Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Apocalypse Rising"

3 stars

Air date: 9/30/1996
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I hate prototypes." —O'Brien

Since I originally wrote this review, I've had some minor changes of opinion and now rate the episode at three stars. To see the reasons for this change, find the capsule review in the Fifth Season Recap. Below is the orignial review of the episode, which at the time I rated at 2 1/2 stars.

Nutshell: Solid entertainment and often fun, but hardly challenging. A good 60 minute diversion but not what I was hoping for.

In the wake of Odo's discovery in "Broken Link" that Gowron is a Changeling impostor, Starfleet Command orders Sisko to embark on a dangerous mission—to go undercover to the Klingon homeworld and expose Gowron as a shapeshifter. Bashir alters Sisko, Odo, and O'Brien to look like Klingons, and Worf naturally assumes the role of training them in Klingon behavior. Gul Dukat provides the transportation to Kronos in his stolen Bird of Prey.

"Apocalypse Rising" is a solidly entertaining stand-alone episode that has been skillfully assembled. It has a slick polish and it works for a 60 minute viewing. At the same time it's hardly challenging material in terms of storytelling—it doesn't have very high aspirations, and it doesn't have much in terms of sweeping changes or arc developments.

For a DS9 season premiere (and for an episode with such an imposing title), "Apocalypse Rising" sure plays it safe. This is probably the safest season premiere DS9 has ever done. When compared with "Way of the Warrior" of last year, "The Search, Part I" of the year before, or "The Homecoming" of the year before that, "Apocalypse Rising" can't come close to recapturing the fresh and daring sense that those shows had. The reason for this is that those premieres offered something new into the DS9 equation, whether it was startling Bajoran political developments, the discovery of the Founders, or the sudden movements of the Klingons.

"Apocalypse Rising," on the other hand, offers nothing new; it simply makes use of the existing elements and puts them into a relatively standard plot. That isn't inherently bad, but considering how long the Dominion and Klingon plot lines have been intertwined and how many shows they've been seeming to build up to a major event, I was expecting a major event. Well, I didn't get my major event; instead I got an acceptable plot-driven episode that had some reasonable character moments.

One interesting character point is Odo's situation. By this point, it's clear that Odo will not be changed back to a shapeshifter; the Dominion's judgment on him is obviously not going to be reversed by the writers. This is good. It adds a little extra angst to his character. Through most of the episode, Odo silently broods over what he has lost. He does find comfort in the human behaviors of eating and drinking; an early scene features a mildly intoxicated Odo who, for once, has come to Quark's to buy a drink. Unfortunately, he's doing it to drown his sorrows. I will maintain that turning Odo human is a very good thing for further character building; the creators, however, must realize that this installment is merely one of what should be many shows to explain how Odo copes with his problem and his new identity. This issue is by no means something that can go away after only one examination. There must be follow-ups—and such follow-ups I look forward to seeing.

Also characteristically, Marc Alaimo turns in another classic Gul Dukat portrayal. Scenes in which Dukat mocks Sisko's masquerading crew prove amusing. And as Sisko's ticket for safe passage through Klingon space, Dukat demonstrates a no-nonsense take-no-prisoners attitude and methodology. When he encounters another Klingon ship that inquires why he is wandering through the particular area of space, something goes wrong with his communications holo-projector. Dukat's solution: destroy the Klingons. The swiftness with which he makes his decision even prompted a double-take from me. Pretty cold... I like it.

As for the sequences where Worf attempts to "train" Sisko and the others to act like Klingons: They bordered on the obvious and were on the silly side, but I liked them anyway. (Hey, it's Klingon comedy.) There were some decent one-liners in there—O'Brien's "It's not easy being funny wearing these teeth" was among them.

Aside from the character tidbits, "Apocalypse Rising" is fundamentally plot-driven. Most of the screen time is devoted to advancing the plot or explaining how the crew intends to execute its plan. Specifically, they attend a bat'leth tournament which Gowron is to attend. The plan: to subject the Gowron Changeling to a specific radiation field that will make him revert to a liquid. Of course, to make things more interesting, the field must simultaneously emanate from four different locations in the room with four different devices that have been set up ahead of time.

The tournament is held in a hall filled with rudely lively characters. And while it's kind of fun watching drunken Klingons beat on one another and tell stories, it sure doesn't add much to the grand scheme of things. In short: We've seen all this before, so all that becomes important are the plot manipulations.

And these plot manipulations are, in fact, nicely done on the basis of this show alone. The story is structured with an even hand, having no scenes that feel out of place or distracting subplots to interrupt the main story. Conway's direction is good, and he even has a few memorable camera angles.

When General Martok (J.G. Hertzler) shows up at the tournament and recognizes Captain Sisko, he throws Sisko and his crew in a cell. Sisko attempts to reason with Martok and is successful; Martok agrees to let them out if they will kill the Gowron Changeling. Worf challenges Gowron to a battle to the death, and under details I'm not going into here, the show throws the revelation/twist on us when Odo realizes that not Gowron but Martok is the Changeling infiltrator, who is shot about 53 times after he's found out.

Despite the skillful execution over these plot events, the problem is that when the show is over it doesn't really have any lasting impact. Why? Because it maintains the Trekkian Status Quo—that pesky thing that dictates situations are more likely to remain the same than to change in the process of one episode. By finding and defeating this one Changeling, the series lends itself no new impetuses for future development of this storyline. I'm not saying that this outcome means nothing to the series, but if the Changeling had been Gowron and not just some thought implanted by the Founders in Odo's mind (another cleverly subversive act of the Founders that by itself is interesting) then the show would've really mattered. Consider: the Klingon Empire's leader is killed after he turns out to be a spy. That has possibilities. Instead, they kill Martok, a relatively unimportant character whom we've seen twice.

For that matter, I would've liked to know when exactly Martok was replaced (it was presumably before "Way of the Warrior") or how he had so much direct influence over Gowron. How could Gowron not detect Martok's change in behavior when Odo could pick him out based on a few things he said? Such details are not extremely important to the plot as it stands, I suppose, but the possibilities could've lent themselves to another powerful analysis of paranoia and mistrust like "Homefront." It was not to be.

In short, "Apocalypse Rising" is a fun, nicely assembled plot that adds up to not a whole hell of a lot. For a season premiere it's surprisingly ordinary. It's a decent ride, but tomorrow you might forget it happened.

