Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"'Til Death Do Us Part"

***

Air date: 4/12/1999
Written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"What happened to that brave officer I served with—the one who stood at my side while we fought the entire Klingon Empire with a single ship?"
"Those were simpler times."

— Dukat and Damar

Nutshell: The setup continues, and so does the suspense.

"'Til Death Do Us Part" is a pretty scary title when you stop to consider what it implies, weighing in the story's central warning of unknown but approaching danger.

The key word, I think, in these early "Final Chapter" episodes is "suspense"—a suspense whose momentum builds slowly and steadily, like an accelerating freight train. The payoff is being deferred, but we sense that payoff is most definitely arriving in the near future. "'Til Death Do Us Part" is a lot like its predecessor, "Penumbra," in that it establishes the groundwork for a lot of what's yet to come. It leaves us dangling on the edge, thirsting for more.

On that level, for that purpose, this episode is effective. But, again, it's somewhat difficult to analyze a story that's based almost completely on setup—especially considering there's at least four plot lines running concurrently through the episode.

I'll say this: We're definitely getting somewhere. Or everywhere. I'd probably also say "'Til Death" had me more wrapped up in the overall story than "Penumbra" did—now that I know what to expect in terms of plotting structure. They both have their shining moments as well as weaknesses, but overall I got a sense that "'Til Death" was a little more cohesive.

Sisko's plan to marry Kasidy was thrown a curve at the end of last week's installment, and here he's faced with two at-odds options not unlike his dilemma in "Tears of the Prophets" last season: follow his existence as a human being, or follow the will of the Prophets. Either choice will undoubtedly have painful consequences.

At first, Sisko chooses to obey the Prophets, and tells Kasidy he has to back out of the marriage. This has a reasonable, natural reaction on Kasidy's part. Yes, she's angry and heartbroken, but the episode doesn't resort to histrionics and instead plays it down as solemn and sullen. Much of the rest of this storyline is about Sisko agonizing over his decision, leading up to the inevitable moment where he changes his mind.

What's best about this arc playing out over a course of so many episodes is that it gives the writers enough time to tell the story properly. Yes, we're moving through plot pretty quickly these days ("'Til Death" can hardly be called slow-moving), but we're still investing time in character reactions and decisions. Sisko explains his problem to Jake and Kira in scenes that make sense. (What's interesting is that he doesn't reveal his personal problem to Kai Winn, but simply explains to her the "trial" he's to face as Emissary. I guess Sisko's view is that his personal affairs are none of Winn's business, and I certainly don't blame him.)

Kira's reaction proves especially true to character through its simplicity. Sisko hopes for a sympathetic ear that will help him change his mind, but in Kira he doesn't find it; he gets a sympathetic ear that tells him that listening to the Prophets is the right thing to do. Subsequently, when Sisko changes his mind and decides he can't obey the Prophets' warning this time, we see that Kira is worried that Sisko is making a mistake.

Overall the Sisko/Kasidy storyline works for the same reason it worked in "Penumbra"—it deals with emotions and reactions plausibly and benefits from good performances. There's no excess here, just what is necessary to make the story work as a mini-payoff that also serves as a setup for the presumed tragedy around the corner. The fast and fairly fanfare-free marriage ceremony is quiet and pleasant, an approach that sort of offsets the big, jovial moments in "You Are Cordially Invited" last season.

And the Prophets have spoken again: Sisko is in for rough times. The Sarah-prophet even interrupts his ceremony to try to persuade him to stop. What's most interesting is the maternal worry that the Sarah-prophet holds for Sisko. There's genuine concern here, and her simple, heartfelt "Be careful, my son" ends up having quite an impact. (David Bell's endlessly brooding and foreboding score also helps set the stage, particularly at this moment; many scenes through the episode are scored to feel like a prelude to disaster.)

Needless to say, the suspense angle is particularly urgent in the Sisko/Kasidy storyline. Ben has disregarded the Prophets' warning, and there's without a doubt going to be hell to pay, in one way or another. How exactly this will play out is a big part of the fascination. We've got a dozen other things going on here, and they're all likely to play into it.

One of those mysterious elements is Dukat, who is now floating around the station as a Bajoran under the assumed name Anjohl. This is the episode's most opaque storyline; Dukat has probably come to the station in part to wreak some sort of vengeance on Sisko and the Bajorans, but it obviously runs much deeper than that, into his devotion to the Paghwraiths. He seems to be seeking self-discovery as much as anything else. The first thing he does once aboard the station is seek out Kai Winn, and Dukat's cover story turns out to be exactly what the Kai foresaw in a vision from the Prophets. (Can we even be sure? Was Winn perhaps contacted by the Paghwraiths alleging to be the Prophets?)

