Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"What You Leave Behind"

***1/2

Air date: 5/31/1999
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"All during the years of my exile I imagined what it would be like to come home. I even thought of living in this house again, with Mila. But now she's dead, and this house is about to be reduced to a pile of rubble. My Cardassia is gone."
"Then fight for a new Cardassia."
"I have an even better reason, commander—revenge."
"That works too."

— Garak and Kira

Nutshell: Some weaknesses—one disappointing conclusion in particular—but overall it's a poignant and satisfying end to the final arc and the series.

DS9's final episode is an emotional, eventful story that covers ground like there's no tomorrow—because there is no tomorrow. Here's an episode that must end a war, tie up numerous threads, and essentially close the book on every recurring DS9 character in existence—not an easy task. I dare say they pulled it off very well.

But at the same time, they could've done some things better. Naturally, with the series now over, there could still be half a season's worth of stories to follow up what happens here. Not everyone is going to be satisfied with what we leave behind (there are of course some issues that go unresolved), but I'd guess a great deal of the audience will be. Me—I'm mostly satisfied, although there were some things on the wish list I didn't get.

I liked this closing chapter in the DS9 saga a great deal. No, it's not perfect. I wouldn't call it the best overall episode of the season. But I would call it a big winner, and probably the most emotion-packed and important DS9 outing of the year. Even if it can't wrap up every one of a million storylines, it's a captivating ride that does many things.

The episode's got it all: tense action, smart and probing discussions, gripping final showdowns, fulfilled prophecies, tragic consequences, satisfying comeuppance, gut-wrenching suspense, bittersweet goodbyes, some laughter, and plenty of tears. There's a lot here to reflect upon, even though there's the temptation to reflect upon what there wasn't.

This episode has some flaws when considering the very big series-spanning picture. There's the sense that anything less than perfection would seem somehow disappointing because the series is over. The book is closed and what is here is all we have left to answer the many questions DS9 has posed during its run.

I should probably confess an affection for this series that exceeds any television show I've ever watched, including close runners-up Homicide: Life on the Street and Star Trek: The Next Generation. There's a poignancy in seeing the characters head into their respective final chapters, their fates probably forever being sealed, as there will be no DS9 feature film as was the case with TNG.

So, aside from the sentimental qualities, you ask, was "What You Leave Behind" any good? Well, as I switch into review mode here, I must say the answer is a definite "yes."

The thing that has been both DS9's best quality and at the same time the source for its biggest drawbacks is that there's so much ambition behind the stories that the final outcomes can't always live up to the vast layers of depth and subtlety the creators seem to promise. It's a strange two-edged sword that works both for and against the series, and one can see the phenomenon in operation here. (Of course, I've usually argued that the strengths of this policy have by far outweighed the weaknesses, and I will be arguing that case again here.)

"What You Leave Behind" is the final outcome of the huge arc we've had for the past eight weeks. But more than that, it's also the final outcome of the Dominion War we've had for the past two years. But, more than that, it's also the final payoff for character paths we've had for years before that: Sisko as the Emissary, Dukat as the major adversary, Winn as the schemer of Bajor, Odo as the rogue Changeling, Kira as the heroic freedom fighter, Garak as the exiled Cardassian, and the Founders as the paranoid aggressors of the Gamma Quadrant.

So, then, as they say, where were we?

We've got Kira, Garak, and Damar hiding out on Cardassia. We've got Winn and Dukat embarking on a devious mission into the Fire Caves of Bajor. We've got Sisko, Martok, and Ross leading what they intend to be the final assault on the Dominion fleets. By the end of the show, we presume, all these elements will come together in some way or another, and we've pretty much presumed right.

Perhaps the most interesting series-spanning parallel in "What You Leave Behind" is that of Cardassia and Bajor. While we've had this connection drawn for us recently, most notably in "When it Rains...," I like the idea of the series ending where it started—with an analysis of Cardassia and Bajor. Society-wise, it would seem this episode is more interested in Cardassia than in Bajor (Bajor has been limited via microcosm to Winn, Sisko, and the Prophet/Paghwraith struggle), but along with the topic comes the full circle that plays into a little bit of everything about these two cultures.

From the outset of "What You Leave Behind" (heck, from the end of last week's "Dogs of War") it has seemed abundantly clear the war would be ending on Cardassia Prime. All the major characters are either there already, or on their way.

On Cardassia, the organized resistance is over, but Damar's attempts to bring about a new resistance through the citizens of Cardassia has proven successful; we now have acts of sabotage against the Dominion, giving them even more troubles behind the lines to contend with, and at the worst time to have such problems.

So now, the Dominion's patience with the Cardassian people has run out. Weyoun retaliates in full force, reducing Locarian City and its population of two million to ashes. He says future acts of sabotage by the Cardassians will be met with similar acts of destructive retaliation.

Well, if there's one thing Weyoun and the Dominion haven't learned, it's that their attitude of absolute totalitarian control over such "Dominion puppets" isn't as easy in the Alpha Quadrant as it may have been in the Gamma Quadrant. Just as Weyoun completely misread Damar before his defection, so has he misread the Cardassian population. This is a group that's supposed to be intimidated into submission with threats of annihilation? Cardassian society is as good as dead under Dominion rule, and given Cardassia's proud history, Weyoun's speech is more likely to cause further upheaval, methinks. Needless to say, it's a thrill to watch all of Cardassia begin to finally turn on their supposed ally—an "ally" that assumes its occupied territory's citizens will sit by idly while their interests are being blatantly ignored.

What we have here is an unstoppable freight train set in motion early in the season with Weyoun's idle insults of Damar. Cardassia will rebel, and two million Cardassian deaths is the catalyst, not the extinguisher.

By the time the Dominion realizes this fact, however, it's too late. The Federation and its allies, on the offensive charge into Cardassian space, have engaged the Dominion fleets. By this time, the Cardassian ships are turning their fire upon the Dominion and Breen ships, suddenly turning the tables. Sisko says it all: "The timing couldn't be better."

As was the case with "The Changing Face of Evil," it takes a little while for all of this to get rolling. The episode keeps a healthy emphasis on the character flavor, giving us one last time to follow a halfway-normal day in the lives of the people. A lot of this works every bit as well as it did in "Changing Face"; these people still have lives and plans, even though half of them are headed off into a huge battle. It was nice to see Keiko and the kids again, as well as hear about O'Brien's plans to move back to Earth and teach at the academy after the war ends. Kasidy's morning sickness was a bearable comic scene with a serious (albeit derivative) undertone about leaving behind the loved ones while going off to fight the battle.

I was ho-hum about the Bashir/Ezri bedroom scene, which seems to exist for confirmation of consummation more than anything else, but if you're a Bashir/Dax fan, please feel free to revel in it. (On the other hand, I did like the subtle shot later on where the two glance worryingly across the bridge—seeing if the other has been harmed—when the Defiant comes under heavy fire.)

There's plenty of crosscutting between the storylines, and since they're all interesting, none of them really trip up any of the others. Indeed, it's a credit to Allan Kroeker's direction that an episode with so much going on proves, surprisingly, mostly dead-on in terms of pacing. The story doesn't feel rushed the way a lot of Big DS9 Episodes in the past have. Fast-paced at times, yes; rushed, no.

The only major players in the story not headed for the collision course on Cardassia are Dukat and Winn on Bajor. Dukat returns with his sight restored (after his act of treachery in "When it Rains..."), ready to embark on the mission into the Fire Caves. Noteworthy is how Winn doesn't even look up from her reading when Dukat proudly swaggers into the room, for this is a partnership based on mutually understood exploitation. And their trek through the Fire Caves is the prelude to a separate conflict that has nothing to do with the Dominion War. (More on this, of course, later.)

Behind the lines are Weyoun and the Female Founder, who share a god/child relationship that we've long since understood, but it benefits here from some interesting dialog. There's the sense that Weyoun's unconditional worship of the Founder often falls on deaf ears, as the Founder has an almost unconscious tendency to cast him aside as a mostly irrelevant servant. Still, though, there's a bond here that seems to be unique, as she confesses at one point that Weyoun is the only solid she has ever come to really trust. These are the types of conversations that make DS9 much more than an exercise in plot and instead a rich character show.

Most of the finale's first hour follows the battle to reach the enemy. It's mostly well executed and entertaining, which is important since entertainment value is as necessary a quality as anything else.

There are the expected pyrotechnic battle sequences, an effective mix of special-effects footage from "Sacrifice of Angels" and "Tears of the Prophets" (among others) melded with some new shots. The bottom line is that the battle as conveyed works. And there's one fearsome visual (benefiting from a particularly strong Dennis McCarthy musical punctuation mark) of an immense fleet that reveals just what the Dominion has left for its last stand at Cardassia.

Eventually, defeat becomes clear and imminent for the Dominion; they simply have too many problems and find themselves completely surrounded at Cardassia Prime by the Federation alliance's fleet. Meanwhile, the Female Founder has ordered the elimination of all Cardassians on the planet surface, hoping to ensure an end to Cardassian resistance once and for all. But it's too late, because the weak links have already been exploited.

Kira, Damar, and Garak escape capture and near-execution at Mila's house, thanks to Cardassian troops turning against the Jem'Hadar in retaliation "for Locarian City." Much to Garak's dismay, however, Mila is killed and tossed—discarded—down a flight of stairs, followed by his childhood house being leveled as the Jem'Hadar destroy the city building by building. For Garak, the irony couldn't be more tragic. Here he is, finally ending years of exile, only to return to a Cardassia being destroyed by the Dominion. His plan to keep fighting—with revenge as the primary motive—draws a powerful full circle. Kira has been at this point before—when the Cardassians were the aggressors—and here she is again, fighting the freedom fighter's battle for the Cardassians as history repeats itself and another world is left decimated, albeit under interestingly different circumstances.

Kira & Co.'s latest objective is to make an assault on the Dominion command center in the Cardassian capital—a building so well armored that the explosives they have wouldn't even dent the entrance door. There's a well-conceived but not well-executed gallows humor scene where Our Resistance Fighters laugh at the prospect of their suicide mission not even having the capability to get off the ground, let alone end in a blaze of glory. (Oh well; Nana Visitor's giggle has always been one of the few things I never quite found convincing.) One plotted convenience says the Jem'Hadar—with such impeccable timing—would open the door and release the compound's defenses just to execute some Cardassians. Another convenience has Weyoun send so many guards off to eradicate the population that he leaves his key defenses vulnerable. What can I say? Suspension of disbelief has always been a factor in the equation. It's no worse here than usual.

I was somewhat disappointed by Damar's death. It comes in an action scene and with very little fanfare. Perhaps that's the point—he died in a routine firefight trying to free Cardassia. Still, as a key element in this arc for the past two months, it's almost as if there simply wasn't time to deal with the death of the man who would've been the leader of a new Cardassia. The notion seemingly is: He's dead; on with the story.

Kira and Garak are able to capture Weyoun and the Founder. Weyoun's caustic comments land him in real trouble, and Garak kills Weyoun in a comeuppance scene that shows Garak in all-business mode. I should probably point out that DS9 is the only Trek series where one recurring character can shoot another in cold blood and it can come across as satisfying and even justified. It's an example of how this series can tell Trek-universe stories with dark undertones and get away with it.

