Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Tears of the Prophets"

***1/2

Air date: 6/15/1998
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"If you ask me, it's an ungodly hour to go to war—and quote me on that." — O'Brien to Jake

Nutshell: A few problems, but the net result is quite powerful.

"Tears of the Prophets" exemplifies the DS9 "event" show: miss this episode, and you miss some very important stuff. There's plenty of substance here worth digesting, and I think it provides a good example of many of this season's strengths (as well as some of its weaknesses).

Of course, the most touted event in the episode is the death of Jadzia Dax (and all three people out there who didn't know about it weeks or months before "Tears" aired now know), but what's interesting is that Dax's death is part of a much bigger scheme in terms of DS9's pivotal pieces, as it plunges the overall focus of the series into an abyss of despair.

This is an episode that takes a while to get where it's going, but delivers in the long run. Aside from some occasionally off-kilter execution in the direction and performances, "Tears" is, more than anything, an effective and important chapter in the character arc for the tortured Benjamin Sisko, a man who has so many burdens to carry that I don't see how he can even function anymore, let alone be one of the strategic leaders for this huge war while balancing his other duties as a Starfleet officer, Emissary, and father.

I'm certainly glad I'm not him.

Ever since "Sacrifice of Angels," it has become clear that Sisko's relationship with the Prophets would become increasingly important—not just in what it means to Sisko as the Emissary and to the Bajoran people, but also because the Prophets have been taking action in ways that directly affect the state of the Alpha Quadrant. Dialog has made clear the fact that the Prophets are prohibiting passage through the wormhole, thus meaning Dominion reinforcements will never come from the Gamma Quadrant. (It's interesting to note that no episode since "Children of Time" more than a year ago has taken place in the Gamma Quadrant.) I've been waiting all season for Sisko's penance that was strongly foreshadowed in "Sacrifice of Angels" to pay off in some way, and in April (or early May, depending on your syndication schedule) we finally got "The Reckoning."

Well, I wasn't a big fan of "The Reckoning"; it was horribly campy and I felt (and still feel) that it didn't add up to much in the scheme of things as they had been earlier prophesized. However, some of the elements from "Reckoning" help set the stage for "Tears," an episode that I think does bode well in the scheme of the DS9 game—very well, in fact.

In "Tears," Starfleet has finally decided it's time to go on the offensive against the Dominion. With the help of the Klingons and the Romulans (the latter of whom are actually present in an episode for the first time since brought into the game in "In the Pale Moonlight"), Starfleet plans to invade Cardassia. Sisko is selected as the man to plan and lead the attack.

This subsequently puts Sisko in a position where he has been before—having to choose between being the Emissary and being a Starfleet captain—but never before has it cost him what it ultimately costs him here. The Prophets, in their convoluted way, tell him not to leave the station. Why? Because the danger is too great. What does that mean? The danger to whom? Well, Sisko doesn't really know. He never really knows when it comes to the Prophets; they're always vague, and this time is no exception.

Meanwhile, Gul Dukat makes a return to the scene, showing up on Weyoun and Damar's doorstep, revealing that he has reached a moment of clarity. The post-"Waltz" Dukat is a guy consumed with hatred, and he's on a mission to enact revenge on both Sisko and Bajor. Having studied up on ancient Bajoran texts, he's ready to fight Sisko on levels of higher power. He has obtained a pah-wraith, and he's ready to take on a war with the Prophets themselves, hoping to somehow destroy Sisko and the Bajorans in the process.

A lot of this is fascinating. As much as the "good versus evil" game in "The Reckoning" struck me as simplistic and goofy, the idea of a pah-wraith being intentionally released for the purposes of unleashing self-serving evil seems to me an interesting idea, especially knowing what we know of the new Dukat. (At the same time, I still have my serious doubts about the silliness of body possession, synthesized voices, and dark-red eyes.)

All connections to the plot of "Tears" aside, I'm honestly not sure whether or not the new Dukat is something that will work in the long run. It works here, but a part of me wonders if the complexities of the pre-"Waltz" Dukat have been lost in this transformation. He's anything but subtle these days, and his role here is one of a cavalier, albeit intriguing, loose cannon. Marc Alaimo can still sell the "madman Dukat" personality with every bit of credibility he has to offer.

Since "Tears" is also a major war episode, there is, of course, the requisite Big Battle [TM], which naturally, is nicely done. But I was far more intrigued by the dramatic implications of "Tears." Seeing the invasion of Cardassia and a huge development in the war was definitely interesting, but the personal costs of these advances are what make this season finale a winner.

The episode was also laced with a lot of nice little snippets. For example:

  • I liked the moment when Ben Kenobi, er, Ben Sisko sensed the destruction of Alderan, er, felt the Prophets reaching out to him as the wormhole was being closed off. Seeing this vivid connection between the Prophets and the Emissary is one of the mythical elements of DS9 has always given the series an aura of faith beyond its sci-fi conventions. (Still, I fully expected Sisko's line at this moment to be, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force.")
  • The Romulans' skepticism, and particularly the discord between them and the Klingons, was good continuity.
  • It was nice to see Kira taking the initiative and taking command of the ship once Sisko was incapacitated (although, I give up on ever figuring out the nature of the chain of command on the Defiant; Worf has taken command over Kira every other time I can remember whenever both were on the ship).
  • The exchange between Damar and Weyoun where Weyoun dismisses the Bajorans' gods out of hand (while taking the Founders as given) was exceptional, and Jeffrey Combs' acting range continues to impress me every time I see him.
  • Worf's warrior cry when Jadzia died was another nice bit of continuity that worked all the better because it came without a tacked-on explanation.

On the downside, I wasn't particularly thrilled with some of the trivial characterization. For one, the whole idea of Bashir and Quark pining over the very-married-and-now-thinking-about-having-a-baby-with-Worf Dax was too much of a dramatic dead-end (no pun intended). As I said in my "Valiant" review, this is rehash material that I simply don't find convincing. The only reason to do it again is to show just how many people love the wonderful Jadzia, thus making it that much more tragic when she dies. To a degree, I guess, it's okay. Having Vic sing Quark and Bashir a song, with the camera cutting to them as he sings "Here's to the losers" makes this at least entertaining.

In any case, the melodrama in the scenes leading up to Dax's death was laid on incredibly thick. All the talk of having a baby, all the happiness, all the excitement—and it's manipulative right down to the final line on her deathbed where she tells Worf, "Our baby would have been so beautiful." (Please, just pull out the tissues, already.) Surprisingly, Jadzia's death didn't hit me the way I hoped it would. I partially blame that on the fact that I've known for months that Terry Farrell would be leaving the series; the rest I attribute to the somewhat unsatisfying randomness of her demise.

