Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"The Jem'Hadar"

3.5 stars

Air date: 6/13/1994
Written by Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Kim Friedman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Hoping to spend some quality time with his son, Sisko takes Jake on a survey of a Gamma Quadrant planet. Quark and Nog come along—Nog as a friend and partner in Jake's science project, Quark to suck up to Sisko in a poor attempt to convince the commander to let him sell merchandise on the station monitors. The pairing of Sisko and Quark is at the very least lively, and some of the Federation/Ferengi polemics that arise are actually relevant.

While on this planet, Sisko and Quark encounter and are promptly imprisoned by the Jem'Hadar—the menacing foot soldiers of the nefarious Gamma Quadrant organization called the Dominion. Apparently, the Dominion considers ships coming through the wormhole as violation of their territory.

"The Jem'Hadar" is "comic book DS9" in many ways. This isn't nearly as substantive as most of second season DS9. The Dominion is large and foreboding, and the plot consists of mostly action scenes and a prison-break premise. But this is good comic book DS9. It's fun, but it's also pretty intense at times, especially when a Jem'Hadar soldier visits the station and supplies Kira with a list of ships the Dominion has destroyed—along with news that they have decimated the New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant. (Nana Visitor's performance sells the scene more than anything else.)

Meanwhile, Jake and Nog attempt to pilot the Runabout back to the station themselves, with little success. The idea of "teenagers flying the ship" is utilized for some great comic payoffs—Jake and Nog have always been fun to watch when they get in over their heads. The episode ends with the best battle scene the series has attempted to date. A Jem'Hadar kamikaze that destroys the Galaxy-class USS Odyssey is quite visceral. The episode is mostly high adventure and comedy, and it works well. (And stuff gets blowed up real good, too.) With the introduction of the Dominion, the series adds yet another element to its canvas which will fuel many stories to come.

Previous episode: Tribunal
Next episode: The Search, Part I

◄ Season Index

69 comments on this review

Sat, Mar 8, 2008, 6:24am (UTC -5)
I recently watched this series, and it's probably one of my favourites. "Homecoming", "Whispers" and "The Maquis" two-parter are up there with my favourite DS9 episodes. I prefer seasons 2 and 3 to the later, darker seasons - there's an extremely good mix of action, adventure, interesting characters and interesting politics. That's not to take anything away from the incredible changes to the landscape (the Klingons and Romulans taking a stand in "By Inferno's Light" and characters (Sisko in "Rapture" and "In the Pale Moonlight") in those seasons.

The suicide run by the Jem'Hadar ship on the Odyssey blew me away when I first saw it. I remember reading about the fan reaction in Sci-Fi magazines, and people were already putting the Dominion on the level of the Borg. At the time, they had no idea that the Dominion storyline would become such a huge part of the show.
Thu, Jun 12, 2008, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Chris, I think sesaon 2 was fairly good but nothing compared to later seasons but that should been expected, this show only got better as time went on.

But I do agree that when I saw the Jem'Hadar ship destroy the Odyssey as a kid, it did leave me feeling a little ill as I thought it could have been the Enterprise. But that episode and that scene was a really good way to introduce a genuine threat to our characters.
Mon, Nov 2, 2009, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Has anyone ever read the DS9 Nitpicker's Guide. It only covers the 1st 4 seasons of the show but the author, in the section on "The Jem'Hadar," basically says that all the subsequent Dominion stories from Season 3 onwards are (for all intents & purposes) nits because the Federation simply didn't stay out of the Gamma Quadrant as Third Talak'Talon wanted them to do.
But I guess the series just wouldn't have been as exciting if our heroes were babysitting a wormhole they couldn't use.
Mon, Nov 2, 2009, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Jerry, I think it was more like the Federation wasn't going to be bullied around. Either that or the Federation knew they couldn't stop everyone from going into the Gamma Quadrant and weather it was the Federation or someone else, confrontation would have been inevitable anyway. I think the reasoning was that the Dominion was going to come eventually so they had to be prepared.
Mon, Nov 2, 2009, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
I remember reading that. Not that I agree with it, but Phil (the author) seemed to say that the Dominion War could've been prevented if the Federation simply stayed on their side of the wormhole.
I, for one, am surprised that the Federation just didn't collapse the wormhole after the events of "The Jem'Hadar" to keep the peace.
Elliot Wilson
Wed, Feb 10, 2010, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
charlie - The Dominion would have invaded anyway. All they wanted to do was control -- the Founders just as much admitted, "What you control can't hurt you" and that they wanted to bring "order" to the galaxy. Though I do agree about the wormhole comment -- they tried to close it in The Search Part II but when they found out about the Founders it was like they forgot! What the hell! Granted, no Dominion means no storyline, but practically speaking the Federation (no matter how "peace-loving" they are) should have REALIZED the Dominion was a serious threat on a massive level the AQ hadn't seen before, sealed up the wormhole despite the Bajorans' protests, and prepared for the inevitable confrontation: Building fleets of starships, training troops, equipping armies essentially. Pacifist idiots.
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
The last scene of "The Jem'Hadar" is what sold me on the show. I'm not referring to the Odyssey destruction scene (though that was also goood), but to the scene in Ops where it is revelaed that Eris is a spy and that the Dominion wanted them to escape. The writers basically took a long-established Trek cliche of Easy Escape due to Overconfident Enemy [TM] and turned it on its head.
Tue, Dec 27, 2011, 11:30am (UTC -5)
That biological energy weapon that the Vorta had fire from their chest was quite ridiculous...I can see why they scrapped it in S3 and beyond.

Weyoun would have been ridiculous with it.
Latex Zebra
Thu, Mar 29, 2012, 2:57am (UTC -5)
The point Phil Farrand misses in his nitpick is that they also destroyed the colony... New Bajor was it. Probably others. You just slink back to the Alpha quadrant and close off the wormhole after innocent people have been wiped out.

Not on my watch!
Latex Zebra
Thu, Mar 29, 2012, 3:01am (UTC -5)
That could have been mentioned in another episode though.

Gosh wont I look silly then.
Wed, May 2, 2012, 5:08am (UTC -5)
Capt. Keogh: Starfleet's orders are simple. No traffic through the wormhole until we investigate the Jem'Hadar threat.

Then he & his ship get blown to bits and, next season....we see traffic going through the wormhole again.

Am I the only one who finds this odd?
Thu, May 3, 2012, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Latex Zebra:
"The point Phil Farrand misses in his nitpick is that they also destroyed the colony... New Bajor was it. Probably others. You just slink back to the Alpha quadrant and close off the wormhole after innocent people have been wiped out.

Not on my watch!"

So, you wouldn't close the wormhole, thus ensuring that the Dominion couldn't wipe out any more people on your side?!?
You MUST be one of those gung-ho types.
Nick P.
Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 8:24am (UTC -5)
There is nothing cowardly about knowing when you are outmatched.
"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious." -Sun TZu

Yes, the federation took a ridiculous chance by not closing the stupid wormhole. I know this is entertainment, but for every Braveheart, there are thousands of over-matched underdogs who LOST.

Latex Zebra
Wed, Jul 4, 2012, 3:43pm (UTC -5)

lol no. I'm pretty placid. It was supposed to be a light hearted comment.

Common sense says collapse the wormhole.
The Federation are often inconsistent with thier common sense though.

Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 6:04am (UTC -5)
I just rewatched this episode and that struck me too. Bajor (and by extension the Federation) unknowingly set up a colony in occupied space and when the occupiers say "stop entering our space" the answer appeared to be..."too bad"? On the other hand the Dominion did capture officers and detroy the colony in retaliation, I suppose the escalation happened more as a result of that than anything. Had they said "hey please remove your colony" things might have been different.
Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 11:17am (UTC -5)
The Federation's approach after this episode was strange. The Nitpicker's Guide essentially called the Federation out for violating sovereign borders after this episode, prompting a war.

There should have been one line of dialog, either in this episode or in one of the next several involving the Dominion, that said that the Federation agreed to stay out of Dominion territory but not the Gamma Quadrant as a whole. That would have been a reasonable Federation stance -- which the Dominion might not have accepted, leading to the war.

As for collapsing the entrance to the wormhole, Sisko et. al did show willingness to do it in "The Search", but only in the fake scenario created by the Dominion's experiment. When the characters woke up and returned to the station, they probably figured they still had time to devise another solution, because the Dominion was still in the Gamma Quadrant.