Winn's role in the game is also going to be interesting, because she's becoming a pawn in Dukat's plan (or perhaps they're both pawns in a struggle of higher powers). After her initial vision from the Prophets, she believes she has found a guide in Anjohl, whose appearance and personal circumstances seems to be exactly what the Prophets had foreseen.

Of course, I must wonder how it is Anjohl is not recognized by Winn as Dukat. The disguise is good, but it's not that good, and Dukat's voice is unmistakable. (I suppose even in the 24th century we will not escape the Shakespearean all-convincing masquerade contrivance.) Maybe Winn is simply too distracted to notice Anjohl is Dukat; I would hope Kira's or Sisko's reaction upon seeing him would be much different, as they have been in much closer contact with Dukat in the past.

I'm also wondering about the nature of Dukat's manipulation of Winn. There are simply too many coincidences and fortunate twists of fate for Dukat simply to be lucking out and catching Winn's ear, saying exactly what she needs to hear when she needs to hear it. I'm guessing the Paghwraiths somehow have told him what he would need to do to become Winn's guide. But the story doesn't make it clear, and there are moments here that are difficult to truly decipher. I expect these questions will be answered, but for now they're still only tantalizing questions.

On the war front, events too are building. Early in the episode, I was particularly interested in the powerfully conveyed analysis of Damar. Here's a man whose role in this war is nearly becoming pitiable. He's the leader of a severely hurting world that's taking great losses for the Dominion. He's supposedly calling the shots for his people, but he's a pawn in the game, always answering to Weyoun and the Female Founder. Really, all of Cardassia is a pawn in the game at this point.

Damar has fallen into a hopeless routine that's pathetic. He wakes up hung over morning after morning. These days he can't even look at himself in the mirror. In one of the episode's highlights, Dukat tells Damar to turn inward and find the man who he once was. And Damar seems to be listening.

What's interesting is the dual loyalty here. Damar is loyal to his former mentor, but Dukat has also forgiven Damar for everything that has happened in the past. What remains are two men who have faced difficult chapters in their lives and must now overcome them. If Damar wakes up and acts in time, he might be able to bring Cardassia back from the brink of complete submission to the Dominion.

In fact, that might be something we're seeing the beginnings of, because the Dominion, I'm guessing, doesn't care much about its Cardassian ally. The Big Bombshell unleashed on us by the end of "'Til Death" is that the Breen are forming an alliance with the Dominion. And I doubt Damar is going to take well to that news.

About the Breen: The writers have these players joining the game a little late here—and the Breen never come off as much more than cartoon figures in the machinations of a plot bigger and smarter than them—but this has possibilities considering Cardassia's probable uselessness in such an alliance. We could be set for some serious collisions here, and if that's the case I'll be pretty impressed, even if the Breen do turn out to be nothing more than the boring and faceless (albeit nasty) "bad guys" that they currently are.

For now, the Breen plot is more of an avenue for the continuing saga of Worf/Ezri. What most hurts the Worf/Ezri storyline, and probably the whole episode, is the annoyance involving the prefab pattern that each Worf/Ezri scene seems to follow: We have a somewhat interesting character realization, followed by Worf/Ezri dialog that often crescendos into an argument courtesy of Worf's short fuse and quick retorts, at which point Breen come storming in to interrupt the dialog/argument and grab Our Heroes and haul them away. This pattern is repeated so many times that in the end it almost feels like a joke. Given their desperate circumstances, I wish there would be more understanding and support between Worf and Ezri, and less boiling-over impatience and bickering. This aspect of the story could've benefited by taking a tip from the more understated Sisko/Kasidy scenes.

Even so, I liked some of what we learned here, even if this romance game is being set up with a suspense angle as much as every other element in the episode (i.e., "Who will Ezri end up with—Worf or Bashir?"). I'm glad that "Penumbra" wasn't the last word in the beginning of a Worf/Ezri relationship. It's all still ambiguous at best, and as a result maybe we'll be able to get more out of the characterizations. At least, I hope so, because so far the results have been mixed.

For now, I'm going with a high three-star rating for "'Til Death." This is rich stuff. There's a lot of story. If things keep building like they have been these past two weeks, the whole production is likely to explode. To say my interest is piqued would be an understatement. But I expect the best is still yet to come, because, despite all the ambition, this still isn't quite it.

Next week: Chapter three. Dukat and Winn, and the Dominion and the Breen, make for strange bedfellows.