But I'm not too worried, because it comes together so beautifully in terms of the larger picture. As a price for Sisko's choices, it was exactly what we needed for this episode, because, really, this episode is about the set of choices made by Benjamin Sisko. His decision to ignore the Prophets' warning was an agonizing choice he had to make in the best interests of the Alpha Quadrant, and his subsequent decision to take a leave of absence after everything goes wrong—which was the true hard-hitting moment of the episode for me—seemed like a choice that Sisko was forced into. This is a man who has carried the weight of practically an entire war in addition to all of Bajor—and now, with Bajor cut off from the Prophets and Dax dead for reasons Sisko sees himself as responsible for, he has reached a crossroads unlike anything he has encountered.

As far as lamenting on the dead is concerned, I believe it was a good idea that the show didn't lumber through Dax's funeral. One could argue that we already saw some of what we needed with O'Brien's speech last week in "The Sound of Her Voice"; and besides, showing Sisko's sole reaction to Jadzia's death keeps the story very focus on its narrative goals and the cost incurred to its central character. In context, Dax's death really works.

So, then, that brings me to the few but still notable things that I felt were off in "Tears of the Prophets." It's hard to put my finger on some of my troubled feelings specifically (some of my qualms are in the omission of things I would've liked to have seen), but I think my most significant complaint is that there are elements in Behr & Beimler's story that are out-and-out unclear. For example: Did Sisko (or anyone) know how Dax was killed? Did she tell someone before she died? Did anyone know that Dukat had beamed aboard the station? I'm guessing the answer to those questions are no, but depending on whether or not certain characters had knowledge of certain events, the ultimate meaning of Sisko's despair could be changed. I think it would work fine in any case, but I was still left with questions I would've liked answered.

Overall, there's a good amount of confusion that's open to interpretation. That's not always a bad thing in this episode (sometimes, in fact, it's a good thing), but I do wonder about the nature of the pah-wraiths. How many more of them are there? Is the existence of the evil connected somehow to the Reckoning that was halted in "The Reckoning"? Just what is the nature of the penance Sisko must pay from "Sacrifice of Angels"? Has he paid it here?

I'm not so sure I can answer all these questions at this point, or even if they will ever be answerable, but I will say this: "Tears of the Prophets" is an episode that prompted me to think deeply about character connections, the implications of various Bajoran prophecies, and the degree of Sisko's self-torture and need for answers. It's all open to debate and discussion and still has basis in solid characterization.

My perspective actually embraces some of the story's confusion and uncertainty, because such uncertainty is exactly what Sisko is struggling with—struggling with so intensely that he has to leave DS9 and walk away from Starfleet so he can clear his head and make sense of the chaos that is pulling Bajor down an uncertain path. He even takes his baseball with him, which, as anyone knows, is evidence of a grave situation. The episode's final scene on Earth, of a Sisko completely removed from everything we normally see him involved with, is a downright poignant moment that left me reflecting upon the state of the universe the character lives in.

When I get feelings like those, I know I've seen a standout episode. This episode was by no means perfect, but it has a lot going for it, and the more I ponder the possibilities, the more intrigued I am by them. DS9 has had a tendency to spin its wheels with many routine offerings this season, but with this finale I feel like we've gone out with some development and character changes that should impact storylines well into next season. Considering all the loose ends introduced here—Dukat floating around with his vengeful agenda; Sisko at a crossroads in his life; the collapse of the wormhole and the implications on Bajor; Federation troops landing on Cardassian soil; the question of whether we'll see Dax in a new host sometime in the future—I'm intrigued. A season finale should get its hooks into you, and "Tears of the Prophets" certainly got its hooks into me.

Upcoming: Reruns, reruns, reruns. I'll of course have the season recap, probably sometime in mid-July. In the meantime, no more reviews (except for movies, starting with The X-Files feature, which I'm sure I'll write sometime this week—but that's another story).

Previous episode: The Sound of Her Voice
Next episode: Image in the Sand

End-of-season article: Sixth Season Recap

Season Index

66 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru - Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - 9:02am (USA Central)
Well, it's a pity - I always liked Jadzia Dax...
Anthony2816 - Mon, May 5, 2008 - 3:02pm (USA Central)
The key to your review is: "I do wonder about the nature of the pah-wraiths."

Big plot hole.
EP - Sat, Mar 7, 2009 - 8:25pm (USA Central)
I just watched season 6 marathon-style, and I was sort of glad when Dax got killed. She didn't seem to have anything to do this season. Of course, that's the writers' fault, but actors get all the praise, and the blame.

Like baseball managers.
Destructor - Sun, Dec 6, 2009 - 4:35pm (USA Central)
I'm torn about Dax. I would have liked to have seen a funeral, sure, but like Ron Moore says, she just shows up again in the next episode, so she's not 'dead' in the traditional sense.

Great episode though- especially Damar's expression when Weyoun says: "The founders are gods." Classic.
Hiroshi - Tue, Dec 22, 2009 - 9:13pm (USA Central)
Much like "Sacrifice of Angels", I found the death of a character who had been with the series for a while (in this case since it's beginning) to be both profoundly sad, and immensely unneeded. It isn't the fact that Terry was leaving (although would it have killed her to see the series to the end?), it was more in the way she died. It was random, contrived, and didn't even fit with stuff that happened in the episode. As someone I know once put it "the Prophets wanted Sisko to be at the station, but what would he have done?" Was he going to magically save Jadzia? Was he going to be able to stop Dukat and if so how?

Not unlike one of my big disappointments with ST:Generations (it's not science, it's _magic_), the introduction of "Demonic Dukat" felt contradictory to the Star Trek way of having much based on technology (even gods many times). To an end, as much as I found the Prophets interesting, they also felt rather convenient. And let's not forgot the big contradiction of the Admiral claiming Sisko can't be both when he JUST GOT A MEDAL for having effectively been both through the entire ordeal. It's never been an issue before, why does it conveniently become one now?