In the end, I think the way Cardassia played into the end of the war is among the most brilliant and well-conveyed of the series' large-scale ideas. Their alliance with the Dominion came under extreme, desperate circumstances; the alliance didn't pan out as I'm sure Dukat had envisioned; and ultimately, Cardassia pays the price and becomes a destroyed, defeated, anguished world with more than 800 million dead. One difficulty in the war storyline has been in showing huge losses in the Federation, simply because the higher powers in the Trek universe dictate (appropriately) that the Federation must survive. Making Cardassia pay the price, especially given how much of them we've seen over the course of the "Final Chapter," is the next best thing dramatically.

And watching Cardassia's fate unfold through Garak's eyes couldn't be more appropriate, because he is the survivor we identify with. He is the one who has longed to return to Cardassia and loved his world for what it was. And his painful, truthful, perceptive discussion with Bashir afterward is one of the highlights of the two hours. His acknowledgement of the oft-unspoken-of Cardassian arrogance that "betrayed the entire Alpha Quadrant" is powerful to hear in actual dialog, and his mix of sadness and anger and ultimately his calm acceptance that "We live in uncertain times" is superbly portrayed by Andrew Robinson. Through Garak, Cardassia's losses are hammered home with a true note of partially self-inflicted tragedy. Bravo.

Also of interest is Martok's toast over a devastated Cardassia, and Sisko and Ross' refusal to participate. It's almost as if the war's end has brought about a new sobriety concerning the lingering consequences that lie ahead—yet Klingon warriors will celebrate the victory nonetheless.

The actual end to the war, not surprisingly, comes with a truce (this is, after all, the world of Star Trek), and not the battle to the last Dominion soldier as the Female Founder initially promises. The nature of the truce makes sense, and builds through Odo's arc involving the Founders' disease, the cure, and the long relationship Odo has with his people.

The fact Odo is able to persuade the Female Founder to surrender is a notion that has numerous implicit possibilities. Over the past few months the Founder has grown increasingly ruthless and impatient. (One argument is that the consequences to the Great Link have become increasingly clear and dire.) The ability for Odo to change her mind by linking with her and offering to cure the Link is something that is completely consistent with the nature of the Founders as we've known them.

Back in "Sacrifice of Angels," it was clear the war was never quite so important as protecting the Link; the war was simply a means to an end, complicated by a plethora of other political situations. Here, the truce arises out of the Founder's need to protect the Link while trusting Odo. Included in the negotiated package deal for the truce is Odo finally returning to the Link—something the Female Founder has long been trying to convince/trick/lure Odo into doing, but also something Odo has long wanted the opportunity to do under the right circumstances. The way Odo and the Female Founder tie into the ending of the war is something I think grows naturally from all the past dealings we've seen, so I have no objections. (The change of heart in the Founder might seem sudden, but let's face it—with the cure, Odo is holding the right cards to strike a bargain. Besides, his understanding of "solids" is something the Founder might be willing to listen to given her vulnerable position.)

With the war over, the latter passages of "What You Leave Behind" focus on the final destination of the characters and the situation in the Fire Caves, where Dukat and Winn have successfully released the Paghwraiths.

One execution question I have concerns just how long Dukat and Winn are in these caves. The story crosscuts between the war's final showdown and the scenes in the caves. Then the truce is formed and most of the major characters return to DS9 for celebration and reflection. All this time, Dukat and Winn are in the caves. Apparently it all happens in a matter of hours—making this a particularly active day in the history of the Alpha Quadrant.

The timing seems a bit odd, but manageable. However, this adventure in the Fire Caves brings me to my one serious qualm with "What You Leave Behind"—the one piece of the story that truly didn't live up to where it seemed to be headed: namely, the final analysis of Dukat and Winn.

For me, the jury has been out concerning the nature of Dukat's twists and turns since his downfall last season in "Sacrifice of Angels." "Waltz" was a powerful episode but left Dukat headed in a direction that didn't seem nearly as interesting as the complex layers in what came before. "Tears of the Prophets" and later "Covenant" had him bouncing in a new uncertain direction with the Paghwraiths that seemed to be building somewhere. I thought we were finally getting somewhere truly compelling with the beginning of the final arc. What would Dukat's role in Bajor's fate reveal about him? What is it about Bajor that he really seeks? And what exactly is the nature of his hateful relationship with Benjamin Sisko?

Well, the answer provided in "What You Leave Behind," alas, is about as simpleminded as it could be. In short, "I've won, Benjamin. You've lost" is not what I envisioned as the ultimate explanation of Dukat's motives. And while an epic struggle of good vs. evil, Prophet vs. Paghwraith, Sisko vs. Dukat is entertaining (plenty of neat-looking fire and fury help set the stage of melodrama), DS9 has always been more compelling when dealing with shades of grey, not cut-and-dry absolutes. I wanted an analysis of Dukat that unveiled those complex layers, but here he instead laughs the Evil Laugh, speaks as a Paghwraith about an entire galaxy "burning for all eternity," and exercises the parlor poltergeist tricks that sunk last year's "The Reckoning."

While I think this final showdown proved by far more dramatic than "Reckoning," I still feel short-changed in seeing how simple this conflict resolved itself considering the weeks of buildup we've had devoted to it. Winn's role is a little more opaque; she seems to be uncertain in where her destiny lies, especially (and tellingly) after her own plan to seize the day fails. But the situation with Winn also never quite pays off. Once the Paghwraiths are released, she poisons Dukat, who dies only so he can later be resurrected (and magically transformed back into his true Cardassian form) by a Paghwraith.

This is all very audacious and mystical, but it's also a bit of a muddle, because it doesn't seem to be making much of a point. Yes, Winn is treacherous and, yes, she's constantly looking out for Number One and, yes, she ultimately helps the Emissary stop Dukat (and is killed as a result), but I can't say this made nearly as much sense as it seemed to want to. And I must say I would've been much more comfortable with Dukat talking as himself and not some weird hybrid of a resurrected Dukat/Paghwraith that makes him Evil Incarnate.

On the other hand, Sisko's role in this was quite satisfying, because he chooses to sacrifice himself to save the day, which ties into his role in protecting Bajor and fulfilling his ultimate duty as the Emissary. He and Dukat go literally into the fire, destroying the Kosst Amojan and permanently sealing the Paghwraiths in the Fire Caves. The Prophets save Sisko, however, bringing him to the Celestial Temple where he apparently has always been destined to end up.

This, however, means Sisko must say goodbye to his corporeal existence, so he comes to Kasidy in a vision and explains that he has much to learn from the Prophets, and still more to do for Bajor in his new role. Even though DS9 will almost certainly never have a life beyond this episode, the writers didn't seem to want to close the book forever. Sisko joining the Prophets seems to be permanent, yet not; he assures Kasidy that he will be back ("Maybe a year, maybe yesterday"), but at the same time there's an obvious change in his existence; he has become a Prophet and seems very disconnected from Kasidy and his former existence, even realizing that his life "is not linear."

There's a sense here of the writers perhaps having their cake and eating it too (why promise Sisko will return after throwing him into the fire with Dukat?), but I guess there's a certain balance of bittersweet comfort in knowing Sisko could come back, but perhaps never will.

The fate of the other characters also gets some good screen time, as some choose to stay while others leave. (If there's an appropriate time for a crew to break up and move on to new things, the aftermath of war seems like it.) O'Brien returns to Earth to teach at the academy; Worf agrees to return with Martok to Kronos with a diplomatic role; and of course, Odo must return to the Link—his people need to be saved, and need to understand what he understands about "solids." Life for others will go on at the station: Bashir, Ezri, Quark, Kira, Kasidy, and Jake stay put.

I must admit I had quite a lump in my throat for most of the final act. The episode gets all the poignant goodbye moments right, whether it's the last crew get-together at Vic's, the wordless O'Brien/Bashir hug-goodbye, or the amusing Quark/Odo banter-goodbye, it was all pulled off with sentiment that proved genuine. The Kira/Odo parting was particularly romantic and moving, with the visual of Odo returning to the Link providing almost a storybook finish to their relationship—I found it quite touching. Kudos, of course, go out to Visitor and Auberjonois, who play their characters with all the right notes.

And while I've generally not been a big fan of montage scenes, the montages here had the tearful effectiveness they were shooting for. Montages are a bit of a cliche, but this is a good example of the right time and place. (A shame, however, there were no Worf/Jadzia clips, as Terry Farrell apparently denied permission of their use.) I also loved the final pull-back shot of the station with Kira and Jake watching the wormhole from the promenade—providing a nice echo of "The Visitor."

If there's any other disappointment to be found in "What You Leave Behind," I'd say it would be within what we didn't see rather than what we did. Most notably lacking is some sort of scene that answers the question of Bajor in the political sense. Will Bajor ever join the Federation? Presumably so, but there's no mention of such in dialog, which seems like a huge omission considering that was Sisko's mission in the first place. The closing sense is more one of "life goes on," with Kira now commanding the station instead of Sisko. That's fine, but a look at Bajor's new role in the post-war Federation would've been nice. I'm sure there are other issues that might've been nice to see this season (which we'll revisit in the season recap article), but I'd say this is the most evident oversight.

But not to end on a sour note, because "What You Leave Behind" was anything but a disappointment. There was plenty of closure, lots of good drama, a superb final chapter in the war storyline, and a great sendoff for many of the characters. If only Dukat/Winn weren't such a letdown this would be an easy four-star show, because it tackled a difficult job with surprising adeptness. It satisfactorily answered a great deal of questions while providing the emotional roller-coaster I anticipated. It's tough to say goodbye to this series, but ends must inevitably come. I vote that "What You Leave Behind" makes for a very nice ending.

It's a wrap for DS9, but it's not yet a wrap for me. As in past years, I will post a season recap article sometime this summer. Stay tuned.

Previous episode: The Dogs of War

End-of-season article: Seventh Season Recap

Season Index

91 comments on this review

Craig - Thu, Sep 20, 2007 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
DS9 was not only the best series but also had the best ending out of ALL the Trek series (TNG getting second place, with Enterprise and Voyager getting left behind like an evil step child). Let this be a lesson to all shows: If you run a show for seven seasons, reward your loyal viewers by giving the show a good send off and covering up as many of the loose ends as possible.
Stef - Tue, Sep 25, 2007 - 3:57am (USA Central)
I admit I love DS9 the best, but I'm a sucker for happy endings.

I wanted Damar to be the new leader of Cardasia (hell, he deserved it), along with Garek.