Previous episode: Penumbra
Next episode: Strange Bedfellows

◄ Season Index

32 comments on this review

Connor Steven
Mon, Jul 7, 2008, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
I would like to add that the sound guys got it spot on with regards to the Breen voices, the right mix of alien and robotic rather than southern californian ;)
Bligo
Sat, Jun 20, 2009, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
Prophets to Sisko ; sacrifice your son
Sisko ; ok nothing makes me more happy then showing my faith.

Prophets to Sisko ; sacrifice some vows and two rings.

Sisko ; no way!!

Such a complex man that Sisko,the one minute he is willing to sacrifice his own son only to become selfish and ignorant to the prophets the next minute.

The breen getting into play is pure genius on the other hand,Cardasia internal struggles will grow without a doubt,after all they hate breen and that feeling is mutual.
Aldo Johnson
Sat, Dec 12, 2009, 3:44am (UTC -5)
When Winn and Anjohl was about to kiss, I was going "eww... eww... no, really?... eww"
Marco P.
Sat, Aug 28, 2010, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Agreed on the "suspense" part. I most definitely like long series of episodes that follow one another (like this last stretch of DS9), because it allows to do story & character development which would otherwise not be possible over a mere 45 minutes. I know that is usually not very Trek-like, but it makes for much more compelling television (for those who have the patience to wait at least).

One note: I think it's obvious at this point in the storyline that the "Prophets" who contacted Kai Winn were in fact Paghwraiths. The Kira-"Prophet" in the last episode says "She will *serve* us well" (the real Prophets never mentioned servitude before, "serving" has evil connotations in this case), and the background colour of the vision setting isn't light-blue (like during most Prophet visions by Sisko) but light red.

What more do we need to convince ourselves Winn is being manipulated, both by the Paghwraiths and by Dukat (doing the former's bidding)?
Cloudane
Sat, Dec 18, 2010, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
If I were to pick holes in a superb episode, yes it does grate a bit that nobody recognises Dukat. I guess we're supposed to suspend disbelief, and view it that somehow in 'their' world he looks and sounds very different but as far as the show itself goes it's the same actor. So it's obvious to us but not to them.

It reminds me a little of when I watched Pokemon for a bit. Team Rocket put on glasses or something and nobody recognises them even though it's blatantly obvious who they are. Thankfully it's not quite that bad!
Nic
Sun, Jan 30, 2011, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
This was definitely an improvement over the previous episode and a great way to raise tension. I hadn't thought about why no one would recognize Dukat, what strikes me is how good his surgeon was. She would have had to remove the bones on his forehead, cheeks, ears and neck, all of which I'm sure have a fuction in Cardassian anatomy which Dukat is now deprived of. Also, Worf says that "no one who has seen what a Breen looked like has survived" or something to that effect. That is not true: in "Indiscretion" both Kira and Dukat knocked out two Breens and put on their uniforms, which obviously implies they saw what was inside. But no matter. I nitpick because I like to :)
Cloudane
Mon, Jan 31, 2011, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Without giving anything away, the question of recognition is thankfully addressed in a later episode :)
Neil
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Sisko behaves so childishly in this episode it's difficult to believe; but it's not necessarily out of character.

The very previous time he ignored a prophet warning, Jadzia was killed, the wormhole was locked shut, and he had to go to earth for 3 months until he discovered the Emissary's Orb and reopened the wormhole.

Does that mean nothing to him just because he thinks he loves Casidy? This is the woman who was treacherous enough to smuggle supplies to the Maquis back when Sisko hated them to the point of obsession. She served 6 months in jail for that, and now this idiot wants to marry her.

Wouldn't starfleet have something to say about him marrying a convicted criminal and supplier to the Maquis, and in fant she's marrying the guy who arrested her? I would have expected that he would have to resign his commission before being allowed to do that.

But ignoring the prophet's warning is much worse. It's actually impossible to believe that the guy who blamed himself for Jadzia's death, because he ignored a Prophet warning before, would be so feeble-minded as to gleefully do the same thing again. If it were me, I would assume that the Prophet meant that Kasidy would die somehow, that's what leads to his perpetual sorrow.

Bah, it's just complete bullshit.

Worf is really pissing me off, too, with his petty jealousy and paranoia about Dax loving someone else. I am pretty sure a honour-obsessed Klingon would just kill her if he really thought she was getting it on with Bashir. But he seems to have reconciled her existence and now seems to have decided to continue his relationship with Jadzia by hooking up with Ezri, in the process dishonouring Jadzia and the supposed effort he went to to get her into sto-vo-kor, while also dishonouring Ezri by completely ignoring her individuality as a person, and just using her to get at what's left of Jadzia.

Worf is not only jealous like a child, but also a real jerk with the way he's using Ezri now. I think he actually thinks he has officially resumed right where he left off with Jadzia, and poor Ezri doesn't have any idea that he's decided this.

