Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Sacrifice of Angels"


Air date: 11/3/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"War is such thirsty work. Don't you agree?"
"Perhaps if you didn't talk so much your throat wouldn't get so dry."

— Dukat and Weyoun

Nutshell: Very entertaining ... but also quite contrived. I'm thinking some interesting things will come out of this episode, but I'm also thinking some other things will go unrealized.

"Sacrifice of Angels" is wonderfully entertaining in a vast number of ways, and in a vacuum it would easily be worth three-and-a-half stars in my book. But, as the wrap-up (to a certain extent) of so many issues that this arc has presented, it demands to be scrutinized more heavily than a stand-alone action-adventure outing. To that end, "Sacrifice of Angels" also comes with a few noteworthy disappointments. I definitely enjoyed this episode a great deal, but there was just so much plot and action spinning out of control trying to rectify itself—and, while most of it worked, some aspects centering around the characters were left ambivalent or in some cases even a bit shallow.

This outing is primarily an all-out action-adventure installment. The only problem with all-out action is that the resolution to huge problems holding dire consequences often comes down to the microcosmic actions of a few key people, and those people are usually led around the story by contrived circumstances. "Sacrifice of Angels" is no exception; this is an episode that depends much more on the mechanics of the plot than it does its characters. Now, there's nothing inherently bad about that; in fact, "Sacrifice" manages the plot about as well as I could've expected given how much "Favor the Bold" stacked the cards against the survival of the Federation. But, at the same time, much of this episode is a good example of "comic-book DS9"—lots of fun, action, and heroism, but not as much depth as the situation was capable of.

The plot is a "race against the clock" paradigm. The Federation fleet needs to get some ships to DS9 before Dukat brings down the minefield (which is in a mere matter of hours). But with the Dominion fleet in their path, Starfleet is going to have to punch through the lines with a major fight, taking some serious losses in the process.

First, a few words about the space battle sequences. How should I put it? They weren't simply "awesome," they were "AWESOME!"—absolutely beautiful. You thought the sequences in "The Die Is Cast" were spectacular? And then "Way of the Warrior"? And then "Shattered Mirror"? And then "Call to Arms"? Well, this episode outdoes them all. I don't believe I've ever seen special effects of this caliber on a television production. These sequences are feature-film good. And they aren't simply good in the technical sense—they're also great in the visceral sense, effective at conveying the utter Pandemonium and sense of urgency facing the Defiant's attempts to race through the Dominion's front line. And the Klingons' nicely-timed arrival to the fight—as obvious as "Favor the Bold" set it up to happen—had me cheering. We're talking some serious panache here.

Meanwhile, back station-side, Damar arrests Kira, Jake, and Leeta as a precaution because he suspects Rom didn't act alone in the attempted sabotage. This puts the fate of the Alpha Quadrant in Quark's hands (Quark?); he's the only member of Kira's resistance not sitting in a cell, and someone needs to carry out Kira's last-minute plan of disabling the station's power system so that the dismantling of the minefield will be delayed.

The station-side plot unfolds on relatively simple terms, consisting of a jailbreak, a chase scene, and a race to disable the station before the minefield can be destroyed. There are some good dialog scenes along the way, especially between Weyoun and Dukat as they discuss the policy of ruling their conquered territories. Dukat's attitude that a conquered enemy should admit their being wrong for opposing their conquerors in the first place is particularly appropriate for him.

Quark and Ziyal break their allies out of jail in a scene that strains credulity but is entertaining nonetheless. I liked Quark's clever way of rendering the Cardassian guard unconscious; and I liked even better when he phasered the two Jem'Hadar guards, and especially his silent, stunned reaction to his own action. Scenes like this are good; I've always liked the serious side of Quark, and Armin Shimerman is always interesting to watch in these sorts of binds.

Odo's role in the game takes an expected turn, and if there's one significant weak link in this episode (and thus the whole war arc in retrospect) it's the extreme oversimplification of Odo's betrayal and subsequent redemption. While it's a good thing that "Favor the Bold" last week made it clear Odo was not so completely won over by the Female Founder as "Behind the Lines" had initially indicated, the way events unfold here only serve to make Odo's betrayal feel that much more short-term, contrived, and shallow.

Sure, it's certainly reasonable that Odo being so initially overwhelmed by the Link in "Behind the Lines" could've greatly affected his personality on a "merely temporary" basis. It's not really all that implausible. But to so quickly reverse his direction in life (from following the Link and instead deciding once again to remain with "solids") with a single act of redemption—coming to Kira's rescue in her desperate hour of need—possibly also reverses all the consequences that should've come with his initial betrayal. I'm going to reserve judgment, but Kira should not so easily forgive Odo for what he did; it should take some real time. Unfortunately, by supplying Odo with one, big redeeming action it seems the writers are trying to do just that—which very much strikes me as the Easy Way Out. This is Reset Button Mentality. Frankly, I expected this sort of redemption from the onset of Odo's betrayal. But I just hope Kira and Odo aren't laughing over a morning raktajino in Odo's office next week.

Still, the actors and director did a good job with what they had. There's a striking moment where it seems the Female Founder knows that her mission to bring Odo into the fold has failed. Salome Jens and Rene Auberjonois work wonders with nonverbal subtexts; when she asks Odo if he's sure he wants to remain in his quarters and Odo responds that yes, he's sure, there's something about each character's mannerisms which shows that much more is being asked and answered than what is spoken in dialog. And David Bell's score during this scene is incredibly sinister-sounding. (Bell continues to work wonders in the Trek musical arena, and his score for "Sacrifice" feels larger-scaled than the average episode.)

There are a lot of contrivances that work to resolve the plot. These events are reasonable examples of "suspension of disbelief," although they don't aspire to the greatness that most of this arc has. Take for example (1) The Defiant being the only ship that is able to successfully navigate through the hole in the Dominion lines; (2) the Klingons showing up on the battleground In the Nick of Time; (3) Dukat deciding not to commit any ships in pursuing the Defiant ("The Defiant is no match for the station. If Sisko wants to commit suicide, I say we let him."); (4) the aforementioned Odo coming to Kira's aid when she's locked down under Jem'Hadar fire; and (5) Rom disabling the station weapons, thereby making it a vulnerable target for the Defiant when it arrives. By the way—gaping plot hole of the week: What about all those Dominion ships around the station? It's as if the writers forgot about them. Why didn't they attack the Defiant? And why, especially, did Kira and Rom assume those ships wouldn't detonate the minefield if the station's weapons were off-line?

I did appreciate that Rom's efforts to shut down the weapons came too late (and the destruction of the mines was a spectacular sight). And "Sacrifice" does a good job of building suspense around its contrivances. But, substance-wise, most of the episode comes down to the final two acts, centering around the interesting choices of two characters: Sisko and Dukat.

Sisko and the Defiant arrive at DS9 too late. The minefield is gone and the Dominion reinforcements are waiting on the other side of the wormhole. Sisko's decision is one that can't possibly end in anything but certain death: He takes his ship into the wormhole, planning to fight off as many ships as he can. While in the wormhole, however, he is contacted by the Prophets, who tell him he can't be permitted to die. Sisko tells them they have no right to interfere.