Miles and Julian 'splitting up', and 'The Sisko' vanishing. Bah, I wanted a happy ending.
Gretchen - Mon, Oct 22, 2007 - 4:05pm (USA Central)
Although TNG has the best Trek finale, DS9's is still way ahead of the finales for Voyager, Enterprise, and the original series.
Jayson - Sun, Dec 30, 2007 - 2:00am (USA Central)
DS9 was a classy show from the beginning and if possible they ended with more class than they started with. This was quite simply seven years of solid story telling.
JO´H - Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - 4:07pm (USA Central)
Have to disagree that TNG had the best finale. The Time travel device usually breeds success in ST, but on this occasion what should have been a great episode was just a good one. Sure, coming ful circle with the first and last ever TNG epsiodes with Q standing in judgement over humanity was very clever, and the final scene with Picard joining the Poker table works well, but the last ever episode should have done more to showcase and send off the TNG ensemble. for me, DS9 did this a lot more effectively. That said, they waited to get a lot in over 90 mins that they could have resolved throughout the final 10 episodes. But the character goodbyes were particularly good (Garak/Bashir Bashir/OBrien Kira/Odo Odo/Quark). I also thought that the final shot of Kira and Jake (reminiscent of the Visitor) was a great way to end. One criticism of this is that Bajor did not enter the Federation, which is gaping ommission by the writers. I also liked the idea of Siskos destiny in principle, but I sort of felt that his characters destiny was very much unresolved. I felt at the time of the DS9 finale that these were unresolved elements of the overall story and as time goes on and it seems very unlikley that they ever will be, as I doubt there will ever be any DS9 TV movies. On the whole, however, and back to my original point, I was very satisfied with the ending of seven solid years of story telling (Thanks Jayson) of DS9 - the TNG Finale was just okay
Jake - Sun, Feb 17, 2008 - 10:51am (USA Central)
With respect, the DS9 finale left too many unanswered questions to be truly satisfying. Why did Odo have to leave to do something the female shapeshifter could have done? After all, Odo seemed to convince her to end the war, so why did all of a sudden have to say that he had to leave perhaps forever?
I also disliked Sisko's departure. I'm sorry but the Bajorans celestial temple just didn't grab my imagination the way stovokor did. Sisko should've either died heroically fighting Dukat or he should've just stayed put and have the final shot of the series be him and Jake staring out that window, which would've brought the series truly full circle as it started with the two looking at the station from the ship taking them there.
I thought TNG did a better job bringing things together toward the end, and it has the Hugo to prove it(a pity those 4 films had to spoil it). The DS9 finale was just OK.
Chris - Mon, Feb 18, 2008 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
I found the finale to be a let-down. It just seemed like too much going on at one time, and everything was wrapped up very neatly and very quickly. Some of the acting just didn't click for me - Sisko, Martok and Ross had a rather calm and logical attitude towards what could be the greatest victory or greatest defeat the Alpha Quadrant would ever know. A lot of the acting felt under-played, as if the characters knew they would win in the end. Odo convincing the Founder to end the war was extremely easy, and not the clash of characters and emotions that you'd expect in a show like DS9.

I'll never forgive the use of previous battle scenes. "A Call to Arms" is a good example of using old footage (e.g. they had the same shot of Jem Hadar fighters from "The Search Part 1" but replaced the phasers with photon torpedoes). But in the finale, the new effects shots looked so out of place compared to the stellar scenes from "Sacrifice of Angels" and "Tears of the Prophets". It was bad enough to see the same shot of the Bird of Prey exploding in Star Trek VI and Generations, but for the final battle of a 2 year war to be reduced to cross-cutting between blatant stock footage was very disappointing.

The montages were very effective, and getting to see where the characters ended up was great. However, I think TNG's finale worked better and was more satisfying as a whole.
Ospero - Fri, Apr 11, 2008 - 10:10am (USA Central)
Actually, I find it quite difficult to even think of this as a finale. This doesn't convey the same sense of closure that the other Star Trek series' finales had in spades.

Then again, perhaps I am just influenced by the fact that I recently started on the "relaunch" book series (for those who do not know, it's effectively "season eight"). Once you get started on those books, it becomes really difficult to see "What You Leave Behind" as a conclusive cut - more like a very extended season finale. (And by the way, though I do not receive royalties or anything, I recommend those books. Very neat stuff.)

Greets Ospero
Paul - Sat, Jun 21, 2008 - 8:22pm (USA Central)
Yeah, it was OK. I liked how a few things were tied up - Miles's Transfer, Odo's return to the link, Kira's ending up in Sisko's chair, Garak's end position.

Unfortunately, I found Ezri/Julian to be a bit forced and also found the final scenes between Winn/Dukat/Sisko to be a bit bland. It also seemed a little like the writers wanted to sit on the fence with Sisko's final position - either have the courage to kill him off or don't. They can't have it both ways and still want it to be interesting.

As a final episode, it was good, but it didn't leave me with the same sense of loss that I got from "All good things"
Rita - Sat, Sep 20, 2008 - 6:19am (USA Central)
My biggest complaint is that Dukat deserved so much better. I don't mean that in terms of his fate, but in terms of his characterization. Is it not a shame that this finale reduced one of Trek's best and most psychologically complex villains into a silly raving demon? Rather than digging deep into the final deterioration of this complicated egomaniac, the writers chickened out. They turned Dukat into the Final Boss from a cheap video game. I never wanted a cardboard bad guy. Instead, I wanted DS9 to do justice to this man, to show him as a real person who tragically succumbed to his own obsessions, delusions, and hubris.

Alas, it was not to be.
Eric - Sat, Nov 8, 2008 - 3:42pm (USA Central)
I'll agree that Dukat deserved better, but I appreciated that the image of Sisko on his knees facing an enemy with superpowers, and a woman caught in the middle was almost an homage to the TOS "Where No Man Has Gone Before." A nice, understated tribute to the franchise's origins.
Observer - Mon, Nov 17, 2008 - 11:46pm (USA Central)
So ends the DS9 Saga; it was an amazing series that brough Star Trek into the 21st century. Terrorism, War, and the "gray world" of intelligence were amazing story devices.

The show also benefited from connected ideals of honor, integrity, and duty under haesh circumstance. DS9 was one of a kind, truly great in scope and vision.

With that said, I have to also point this out to everyone. After DS9, Star Trek was never the same again. I grew up on DS9 as a pre-teen and early teenager; I know Jammer and others grew up on TNG or TOS. What happened afterward with voyager and Enterprise was a complete re-tooling to the last generation, not the current generation of Star Trek fans.

It damaged the evolution in ideas that DS9 had created and Star Trek lost relevance. Some may argue DS9 was the wrong kind of vision for Star Trek, because it went against utopian ideals. I would counter and say; Utopia is never completely practical and even Gene Roddenberry would never overstate the value of the human element.

Star trek needed to move toward conflict with intellect and insight, but it did not after DS9. Quite a shame, the evolution of ideals was brilliant, but some never recognized why the change was necessary or saw the need for conflict.
EP - Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 4:09pm (USA Central)
I still maintain that the Poltergeist-like possession angle of Sisko and Dukat was as stupid in 1999 as it is in 2009.
Still, the finale accomplished much, and is loads more watchable than Endgame or TATV. Although the re-use of so much stock battle footage was darn disappointing.
Jayson - Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 6:31pm (USA Central)
Observer,

If you don't have the DVD's there is a segment on the bonus disk for DS9 S7 that has footage of the final wrap pary for DS9. At the party Ira Stephen Behr makes a statement about how he believes DS9 has forever changed Star Trek and that he is hopfull that DS9's legacy will live on afterwards.

Thats such a sad statement given what happend after DS9. Basically TPTB did a 180 from the quality of DS9 in favor of being "cool" & "hip" and back to this episode, as I said before. DS9 was classy from beginning to end.
John R - Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - 4:54pm (USA Central)
Hi Jammer,

I read in a DS9 book somewhere that the reason Sisko promised Cassidy that he'd be back was an unforseen issue of leaving a black single mother behind. A 20th century issue, rather than a 24th century issue.

Originally, they had planned for Sisko to tell Cassidy that he couldn't return.

An odd choice, and like you've pointed out - feels a little cheap.
Bligo - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 11:04pm (USA Central)
@ John R

Producers and audiences love happy endings to much,at least they think they do.


And Avery,well he is Avery and that means he demands his colour included into most moves and actions of Sisko.For me the biggest,and almost the only downside of DS9.I love the show,and i think i will see all seasons in a couple of years again,but in the end i wished they chose a other commanding officer to send to ds9,one that can see past colour and culture.Someone without any racism of feeling of beeing discriminated,someone who doesnt take pride into beeing "the first black captain".Just someone who plays someone from the future,without old pains but with the hope that our future hold within it.

Maybe Worf,but only if he doesnt take pride in beeing "the first klingon captain".(just kidding for the last part offcourse,taking pride in beeing the first klingon seems to fit the era ;)
Jake - Sat, Oct 3, 2009 - 12:14pm (USA Central)
Was it Avery Brooks who insisted that Sisko's ethnicity be mentioned? He wasn't an executive producer on DS9 & unlike, say, Kevin Sorbo, he always seemed to be a good team player.
Will - Sat, Dec 5, 2009 - 5:18pm (USA Central)
Interesting to see some people had issues with lack of closure to certain elements. It's interesting to note that some of the writers weren't happy with the final chapter of Deep Space Nine, and in relation to the final episodes, they said if they'd been given just a few more episodes to finish telling the final story, they really could have done so much with them.

"What You Leave Behind" is the second ever Star Trek closing episode I've seen. The first one was TATV which was HORRIBLE. The worst episode of Enterprise ever. Horrid ending. Berman and Braga could've taken a leaf out of DS9's book on how to succesfully wrap up a series, without raping characters and giving us the biggest anti-climax since TNG's "The Neutral Zone". I thought "What You Leave Behind" was an incredible conclusion. Very satisfying ending to a great series.

As I write this, I'm getting ready to watch Voyager's "Endgame". I've read that people on this website thinks its crap, well...

There have been good times with Voyager. I can't remember having more fun than when I was watching Seasons 3, 4 and 5, but in its final seasons I'm becoming aware of how flawed it was as a series, especially in terms of continuity and character development. The focus of Seven of Nine and the Doctor always annoyed me. All I can hope is that it's a satisfying conclusion. And no-one respond to this post telling me its crap.

It's funny, but at the same time, I'm onto the final episode of BSG. It was an amazing series and I'm really sad it's finally coming to an end, a feeling I've never really had with another series. I wish they'd made seven seasons of BSG rather than just four. It certainely deserved seven seasons more than Voyager which could happily have worked better with four seasons. Oh well, maybe seasons 6 and 7 really have turned me into a Voyager hater.

But the river must run on...
Aldo Johnson - Tue, Dec 15, 2009 - 8:22am (USA Central)
The last post is December 5, 2009. Wow. Not bad for a decade old TV show. A testament to the series, the writing, the acting. That, or we need to get a life :-)

I must confess that I have a lump in my throat watching this show. Overall, I like it. It ties up the loose ends, and ends with a continuation, not an ending; if 'they' wanted to, there could have been an 8th season.

The weakest part was the Pagh-Wraith part, it's like they ran out of time so they had to wrap up that storyline as tidily as they could.

I do like that Winn seemed to finally chose the good side, trying to destroy the 'key' to the Pagh-Wraith's prison. Note also that she called Sisko "Emissary", not "Captain" or "Sisko." Either that or she just can't stand that Dukat gets to be the top-man.

The montage scenes were a bit too weepy, even for me. But I have to admit I enjoyed them.