I do like how this episode reveals what a true bitch Kai Wynn is; she gets to talk with the prophets once (and I'm sure they are paghwraiths) and she has completely forgotten about the emissary and instead will do whatever Dukat tells her to... especially if it undermines Sisko along the way.

You would need the IQ of a spoon to not notice that it's Gul Dukat with a fake nose. His voice is identical.
Ron Mouse
Sat, Mar 12, 2011, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Something I absolutely adore in this episodw is that its Dukats peptalk to Damar which sets him on the path to the Cardassian resistance with Dukats two biggest enemies(aside of Sisko of course), Garak and Kira. Its so intricately woven and delicious.
Elliott
Fri, Oct 7, 2011, 1:59am (UTC -5)
The Emissary plot is wearing very, very thin at this point. Let's just think about this for 2 seconds.

The prophets (and presumably the Paghwraiths, who were at one time prophets themselves) are unbound by linear time. This should mean something rather profound, but the series only bothers to say it means they know the future. This implies that the future is already formed--now, if that's the case, things will happen as they will happen regardless of anyone's (including Sisko's) choices.

Let us also remember, Sisko's ultimate task, the thing for which he was conceived and guided, is to reseal the Paghwraiths in the FireCaves. That's it. The Prophets move in mysterious ways? Please... could they not simply have told him what this task was? How would that knowledge have impeded his mission?

Kira's constant "that's not how it works" line is the flimsiest of apologetics' contrivances. How can the fact that this philosophical canyon is never adressed in this show not alter your opinion that the show is somehow smarter and more grown-up that the other series?

Bleah--2 stars at most.
Ron Mouse
Fri, Oct 7, 2011, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
@Elliott - Sisko's final task isn't the only task he has, he also has to assist in the rebuild of Bajor and a big part of that task is actually finding the celestial temple. Its quite simple, and totally missing the point, to consider Sisko's "ultimate task" as the only reason he has for being.
As for the Prophets being able to see the future, well, the best I can do is tell you to rewatch The Reckoning. There are clearly events which have an effect on the Pah-wraith/Prophets that can't be seen in advance, and the outcome is not assured.
Captain Tripps
Tue, Oct 11, 2011, 9:09am (UTC -5)
I would imagine they see many different futures based on the various decisions people make in the present. Also there's a difference between telling someone what they're supposed to do, and allowing them to find the path on their own. Easier to be convinced by experience and circumstances, than by a mandate.
Jay
Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, the notion that Winn doesn't recognize Dukat strains credulity, but that two people can move into an adjacent room, or even just another part of a room, and have an exchange of dialogue, even raise their voices, in a discussion about someone else in the vicinity, and neither that person nor anyone around them seems to hear a bit of it, is a TV staple.
Elliott
Tue, Dec 20, 2011, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
@Ron Mouse :

"The Reckoning" was the actual moment in the series when the Prophets lost all potential to be anything other than cartoonish Sensei for Sisko. What I'm saying is the Prophets' propensity to be "mysterious" or "unclear" is a symptom only of plot convenience. One need look no further than "Sacrifice of Angels" to see the prophets are perfectly capable of being as efficient, self-motivated, egotistical, inabstruse and pragmatic as any other species when they wish to be.

@Captain Tripps :
Sisko was committed to protecting Bajor before he became "of Bajor." As a Starfleet officer, he needed only be told what was necessary in terms of his sacrifice for him to accept it and act on it. And what happens in the finale? The prophets tell him to go to the fire caves to stop Winn and Dukat (and apparently back in time as well). Does anything come from that encounter besides him stopping them and receiving his godhead? No. As I said, the wormhole aliens, ostensibly the most complex and mysterious sci-fi element on the series and one which presupposes itself a marker of a more mature philosophy, are comic-book style ancients and interact with the world on those terms; Sisko is a comic book hero, the paghwraiths are comic book villains.
Trekker
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
I hate every scene that includes Ezri, the writers should never introduce her, she's awful character who adds nothing to the series
Jim
Sun, May 27, 2012, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Ezri is ruining the final season for me, she's such an unworthy character.
Daniel
Thu, Jul 5, 2012, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Ezri puts me off with her childish whiny attitude and her girlish voice! I fast-forward all her scenes and I can't enjoy the last arc. Who's brilliant idea was it to bring her to the show? She belongs to a teen show not a space station.
Sintek
Wed, May 29, 2013, 2:23am (UTC -5)
I guess I know how you guys feel, but I had to suffer 6 seasons of Terry Farrel. She can't act and the "just one of the guys" thing was gag-inducingly awful. At least Ezri is Ezri; Jadzia was 90% Curzon and the rest a female Wesley Crusher.
Michael
Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 9:31am (UTC -5)
@ Neil