Previous episode: Broken Link
Next episode: The Ship

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68 comments on this post

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Wiegraffolles
Fri, Jul 24, 2009, 11:55am (UTC -5)
It also would have been interesting if Martok was the founder, but Gowron had been killed by mistake as well, leaving the Klingons without a strong leadership and giving Worf some serious problems to think about.
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Jay
Sat, Aug 8, 2009, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Wouldn't Sisko having attended the Academy with a Benzanite contradict the comment in Coming Of Age where that Benzanite character would have been the first of his race in Starfleet?
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Wilbur
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Ah, nice catch on the Benzanite, Jay! I noticed that, too. It is a minor issue, but I wonder how a mistake like that could have been made? We only ever had two episodes featuring Benzanites, and the writer must have been relatively familiar with those episodes. Otherwise, why make a Benzanite reference at all?
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Lee Wilson
Tue, Aug 25, 2009, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
The TNG aliens were actually Benzites, not Benzenites, but it seems clear from the breathing tubes reference that the writers were thinking about Benzites when they wrote it.

Even though the first Benzite shown in TNG was supposedly the first one in the academy, each subsequent Benzite seems to have graduated earlier than the one before.
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Nic
Mon, Jan 18, 2010, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Watching this episode I realized how much I missed those season openers that would just put you right into the action from the very first scene ("The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", "Redemption II", "Scorpion, Part II", etc.). There was something envigorating about waiting all summer with excitement for the new season, and then sensing your excitement double as the episode started up right where the cliff-hanger left off. Deep Space Nine's season openers are all great episodes, but they do take a little longer to get going. Just a thought.

That being said, I knew long before I started watching DS9 that Martok was a Changeling (damn you, Memory Alpha!) and when I was watching "The Way of the Warrior" I thought it was blatantly obvious that he was the impostor. So I was surprised to find out that it was a last-minute decision made by Ron Moore to avoid upsetting TNG fans & give the episode a surprise ending.

One thing's for sure, I can't imagine watching the series at the pace they originally aried (e.g. one season per year). Though I guess that was part of its appeal. Oh well!
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Elliot Wilson
Sat, Feb 6, 2010, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Hey, you didn't comment on Sisko's fight with the Klingons! What, didn't like it? I thought it was perfect. Seeing Sisko give a full punch to the Klingon boasting about killing his friend with an excuse of "getting more bloodwine" is too good to pass up in a review!
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Nic
Sun, Feb 7, 2010, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
P.S. With regard to Dax not coming along on the mission to Qu'onos, the real reason is because Terry Farrell was allergic to the Klingon make-up. Of course it would have been nice to have an on-screen explanation (simply saying Dax was recently wounded and had to recuperate would have been satisfactory), but I think it's easily forgivable.
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Brandon Carrauthers
Mon, Apr 19, 2010, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I saw this episode when I was 11 years old.
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Jeff O'Connor
Sat, Oct 9, 2010, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
And I was nine. And it was glorious.
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Nick M
Wed, Dec 29, 2010, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Jammer,

I am really shocked at the error you made in your review. You said the DS9 crew had to infiltrate a " bat'leth tournament" Gowron was going to be at.
No. No. No.
It was induction into the Order of the Bat'leth, the highest award for bravery a Klingon can receive!

Nic, thanks for that info, I kept thinking, "With her insight into Kilingons, Dax should be on this mission!"
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Jack
Thu, Mar 1, 2012, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
The scene of the damaged runabout coming back to DS9 here looks like the exact same shot of the damaged runabout returning to DS9 just two episodes earlier in "Body Parts".
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Justin
Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
Ah, yes. Sisko-as-Klingon - My favorite Sisko scenery chewing of all time.

"Brag all you want! But don't get between ME and the BloodWINE!!!!"
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Duge Butler Jr.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
I thought that this was a pretty good episode further highlighting the subversiveness of the Dominion in trying to fool the Federation into assasinating the (non-changling) head of the Klingon Empire- doing their dirty work for them. Although I'm not sure if it was a retcon or not but Martok turning out to be the changling infiltrator helps explain his urging Gowron to be more aggressive and to launch their invasion of Cardassia and attacking DS9, ending the Khitomer Accords with the Federation, etc. My only major disappointment with this episode is that revealing Martok to be a changling and eliminating him doesn't really change anything in regards to the Klingon-Cardassia-Federation conflict begun in WOTW. Gowron, while sparing the lives of the DS9 crew, makes clear that he plans to press ahead with the war against the Cardassians/Federation (or at least feigns a certain helplessness in stopping it). Thankfully, that changes a few episodes later but at the (unnecessary) expense of more lives and conflict.
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Snitch
Tue, May 1, 2012, 4:29am (UTC -5)
I felt it was a very solid episode, nice twist at the end, and a good follow up later in the series. The Klingon claptrap is tolerable. Gowron and Martok were both interesting characters.
3 stars from me
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Paul York
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
O'Brien and Odo make very poor Klingons. Sisko was a great Klingon; he lived up to the part well. I loved this episode -- Klingon and Ferengi episodes are frequently the most entertaining because both species are so over the top.
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TMLS
Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 6:17am (UTC -5)
Shame to read that about Terry Farrell... had she been in typical Klingon female armour it could have been quite interesting ;)
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Lurker
Tue, Oct 9, 2012, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Solid episode, but it is extremely dumb that Sisko is recognized by Martok, but Worf is recognized by neither Martok or Gowron.
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Jonathan
Thu, Feb 28, 2013, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the little scene between Kira and Bashir, where she blames him for being pregnant. Hahaha...
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Grumpy
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Forget why Dax was excluded; why were *any* Niners given this mission? Doesn't Starfleet have a spec ops team? And why would Sisko and Dax have to personally report on the situation?Odo was the one with first-hand (dis)information.

Assuming Starfleet has no other Klingon experts, I can see why Worf and Dax might be chosen to go undercover. To accommodate Farrell's allergy, the story could show how her Trill immune system makes surgical disguise impossible.

Of course, surgical disguises have been possible since "The Enterprise Incident." We never learned how future people cope with fluid identities, a problem also sidestepped this season by "A Simple Investigation."
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Latex Zebra
Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 10:01am (UTC -5)
I think a 3 is fair for this. It's an episode that has elements of fun, most Klingon episodes do, as well as getting some serious stuff and Odo development in.
I love O'Brien as a character and seeing him as a Klingon is brilliant.
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Kotas
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Fun story episode. One of the few episodes I remember well from when I watched this show as a kid.