Over the next couple season, Sisko became more engaged with the Prophets, to the point where killing them by destroying the wormhole was probably not an option. It's worth noting that Kira is not in the Dominion's fantasy scenario in "The Search", so no one of Bajoran faith was around to object to collapsing the wormhole.

By season 5, when Sisko et. al opt to seal the wormhole, not destroy it, in anticipating of a Dominion invasion. Kira objects, but is overruled. When the Dominion sabotages Sisko's attempt to seal the wormhole, it occurred in a way that made sealing the entrance impossible (hence mining the entrance in "Call to Arms").
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 11:03am (UTC -5)
"The Jem'Hadar" was a good episode and a fun way to end Season 2. That said, The Search I would have been an *awesome* season ender (much like BOBW I), but I don't know if the writers planned that far ahead.

Also, I suppose the writers needed a way to explain why Sisko went back to Earth for 3 months (coinciding with the 3 month summer intersession between Season 2 and Season 3) in his attempt to obtain the Defiant.

I loved the character interaction between Sisko/Jake, Sisko/Quark and Jake/Nog in the jungle. The Jake/Nog scenes with piloting the shuttlecraft were funny, but I think it seemed slightly inappropriate and took away from the seriousness of the episode.

Lastly, the visuals of this episode were fantastic. Seeing a Galaxy-Class starship that looks identical to the beloved Enterprise D destroyed is a crazy feeling. Also, it was great to see an atypical Star Wars-like battle between the runabouts and the Jem Hadar warships.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 1:45am (UTC -5)
The decision to show the Jem'Hadar annihilating a Galaxy-class starship was a smart one. It was a impactful scene that demonstrated quite effectively that the Dominion was a very serious threat to the Federation, perhaps even more so than the Borg.

I liked the scene where Quark points out to Sisko the dark chapters of Human history for which the Ferengi have no analog. Sisko's startled reaction to the word "slavery" was particularly noteworthy. EXCELLENT performances from both actors.
Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
re: Odyssey

Recall that this episode aired 3 weeks after the TNG finale. If it looked & felt like Enterprise blowing up, as Comp625 (and Jayson, years ago) said, well... the symbolism wasn't lost on me. (Nor on Phil Farrand, who points it out in his Nitpicker's Guide.)

re: nitpicking

The conflict is not so much with this episode, given that the Federation could (and evidently did) choose not to recognize the Dominion's territorial claim. (Farrand's main nitpick is that this is inexcusably arrogant and provocative.) No, the conflict is with the following episode, which so effectively portrayed how dangerous the Gamma Quadrant had become. For two years, we had strolled through the woods, la-di-da, and then we learned that a bear lived there. "The Search part 1" re-entered those woods with a well-placed sense of dread. But as the months and years went by, it's as though we forgot about the bear.

In season 3, they still have the good sense to bring their warship in "Meridian" and "Destiny." But by season 4's "Hippocratic Oath," they're comfortable in a runabout.
Tue, Jul 16, 2013, 10:54am (UTC -5)
@Grumpy: Farrand's point is kind of intriguing, but I felt it was heavy-handed. I always felt this was a writing problem, not a concept problem.

At issue is whether the Federation respects sovereign borders (it does) or crazy claims about sovereign borders. As established in later episodes, the Dominion does not control the entire Gamma Quadrant. I wish a DS9 character in this episode or early in season 3 had made that distinction.

If that had happened, everything that followed in seasons 3-7 could have been basically the same. One of the key points about the Dominion was that the Founders felt their duty was to bring order to a chaotic universe. An interesting dramatic point could have revolved around the Federation staying out of Dominion territory but the Founders still deciding they needed to bring order to chaos. It could have showed how uncompromising the Dominion could be.
W. Scott Richardson
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 7:55am (UTC -5)
"Like Earth in the early Devonian period." That would be the period when ancient humans 'whipped it... whipped it good!'
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 5:04pm (UTC -5)

An exciting story episode. Great way to end the season.

Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Quite the copout at the end, when Eris beamed away...they wonder where she beamed to, but then Kira saved them from having to deal with it by saying "she'll be back".

Where did she go? Did she beam all the way back to the Gamma Quadrant? An absurd notion, but if so, shouldn't the wormhole have opened? Otherwise, how could she have?

"She'll be back" is insufficient explanation.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 10:26am (UTC -5)
@Jack: It's established later that Dominion transporters can cover a few light years. So, Eris probably beamed to a ship out of DS9's main sensor range.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
@ Paul

A Dominion ship in the Alpha Quadrant?

I don't think any ever had come across by this point. And even if one had, DS9 would have been the first to know, because, again, the wormhole would have opened.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
@Jack: It wouldn't have had to be a Dominion ship.

Remember, that the Jem Hadar third in this episode seems to have a lot of information about the Alpha Quadrant. So, it's likely that some Dominion spies stowed away or otherwise got passage to the Alpha Quadrant.

Then, finding a shuttle or somewhere that Eris could have beamed to -- we later learn that Dominion transporters have an operating distance of like 3 light years -- wouldn't have been THAT hard.
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
For me the best part of this episode was Quark's speech to Sisko. I realized Quark was right! When I started watching DS9 after TNG, I thought I would have to at best "tolerate" the Quark-episodes... but now I find I'm looking forward to them and I like that he's such a major character in the show. I saw him and Rene Auberjonois at a convention recently and they have wonderful chemistry between them.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
I was actually pretty disappointed with this episode set. For one thing, why doesn't Sisko have enough spine to tell Quark and Nog that it's a father-son trip? But that's minor compared to the fact that an entire starship got destroyed in the effort to save only four people (five if you count the traitor).

Also, the Vorta woman wasn't handled well by Sisko. So Quark takes him aside and tells him that she's a traitor. What does Sisko do? He immediately confronts her, despite the fact that she doesn't know he's found her out. He could have milked the deception further and got more information, but instead just pulls out his phaser and watches her leave. Not the best way to handle that, Sisko.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
I good introduction to the Dominion.

Couple interesting takeaways for me.

#1 as Nissa states above, I agree. Sisko botched this one. What better way would there be to get insight on the Dominion? What better way to misinform the Founders?

#2. I thought the Sisko/Quark growth part of this episode was great. I also liked how committed Jake is to helping his friend succeed.

#3. It was interesting that the Jem'Hadar soldier that was present on DS9 didn't recognize Odo as a founder (neither did the Vorta). I know they couldn't give it away then, but you'd think the brainwashed Vorta would have at least noticed.

Good closer to season 3. A sign of good things to come on DS9.

3 of 4 stars for me.
Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
I wonder why no other vorta used that energy bolt from the chest. That was kinda cool. I guess most vorta we meet have a group of jem'Hadar soldiers to protect them but I can think of a few instances where they could have used that.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Paul said:

"Then, finding a shuttle or somewhere that Eris could have beamed to -- we later learn that Dominion transporters have an operating distance of like 3 light years -- wouldn't have been THAT hard."

In that case, I would think the crew would be VERY interested in figuring out just where that shuttle might be, rather than just a "She'll be back"

Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
It is disappointing that we only saw the vorta energy weapon once. But given the vorta are clever from this episode, she was essentially the brains of the group, later seasons it makes sense that they showed them to be diplomats and strategists. And their intelligence conniving nature was so much more worth it.
I read in memory alpha that the dominion already knew of the federation and odo was part of the plan, b4 the wormhole was found out. The wormhole changed the first contact invasion dynamic. FederTion would never be contant with staying in their own galaxy, they need to push their ideas on others...
Sun, Aug 17, 2014, 1:07am (UTC -5)
My personal theory on the energy bolt was that it was an act of some sort, to facilitate Eris' gaining Sisko's trust and planting herself in the Starfleet camp as a spy by giving her a way to "break the force field" and creating a ruse that would make all of them work together to escape which would then strengthen their trust of her. Sort of like the prison cell in the TNG ep "Allegiance". Probably a holographic technobabble thingy of some sort.
Sun, Aug 17, 2014, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
You win a No Prize, Z. Your theory changes the twist, though. No longer "The dampener was fake so she could've escaped at any time" but "The dampener was fake because she had no powers to dampen." For that matter, the invisible-and-instantly-lethal force field (that the guards fail to warn their prisoners not to touch) might've been just lights on the floor.
Brian S
Mon, Jan 12, 2015, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
A few points:

-In addition to the Odyssey being a Galaxy-class starship like the Enterprise, it was not lost on me that Captain Keogh looked an awful lot like Captain Picard.....just to add to the visceral reaction of seeing the ship kamikazed in the end.