The last shot of Jake & Kira at the porthole, then pulling back, was beautiful. To me, it gives a sense of "hill of beans" kind of thing.
Durandal_1707 - Thu, Dec 24, 2009 - 12:29am (USA Central)
Here's a nit that no one has noticed so far: At the party at Vic's near the end, why the hell is Kasady drinking? She's pregnant!
Jayson - Fri, Dec 25, 2009 - 9:19pm (USA Central)
Durandal,

It could have been synthohol which tastes like real alchol but with none of the negetive side effects. Either that or it was something else but honestly I never noticed before. Finally, it's the future and maybe they can drink and be pregnate at the same time.
Latex Zebra - Fri, Jan 15, 2010 - 3:09am (USA Central)
OK, get this. I've finally seen the finale!
Got the season 7 box set for Xmas and finally got to see the one episode I'd never seen.

Thoughts, pretty much like Jammer, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Weak points, I echo those who thought the Sisko/Dukat finish was a bit weak. Thought the way the Dominion surrended was just very sudden.
Loved the battles, stock footage or not.
Loved the closure for certain characters.

Has Sisko returned in any of the books yet or is he out of bounds... Anyone?
Destructor - Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - 5:06pm (USA Central)
Sisko does indeed return for the birth of his child (and to see Bajor join the Federation) in the novel 'Unity'.

And yes, as someone mentioned above, Avery Brooks felt very uncomfortable leaving Kasidy with a child and asked the writers to add the like 'I'll be back', which worked out pretty well for the relaunch novels.

I *hated* this episode when I first saw it, mainly because it re-used the battle effects from previous episodes. However I've had a decade to get over it, watched it last night and enjoyed it very muchly.
gion - Tue, Apr 6, 2010 - 1:41pm (USA Central)
I thought much of the episode was contrived, melodramatic and pompous. The clear desire of the writers to end with a big bang didn't do it any good.
JackBauer - Wed, Jun 30, 2010 - 2:04am (USA Central)
Nothing will ever in a million years compare to the babylon 5 finale. Not this, not Lost, not TNG...nothing.

This episode would have been so much better without the Dukat/Winn nonsense.
Genlyai - Mon, Aug 23, 2010 - 12:42am (USA Central)
Great series, I watch it from beginning to end once per year. In just recently watching the "special features" on the last disc of season 7 I noted the following: One of the producers wished he had had "5 more episodes to wrap things up" hello? How about all those episodes about Ezri and the Ferengi that did nothing to advance the story? Was one of the producers in love with Nicole DeBoer or what? Couldn't stand her and yes I know Jammer you thought she was "cute as a button" evidently so did the producers--and none of the last 'backflash" scenes included Jadzia--what was up with that? As for Odo, he ultimately was just another self centered Founder--never liked him--he worked so hard to get Kira to love him and in the end abandoned her--what an $%#* hole. The very best part of Deep Space Nine was the relationship between Bashir and O'Brien and the Klingons. Superb! The Klingons were the only race that fully developed as a culture--interesting that while DS 9 was next to Bajor that other than their obsession with The Prophets we learned little about them--a lot of talk about their art and literature, but nothing in the shows to support it. The Klingons, however, became 3-dimensional--their culture, politics, etc all came to life on the show and quite frankly when I think of this show it's the Klingons, especially General Martok that I remember.
Elliott - Sun, Aug 29, 2010 - 11:50pm (USA Central)
Jammer--it's always a pleasure to read your reviews, even when I'm squirming in my seat with disagreement. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and attention to detail. While you and I strongly disagree about the quality of DS9 as a series, I was nearly certain that even you would take issue with the montage. For me, who hated the series, it was a moment of "I can't believe they sank that low." Especially considering the holes you point out in wrapping up several character and political arcs, why, why waste time with this nonsense? Strike it, and there would at least be time to fully make sense of the whole thing.

I agree with you that of the 3 stories here (the war, the caves and the prophets), the war is the most successful. It was kind of the writers to at least not demonise the Federation so far as to show them annihilating the entire Dominion army; although hardly surprising considering this series has been intent on proving that the values of the Federation, if not all peoples' values, are a farce.

You expressed disappointment with the FireCaves scene and I can certainly see why, but honestly what could you expect? The lesson here, something the writers could not get around, is that all of this religious mumbo-jumbo has the appearance of complexity and can instigate complexity in character, but its hallmark is in absoluteness--good v. evil, which ironically in spite of this series' attempt to grey those lines, it offensively purports over and over again.

Finally, the prophets. In "Emissary," in spite of my objections, I had the distinct hope that a truly Trekkian message could fight its way out of this idea--a struggle that would have made DS9 a great series in my mind in spite of everything. Alas, instead of the Prophets learning something and proving to us and all that one may find humanity in even the most alien of cultures (as for example happened to the Borg in Voyager), it's time for Sisko to keep learning from the Sensai and make some vague and depthless implications about how stupid humans are for adhering to the Roddenberrian vision of intellect, reason, balance and discipline.

But really, nothing could top the dumbest moments of Star Trek more than that montage; and that theme remix... atrocious. Shame, shame shame. 1 star.
Marco P. - Mon, Aug 30, 2010 - 12:51pm (USA Central)
I've just watched "What You Leave Behind", the DS9 season 7 and series finale. I won't be going too much into detail, I agree with most of what's been said before me. So I'll just say that I was a little disappointed.

Above all, the Dukat/Paghwraith arc should have indeed been capped better: this was the cause for the biggest let-down for me. Rita said it best: they turned Dukat into the Final Boss from a cheap video game. After the complexity that he showed throughout the whole series, the character deserved a better payoff from the writers.

The same arc also poorly settled the issue of the Prophet/Paghwraith battle, which I had hoped would develop over several episodes. Instead, the Paghwraiths are given a half-life of maybe 2-3 minutes at best, just before 'The Sisko' appears to restore order and close the book on them (no pun intended) once and for all. And what a lame ending for Kai Winn.

Overall, while one is sad to see the series go and there is definitely some emotional moments to be found in this episode (particularly because of the fondness one develops for its characters and the DS9/Bajor universe), this won't feature as the best Trek series wrap-up on record. That honor still belongs to TNG in my opinion.
Ospero - Wed, Nov 10, 2010 - 9:51pm (USA Central)
@Latex Zebra: Hardly anything seems to be out of bounds in any of the relaunches (I'm currently reading the TNG, DS9 and VOY relaunches, as well as Star Trek: Titan, all of which take place after DS9's and VOY's end). To answer your question: yes, Sisko has returned - it took quite a bit, though (seven books or somesuch).

Since the series probably won't be continued in any canonical form, the novels have started taking ever greater liberties. Used to be, you couldn't kill off major characters or change in-universe political dynamics. No longer. I won't say any more, because it really wouldn't be fair to spoiler any of the goings-on in the novels (which range from acceptable to truly outstanding).
Weiss - Wed, Feb 9, 2011 - 3:38pm (USA Central)
the finale was entertaining especially for the conclusions on the war front...cardassia/garak/damar/kira great work... Damar and Solbor seem to have a parallel, they both followed Dukat and Winn, throwaway character, but when the time came they had pivotal heroic role in their own way, and they both ended up dead...
the Founder going to prison made sense for the atrocity she orderred (the great link didnt tell her to wipe out Cardassia), and her asking Odo to go back to his people to cure them them worked. Odo/Kira separating...people who are of different cultures separating to be with their own people, it is painful and it happens (it works as good counterpoint to the cross cultural relationship that star trek employs in season finales...belanna/paris, worf/deanna

the worst part I still cringe, especially when watching with my brother, was the whole reading of the book in the end. It got so klingon-speak, wizard, dungeons and dragons, I was quite embarassed to watch those minutes.

the montage worked, it showed how much the characters been thru. I can still remember the first season when the show felt much more raw and seeing Jake say farewell was nice. I dont think any other trek show has had so much change in 3 or 7 years, especially starting off so raw and ending on a bittersweet note.

Sisko transfomring into a Prophet was appropriate, given that this show was more in line with mythology than the other treks. you can see similar scifi characters in myth heavy shows... Sheridan crossing the great rim with lorien, kara disappering in BSG, Lost people being in purgatory (for cartoon fans, optimus primal in beast wars)... generally mythologies require the hero to be transformed/rewarded in death/evolved. evolution from hair to goatee to shaved head to prophet hehe!

these last 10 episodes were some of the best, and I really enjoyed the tight writing. Yeah, Babylon 5 did it all the time before DS9 got there, but for star trek it was surprising to do. I dont mind that we didnt see the after-war episodes. I think B5 was pretty boring after the war ended half way. Maybe DS9 ran too long and the show could have ended earlier, but what they did was ok. although scifi wars have become somewhat a cliche, everyone now seems to be fighting a large powerful bleaker enemy.

Dukat was great, even as Anjohl he had his menace.
I loved Winn, even in the beginning and especially her role in one flew over the cuckoo's nest. One of the best villains ever.
Dukat was a little silly as a Paghwraigh, but I give him a pass becuase he did conflicted villainy/menace very well over the run

Finally, I have read 1984 recently. It was a horribly boring book. A lot of great ideas, and some twists, but it dragged. It was a book that I imagined the character living in a world of grey. Having read the reviews here again, I think Cardassia were meant to be world of 1984, except they did it with more excitement. I think the Nebari in farscape were also supposed to be a homage (Cardassia was the polical aspect, the Nebari were the psychological thriller aspect/brainwashing). I do wish farscape had lasted longer.

only wish the new trek movie didnt wipe out all the continuity before, it seems such a waste...
Nic - Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
No one has said it yet, so let me be the first: I LOVE Bashir & Dax and am very happy they are finally together after what was basically a seven-year flirtation (that started in "Emissary"). Bashir has always been my favorite character, and though I'm not quite his age yet I'm sure I'll still be acting just like he does around women for the rest of my life.

Overall I agree with your rating, and think the writers and cast did a terrific job wrapping up all the threads (a tall order to be sure). The episode as such isn't as solid as "All Good Things..." (which gets 4 stars in m book) but then that wasn't an actual finale as it was already known there would be movies after. DS9's last episode had a much harder job to do and I'm amazed they managed to do this much. The disappointments are more about what we didn't see. There most definitely could have been an eigth season, dealing among other things with Bajor's entry into the Federation and possiblity even helping the reconstruction of Cardassia.

I had hoped Damar - one of my favorite recurring characters - would survive a little longer, but his death scene is pitch-perfect (especially his last word "Keep-").

And then, there's the bad. The confrontation between Sisko and Dukat in the Fire Caves really brings down the entire Pah-wraith arc as far as I'm concerned. I'm really not sure what they were trying to accomplish with this, but given all the build-up ("Sacrifice of Angels", "Waltz", "The Reckoning", "Tears of the Prophets", "Image in the Sand", "Shadows and Symbols") I expected Sisko to have a bigger destiny than just pushing Dukat over a cliff. Why did the Pah-wraiths want to 'burn the Alpha Quadrant'? Why were they cast out of the worm hole in the first place? Their motives are never explained, and yet we're supposed to care. And concentrating on the Prophets/Pah-wraiths means that Bajor as a whole was pretty much forgotten. I also would have liked for Sisko to remind Dukat that his actions indirectly caused the deaths of 800 million of his own people (perhaps his family was among them?). It was all style and no substance.