7/10
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Jay
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Would be interesting to get a look at Lt. Vylyxpran and see what he looks like and how he performs his duties with 8-18 children in various stages of budding off of him.
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Vylora
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Pretty solid episode through and through. Nothing stand-out but very respectable. 3 stars here too.
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Eric
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Wouldn't Worf be the worst person to send on this mission? He's recognized by Klingons everywhere as a "traitor to the empire".
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UnknownSample
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 12:42am (UTC -5)
Yes, sending Worf was the biggest error of the episode. He's a famous Klingon. He's known as the starfleet klingon and the klingon who helped install Gowron as chancellor. Sometimes he had been considered a traitor and other times he was considered an honorable Klingon but he would have been noticed by everyone no matter how much blood wine they had.

I do like that Odo didn't spend too much time mourning his loss. It reminds me of when Troi lost her powers. She went insane the whole episode. Odo kept it together and got back to work pretty quick.

Avery Brooks has a problem overacting. Watch the secede when he's talking to Martok and he says "You think we're right don't you? You think gowrons a changeling TOO". Lol. I'm not sure why the directors didn't tell him stop acting like that
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Yanks
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Doesn't measure up to 'Emissary', 'The Homecoming', 'The Search' or 'The Way of the Warrior'. Kind of a let down, but that should be expected as 'Broken Link' wasn't much of a season closer.

I can't believe they sent Worf. I also can't believe that none of the Klingons recognized him. I always thought Jadzia should have argued to Sisko that Worf would be recognized and gone herself. I now know why thank guys). Too bad, she would have been GLORIOUS in Klingon garb.

Loved the Kira/Bashir exchange.

"KIRA: That's right, it was. But I'd rather blame you!"

lol

Sisko makes a passable Klingon, unlike Odo or Obrien. He can get away with hammy overacting there.

Neat twist at the end, but I kind of saw it coming. It isn't very "DS9" for the mission to go as planned and isn't very "Dominion" for the apparent truth to be the real truth.

2.5 stars for me.
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Ian G
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
It's an OK episode but not the best DS9 has to offer. I found it a bit of a let down compared to what was promised by the big reveal at the end of season 4. I also dislike the general regression of the Klingons into rowdy "space Viking" caricatures and this episode does very little to redeem them.
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Troy
Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
Captain Sikso makes a great Klingon. Avery Brooks tendency to overact provides a great outlet for that effect. Brooks chews the scenery when he is a Klingon...and it works.

Also, (I know I am nitpicking here), but how does Chief O'Brien automatically know where the Holo-emitter are on a Klingon Bird Of Prey located? He just pops open a panel and JUST KNOWS everything.
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Vii
Sat, Feb 28, 2015, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
I agree with some of the plotholes that previous posters mentioned - how on earth could the Klingons recognise Sisko but not Worf? Worf the Starfleet Klingon, son of Mogh, killer of Duras and instigator of the Chancellor. They would have spotted him a mile away.

That being said, O-Brien and Odo's horrible Klingon impersonations were a hoot. Odo's "You should have your eyes examined" response to Worf calling him a dung beetle had me on the floor. Sisko makes an incredibly good Klingon; he probably enjoyed having the opportunity to let his hair down, so to speak, and toss people around, something he doesn't get to do in a Starfleet uniform.

Dukat's amusement at their Klingon getup was hilarious too, especially when he said he wanted a picture, or a "holo-image." Like Jammer, I appreciated his "no-prisoners" policy when he blasted the Bird-of-Prey to smithereens - it establishes how Cardassians prefer to make a quick, clean kill, rather than sit around asking questions. We saw this side of them in 'Return to Grace' when Dukat blasted the Groumall with its new Klingon crew, as well as 'Tacking in the Wind' when Garak killed the entire bridge crew on the Breen ship. In each instance there's a non-Cardassian, Federation-affiliated character who goggles on in dismayed disbelief and asks, "Was that really necessary?" Nice touch, with DS9's trademark of making the small things work.
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Gorkon
Wed, Oct 7, 2015, 11:19am (UTC -5)
Good episode.

Making Gowron the changeling and killing him would have drawn (justified) criticism of handwaving the Federation-Klingon conflict away. Or Martok would have ascended and continued in the same vein, making the whole episode kind of pointless.

Killing Gowron while Martok was the changeling would be a very interesting ending indeed. It would leave the Klingons without clear leadership and possibly put the Federation in a bad spot, having killed the Klingon chancellor - even by voluntary combat.

But I like where this episode leaves things off.

And we can lament all we want how and why DS9's commanding officers are always sent on missions better served by specialists - like, how is sending O'Brien on this mission a good idea? But if they wouldn't do that, we'd have different protagonists every other episode and where would be the fun in that?
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Chrome
Thu, Dec 3, 2015, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
So the Benzenite reference is a little confusing as mentioned above. Matters will only get more confusing in the next episode "The Ship", where yet another Benzenite appears in Starfleet but has no breathing tubes whatsoever.

I think the writers on DS9 like the Benzenites, but don't really do any research when they write them into the show.
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William B
Sun, Dec 20, 2015, 5:38am (UTC -5)
The episode is fairly engaging and has some amusing moments, but I find the episode's main plot hard to take seriously, especially as it goes on. The repeated "suspense" of "some dopey Klingon interferes with someone putting a sphere on a statue feels really hackneyed. Sisko keeps getting into fights with not just Klingons generally, but the most badass Klingons who are winning medals for their badassery and a) most don't bother hitting him back and b) he wins the one fight because he used to wrestle. Worf is an infamous high-profile pariah traitor and should no way have been on this mission, which is even more maddening when the episode ends up playing off the "will he be recognized?" material with "Martok" staring down *O'BRIEN*, by far the lowest-profile of the four. As Jammer points out, it is really hard to believe that "Martok" escaped detection from Gowron for two years and yet can't go five minutes without giving himself away as a Founder unable to understand the concept of Klingon honour. But most of all, while the idea of exposing Gowron using magic changeling-exposing spheres was fine, and I get that things are desperate, the readiness of our main characters to assassinate Gowron publicly is one of those moments of stupidity that kind of makes you wonder if the Founders should win. That Sisko et al. genuinely have no evidence other than Odo's post-Link suggestion means that they really could be assassinating a non-changeling, in which case the war over the Arcanis system would be a cakewalk by comparison. Putting aside the moral implications of assassinating a foreign head of state because one guy thinks he's a changeling, going through with that assassination after already having been exposed, especially if it turned out Gowron wasn't a changeling (which, yep) would be the ultimate proof of the Federation's dishonour *and* level of threat that would send the Klingons into full berserker mode, last-man fighting the Federation down to nothing. I get that things are desperate, but Sisko et al. lose the moral or strategic high ground about Gowron's suspicions about the Detapa Council because of this, especially given how frequently Sisko and Odo have asserted that the Founders want people confused and suspecting each other. Desperate times, etc., but really.