-Trying to arrest and detain the female Vorta the moment Sisko learned something was up was the prudent thing to do. Sisko is a Starfleet officer, which means he probably thinks more like a security or military officer than a spy. He was more eager to eliminate the threat than to try to draw it out to see what could come from it, especially since it seemed pretty evident that both Sisko and Starfleet had no real idea yet of the depth of the threat the Dominion posed. Besides, in Sisko's view, arresting her and then interrogating her WOULD have given them a decent amount of information.

-Where did the Vorta beam to? True, they never answered that question. But after all the episodes of all the years where Starfleet personnel escaped by transporting onto some ship that was hidden in some sensor blind spot, or using planetary interference to sheild from sensors, or what have you, it's probably fair to assume something similar.

-To answer why you'd send a starship after 4 people, the answer is simply it was a rescue mission. How many times was the Enterprise (TOS or TNG) put in peril in an attempt to rescue just one or a handful of the bridge officers?

-It's possible only a few of the Vorta were genetically engineered with that telekinetic ability.

-Sisko wasn't spineless in telling Quark/Nog it was a father-son trip, he was spineless (so to speak) in telling that to Jake. Ben wanted a father-son trip, Jake wanted to bring his friend along. Dad protested, Jake begged, Dad gave in. It's a fairly classic parenting dilemma. Father wants to spend time with son, growing son prefers the company of his friend over his dad. Throw in the bit about a school science project, and Dad felt guilty about both putting his own desire for time with his son ahead of his son's wishes to spend time with his friend and possibly interfering with a school project. He doesn't give into Nog, he gives into his own son's preference for independence and what he feels is right as far as facilitating learning for the both. He objects to Quark, but once he allows Nog on board, he knows better than to forbid Nog's guardian to go along.
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
This episode certainly did it's job: creating interest & excitement about the next season.

That said, I don't hold it up as highly as most people here seem to. The comedy mostly failed to make me laugh, and the acting didn't seem very strong.
William B
Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 8:50am (UTC -5)
So here ends season two, which coincides with the end of The Next Generation. Voyager and Generations are coming, but for a short time DS9 is the only Trek around (in early s3), and with Ira Steven Behr writing this episode, this represents the end of an era and something of a changing of the guard from Piller to Behr as showrunner. The episode's focus on the Ferengi and the introduction of the Dominion signals some of Behr's projects which will come to have meaning as the show goes on. In that sense, I find myself having mixed feelings about this episode. I don't know if DS9 was really thumbing its nose at TNG much of the time, as Elliott suspects, but given Behr's somewhat public dissatisfaction with TNG, it is a bit hard not to see some of his fingerprints on this episode, which marks something of a break of DS9 from TNG roots:

1. Sisko brings Jake and Nog -- children! -- to the dangerous Gamma Quadrant on a Science Project, seemingly content that scientific exploration is its own reward, and is repaid with nearly dying;

2. The initial portrayal of Quark as deeply annoying to Sisko comes to a turnaround point where Quark offers not one but two speeches about Ferengi superiority to humans, which Sisko does not reply to -- repudiating the Ferengi's initial antagonistic role in TNG, of course, as well as to some extent TNG's conception of evolved humanity;

3. Keogh, captain of the Odyssey, a Galaxy-class ship which, of course, looks just like the Enterprise, is regarded by Dax as arrogant, an accusation sometimes leveled at Picard;

4. The Jem'Hadar blow up the Odyssey, while the scrappy Runabouts get back to safety, confirming symbolically that what is needed to defeat the Dominion will not be TNG style ships but our Little Guy DS9 heroes.

Now, the connection to TNG in the first two points is arguable. I do think that the Odyssey definitely is meant to evoke the Enterprise, but one could also say that the destruction of an Enterprise analogue is meant not to posit DS9 as the only game in town, but to demonstrate the Dominion's power by way of drawing out a big emotional response because of the audience's connections with the Galaxy-class ship. Still, I think this episode does represent something of a thesis statement for Behr's idea of what this show should be, and how this makes a break from what came before. And that's okay, in and of itself, so long as it's presented well and is consistent with the universe that we've seen.

And it sort of is. Mostly. Taking the two major elements of the episode as the Sisko/Quark material and the introduction of the Dominion:

1. Sisko and Quark:

I generally enjoyed the Sisko/Quark/Jake/Nog material through the episode, and especially the way Jake and Nog's easy friendship and teamwork contrasted to the more difficult adaptation of the adults to each other. Jake and Nog argue, particularly when things look hopeless, but they fundamentally know that they are on the same team. Quark and Sisko are in greater opposition; Quark complains about everything, can't deal with the lack of creature comforts, and is rude and embarrassing to his nephew, while Sisko gets increasingly annoyed and superior over Quark's inability to adapt to nature, in the early segments. It's a believable dynamic, and for Quark to point out that Sisko's unwillingness to tolerate Quark is unfair does have some merit. Quark, after all, was forced to stay on the station for Nog's sake, back in the day; and Quark's discomfort on the planet seems pretty genuine. It's not really Quark's "fault" that he doesn't have the same kind of built-in positive reaction to trees that humans do (Nog doesn't either, but is willing to go along with it), and Sisko's disgust that Quark would level a forest for profit is a little bit annoying -- what does he think led to the development of technology and starships? And it seems to me that Quark getting annoyed with being treated badly for not buying into the exploration-for-exploration's-sake stuff that Sisko believes in is in character. The Ferengi are treated as fools when they can be quite canny, Quark treated as a criminal often without proof, and so on. And this leads to some pointed speeches -- first about the limits of Federation tolerance, second about the fact that Ferengi "have no equivalent" in their past to human slavery and concentration camps.

The problem I have, ultimately, is that Sisko does not shoot back at all -- which leaves Quark with the last word. The first time, Sisko says that he does not have to stand there and defend himself, and the second he says nothing. Now, fine -- Sisko doesn't argue back with Quark because this isn't the time. But the out-of-universe effect of this is to give Quark the last word *twice*, with no real counterargument being presented. The main counterargument the episode *does* present is that Quark really *is* annoying, whiny, and cowardly, and that is definitely something. And if it were just a matter of Quark being more self-interested than Sisko would like and more whiny than is useful, maybe Quark's point would be appropriate to let stand. But that's not the whole issue. I felt like I needed someone to point out to Quark that he is distrusted because he *is* a criminal, who tried to act as middleman to run guns to Sakonna, who took advantage of a storm and mass evacuation to let people onto the station who nearly killed Jadzia, his closest non-Ferengi friend, whose casual disregard for procedure led to the unleashing of the virus in "Babel" on the station, and so on. Quark's claim that Ferengi have nothing like slavery in their history would hold more value if it weren't that women in Ferengi society have almost no rights, to the point where they are not allowed to have *clothes*, and that is in the present, not in the past. It is not that Quark has no point, but there are obvious, glaring reasons to distrust Quark and to disrespect Ferengi culture, which need to be brought up if the limits of human/Federation tolerance are to be discussed in any real way.

Besides, Quark's big speech comes after Sisko lets Quark invites himself on a trip no one (not even his nephew) wants him on in the first place, to ask for special favours to use station resources for his own profit, tried to keep mum when Quark's boorishness was driving his own nephew away in embarrassment. Further, Sisko is already basically arguing that Quark's actions can be helpful to Eris when she doesn't believe them. Quark's big speech about human slavery etc. comes at a time when Sisko has already largely been good to Quark for a while.

I still like the way the two form a pretty effective team, though. The episode does make clear that while Quark's understanding of locking mechanisms and his self-interest (in wanting to replicate the telepathic suppressor) are useful, Sisko's ability to empathize and his courage help him get through to Eris to lead to their escape, and Sisko refuses to leave Quark behind. And it does help that the underlying reason for Quark's big speech to Sisko is at least partially, I think, because Quark respects Sisko's courage and goodness and actually wants Sisko's approval, which he gets once it becomes clear they work better in concert with each other.

2. The Dominion:

I think the most pressing comparison is to "Q Who," which introduced the villain that came to redefine TNG (and was used appropriately sparingly there). The episode gets some of the same things right about that episode, by revealing that there is a frightening, powerful enemy out there that is beyond what the series has shown so far. I've got to say, though, while the hints about the Founders are interesting, the Jem'Hadar themselves are boring at this stage. There are some episodes which use the Jem'Hadar to great dramatic effect -- I'm thinking "Rocks and Shoals" most of all, but also "Hippocratic Oath" -- but the qualities that make them interesting, such as the question of how much free will they have when programmed by the Founders and kept in line with drugs, are absent in their intro. We don't actually see their physical prowess, even, so we mostly have Eris' word for how scary they are, until they ram into the Odyssey at the episode's end. They are mostly a near-faceless threat at this point.