Agreed. It's spectacularly dumb, given everything that has happened up until now, for Sisko to ignore a direct warning from the Prophets. I guess it just comes down to the writers being very invested in creating a particular conflict / situation. I get what they're aiming for, but it really doesn't make sense for Sisko to do this. He should be worried about what the warning will mean for Cassidy. If he really loves her, it would make more sense for him to let her go in order to protect her. Would have been more poignant too. Bah. It's pretty dumb.
Kotas
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 7:59pm (UTC -5)

Another mediocre story episode. I'm not loving the direction they have taken Dukat. The dominion storyline is good, the Bajoran thread is not.

5/10
Corey
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
"I'm not loving the direction they have taken Dukat."

They totally destroyed Dukat. You can almost see DS9 trying to be Return of the Jedi, with force battles, gun battles, Odo's "dark side" choice and giant fleets, but it just all comes across as being trite and contrived.

The Breen and their superweapons (and helmets) are particularly cringe-worthy.

People criticise S7 for all the Ezri episodes, but its S7's standalone episodes (Ezri or otherwise) that have aged better than the Dominion arc.
Ric
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
Yap, they have destroyed Dukat's character. Not in this episode only. Actually, much more before. Dukat has to be one of most impressive cases of great characters totally screwed up in the whole fiction TV show history.

I second Corey's comparison with Star Wars. I myself have proposed the same a lot of times here, especially when Dukat got these Sith superpowers in the end of S6. Horrible. DS9 was a great show, but with such bad decisions that at some point it made me thanks that I will be seeing its last episode.

Take for instance the once again crazy magictechnobabble. Propehts here, propehts there, and no more Trek is necessary to explain anything (besides the response I always get: the Prophets are aliens!). Bla bla bla. Sisko wants to merry. Mrs Prophet-Mamma (Sisko, I am your mother!) say no. Sisko gives up and buys a bike to ride. Oh god. That's why I am actually currently happy that DS9 was discontinued. I never felt it with TOS or TNG, on the contrary I was really sad to come close to their last episodes.

But although I loved most of first 4 or 5 seasons of DS9, can anyone imagine where they would have brought Star Trek to had they keep going for more 3 or 4 seasons?
Toraya
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
I love Dukat's scene with Damar, but the resurgent warmth between them has me wondering at what point Dukat forgave Damar for murdering his daughter. I am forced to assume that this is fallout from "Waltz" - that Dukat really has decided that Bajor and Bajorans are despicable and that his love for Ziyal - which was once so moving - was in retrospect a mere weakness. This is an ugly and shallow turn for a once-great character. (And i agree that the pahwraith vs prophet plotline is comic-book dumb.)

The Damar/Weyoun conflict is the highlight of the past two episodes.
Klovis Mann
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
.....I suppose I should wait until the series ends to comment but here goes all the same.......ENOUGH with the Ezri plots.....who cares!!.....Dax was never a compelling character (except in the looks dept.).....bringing "her" back was ill considered....her screen time would have been better spent on characters we've become invested in over six seasons......the dead ought to have been left in peace....

......overall, I think it was a mistake to introduce Worf to DS9......an awful lot (if not all) of the Worf character development TNG worked so long to establish was pretty carelessly swept away for the sake of a ratings boost in the 4th season....the Klingon story arcs in TNG were some of that series episodes.....(Alexander Eps excepted) I've never felt Worf's presence on DS9 added anything significant and Kira and Odo's characters were stunted in the process.....

.....there have been some very good stand alone episodes this season and last but the war has become as tiresome as all the Bajoran religious mumbo jumbo....Sisko as emissary is another less than compelling story arc.....Kai Winn + a Dukat no one recognizes?.....please......and where's Quark?.....lately his brief appearances are among the best written and acted bits of business.....his speech to Ezri on the inevitability of Worf's return was well done.....

.....my overall impression is DS9 is prime Trek....However, at this point the series feels a bit "lost in space".......

......
Qless
Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 3:43am (UTC -5)
Sisko is the only Star Trek captain who would be dumb enough to follow the wormhole aliens. Picard wouldnt risk his sons life to let the aliens battle on the station. He wouldn't not marry a woman because the aliens told him not to. These aliens are in some other dimension. Non linear or whatever. Picard has met many aliens that can do powerful things. Look at q for instance. I just don't get how Sisko doesn't see these aliens are using him. Even if one took control of his mom many years ago it doesn't mean he has to be fooled to be used by them his whole life.