Only a handful of episodes in Season 6 truly disappointed me. Tears and Waltz were definitely among them, and only paved the way for more outlandish material to show up in the next season.. to which I'm still unhappy with their choice of "replacements" for Jadzia (who I was a big fan of), not to mention how quickly she showed up.
gion - Tue, Mar 30, 2010 - 6:31pm (USA Central)
I don't really like this episode. It's one of those that just tries to digest too much, handling major changes in not just one story arc but several.
The invasion of Cardassia exemplifies this: the planning and preparation feels as if it's done in a matter of days, like spontaneously deciding on a friday you're going on a camping trip over the weekend.
Apparently the defensive grid of just a single system is important enough to make the participation of the Romulans hinge on it, as if your buddy won't join you on your trip if it's going to rain. They decide to embark on the invasion without knowing for certain whether the defensive grid will be active, as if they couldn't be bothered to check the weather reports. And when they arrive, they find out on the spot how it functions and how it can be disabled. Like buying an umbrella in the first shop that has one when it turns out it's raining after all. It's a silly way to present a major military campaign.

The acting was alright, but this episode really should have cut one of the substories and presented the others in a proper fashion.
Jake - Tue, Apr 27, 2010 - 8:15pm (USA Central)
This was even worse than Yar's death in "Skin of Evil." Why? Because we got the great "Yesterday's Enterprise" from that & nothing satisfying from this
Nic - Wed, Jul 28, 2010 - 6:17pm (USA Central)
I think it's rather silly that Starfleet would ask Sisko to plan the invasion of Cardassia. Is he the only competent officer in the entire Quadrant? Aren't their military experts sitting in a office on Earth (and other planets) whose JOB it is to make these plans?

However, I do like Jadzia's death scene. She was just in the worng place at the wrong time, which is how most deaths from non-natural causes happen. To me, it is somehow MORE tragic for her to die this way then to go out in a melodramatic act of herosim (which has been done so many times before). I wish her scene with Worf had been a little longer, but that guttural scream he does is a real tear-jerker.

Plus, now Sisko has ANOTHER reason to hate Dukat.
Marco P. - Sat, Aug 21, 2010 - 5:40am (USA Central)
I'll greatly miss Terry Farrell from season 7. Nicole de Boer is a very pretty woman herself, but there is something about Jadzia that Ezri doesn't have. I don't know if my infatuation is with the actress or the character she portrays, but it's a damn shame DS9's final season will be without Jadzia.

As for the rest of the episode, it was good entertainment. I was a bit disappointed with the space battle scene, but to be honest average that has been a trend for quite some time in Star Trek IMHO... the series' main appeal lies elsewhere, and there's plenty of great stuff to make up for poor space battles.
Nic - Mon, Aug 23, 2010 - 12:52pm (USA Central)
Marco, I don't know what you mean. I think Deep Space Nine has shown some of the most engaging space battles of any television series (or film, for that matter). The effects are always slam-bam, the pacing perfect, and they always introduce a new element to give each battle its' own feel (in this case, the orbital weapons platforms). I have only seen a few episodes of BSG, but so far I have seen nothing on that show that can compare to "Die is Cast" or "Sacrifice of Angels".
Hiroshi Mishima - Mon, Aug 23, 2010 - 4:25pm (USA Central)
I think, Nic, that is because the new BSG was pretty much a crappy soap-opera set in space. There was so much drama and stuff hidden behind the scenes (even the ending was vague and disappointing). They focused too much on religion and modern-day issues like rape and existential debates and such, that they didn't focus on the Science Fiction or Fantasy.

Part of what made DS9 (and to some extent Voyager) so good and sustainable over the years was that it didn't make the religion and the Prophets the MAIN focus of the series. It was a subplot, a side story that got returned to occasionally. I don't particularly think much of DS9 as a genuine Star Trek show, but more of a Babylon 9 or Stargate Atlantis style show where the focus is on the battles being fought at least in the later seasons.

DS9 also did, by far, have incredible space battles. I don't think there's anything else like it in the other Star Trek series, and not in a lot of other expansive science fiction shows, either.
Neil - Tue, Feb 1, 2011 - 12:00pm (USA Central)
Well, first let me admit I never liked Jadzia - I don't really know why but I'm not sorry she's gone at all.

The serious flaw in this episode was Sisko choosing to go on the mission instead of staying on the station. After all he had been through with the prophets, had they ever lied to him? Especially after he basically failed them in 'the reckoning', I was waiting for him to tell the Admiral 'Then I choose to be Emissary' when he was given an ultimatum.

After all, he had seen the Defiant go off on missions without him dozens of times already, and did he actually *do* anything during this mission? He didn't need to be there at all.

After all the time we've spent seeing Sisko gradually coming to accept that the prophets are 100% real and he is the genuine Emissary, his choice here was completely against character.

People saying that he wouldn't have prevented Dax's death if he had been there anyway - well we don't really know. He might have accompanied Dax to her first Orb experience to guide her, he might have been standing behind Dukat when he transported in, he might have shot him right then with a phaser and sent the pag-wraith running away... who knows?

I think we have to take at face value the idea that the prophets simply knew that if he stayed, Dukat would have been prevented from killing the orbs like he did.

Also note that the Orbs were the important thing. The prophets didn't care about Dax getting killed. They needed Sisko there to stop the pag-wraith getting into the Orbs and then (somehow) closing up the wormhole.

Actually, the whole idea of the wraith just getting into the Orb, and from there somehow killing the other Orbs and then closing the wormhole for good seemed like a shortcut. They could have spent more time creating a dramatic battle involving Dukat as the Wraith's physical form.

Anyway, I loved the final scene between Weyoun, Damar and the hilariously mad Dukat at the end - every time Dukat reveals another way in which he has won a major victory, both Weyoun and Damar shout 'Well, so what?' in sheer horror...

Dukat genuinely doesn't seem to notice that nobody else gives a crap about the pain he's dealt to both Bajor and Sisko.

It was absolutely hilarious and I hope Weyoun skins Dukat alive when he returns 'triumphant' to Cardassia.

I guess the writers had to get the wormhole closed, and Dax killed somehow, and it was easiest to let Sisko go off against all instinct and fail to protect the prophets.

One final whine... it seemed absurd for Bashir to come out of 'surgery' wearing the red gown as if he had been elbow-deep in guts... and he says 'I saved the symbiont but I couldn't do anything for Jadzia'... and in the very next scene she's still speaking! Errr... wouldn't a doctor be still there trying every possible thing until she has definitely died? Even today, doctors have about half an hour worth of stuff to try *after* a person dies, to try and get them back.

It seems logical to me, given the medical tech we've seen time after time on this show, that if a human is capable of speech, i.e. the brain is still active, then a competent Starfleet doctor could keep the brain alive practically forever while a new body is grown from DNA or something?

I bet that the EMH from Voyager would have had Jadzia up and running around in a couple of days.