I do think that the Jem'Hadar blowing up the Odyssey is meant to show how they are too powerful for the Enterprise to handle, if it were here, and to establish that defending against them will require something particular to the DS9 characters. That in itself is mostly good -- it is good to differentiate this series from TNG and to tell stories particular to this show. That said, I do still think there is a bit of a sour vibe to the way it was all executed. Keogh talks about how no one besides Kira and O'Brien has combat experience, which is true, and Dax looks annoyed; and then the Runabouts leave okay and Keogh's ship gets destroyed with all hands -- who is the one with the proper combat training NOW, huh? And that the Odyssey gets destroyed in about two minutes whereas two teenagers are able to survive (in the Jake-Nog plot) similarly seems to put the scrappy-outsider over the titanic, powerful ship. Except, of course, that the reasons the Runabouts survived is that the Jem'Hadar left them alone; it is hard to say what tactical error Keogh made, besides going there in the first place, or besides waiting for five minutes for the rescue of Sisko to take place. I suppose here I could just say that I'm probably reading too much into it here and so not get annoyed, and I will mostly do that -- but still, bringing on a big ship to demonstrate how scary the Jem'Hadar are, while they pose no threat to the regular cast because they don't bother to fight them, feels a bit cheap dramatically.

We don't know much more about them at this point, but my girlfriend, who is new to this series, immediately said "They've got a point" when a Jem'Hadar said that they disapproved of Federation entry into their territory. It is surely awful for them to destroy a Bajoran colony unilaterally, ad their plan to plant Eris as a spy on the station does not speak well of their intentions. Still...what *are* the territory rules for the Dominion? While the Dominion seems scary, and has displaced several people (like the Skreeans), most of the stuff we know about how scary it is comes from Eris' reports in this episode, which we can ignore, and the Jem'Hadar's extreme aggression toward Alpha Quadrant colonies, which *could* be a very extreme defensive posture rather than an expansionistic one. I don't quite recall how it all develops, but I do think that as of this moment it is not clear that the Dominion is any worse, morally, than the Klingons in the 23rd century, say, which means that it does at least in principle seem possible to achieve some sort of peace by withdrawing from what they declare to be their territory -- which, well, we'll see how it's all dealt with. I want to note that it's not necessarily true that the Dominion's claim to territory has any merit, but there is not much information either way at this point.

I think the episode is entertaining enough, but pretty thin -- and the episode's meat, such as it is, has some problems, so I'm going to go with a high 2.5 stars.
William B
Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 10:20am (UTC -5)
To elaborate a bit more: I do think that the conflict between Sisko and Quark is pretty interesting and could in general work; Quark and Sisko are appealing opposites, because Sisko has nobility and a desire to work for a common good but also holds grudges, stays angry over long time, and takes betrayal very personally, whereas Quark is primarily self-interested but his anger dissipates quickly and he does not really hold other people in disregard. And they also have a lot in common, both people who care about their family and are willing to bend/break rules and manipulate for their ends. In general, Quark as a complex figure who demonstrates that self-interest is dangerous but has some benefits even beyond the self is one of the show's best characters, even if he is sometimes not used very well. I'm just a bit annoyed with how this episode had the conflict develop, and wasn't wowed by the rest of the episode, hence the rating of average, though maybe I could be convinced to go up to 3 stars. I admit that my streaming was frequently interrupted when I watched it, so it may be a better episode in terms of tension and effectiveness than I gave it credit for, and I don't know how to gauge that aspect of things without rewatching (with better streaming), which I may do at some point, so consider this rating (as all ratings are, really, from me at least) approximate and provisional.

Another particularly annoying moment is Odo saying he will go to look out for Quark, and Kira saying "I thought you hated him!" or whatever. Seriously, it's been two seasons, everyone knows they are frienemies, you don't have to keep having characters express surprise at the idea!

Season wrap-up:

Episode ratings, where they differ from Jammer's:

The Homecoming: 2.5 (-1)
The Siege: 2 (-1)
Invasive Procedures: 2 (-1)
Melora: 1 (-1)
Rules of Acquisition: 3 (+1)
Second Sight: 1.5 (-1)
Sanctuary: 1 (-1)
Rivals: 2 (-.5)
The Alternate: 3 (+.5)
Armageddon Game: 2.5 (-.5)
Paradise: 1.5 (-1.5)
Playing God: 1.5 (-1)
The Maquis: 3 for both parts (-.5 for both)
The Wire: 4 (+.5)
Crossover: 3 (-1) [not sure about this rating]
Tribunal: 2 (-1)
The Jem'Hadar: 2.5 (-1)

Best episodes: Necessary Evil, The Wire; runners-up: Whispers, Blood Oath, Cardassians.
Worst episodes: Melora, Sanctuary; runners-up: Second Sight, Paradise, Playing God.

So overall, I like the season a fair bit less than Jammer did when he reviewed it, as it seems, though there are a few episodes (The Wire, The Alternate and Rules of Acquisition) I prefer and quite a few I like about the same. I think it is a step up from season one, and overall a pretty good year, particularly with a good run from Blood Oath to The Collaborator which buoys the overall impression of the season quite a bit. I think The Jem'Hadar is average-to-good, but it is a season finale that helps suggest some excitement for the coming year. I don't like Tribunal, but otherwise the last third of the season is good stuff that suggests some of the interesting material that the show will have -- continuing to develop Garak and Dukat interestingly, introducing the inter-Federation/ex-Federation conflict of the Maquis, further examining cultural differences in Blood Oath and The Jem'Hadar and the Sisko/Dukat and Bashir/Garak threads, and still keeping the Bajoran political theatre alive with The Collaborator. Crossover heralds a bunch of MU stories in the future, which I am not sure if I'm looking forward to, but also suggests the precariousness of the *current* large-scale political situation and fates by positing a (presumably) plausible alternative, which furthers the themes of The Maquis and The Wire, about what it is that people are capable of in extreme situations. It's a pretty effective run of shows that show the series bringing its disparate elements together, and it also has good and sometimes great material for most of its cast.

Before that, though, the season was pretty rough and uneven. Necessary Evil, Whispers and Cardassians were standout episodes, and I also quite liked The Circle, Rules of Acquisition and The Alternate. That's not a great success rate though (one in three), and looking over the remaining episodes I find that few of them seem all that important, in addition to not being that good.

By character. I will also include a star rating out of 4, though this is pretty arbitrary (how do you evaluate how well developed a character is, measured against what they tried to accomplish?):

Sisko: I still struggle with getting a full handle on him. The biggest Sisko stories of the year were probably the opening trilogy, Second Sight, Paradise, The Maquis and The Jem'Hadar. Most of what worked about the opening trilogy did not have to do with Sisko, though Sisko's encouragement of Li to take on the mantle of responsibility even if he did not particularly believe he deserved it was somewhat analogous to Sisko's position as Emissary, which was mostly irrelevant this year (besides Winn trying to exploit it in The Collaborator). Sisko's loyalty to Cal was a major focus of The Maquis, but was hard to see in the moment; his adversarial relationship with Dukat, however, was really strongly delineated. Sisko's very strong connection to the past -- to his loyalty to Cal and to Dax, his continuing to pine for Jennifer to some degree -- seems to be a recurring trait, and something that keeps him, perhaps, somewhat stable but makes it difficult for him to adapt to changing circumstances, as happens with Hudson. For Sisko, things are largely personal. The dynamic with Jake is pretty enjoyable overall and his friendship with Dax largely rings true. Success: **1/2

Odo: He was the lead and had a key role in the season's two best outings (Nec. Evil, The Wire) -- and overall the year did a lot to solidify this character and his strengths and flaws. In particular, I like how Necessary Evil was followed by episodes which did seem to start a kind of opening up of Odo to re-living his past -- childhood by proxy in Shadowplay, his relationship with his father -- and the end of the season suggests the opening of his feelings for Kira, which may/may not be a good thing for the series going forward but is an interesting wrinkle, particularly as the series is setting him up for divided loyalties starting in early season three. Probably the most successful character material this season. Success: ***1/2