The main character notes here concern Odo, who has a mini-arc here where he seems to start the episode developing an addiction to the bubble sound in alcohol and has lost his zeal for his work, and then eventually saves the day through his close observation and gets no less than the head of the Klingon Empire congratulating him. That's cute, even if I don't find "Martok's" giving himself away the way he did all that convincing. It seems as if the period of being ill-suited to be a Klingon makes him feel more comfortable in his humanoid but still recognizably Odo skin by comparison. But there's not that much there. Worf gets to play Teacher Of Klingon Ways, as he has several times in the past, but...I dunno. In "A Matter of Honour," and "Sins of the Father" (for Picard) and the less-than-effective "Birthright, Part II," it seemed like Worf's words of advice on Klingon culture meant something. I don't want a repeat of the extreme seriousness of "Birthright, Part II," but the shenanigans here feel empty rather than meaningful as another chance for Worf to get to play at being part of real Klingon culture again despite his pariah status, which maybe could have/should have been the point. Also, Dukat is in the house and he is awesome; I like how the holo-filter breakdown teased that Worf (and, really, likely Sisko et al. as well) would have to go on screen instead, but Dukat just shot the damn thing down. I also like that Damar is getting more definition, and that one of his key traits right now is a short-sightedness (regarding just killing Gowron from above), which, let's keep an eye out on that.

It does feel weird for there to have been a full-on war which broke out with the Klingon Empire off screen, the extent of it is pretty hard to evaluate. The episode is okay-ish but it's almost all plot, and the plot is both fairly slow-paced and has some serious problems. I'd say 2 stars.
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William B
Sun, Dec 20, 2015, 8:04am (UTC -5)
In addition to "Martok's" ostensibly demonstrating to Odo that he's a changeling by not wanting honourable combat, it's pretty ridiculous that he's so hot under the collar that Odo's saying "hey I think you're a changeling!" makes him...grow tentacles and start strangling Odo, publicly demonstrating his changeling-ness. Is this how he has responded to every exposure scare in the past year-plus? Totally unconvincing.
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Diamond Dave
Sun, Jan 17, 2016, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Embraces the concept and runs hard with it, amounting to a fun hour of television with a convincing twist and much drinking and head-butting on the way. Oh, and some classic Dukat. Only Sisko makes a convincing Klingon and it's fun to see him embracing the role with vigour. 3 stars.
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JC
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
This was going all right, until sisko couldn't seem to find the entire tenth of a second it would have taken to press the god damn button. Seemed a bit contrived.
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Luke
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Jammer, you're absolutely 100% right that for a season opener "Apocalypse Rising" feels awfully pedestrian. It's not bad, per se, but it really needed to be more, especially after the ominous closing to "Broken Link". Revealing a Changeling infiltrator at the heart of the Klingon government should be a Quadrant shattering event. Instead, we get a fairly run-of-the-mill action-adventure episode. It's a fun little adventure, to be sure, but that's all it ultimately is.

Add to that the fact that there are some rather large and unavoidable plot contrivances. First, why is Sisko and a large section of his command staff being sent on this mission in the first place. Isn't he one of Starfleet's most valuable commanding officers, in charge of one of the most strategically important bases in the Quadrant? Doesn't Starfleet have a department specifically tailored for this kind of work? Oh yeah, they do! It's called Starfleet Intelligence. The only reason for sending Sisko and company off on this mission is because the plot depends on it, no more explanation apparently needed (much like sending Picard and company off in "Chain of Command, Part I"). Second, why in the name of God does the Martok Changeling attempt to strangle Odo in full view of the Klingons? Again, because the plot required it. Third, I suppose this isn't a plot contrivance but it is still a flaw, there is some noticeable padding. The absolute last thing a season opener should have is padding. Yet, there are at least two scenes that were completely unnecessary - the one between Kira and Bashir where they laugh about her pregnancy and Quark's cameo appearance. The one with Kira and Bashir feels like it's only there as an in-joke to anybody in the audience who happened to know that Visitor was actually pregnant with Siddig's child. And the Quark scene is only there so Shimmerman could collect a paycheck - aside from telling Sisko "Odo's up there", what does it add to the story?

Still, despite all those flaws, it is (like I said) a fun little outing. It's nice to see some of our heroes as Klingons. Avery Brooks was basically allowed free reign over his emotions as his Klingon self, which was enjoyable to watch. It's got a couple of nice character moments for Odo. And it was this episode that convinced the writers to bring back J.G. Hertzler as the real Martok, which lead to one of the best recurring characters on the show. So, it's definitely not a loss as an episode.

6/10
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Quarkissnyder
Sat, Jun 11, 2016, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode. Not great as a season opener, I agree, but a lot of fun. My biggest quibble, as mentioned above, is the ease with which Sisko could knock out a Klingon warrior. Klingons are significantly stronger and significantly better fighters than your average Star Fleet officer. Sisko doesn't train and isn't in especially good shape; there is no way he could take down one of the Empire's finest.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Major nitpicks:

1) Not only do Dukat and Kira openly discuss the infiltration plan on the promenade, but they walk right into the Infirmary with open doors for any who can see to the spectacle of three senior staff members being surgically altered to look like Klingons.

I guess they assume that the Klingon Empire considers espionage to be dishonorable.

2) Wouldn't Starfleet have true experts on Klingon culture who are spies who would be infinitely better suited to this? Special Forces? And they are depending on Dukat to create their fake identify files?! Jesus, Starfleet has no idea what it's doing.

3) Wouldn't Dax have been a much better choice than O'Brien for this mission? Her only real usefulness comes from her familiarity with Klingon culture (obviously she hasn't been any good at her Science Officer job for a while since she hasn't done anything with that position in ages; all I see her do is be a lieutenant commander *helmsman*!!). Plus seeing Dax in Klingon garb would have been way hotter than potato-faced Irish handyman Everyman Edward O'Brien.

