Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Call to Arms"

***1/2

Air date: 6/16/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The Dominion is making impressive inroads in the Alpha Quadrant." — Odo

Nutshell: Nice work. A very good season finale filled with the typically compelling plot-based mayhem.

"Call to Arms" is more good DS9 from a season which I believe may very well be the best season of DS9—and of Trek—yet produced. While "Call to Arms" may not be perfect (it has its share of minor problems) it's quite good. The main reason it works is that it just makes so much ... sense.

Just like in "By Inferno's Light," there's the feeling here that the actual events of this installment are not as important as their implications on future stories to come next season. That's not to say these events aren't interesting as stand-alone entertainment (they are), but they feel more like pieces to the big puzzle than simply set-pieces.

The plot centers around what has been inevitable for what seems like years now: the preamble to an armed conflict between the Federation and the Dominion. More Dominion ships have been coming through the wormhole headed for Cardassia. The number of Jem'Hadar soldiers that must be stationed on Cardassia Prime is staggering. How many? "Too many," Sisko says quietly.

One thing "Call to Arms"—as well as the entire fifth season—has done very well is build the plot developments on top of previous shows slowly, steadily, and plausibly. Even when big, surprising developments do occur, they seem to follow out of what came before and tie into the various political schemes of the series. Heck, even the B-story of last week's comedy show "In the Cards" was a prologue to this episode.

And as a standalone episode, "Call to Arms" is thoroughly entertaining, despite a few flaws. Big action shows are fun, but big action shows that think about their roles in the large scheme of things are both fun and thought-provoking. This installment is an example of the latter.

For example, I find it very believable that Sisko would finally say "enough is enough" concerning all the Dominion troops that have entered the Alpha Quadrant. He decides no more must be allowed to enter, so Dax, O'Brien, and Rom come up with the idea of mining the entrance to the wormhole. And I also thought the response by the Dominion, who send their ambassador Weyoun to object, also made sense. The diplomatic scene here is one of complete insincerity; once Sisko tells Weyoun that he has no intention of removing the minefield, they both realize it will mean war—yet they continue the diplomacy with statements neither side could possibly, as Sisko so aptly puts it, "buy."

I also believe that, in an issue that further complicates matters, the Romulans would sign a non-aggression pact with the Dominion. Given that they, like the Cardassians, suffered such substantial losses at the hands of the Dominion in "The Die is Cast," the Romulans seem like a perfect candidate for caving under pressure they probably realize they can't afford. It rings very true and represents the Dominion's style, which is to shake up governments with subversive policies instead of simply brute force. Odo's keen observation, "The Dominion is making impressive inroads in the Alpha Quadrant," sums things up rather nicely.

Sisko's solution to keep Bajor out of the crossfire of imminent war is simple—but very risky. He recommends to the Bajoran government that they sign the non-aggression pact offered to them a few weeks earlier (see "In the Cards"). This could have some very interesting consequences next season. The notion definitely makes sense, even though it hardly makes for an ideal situation. This proves yet another thing: the series has not forgotten about Bajor. Just as Sisko realizes it's his mission to keep Bajor out of danger, the creators realize that the fate of Bajor will ultimately be more important to the payoff of the series than skirmishes between the Federation and the Dominion.

But for now, the Dominion is the spotlight, and the writers get them right. One idea that really works nicely as "Call to Arms" unfolds is the analysis of the Cardassian/Dominion relationship. Once the Cardassians and Dominion decide they're going to attack DS9, they send a fleet to the station. But there are different agendas working here; Weyoun and Dukat represent, respectively, standpoints from the Dominion and its Cardassian subset. Subtle as it may be, there is significant tension here. And while Dukat will heed the Dominion's decisions to remain peaceful toward Bajor, he certainly doesn't like it—and I think I see the beginnings of a rift here. I wouldn't be surprised to see a major internal conflict that—if I may be so bold in my predictions—could rip the Dominion and Cardassians apart from the inside. The subtext here is clear: Just as Bajor was forced to seek refuge behind the Federation, the Cardassians have sought refuge behind the Dominion. The difference, of course, is what the Federation represents versus what the Dominion represents. (Or, if you're a Maquis, maybe there isn't even a difference at all, which is why I love DS9.)