I can't help but laugh watching dukat act like the humble farmer. It's hilarious. To Winn he seems like a simple farmer but when you know it's dukat he comes off as so condescending. He takes the bajorans for fools sitting there saying his friends wouldn't believe it if he told them he was eating with the Kai. Lol
Yanks
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Sisko wants to marry, but Sara says no. Why? Who the frak knows.

Dukat is now a Bajoran and is snuggling up with Winn. Will he "convert her" to believing in the Paghwraiths? ... Anyone want to lay odds? ...Eeeeee gads... saw this one coming a mile away, Winn has always been selfish and the prophets aren't "serving her".

I'm not really happy with the way this is going.

It's logical for the Breen to enter on the Dominion side. Too bad we never actually see a Breen face.

Only 2.5 stars...
$G
Sat, Nov 1, 2014, 2:45am (UTC -5)
What's neat about the Final Chapter arc vs. the Occupation arc is how much more of a slowburn it is. This is because how many seemingly unrelated threads are going on. In the Occupation arc, nearly everything that happened involved angst over DS9 as a location. Our heroes wanted to take it back and the baddies wanted to hold their position. The Final Chapter, however, is cleaning up character relationships, wartime politics, etc. It's not focused on any single element of the show, so it needs time to simmer.

"'Til Death" is a stronger episode than "Penumbra". One reason being that it has quite a bit more tension. When Sarah interrupted Sisko's vows, it might be the most anxiety I've felt during a wedding scene. Sisko's decision to say "I do" - just the look on his face as he tries to keep from destroying the moment for Kasidy - is genuinely moving.

Is it a little surprising that Sisko would willingly "defy" the Prophets' warnings again? A bit, yeah. But this episode really sells how tough that decision is for Sisko. I imagine it's difficult to allow vague warnings (no matter how reliable the source) to dictate your whole life, especially when it involves breaking the heart of your fiancee.

Another reason why this ep is a solid entry is the Breen twist. It's a great way to up the stakes of the War one last time (seriously, how many elements are at play in this war? Think about it - there are probably more than you can name). It's also a neat bit of continuity if you remember the Breen prisoner from "By Inferno's Light". The Dominion were working on convincing/tricking the Breen to join way back then, too! Scary.

I really like the title of this episode. The obvious reference is to Sisko-Kasidy, but there's also Ezri-Worf. While their conflict isn't exactly the most compelling stuff DS9 has done (not terrible either, but... there) the undercurrent of Worf being unable to let go of his semi-reincarnated wife is... sad. The vow is being played out in sci-fi literalness here, a relationship severed by the death of a spouse. Worf is having some understandable difficulty realizing that the parting is and should be permanent.

Winn is also treated well in this one. Chalk up another supporting character storyline that I didn't know I wanted to see! It's nice to see Sisko's two rivals teaming up like this. It's wonderfully pathetic.

Nothing in this episode is *wonderful* but it's all entertaining and offers some nice payoffs. High end of 3 stars for me.
Del_Duio
Mon, May 18, 2015, 11:26am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, but what I didn't really like were how Worf and Ezri's "dream dialogues" were straight out of a script from Plot Convienence Theater-(tm).

I mean, what are the odds that the two of them just happen to say something like this (I'm going to paraphrase here, so forgive me)

Worf: "NO! JADZIA! I DISHONOR YOUR MEMORY BY SCREWING AROUND WITH EZRI!!"

Ezri: "Oh how I love you! No, not you Worf, but JULIAN!"

Okay, okay, well a lot of that was super heavily implied of course but what are the chances that while they were both in a Breen-induced state of delusion they just both happen to blurt out how the whole Worf / Ezri relationship isn't gonna' work out in the end.

I don't know, that whole bit felt really forced and fake. Otherwise, I liked this episode.
Robert
Tue, May 19, 2015, 10:24am (UTC -5)
@Del_Duio - Worf's reveal was kind of right on the tip of his tongue anyway. That one didn't bother me. Ezri claims to not even have realized she loved Julian until Worf told her what she said. That one was too convenient.

All Worf says is "No! No! I will not dishonour her memory."

Ezri says "I was your wife. Why don't you talk to me? I love you. Kiss me. Kiss me, Julian."

It's too convenient for sure.
Adam
Sat, Dec 5, 2015, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
I loved the snap zoom on the Breen every time they come through the doors. Felt very "Doctor Who".
Diamond Dave
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Bit better this time out, we're still suffering from the deferment of major plot lines I guess but at least things are moving forward.

Probably the best part is the car-crash fascination that the Winn-Dukat plot conjures up. And it's also a little sad, because Winn truly wants to be an instrument of the Prophets. It's horrifying and yet strangely satisfying.