Bashir: The biggest draw for Bashir this season was the two big Bashir/Garak stories -- Cardassians, in which Bashir & Garak took up about half the show, and The Wire, in which they dominated the whole story, Bashir in particular. And, well, I haven't written up The Wire yet, but I think that episode is the best depiction of Bashir the series has yet done. Mostly, what works about it (and the Bashir/Garak dynamic, from Bashir's side) is that it puts Julian in a situation where his desire for adventure and the unknown and his desire to help others are both useful and necessary, while also showing the double edge of his naivete -- his willingness to help Garak in spite of what he may/may not have done both renders him somewhat hurt and unprepared for the depths of what Garak may be capable of, and allows him to go forward and help someone when others cannot. This is somewhat applicable to Melora as well, though that episode was obviously much less successful. The Bashir/O'Brien material in Rivals and particularly Armageddon Game is decent and the relationship between the two progresses nicely and believably, but I am not fully invested in the pairing yet and I am not sure how much it fully reveals about the two at this point. So, pretty well handled overall. Success: ***

Dax: The character was rebooted somewhat successfully, and Jadzia is a fairly likeable and enjoyable presence for the most part. Playing God to me was a failure overall, but much of it was about solidifying this take on the character, which started a bit in season one and came to greater fruition in The Siege. Whether her partying and joie de vivre adds much depth to her character is harder to say. I think that her supporting role in Rules of Acquisition -- both as contrast and confidante for Pel -- was a good use of the character that would have been difficult in season one. Blood Oath is maybe the best episode about Dax so far, but still a lot of what works about it are the Klingons and the abstract question of where Jadzia Dax's loyalties should be, rather than the internal conflict in Dax herself (which was mostly underplayed -- a pretty effective choice overall). Jadzia is largely left out of Invasive Procedures entirely. Blood Oath finds a way to tie in Dax's long history with the long history of the franchise, which continues to show the potential of the character, which is pretty infrequently realized. Success: **

Jake: Not much to say; him deciding not to join Starfleet is reasonable. The Runabout material in The Jem'Hadar is fairly amusing, and I like that he looks out for Nog. There's very little to say though, since he is a member of the cast that is particularly rarely used. Success: **1/2

O'Brien: The main "development" for the character is in his relationship with Bashir, which is not thrilling at the moment but is developing well. There is some continuing undercurrent of what his feelings about Cardassians are supposed to be, but there is a sense of him being reset every time a new Cardassian story comes up, which has a bit of a treadmill effect. Tribunal was a pretty dull story which reveals little about O'Brien. Still, O'Brien's resourceful, small-scale, family man and underdog status leads to a number of stories for which he is the perfect vehicle, including Whispers (of course) as well as the MU version in Crossover and the tech investigator in Paradise (the best part of that episode). I do think that indications that the O'Briens' marriage is a happy one are drying up, and that may or may not be a deliberate development and may just be that it's hard for this creative team to depict a content couple; I'm not quite sure. Meaney is definitely one of the strongest in the cast. Success: ***

Quark: Shimerman is another of the strongest in the cast, but he's gotten somewhat weaker material this year. I liked Rules of Acquisition more than most, and Quark was a highlight in some otherwise disappointing stories (like Rivals), but Profit and Loss was something of a disappointing bust and the subplot in Melora was awful. The best uses of Quark tend to be in episodes not about him -- I liked his material with Sakonna in The Maquis quite a bit, for example, and his function as a neutral agent in stories about the Occupation and its aftermath (The Homecoming, Necessary Evil, The Wire) is a delight. On the downside, some episodes do a lot of damage to Quark's dignity without offering much compensation -- the dumbness of his seat-selling scheme in The Siege and his dragging around latinum, for example, and worst of all the whole thing in Invasive Procedures. I have mixed feelings about his big moments in The Jem'Hadar. So I am not all that happy with Quark's development this season overall...but I also still like Shimerman's performance so much that he's still generally better to have on screen than not. Success: low ***

Kira: While no episodes explode the character the way Duet did, I think that the season overall is better to her than season one was -- less yelling, more comfort in the role. I do wish that she was given more to do in the opening trilogy, which gives her something of a spiritual crisis and then leaves it unresolved, except maybe insofar as the answer to her spiritual crisis is to get a priest for a boyfriend. Sanctuary tried to provide Kira with another situation where, as in Progress, she was on the other side, but overall the episode largely failed. What did work is the continuing of shading Kira's and other Bajorans' roles in the Occupation, with two of the key episodes -- Necessary Evil and The Collaborator -- being, respectively, about Kira's moral position being undermined to her friend, and Kira's view of one of her heroes being rendered more complex. Crossover, meanwhile, puts Kira in the position of The Villain while allowing Our Kira the ability to start a resistance movement against who she could have been. On the minus side, I still find her romance with Bareil to be pretty anemic. Success: ***

Garak: Only four episodes here -- Cardassians, Profit and Loss, The Wire, and Crossover -- the last of which doesn't tell us much about Our Garak, which is fine. Of the remaining three, one is a classic, one is very good and one is a disappointment in which Garak is the primary saving grace -- though I admit that Garak's actions in Profit and Loss are hard for me to understand fully, somewhat weakening his character story this season. Still...and I should talk about this more when/if I write up The Wire, Garak is one of the most complex and fully-realized characters in Trek, and this is true in spite of his limited screentime. The Wire is his breakout episode, and it is wonderful. Success: ****

Dukat: I think Dukat's breakout episode is The Maquis two-parter, which reveals him as a man with some sort of code of honour and professional conduct and loyalty to his people, which coexists with his ruthless disregard for the lives of anyone he deems unimportant. This is after good work in Cardassians and a great presence in Necessary Evil. Not much material this season, but, like Garak, what he has is rich, and Dukat is shaping up to be one of the best villains (he is still largely a villain, though a complex one, at this point) in Trek. Success: ****

Rom: Rom the Idiot is starting to develop here, particularly in Rules of Acquisition, and Rom the Idiot Savant more or less comes to fruition in Necessary Evil. I have mixed feelings about this, but at the moment Rom is not particularly annoying. Success: **1/2

Nog: Not much material this year, though his friendship with Jake continues, especially in the finale. I don't have much else to say. Success: **1/2

Keiko: They have largely dropped any scenes in the school, so that Keiko's main role is that of the worried or nagging wife, which I think is not really all that great a role, especially since the show regularly undermines her even/especially when it seems that her closeness with Miles is real and meaningful (e.g. Armageddon Game). Success: **

Bareil: Zzzzzz. *1/2

Winn: Another effective villain, though her perspective is not as fleshed out as Dukat's so far (and won't be for some time). Success: ***
William B
Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
Y'know, I think the episode largely does succeed in its goal of stoking interest for the next season, and going from field trip and interpersonal squabble to mass destruction drives the change in scale at this point home. My annoyance at aspects of the Sisko/Quark story doesn't erase the parts of that story I liked, too. The episode is funny and exciting. And I think the Eris reveal maybe works if we assume that she is more or less accurately relating a cover story -- that her claim about Kurill Prime was a true story, only it did not happen to her; this preserves the Dominion-boogeyman element while also demonstrating the Dominion's using fear as a tool. So I am upping to 3 stars -- which also has the effect that the run from Blood Oath onward only has one episode below 3, which is indeed an impressive run.
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Something I found extremely interesting about this episode, moreso than any of the Dominion stuff, was Quark's point that the Ferengi have no history for committing atrocities. Which I feel does a lot more than it seems to on the surface. First off it establishes that the Ferengi do have a degree of morality that many other species do not. While it's easy to remember that while the Klingon's may be bloodthirsty barbarians in many respects, they have a strict code of honor. It's harder to keep that in mind with a species as classibly underhanded as the Ferengi. We tend to see them as having no scruples but this points out that they do in fact have many scruples, they have a listed set of rules that Quark has pretty much memorized. They're just different from ours.

This also helps explain a lot of the behaviour the Ferengi exhibit. Their seemingly contradictory willingness to push for deals with extremely dangerous parties and their tendency to drop down groveling for mercy at the first sign of violence makes a lot more sense when you realize that in their culture there would be almost no chance of that kind of violent reaction ever happening so of course they push beyond what other people would consider reasonable as they have little framework of repercussions and are unaccustomed to those levels of violence so it makes sense that they freak out the second it shows up. It also shows how they can be so savvy and so stupid at the same time. Quark lets the guys on the ship who want to kill Dax because the idea that they might screw HIM on this deal is always in his head, but an elaborate MURDER plot? How would that be profitable? Like he says "you wouldn't come all this way to NOT buy the merchandise". Same with gun running. Sure Quark'll sell the Maquis weapons. To him weapons are just a product that yes, he's AWARE are used for murder and war but people in wars are soldiers who signed up for that shit. The idea that they would be used for gross violence against civilian targets isn't' something he really considers They're prone to naivete in many respects until the barrel of the gun is actually staring them down. And besides, if Quark doesn't get them those weapons, he assumes someone else will so if there's profit to be had why shouldn't it be his?