We know that she had to die, of course, because Farrell wasn't returning. But in that case she should have been dead and stone cold when Sisko and Warf get there. But no, the writers can't help themselves and they just *have* to give us the 'dying in Warf's arms' scene. It was pathetic. If they wanted the dying scene, they should have had Bashir in there frantically trying to keep her alive at the same time.

As it was, it made her death seem really bizarre, almost like terrible fan-fiction.

Still, it was a reasonable end to a mixed-bag season 6. It's great that I have no memory at all of what happens next season, even though it's only been 2 years since the last time I watched the whole thing. It will be like a new series again.
Weiss - Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - 1:53pm (USA Central)
"his role here is one of a cavalier, albeit intriguing, loose cannon"

if u think about it, doesnt it describe Dukat since Day 1?
Prefect, to Gul who menances DS9 in season 1, season 2 swashbuckling co-hero with Sisko against Maquis, season 3 disgraced gul, season 4 renegade on his klingon ship, season 5 leader of dominion cardassia

people talk about post waltz as if he lost his story, he has always been a gollum (or fans of Wheel of Time, Padan Fain) character. a loose cannon who does his own thing all the time and self serving. the pagh wraighs were another element of his self serving behavior, to undermine bajor and sisko.

the only difference after waltz, he kinda had a fanatical pseudo religious belief system. but he also had allies in the paghwths, but htat is nothing new, he had run to the Dominion before. so I dont think there was ever a perfect time for Dukat, he did his own thing all the time, and that made him fascinating (now the red eyes, i can agree were silly)
Half-Blood Time Lord - Sat, Feb 26, 2011 - 9:31pm (USA Central)
Marco P, the thing Ezri is missing that Jadzia had - confidence, grace, attitude and she was womanly.
I like Ezri, but she's cute, ditzy, unsure of herself which is the exact opposite of Jadzia.

I do wonder why Jadzia was left in charge of the station and Kira was taken on the Defiant. I mean I know it was to kill Jadzia off, but wouldn't the Bajoran Station have been left in the capable hands of its second in command who isn't a Starfleet officer?
It just seems odd to me, even though it does lead to a tremendous death scene - I even loved Dukat almost apologising to Jadzia afterwards.
Dongo - Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - 11:51am (USA Central)
I want my beautiful princess back.
Jay - Sat, Nov 12, 2011 - 2:25pm (USA Central)
It's unfortunate that when characters are written off, they are handed senseless deaths.
Steve - Mon, Dec 26, 2011 - 2:07am (USA Central)
I find the medical tech in ST baffling. On one show they can keep a guy alive for days with half a "posentronic" brain, or use holographic organs. Then the next day a breathing and talking person just dies while the good doctor has left the room and given up.

Plus the idea that a captain would plan a major invasion is absurd. What are the dozens of admirals doing? Did Major Winters plan the Normandy invasion?
V - Tue, Dec 27, 2011 - 3:59am (USA Central)
This is season 6 and still people can't understand that when a host looses the symbiont, the host dies by a matter of hours (shorter for jadzia cause she was injured). Also remember that a symbiont can be put in and taken out while the patient is awake. Even if she wasn't due to surgery, they have hyposprays to wake people up. Anyway, Terry left because she's gotten an offer for another show and DS9 was known to have 1 last season. The DS9 people just could or would not work with her on scheduling being that she'd be on 2 tv shows.
P - Sat, Jan 14, 2012 - 2:26pm (USA Central)
Can somebody explain to me why they would put Jadzia in charge of the station instead of having her at the helm of the defiant. I mean, why would you leave behind your best pilot when going into a major battle, makes no sense to me.
Pat - Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - 3:01pm (USA Central)
Jadzia did not deserve to die and sure not the pointless way it happened. But that was probably the intention, in the wrong place at the wrong time... no meaning to it, no heroism, nothing.
I'm just afraid that ds9 lost its most important character here. Not from a storyline point of, Dax has always been more of a supporting character but Jadzia Dax was the heart and soul of this crew. She kept the family together with her warmth, her joy for live, her passion. Hell, she managed to even soften up Worf a bit. What I missed most in sesion 7, though, is the Sisko-Jadzia relationship. Their extremely strong bond, their chemistry, it just worked for me and I think it's on of Trek's best and strongest friendship. I realize the friendship lasted in the form of Sisko-Ezri but somehow it was not the same. Somehow, there's always been this big black hole, something was just missing once Jadzia was gone and you were constantly reminded of it in the form of Ezri.
Nebula Nox - Tue, Apr 3, 2012 - 5:38am (USA Central)
Jadzia was left in charge of the station because after the episode "Change of Heart" Jadzia and Worf were not permitted to be on the same mission together. At least that is what I think!

As for the prophets and the pagh-wraiths, I think it is interesting that both the Federation and the Dominion have trouble acknowledging their powers. Seems rather short-sighted, but I guess there's a universal tendency to disbelieve all other religions but one's own -- even when faced with evidence. In this episode it is interesting that Dukat prioritizes the pagh-wraiths more than Sisko prioritizes the prophets.
Trekker - Wed, Apr 25, 2012 - 7:52pm (USA Central)
I hated that Jadzia had to die. She's my favorite character and I loved her relationship with Worf. I'll never watch season seven again, this is the end of the series for me.
Mark - Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - 6:55am (USA Central)
Jadzia is my favorite and her absence from season 7 was very much noticed. She had a unique relationship with most of the characters (Sisko, Worf, Kira, Bashir) and in season 7 I never get that feeling of connection between the characters. Yeah Kira had Odo, Ben had Cassidy and Jake, Bashir had O Brien but I didn't felt them as a team anymore. Maybe it was the final season and they were so many subplots but I also think that Jadzia was missing terribly. She always brought out the best in others and her friendship with Sisko was an important part for his character (and Ezri even with the Dax symbiont didn't have the wisdom, confidence and elegance to fill the void, she was never the old man). Also Jadzia's friendship with Kira brought out the lighter side of Kira wihich I also missed in season 7. And of course her relationship with Worf. Michael Dorn said that he thinks that the best part of his character development in DS9 was the relatiopnship between Worf and Jadzia and that it made him a more three-dimensional character and I couldn't agree more. I love Worf in TNG but in DS9 he became more real, Jadzia balanced him nicely. In my opinion Jadzia's death "hurt" the other characters as well.
Sophie - Tue, May 1, 2012 - 8:11pm (USA Central)
Spot on Mark, I couldn't agree more
Jeri - Thu, May 3, 2012 - 6:53pm (USA Central)
I loved Jadzia and I hated that she died. She's an amazing character and she deserved more. Not to mention that Worf losing someone he loved was done before. Couldn't the writers come up with something more original to deal with Dax's absence from season 7? How about missing in action or be on a cover operation and return for the finale arc. That would be something really challenging and it could actually work with good writing.
J - Sat, May 5, 2012 - 7:06am (USA Central)
I couldn't agree more with you Mark.
Jadzia was clearly the heart and soul of this crew. Her passion and positive attitude just made the other characters come to life so much more.
The other characters were clearly "hurt" by Jadzia's death a great deal. Just imagine the whole of ds9 without the Sisko-Jadzia friendship (one, if not the strongest friendship in all of Star Trek), withouth Bashir-Jadzia, Kira-Jadzia, Quark-Jadzia, Worf-Jadzia...
Needless to say that I think that killing off Jadzia was a big mistake. She was the pivotal ds9 character, the light in the darkness. She was greatly missed in session 7.
Vylora - Sat, May 12, 2012 - 2:41am (USA Central)
I pretty much agree with everything said in the review though having Sisko stay behind would likely have changed a lot of peoples actions and reactions leading up to and including Dukats arrival on the station. In fact, had Sisko stayed behind, it is very probable that Jadzia would have gone on the mission.

