat, recently demoted to freighter captain. Dukat’s standing fell after he brought his half-Bajoran daughter Ziyal (Cyia Batten, introduced in “Indiscretion”) back to Cardassia. When Dukat’s ship arrives at the conference, they find the outpost devoid of any life and the Cardassian and Bajoran attendees killed, after a Klingon attack. Kira then helps Dukat mount an attack on the guilty Bird of Prey, which they eventually capture (Dukat kills the crew). With the new ship in hand, Dukat goes against the Cardassian government — which is too crippled to use some intel from the Bird of Prey to go on the offensive — and starts his own private war against the Klingons. Kira takes Ziyal back to DS9.

“That’s right, bitches. I’m not just a glorified extra.”

Why it’s important

This episode is likely most remembered for the Kira/Dukat pairing that we saw a lot of starting in season four, beginning with “Indiscretion”.  We seriously debated reviewing that episode, as it somewhat leads to this one. Without Dukat sparing Ziyal at Kira’s urging, he wouldn’t have been demoted, which means he wouldn’t have been transporting Kira in this episode.

But more importantly was Dukat’s decision to fight the Klingons on his own and to buck the Cardassian government, which we see here. That, of course, hints at the kind of thinking that leads him to take the Cardassian Empire into a very different direction in the fifth season — a direction which has quadrant-shaking consequences, as we’ll get into later.

There’s also some good stuff in this episode about just how far Cardassia had fallen because of the Klingons. The dialog early in the episode about the decaying Cardassian health system was significant — as was the talk of the Klingons acting with impunity behind Cardassian lines.

And, of course, we meet Dukat’s adjutant Damar (Casey Biggs) for the first time here. Of interest is the fact that Damar started out as a glorified extra who went on to be one of the key players in DS9. More on that in later reviews as well.

“It’s good to see you, too, Nerys! I hope you treat the two other actors who play me as well as you’ve treated me!”

What doesn’t hold up

There are some smaller things that stand out — mostly regarding the Klingons’ willingness to ignore Dukat’s freighter after its rather paltry attack. Frankly, the Klingons, from what we know of them, would have almost certainly destroyed the freighter, as it was a military vessel. It’s not as if doing so would have been a huge tax on resources.

But, bigger picture, the chumminess between Kira and Dukat seen here and in “Indiscretion” just feels weird in concert with what we see of Dukat later. It almost works because it sort of paints Dukat as a pragmatist willing to do anything or behave in any way that he thinks will help him — and Kira (inconsistently) shows contempt for Dukat. But the way it’s done here, it almost paints Kira as in the wrong. It’s clear that the creators hadn’t decided that they’d make Dukat a villain again when they made these two episodes (or “Apocalypse Rising” in early season five).

Final thoughts

The big thing here — which we’ll see a lot of in some upcoming reviews — is just how bad things were for the Cardassians after the fall of the Obsidian Order and the Klingon invasion. “Return to Grace” isn’t a stellar episode, but it’s a good example of the increasingly serial nature of DS9 in the later seasons. This episode could have been a one-off episode. But Dukat’s actions here have a long string of consequences.

Coming next week …

Is Sisko really the Emissary? You bet your earrings he is.