Of course, we also get a huge battle, which makes use of the station weapons array for the first time since "Way of the Warrior." Execution-wise, this is all well done. The special effects are good, as always, blending together stock material and new shots seamlessly—although this episode does not begin to threaten outdoing the top-notch sequences in "Way of the Warrior" or "Shattered Mirror." But, just as in most big DS9 battles, the sense that All Hell is Breaking Loose [TM] is conveyed as perfectly as ever. Jay Chattaway's score is fantastic—surprisingly thematic and dramatic. And the sight of so many, many ships is impressive. I don't believe we've ever seen as many ships in a single shot as we do here.

That brings us to the defeat. Even with their arsenal, Sisko and crew don't stand a chance against a Dominion fleet without reinforcements. (The Starfleet reinforcements are busy taking advantage of the opportunity by destroying a Dominion shipyard in Cardassian space, which I suppose will only fuel the fire for a full-scale war.) So, in a surprising turn of events, Sisko and the Starfleet crew is forced to evacuate the station and leave it up for grabs—but not before sabotaging all key systems. Kira and Odo, as members of the "neutral" Bajoran military, remain on board to welcome Dukat to DS9. "Don't you mean Terok Nor?" Dukat immediately asks.

In a number of ways, the ending to "Call to Arms" shows a full circle that echoes back to the first episode of the series—which is very appropriate. More than four years later, Dukat reclaims what he was forced to abandon, only to find it as trashed as the day he and the other Cardassians left it. (Now, that's a rather interesting notion to ponder.) Sisko abandoning the station is a major event, and his emotional speech promising to return feels sincere and keeps the issue in perspective. Even in war, Sisko knows what his real mission is.

As always with DS9, even though the story is far from over, the season finale doesn't come packaged as a cliffhanger—a style that I've really come to appreciate. There are a lot of little details in here that will definitely come into play next season. There's Dukat's uneasy alliance; there are the implications of the Bajoran non-aggression pact; there's Jake being left behind as a Starfleet news correspondent; there's Rom acting as a spy for Starfleet; and there's the cloaked minefield, with its self-replicating ability the Dominion is not aware of. And of course, the show's nicest touch is the baseball, which Sisko leaves on his desk as a very clear message to Gul Dukat: "I'll be back."

And back in force, it would seem. The final shot of the Defiant and Rotarran (Martok's ship) rendezvousing with a massive fleet of Klingon and Starfleet ships is extremely powerful, so much that it actually gave me chills. I predict I'll be viscerally engrossed in the resolution to this storyline next season.

Now, to change gears before wrapping up, I must report on the one real qualm I have with "Call to Arms," which is the subplot structure. This show covers a lot of ground, and some of the background elements nearly get lost. There's an indication here that the writers wanted a "romantic theme" to fill out the story. (Love and war, perhaps?) Unfortunately, very little of it worked.

The topic of Rom and Leeta's marriage (my least favorite characters on this series) takes up too much screen time and has an unsurprising "so what?" effect. The Odo/Kira scene that represents the fallout from "Children of Time" serves as an acknowledgement that we'll see it revived next season, but the scene of "discomfort" in Odo's office is clumsily handled. Then there's Dax's acceptance to Worf's nonverbal marriage proposal, which consists of about 30 seconds of screen time and ends with the typical blank stare from Worf. (My only thought here was "Huh?". It came completely out of left field and had no emotional impact whatsoever.) And am I the only one who wonders what in the world happened to Kasidy Yates (obvious casting issues aside)?

Subplots notwithstanding, "Call to Arms" is yet another in the line of episodes that tie the plot threads together into a big web of political intrigue—an approach that has made this past year an absolutely thrilling season. The execution may not have been perfect, but the themes almost certainly were, and the elements that are hanging over into next year harbor nothing but promise. Onwards!

Previous episode: In the Cards
Next episode: A Time to Stand

End-of-season article: Fifth Season Recap

Season Index

36 comments on this review

Destructor - Tue, Sep 1, 2009 - 7:55pm (USA Central)
Watched this last night: love it, love it, love it. This episode and the six that follow it represent the peak of my DS9-fandom. Absolutely brilliant.
Mal - Mon, Apr 12, 2010 - 9:38pm (USA Central)
What were the casting issues with Kasidy?
Nic - Mon, May 3, 2010 - 8:40am (USA Central)
I find it rather convenient that the Dominion actually offered to sign a non-agression pact with Bajor, given that unlike the Romulans, the Bajorans don't really pose a threat to the Dominion. Otherwise great episode - how I wish that I hadn't known the ending in advance.