The results of this scene are the most fascinating aspects of "Sacrifice." Through a semi-confrontational dialog with the wormhole aliens, Sisko informs them that he will die for his cause, whether he is the Emissary or not. But when the Prophets continue to resist, he explains himself: He needs a miracle, because Bajor and the Federation are not going to survive without one. Sisko asks the Prophets to stop the Dominion ships. The Prophets finally agree, and make the incoming Dominion ships vanish into oblivion.

Now, my first reaction was that this is deus ex machina taken to the most literal of extremes. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. We knew the Federation was going to survive, yet we also knew the odds were impossible. We knew the Dominion would have to take a major loss. We knew Starfleet would get the station back. So what matters most is the impact this all has on the characters. And within Sisko's negotiation with the Prophets is something that I think shows some real promise, and will come back to haunt the captain at some point down the road. Just before the Prophets send Sisko back to the Defiant, they come to a consensus that Sisko must make penance for going against his own apparent role as Emissary. One says, "The Sisko is of Bajor but he will find no rest there." Another says "His pagh will follow another path." Then they send him back to his ship, without answering him when he asks, "What path is that?"

Sisko's question is not answered here, but it does bring up some fascinating possibilities for the future, especially coming off the heels of Sisko's speech in "Favor" that reemphasized how much Bajor means to him. This is going to have significant personal consequences, without a doubt.

When the Defiant comes out of the wormhole but without a Dominion fleet on its tail, everybody is understandably flabbergasted. While the sudden shift in momentum is decidedly forced and all too abrupt (at this point reports instantly begin coming in that Federation ships have broken through the lines and are headed toward the station), I did find Weyoun's line, "Time to start packing," quite amusing, even if totally silly.

And, ah yes—Dukat. Dukat's descent into madness resulting from victory unfathomably slipping through his fingers is well-conceived. Maybe a tad over the top, but nice nonetheless. Yet, as always, there's more to this guy than meets the eye. The fact that he's determined to find Ziyal before evacuating says something about him. Yes, he loves her, but it also comes back to wanting to see his actions justified and his past forgiven. Doesn't happen here. Damar kills Ziyal when he finds out she was the one who busted Kira & Co. out of jail. Dukat is left broken and destroyed, and the Dominion evacuates the station without him.

A broken and destroyed Dukat. It's poetic justice. A guy who has gone from an administrator to a nobody to a rebel to a warlord now becomes ... nothing. Not dead—but lost, imprisoned, and with a dead daughter who can never forgive him. I'm not sure when we'll see him again or what he'll be doing, but it would definitely be interesting to see. Dukat's life is something of a tragedy. He's a villain, but still a tragic figure, his demise brought on by his own actions.

And then he gives Sisko back his baseball.

With the meaty undertones of Sisko and Dukat's themes, "Sacrifice of Angels" is definitely satisfying in several ways. And as adventure television, the show is often exhilarating. But because of the pervasive contrivances and the way Odo's theme falls so short, I wouldn't say it's truly great DS9—especially considering the strength of all the prior buildup. As far as a rating goes, we'll put it on the high end of the three star range. A must-see for the pure entertainment of it—but not everything it could've and probably should've been.

Next week: A wedding of galactic proportions.

Previous episode: Favor the Bold
Next episode: You Are Cordially Invited

Season Index

64 comments on this review

SMP0328 - Thu, Jan 10, 2008 - 2:46pm (USA Central)
I take the fact that there were no ships at the station when the Defiant arrives to mean that those ships had gone to the battle. There should have been a clear reference to that at some point in the episode.
lostmercenary - Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - 8:47pm (USA Central)
I don't think there's been a battle sequence in Trek that has ever toped this one. It is truly an epic event and you definatly get the feeling that everything has just hit the fan.

Small note. Garek's expression when the Klingons arrive had me in tears of laughter XD
Alex - Sun, Dec 21, 2008 - 4:08pm (USA Central)
I agree with Lostmercenary on this - the battles and effects in general on DS9 really did raise the bar for Star Trek in general - from the geeky technical side, I guess it was mainly because they moved away from models and towards CGI (although most of the big fancy explosions still seemed to be practical effects).

But what they really did well was to start using all three dimensions in their battles - the ships duck, weave, loop and swerve. How different from the old TNG days where the Enterprise would sit in front of Alien ship x whilst Worf or Yar said 'shields down in ten percent increments'. Very well choreographed and realised.

Like Jammer I have my reservations about the episode overall - particularly how Dukat descends into madness so quickly, and about Odo's recent character wranglings.
Personally I was never really satisfied with Dukat from this point onward (particularly his Pagh-Wraith arc).
Alec - Sat, Jan 31, 2009 - 9:01pm (USA Central)
I really didn't like the "disappearing" Dominion fleet solution to this episode. For one thing, Weyoun and the Founder seemed to take the whole situation pretty much in stride, like they expected this was a possibility. Only Dukat seemed reasonably confused and distressed by that turn of events, but its not even clear from his perspective what in the world has gone wrong. Yet he didn't even question what exactly had gone wrong. I agree with Jammer's first take-- it very deus ex machina.

I think it would have been better if the wormhole aliens had simply agreed to close the wormhole (perhaps expelling the ships to their respective quadrants)instead of seemingly vaporizing thousands of lives with no particular qualms about it.
Remco - Sat, Jun 20, 2009 - 2:00pm (USA Central)

The wormhole aliens don't really care about lives. At least not in the way that we do. To them, "time" is an artificial construct, not important at all. And that means that death is not an important event.
Darren - Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - 1:18am (USA Central)
Out of all seven episodes in the arc (including "Call to Arms," which may not technically be in the arc), I enjoyed this episode as third-best, behind "Favor the Bold" and "Behind the Lines" (though not necessarily in that order). I probably would've given it a 3.5. I do agree with Jammer on the contrivances ... though I mostly just noted them, as opposed to disliking them. On the subject of contrivances and plot holes though, there's one that really strikes me far above all the others. Once the Defiant arrived to witness the minefield coming down, rather than entering the wormhole on some hopeless offense, why didn't they just destroy the entrance? If I remember correctly, in "The Search, Part II," it was shown that destroying the entrance would be as simple and quick as firing a few torpedos at it. And what significance would permanently closing the wormhole have had in relation to stopping thousands of Dominion reinforcements from coming through?
Masamune - Thu, Jul 30, 2009 - 3:45pm (USA Central)
Somehow I think it would have been immensely satisfying to see the Jem'Hadar ships rematerialized somewhere else in the galaxy. Perhaps, for instance, in the middle of Borg space. But maybe that would've been a little over the top.

It would've been nice if there was some acknowledgment of what happened by the Dominion... Bajor's gods are certainly more powerful than the Dominion's.
Destructor - Tue, Sep 1, 2009 - 8:12pm (USA Central)
@Darren- apparently 'changeling Bashir' did something to the polaron stream used to seal the wormhole in season 5 that strengthened it against destruction via torpedo. This was explicitly mentioned.
NoPoet - Wed, Dec 2, 2009 - 3:09pm (USA Central)
I have always felt the miraculous intervention of the Prophets spoiled not only this episode, but to an extent the Dominion War arc as a whole.

In my mind it's too easy an end to what has until now been a nail-biting, gritty, angry war. Does this mean the Prophets can now be asked to delete every hostile alien travelling through the wormhole? Taking the easy answer has never been DS9's style, which is why I have come to love this show so much.