Otherwise, though, I couldn't have asked for a better finale, and my opinion of a TV series (or any entertainment medium) is always strongly dependent on how it ends, so it's safe to say this will remain my favorite series for a VERY long time.
Nic - Tue, Apr 19, 2011 - 9:08pm (USA Central)
There's a nice musical moment I didn't notice the first time I watched it. When O'Brien walks into his quarters and picks up the Alamo figurine, you hear an instrumental version of the Irish tune "The Minstrel Boy", which is the song he sung to Maxwell in TNG's "The Wounded" (as well as in a scene that was deleted from "Whispers"). Very subtle, but an extremely nice way to bookend his character arc.
Angelobrooklyn - Tue, Aug 9, 2011 - 4:54pm (USA Central)
Wow thinking of DS9 now looking back .... Life was good on...cant believe how screwed up the world has been since star treks voyager ended..another good ending .....we all should of realize it going to shit with (Enterprise) ..lol haven't lost hope with the new Star trek .") I wish ds9 would be on reruns ....it dont get enough credit it was one of the best..left me hanging and wanting more every week!")
Fortyseven - Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - 6:39pm (USA Central)
Just spent the last couple months plugging away through this series; missed it the first time around, and now I've consumed it whole in a very short period of time.

I avoided this series for a long time. The pilot episode, when it first aired, failed to capture my late teenage interest.

It didn't help that other fans ripped into it saying how boring they thought it would be. "It's on a space station! They can't go anywhere! Where is the 'trekking'??"

How ignorant they were. ;)

DS9 was truly a great series. It's a show I don't think I would have appreciated as much if I'd watched it back then.

While it's not perfect, it was definitely a much more mature series, with stories I couldn't imagine playing out on any other Trek stage. This was a show with balls. It's a shame that it didn't lend itself to a theatrical follow-up like the more mainstream-friendly TOS and TNG did.

Thanks for writing up on the series, Jammer. It was great being able to read your reviews from the perspective of someone who was watching it for the first time, unsure of what was to come. (Though, it was a bit of a shame that I had a few major plot points spoiled in the comments... but hey, I blame myself for reading. ;))

It's been a fun ride. *hat-tip* :)
PaulW - Thu, Nov 10, 2011 - 3:00pm (USA Central)
WYLB was a good finale, but it had one glaring plot hole that I could never quite get past.

Dukat and Winn enter the fire caves about the same time that the Federation fleet heads to Cardassia. The battle is fought, everybody returns to DS9, the treaty is signed, the senior staff goes to Vic and (apparently) Dukat and Winn stayed in the fire caves for all that time. It must have been several days.

In fact, I've seen it speculated that Worf's appearance in Insurrection occurred after the battle at Cardassia and before he became the new Federation ambassador to Kronos -- meaning that a lot of time had to pass. So were Dukat and Winn in the fire caves for a few weeks?

I've often wondered if there was some heavy editing done in this episode, anyway. When Quark follows Odo and Kira to say good bye, he has a glass of champagne in his hand, which looks suspiciously like what everyone was drinking at Vic's.

But Sisko left for Bajor during the party at Vic's, and then Kira and O'Brien searched for him in a runabout. It also looks like Odo was going to sneak out of the party with Kira and head to the Gamma Quadrant, but that they had to delay that to involve Odo and Kira in the efforts to rescue Sisko.
TDexter - Mon, Nov 21, 2011 - 10:35am (USA Central)
Great show, great season, great finale. I have one nitpick about the more than disappointing conclusion, though.

It just didn't feel right. I was expecting all along that the entire series had simply been Commander Riker watching a holosuite program calculating the possible outcome of his decision not to play a practical joke on Captain Picard in "Captain's Holiday," where he mischievously gives the captain a Horga'hn, which on Risa is an invitation to orgiastic pleasures. Obviously Riker's decision to go through with the prank avoided the Dominion War altogether...

...alas, the series was not tied together so nicely.
Odietamo - Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 4:38am (USA Central)
As an interesting footnote, look closely in the scene at Vic's bar. I'm fairly certain the actors Casey Biggs and Jeffrey Coombs (Damar and Weyoun) appear in the background
PF - Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - 3:12pm (USA Central)
Great episode, just one thing:
Where the hell is Jadzia in the flashback sequence?!? She's been the heart and soul of this crew for six years and nobody remembers her... come on!!
I know, I know, supposedly there's been some legal issues but it's still extremely unsatisfying and doesn't do justice to a great character.
Nebula Nox - Mon, Apr 16, 2012 - 8:06am (USA Central)
Just rewatching this. One thing that always bugged me: how could Odo change the female founder's mind? When he had never been able to persuade her in the past, and especially when he now knows that Section 31 tried to commit genocide? (By the way, he is breaking his word to Sisko by healing her.)

However, I think it could be explained by one thing. The love that Odo and Kira share was not yet part of Odo's experience at the previous time that Odo linked with the founder.
Von - Tue, Apr 17, 2012 - 10:07pm (USA Central)
Nitpicking aside, one has to be impressed that the showrunners were able to tie up almost every major and many minor plot threads in this finale. The final shot reminded me of the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
Captain Pike - Sun, Apr 29, 2012 - 6:14pm (USA Central)
The finale was a let down, in fact the whole season was a let down.
PaulW - Tue, May 8, 2012 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
@Nebula Nox: Odo convinced the female changeling with the cure AND because he was willing to go back to the link. There was a line at one point from the female changeling that Odo was worth more to the Founders than the entire Alpha Quadrant (I'm paraphrasing).
Of Bajor - Fri, May 18, 2012 - 12:02pm (USA Central)
The ending felt rushed and left too many plots untied.
Ron - Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - 2:34pm (USA Central)
The final was terrible.
Jay - Sun, Jul 1, 2012 - 5:55pm (USA Central)
@PaulW - that doesn't really wash because the Founders made Odo a humanoid as a punishment, and they were not the ones responsible for reversing it. As a humanoid, Odo would not have been able to return to the link. The \she-changleling later said they'd forgiven him, but that doesn't mean they would have restored him, even if they were capable of doing so. That they had the capability of making him a humanoid in the first place was something I found highly questionable.
TMLS - Thu, Jul 5, 2012 - 6:48pm (USA Central)
Well, that's the end of my four week-long complete re-watch and it's been a great ride. Some very high highs (I always thought of "Far Beyond The Stars" as the best - but now it's "In The Pale Moonlight", maybe because I've appreciated it more with age?), a few very low lows (I'm looking at you, "Let He Who Is Without Sin") and far too many Ferengi comedy episodes.

Yes, there are some imperfections in the finale. But who cares, it hit most of the right emotional beats and left us with just enough plot strands in place for our imaginations to make of it what we will. I'm going to miss this, so far this year I've re-watched all of 24 and Enterprise and this was far better than both of those by some margin. Still got Lost, The X-Files and Smallville to re-watch in full but sure they won't surpass it. Oh, and Voyager and TOS if I get the money together to buy them ;)

I really am going to miss this. Wow.
Kefka - Tue, Jul 10, 2012 - 6:46pm (USA Central)
Terrible last episode, terrible(and normal) over acting from Avery Brooks, the whole Bajoron/Prophet plotline was embarrassing. The last season of DS9 took a dramatic turn for the worse.
Dennis - Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - 4:35pm (USA Central)
DS9 finale unfortunatelly didn't meet my expectations. I believe it was overly dramatic just for the sake of it without any real substance and the closure of some of the storylines was terribly rushed and in some cases too convenient.
Ian - Wed, Jul 25, 2012 - 9:19pm (USA Central)
The worse thing is after seven years not even a throw away line about how Bajor FINALLY was admitted to the Federation!
That was originally the entire point of the series until it got caught up in the Dominion war arc...
Patrick Dodds - Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - 1:28pm (USA Central)
Its sad that the last time Deep Space Nine (the station) is ever mentioned in the official Trek canon is in Voyager's episode "Pathfinder" (back in 1999). It's just a throwaway mention of the station.

I think that the last mention to anything connected to DS9 was the mention of The Dominion War in Star Trek Nemesis in 2002. Again another throwaway.

And that's all they wrote.
Hank - Wed, Aug 1, 2012 - 4:46pm (USA Central)
Not very good episode
Load Blown - Sun, Oct 7, 2012 - 5:32pm (USA Central)
It cried.
Founders Don't Poop - Wed, Oct 10, 2012 - 2:55pm (USA Central)
Great finale, but I absolutely lost it when Weyoun started making a "derp face." Unintentionally hilarious!
I googled the face for others to see:

i.imgur.com/q0Euj.png
DaVE - Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - 2:27am (USA Central)
Wow, people are still posting on this after 5 years? And linking pictures I saw on reddit? Impressive. I just finished watching this episode a couple of hours ago, and I sort of teared up. It's rare that a show can make me feel emotions for that many characters, good and bad. I really did feel a sort of sadness that characters like Dukat had to end up going nuts and bringing about his own destruction (and 800 million of his race). I could care less about normal villains meeting their demise.

By far, the saddest thing for me was Julian and O'Brian having to part ways. That stuff hits you right in the feels.
Joseph S - Tue, Oct 30, 2012 - 6:34pm (USA Central)
Like Fortyseven said above, I also missed DS9 when it originally aired, thinking it was going to be boring because it took place on a space station and couldn't go anywhere. In fact, I remember thinking that they brought in the Defiant *because* they finally needed to use the 'trek' element.

How wrong I was.

Starting in January of this year, I've consumed episode after episode of this wonderfully written series. I still love TNG, but DS9's characters are so intricately written and developed, that a character can say or do something in Season 7, and instantly the viewer recognizes the allusions stretching all the way back to Season 1.

I did have one problem with the finale, though it in no way detracts from my love of the series. Yes, DS9 started with the mission of restoring order on Bajor and bringing it into the Federation.

But the series also started with the love of a father and a son. I really wish Jake and Benjamin had had a final scene together. After all, Jake lost his mother despite her will; now he's about to lose his father *because* of his will. It would've been so touching to hear Benjamin comfort his son, telling him that his new perception outside of linear time reveal to him that Jake will be a successful writer; that Benjamin knows how much Jake loves him, and what Jake would do for him (e.g., The Visitor); and that now Jake must let his father go be who *he* needs to be.

It just goes to show how great this series was—that, even though of course this could've happened off-camera, I'm still left with the feeling that I needed to see that.
Jay - Sat, Dec 22, 2012 - 11:16pm (USA Central)
Strange that Winn keeps wearing the Kai robe and goofy hat, and the earring, well after she's renounced the Prophets. I guess they wanted the dramatic moment where she hurls them into the fire caves
Patrick - Mon, Jan 14, 2013 - 3:14pm (USA Central)
Has anyone ever noticed the scene between Sisko and the Pagh Wraith-possessed Dukat is similar to the scene between Kirk and Gary Mitchell in TOS's "Where No Man Has Gone Before"?

You see Kirk/Sisko looking for Mitchell/Dukat toting a phaser rifle that's willed away by Mitchell/Dukat. Then, they are they are forced to kneel through telekenesis before MItchell/Dukat.

And there's Elizabeth Denher/Kai Winn standing neutral until they ultimately choose to help Kirk/Sisko defeat the bad guy (s).
DavidK - Sun, Feb 17, 2013 - 1:44am (USA Central)
@Founders Don't Poop
Yeah, that shot really jumped out at me, haha. How do you miss that? Didn't someone go "wait, Jeffrey, your lens is crooked"?
---
Well, I just finished my great DS9 rewatch over a 7 month period. In some cases, the first time I'd seen episodes in 15+ years (in a handful, episodes I managed to miss entirely!). It was a great ride. I think with the benefit of 15 or so extra years on me, I can see a few more flaws, but my enjoyment improved in some ways too.