As for Kasidy Yates, the reason we haven't seen her since "Rapture" is because Penny Johnson was unavailable.
jmtaylor - Sun, May 9, 2010 - 3:08pm (USA Central)
Watched this tonight again after a long time. Great ep but couldn't agree more about the 'romantic' side not working. Rom and Leeta's wedding was awful! Worf seemed distinctly underwhelmed at Jadzia accepting his non-offer of marriage. I just thought "Wow, how big-headed are you Dax"? Wait until your asked at least! Great set-up for what is come, can't wait (all over again).
Hapworth - Sun, May 23, 2010 - 10:40pm (USA Central)
Not sure how this episode did not receive four stars, though Jammer's rating is still quite high. The penultimate episode, "In the Cards," while charming, was also so light that it could float away, yet it received four stars. Still, I'm nitpicking. This is a great finale to a season, probably the strongest finale of any of the seasons of DS9. It's compelling, tension-filled, and the producers clearly saved money in the budget for the final episode because it shows: what a terrific battle sequence as the Dominion attach DS9. I can't wait to start season six.
Milstead - Fri, Nov 12, 2010 - 11:48pm (USA Central)
This was definitely the best season closer so far. If the final scene with the baseball isn't a defining moment of Sisko Badassery™, I don't know what is. My only gripe is that everything felt so rushed through. I wish "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." would've been sacrificed to make this a two-parter. I really felt like I was watching an abridged version of an episode that should've it's time to allow for more dramatic impact. Before you know it, the Dominion attack whizzes by, and there's Dukat standing in ops. That said, the fight was beautifully produced, and I can't wait to see how season six picks up the pieces.
Dan - Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - 12:30am (USA Central)
Very much agree with the satisfying balance of not being a forced cliffhanger to hook us into next season, but still paving the way for new storytelling avenues. This is exactly where a season finale should leave us.
David - Tue, Jan 18, 2011 - 11:07am (USA Central)
@Nic: I can totally buy the importance of a non-aggression pact with Bajor for the Dominion. The Bajoran Wormhole is, at this point, the most important place in the Alpha Quadrant for them; it is their only supply line from their bases in the Gamma Quadrant Bajor is full of hardened, trained resistance fighters. If I'm the Dominion, and I desperately need to protect the Wormhole (which presumably there still could be some way to permanently shut, despite changeling Bashir's efforts). All it could take to seriously harm the war effort could be one Resistance cell closing it for good. I'd want to neutralize that threat. A non-aggression pact can cover that base while they deal with the rest of the Alpha Quadrant.
Nic - Mon, Feb 21, 2011 - 1:20pm (USA Central)
Interesting take. In any case it was a minor complaint, this is definitely DS9's best season finale (and they are all pretty good) and one of the best season finales I've ever seen (along with 'The Best of Both Worlds', 'Scorpion' and 'Chrysalis' from Babylon 5).
tec - Tue, Dec 13, 2011 - 4:06am (USA Central)
The reason why things where rushed is because thats the way it should feel there was no time it was go go go after the mine field started going up

Jazeia had no time to sit around for Worf to ask her she gave the warrior a reason to live before he was swept away to Mortoks ship

Despite ppls dislike of Letta I found it perfect everything was happening so fast with Bajorans being rushed off the station it was now or maybe never

And Jammer glossed over a great scene with Rom and Quark this ep alone redeemed Rom IMO

Onward to S6
Eduardo - Wed, Dec 21, 2011 - 10:09am (USA Central)
Definitely the best season finale ever shot on any Trek series. On the same level as TNG's Best of Both Worlds and All Good Things.

Such a powerful hour, filled with numerous little character closures. It really feels like a culmination of five long, eventful years for Sisko and company. Bajor really became their home, and it hurts to leave behind Dominion lines.

Nothing speaks more volumes than Quark kissing Rom's cheek. Feels like a natural progression after five years of constant character development, and it really brings depth to the Ferengi. Gotta give credit to Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe for making them work so beautifully.

I thought it was pretty bold to put a permanent end to Gamma quadrant exploration, and focus the war on the Alpha Quadrant instead. It kept the focus on where it mattered.