As for Dukat, his descent into madness has been occurring gradually for a few episodes now, although I work in mental health so it was probably more apparent to me.
Hiroshi - Tue, Dec 22, 2009 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
What always bothers me about this episode are 2 things.

1) The timely intervention of the Prophets (and let's face it there was no other way out, the writers saw to that). It felt very contrived and convenient, as I have heard used a true "Deus Ex Machina".

2) The way everyone just glosses over Ziyal's death. I personally liked her character (although I am admittedly a romantic) and thought her occasional appearences brought more depth to the show. Not only did her passing deeply sadden me, but it also felt wasted, as events which followed seemed to treat it as if "meh, whatever." Garak didn't seem to show any particular emotion for the one person who thought the world of him. Dukat for all his sadness and distress at her death, seemed to brush it off as soon as the writers were ready for him to become a single-minded bigot in Waltz. His words of "I forgive you" to Sisko were abandoned and forgotten. It felt so pointless. And I'll be touching upon that, most likely again, when I check out the review of Tears of the Prophets...
Nic - Sun, Jun 6, 2010 - 8:24pm (USA Central)
I for one love the ending, but I think there was so much juice here (in the war arc in general, but especially the last two episodes) that they could easily have gone on with this arc for half the season, giving us more time to explore such things as Dax's first command in "Behind the Lines", Dukat's too-quick descent into madness and especially Odo's redemption. Still, I'm really glad they went on for as long as they did!
Nic - Mon, Jun 7, 2010 - 1:35pm (USA Central)
Though the one thing that does bother me about this episode is the number of ships. It's a small point, but it's completely inconsistent with TNG and previous DS9 eps.

In "The Best of Both Worlds", Starfleet sends 39 ships against the Borg, and loses them all. this is a HUGE blow and Starfleet is shown to be short-handed for at least a year because of this. My assumption at that time was that Starfleet had somewhere between 100-500 ships. Now we learn that there are at least nine fleets of about 300 starships, for a total of almost 3,000 ships. If they had 3,000 ships why would they only have been able to send 39 to fight the Borg? The episode would have been just as exciting if it was 60 ships against 125 Dominion ships. In any case, I'm sure we don't actually see any more than that in the episode.
Jay - Sun, Nov 21, 2010 - 2:36pm (USA Central)
@ Hiroshi

I imagine they figured Ziyal had to die to forward Dukat's storyline for the remainder of the series.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Nov 24, 2010 - 10:39am (USA Central)
Nic - Not sure you'll ever see this reply. I always assumed that Starfleet just sent all the close available ships against the Borg and assumed that, tough as they where, that 40 ships would be enough to see them off.
Hiroshi - Wed, Nov 24, 2010 - 10:21pm (USA Central)

That just further compounds a reason to dislike how they handled things, really. Because they took all the development Dukat'd made over the years and chucked it out the window so he could be taken over by the "Evil Fire Monster" as Confused Matthew amusingly puts it. Dukat doesn't strike me as so stupid or naive that he'd literally believe it was Sisko who got his daughter killed, especially since this didn't even come up when they were together in the other episode later this season. If her death had led to something better for Dukat.. proper motivation, development, etc.. I wouldn't have minded so much. But it was just a pathetic way to kill her off, and Garet hardly even seemed to care despite their connection. Not unlike how Sisko didn't even SAY anything to Jadzia as she lay dying, despite their deep connection.

@Nic and Latex Zebra

If you think realistically, I'd say that it's kind of like the United States became after the last couple wars. Decreased forces, less vessels, etc. I don't think Starfleet was even truly prepared for a massive war when the Borg came around. They'd been fairly neutral during the Cardassian war with Bajor, had treaties with the Romulans and an alliance with the Klingons. There was no need for a great many ships ready for some war. After the Borg, everyone likely realized just how unprepared they'd all been and started making more warships. There WERE a good number of years between the Borg assault and the Dominion War, as evidenced by Jake's aging over the series. Don't forget each season was really supposed to have been a year.
David - Fri, Jan 7, 2011 - 11:41am (USA Central)

See, I think that's just silly. The entire Trek universe shouldn't be bound by the effects capabilities of Best of Both Worlds. At the time, 39 ships was a lot to make. And given that the show was just about one ship, moving around the Galaxy, 39 ships seemed like a ton (We never saw more than probably what, 5 in a show on the series otherwise). However, as we saw time and again on DS9 (Think Way of the Warrior, The Die is Cast, and Call to Arms before this) effects technology had come a long way since then. There were easily more than BoBW numbers in each battle, and they looked incredible. Moreover, in DS9 we got a lot more of looking at big picture intergalactic politics. The fates of the entire Federation / Cardasian Empire / Klingon Empire etc. played out on screen, not just whatever sector the Enterprise was in. The huge fleets we see in the whole War Arc are important because they drive home the scale of the conflict: It's a galaxy wide conflagaration with hundreds of planets in jeopardy. A battle of 120 ships vs. 60 for the entire Alpha Quadrant would just feel small. If you have the capability to make the big fleets, use them! Deciding that there can't be a big fleet because of one episode made almost a decade ago is the worst kind of continuity.
Elliott - Tue, Jan 11, 2011 - 9:09am (USA Central)
I don't care about the DEM--it's TV it's Star Trek, whatever, the plot is only important as a skeleton upon which to excise myth...

That said, the intervention of the WA/prophets served as a jarring and painful reminder of what is wrong with this show. I was really getting into this latest arc. In spite of myself, I was impressed with the writing and the acting and the pacing; the CGI was just icing on the cake. Then we get these disgusting creatures of the wormhole intervening on Sisko's behalf. Whatever the ramifications "might be" (please as if no one could piece together that his stupid speech about a house on Bajor didn't come to mind) to him, everything in his conscience and his training should be utterly horrified by a species which deals out death to tens of thousands of aliens, but shows favouritism to one planet of people, oh but won't actually do anything to prevent them from being raped and tortured for fifty years...

I can accept that these aliens don't concern themselves with our affairs--it's akin to Starfleet's relationship with the prewarp--but to be so damned arbitrary whilst so deadly whilst so specific and demanding that are to be seen as Gods by their own accord is a terrifying notion. And they're the good guys?

Again, it seems like Sisko is more concerned about Bajor than anything else (even his own son?!), yet the brass ignore his near insanity and just keep on promoting him.

At least they didn't wrap up with Jake's stupid article getting published...
Hiroshi - Fri, Jan 14, 2011 - 10:44pm (USA Central)
Perhaps it slipped my memory, but what exactly does "DEM" stand for, again?

That aside, it appears to be that you're saying "plot isn't important" or that it's "only partially important", when that couldn't be further from the truth. At the basis of ANY show, should be a good plot or premise, and I do believe DS9 had a good one when it started out.

That said, I do believe the final season (and some of the 6th) was not thought out very well and could have been done a whole lot better. However, lemme see if I can work something out based on what I remember about the episode and the show itself...

The ships the Prophets destroyed, the back-up, coming to help the Dominion/Cardassian forces were enroute via the wormhole, correct? It is the one place we know the prophets have any actual power of manipulation in. Insofar as I can remember, the "Wormhole Aliens" never actually manifested themselves beyond visions outside of it - and keep in mind that's only cause I don't remember them ever doing so - with the sole exception of that episode with the Pagh Wraith taking over Jake and Kira (which felt like a bullshit episode meant to support stuff that'd happen in season 7, although it was performed well)..