One thing we often miss as humans is that the Federation initially treats everyone else like they're going to react in the way humans would and we think that's fine but we don't consider that other species will do the same thing and it should therefore also be fine. Ferengi are out to screw everyone else out of their cash because they assume everyone else is out to screw them out of theirs. Using those underhanded tricks is totally fine to them because they've codified those tricks into a series of rules that everyone is supposed to know in their culture. Lying is not a sin in their ethos. it's a tactic they are always watching out for, the same way "little white lies" aren't sins in our culture because we value compassion the way they value entrepreneurial spirit.

Humans are like low level Vulcans. We're so innately violent and duplicitous that they need firm levels of compassion and self control to keep our society stable. The Vulcans have to keep their emotions completely in check at all times to keep themselves from descending into utter warfare and they've become noble for it because they HAVE TO BE. But Ferengi don't have that problem. They don't descend to those levels of depravity so instead of saying "everyone needs to act at this high standard of behaviour to make sure everyone plays fair and society works" they can instead say "OK. We've all agreed we're going to spell out all the ways we know to be shitty to one another and agree we're all going to be ok with them so that everyone knows exactly what they're getting in every interaction and nobody is going to be shocked by it and that way we'll make sure that everyone is playing fair no matter what and society works." and that's honestly one of the most interesting takes on the way alien ethics work that I think I've ever seen in Sci Fi.

They're still awful misogynists though.
William B
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
@Easter, I agree. I think in particular, Quark's willingness to grovel immediately and to let bygones be bygones quickly reveal a lack of egotism in certain respects that seems to be a general Ferengi trait -- because they have assets, they don't have quite the same drive to protect their image. That makes Quark a great contrast to Sisko, who is braver and will self-sacrifice more easily, but can also become obsessively vindictive; in this respect Sisko is closer to the Founders than Quark is.

The misogyny is a problem when Quark starts trying to claim there is no slavery in Ferengi history.
Ben Franklin
Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
I, too, liked this episode a great deal especially when I first saw it. It was a great introduction to the Dominion and Jem'Hadar. However, there are several gripes I had upon seeing the episode after watching the rest of the DS9 series (where the Dominion's abilities aren't so blown out of proportion).

Upon subsequent viewings, I found myself disappointed in the over-exaggeration of the Jem'Hadar's abilities. The Dominion clearly have much bigger and more powerful ships (as displayed many times in future episodes), however, a Galaxy class starship isn't even able to do damage to a couple of scout-class Jem'Hadar ships before being completely destroyed. Additionally, a Jem'Hadar was able to walk through a containment field after beaming through Federation shields. Both of these acts were performed without even blinking an eye. In other words, the Dominion is basically impossible to stop given current Federation technology and abilities. If this kind of overpowering technology were applied equally across subsequent seasons, there would never have been a long drawn out war... there would have been a short-lived slaughter.

I would rather have seen the Galaxy class ship horribly damaged than fully destroyed or at least able to damage ONE of the Jem'Hadar scout-class ships. Perhaps if a larger Dominion ship were involved in the battle, the complete destruction of the Galaxy-class ship without dealing any damage wouldn't have seemed so ridiculous. Yeah, yeah, it was really emotive watching a ship that looks like the Enterprise being destroyed so easily. But I'm not a fan of contriving emotional response while violating the continuity of the universe the story is set in.

But, once again, beyond those hyper-fan nitpicks, the episode is a great intro to the Dominion/Jem'Hadar.

First viewing 3.5/4 stars
Subsequent viewing 3/4 stars
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
@William B

Quark's implication that the way they treat women doesn't count as slavery may or may not be incorrect but when we think of slavery and women's rights we generally think of them as two separate issues, the former of which being more extreme despite the fact that our own culture basically treated women exactly the same way as Ferengi society besides the clothes thing so we're generally just as guilty as they are of not conflating the two ideas. I mean, even today in western culture we clearly still have gender roles which, while less extreme than the ones from pre-suffrage are insidious and oppressive in their own quiet ways. And these also exist in the federation. While the job situation seems to be dealt with more or less, women in Starfleet do their hair and makeup while men do not. Implying women are still held to standards of beauty and presentation that men aren't. There are conversations between characters in DS9 and TNG that show that the characters still have a very 90s idea of gender and sexuality. So Human's are one again not actually as noble as their high horses might suggest. I have no actual evidence for this next statement (and the show may go on to prove me wrong. Jem Hadar is as far as I've gotten in star trek. I'm watching DS9 for the first time now and don't know who the founders are though I've generally pieced together from people's comments in these threads that they're Odo's species. But I suspect it will neither confirm or deny this headcannon of mine) but I would suspect that Ferengi are less likely to beat, kill and otherwise violently abuse their wives because they're just not that violent or murderous until you reach stakes like becoming the Grand Nagus of the entire species. Which means Ferengi females have less of a NEED for a revolution (if just as much right to one) than human females did. They are kept, to some degree, in a gilded cage (and Ferengi are all about gold) so returning to my general thesis of "in star trek species progress morally only as much as they NEED to" with Vulcans being the most noble because they're innately the most barbaric and Ferengi being the opposite. Their women are the more oppressed because they lack the do or die pressure to rise up that the women of more violent species would have when reduced to the status of objects and second class citizens. None of this is meant to JUSTIFY anything the Ferengi do. I just think it's a fascinating take on the historical and sociological reasoning that led these three cultures (Human, Vulcan, Ferengi) to be where they currently are as a result of where they started from and what they had to do to advance.
William B
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
@Easter: Oh, I agree. I was writing very briefly (and I talked about this episode earlier) and unclearly. Quark's claim that they have nothing of the kind of barbarism of slavery strikes me as a statement to which there was an obvious response which was left unsaid -- that the conditions of Ferengi women can be described as a form of slavery. However, I genuinely agree that the Ferengi seem less likely to be violent, and that as a result the need for revolution for Ferengi women is less pressing that the need for revolt against slave states in human history. The Ferengi have low standards relative to what most humans I know consider good and ethical behaviour, but for the most part they have high standards for their *unethical* behaviour. Their default setting is raging self-interest with not all that much compassion, but without much violence or malice, either.

I'm reminded of the line from TNG's "The Battle" in season one: DaiMon Bok was removed from command because there is no profit in revenge. So much of human (and Vulcan) behaviour depends on behaviour which is to hurt for its own sake -- or perhaps even to hurt someone out of a (usually misplaced) sense of justice.
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Nice analysis, Easter. I like that train of thought and can see the logic behind it. I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the writers for that line, but who cares? It's a better rationale for Ferengi antics rather than the usual desire to use them as charicatures.

Unfortunately, it still isn't perfect regarding their treatment of women, as William pointed out, but that's not your fault. The problem is that their treatment of women simply makes no sense, period. I know the "They clothe their females?" line is too specific to retcon away like practically the rest of The Last Outpost, but the whole women with zero rights thing simply doesn't fit with Ferengi culture.

You made a point of comparing Ferengi treatment of women to past treatment of women on Earth. That analogy doesn't work, however, because women were still valuable in other societies. Women still were required to raise children, cook food, mend clothing, work on the farms, etc. Compare that to the Ferengi culture, in which women seemingly do nothing (well, still raise children, but in a society with long life expectancies and small families that's not enough).

We know the Ferengi got to space before humans. So they've had at least 500 years since their industrial revolution, maybe more. Now, imagine there's a struggling entrepreneur on Ferenginar. For whatever reason, he has a labor shortage at the moment. He needs one or two unskilled workers to keep his business afloat and to make his profit. But there simply is no labor. What does he do? He consults the Rules of Aquisition. He reads that he should exploit his family. Well, he's already exploiting his brother and his son and his father. But wait, there's his wife or daughter or mother or sister sitting there. Why shouldn't he exploit her too? Get her to work?

Don't tell me that cultural norms would prevent it. Making a profit is the highest good for a Ferengi, it's what their religion is based off of. There are countless examples on Earth of people breaking laws, breaking cultural norms for their religion and accepting the consequences of their actions. It's undoubtedly so for Ferengi too.