Dax also speaks Klingon! Educated Klingons like to speak English anyway (see page 10 of The Klingon Dictionary), but that's no guarantee.

Did anyone catch Damar's evil grin after they blew up the other Bird of Prey? It was awesome! Haha.

"It's not easy being funny wearing these teeth." That sounded like Colm Meany talking to Michael Dorn!
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 10:05am (UTC -5)
@ Skywalker,

From Memory Alpha:

"Jadzia Dax was not a part of the mission, despite her intimate knowledge of Klingon culture, because Terry Farrell's skin would have been allergic to the excessive Klingon make-up."

She was similarly sensitive to exposure to the sun, meaning she couldn't be filmed in direct sunlight during the series. They made an exception for "Let He Who Is Without Sin" and apparently that was a nightmare.
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Chrome
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 10:33am (UTC -5)
@Skywalker

I totally agree with your points 1 and 2, which I think qualifies this episode as a comedy. It's funny how Sisko gets picked for these random missions where you'd think any member of SI or even Section 31 would be more qualified. One must wonder if Starfleet believes Sisko is the emissary and can actually perform miracles.

Though, as a small defense, Admiral Nacheiv did order Picard to do some pretty random things in "Chain of Command", so you have to wonder what exactly Starfleet is thinking. I'd love to hear from some real-world soldiers to see if their COs ever got picked for random tasks completely outside of their expertise...

And point 3
@Peter G.

Peter already answered this, and it's a shame. I think they could've had Dax throw up her Curzon credentials as a Trill and still be a part of this episode without makeup. She has enough connections in the empire for her to be welcome without looking like a Klingon.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G,

Thanks! That's good intel. They needed a better explanation. I imagine this scene:

Sisko: "Worf, Odo, and O'Brien, I am selecting you three to accompany me on this mission."
O'Brien: "Why me? Wouldn't Commander Dax be better suited to infiltrating the Klingon Empire.
Sisko: "Unfortunately the commander has been called away by Starfleet Intelligence for an update on the technical capabilities of Jem'Hadar warships. And you are the only one who will be able to help us set the prototype."

@Chrome,

I actually think that whole incident with Picard is even more stupid. That was just commando stuff, and special operators would so much better. At least Worf (again on the fool's errand!) and Odo make sense.

As a real-world soldier (Army aviation officer), I can tell you that yes, when we don't have more pressing duties, we get assigned random tasks all the time. But never one of such high importance. It's the old Trek trope, "We're the only ship in range," despite the absurdity, because the writers want the main characters involved.
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SouthofNorth
Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 11:06am (UTC -5)
As others have pointed out this is a fundamentally stupid episode in which the stars of the show who are completely ill equipped to pull off an Espionage mission are none the less chosen to do it.

You might think the scenes in which they try to learn how to imitate Klingons are funny, but in being funny they also undermine the story's basic premise. I guess that's okay for a kiddie's show, but shouldn't Star Trek aim for something higher and better?


2/4
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dave
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 12:26am (UTC -5)
I think the choice of people to go on the mission are correct...

Sisko - obvious reasons, captain, leader, and tough enough to be a Klingon
Worf- they needed him to get around , understand how to be a Klingon, the protocols and rituals, etc
Odo - they are going after a changeling, and he is a tough guy... needed to be there
O Brien - this technobabble equipment needed the chief.. I suppose you could have put Dax in there instead; however, I assume they wanted the comedy of the soft spoken passive chief O Brien having to play a tough Klingon.
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Peter G.
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 1:15am (UTC -5)
@ dave,

It was supposed to be Dax and not O'Brien, but Farrell was allergic to the makeup and couldn't do it.
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dave
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
well, there is a little piece of trivia I didn't know. Thanks!
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Dave
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
After losing everything just two episodes ago, Quark's Bar seems to have completely recovered already.
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Filip
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Solid episode, I just wanted to say what a great and nuanced character Dukat was. Too bad they completely ruined him and turned him in a complete, almost cartoon-like, villain in the final season.
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Grumpy
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
You're being unfair to Dukat, Filip. He was completely ruined in the *6th* season.
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Gooz
Sun, May 7, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
This episode brings everything together. Avery Brooks was miscast as Sisko. He should have been a Klingon. His over ACTING and O V E R - E Nun See Ay Shun make him look like an idiot as Sisko, but fit perfectly for a douchey Klingon.

Also, a Klingon with an Irish accent. Nice.

At least there was no Keiko.

Can't wait for all this Klingon crap to be over.
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JJ Not Abrams 8-)
Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Surprised that nobody commented on Sisko briefing Odo about the
secret undercover mission ... on the second floor of Quark's Bar ...
with people sitting at other tables all around. Starfleet Security
at it's finest!
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Daniel B
Fri, Jul 7, 2017, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
I *still* think you are underrating this episode because you had a personal expectation that the first/last episodes of each season should always involve major shakeups.

{ O V E R - E Nun See Ay Shun }

I gotta say, I like Avery Brooks as Sisko most of the time, but yes his OV ER EN NUN CI A TION whenever he gets angry at someone is really really bad.
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Startrekwatcher
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
3 stars

Very solid episode. Season five is when the show got so much better. The first four seasons were very uneven but here pieces introduced back then started to actually be put to good use in much more interesting ways and in much more entertaining episodes

DS9 was always at its best in my opinion when telling arc based stories or episodes that tied into the bigger picture. This was such a story--Doninion infiltrators, dominion scheming, Klingons all in a very good action adventure story with suspense as to how far the crew gets in exposing Gowron with plenty of logical and smart roadblocks from dropping the polaron device to Worf thinking quickly to Sisko getting caught. Then the twist I did NOT see of Martok being the changeling. It sets the Federation and Klingons back on a path of friendship. However the writers blew every opportunity to make use of the Federation/Klingon rift over all of season four virtually doing absolutely nothing worthwhile with it I have to wonder why even introduce to begin with.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 24, 2017, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Entertaining episode with the usual Klingon culture and a bit of a twist at the end but nothing probing. Some good/fun moments with Sisko, Odo, O'Brien learning to act as Klingons. I think Brooks' style of acting naturally make him a good Klingon -- always bombastic in his delivery.

Nice to see Dukat again enjoying a chuckle at the plan to infiltrate the Klingon stronghold. Guess he still has his Klingon ship handy.