Okay, so you're saying that because the Prophets make a fleet _within the wormhole_ vanish, but don't interfere with events outside the wormhole itself, that makes them selfish hypocrites? And that cause this was the only thing Sisko could think of to win, that makes him insane and a bad person? I'm sorry if I'm not following your logic.

Yes, the whole thing was terribly written and the consequences or actions don't really measure up/balance out. But that's not the same thing as calling Sisko insane for trying to help Bajor (which in case you forgot is kind of why he was there to begin with), or saying that cause the Prophets intervened on his behalf _at a time when they actually could_ was irresponsible and thoughtless of him (or them)?

As I said, I'm just not getting where you're coming from on that part.
Neil - Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - 8:24pm (USA Central)
Well, having watched the whole arc serveral times now, I just can't escape the fact that this episode was a complete disaster for the writing department. There's a whole *team* of people writing for this show, remember, and they collaborate a *lot* to come up with big arcs like the dominion war that last en entire season or longer.

It's acceptable, barely, to use a deus ex machina to resolve a single-episode storyline, and we have seen this before, at least once. There was that episode when the 'other' emissary arrived from the past, and in the end Sisko could only resolve the issue by going back to the prophets and asking them to specifically say which of them was the 'real' emissary.

As a writer, it's frustrating to have to use a device like the prophets apparently awesome power to resolve a plot. You are admitting that you couldn't think of a better way to end the story. In the emmissary story I mentioned, this is at least a resolution that fits the plot, so it doesn't seem too creatively bankrupt.

And as a writer on a series like Trek, if you establish the existence of a super-power like the prophets right at the start, you are very conscious that you cant just invoke them whenever you like to resolve any story. If Sisko could really just go into the wormhole whenever he liked, come to a full stop, and wait to be taken to the prophet's reality to beg them to do him a favour, then almost every story in the entire series could have been resolved a lot easier. Have they ever denied him when he asked for help?

So, the writing team had a long time to come up with a way of ending the occupation of DS9, and of making sure the jem'hadar reinforcements don't make it through the wormhole.

But if all they could come up with was a 1-minute miracle where the prophets simply 'deleted' the entire dominion fleet just seconds before they entered the alpha quadrant and doomed the entire quadrant to defeat, well, that is just incredibly embarassing for the writers.

In about 5 minutes of thought, I can come up with a few other ways to destroy that fleet without resorting to the prophet miracle. The defiant could have tried to close the wormhole, perhaps using some new type of torpedo that starfleet had been working on in secret to overcome the stability that was added by the fake bashir.

Perhaps they could have invented a new kind of warhead that would ignite some kind of plasma inside the wormhole that would destroy the entire jem-hadar fleet without closing it.

Or, perhaps, the could actually build on the freaking 'white' storyline that they started when the Defiant destroyed the only white depot in the alpha quadrant a few episodes ago. Remember that? The Jem Hadar should have run out within a couple of weeks, remember? But here we are months later, and that whole storyline has just been abandoned, with no explanation at all. Perhaps the Jem'Hadar that are already in the alpha quadrant should be slowly going insane because of the white shortages, with only a tiny number of Jem'hadar on DS9 still having a supply and able to defend the station against the now-crazed rest of the warriors. So, just a the DS9 manages to detonate the mines and open the wormhole, the crazed Jem'Hadar go in themselves to try and get more 'white', and they engage the reinforcements themselves and the two fleets manage to destroy each other almost completely.

That would be kind of cool and would actually tie up the story started weeks ago that went nowhere.

So... I really don't understand what goes on with Braga, Behr, and the rest of the top-level creatives in the Trek franchise. They should be ashamed to have to resort to such a weak solution to the problem of reinforcements coming from the Gamma quadrant. They should be ashamed to have not done anything with the 'white' shortage created a while back.

I've never read any of the supplementary material about DS9 and Trek that reveals some of the writer's thoughts and motivations. Maybe these questions are addressed already. But this episode in particular completely ruined the story for me, the excellence of the previous 5 or 6 episodes (not including Sons and Daughters), and the season as a whole. It was dumb. As soon as I saw the defiant enter the wormhole and stop, I literally groaned with despair. I couldn't *believe* they were going to do this.

Then they did it.
Jay - Sat, Feb 5, 2011 - 11:11pm (USA Central)
Masamune said:

""Bajor's gods are certainly more powerful than the Dominion's.""

Yes, and Weyoun witnesses it. Which is why it is baffling when lateron, in Season 7, Weyoun dismisses the Prophets when Damar mentions them in a conversation about the Founders. Yes, Vorta are bred to revere the FOunders, but that surely can't blind him to the Prohpets power when he bore actual witness.
Nic - Fri, Feb 25, 2011 - 8:16am (USA Central)
I know fans like to blame Braga for everything they dislike in Trek, but remember he didn't work on DS9. So he had no say in how this arc would end.

Even though Sisko's role as Emissary ended up being kind of a letdown in "What You Leave Behind", I don't think it takes away from this episode. The Prophets interfered because they NEEDED Sisko for another task and couldn't let him die right there and then. He made it clear that the only way to do that was to destroy the fleet, so they did.
Neil - Fri, Feb 25, 2011 - 5:10pm (USA Central)
@Nic - Yeah, I didn't really mean to mention Braga at all, it's just that since Enterprise I automatically think of him whenever I see something in Trek I don't like.

What you are saying is that the prophets interefered this time because Sisko was needed alive for their future projects and by the time he spoke to them, the only way to keep him alive was to obliterate the incoming fleet.

I don't buy it. They could have just magically transported Sisko onto the planet Bajor instead, and let the fleet come through and wipe out the defiant on the way through.

If the prophets realised that letting the Dominion fleet come in would lead to them taking control of the entire alpha quadrant, and *that* was incompatible with their long-term goals that Sisko is involved in, then why didn't they interfere a hell of a lot sooner?

The prophets can see all possible futures anyway, so they should have known full well that the Dominion reinforcement fleet will never be allowed to enter the Alpha Quadrant. Surely then they would have simply not allowed any Dominion ships to enter the Alpha quadrant at all... ever.

All of this just leads to a very deep rabbit hole that can't easily be closed. It's far better to not let the story get to the point where huge arbitrary interference is needed by these 'Gods' in the first place. As I said in my previous post, the writers should have been able to think of an 'organic' storyline that stopped the Dominion reinforcements from entering the quadrant, and the prophets should stay as a god-like force that nevertheless does not interfere directly in the wars of mere mortals.

Dave F - Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - 3:06pm (USA Central)
I just watched this episode today and the war-arc recently. I never knew how to rate this episode because I had such mixed feelings about it. First, the technical aspects were AMAZING. The space battles were phenomenal. The Klingons coming at the nick of time, while a plot contrivance, I loved. It had me cheering, because it was just awesome (After TOS, I loved the Klingons as allies).

As for a final rating I'm going to go: 3 stars.

However there are some major problems with this episode (and the war arc in general), as the Federation had 4 key victories during the war arc but still seemed to be losing.

1) The shipyards that were destroyed in "Call to Arms". Were they repaired? Shouldn't that hinder their fleet rebuilding process?

2) The Ketracel White issue. Everyone has brought this up. It was deemed a victory in "A Time to Stand" but nothing came of it. It needed to be mentioned, but never was.