I think having an episodic start and slowly transforming into a serial is, oddly, a strength of the show. Some serialised shows are too heavily plotted, it's hard to imagine the characters just living their lives outside the drama. But the evolution of DS9 was a good one, they had the opportunity to introduce elements slowly before taking them in more complex directions.

I think I have a better feel of why I enjoyed DS9 just as much as TNG (shock horror!). Now, don't get me wrong, I started with TNG and I love it in a different way. This topic tends to really rile fans up but I genuinely love both shows for different reasons.

I think one of DS9's great strengths was it felt like a home for the characters. The Enterprise was a military posting, the crew were colleagues at work, even when they were off duty in Ten Forward it still felt like they were sitting amongst their bosses at a work function.

Remember Jadzia's "hen's night"-type party before her wedding? It looked like a real party. If Geordi or Riker had walked in there they would have raised an eyebrow and looked very uncomfortable. And rightfully, because on TNG they were professionals at work and a party of that type in someone's quarters on the Enterprise would probably have led to a dressing down.

But DS9 is (initially) an obscure posting, the crew are guests of the Bajorans, the crew mingles with the "public", with "civilians" much more than the Enterprise crew did. I think a situation like that demands a looser environment. I suppose that's the crux of the difference, Ten Forward felt more like a restaurant, Quark's felt more like a bar.

But that's why I love both shows too, because restaurants and bars both exist and they serve different kinds of people, and I'm glad the Trek universe has them both. The Enterprise is neater, better behaved, more formal, but it's the diplomatic flagship of a military fleet so it should be. DS9 is looser, a bit more relaxed, but it's on the fringes, has civilians passing through it everyday; it needs to be.

And the Trek universe felt richer knowing both of these things were true.

I also like that DS9 showed optimism under stress. As optimistic as TNG was, the Borg were probably the only time I thought their diplomatic ideals were challenged, in the idea of an enemy that could not be reasoned with, in a show built on reason. DS9 showed how difficult it is to hold onto ideals when under pressure. And so it should, because if you lead people to think idealism is easy you're setting them up for a fall.

But, and this is the important part, while the Trekkian optimism buckled under the rougher DS9 years, it never truly broke. The Maquis, Section 31, they were both antagonistic presences that horrified the crew. Sisko believed he could "live with" the events of In The Pale Moonlight, but it was clear he was worried about his own soul, it was clear he wasn't sure if it was a mistake he could live with or not. I think that's important.

I still believe in Trek idealism about what humanity can grow into, but I also think that "humanity" is a large category of people and we don't all grow at once. Even if we achieve a kind of paradise, there will be your Maquis or your Section 31 on the fringes that want to tear it down. You'll always have pressures from outside paradise, your Borg and your Dominion, who are implacable and must be fended off, because paradise is worth defending...and because, for the same reason a moneyless Federation still needs some latinum to trade outside itself, so too does paradise need a military, because just because you've evolved doesn't mean everyone else has.

So there you go, my closing thoughts on DS9 some 14 years after I first saw the finale.
Michael - Fri, Mar 8, 2013 - 2:07am (USA Central)
DS9 is as good as trek ever got imho, and the finale is no exception. Like most here, I could have done without the wraith subplot, but the rest made up for it. The series certainly had it's flaws, of course, but overall it's more consistent, better developed and written, and much, much braver than TNG ever was; head and shoulders above VOY and ENT. It filled out the universe so much better than any other series, making the world feel complex and alive. It dared to be different and challenging. In a world where the easiest and most profitable thing to do is just rebrand and resell the same cliches over and over again, DS9 rejected this idea, and instead was a gutsy and thoughtful take on the franchise the likes of which we will likely never see again.
William B - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 2:32am (USA Central)
I did this for TNG earlier tonight and am doing other series as well. Breakdown of number of episodes with 4*/3.5*/3*/etc. as well as seasonal averages. I count Emissary, Way of the Warrior and What You Leave Behind as two episodes apiece, being two-hour shows.

S1: 1/5/6/6/2/0/0/0/0 av. 2.93 stars
S2: 3/7/7/5/4/0/0/0/0 av. 3.00 stars
S3: 3/5/8/4/5/0/1/0/0 av. 2.87 stars
S4: 3/7/9/5/1/0/1/0/0 av. 3.04 stars
S5: 5/5/9/3/2/1/0/0/1 av. 2.98 stars
S6: 4/4/7/9/1/0/0/0/1 av. 2.90 stars
S7: 5/5/8/5/2/0/1/0/0 av. 3.04 stars

Series: 24/38/54/37/17/1/3/0/2, av. 2.97 stars

The order by average rank is (4,7 -- tie),2,5,1,6,3.
Ayesha - Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - 3:58am (USA Central)
I love DS9. It's the best written Trek ever. I grew up watching TNG and loved it to death. And I must admit that I was a Voyager fan for a long time before I gave DS9 any real attention -- but when I did, I realized the wonderful character-driven writing that was the norm here that was unfortunately lacking in Voyager. I love the serialized writing format with the episode arcs that were never used in Trek before, and believe it was one of DS9's major strengths.

WYLB was a fantastic finale! Loved it!
Nancy - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 2:44pm (USA Central)
I was overall very pleased by the finale, especially the way the war played out - although I wish Damar had gotten to live and be the leader of Cardassia.

I had jokingly written in a comment to an earlier episode how I half-expected a Breen to take off that helmet to reveal Princess Leia because the outfit was so similar to what she wore in ROTJ to rescue Han Solo. Imagine my delight when in this episode, a "Breen" took off the helmet to reveal Kira in disguise! I wonder if it was a homage?

Everything was great until the paghwraith crap. I agree with those who think it brought the finale down. I was also disappointed that "the Sisko" zapped Kasidy into the temple to say goodbye to her, but completely blew off Jake. So much for the father/son bond.

I don't want to focus on the negative, though. Most of it worked very well. I know some here scorn montages, but it wasn't until the O'Brien/Bashir montage that I got truly choked up. Except for the Worf montage which suffered from the lack of Jadzia (apparently beyond the writer's control), they were effectively done. I cried.

This was my first time watching this series. I avoided it when it first aired because I heard it was depressing and truth be told, I only had time for one Star Trek series and that was TNG. It's still my favorite. However, years later, I'm glad I decided to commit to watching all the other Star Trek series as well, including this one, thanks to Netflix. I leave DS9's finale for the most part satisfied.
ProgHead777 - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 6:26am (USA Central)
Paroxysmal sobbing. That is all I have to say. DS9 and TNG. They should be the watermarks by which all other Trek is measured. Especially DS9, though I may only be saying that because my eyes are still bloodshot from recent lacrimations. But DAMN, if they didn't know just when and how to manipulate my sentimental little black heart. "What You Leave Behind". What a fucking perfect title.

I guess the only place left to go from here is BSG. I've had a weird love-hate thing with that series since I finished watching it after its first run. That is, I loved it unashamedly... until season 4. Quite a few years have passed and I like to think I've matured somewhat since then. I hope this will therefore be a slightly newer experience... aided by Jammer's astute analyses as well, of course. :)
PaulW - Wed, Aug 28, 2013 - 10:33am (USA Central)
Watched this again the other day. So much of it works -- the Bashir/O'Brien stuff is really strong as is the Kira/Odo stuff. My big gripes:

1) Damar should have lived to be the new leader of Cardassia. That would have been more interesting.

2) The creators really needed to pony up some money to Terry Farrell to use shots of her and Worf in the montage. I have a feeling they planned to use those clips, but had to struggle to find stuff without Jadzia.

3) Not having a good-bye scene with Jake and Sisko was a missed opportunity.

4) A line of dialog, even in the scene near the end with Nog and Kira about the Bajor being accepted into the Federation, would have helped things.

5) It's weird that the space battle scenes rely on SO much recycled footage.

6) As Jammer noted, it's hard to believe that ALL of the Cardassian ships were able to switch sides. Maybe some of them could have done that, but were there no Dominion soldiers on any of them?

7) The scene where Odo tries to sneak away was clearly intended to be used earlier in the episode, probably immediately after the party at Vic's.

8) The timing of Winn and Dukat being in the fire caves -- which must have been for weeks, because the battle ended, the treaty negotiations occurred and Worf was in Insurrection all while they were in there -- makes absolutely no sense. This is the biggest failing of the episode.

Don't get me wrong: This is a strong finale, but it was sloppy, too.

Elnis - Tue, Sep 3, 2013 - 8:36am (USA Central)
Just watched this episode, finishing my first viewing of DS9.

I've loved watching this series, mostly because of the strong characterization, so parts of What You Leave Behind" had a surprisingly strong emotional impact on me. Particularly Kira and Odo saying godbye as Odo merges with The Link ... I'm a gorwn man, but dear lord, I was weaping like a little baby!

Although I was opposed to the idea of Kira and Odo being a couple when they first started being together, I was turned around completely by the writing and the performances. It's a very romantic lovestory, but based on a mature view of love and relationsships that we seldomly see in Hollywood. Kira and Odo ended up being the very best part of DS9 for me - and it's probably my favorite relationship in all of Trek.

Other than that, I enjoyed this final episode's very cool space battle (I didn't notice the use of old footage). I also enjoyed that we got to "say goodbye" to the characters, but I didn't particularly enjoy the way most of it played out. There was a lot of ground to cover, and much of it seemed rushed and messy to me.

Take the way they wrapped up Sisko's story, for example. In the course of just a few minutes we see Sisko "die", then wake up among the "Prophets" (apparatly one of them now?), then saying goodbye to his wife. 1-2-3 cut. Um ... so ... is this what all the build-up about Sisko as the emissary led to? That's it? Really?! Emotinally unfulfilling! To me, Sisko as THE Emissary quite clearly seemed like the main arc of the series, right from the first episode - and it ends with such a fizzle. I mean ... no goodbye to Jake? Seriously?! Come on!

Another example is O'brien and Bahir. I'm afraid O'brien and Bashir's friendship never really rang true to me - the writers seemed to TELL us how good friends they were rather than SHOWING it to us. "See how we have fun together? That's because we are such good friends, isn't that right? And being friends means that we should point it out to eachother and the viewers repeatedly, saying it out loud". Yeah, alright, good for you. A very childish take on a friendship between two grown men. One of the things in this episode that didn't really provoce an emotional response from me, I'm afraid.

All in all a mixed episode with some clear, emotional highlights. An "okay" ending to a very, very good series!
k - Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - 11:43am (USA Central)

A strong ending overall. The ending to the dominion arc was very good and the character wrap ups were nice. The end of bajoran/prophets storyline was poor.