I'm surprised the Trek producers waited so long to switch from models to CGI. This was the right time to make that leap. This battle is by far one of the best ever designed and directed for a Trek series. Both the Cardassian and Jem'Hadar ships seem a lot more dynamic in their flights. And the sheer number of them is just astounding!

Gotta give credit also to Allan Kroeker. By far the best TV Trek director, alongside Jonathan Frakes. At this point, he became Trek's preferred ace director for action-packed season finales. After DS9's ending, they immediately roped him to direct every single Voyager and Enterprise finale.
Justin - Sun, Apr 8, 2012 - 9:43am (USA Central)
Great episode and definitely one of the best season-enders Trek had to offer. I agree with the 3.5 star rating, but for a few different reasons. I don't really mind the romance angle, but a couple of nitpicky thing bugs me enough to bring it down a half-star:

1) The battle is fun to watch, but how is it that the Defiant can take a pounding with shields down, yet some of the Dominion/Cardassian ships get taken out with one or two torpedoes or a short phaser burst? It looks more like a Star Wars. Hell, at least give DS9 quantum (a.k.a. blue) torpedoes instead of the standard photons (orange). They're more badass.

2) Why did all of the action stop when Sisko decided to abandon the station? Apparently the Dominion "coming around for another pass" gave the Defiant enough time to dock, and DS9 enough time for a leisurely evacuation. Sisko even had enough time to give a speech!!! And why did the Defiant even dock at all? Transporters anyone?
How long does "coming around for another pass" take for a ginormous fleet of ships? Wouldn't they attack in waves?

A more plausible ending would have simply been if Sisko had negotiated to surrender and be allowed to leave unharmed in exchange for...oh I don't know...NOT blowing the station up, for instance.

It is still Starfleet policy to blow your shit up instead of allowing it to fall into enemy hands, is it not...?
Paul - Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - 1:26pm (USA Central)
@Justin: I've wondered about your second point, as well. I thought for a while that the Dominion might have allowed the Starfleet crew to escape, but that doesn't seem likely.

At the same point, the Dominion evacuation in "Sacrifice of Angels" is similar. There's a lot of time for everybody to evacuate -- but that's more easily explained by the fact that the Defiant was the only ship at the station during the beginning of the evacuation (and the fact that the Defiant wasn't in great shape to fight).

Honestly, there isn't really a good answer.

To your first point: This is a major issue with DS9 in the later years. For some reason, one torpedo became enough to destroy enemy ships.
Tom - Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - 7:43pm (USA Central)
The best season finale of DS9
Duge - Sun, Jul 1, 2012 - 11:48pm (USA Central)
An awesome season finale that not only shook things up (something that has been happening a lot during this season) but completely changed the status quo with our band of heroes actually being forced to ABANDON the station and allow the Dominion to capture it. The whole thing was golden but the best scenes by far were the sabotage of the station that Kira and Odo implemented prior to the Dominion boarding the station, as well as Nog's reaction to the Dominion and calls for payback. Seeing the Defiant and Rotarran join the Federation/Klingon fleet at the end was simply awe-inspiring. Although it was definitely a victory for the Dominion, it was gratifying that they suffered some setbacks- as Weyoun ruefully points out to Dukat, who seems so "drunk" on their capture of the station that he doesn't seem to care about the larger picture of the war.

@Justin@Paul: I too thought that it was a little strange that they had enough time to abandon the station in the way that they did but I had always assumed that there was an off-screen moment where Sisko issued a formal surrender to the Dominion fleet in exchange for an opportunity to leave the station, which was granted (probably by Weyoun), though OTOH the Dominion ships were still firing on the Defiant and Rotarran as they were leaving, so maybe not. Perhaps, once the minefield was activated, it took some of the wind out of the sails of the Dominion fleet and they realized that they would have to leave the station intact in order to disable the minefield, so they simply ceased their assault for the moment. Maybe they saw that the Federation was abandoning the station, so they just figured that they'd let them leave- so that they wouldn't have to waste more energy fighting them? It is a good question. Just not sure there is a good answer for how they played this scene. It didn't really detract too much from the episode for me, however.
Bruce - Mon, Jul 9, 2012 - 5:13pm (USA Central)
Call to Arms is the best of any season finales of DS9 and the beginning of the best story arc of the series! A perfect seven part episodes.
Ian - Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 3:36am (USA Central)
I agree this was a great episode,
I also agree it was a great season,
But NOT a cliff hanger ending?
This I disagree with,
not only was it stirring and chill sending, but it was perhaps the greatest cliff hanger in any series ever.
The scene with the Defiant and the Rotarran joining up with the fleet and heading back to DS9
keep me wondering on the result all during the original hiatus when this was first shown.
The next season opening? Now that was a letdown...
Weiss - Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - 12:51pm (USA Central)
this episode had of the most exciting tense moments of any trek.... the build up and activation of the mines... complete heartstopper... and then when it all lights up finally, relief!

John - Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - 12:59am (USA Central)
Agree; best season finale of the series. A few minor issues that others have already touched on but otherwise stunning.
Arachnea - Sun, Nov 25, 2012 - 9:38pm (USA Central)
I agree this was a very good finale.

There's just one thing no one mentioned:
what was Jake thinking ? He's not Starfleet, but a Federation member, not to mention the son of Sisko. How could he not imagine he could be used as leverage, hostage, or at least questioned (with all the implications about a cardassian interrogation).

Besides, he acknowledged himself that he wasn't good at handling crisis and death situations. Moreover, in a situation like this, I believe that non-essential personnel would be evacuated, thus Jake non having the choice to stay, wether he's adult or not.

I liked the touch in the end that Rom is going to feed Starfleet with intelligence, but the Jake end ruined it for me because it was not believable.
DavidK - Fri, Jan 4, 2013 - 2:59am (USA Central)
I agree with the comments that the evacuation is handled a little oddly. The only way I can make it work is that the line "coming around for another pass" is completely wrong, maybe leftover from a previous draft, and the Dominion forces were actually withdrawing temporarily to link up with the second wave Dax mentions and come back for a second punch. That's also strange, but it explains why when the Defiant and the Rotarran leave, the station is alone again and they then pass the Dominion fleet on the way out.

But otherwise, the beginning of the best part of DS9 for me.
Colin - Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - 10:38pm (USA Central)
I really do like this series the best, and this was a fine season. That being said, a question. How did the Dominion lose in this episode? There was no need to defeat or even attack the Defiant while it attempted to finish the minefield. In fact, all the Dominion had to do was decimate the completely unprotected and still not yet activated minefield in the 40 minutes it had while the Defiant continued its work. It was inactive....and unguarded! And they had a fleet of vessels that were only occupied because they for some reason attacked the station instead of the inactive minefield. Anyone else notice this?
Baron - Tue, Mar 19, 2013 - 12:08pm (USA Central)
@Colin

The Klingons bought them more time to setup the minefield.

I loved this episode except for the part with Jake staying behind. This just seems very stupid. The enemy can now use him to get to Sisko.
Michael - Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - 7:51am (USA Central)
@Colin & Baron

Ron Moore talked a lot on BSG about the problems of writing battle scenes, particularly in space. One of the biggest issues is finding ways to explain what is going on to the audience. They might have a whole battle plan laid out that makes sense when you know all the factors, but you can't necessarily convey that all to the audience easily, or perhaps at all, even if you wanted to. For example, we see DS9 providing covering fire for the Defiant. The Defiant was in the minefield. Therefore, DS9's weapons reach the minefield. Therefore, DS9 could have been covering the mine field as well. Maybe that was why the Dominion engaged the station right away, because they couldn't effectively take out the mines while under fire from the station. That's a detail would add some clarity, but it's easy to see a line like that getting lost when the script has so many other things to juggle. Besides, no one (well, hardly anyone) really wants to see a space battle procedural. The tactics and stuff can be fun, but it's all just a bunch of cgi explosions if you don't care about the characters and the stakes involved. That's the important part. The rest is just details.
Elnis - Sat, Aug 24, 2013 - 2:56pm (USA Central)
This episode made me think: "finally!"

efore I started watching DS9 I had heard a lot about how this show was different, how the consequences of the actions (or inatctions) of the characters could be seen and felt in the following episodes throughout the series.

I immediately fell in love with DS9 and it's wonderful scripts, characters and actors - but I was disappointed to find that the famous consequences where few and far apart - the status quo was maintained almost as steadily as on TNG etc. It seemed that the writers were jumping up and down on the dreaded reset button almost as much on this show as on any other Trek show.

But then came this episode ...

The sight of the joined Federation/Klingon fleet at the very end made my jaw drop ... I'm almost certain I peed my pants a little. Wow!