But this is all speculation. It really sucked that she had to die. When this ep first aired I actually was one of the three people that didn't know of Terry's departure from the show so I was completely floored. I was also a bit pissed at the manner in which she died then I reminded myself that sometimes people, even great people, can die from anything.

Anyway before I start rambling I just wish that Terry could have finished the series. She was a great actress and performed her role as Jadzia Dax with grace and style. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous.

I don't want to downplay Nicole de Boer's role as Ezri...I thought she did a great job in the role she was given (and is very pretty as well) but I think it may have affected season 7 stories not having Terry finish.
Jadzia's fan - Mon, May 14, 2012 - 6:08pm (USA Central)
Jadzia Dax is and always will be my favorite character in the series. This is a very sad episode. I wish she hadn't die but hey it's a sci-fi series involving time travel and parallel universes, no ones really dead in sci-fi.
The Sisko - Sat, May 26, 2012 - 10:05am (USA Central)
Jadzia was so awesome to be killed off. The writers did drop the ball here
Chris Freeman - Sat, Jun 2, 2012 - 3:12am (USA Central)
What goes around comes around: Obi Wan feeling the "disturbance in the Force" was ripped off from Spock feeling the death of the all Vulcan crew of the Intrepid in "The Immunity Syndrome."
Chloe - Sun, Jun 17, 2012 - 11:58am (USA Central)
One of the saddest episodes of DS9, Jadzia is my favorite character, the series isn't the same without her!
Jay - Fri, Jun 29, 2012 - 11:09pm (USA Central)
Enormous gratitude to whomever designed the new Romulan uniforms...the 80s style shoulderama ones were ridiculous...
Anya - Sun, Jul 15, 2012 - 8:18am (USA Central)
Head canon: When Sisko joined the Prophets he existed in a non linear realm and before he left he said to Kassidy that he would return maybe in the future or maybe in the past. In my mind he returns before Jadzia’s death, he saves her life and she and Worf have their happy ending with their baby.
In a show with godlike beings, parallel realities, a new canon timeline, time travel etc. I can’t see Jadzia staying dead for long.
Jadzia's fan - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - 7:10pm (USA Central)
^
I love that idea. I strongly believe that when Sisko joined the Prophets he brought Jadzia back. In the episode Ascension we see that the Prophets have the power to alter one event in the past (they returned the poet in his own time) without altering the present. If that's possible anything is.
Captain Data - Sat, Jul 28, 2012 - 7:39pm (USA Central)
I like the idea of Jadzia returning after the series finale, she and Worf are my favorite characters of the show and I would love to see them happy.
Mark - Wed, Aug 1, 2012 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
Jadzia is too awesome to be gone for good! I'm sure when Sisko became a prophet he brought her back!
jake - Fri, Aug 31, 2012 - 6:11am (USA Central)
@Mark
"I love Worf in TNG but in DS9 he became more real"

NONE of Worf's DS9 moments matched the power of the moment in TNG when he kills Duras.
DG - Fri, Dec 7, 2012 - 3:28am (USA Central)
Srsly? SRSLY? wtf...?

As much as it's been nice having Jadzia around for a few more episodes, a death in Change of Heart would have been MUCH more beautiful.

This was so... "I'm leaving the show, so something I'd normally live right through if I were staying is totally gonna kill me mmmkay?" when compared to Change of Heart, which would have been "Your. Death. Has. A. Bearing. On. The. PLOT!"

That being said, losing *Dax* would have sucked. *Dax* was cool whether he was Curzon, Jadzia, or that weird guy from Children of Time.
DG - Fri, Dec 7, 2012 - 3:41am (USA Central)
Okay, okay, I wrote that when Gul Dukat zapped her.

Everybody's *reaction* to her death is worth it.

Still...
DavidK - Mon, Jan 28, 2013 - 5:08am (USA Central)
The writer in me would be gleeful reading these comments, because really when you kill a main character, what you really want to do is torture the fans. You want them to be angry, upset, so you know when you've really connected. It bothered me in 1998, but looking back I can seen why it was a good way to deal with Terry Farrell leaving. A heroic death would have been too pat and predictable. Here she dies for no good reason, which always hurts more, and, as people have said above, she really was the heart of the cast. Killing her sends shockwaves through most every other character and sends them drifting away from each other, aimless and lost.

The baby stuff was heavy handed though. And her being "on her deathbed" does seem awkward with 24th century science, as people have said, but keep in mind that Bashir had probably already removed the symbiont by that point, and it's been established joined Trill die within three hours of separation. The reasons are still a bit vague, but once you accept Bashir *had* to remove the symbiont for whatever reason, having her alive but him knowing all is lost becomes easier to swallow.

Her dying in Change of Heart would have been far superior, however.
Clark - Thu, Jan 31, 2013 - 10:20pm (USA Central)
So, after the countless times that the Prophets have aided the Federation, they still can't accept that these "wormhole aliens" are real. You don't even have to accept them as gods, but its stupid to write them off as non-essential the way the Federation does.

From the moment they stopped the Dominion reinforcements from getting through the wormhole, I would have been doing my best to keep them on my side. And if that meant leaving Sisko on DS9, then so be it. I hate how the Federation was constantly giving Sisko crap about the Prophets when it was clear they wanted to see Bajorans thrive.

Even people like Bashir had this smug attitude that they weren't really there. Did they seriously think Sisko was making this up? They seemed to act that way, at least.