3) The sensor array in the Argolis Cluster. Shouldn't the Dominion now have trouble tracking ship movements (they seemed to know exactly where the Federation ships were in a "Favor the Bold").

4) The Prophets. I am willing to forgive the writers if something came of it, which it did the ultimate letdown of Sisko's arc in "What You Leave Behind". However, the destruction of 2300 ships just seemed to be taken in stride (as stated above) by the Founder and Weyoun. Were the Dominion weakened in the Gamma Quadrant? How vulnerable were they in the Alpha Quadrant? The Founder ordered all ships back to Cardassian space, so it seemed everything was going to status quo before the war. What annoyed me was that even after all these defeats the Dominion were still going to win (as we see in "Statistical Probabilities" before the Romulan intervention). I thought maybe a mention should have happened about the happenings in the Gamma Quadrant, in that maybe stoke a rebellion there to help destabilize the entire Dominion. It seemed that the Gamma Quadrant was seen less and less in the later seasons of DS9, and it maybe should have been mined (pun intended) for plot devices to meet new aliens there to help the fight against the Dominion there.

5) The ships around the station were mentioned, when Nog stated they were leaving and Sisko said "let them go, as we're in no position to fight". What would have been more exciting is Kira/Rom re-activated the weapons system and fought those ships off to give the Federation/Klingon fleet cover.

6) Dukat's descent into madness was quick, but still believable. Everything he ever wanted was gone....again.

7) Bajorans helped Kira deactivate the stations weapons system....shouldn't that affect the Non-Aggression Pact with the Dominion?

8) All in all, this episode was going to have flaws because it was concluding so much. Was the war-arc successful? Yes it was. However, there could have been improvements as the writers dropped the ball as "major events" in each episode were just completely forgotten the next week during an arc in which continuity was important.
Nathan - Fri, Oct 21, 2011 - 5:53pm (USA Central)
I was rather impressed by the three-dimensional nature of the battle, and how you could see two parallel planes of ships facing off.
Paul - Mon, Nov 7, 2011 - 4:15pm (USA Central)
The issue of Dominion ships evacuating DS9 -- but not attacking the Defiant -- never made any sense. You either have to assume the evacuation ships were poorly armed (and did we ever see a lightly armed Jem Hadar ship?) or that the Dominion didn't want to attack (which makes little sense given the female changeling's fury in 'What You Leave Behind').

The issue about the size of the Federation fleet is less egregious, in my mind. Throughout TNG, we heard lines about ships going on long exploratory missions (the Gandhi, the Aries). In fact, the ship Bashir's med school rival was stationed on (the Sutherland?) in the early DS9 days was sent on a long mission, too.

My guess is that the Federation started building more ships after the Borg encounter and started bringing ships out from far-flung reaches as early as season 3 of DS9 (with the looming Dominion threat, with the Maquis, and certainly after the Klingon attack on DS9 in season 4). Thirty-nine ships might have been a big blow when hundreds were on the outskirts and before the Starfleet post-Wolf 359 buildup.

It's also possible that Starfleet took losses in the wars with Cardassia and the skirmishes with the Txengethi (sp?). Maybe 2364-67 was a sort of low point in available ships for Starfleet.

One other reason to think this: The Enterprise-E launched just two years after the D was destroyed. Clearly, Sovereign-class ships were being built before 2371.

Now, why the Federation flagship had, apparently, no role in the Dominion war is something that I've never understood. Even a line about the Enterprise leading a task force would have been appreciated. Otherwise, it could be assumed that Starfleet wasn't sending all its ships into the war -- which makes little sense.
David - Sun, Dec 11, 2011 - 11:53am (USA Central)
See, I have no problem with the ships at the station. Presumably many of them were dispatched as reinforcements (Given Dukat has a reserve of 2300 about to come through the Wormhole, I can see him throwing all his initial reserve into the fight). The ones at evacuation, it was mentioned that several hundred Federation / Klingon ships had broken through their lines. They didn't have time to start a fight with the Defiant, lest they be trapped by the time the rest of the fleet got there.

As to the Prophets, I appreciate the scene as the culmination of the "Emissary Trilogy" of Destiny/Accession/Rapture. He goes from not believing in the "wormhole aliens" to going to the mountain top a desperate man, asking for his gods to bring him a miracle. It's the doubting Sisko parting the Red Sea, and for that, it works.

Asmto the "The Sisko is of Bajor but will find no rest there" I buy it as well, since the ending of "What You Leave Behind" for me echoes The Visitor. Like in that episode, we leave with Jake alone, looking out the window for a missing father, and we have Sisko stranded out of time. Given how that timeline turned out, it's not exactly a happy ending for our Captain.
Paul - Wed, Jan 11, 2012 - 4:38pm (USA Central)
David -- that makes sense, it's just not explained. A throwaway line of dialog ("We've got to use the remaining ships to get our personnel out of here -- they wouldn't stand a chance against the Federation ships on the way!") would have helped.
Justin - Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - 5:17pm (USA Central)
Not sure why most everyone here assumes that The Prophets destroyed or "obliterated" the Dominion fleet. It simply disappeared. It also probably reappeared back in the Gamma Quadrant. It's their wormhole and they simply cut off The Dominion's access to it.

Makes sense to me...
David - Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
Except they don't reappear in the Gamma Quadrant. According to dialogue after the ships disappear, saying that their listening posts don't detect them in the Gamma Quadrant either.
Paul - Tue, May 8, 2012 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
@David: Agreed. It's possible the Prophets simply moved the Dominion ships, but it's never clearly stated, and the clear implication is that they were destroyed. It's possible, I guess, that they were moved very far away ...

What was also slightly frustrating after this episode and until "Tears of the Prophets" was that the Prophets were keeping the wormhole closed (Worf says something about that in the season 6 finale).

Jadzia's fan - Mon, May 14, 2012 - 6:13pm (USA Central)
A Time to Stand / Sacrifice of Angels is my favorite arc in the series.
Paul York - Thu, May 17, 2012 - 12:11pm (USA Central)
I liked the arc because of the characterizations, esp. Dukat, who is pictured as not totally evil, but as someone 1) wants the adulation of his victims, which turns out to be a tactical weakness because it means he refuses to kill them, and 2) loves his daughter deeply and is driven to madness by losing her and the station ... his character was very well-written and played.

Odo as well: here is a character who torn by emotions, including his desire for "paradise", his love for Kira (which led him essentially to mass murder in Children of Time), and his duty to his friends, and to justice. He is a very complex character, not entirely good or evil.

Also, Rom and Quark both exhibited a very un-Ferengi bravey and altruism that was compelling. Kira's mirror scenes and her fear of becoming complicit are powerful as well, as is the way that Dukat's daughter is torn by her love for her father and her loyalty to her friends. All in all I found these internal conflicts and transformations very compelling. Dukat's loss was very moving; though he is an evil man, I really felt for him.