It's a fairly typical story with the plan having its moments of almost falling apart like when Odo's device is taken by another Klingon and then the shapeshifter/Klingon general striking down Sisko. Of course the general is found out and blasted apart, but for me, the best part is seeing Gowron and his eyes again. Having just watched TNG's "Redemption" I wanted to see more Gowron. Odo did come in handy after all in identifying the shapeshifter but that part seemed to go buy too quickly -- not sure exactly how he picked up on it.

The part about how dangerous the mission is was sort of dealt with when the episode focused on Jake/Kira etc on the station but it wasn't played up as much as I thought it should have been. Really, it went quite smoothly until the imprisonment when the plot twist came.

"Apocalypse Rising" deserves 3 stars. It's a solid, but standard episode about a covert mission with a decent ending -- more Changeling infiltration and maybe now the Klingon/Federation are closer together and the Founders have a bit more work to do.
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Jasper
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
All flaws are good and well, but only JC mentions the most annoying one: how hard is it to push a frigging button? Even when you're down? That's at least a subtraction of one whole Star.

But this episode earns back a star for Klingon Sisko. He is a better Klingon than human and his overacting fits nicely with this warrior race. Fun episode.
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Peet
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: Benzites or whatever. Trek seems to have an automatic RetConning of first contact (and other such milestones, like first X in Starfleet and so forth) when it comes to introducing new alien species. The Ferengi first contact was not that long ago in TNG, now it's like they are everywhere and always have been. It's probably a production decision, it's easier to develop what you've already sketched out and ignore all the generations of cultural blending that would presumably have to happen.
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Peet
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
...the same goes for the Trill. In TNG, it was a WTF "who ARE these people?" kind of reaction. In DS9, they are old news to humans as Sisko/Dax illustrate. Or the idea that humans learned about Pon Far from Mr Spock first, when Vulcans had been serving in Starfleet for decades already. Things are presented as new when introduced on the show (if only for the sake of the audience), then they become in-universe old common knowledge within a season or two.
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Peet
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
...and the supposed first contact with the Borg, for that matter (TNG? ST:FC? Voy? Ent?). On and on it goes!
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Iceman
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 11:40am (UTC -5)
"Apocalypse Rising" is a very solid start to the fifth season. It's nice to finally resolve the Klingon conflict so the show can get back on track. Avery Brooks fits in very well as a Klingon, and the story is well paced and doesn't drag or slow down.

3 stars.
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Springy
Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting:

--Interesting start. The captain is heading to infiltrate the Klingon empire.

--Odo is drowning his sorrows.

--Star Fleet is handing out round, LOL doll containers to destabilize the changeling that is Gowron.

--Dukat ! Chief O'Brien makes one strange Klingon.

--So Nana is actually pregnant with Siddig's baby, here? I looked this up. I saw a picture of the grown up baby. The "This is your fault!" dialogue is a bit much, but , but I imagine some fans loved it.

--Lots of time drinking bloodwine and mingling . . .

--And heeeeere's Gowron!! Please let the destabilizers work and bring an end to this story line.

--Oh, no. It's not going to work? Bummer, bummer, bummer, bummer.

--Please let Gawron be a changeling and let this plan work. Ok, no. Martok is the changeling? Nicer switcheroo. Either way, please let this work.

--What's the explanation for why Gawron went along with Martok, and started the war? Just that "Martok pushed for it?"

--Overall entertaining, and got us to a good enough conclusion. We were amused. :) Onward.
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Star Trek Joy
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Who out ranks who if Sisko hadn't returned? Worf or Kira? Who would have won that dispute? Captain of Defiant or First Officer of the station?

I think Worf would have left anyway. Lol!!

If we succeed there will be many songs sung in our honor -Worf HAHA! Always the Klingon warrior.

O'Brian makes one ugly looking Klingon! 😂 But I love the Irish accent in a Klingon body!

Sisko lookin like a Klingon version of Rick James 😂

Alllll those Klingons and nooooobody recognizes Worf who has no disguise? Mortok stares him right in the face and doesn't recognize him?? But recognizes Sisko? Um...ok?
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Tue, Jul 9, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
So they disguised Worf as .... a Klingon, and he looked exactly like Worf wearing klingon armour. No one recognised him.

OK, fiiiiiiiiiiine.
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Elliott
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***, 5%

After the recap, we get a recycled season-opening move from “The Search.” Sisko has been off the station and the crew are awaiting his return (he's running late). The subversion comes when, instead of revealing his impossibly-overpowered new warship, Sisko slinks back to DS9 in a runabout, nearly destroyed. The intervening dialogue between O'Brien, Kira and Worf makes it clear that the war with the Klingons has escalated—it also makes it clear that Kira is in charge god damn it.

Sisko reports that the Klingons are “throwing everything they have” at the Federation now which...uh, I guess means the Cardassians are pretty jazzed.

KIRA: It's hard to believe one changeling could cause so much chaos.
DAX: He can if he's impersonating the leader of the Klingon Empire.

Monarchies are bad, kids. Anyway, Starfleet has decided that Sisko will lead an infiltration team to expose Gowron as a Changeling. I'm curious how this conversation went...

HQ: Captain Sisko, I see here you took the Defiant to the Gamma Quadrant on an un-scheduled mission without authorisation.
SISKO: Yes, ma'am. My chief of security, The One Changeling in the Galaxy We Can Trust, became sick and we needed to find him a cure.
HQ: You know, we have doctors who...
SISKO: So, we surrendered the Federation's only warship to the Dominion, let them fuck with our logs, and were led to their homeworld so they could cure him—er, judge him for being The One Changeling in the Galaxy We Can Trust.
HQ: Did Bajor sign an extradition for...
SISKO: We had a little problem as the Cardassian terrorist I brought along almost got us and all of the Founders killed, but luckily Mr Worf punched him in the face. Did I say “terrorist”? I meant tailor.
HQ: Ben, this is highly irregular...
SISKO: Anyway, the Founders found The One Changeling in the Galaxy We Can Trust guilty of treason and punished him. See, they can link with each other, body and mind, exchange thoughts, etc.
HQ: So the Dominion knows...
SISKO: While he was linked with them, The One Changeling in the Galaxy We Can Trust learned that Chancellor Gowron has been replaced with a Changeling—one we probably can't trust, I reckon.
HQ: They gave that information away?
SISKO: No, ma'am. He realised like a day later when he saw Gowron's face that he had...um...seen Gowron's face.
HQ: This seems really dubious, Captain, but I suppose if The One Changeling in the Galaxy We Can Trust says that...
SISKO: Oh, he's not a Changeling anymore. They made him a human, but he REMEMBERS being a Changeling, see.
HQ:...
SISKO: BTW, sorry it took me 2 months to bring you this information, I've been really busy visiting my Maquis girlfriend in prison. How's this fucking war going?
HQ: Ben, I have a new mission for you...