8/10

Top ten lists after having finished the series:

Top 10 Best Episodes
1 In purgatory's shadow/By Inferno's light
2 Duet
3 Improbable Cause/Die is Cast
4 The Visitor
5 Who Mourns for Morn?
6 In the Pale Moonlight
7 Trials and Tribble-ations
8 It's Only a Paper Moon
9 Our Man Bahsir
10 Extreme Measures


Worst 10
1 Valiant
2 Prodigal Daughter
3 Meridian
4 The Muse
5 Time's Orphan
6 The Storyteller
7 Let he who is without sin…
8 Profit and Lace
9 Sanctuary
10 The Darkness and the Light
Paul - Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - 4:06pm (USA Central)
Well, your bottom 10 list certainly includes some bad episodes -- though more Ferengi shows should be on the list. Also, what's so wrong with "The Darkness and the Light"?

Your top 10 list is pretty funky, though. How is "Who Mourns for Morn?" anywhere near your top 10? How is "Extreme Measures" -- one of the most disappointing episodes in DS9? Now, I liked "Our Man Bashir", but top 10? Um, no.
William B - Sat, Dec 7, 2013 - 2:57am (USA Central)
Thinking a little about what @Rif said in the "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" thread:

I do think that Starfleet's never really punishing Sisko is a bigger problem than, say, not punishing Bashir over DBIP. Sisko is un-Roddenberryan in two major ways: the religious, nationalistic side with respect to Bajor, and the unethical, "getting his hands dirty" side with respect to things like "For the Uniform," "In the Pale Moonlight," or the "whatever it takes" to Worf in "Tacking Into the Wind." Now, Starfleet at least, or some representative of Roddenberryan philosophy like Bashir maybe, should go after Sisko on both counts, and Starfleet almost never does. Ross sometimes pushes back against Sisko on the Bajor thing, but inconsistently (and he pins a medal to him in "Tears of the Prophets," undermining the whole episode's argument as Confused Matthew pointed out), and no one ever really pushes back against Sisko on the moral stuff. The irony of course is that even if you take Starfleet out of the picture, those two should contradict each other. Sisko ending the show as a self-sacrificing messiah paints him as a saint, rather than the Complex Shades Of Grey guy. That there is no attempt to resolve the contradiction between Sisko as Space Jesus for Bajor and Sisko as poisoner of planets, perpetrator of a massive deception to trick the Romulans into a war, encourager of Worf to assassinate a Klingon head of state who is inconvenient, presents the scary possibility that the show is putting forth the argument that these types of things are the things messiah figures *should* do.
William B - Sat, Dec 7, 2013 - 2:58am (USA Central)
*Ric I meant to write
Blake W - Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - 5:49pm (USA Central)
@Paul completely agree. "The Darkness and the Light" was a good episode. I really loved "Our Man Bashir" because the DS9 writers were so talented: they thought they were having fun, but from another perspective, they ripped apart the James Bond series to such an extent that they were threatened with legal action. I wouldn't put it as a top 10, but it ranks higher than a lot of the other episodes on that list. I'd say: In the Pale Moonlight, The Visitor, and Waltz should be the top 3; but I'm not sure.
Jack - Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - 10:06am (USA Central)
Beyond unrealistic that Worf would have no memories of Jadzia in the ending montage. What was behind that? I doubt Terry Farrell could have prevented it even if she wanted too...she doesn't own the copyright on the scenes. Were the producers bitter towards here. Her absence really lifts you out of the whole thing.
DavidK - Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - 2:17am (USA Central)
On Memory-Alpha, Ira Stephen Behr is quoted as saying "We had planned to see Terry Farrell in the flashbacks but she refused to let us use any of her clips. The way I see it is this: Her manager was informed that we were thinking of using Terry in a scene in the final episode. It would have probably been three hours of work... maybe four. The price they quoted us was too high for the budget. After all, this was a show where we had to cut out hundreds of thousands of dollars from the original draft. Her manager was informed that we weren't going to be able to use Terry. And on top of it, the scene we had been thinking of for her was really not that germane to the plot. I think Terry's feelings were hurt. When it came to the issue of the clips, they again felt that they would prefer that we went a different way without using the character of Jadzia Dax. So we did. I wasn't happy about it. I'm still not happy about it. But it is a reminder that even Star Trek is just part of the great showbiz sludge."

I'm surprised too that actor likeness copyright works that way, but it makes sense. I seem to remember reading getting all the old Trouble With Tribbles footage was a legal nightmare as well, contacting estates of extras etc.

But Terry Farrell attended the DS9 wrap party, so things couldn't have been that bitter. Also we're only hearing one side of the story.

I'm no expert, but maybe her contract was lacking one of those "continuing use" clauses.
K'Elvis - Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - 8:49am (USA Central)
I just watched this again last night. Because the Founder was dying and felt she had nothing to lose, she was going to have the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar continue the fighting to inflict as much pain and destruction as possible. With their goal switched from conquest to terrorism, they could have done tremendous damage to soft targets. If it were not for the disease, the Founder may have been willing to end the way once there was no hope of winning. So, rather than ending the war, giving them the disease may have put the Alpha Quadrant in danger of greater destruction.

Just what happened when Odo linked with the female Founder? It wasn't just healing, Odo seemed to convince her of the error of her ways, just like he set off not just to heal the other Founders, but to teach them. I find that I am unable to have much pity for the Founders, but if Odo is able to change them, good.

As for Jadzia in the flashbacks, I suppose someone could do a fan edit to put her in. Perhaps extend the song a bit. I would have loved for Quark's flashback to be all about remembering all the latinum he had.
Rawthar - Tue, Jan 28, 2014 - 8:17pm (USA Central)
Minsk!
Jons - Mon, Feb 10, 2014 - 3:10pm (USA Central)
As far as I'm concerned, Season 7 killed DS9 for me, and that last episode certainly didn't help.

The conclusion of the war arc was interesting, if slightly expected (who doubted for a second that the cure would be the ultimate bargaining tool? And why didn't the federation use it BEFORE 800 million lives were lost?). The Cardassian / Dominion / Bajoran is the most interesting aspect of DS9, and it should have filled the whole episode, not just the first third of it. (Including resolutions about Bajora and Cardassia)

On the other hand, I've always thought the Prophets thing was cringeworthy, and the amount of time devoted to "the Pawraith" was ridiculous, considering the little impact it had overall! I couldn't care less about all that religious drivel, and Dukat's character deserved more than to be reduced to a one-dimensional bad guy in the last season.

As for the "ending" of the series, I couldn't believe it when I saw the montage. Never thought I'd see that in a professional TV series. It was so... amateur and obscenely manipulative. I didn't feel sadness, just deep, deep embarrassment.

Anyway, I'd like to forget that season 7 and that sorry episode ever happened and stay with the good memories of season 5 & 6. Unlike Voyager which felt rushed at the end, DS9 felt like it was a season too long and they just didn't know what to do with the show and the story (hence the countless filler episodes of season 7). Really too bad.
Paul - Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - 1:37pm (USA Central)
"Countless filler episodes"?

By my "count" there were six episodes that didn't largely contribute to the bigger picture: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", "Prodigal Daughter", "The Emperor's New Cloak", "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" and "Field of Fire". You could argue that "Afterimage" is a tweener.

Now, I'd certainly agree that Ezri Dax was given too much screen time in season 7. But season 7 wasn't any different than previous years of DS9 in including a few episodes that didn't have much to do with the larger story arc. The big difference in season 7 was that there were fewer Ferengi episodes (which, I think, was a good thing). You could argue that the standalone episodes in season 7 were a little harder to believe because they took so much of the main characters' time in the middle of a war.

Season 7 isn't perfect, but your outright hate for it is over the top. The prophets were always a central part of DS9 and the flashback sequence, I thought, was pretty good. It showed how much the DS9 characters had changed (as compared with Voyager, where other than Janeway's haircut and the presence of Kes and Seven, there was nearly no character development for seven years).

The DS9 finale is far from perfect (there are a lot of technical/logical flaws) but I felt it wrapped up the series in a fairly satisfying way.

Oh, and as for why the Federation didn't use the cure for the Changelings' disease earlier, they only got it from Section 31 in "Extreme Measures." Maybe the idea should have been brought up sooner, but it wasn't something Starfleet could have used to end the war much earlier than when it was used.
Elliott - Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - 12:13pm (USA Central)
You know what might have helped? Choosing better clips for that damned montage. I mean, there was a clip from "The Visitor" during Jake's flashback that didn't actually happen (or did, then got erased or whatever). Only SIsko could have held that memory, not Jake. And one of Quark's fondest memories is seeing the rest of the cast troll off to Vic's to execute a heist? Many have already mentioned how the lack of Jadzia made Worf and Bashir's memories really strange as well. Here's another idea: instead of wasting time having Vic sing the song, then repeating the song (with cute "DS9 theme" transitions of key) for the montage, have Vic sing over the montage thus buying the episode at least 4 more minutes of air time so that, I don't know, Sisko and Dukat can have a meaningful exchange of words for the last time.

Editing was also very strange here--penultimate scene: Kira stands on the Founders' Homeworld (in the Gamma Quadrant) saying a private goodbye to Odo, final scene: Kira is sitting in the Captain's desk and Nog comes in, promoted (indicating time had passed). It was just odd, knowing how much time must have been spent sitting in a runabout getting to and from DS9. I don't know, maybe I'm picking too much. I just feel that this finale had the opposite problem of Voyager's in that there was so much NOSTALGIA being pumped through that the cohesion of the story and the boards felt really off considering it's usually much better than this. In VOY, the story felt more unified and better paced, edited, etc. but there was a serious let-down in the Nostalgia factor, cutting to credits before the ship arrived.
DLPB - Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - 3:53pm (USA Central)
So the whole show was geared to Sisko fighting a fire monster, was it? Or rather, the writers had no idea where to go or resolve things and made a complete mess of it.

The latter is what happened. Season 7 was awful.
Ric - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 4:34am (USA Central)
What sort of magictechnobabble can be used to explain why evil-prophets that are in reality aliens need sacred words to be read to become free? I mean, what are the effects of the sacred words being pronounced? What sorf of scifi is this?

In what regards execution, how disappointing it was the scene when Odo cures the other founder. Downplayed, boring, no emotion. As well as the end of the battle. As well as the founder accepting the surrender. Why the hell did the founders accept defeat just because one founder linked with Odo? What did Odo "say"? Who knows. Unclear, lazy writing, boring. As well as Odo saying to Kira that he would come back to the great link. Gesus, how flat was the this episode. How cold. How frustrating. Especially Odo's sudden and quite silly decision.

And not a word about the Federation trying to genocide all the founders? Not a word about it, no consequences, no moral debate about such big deal? Where is the DS9 deeper approach? In the end was not deep at all, was only offensive to what the Federation and the Starfleet standed for in other Trek instalments. Not touching the atrocious decision about not giving the cure to the founders is unforgivable.

Odo having to go cure everyone - which was btw an habitliy not dramatically built before, just took from the hat - was infuriating. This is the utopian Federation from original Star Trek.... One that accepts genocide during war times, not like current 20th-2st centuries, but like 17th empires, like 20th century nazi. And in the end, no regrets and no help to the surrendered enemy! If Odo didn't go to the great link for personal reasons, what then?

Ok, blind yourselves and pretend that this is the same Federation from the other Trek. It is not. Whether you like this change or not, is another matter. But this Federation, this Starfleet, are way far from other Star Trek's.