Also the duty of the Jem Hadar to their masters, despite knowing they were being betrayed by them ... the Founder came across as the only totally evil character with no redeeming features. Can anyone explain why shape-shifters feel it necessary to gain political and military power in the galaxy? They have "paradise" on their planet already -- why the powerlust?
Elliott - Thu, May 17, 2012 - 2:15pm (USA Central)
@Paul :

According to their own propaganda at least, they are paranoid about the solids reïnflicting their prejudiced persecution upon them (the irony is apparently, totally lost upon the entire link).
Duge - Wed, Sep 19, 2012 - 11:30pm (USA Central)
I have some of the same misgivings that most people here have. It was a great episode but seemed a bit rushed and, of course, contrived. I think that the main problem with how they resolved the Occupation Arc due to the writers gradually digging the characters on the station into a hole that was almost literally impossible for them to get out of, starting with Rom, the only person capable of disabling the station's deflector, being captured by the Dominion and thrown into a holding cell while Damar proceeded with his plan to deactivate the minefield. Once Damar successfully detonated the minefield allowing for Dominion reinforcements to come through the wormhole, the writers REALLY had to be in a bind at the point, hence the "deus ex machina" use of the Prophets that they ultimately used to get rid of the Dominion fleet at the end. In a way, I didn't like it but I honestly couldn't think of anything short of a genuine "miracle" that was going to save the Federation at that point, which is, of course, exactly what Sisko got. Other than the season finale, the Occupation Arc (sans Sons & Daughters, which I only recently saw on DVD) was all that I've seen of S6, so I'll be eager to see what the rest of S6 is like.
Laurel - Sun, Oct 21, 2012 - 9:38pm (USA Central)
To me, the weakest part of the Dominion Occupation story arc was the way Odo's eleventh hour redemption was handled. The act of redemption was predictible, if handled badly. But what was really out of character was Odo's lack of guilt or remorse for his acts of betrayal. It was a complete cop out by the writers. I believe they had an alternate ending in mind for Odo that got collectively scrapped, and they had to scramble to come up with this lame version. Fact is, the writers painted themselves into a corner with Odo's initial betrayal with no plausable way to extricate themselves.
Arachnea - Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - 8:38am (USA Central)
The first episodes of season 6 were really good ones and I was so disappointed with this "ending".

There were nice touches here and there (Quark stunned by his actions, the amazing battle, Garak's face when the Klingons came to the rescue) but the rest seemed so rushed and badly thought.

The worst thing (besides the horrible alien-god-all-knowing-thingies in the wormhole) is Odo's arc. They could have gone two ways: Odo taking side with the Founders and become the enemy or at least make him want to hide himself because of his poor judgement and (in)actions.

Him being the one to welcome the Defiant's crew on DS9 was wrong on so many levels. And as far as I can remember, he never makes excuses to Rom or any of the crew - except for his beloved Kira - that's unfortunately poor writing.
DG - Wed, Dec 5, 2012 - 6:07am (USA Central)
A literal Deus ex Machina (God in the Machine) done RIGHT--that is, if Sisko knew/planned for that. Otherwise, just lame.

As in--if Sisko deliberately went into the Wormhole planning to get them to do that... If not, kind of lame.

Also--Pantheon vs. Pantheon? Bajor's Gods vs. the Dominion's Gods? Dig into that one a bit. :)

Other bits: that bit where the Female Changeling told Odo they were killing Kira just made "Children of Time" SO!! worth it. This guy will kill 8000 people he's lived with for 200 years for Kira. Who do you think you are to him...?

Also, that bit with Quark and the Jem'Hadar was AWESOME! Best in-character-for-everybody-moment! Quark is awesome!

I have been dreading Ziyal's death for *forever*. I knew she'd die before watching the show, but I didn't know how.

I couldn't have been more surprised at how... not sappy... it turned out to be. It was AWESOME!

My (odd) misremembering/expectation was that Gul Dukat kills Ziyal and Garak gets a sappy shitty romantic crap moment.

This was AWESOME!

My whole back-log opinion of Gul Dukat has flipped on his head. Before, it was "I like you, but you have no soul." Now it's "DUDE! You are awesome! The perfect villain."

Oh dear, and in looking him up in Deviant Art... I just found out how he dies. Dang it!
AP - Thu, Dec 6, 2012 - 8:31pm (USA Central)
I love this episode. Especially Dukat's breakdown at the end. This was his last chance for the Greatness he believed his life had been building to. Finally he was going to get the respect and even adulation from his enemies thathe felt he'd earned, and that would make up for all his errors in the Bajoran occupation, and instead, at the last moment everything (including Ziyal) is ripped away from him and he is left alone. It would be enough to break anyone's spirit, but for a an egotist like Dukat it is even worse.

As for the moment where he "forgives" Sisko, I believe he means it. I think that is the moment that he realizes that it is not Sisko he's been fighting against all this time, but rather the Gods that made Sisko their Emissary. I think he realizes he has no grudge with Sisko. It's a moment that gets paid off later in "Empok Nor".

Benny26 - Sat, Dec 22, 2012 - 6:58pm (USA Central)
The federation was fighting for it's very existence in this episode - and the Enterprise, being the flagship, should defiantly have been there.

It was the only thing that bothered me.
Chris NI - Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - 7:31am (USA Central)
When CBS get around to giving DS9 the Blu-ray treatment, the space battle in this episode will look amazing. I especially loved the bit where a Cardassian warship is taking pot-shots at the Federation fleet as they're racing towards the hole in the Dominion lines. After a few seconds, two Galaxy-class starships come alongside it and pound it with phasers.

It would be cool if they could add the Enterprise E in the background kicking some ass.
Niall - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 12:28pm (USA Central)
Watching this as a 14-year-old I was apoplectic at the deus ex machina, although I didn't know the term at the time. This is a highly contrived and disappointing episode, especially as the conclusion to such an unprecedentedly ambitious and largely overwhelmingly successful arc. It felt like a massive cop-out. At the time, I even started planning and writing an alternative ending. There was nothing wrong with the arc that a better final episode wouldn't have solved. (The same applies to BSG's final season. The final arc had its problems, for sure, but fundamentally there was nothing majorly wrong with it up to and including Daybreak I that a better finale wouldn't have solved. But Daybreak II was simply atrocious.)

I didn't like contrivances 1, 3 and 5 in your list. I had no problem with Rom disabling the weapons, but the fact that a) the Defiant was the only ship to break through (or at least the first), and b) the station was undefended by any ships and the Defiant was allowed to continue to the wormhole were major contrivances. I loved the arrival of the Klingons though.

Odo's betrayal and return to the fold is inadequately handled, as you point out. I also found the sudden abandonment of the station and particularly Dukat's instantaneous descent into madness highly inauthentic contrivances. Combined with "Waltz", this was the beginning of the end for Dukat's character - turning a nuanced, realistic, charismatic figure into a cartoonish personification of evil is never a good idea, especially when the character is played by such a good actor.

Finally, as effective as the effects shots were, I found the battle scenes very bitty.
ZurielSeven - Wed, Aug 28, 2013 - 10:46pm (USA Central)
Is the use of a wrench to fix a car a Deus Ex Machina? Is the use of negotiation to create a peace treaty a DEM?

I'd agree with the removal of the Dominion fleet as an example of DEM if the Prophets were found to be frauds, hoaxes, or proven to be nothing more than legend. Frankly, it is (on one level) a race of beings exercising power which they both rightfully have and up until now have restrained.