So he puts her to work. There's two options here: she could demand (and receive) a wage or not. The second option isn't possible: not only would it contradict Quark's statement regarding slavery, but it would also represent a market efficiency. Since women are used to being treated as property by their families, there would be no need for security to prevent slaves from escaping, meaning labor costs drop dramatically compared to competitors that aren't using female slave labor. So that would soon become the norm among Ferengi. Which obviously isn't the case.

So he pays her. She now has spending money. Ferengi can market products towards women now, because they have money. They can invest and build their own trade. And with it comes an increase in overall Ferengi profits. And so they gradually end up having significant rights as well.

Or to put it as succinctly as possible, why the bleep would a race of people obsessed with capitalism leave a valuable resource, consisting of half their population, unutilized???

Answer: because Holywood writers don't know a thing about capitalism.

Frankly, the only way this would work is if Ferengi women were not a potential resource. And the only way that could happen is if there's some significant sexual dimorphism in the Ferengi species. As in, Ferengi women are literally all barely sentient morons. But that would be way too un-PC to write, so instead we got some vomitously awful episodes on pro-PC Ferengi feminism (sorry for spoiling things for you Easter; although now that you know it's coming you can hopefully save yourself and skip the atrocities up ahead!)
Diamond Dave
Tue, Nov 17, 2015, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
My first reaction is that there's a lot of filler in this episode - the first quarter and most of the kids in peril stuff is amusing at best but fairly lightweight.

But when this gets into gear, it really gets into gear. Key is obviously the final revelation of the Dominion and the introduction of the Jem'Hadar, whose smooth delivery and obviously deep knowledge of events in the Alpha Quadrant offer an immediately chilling prospect. We then have some great shock moments - the Jem'Hadar walking through the containment field on DS9, the destruction of the Odyssey, and the final revelation of Eris as a spy. Sets up the next series nicely... 3.5 stars.
Mon, Mar 7, 2016, 10:12am (UTC -5)
SISKO: It's a shame I'll have to miss your reunion with Captain Keogh.
DAX: Don't you find him just a little arrogant?
SISKO: Funny, he said the same thing about you.
DAX: Did he?

I like this Keogh guy! It's a shame he had to die. :-P

ERIS: You have no idea what's begun here.

I doubt anyone watching "The Jem'Hadar" when it first aired had any idea; I know I certainly didn't. To be honest, I doubt that even the writers knew either. The Dominion ends up causing interstellar war between five different Alpha Quadrant powers (the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Breen), they almost pull another power into it (the Tzenkethi), they bring about a near-genocide of one of those powers, old alliances fall and new ones are forged, important Federation worlds are conquered, Earth itself comes under attack and the principles the Federation holds so dear come to be re-examined. Star Trek had introduced new villains in the past, successfully so with the Borg and jaw-dropping incompetently with the Ferengi. But the Dominion is in a class all by itself. The Borg may have become more famous in the public eye, but the Dominion managed to provide much more long-term adversary. The Borg were great as curb-stomp style villains you simply did not want to mess with. The Dominion were great as a sustained threat.

So, how well does this episode work as the Dominion's proper introduction? I really like it! I like that what starts out as a fairly low-key, run-of-the-mill episode involving a family camping trip and Quark shenanigans ends up turning into one of this age's biggest events. I think it's fair to call this DS9's version of "Q Who?". Just like in that episode, we're given just enough information about the new villain to whet our appetite while further details will be provided down the road. And the threat that the Dominion represents is very nicely conveyed in two stand-out scenes. First, the one where the Jem'Hadar visits the station and threatens everyone. The sense of dread and foreboding is palpable (thanks indeed in no small part to Nana Visitor's reaction to the news of the destruction of New Bajor). Second, the destruction of the USS Odyssey. The message is crystal clear - even if this had been the Enterprise under Picard's command, they would also all be dead. Even the absolute best that the Federation can throw at the Dominion isn't nearly good enough. Starfleet is going to have to really step their game up to deal with this threat. And the final shot of Sisko talking about the coming Dominion threat is very well played and lays the groundwork for all future DS9 season finales.

The mixture of comedy (with Jake and Nog attempting to fly a run-about) and serious matters works surprisingly well. And the use of the Quark/Sisko dynamic is possibly the best aspect of the episode. What starts out as yet another feeble attempt to make the Ferengi look absurd (seriously, why doesn't Sisko want Quark selling merchandise on the station's monitors?) (it seems like a reasonable enough request to me) turns into something kind of profound when Quark is actually allowed to defend Ferengi society as "better" than Human society. And he makes some good points! The Ferengi may be greedy, but they've never had things like concentration camps and aggressive wars. Slavery? Well, you sure seem to be sugarcoating your culture there, Quark. Just ask Ferengi females what they think about that! Still, I very much appreciate the fact that the writers were willing to point out that the Ferengi aren't just caricatures. They have their flaws, but so do Humans.

If there is anything holding the episode back it's the rather obvious continuity errors with later Dominion episodes. Eris' telekinetic abilities are the most glaring example. The fact that Vortas never have anything remotely like this power again is a major omission and could have been easily resolved with a line of dialogue at some point saying that Eris was specifically genetically engineered for this mission. The fact that Eris does absolutely nothing to acknowledge Odo as a Founder is another glaring problem. These points show that, while the writers and producers were indeed planning for future installments, they clearly didn't have all the details pinned down yet.

WTF HAIR - 16 (+1)

Mon, Mar 7, 2016, 10:18am (UTC -5)
My theory is that Captain Keogh is a Picard proxy, as if to emphasize the point that The Dominion is bigger and scarier than what the Enterprise could handle. Keogh even tries to talk like Picard, it's kind of funny.
Shawn Davis
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
I agree with everything that Jammer says about this episode. It is a great introduction to the Jem'hadar and the dominion. I like some of the scenes with Jake, Nog, Sisko, Quark and the Vorta Eris as well.

I'll ignore the minor problem with the fact that the Eris and the Jem'hadar do not notice or acknowledges Odo as a changling and founder of the Dominion as some people here have pointed out. Even though it is a bit of a mistake, I don't mind it as it would have probably made the 2 part "The Search" 3rd season opener weak if writes have done this. I've also didn't mind that they removed the Vorta's telekinetic powers after this episode or at least never have the Vorta do that again as it may be too much of a deux-ex machina for the alien species and it makes the Vorta look stupid if you as me.

The action scences of this episode as Jammer said was comic book like, but a good comic book like stuff and not cheesy in anyway. Of course the best part of the episode is the Jem'hadar ship doing a suicide run in the Odyssey which is probably the best action scene in star trek history. That right is what make alien species like the Jem'Hadar so unique and the best enemy in the history of star trek.

I also agree with Easter and William B about the arguments that Quark made to Sisko while they were in Jem'Hadar prison about the ferengi not being as violent as human beings. Although this part of the story probably should of had it's own episode so that we can explore this concept more if is written correctly.
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
how come the Vorta doesn't freak out/ show reverence when Odo addresses her? She does not appear to recognize him as a Founder.
Otherwise great season finale.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 6:20am (UTC -5)

I mentioned that in my post as well. But thinking back, I believe the only Vorta that we saw showing intense reverence/worship was Weyoun... could that just be Combs chewing the scenery?
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 7:39am (UTC -5)
@Yanks - Also let's not forget that Weyoun both poisoned Odo (in "To The Death") and had him fired on (in "Treachery, Faith And The Great River"). One might infer that it's not just Combs chewing the scenery, it's literally Weyoun hamming it up for Odo and that a great deal of the reverence was fake.

I mean he obviously loved the Founders, but I think he could take or leave Odo really.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 8:40am (UTC -5)

Don't agree here. Weyoun was just as "chewy" toward the lead founder. Didn't he "poison" him and fire upon him and the lead founders request? I seem to remember it tore him apart.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Weyoun actually lies to the Founder about shooting at Odo. The poison I'll give you.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 10:08am (UTC -5)

I think Weyoun does have reverence for Odo, though. In the same episode where Weyoun orders Odo to be shot on, he also calls off the Jem'Hadar once his clone is dead, chancing any information leaked to go back to the Federation. In other things, Weyoun was willing to give Odo his Bajoran security force during Occupation 2.0. As for the poison thing in "To The Death", that's in the script but never spoken, so the directors effectively cut the scene from the show. Thus, it's really left up to the viewers' imagination how Odo got poisoned, and I can't imagine any casual viewer remembering some random handshake from 3 years earlier.