Act 1 : ***, 16.5%

Speaking of the constable, Sisko tracks Odo to Quark's. Turns out that as a solid, he's turned to alcoholism to numb his pain. May as well jump in with both feet to the human experience. This leads to a tight little scene between Odo and Sisko where the former monologues a bit on the tempting banalities of flesh (expertly of course). Sisko thinks he can tempt Odo away from the drink by recruiting him for his absurd mission.

ODO: What you need is someone who can turn into Gowron's pet targ. I can't do that anymore.

So Sisko just orders him to report to the mission briefing. Said briefing begins by learning that Gowron is deep within a fortified Klingon base and defended by dozens of warships, and is always being personally watched by private security guards.

BASHIR: The changeling impersonating Gowron must have already found a way around [blood tests].
WORF: There is another option. We could kill him.
O'BRIEN: Dead changelings do revert to their gelatinous state.
SISKO: Our orders are to expose Gowron, not assassinate him.

Couple things. The only dead Changeling you've met, Miles, disintegrated into a pile of cigarette ashes, not jelly. Also, I know it's a war or whatever, but it would be nice if the fucking Starfleet captain didn't chuckle at the suggestion of murder. Who wrote this? Oh of course it's Wolfe and Behr. Where's my beer, Odo...?

Anyway, Starfleet has developed some tech tech golden snitches that will force a Changeling to revert to its natural form. So, I'm quite certain that every starship, station and facility is going to be equipped with these things immediately, right?

To get into Klingon space quickly, Sisko has decided to recruit Dukat and his rebel ship. He of notices Kira's baby bump which leads to the expected...

KIRA: Shakaar's not the father.
DUKAT: Then who is?
KIRA: Chief O'Brien.

Cute. We then get the steady-cam reveal of O'Brien and Sisko, surgically altered to look Klingon. O'Brien looks like a terrified gerbil, but Sisko is in his cos-playing element it seems. I guess it also seems that, even though the Klingons have become “meticulous about blood screenings,” they don't bother actually analysing the blood to see whether it's Klingon. They probably just stab each other in the hand as a form of greeting. “Qapla' my brother! Do you too have sepsis?” Seems about right.

Act 2 : **.5, 16.5%

Dukat and his number 1 lackey, Dumbass—I'm sorry, he gets a personality upgrade this season, so I'll call him Damar—spend a moment teasing Sisko and co. over their make-up. They eliminate the possibility of just bombing the facility housing Gowron, Tiber Con or something, which is good. Always nice to tie up those loose plot threads so long as you don't dwell on it. It really is amazing how much more realistic Sisko comes across as a Klingon, rivalling and perhaps besting Dorn's sullen but practised portrayal of Worf. He should just keep the ridges. Auberjonois is very much himself under heavier prosthetics, but poor Meaney/O'Brien seems incredibly uncomfortable. Did they really need a fourth musketeer for this plot? The plan is crystallised; there's an induction ceremony happening on Tiger Corps or whatever for “The Order of the Bat'leth” [eyeroll], and so Dukat is instructed to falsify the quartet's credentials for candidacy. This will enable them to get close to Gowron and deploy the snitches.

Meanwhile, we get an update on the budding male lieutenant, DS9's offscreen olive branch to gender non-conformity, which is nice. Oh, and Kira and Bashir have a wink wink nudge nudge thing about her pregnancy that we all know about. That part of the conversation is, er, fine. But the following “do you think they'll make it?” is exceedingly trite. It all feels very fan-service-y and forced and I don't like it.

We pick up with Worf putting the rest of the quartet through their Klingon paces. Only Sisko seems to get that in order to pass as a Klingon, you should hit people and act like a psychopath. Like I said, he should just keep the ridges, they really make his characterisation feel more natural. O'Brien continues to play the comic relief role, but honestly it's uncomfortable how pathetic he seems. Fairing better (as a character) is Odo, whose self-doubts and depression are causing him grief. Sisko does his best to comfort him, but he doesn't have much to offer beyond, “you'd better suck it up, solid.”

This okay scene is interrupted by a hail from another bird of prey. Sisko and co. join Dukat on the bridge to address the issue. For drama's sake (or whatever term you prefer), Dukat's holo-filter isn't working, meaning that the hailing Klingons will see Cardies on the viewscreen. Worf offers to try and intervene, but Dukat says fuck it and just blows up the other ship. Cold, dude. It's an effective little scene for Dukat, but it does beg the question of why the Empire hasn't issued a warning regarding this lone bird of prey going around shooting their own ships. You'd think in a state of war, it might be standard procedure to keep the shields up. I'm sure it has something to do with honour.

So, they arrive at Tiberius Crone or whatever and Dukat informs Sisko that he's getting the fuck away as soon as they beam down. His logic—much like in the preceding scene—is tough to dispute; if Sisko is successful, Gowron will surely arrange for their return to the Federation, and if he's not, they'll all die well before Dukat could do anything about it. Because of course he would. Dukat's such a mensch.

Act 3 : **.5, 16.5%

Despite being on a space station, Tigger Crayon or whatever has these arched windows with sunlight streaming through. Meh. The way the scene is revealed to us in kind of interesting. The music is deadly serious, conveying the thrill and danger of the quartet's mission, but we are seeing Klingons belching and drinking and butting heads—generally being fratboy idiots per their idiom. The effect is palpably dissonant which is a very good and efficient means of ratcheting up the tension.

On DS9, ostensible main character Jake Sisko is at his usual perch making very “it was a dark and stormy night” level observations about the station's occupants. You know Jake, just because you're a writer now, you aren't entitled to monologue like some Eliot Ness knockoff. This is apparently here to justify some more pro-military, pro-Sisko masturbating on the part of the writers:

JAKE: I suppose. But sometimes I wish that he wasn't so good at his job. That way, maybe every once in a while they'd give someone else the tough assignments.
BASHIR: He goes where he's sent. It's all part of wearing the uniform, and I doubt that's ever going to change.