This is not to mention the silly, annoying magic arc. Fires, sacred books with hidden writting that unhide with blood... and now Sisko suddenly knowing that he should be at the fire caves! Hahaha, that has to be the laziest writing in the scifi history. Instead of finding a reason for him to meet the Lord Sith vídeo-game superpowered Dukat, the writers decided that Sisko just suddently knows. Not even due to a silly prophets'vision. He just knows. And in the end, he wins the greateswt battle agains the false evil prophets (!!!) only by pushing Dukat. Making Dukat fall to hell! Read this again: to hell. In Star Trek. Do not laugh. To hell. And Sisko goes to heaven-ish.

My gosh. This is a shame of ane episode. Shame, shame. I enjoyed most of this show for the first 4 seasons. Parts of the 5th. But overall, its legacy is offensive to Star Trek. Is atrocious. Completely changes Federation, Starfleet. Sadly blurs magic and scifi with the single excuse of magictechnobabble. Delivers a lame ending. With the super lazy and poorly executed flashback scenes at the end.

Talking about end, in the end I am really happy that DS9 has ended. I fear for what we should see if it had more seasons. Vampires, angels, a labor camp sponsored by the Federation. Who knows. Without a question, DS9 has boldly go to where no Star Trek should have never had before. Or ever.
Corey - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 6:33pm (USA Central)
"Talking about end, in the end I am really happy that DS9 has ended. I fear for what we should see if it had more seasons. Vampires, angels, a labor camp sponsored by the Federation. Who knows."

lol.

"What sort of magictechnobabble can be used to explain why evil-prophets that are in reality aliens need sacred words to be read to become free? I mean, what are the effects of the sacred words being pronounced? What sorf of scifi is this?"

Exactly.


Well, I've been working my way through the entire series too, and have also reached the final two parter.

Some thoughts...

1. The CGI in the final 2 episodes is better than even contemporary TV CGI.

2. The Dumar/Spartacus subplot was very good.

3. Dukat turning into a Bajoran and messing with Winn was actually good in a twisted, psychosexual way, but the writers mess this aspect up by diving into the nonsense with the prophets, Paghwraiths and orbs. This is all cringeworthy.

4. Any scene with the Breen is just unwatchable. Who designed those helmets? The dialogue between the shapeshifters and Breen also reeks of bad prose.

5. Cassidy, Sisko, the "visions" and all that stuff were botched.

6. The franchise's WW2 metaphors are mostly bad. This is ultimately WW2 as written by the victors, with the British and the Americans not Imperialist Empires but good guys.

7. The Federation's threat of genocide is horrible.

8. The writing of the Dominion is one dimensional - a boogeyman like this wouldnt exist or behave in this way in the future. It's all an excuse for big space battles.

9. Kira fighting to liberate Cardassia? Cardassia under occupation? Love the grand irony.

10. The "memories montage" is pretty bad.

11. I think DS9's big flaw is a lack of interest in the culture of the Dominion, why they are how they are, and why there are no other ways to solve their greivances. It's skewed to make war the only option. The final episodes should have at least addressed the philosophical implications of this, but instead we get more bludgeoning; beat the enemy into submission and then force him to exist on your terms.

12. Imagine how bloodlessly Picard would have handled the Dominion war. He would have taken a Genesis device to an uninhabited moon in front of the Dominion, destroyed the moon with the device, told the Dominion to behave themselves, shut down the wormhole, figured out why such a silly militantly heirarchal civilization still exists, liberated its member states (or got them to liberate themselves), cured the Jem Hadar, made the Vorta atheists and addressed the greivances of the shapeshifters using some serious ballsy ballheadedness.



DavidK - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 7:17am (USA Central)
@Ric "This is the utopian Federation from original Star Trek.... One that accepts genocide during war times, not like current 20th-2st centuries, but like 17th empires, like 20th century nazi. And in the end, no regrets and no help to the surrendered enemy!"

That's interesting because TNG's "I, Borg" gets a huge amount of crap thrown at it because it shows the Enterprise coming upon a weapon that could wipe out the Borg and save millions of lives, but they choose not to use it because it amounts to genocide. The comments on that page more or less amount to "the blood of millions is on Picard's hands!" And I, inconsistently I suppose, defend that episode. There will be upset fans no matter what you do really.

Admittedly the parallel is not quite there. The Borg scenario requires taking an action. The Dominion scenario on the other hand involves the action being taken by a third party (the rogue group Section 31) and Starfleet having an opportunity to intervene. It conjures up ethics class discussions about the Trolley Problem and taking an action that ends a life versus a lack of action that then takes a life.
Corey - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
If you take out the pahgwraiths stuff, DS9's climax is actually quite touching. While I find the actual "philosophy" of DS9 to be dubious, it did so much wonderful stuff and was quite ambitious. The station is a neat place, and I'm going to miss hanging out at Quark's. I wonder if I'll ever have another DS9 marathon.
Ric - Mon, Mar 3, 2014 - 1:13am (USA Central)
@DavidK You brought a great example of different portray of the Federation and of Starfleet. One that is consistent to how these institutions are thought throughout the franchise. I.e. not genocide friendly, to say the least.

Whether different fans get upset one way or the other is another matter. And to be honest, na unimportant one. Think of it. If we take this into consideration no debate about any series, show or movie can be done. All criticism becomes unwelcome, because in the end it is impossible to please everyone at same time.

Besides, even if fans have of course the right of having dissimilar feelings about this or that decision made by Starfleet and by the federation, a much less subjective thing is to decide whether such decision is or not consistent to philosophy and with the simbolic universe created for the franchise. In this aspect, I think that your defense of the decision made regarding the Borg and my attack regarding the genocide-friendly Starfleet in DS9 are, actually just being consistent to what we have seen, heard and learned about Federation and Starfleet in a Star Trek universe. Despite of if we persoanlly agree with such decisions or not, if we think they were the correct, moral, ethic, or not.

About the last point, on the ethics class debate on the diferences beween causing something by taking na action or by not taking, I will pass this one. I don't even think it applies to the context we are talking about. While in the Borg crisis they were sort of facing this dilema of genociding the whole Borgs or being genocide by them, this was not even the case of the Dominion. To begin with, the founders hardly fought direclty themselves. Secondly, there is no reason to think that all single individual in the link being killed was the only solution for the Federation to escape from genocide. In fact, there is not even reason to think that Dominion would genocide anyone (although certainly they were not good at all with thei dominated people).
Ric - Mon, Mar 3, 2014 - 1:18am (USA Central)
@Corey I really liked your list about the last episode. Quite na accurate way of summarizing some important good and bad points. I didn't find the episode to be touching like you, even taking out the pahgwraiths stuff. But I certainly should have given more credit to the final Dumar subplot. In fact Cardassia becoming a dominated planet under resistance just as Bajor was in the beginning against the Cardassian invasion, was in fact a very good way to end the series.

And like you, I will - actually already am - missing my hanging outs at Quark's. =/
Yanks - Wed, Mar 5, 2014 - 9:26am (USA Central)
@ Ric - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 - 4:34am (USA Central)

Very well put and you've summed up everything I found disturbing about DS9.

Thanks.
Toraya - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 - 3:18am (USA Central)
Awww, after twenty years I finally have watched the whole thing (well, okay, I skipped some of the Ferengi eps) and now at last I know how it ends.

I liked the finale. Loved the battle scenes and the Cardassian arc. Loved Garak. Wanted to see Damar kill Weyoun but ah well, Garak did a good job of it too. Some moments were too predictable (who didn't know that Cardassian guards would turn on JH guards in time to save our heroes from execution?) but overall it was exciting and emotional. So much so, that the rest of the ep (Sisko, Dukat, prophets, Vic) was abut of an anticlimax. But still. It was good and I can die happy now.

Did find it strange that DS9 started out being Bajor's show, but by series' end the Bajor arc became uninteresting (spare me from emissaries, prophets and fire devils) and all the heart and heroism centered on Cardassia instead. Given where the show started, it would have been nice to see at least a glimpse of Bajor's development -- how its society had rebuilt and matured from season one days and become Federation-ready. But that's a minor nitpick.

The biggest loss was the waste of Dukat on this silly pahwraith arc, as many have said. This is all the more true with Cardassia's fate being the central drama of the finale. I would have loved to see Dukat as a complex antihero - what he used to be - who finally, FINALLY is brought to a glimmer of humility and self-knowledge by the shock of seeing his own world razed as Bajor was razed. Would have loved to see him mumble a not-quite-apology to Kira for the Occupation and then stagger off alone into the wilderness to search his soul and perhaps start down the path to redemption.

I was irritated in S7 by the need to pair everyone off; it seemed trite. Most of the romances fell flat for me all season, most especially Sisko/Kassidy -- she was never much of a character since all she did was hang around Sisko and make vague references to her job. Ezri/Julian was pleasant enough but came out of nowhere The whole Odo/Kira thing was hateful and sadly weakened Odo's poignancy -- Odo was heartrending as a lonely outsider and became boring as Kira's shmoopy boyfriend. They should have finally shared a first kiss in the finale so I could cry, and that's it. (The one romance that worked was, of course, OBrian/Bashir.)

But far outweighing my complaints, there were so many great arcs and rich characters and big themes in this series - definitely the most ambitious and interesting Trek despite its flaws. And the final shot of Jake and Kira on the station? Perfection..

Thanks jammer for the site. It's been a pleasure reading your reviews.
Sunil - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 - 1:58pm (USA Central)
How much I will miss this show? I had tears in my eyes during all the send off. It was like me sending off everyone. Many of the DS9 episodes were unpredictable and realistic like the good guys will not always have their way. So is the last episode where many of them choose to make a change in their lives, Damar being dead, Garak back home, Odo going back to where he always wanted to etc...I think only Jadazia was missed when Worf had a last look at the station..Otherwise the focus given on each important character was indeed nice! Again I will miss DS9 as I always missed TNG. Good bye Capitain Sisko, we will miss your charismatic leadership.
ShastOne - Fri, May 23, 2014 - 5:15pm (USA Central)
I know a lot of you guys feel otherwise, but I actually really enjoyed the flashback montage. It made me tear up, but I'm a nostalgic kind of person so I guess I'm the patsy they hope is watching.

Robert - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 9:31am (USA Central)
I've very much a "Do it right or don't do it" kind of person. I liked the montage also, but if they couldn't show Dax in Worf's montage they should have skipped it.
Kahryl - Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - 3:00pm (USA Central)
I don't understand this ending. It's presented as the end to the Dominion threat - but the only thing the Alpha powers did was recapture the Alpha quadrent. In the process almost every Alpha power has been devestated, while the Dominion territory is *completely* untouched. Sure, it'll be tricky to get a foothold again with the wormhole as a bottleneck, but they did it the first time.. and now the Alpha quadrent is exhausted.
TMB - Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - 1:58pm (USA Central)
Kahryl, I always wondered what happened to the surviving Jem'Hadar, Vorta, and Founders. Maybe they were exiled back to the Gamma Quadrant. As far as the aftermath, the Dominion initially sent several hundred ships when it took over Cardassia, and lost several thousand when the Prophets stepped in during Sacrifice of Angels. The loss of those resources had to damage the Dominion's position back home. With Odo basically negotiating the surrender, I imagine the other Founders would keep their word to Odo to stay away from the Alpha Quadrant.

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