As far as the episode goes, I'm conflicted. This is my first time watching DS9, but I knew Dax would die since the first season because I had accidentally read about it on another website. Her death didn't touch me at all the way I thought it would. She was my favorite character, but her death felt kind of wasted. It felt like they killed her just so they could. I will miss her in Season 7 though. That's for sure.
tony - Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - 5:26am (USA Central)
You can tell DS9 was really starting to show its age by this point. Confused Matthew aptly called this episode the point where things went to shit with this show.
Kal - Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - 12:34pm (USA Central)
The whole battle was reminiscent of Star Wars, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing but did make me laugh. I expected Damar to announce his "fully armed and operational" defense array, and for that moon by the power grid to be named Endor.
Sam S - Sat, Jun 8, 2013 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
It is pretty clear from future episodes that everyone knows that Dukat killed Jadzia.. So the question for me remains: why did Worf not want revenge on Dukat? Why was his sole desire to fight a big battle in Jazia's name the only response to her death? Think back to the last time somebody killed one of his mates. The lieutenant commander grabbed a sword and went hunting after the guy. Also notice that in previous episodes it is been established that if Worf believes a Klingon warrior is entering The afterlife of the Klingons, he not only lets off a growl that shakes the room but he also opens the person's eyes. Remember when he kills Gowron in season seven? The answer to question is easy just like the answer to the other question. He does not open her eyes when he screams because it would look weird to do that for a woman. Also he does not vow revenge upon the series main bad guy because that is a job for the captain to take care of. But unfortunately this creates a conflict in the character of Worf. He should have been more Klingon and less Federation.
Paul - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 11:39am (USA Central)
@Sam S: That's actually a really good point. Shouldn't season 7 have involved Worf trying to track down and kill Dukat? I suppose they could have written around this by saying Worf thought it best to honor Jadzia by trying to win the war ...

But it's very clear that the DS9 crew knew who killed Jadzia (Kira calls him out for it in "Covenant"). Presumably, a dying Jadzia told Bashir in her last moments or their was surveillance footage or something.
T'Paul - Mon, Aug 5, 2013 - 2:17pm (USA Central)
I shed no tears about Jadzia's loss... hollowly acted, arrogant, boring... the worst incarnation of Dax for sure.
ProgHead777 - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 1:22am (USA Central)
OUTSTANDING review, Jammer. As with all of your good reviews, you articulate most of the things I appreciate about an episode as well as call out the flaws that bothered me. And, as with all of your absolute BEST reviews, such as this one, you elucidate the strengths and weaknesses that escaped me when I watched the episode myself for the first (or second) time. Sometimes I feel the need to watch an episode again after I've read one of your analyses. This is one of those times. Your site has made my re-watching of the various Trek series feel fresh again, and for that, speaking as a full-on Trek nerd since childhood, I thank you SINCERELY. Now... ON TO SEASON 7!
Michael - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 12:15am (USA Central)
@Clark

On rewatching this episode, that's the thing that struck me the most. The intervention of the Prophets during Sacrifice of Angels was the only thing that saved THE ENTIRE FEDERATION, not to mention the Alpha Quadrant as a whole. What else would the Prophets have to do for Starfleet to take them or Sisko's connection to them seriously? Bah. I don't believe for a minute that Ross would pressure Sisko this way after that, and I also don't believe that Sisko would ignore the Prophets warning no matter what Ross said. Sisko has been on a series long evolution as the Emissary. At this point, he fully accepts his connection to the Prophets. He begged them for a miracle and they gave it to him, saving him, as well as everyone and everything he cares about. It's inconceivable that he would ignore their warning now. He literally owes them everything.
Paul - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 9:42am (USA Central)
@Michael and Clark: Excellent points. The sad thing is that Ross didn't need to be so hard-headed for the plot to work. He and Sisko could have had a conversation and both been very torn about what to do in this situation. They could have decided that despite the prophets' warnings, Sisko was still needed in the attack. Making the prophets' comments more ambiguous might have helped too.
Kotas - Mon, Nov 4, 2013 - 6:45pm (USA Central)

Not as good as previous season finales. Disappointing end to a major character.

5/10
Arbit - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 11:50am (USA Central)
The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the a
Arbit - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 12:06pm (USA Central)
Shoot, I didn't think hitting enter after answering the antispam question would post :( Sorry

Anyway here's the rest

The Federation attitude towards the prophets is beyond ridiculous at this point. The prophets obliterated an entire Dominion fleet and the Admiral is still talking about them like they are an inconsequential and fictitious bit of religious hokery. They're real! They're probably the biggest asset the Alpha Quadrant has in the war! If the prophets send Sisko a vision saying it is his destiny to become the galaxy's greatest freestyler, then the Federation should throw their full weight behind that just to appease them.

What's worse, the show has been treating the prophets the same way for SIX YEARS. By this point, it would have been nice to have some concrete answers about the nature of the prophets and their relationship with Bajor and Sisko. As a viewer, it's really unsatisfying to see the prophets become major, direct participants in the war at the beginning of the season, only get a few vague prophecy related episodes thrown our way, then have an Admiral go "hurf durf I've been indulgent with you long enough Sisko time to give up your role as emissary to the most important aliens in the Alpha Quadrant so you can personally lead an invasion that could be better planned and executed by top level Federation officers with relevant training". Then Sisko gets a headache in the middle of it and contributes nothing.
Ric - Thu, Dec 19, 2013 - 4:07am (USA Central)
Of course, a much better episode than the lame ones DS9 delivered in the second half of this season. But the worst season finale so far. Not to mention the last step to overthrown all Trek universe reality. For instance: Dukat has become a Star Wars Lord Sith, with all those video game super powers. Sisko's business with the prophets is so overused in key moments of the main arcs that at this point, it feels just lazy writing: the prophets are always there to give a magic insight, to save the day, or just to throw more magictechnobabble on us viewers.

This 6th season was a mess and put DS9 simply completely out of Star Trek. This episode was not all bad, off the target or off the pace. But not good either: the easiness to win the battle, the downplay with Dex scenes... Oh, did I mention the super-powered Dukat, who keeps losing dimensionality and, worse, making the past character development pointless? A shame, a pity.

Oh yes, and the huge happening for one of the crew was incredibly poorly handled, not effective and not emotional.

For me, DS9 is a bit lost and very much adrift. I'll be hoping for a better last season.
K'Elvis - Wed, Jan 8, 2014 - 12:37pm (USA Central)
Jadzia was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Life and death work that way. Perhaps if Sisko had stayed, the Prophets would have had him intercept Dukat, or Dukat would have been unable to resist going directly after Sisko. Still, the Prophets could have been more clear why they wanted Sisko to stay, but perhaps they are communicating as best as they can.