Elsewhere, we finally get a marriage (yay! At last), the Breen ally with the Dominion ("That changes everything" - does it? Given we don't know a lot about the Breen), and Ezri and Worf talk angrily a lot (and if I didn't like an Ezri-Worf romantic hook-up, I really object to throwing Bashir in the mix!). It was all a bit too repetitive.

"That Dr. Bashir is a Breen?" indeed. 2.5 stars.
William B
Mon, May 2, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -5)
First of all: hilarious moment in the "previously on...": Kira says "Worf didn't make it," and then cut to Sisko telling Kasidy "let's get married." All that Sisko was waiting for was to be rid of that Klingon....

Anyway, an improvement on "Penumbra," to be sure, partly by adding a fourth plot. This one really earns the A/B/C/D designation (with some Es floating around). Of course, it may be that A,B,C,D are ratings for the individual plots....

Worf/Ezri: I think the dialogue is mostly better than in "Penumbra," but the structure is very repetitive (as Jammer says, it begins to feel like a joke), some of the choices here are very silly, and, well, actually I think I have a fundamental disagreement with a key story choice. The dream material/Breen memory probes not only gives us another round of audio montage, this time with characters repeating what they said in previous episodes so that they don't get in trouble with Terry Farrell's lawyer again, we have Ezri mouthing, after an interminable series of quotations from Ezri-centric episodes, "...I love you, kiss me...Julian." Hey, weren't the rest of those lines things she actually has said? Anyway the real problem I have with this story is that it really does foreground Ezri having a thing for Julian as the reason that she and Worf don't work -- we can tell that she and Worf are doomed, and just mistaking nostalgia and grief for new love, because Ezri actually loves someone else. And that's quite a lazy shortcut to make the important point, which is that Ezri/Worf is a mistake. Worf's intense jealousy is, let us say, unbecoming, though it's something of a relief after he talks about how they will have many years together, etc. Oh well. Of course there has not been much real setup for Ezri/Julian -- yes, they had that scene in "Afterimage" and Quark and Odo talked about them holding hands in "The Emperor's New Cloak," but they have barely interacted and it still runs into the same problem as Worf/Ezri, which is that it will take a lot of effort to sell the audience (i.e. me) that the relationship is not just running on fumes from Jadzia and has something particular to Ezri. Still, I do think that is the point here -- Ezri has built a life for herself on the station, and over the time from "Afterimage" through "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" where she talked to Worf about three times, she formed a relationship with Julian (still mostly offscreen, despite Ezri's considerable screentime), so that she *has* formed a life for herself on the station which is not just a repetition of Jadzia's life. However, only her dreams know that for real! Can she and Worf figure this out, or will the Breen zap them a bunch more times?

Sisko/Kasidy: Basically, there remains no particular reason why the Prophets are so vague. The series really here pushes the notion of Sarah as being essentially Ben's mother, behaving toward him in a (humanoid) motherly fashion, while also insisting that Kira is right and that the Prophets cannot be clear and must continuously obfuscate because it doesn't work that way. Anyway, on the one hand I think Sisko is absolutely right to rebel against the notion of simply following what the Prophets tell him to do -- he is his own person. On the other, the last time he didn't do what the Prophets told him Jadzia died and he had something of a breakdown. I feel like Kasidy should surely be able to understand cooling the wedding plans (after all, Sisko only just proposed last week) based on Sisko's reluctance to repeat the same incident as last year. (Note: okay, so it seems as if Sisko is supposed to, what, break up with Kasidy because of Sarah-Prophet's warning? But the vision only came to him after he proposed to her, which indicates that there is something about getting married which is fundamentally different.) The question is whether the Prophets are telling him what his destiny is because they want him to do their bidding, or whether they are giving him important information. On some level, there is no clear resolution to this; the Prophets have such levels of power that they can basically do whatever they want. But I miss the TNG model of, in "All Good Things" e.g., Picard talking with his senior staff trying to figure out what Q is trying to tell him and to what extent he can be trusted, when it comes to beings of superior power. But anyway, I genuinely don't believe Sisko would make the choice he makes here. As people have pointed out above, he was willing to let his son be possessed in a potentially station-destroying death patch because of his faith. "Shadows and Symbols" if anything underlined Sisko's True Believer status much further. And as people have pointed out, it's strange he does not even consider that Kasidy might be placed in danger and that is the reason for the warning. I don't actually think Sisko *should* just do whatever more powerful beings tell him to do, in general, but this does seem to be a time to consider his next move carefully rather than do the binary break-up/marry-today dance he does, and even there I don't particularly believe that Sisko would make this call at this point in the series, given the development he's had.