Furthermore, I find that the choice the Prophets make here to be the beginning of their arc. Imagine being on a Third World planet with problems and having to look at the Prime Directive in effect in reverse. It would suck if the only stories you could tell were of powerful beings coming by and choosing to do nothing because they were bound by law to restrain themselves. Only through their action in the face of previous inaction can their higher purposes be seen. To me, that fits their status in Bajoran society as gods and justifies the Bajoran belief in their legendary abilities - abilities which we have now seen and similarly must believe in.
JPaul - Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 10:14pm (USA Central)
I would argue that having the Prophets destroy the Dominion fleet was not Deus Ex Machina. A fundamental part of DEM is that it is completely unexpected.

As viewers, we've seen the Prophets stop ships going through the wormhole on multiple occasions. We've even seen them alter the mind of the Grand Nagus and transport the false Emissary hundreds of years into the future for their own purposes. It's well established that they will interfere if they choose and that Sisko has a unique relationship with them that might be used to influence them to act.
Kotas - Sun, Oct 27, 2013 - 8:55pm (USA Central)

Strong finish to the two-parter, although somewhat predictable.

MichaelT - Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - 9:41am (USA Central)
This is where DS9 jumps the shark and gets poorly written.
eastwest101 - Sat, Feb 8, 2014 - 10:37pm (USA Central)
I agree with Neil, the whole DEM of the fleet dissapearing in the wormhole undid all the great work in the setup writing, acting and special effects.

There would have been numerous more beleivable ways to eliminate that fleet. I don't know what the scriptwriters were thinking - they had set it all up with the hard work, delicacy and precision of watchmakers and then just hit the whole thing on the head with a sledgehammer DEM plot device.
Vylora - Tue, May 6, 2014 - 9:05pm (USA Central)
"As viewers, we've seen the Prophets stop ships going through the wormhole on multiple occasions. We've even seen them alter the mind of the Grand Nagus and transport the false Emissary hundreds of years into the future for their own purposes. It's well established that they will interfere if they choose and that Sisko has a unique relationship with them that might be used to influence them to act." - JPaul

Agreed. For Sisko to enter the wormhole on an obvious suicide run would undoubtedly get the Prophets attention. The dialogue pertaining to the fact made sense to me and in no way did it qualify as a DEM.

That being said, this was a fantastic two-episode finale to a mostly great arc. I would love to have seen more elements of the arc fleshed out by the addition of a couple more episodes, but what is here I can't really complain about. Even in the final chapters' sudden change of heart by Odo to abandon the Great Link made sense to me. As the reality of everything really sunk in when the female changeling announced Kira's upcoming execution.

A lot of comments on here, so I will keep mine brief. Awash in a sea of interesting reading. (:

Really good stuff that could've been further enhanced by a few tweaks here and there. Not the best two-parter of ST, or DS9 for that matter, but really high up on the scale. The fact that it was part of the first true serialization attempt (or long-arc attempt) of ST made it even more promising for the potential of storytelling for this universe.

Favor the Bold: 3.5 stars.
Sacrifice of Angels: 3.5 stars.
Tim - Thu, Jun 12, 2014 - 8:04pm (USA Central)
The biggest problem I have with the DEM ending is that it doesn't even play by the DS9's own rules. The Bajorans might worship the wormhole aliens as Gods, but they're clearly not Gods. Q might just be a God, but the Prophets are nothing more than non-humanoid aliens. It's established (The Assignment, The Reckoning) that the Federation has the ability to kill them. One would assume that the Dominion does as well, and that the Dominion would have spent a modicum of effort studying them (they certainly studied the Alpha Quadrant for years before making their move) both before and after this episode.

So yeah, the wormhole aliens can disappear ships inside their realm. Awesome power that. Why exactly doesn't the Dominion retaliate? The wormhole aliens essentially declared war on the Dominion, the second most ruthless (after the Borg) power in the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Dominion did..... nothing about it.

The Dominion wiping them out with the same ruthlessness they showed towards the Maquis might have made for an interesting story. The fallout on Bajor, the empowerment of the Pah-Wraiths, Sisko and Kira's torment, power hungry Monks and Vedeks (Winn?) using it for their own twisted ends.... Nah, let's just carry on with our hokey religion subplot, on Star Trek, probably the most Agnostic show in television history. We've gone from Picard's speech in Who Watches the Watchers to Sisko playing the role of God's Messenger and Archangel. He's part Muhammad, part Michael! Yawn.

I concur with the head scratching about the massive size of the respective fleets. Partly for the discussed continuity reasons, mostly because I'm a proponent of "less is more". It's hard to have an emotional attachment to clearly disposable and mass produced CGI ships.

The USS Odyssey going down in flames and the graveyard scene from BoBW still provide kicks in the gut when I re-watch those episodes. Would The Jem'Hadar have been better if it had been a task force getting wiped out instead of one ship? Would BoBW have been better with 39 CGI ships blowing up? I think not.

Another nit: CAPTAIN Sisko commands the entire fleet?!? No Admiral Ross or Nechayev? Did we blow the whole budget on CGI and have nothing left for a guest star?

Ross should have been leading the charge, with Sisko at his side, stewing over the fact that the Defiant is out there without him. What happened to that subplot anyway? Oh yeah, we used The Reset Button to put Sisko back in the Captain's Chair.
Robert - Fri, Jun 13, 2014 - 9:14am (USA Central)
Unless they can be 100% sure that killing the wormhole aliens won't collapse the wormhole that doesn't seem the best plan. It's a LOOOONG way to the alpha quadrant.
Tim - Mon, Jun 30, 2014 - 9:13pm (USA Central)
Robert, you're looking at it from a technobabble point of view, not a storytelling one. The wormhole does whatever the writers say it can. Killing the prophets off would have made for an infinity better story than the Messianic nonsense they ultimately used them for, as well as an emotional punch in the gut at least as heavy as the Maquis being wiped out and Betazoid conquered.

Robert - Tue, Jul 1, 2014 - 8:35am (USA Central)
@Tim - It's BAD writing to say that the wormhole can do whatever the writers say and so they should have killed the prophets. Unless the Dominion can read ahead in the script they should not be doing actions that are highly questionable just because they will turn out ok for them!

WEYOUN : The wormhole aliens appear to have made our reinforcements disappear, it's time to retreat.
DUKAT : If they are going to stop us from bringing in reinforcements this war is going to be endless. Damar fire a chroniton beam into the...
FOUNDER : Belay that order. If you kill them all, how do we know that the wormhole will ever open up at all? And I'll be cut off from the link. Forever.

It's such an unpredictable event that to have Dukat and company do it would really push the boundaries of disbelief.
DLPB - Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - 6:21pm (USA Central)
The reason this episode didn't work is that the writers did not plan the arc this far. Parts of this war, and overall story, were stolen wholesale from Babylon 5, which was written start to finish more or less. But here, the arc came crashing down when their mish mash of writing fell apart around them.

"What do we do now?"

Season 7 was the worst of all. I still think DS9 is a very good show though overall.
Yanks - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 10:50am (USA Central)
I knock this episode down a whole point, but not for Dukat's demise nor the disappearing Dominion fleet.

If losing Terok Nor twice, the second by Sisko's direct intervention (as the Emissary) and then losing his daughter (which he gave up his position in Cardassia for) doesn't put him over the top, what the frak else needs to happen then? I thought his reactions were appropriate and personally was glad to see him go bonkers. We already knew he was mentally unstable.

Also, I always thought that the prophets made the Dominion fleet disappear because they needed to protect the Emissary. While I don't like the whole "Emissary" story line, I figured that had to be it. He still hasn't fulfilled his "destiny". I can see where some don’t like that as it has to be implied rather than written into the script.