As for Eris's behavior, I would chalk that up to Early Installation Weirdness. I mean, she also shoots some sort of energy burst at a force field using her special magic powers. This ability is never shown by the Vorta in the series afterward.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Sorry, it looks like I confused Odo's molecular disintegration "poisoning" with the Starfleet poisoning (boy, people are always messing with Odo's body chemistry). I still don't consider Odo's being poisoned by Weyoun the canon explanation, only because it's never mentioned in the show. It should've been referenced in "Broken Link", but they probably didn't want to confuse non-regular viewers who were tuning in for the finale.
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -5)
I think the loyalty of the Vorta in general is exaggerated, just as Weyoun says at one point about the Jem'hadar. In the case of Weyoun, though, I think it's legit, even if his manner of expressing it may be exaggerated in order to make himself appear harmless. The female Changeling at the very end calls him "Loyal Weyoun", which to me means he is special in that regard above the other Vorta, which would also explain why he's the one entrusted with being her #1. Just look at Kivan's behavior to see why *he* wasn't working at the top level.

Don't forget, though, that Weyoun's entire demeaner, or even personality, is a shadow play of weak/strong; vulnerable/deadly. He shows reverence in an almost pitiful manner, and is commanding in the next moment. He seems to feel something close to compassion at times, and then is utterly merciless in the next scene. That's just the way he's put together, and so purely based on how he acts around Changelings I don't think it's fair to compare how other Vorta feel about them since their behavior is nothing like his in outward show.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Canonically, the poisoning doesn't really say much about Weyoun though, as Yanks pointed out. The handshake was an order given by the other Founders to punish Odo for KILLING a Founder. Reverence aside, I don't think it says anything about Weyoun's feelings that he's willing to do so.
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
"....reverence in an almost pitiful manner, and is commanding in the next moment. He seems to feel something close to compassion at times, and then is utterly merciless in the next scene. That's just the way he's put together, and so purely based on how he acts around Changelings ...."

Man, doesn't this speak to how good Jeffrey Combs is?

Same thing when he played Shran in Enterprise.

Nailed it.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 2:45pm (UTC -5)

The thing I found most difficult to believe in this episode was Quark's assertion that there is no slavery in Ferengi history. Aside from the status of females in Ferengi society, everything we've been shown about the Ferengi demonstrates they will nearly always put profit ahead of ethics. Are we seriously supposed to believe they've never seen the profit in slave trading? I don't buy it.
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 4:45am (UTC -5)
Heya Heya

While I've mentioned before that I don't like to comment on things that have not happened yet, I am going to suspend that here for just a moment. We eventually learn that the Vorta we see are clones, and there are a few different types. Perhaps each type has its own personality. Weyoun-type Vorta is loyal, to a fault. Perhaps the other types are better at other things, and they use them as needed for each situation, all the way to a type that can shoot energy out of themselves...

Just musing on things...

Have a great day... RT
Wed, Feb 22, 2017, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
In regards to the comments towards Sisko's somewhat hotheaded decision to pull a phaser and confront the Vorta, rather than hatching an ingenious plan to feed the spy false information - I think it's worth bearing in mind that he had just watched the Odyssey blow up right in his face, and he knew that that ship and its entire crew had basically given their lives to rescue him, a mission which he'd just found out was basically unnecessary as he had meant to be set free all along. He was furious and obviously very upset, as was the entire rescue team who watched the suicide run, so his first reaction was probably to just go in, all guns blazing. In Spock's words, he was 'emotionally compromised' so didn't have the leisure of forming intricate plans to ensnare the spy. I thought Kira delivered an amazing performance in the scene where she and Julian watch the Odyssey explode, you can see the raw horror in her face and her eyes brimming with shocked tears.

That being said, it was pretty gut wrenching having to watch a Galaxy-class starship being destroyed just like that. Point taken, but lawd that was painful. Also I have to agree with some of the former comments here - I liked Keogh too, wish he hadn't died. It would have been nice to see some more of him.

All told this is an episode I enjoy rewatching, but mainly for the denouement scene and the destruction of the doomed Odyssey. The irony of the ship's name is not lost on me..
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 3:27am (UTC -5)
Seeing the Odyssey get blown up must have been really terrifying to watch when this ep first aired back in the day, basically making the statement "If that had been Picard instead of Keogh, and the Enterprise-D instead of Odyssey, the ship still would have been lost with all hands" and establishing the Jem'Hadar as a credible threat without having to explicitly say much. Showing, not telling.

Yeah, that was definitely a well-done starship destruction scene. If it had to be done, do it like that. Star Trek Discovery, take note.
Thu, May 25, 2017, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
A fun episode and good way to end a season given the impending threat from the Dominion to be dealt with in Season 3.
Overall the episode had a good mix of humor and serious action scenes with a couple of unexpected twists at the end with the Odyssey getting blown up by the suicide tactic from the Jem'Hadar ship and the subterfuge from the alien female (forgetting her name now) who may or may not be one of the Dominion founders.
I will always LOL when the Ferengi are scared - hilarious when Quark sets himself on fire and Nog's fear when ships are approaching. But overall I found it a bit too much Nog silliness or exuberance. Also the beginning of the episode with Sisko and his kid doing the science project and then Nog/Quark coming along dragged on a bit too long for my liking.
Some quality dialog between Quark and Sisko about the history of their 2 races - for once Quark wasn't an annoyance in an episode (for me).
Certainly interested to see where DS9 goes with the Dominion.
For me 3 stars out of 4 - a decent battle scene between starships was nice to see as well.
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed that from beginning to end--aside from Quark's scenes. Man, I really can't get past my hatred of acquisitiveness.

I noted one thing that would support the idea that Eris had no actual powers and the force field (that supposedly would kill you) was really just a light show--THEY ALL SAT SO CLOSE TO IT! If I were being confined by a force field that would kill me, I'd sit in the middle. Wouldn't you?
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
3 stars

I was used to season finale cliffhangers and episodes being Events. This started out to me feeling like a regular old episode of the week with early portion focused on father/son bonding which was fair but after an entire season of whispers about the mysterious Dominion I was ready to get something on them so a lot of the pedestrian jake/sisko/quark/nog stuff was frustrating. Years later these scenes are more interesting

But things picked up immediately when the Vorta and Jem'Hadar show up.

The episode did effectively in making a Dominion seem like a major threat the way the Borg had once been--from the ruthless suicide run on the Odyssey, the ability to penetrate Federation shields with impunity, being able to step out of a containment field so casually, the horrific message they sent by listing the ships they destroyed on a pads they kept from their massacre of the New Bajor colony, the chilling " they fought well for a spiritual people", the shocking amount of information they knew of the Alpha Quadrant, the transporting of Eris with no idea where she could have disappeared to, her ominous warning that "you have no idea what's begun here", Sisko's " if the Dominion come through the wormhole, the first battle will be fought here and I intend to be ready for them"

The jake nog stuff on the runabout drug on too long. I did like though the fact that a character not in the main cast ie captain keogh takes charge. Felt realistic to me
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:14am (UTC -5)
A number of people above ask why neither Eris nor the Jem Hadar appear to recognise Odo as a founder.

But they show no special ability to realise someone is a changeling in any other episodes. Even Odo can't seem to tell who other founders are just to look at them and talk to them.

The humanoid appearance the female changeling and others take on does look like him, but the Search Part II says that is then matching up to him. Other episodes establish that his look is the best job he can do of looking like a humanoid, not some kind of fault look for his species. So why didn't they acknowledge him as a founder in any way? Because no founder they had ever encountered looked like that.
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Fault look above should read "default look".
Tue, Mar 6, 2018, 12:11am (UTC -5)
I'm rewatching this for what must be the 20th time and the whole battle leading up to the suicide run has always come off as crap. Even when I saw it first run, every ship constantly shaking even when seemingly not being attacked, the Odyssey's phasers having zero effect on the Jem'Hadar ship.

All this stuff about laying down covering fire, Dax asking the Captain if he altered shield harmonics (surely he knew this?) seemed really dumb and overplayed to 13 year old Trekkie me and has me rolling my eyes when I watch it again.

The suicide run and Eris' escape did bring it back around for me and I COULD NOT wait for the next season to see how this played out.

Obviously the more I watch the episodes, the more the seams show and the more tropes grate. The Treknobabble was off the scale and would make for a fantastic, possibly deadly, drinking game. Shots everytime someone brings up subroutines would push the limits of the toughest drinker :) Double shots if they have to microscan a data cluster or just push a button to break the unbreakable encryption protocol.

It's still my favorite Trek series by far because so many plotlines played out over time. Very few resets, status quo return not guaranteed, etc. made for a compelling show that I couldn't miss.

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