If you'll excuse me, I'll have to go see the beginning of the next season. Darn it ... I've become a DS9 junkie!
Nick P. - Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - 7:29am (USA Central)
This is a very good episode, and the ending did surprise me, but Best of Both Worlds this is NOT.
Kotas - Sun, Oct 27, 2013 - 8:11am (USA Central)

Exciting episode and great way to end the season.

8/10
Latex Zebra - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 11:20am (USA Central)
Amazed I haven't commented on this before.

This is one of my favourites. Not in terms of being an amazing, thought provoking episode but for being a quick fix of good storytelling and action. Something Voyager was also good at.

It has a lot of nice touches. Rom is a bit of a dick but the scene where he comes up with the idea for the mines is nice, as is the touching moment with Quark later on. Him asking Sisko, almost literally, to marry him always raises a smile.
I particularly like the Garak scene with Odo. It has been discussed before the darker tones of DS9 but here we have two characters casually chatting about cold blooded murder. Very well done though. You actually find yourself rationalizing it.
The battle is awesome and the final scene is hairs up on the back of your neck stuff.
There is so much to like.
4/4 easily for me.
eastwest101 - Thu, Jan 30, 2014 - 7:39pm (USA Central)
Agree with many others that this was a well written and thoughtful actioner finale, it progresses a lot of plot elements, checked-in with a lot of the characters and their development and shows sign of real writing maturity and complexity.

Not perfect though - as I agree that the romantic sub-plots generally all misfired and wasted valuable time that could have been better used with more intruige/exposition or even more action scenes, such as the much better Rom/Quark scenes, Sisko/Kira scene, Garak/Odo scene and Dukat/Weyoun scenes, Jake and Nog scenes.
Vylora - Sun, Mar 2, 2014 - 8:32pm (USA Central)
Everything worked for me including the B-plots. The scene between Kira/Odo in his office didn't seem uncomfortable in the slightest. Rom/Leeta was pleasant enough (then again I don't hate Rom). And Jadzia's line about marrying Worf was not even close to out of left field. It made perfect sense based on the scenes near the end of "Looking for Par'Mach...". It's clearly stated that according to Klingon customs, as brought up by Worf, they should get married. It was Jadzia who wanted to take it one day at a time. Her line in this episode: "It is what you've always wanted, isn't it?" was not arrogant in any sense of the term. It was, not only plausible, but great continuity.

As it is, this is a phenomenal work of Trek and one of the best finales this side of "Best of Both Worlds" and "Scorpion" among others. Truly stellar work has been done here.

4 stars.
Founder - Fri, Jul 18, 2014 - 3:23am (USA Central)
I saw nog in ops. Wasn't it just a few seasons ago jake was teaching nog how to read? Ha. We are supposed to believe he went from learning how to read to being accepted to the academy to Sisko allowing him to work in ops? Is it ever said that ferengi have super intelligence in Star Trek?
Robert - Fri, Jul 18, 2014 - 12:57pm (USA Central)
@Founder - Illiteracy != Stupidity

If Nog was good with numbers (which it is established he is... he's bad with business, but that's not the same at being a bad accountant) and good with tools and the only issue he had was reading... it's not THAT much of a stretch to say that NOG is smart and just didn't know how to read.

There's almost no way to reconcile that with how hard it was for Wesley to get into Starfleet academy.... but we can say that the TNG material was stupid in that regard (it really kind of was).

I mean, we COULD be expected to believe that Starfleet Academy is like West Point or something and that there are dozens of other military schools (maybe one on Vulcan) for the Federation and that most of the fleet does NOT go to Starfleet Academy. Therefore Nog got in because Starfleet's IDIC policy wants to boast that they have a Ferengi, but EVERYONE who is not enlisted acts like they went to Starfleet Academy, which makes no sense given Wesley's difficulties.
Sybok - Fri, Jul 18, 2014 - 4:07pm (USA Central)
Titty sprinkles
Yanks - Fri, Aug 15, 2014 - 10:50am (USA Central)
Justin,

"2) Why did all of the action stop when Sisko decided to abandon the station? Apparently the Dominion "coming around for another pass" gave the Defiant enough time to dock, and DS9 enough time for a leisurely evacuation. Sisko even had enough time to give a speech!!! And why did the Defiant even dock at all? Transporters anyone?
How long does "coming around for another pass" take for a ginormous fleet of ships? Wouldn't they attack in waves?"