Federation medicine does seem to make little sense - people die when the script says they die, even when 21st century medicine might have had a chance.
Trent - Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - 8:10am (USA Central)
I think we should give Ric an award for inventing the term "magictechnobabble".
Jons - Sat, Feb 8, 2014 - 8:30am (USA Central)
From season 2 and on, I have really enjoyed DS9. Season 5 was (mostly) amazing. But I hate this episode and what it says about season 7... The preponderance of "religion" and "emissionary" stuff is getting on my nerves, and I feel like I'm watching Stargate SG1 rather than Star Trek. I don't like that. (Currently watching season 7 episode 1, and I'm not liking it).

I hate how suddenly everyone in ST is religious and a "believer" in sort some of local planetary religion (since of course, as typical for ST, there's only one religion per planet).
DLPB - Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - 9:14am (USA Central)
It was bad enough that I had to swallow a magic fire monster, but then I had to swallow the premise that she didn't die from that attack too.
Ric - Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - 12:17am (USA Central)
@Trent Many thanks! I would like to share this award with all my brave fellows who have managed to get through the whole DS9 Season 6 and, worse, the next one, bravely facing with their hearts in their hands, all the magictechnobabbled episodes. These true Trek soldiers, I am convinced, boldly went to where no Trek fan should have ever had to go before (or ever).
Toraya - Sat, Mar 29, 2014 - 12:33pm (USA Central)
What Ric said.

Not understanding why Dukat is suddenly eager for just-plain-vengeance against Sisko. I thought 'Waltz' showed him desperate to save Sisko's life because he was driven (by guilt and vanity) to win Sisko's friendship. Even leaving on the runabout in that ep, he signaled the Defiant so Sisko wouldn't die. Or did I misunderstand something?
Bravestarr - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 - 4:36pm (USA Central)
So let me get this straight. Jazdia Dax, a Trill officer with the rank of Lieutenant Commander is told to stay at the station during a very important and critical mission in the Dominion War. But NOG who is an ENSIGN is right up there on the bridge, mixing it up with the Captain and piloting one of the most powerful ships in Starfleet!? Are you kidding me!? I'm not joking people this little guy is worse than Wesley Crusher.

At least Wesley had a lot of growing up to do and finding out who is he, Nog just goes from Ferengi to blindly devoted Starfleet officer who get's all the best missions! I honestly feel sorry for any other ensign or cadet put up against this guy! It's like "Oh, who's going on the away mission?" "Ensign Nog and Ensign Red Shirt!"

Red Shirt: "Crap."

I know Terry Farrell was leaving the show and her contract was up. But Nog should've been left behind, and Nog was the one who should've died. This is not up for debate.
Yanks - Wed, Aug 20, 2014 - 8:19pm (USA Central)
Wow, I'm not sure I like or hate this one.

When I bought DS9 and watched it for the first time, I did not know she seeked employment elsewhere. I was FLOORED by her death and equally pi$$ed that that frakin punk Dukat did it. Man was I upset. So sad Decker couldn't have waited a year, or that she didn't finish DS9 first before going over. She really grew on me throughout the series and had really become one of my favorite characters. Another point.... why the frak did she have to die? How about a transfer, blah, blah... oh, then Sisko wouldn't have an "old man" to confide in next season. Her death chaps my ass to this day.

Well, the Federation attitude towards religion is not a surprise, but you'd think that they would realize the fact that the Dominon reinforcements can't come through the wormwhole is the ONLY reason everyone in the Alpha Quadrant isn't speaking "founder". They might think twice about contradicting what Sisko asks for when he hears from them. Head scratcher there.

Jadzia not at the helm of the Defiant during battle? …. And Nog gets the call? ***slaps forehead***

I also thought the Bashir/Quark sobbing over Dax grew quite old.

Little nit pick about the battle. When they finally figure out how to blow up the power generation asteroid (some pretty serious O’Brien technobabble BTW) it looked like only 1 or 2 of those platforms shot at it. It should have been all of them. It would have been much more pleasing visually and dramatically I think.

Does anyone else besides me think Dukat’s little PW trick should have worked? I think DS9 was more “DS9” when the wormhole was working…

“DAX: Our baby would have been so beautiful.” Snif….snif….

The writers REALLY screwed the pooch with Jadzia’s death. It should have been in ‘Change of Heart’

Well, I’ll give it 3 stars… I don't think this was as strong as other DS9 season closers. Not surprising really with the quality of the end of season 6.
M.P. - Fri, Sep 12, 2014 - 8:36pm (USA Central)
Oh lord. It is amazing how something you once thought was solid turns out to be shaky as all hell in hindsight. For its time, this episode was spectacularly written. But 14+ years later you can really see the flaws.

First, about Jadzia's death. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this. Terry did NOT want Jadzia killed! When she made her decision to leave, she specifically suggested to the writers to have Dax promoted and transferred; that way she could return as a guest star throughout the 7th season.

The writers, including the lauded Ron Moore, decided instead to kill her off and give us Ezri. If they had just taken her up on her offer; we wouldn't have had this whole mess to deal with. As the Season 7 episode shows, they were going for the "death can happen at any time" angle; but it kills me that it was so unnecessary. I think I speak for everyone when I say 5 or 6 episodes of Jadzia beats all-season of Ezri any day.

Next thought: I've said it before, I'll say it again. Sisko should have been promoted to Rear Admiral. Then, in consultation with other Admirals, planned the invasion. It would have made so much more sense. Sigh.

I also have to agree with the ridiculous notion of the Federation's attitude toward the Prophets. It really makes no logical sense and has to be one of the biggest plot holes in DS9's entire run. Hey, these aliens which we know exist just destroyed a fleet of 2,000 Dominion ships and are preventing almost certainly far more from coming through.

Let's just ignore their advice, act against them, and piss them off! >__< If they had demanded Sisko cut open and hung from the Promenade by his intestines it should have been a scramble of Admirals grabbing knives and wildly stabbing! Its that serious of a contribution the Prophets are making! They literally are the only thing preventing the Federation's annihilation.

Its not even that hard to make Sisko staying work. Just go back to the beginning of the season for the answer. Worf transfers to the Rotarran. Dax commands the Defiant. Sisko stays on the station. Literally how this season was after Rocks and Shoals.

Ughhhhh! So many plot holes! Such awful, terrible, crappy writing! What, did they just get drunk and say screw it? They were capable of so much better than this.