What is interesting is that in addition to the Prophet-Emissary dimension, the mother-son material (emphasizing Sisko as Jesus, of course) somewhat brings Sisko's development down to Earth, as if we are seeing a case where a parent simply *knows* their child is making a big mistake marrying someone, but for whatever reason they can't articulate it and so their child makes this disastrous decision.

Weird moment in this plotline: Julian and Miles asking vaguely where Ezri and Worf are and Miles saying that they just went to get a gift. Ha ha. How many days late are they now, given that they were four days late at the end of the last episode? What's odd is how, because the plot needs Worf/Ezri to be alone for a while, the show violates established convention where people are *always* *very worried* about missing friends and go on risky rescue missions and so forth all the time, and can't focus or can't sleep etc., until these episodes where there is no indication that anyone is concerned in this episode at all.

I like Quark's role here advocating for Sisko to continue with the wedding (a shame to see that ring go to waste). Of course Quark has no idea why Sisko called off the engagement, but I think he would probably give Sisko similar advice even if he did, being an advocate for individualism.

Damar: First, I want to talk about the Dukat-Damar scene. I really love this closure to Dukat and Damar's story, and that Dukat actually gives Damar the inspiration to rise up. It's actually really remarkable. SPOILER: Given that "WYLB" destroys Dukat's "shades of grey," I really do love that even in the final arc, Dukat is allowed at least some shadings -- he really is able to inspire Damar to make large-scale change for good. Damar ends up something of a hero, albeit a very flawed one (who ends tragically). Despite being the one to start the Dominion alliance, it is Dukat who plants the seeds to save his people (and the Alpha Quadrant), though at a terrible price. And that also sort of works with the heel-much-worse-heel-turn Dukat makes in the Fire Caves; there is nothing to be redeemed, the show seems to be saying, about Dukat's role in Bajor's history. But we see here that despite his evil and self-serving decisions, Dukat *does* have some genuine feeling for his people, as represented by Damar, and so his influence on Cardassia is not wholly negative. That spirit from on the Klingon ship with Damar is part of what help turn the tide.

Otherwise, I think the material here is very effective but still mostly set-up. One key moment that I liked was Damar's demanding Weyoun tell him what's going on, and Weyoun doing that great glare and then softening and saying "of course." The sense that Weyoun is always deciding whether to issue threats or flattery is pretty well done. The Dominion/Breen alliance -- well, more about that in the next few episodes. I think it's a neat, though not that important, detail that the Founder's making an alliance with the Breen means that she is finding new allies who can deal with the cold which is currently useful for their disease, whereas the Cardassians are obsessed with the heat.

Dukat-Winn: Irrespective of where this plotline is *going*, I really enjoyed it in this episode. It is somewhat repetitive to have several scenes of Dukat dropping information to tide Winn over, but I think as a seduction/manipulation it is very well done. Dukat's fake humility, which cracks at certain moments, is a joy to watch, and the way he gradually wears down Winn's defenses by appealing to her vanity, faith *and goodness* (i.e., by bringing up her actions to save lives during the Occupation and linking himself to that) shows him bringing his manipulator A-game. The Restoration set-up here -- the farming metaphor of needing to burn the land to set it anew -- really does appeal to the fundamentalist in Winn...and yet this episode spends more time than any previous ones making Winn genuinely seem to be a person, with an interior life, lonely and with a need to be loved. Okay, so Winn/Dukat's coupling is very fast, but it's worth noting the contrast here with the Sisko story, wherein Sisko at least has separate, established feelings for Kasidy which exist independently of his Prophet experiences, and is willing to keep those feelings alive without the Prophets, whereas Winn is so dedicated to the Prophets and yet so hungry for power (and, as we find out here, love) that she jumps at any opportunity that seems to allow her to please both personal and religious urges. Obviously the Prophets want her to be in this relationship. Despite Shakaar being the official head of state, Winn has still more or less been the key "most powerful Bajoran" (see, e.g., season five), and having Dukat seduce *her* surely satisfies his perverse longings for Bajoran acceptance combined with the desire to defile Bajor, with Bajor "willingly" agreeing. A key moment that I think is telling is when "Anjohl" talks about how Sisko can't understand what it was like to be Bajoran because he wasn't there during the Occupation; while Dukat is surely manipulating Winn, I also think he basically believes what he is saying, and believes that he, Dukat, *can* understand because he was there during the Occupation. Oh, fine, so he was the prefect rather than one of the billions under his thumb -- details, details.

So I find the story about the non-regulars more compelling here than the Sisko or Worf/Dax stories. I'd say 2.5 stars.

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