I thought the same thing watching this episode.

At least Sisko's speech didn't contain "I shall return" :-)

On that note, I thought Sisko's speech was very good and delivered well by Avery.

I really didn't care about any of the "B" stories. This episode might have been better without any of them.

This exchange was however a memorable one:

“QUARK: Rom, I always said you were an idiot, but I never believed it more than I do at this moment.
ROM: Brother, if you want to insult me, it's going to have to wait till later. I'm busy.
QUARK: Busy doing what?
ROM: Preparing perimeter defenses for the attack.
QUARK: There are dozens of engineers that could be doing that. Starfleet engineers. Humans. You should be on Bajor with your new wife.
ROM: That's what Leeta said.
QUARK: Well, she's right. This is not your fight.
ROM: It's not your fight either, but I don't see you leaving.
QUARK: I have to look out for my bar.
ROM: And I have to look out for you.
QUARK: Me?
ROM: You're my brother. Whatever happens, we belong together.
QUARK: Well, like I said, you're an idiot. “

I also enjoyed the Ziyal/Garak exchange.

Great cliff hanger and season closer.

3.5 stars for me.
M.P. - Fri, Sep 5, 2014 - 9:34pm (USA Central)
Hah, Robert's comment brings back memories. It was so long ago I'd almost forgotten. Honestly, and unfortunately, there is a lot of TNG material (usually surrounding early-seasons Roddenberry) that doesn't make sense. In his pursuit of portraying humans as a cohesive, utopian, elitist race he often fuddled things up. That is not an attack on his message; that's a different argument altogether.

It seems in the TNG days the Federation was being imagined as a much smaller entity. There existed far fewer territories, far fewer starships, and far fewer Starfleet officers. In fact I think the TNG method of warfare was far different. I get the feeling that a hypothetical conflict between the Federation and, say, the Romulans would see battle groups composing of no more than 3 or 4 starships per side. We never saw anything resembling a true fleet until later seasons with Wolf 359 (they built so many more ships specifically to defend against the Borg?) and the Cardassian mess (and DS9 era).

Part of this is technical and budget limitations. Part of it is a different mindset in the writing.

You can either suspend disbelief or try to rationalize it within universe.

Personally, I do the latter. I like to think that in the early TNG-era Starfleet was far too comfortable. It had minimized its defensive fleet and limited its recruiting. With the threat and attacks by the Borg, Starfleet realized it was too complacent and began to change; building more ships and making it far easier to be recruited. There is dialogue to support all of this.

I also like to think, and perhaps this is wrong, that Federation ships were vastly superior to anything the other powers had, save the Romulans. For example; in Way of the Warrior, a Klingon fleet of probably 50 ships is given pause when its announced a fleet of only 9 Federation ships are coming. Hell, we're shown two of them are Excelsior-class! An ancient-class by military standards. Sisko seems pretty certain that seemingly-low number would completely turn the tide of battle; even with his station "severely-damaged" (his own words in his log.)

If 1 Federation ship is equivalent to 5 Klingon ships, and almost certainly far more for the other races, you can see how the Federation would become complacent. The so-called Tzenkethi and Cardassian "wars" could have been nothing more than minor skirmishes; a distant-thought to the core of the Federation seeing they were relatively small and on the edge of their space.

So to summarize, the Federation has few ships and is highly selective in recruiting. This is because of arrogance in their superior technology and complacency. The Borg arrive. The Federation realizes they aren't as safe as they thought. They step up ship construction and ease recruitment restrictions. This serves to be a saving grace as the Dominion appear and wage war.
zzybaloobah - Thu, Sep 11, 2014 - 2:17am (USA Central)
@M.P. In TOS, Federation ships were clearly superior -- how much pounding did the Enterprise always take before disabling the enemy with a single shot.
I think they didn't show big battles in TOS / TNG because they were expensive to film -- now, with CGI, they're not.

A "real world" reason why you didn't see big battle scenes might be this:
In TOS, battles were fought at ranges of 30,000 - 100,000 km (which makes sense for FTL-capable ships). You'd need high magnification to even see a ship at that range. Even if you had 50 ships in a single battle, they'd be spread out over millions of km. There's no way you'd ever see more than 2 or 3 up close at any one time.
(Not sure why battles are now fought at "point blank" range -- other than it looks cool.)

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