Final note: Anyone notice that after Sacrifice the CGI budget seems to have been cut? Reused footage, yes, shorter scenes, yes. But what really kills me is the much smaller fleet sizes. Don't give me the whole "war was wearing them down" crap; there is no way in hell that the entire Federation invasion fleet consisted of 20 ships. It is simply lazy CGI. I just try to imagine I'm watching a small battle group of a considerably larger fleet.
Grumpy - Fri, Sep 12, 2014 - 9:04pm (USA Central)
M.P. "...5 or 6 episodes of Jadzia beats all-season of Ezri any day."

Although not an Ezri-hater, I can safely second this motion.

"Sisko should have been promoted to Rear Admiral."

After re-viewing the series finale, I must second this motion, too. In those climactic battles, Sisko, of all captains, personally teleconferences with Admiral "I Saved the UFP, Really" Ross and the Klingon High Frickin' Chancellor. Not because he's the Emissary of the Prophets. Not because he commands a strategic station. Just because he's the star of the show.

With that, I had the same hindsight revealing the raggedy seams of DS9. Way too stage-y, I thought. Way too theatrical. The scope is so limited. The doom of Cardassia carried great, gloomy weight upon first viewing. Seeing it again, it's as Roger Corman famously bragged: showing the Fall of the Roman Empire with three extras and a bush.
Grumpy - Fri, Sep 12, 2014 - 9:10pm (USA Central)
One last thing: if Behr & Co. had wanted to send the series into its final summer break with the audience worried that Anyone Can Die (tm), I would've nominated Rom and/or Leeta. Throw in Vic Fontaine and you've surpassed "Mr. Worf, fire!" as an excuse to bring back viewers for Season 7.
$G - Tue, Oct 14, 2014 - 9:46pm (USA Central)
I think Jammer's review reflects my feelings on this pretty well. I think this is a good episode, but not as impactful or suspenseful as it wants to be ("Sacrifice of Angels" did this type of game-changing climax much better for a lot of reasons).

I have a few issues with this episode:

1: The pah wraiths vs. the wormhole. It's troublesome because it's now bringing the camp of "The Reckoning" to things that, well, actually matter. It's concerning, but the real problem is that the wormhole being closed isn't as much of a gut punch as it thinks it is. It doesn't even seem to be clear that that's what Dukat intended. It feels like a really obtrusive non sequitur in an episode that has so much more going on. Weyoun and Damar's reactions are pretty right-on: what does this have to do with *ANYTHING* right now?

Don't get me wrong - the wormhole closing is a strong plot point for the series, but it's not conveyed with as much gravity as it probably should have been.

2: Dax's death. It... works? Kind of, I guess. The problem is not that it doesn't work; it's that it could have been so much more affecting. I can't really think of a good reason why she couldn't go down on the Defiant in the heat of battle. That would, a) make the battle a lot more intense, and, b) add even more weight to the mounting casualties of war our characters are dealing with. I'm not talking about a blaze of glory, but something that the audience understands as death: war, battle, casualties, loyalties, anything like that. Not fire-zapped by the space devil.

3) Dukat forgiving Damar is just way too easy. One could construe this as the typical Dukat manipulation, but this is a case of a character's worth falling short of the series' length. We've already seen Dukat rise, fall, rise again, and the be defeated. He's only still around because the SHOW is still around, and Alaimo is one of the best performers. But a story shouldn't have to FIND things for characters to do. Their value should be self-evident to the tale. Once their value is up, they need to get off at the next stop. At least Alaimo is good. A good performance can sell some terrible writing - hell, just look at BSG's third season finale.

All this said, this is still a good hour. I know, I sound like I'm all over the place, but "Tears" is still a reasonably executed finale that juggles a lot of plot elements and pays off with Sisko finally having enough (the seeds of which were becoming obvious way back in "Far Beyond the Stars"). "Tears" just doesn't hit with the impact it should, and I think that's where a lot of people including me take issue with it.

3 stars. Good, but we criticize because we love.
$G - Wed, Oct 15, 2014 - 1:32am (USA Central)
Okay, I realize I should re-post (see: above) and say some good things about "Tears" if I'm going to claim its good when so many disagree.

This is a two-part episode that is condensed into 45 minutes and *works*. That is, it doesn't feel rushed in the slightest. Keep in mind, this is *including* a scene in which Vic croons to Bashir and Quark.

Here are the plots and character arcs this episode addresses:

-The Feds and Klingons convincing the Romulans to attack Cardassian space.

-The battle itself, with some of the cooler battle moments in the show, starring the Jem'Hadar suiciding into the Klingon fleet and Galaxy class starships being taken out by the Cardassian turret drones.

-The Prophets, whose warnings are as self-serving as they've always been. They believe Sisko could have stopped Dukat, but he understandably leaves to lead the attack.

-Dukat, returning to Cardassia and convincing Damar and Weyoun to let him use a pah wraith to re-open the wormhole.

-Dax gets a few last scenes with some of her friends, played as just another day in the life of the station.

-Kira and Odo get a couple of lovers' quarrels scenes together. These aren't really necessary, but I suppose it's nice to see Odo learning how to have a relationship.

-Ross chewing out Sisko for being a fence sitter Jenner actually plays this scene really well. Watch him, while Sisko explains himself, trying to keep his cool even though he's clearly had enough.

-Several strong Weyoun and Damar scenes. The stand out is the "Founders *ARE* gods" moment, but I also really enjoyed Weyoun straight up saying the Cardassians are a disappointment as an ally. I enjoy Weyoun's agitation with a campaign that should probably be going better than it is. Dukat was tough to rein in, and if the defector in "Change of Heart" and Garak's contacts from "In the Pale Moonlight" are any indication, the Cardassians are a poor business partner for the Dominion. Jammer's complained that the Dukat-Weyoun dynamic didn't have enough breathing room, but I think that dynamic transitions gracefully into the cracks we're seeing now.

-The last 6 or 7 minutes of the show include Dax's farewell, Sisko talking to Dax's casket, Sisko saying goodbye to his crew in Ops, Kira and Odo talking in Sisko's office, and finally Sisko back in New Orleans. It's actually a really strong sequence, regardless of whether or not you approve of how Dax was killed.

It's actually incredible that all of what I mentioned above is featured in a single episode and doesn't feel rushed. I do wish we could have gotten more here as a 2-part season finale, but I still think it satisfyingly closes the book on S6 while opening the doors for S7.

The criticisms I made in the above post are still legit (and so are a lot of the criticisms in this thread) but I think this episode really has a lot going for it even with its problematic aspects.

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