What I don't like is that Odo is just back to business as usual and the whole 'white' thing just vanishes.

So 3 stars for me.
DLPB - Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - 1:51pm (USA Central)
This episode started the massive decline in quality that this series suffered, culminating in one of the worst series seasons of all time.

The writers wrote themselves into a corner. They had no idea how to wrap up the arc and they left the hardest part for one episode. It's all very lazy. The "jail break" was more comedy than anything else, not to mention Kira and the gang would be long dead. Dukat's "Oh she is special to me" is nonsense, and just an excuse to rationalize Kira being spared for this long.

There is no way that station was being retaken. It simply wouldn't happen. And even if it had, the Cardassians/Founders would have had it bombed to bits.

And the final nail in the coffin... one of the worst deus ex machinas ever. I don't even need to elaborate.

It's an entertaining episode, but if you want some real meat to the story telling, this isn't it.
$G - Wed, Sep 24, 2014 - 12:17pm (USA Central)
I'm with some of the posters here in that I really don't agree that the wormhole scene is a deus ex machina. I mean, it LITERALLY is because it happens because of metaphysical entities, but from a storytelling perspective it's already been clearly established what the Prophets' capabilities are. Not only that but it's their home, the wormhole, that's the macguffin here. If they didn't get involved in some way it would have been really obvious that the writers are separating the Prophets plot from the War plot, which would have been a straight up mistake. It's supposed to all tie together and the writers used the series mythos to create a twist on what otherwise would have been a straight battle. We've seen battles already and a straight up tactical victory between fleets might have felt a little bit hollow. Like, why couldn't they have just done that *before* to win?

Anyway, I agree with some of Jammer's criticisms - but not all. Odo's "redemption" was necessary and couldn't have happened any other way. It was a bit convenient, I guess, and it might have been more impactful to see him regroup his deputies to help out rather than have them swoop in from behind the scenes. I don't have a serious qualm with it though. If Odo gets let off the hook too easily after this (I forget what happens), that's the flaw in the series rather than this episode on its own.

What's amazing here is the absolute roller coaster going on. It starts off exciting with the battle, then darkens as our characters on Terok Nor get arrested and the villains gloat about victory. Then the mood jumps a bit as our characters escape and the Defiant gets through the front lines. Then dark again, when the minefield comes down, and everything is bleak until the Prophets involve themselves. Then there's awe and forboding about what just happened, and then celebration when we realize our heroes are the winners. Then Dukat's descent starts to make things uncomfortable - becoming clear that this isn't just a setback for him. The Ziyal scene then just jumps the episode into the abyss, and even when our heroes triumphantly board the station again (with Bashir and O'Brien setting up a holosuite date no less) it still feels more sober than a victory like this should.

Yeah, that's a pretty crude breakdown of how this episode plays out, but what an ending.

Easy 4 stars for me. An exhilarating conclusion to no question the best stretch of episodes thus far.
Matrix - Sat, Nov 1, 2014 - 9:40pm (USA Central)
From what I remember reading about the behind the scenes of this arc is that it was an evolution and experimentation by all the writers in doing a continuing story like this over multiple episodes, so I can't judge it that harshly if things don't add up or make complete sense. It had just never been done before in Trek. They talk about how in the writer's rooms there was confusion about what was going on with which events take place where and when. I think now about the story rooms of Lost and how everything was mapped out over half a season to get some consistency, or even back then for Babylon 5 you have one person writing complete seasons. ron moore even talks about with the inner light how the focus was on the episode and telling a good story and it's not until later they thought about the repercussions, so it's not hard for me to see when this episode came out they're still in that serialising transition period, so i cut them a little slack.
Charles - Wed, Dec 17, 2014 - 1:00pm (USA Central)
As always with DS9, I loved it... up until they brought in the prophets. Way to kill your episode and everything you've worked for in this arc.

DS9 would have been such a good show without those prophets (that definitely killed season 7).
Del_Duio - Mon, Dec 29, 2014 - 8:05am (USA Central)
Just rewatched this over the weekend to close out the arc. To me, it almost sounds like the Prophets are telling Sisko about Jadzia's death at the hands of the Pah Wraiths.

It also made total sense for Damar to kill Ziyal. Well to him, at least. He stands for what Cardassia is all about and well if you're a traitor against Cardassia you have to be killed.

And honestly Dukat has to be the best Star Trek villan ever. So complex a character, and this episode has some great Marc Alimo performances in it.
Del_Duio - Mon, Dec 29, 2014 - 8:13am (USA Central)
Ah, sorry just thought of something else.

For those of you who didn't like how the Prophets nixed the Dominion fleet: Really the only other way to get rid of the almost 3000 of them would have been to bring in Q and that would've been a far worse bit of writing IMO.
Robert - Mon, Dec 29, 2014 - 8:34am (USA Central)
I totally did not mind the prophet's intervention. But they could have just gotten there in time to stop the minefield from coming down :)
Yanks - Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 7:32pm (USA Central)

They were probably unaware of the mine field. Hell, Sisko had to describe what was coming through the wormhole to them before they understood enough to act.
Robert - Fri, Jan 2, 2015 - 6:23am (USA Central)
@Yanks - I think you may have misunderstood my comment.

"I totally did not mind the prophet's intervention. But they could have just gotten there in time to stop the minefield from coming down :) "

Was in reference to

"For those of you who didn't like how the Prophets nixed the Dominion fleet: Really the only other way to get rid of the almost 3000 of them would have been to bring in Q and that would've been a far worse bit of writing IMO. "

IE - If the Defiant had showed up 3 minutes earlier they wouldn't have needed the prophets. But on the whole I personally like what the "penance" and whatnot paid off later in the series.
Yanks - Fri, Jan 2, 2015 - 5:45pm (USA Central)
I had no problem with your points Robert.

Just pointing out that the prophets don't seem to understand much until it's explained.

Vii - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 - 6:40pm (USA Central)
The strong points of this episode were, as has been mentioned, the magnificent battle sequences and Dukat's spiral into madness. Some people have mentioned that they found Garak's reaction to her death to be underplayed, but I thought that was completely in character for him. By nature he suppresses his emotions, joys and fears as best as he can, and I thought that the last scene, where he Defiant crew return to DS9, conveyed the sense of Garak's awareness of Ziyal's absence very fittingly. You can see him walking around and looking frantically for her, and then when someone mentions that she's in the infirmary, he goes off like a shot. His expression at her deathbed reminded me of him standing in the midst of ruined Cardassia in the last episode: a deep well of grief that he holds at bay.

Also agree with some former posters here that Odo's (predictable) betrayal and subsequent return to the fold could have been handled a lot better. At this point it seems pretty clear that the only reason Odo's not siding with the Founders is because of Kira, which makes him a rather loose cannon. What if Kira had managed to get herself killed? The events of this arc make it clear that he's not fit for duty and can be easily manipulated, yet this is something that's never fully addressed per his relationship with the 'solids' other than Kira.

While we're on the subject of Kira, I do think that the producers are taking it a bit overboard with her Mary-Sueish "Wonder Woman" depiction. Dukat's obsessed with her, Odo's obsessed with her, Bareil and Shakaar and Riker and Bashir and Quark all fall for her, and she's capable of knocking the living daylights out of a fully armoured Cardassian twice her size...What?

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