Oh for fuck's sake, Ira. Why not just change the Starfleet jumpsuits to say “Army Strong” or something if you want to be this unsubtle?

In the interim, the Klingons and the would-be Klingons are “celebrating” by telling the stories and getting incredibly drunk. Well, the away team has been given a drug to prevent getting too drunk from the blood wine. This is all a big endurance test to see who can binge drink for an entire night and still receive his induction from the Chancellor. Because nothing says “honourable warrior” more than ancient and revered customs of “Porky's.” One of the Klingons brags about murdering a friend of Sisko's, so Sisko punches him in the face, because he's a psychopath. But because he's got those ridges, it's very easy to make the excuse that he just wanted to clear a path to the booze. See? Just leave him a Klingon, it will all be so much better. Toxic masculinity is a pillar of Klingon society after all.

After some more Klingon-bro bullshit, something vaguely interesting happens; General Martok appears, whom we remember as Gowron's right hand man and father of disappointing sons in “The Way of the Warrior.” The quartet fear being recognised by him. I'd think Worf in particular might be a fucking liability since his entire disguise is a hair-do, but Martok doesn't seem to notice anything amiss. Knowing Gowron must be nigh, they split up and gently rest their balls all over the room—the snitches I mean, are set up, except that O'Brien is momentarily interrupted by a sceptical Martok. Oh, and Odo drops his snitch before it's picked up by a drunken Klingon.

Act 4 : **, 16.5%

With Worf's help, he's able to recover the thing and get it set just in time for Gowron's arrival. Sisko's alter ego is summoned to receive his medal before he can activate the balls. This is rather stupid as, if the things work, turning them on before he ascends the proscenium would expose Gowron and end this tedium, but the plot demands that he pocket the activation circuit instead. Like I said, Sisko may be an immoral opportunist, but he's not an idiot, so this is...really sucky characterisation for him, ridges aside. Anyway, Gowron pins the medal on, complete with that patented insane stare of his, but it is Martok who recognises Sisko and strikes him down before he can slink away, calling for the room to be sealed and secured.

I don't know...I'm kind of unimpressed with this whole subterfuge conceit. Yes, we know that the aliens on Star Trek are just people with rubber glued to their faces. That's part of the fun. And in fun and/or whimsical stories that more or less acknowledge the theatre of this trick work just fine. But when you have a serious plot hinging on the ability of an away team being able to infiltrate the enemy, we are expected to believe that Dr Bashir can make two humans and a human with the face of Resusci Anne look like a different *species*, but not different enough from their human selves not to be recognisable as themselves? When Worf had his face done up in “Homeward” or Chakotay got the Vidiian beef-jerky skin in “Faces,” we may have been able to identify Michael Dorn and Robert Beltran, but the aliens they needed to actually fool wouldn't have any means to recognise them within the story, whether the alien designs were as bare-bones as they were on TOS, or as elaborate as the most expensive modern-day CGI would allow. So this plot point kind of sort of completely ruins the magic. Shame.

Act 5 : **.5, 19% (long)

Martok dismisses the guards in the brig so he can level with Sisko and co. It becomes clear pretty quickly that Martok already suspects Gowron of being a Changeling.

MARTOK: He is a politician, too eager to compromise, too eager to talk. Last year, he stopped the attack on Deep Space Nine instead of going to war with the Federation. And then he changed. Suddenly he was the one calling for war...but after the war began, he started ignoring the counsel of his generals, throwing aside all wisdom in his pursuit of victory. Our losses continue to mount and still he listens to no one.

With the snitches destroyed, Martok concludes that the only way to prove Gowron a spy is to kill him, just as Worf had originally proposed. See, this is a major structural weakness of this story. Our main characters have already dismissed the ethical implications of such an act. Remember that they still don't actually *know* whether Gowron is a Changeling. To up the stakes (however contrived) and leave the heroes with a difficult choice is good, but by having Sisko casually laugh off the prospect in Act 1, I'm not inclined to suspect that he's actually going to have to wrestle with the whether in this situation, only the how. And that's just a far less interesting story, while simultaneously continuing to paint Sisko in a negative light.

Speaking of how, Martok isn't going to bother with honourable combat (red flag!), nor is he going to just murder Gowron himself (red FLAG!). Instead he's going to let the quartet out of their cell so they can murder Gowron. So Martok is obviously not behaving honourably, which is somewhat suspicious, but hey, maybe he's one of those Klingons who values pragmatism over custom. So, tell me how relying on the only people who would have a hard time getting close to Gowron again to kill him makes any practical sense? But Sisko and co. are too stupid to realise this and just nod in agreement. Great. Oh, and Martok murders four other Klingon guards to aid in the quartet's escape (RED FLAG!!).

Meanwhile, Gowron and the other inductees are still drinking, which...did it not occur to Gowron that Sisko had to get here somehow? That maybe they should scout for a ship or something? No? We're just going to drink more? Okay. Odo is held back by Martok from the Great Hall of Warriors.

MARTOK: Not you. There's no telling where your loyalties lie.

Worf and Gowron go at it and finally Odo wises up.

MARTOK: What are they doing? Why doesn't Sisko just shoot him?
ODO: I have a better question. Why isn't Gowron letting his bodyguards kill Worf? I'll tell you why. Klingon honour. A concept you should be very familiar with. My people, on the other hand, don't care about honour. How did you put it? There will be no honourable combat, no formal challenges. Hardly the words of a Klingon.

And so Odo exposes Martok as the true Changeling just in time to prevent Worf from killing the Chancellor and watches as his actions cause the horrific death of yet another one of his people.

In the first of two epilogues, Gowron is convinced to go as far as a cease-fire with the Federation in light of these new revelations. The portrayal of the Klingon people continues to be most unflattering as the only reasoning given for why the war itself can't end is because Klingons are both to proud and too insane to be called off mid-battle. So then how is a cease-fire possible? Is it because the Klingons require a tangible victory to sate their blood-lust? Perhaps. But remember what I mentioned in TWotW; Worf noting that the Klingons are going back “to the old ways” is a sign of their decadent decline. The Empire must maintain its bread and circuses in order to stave off a genuine political revolution that would (hopefully) dismantle the monarchy entirely. Oh yeah, and Gowron promises Worf that he won't get another chance to kill him. …

The second epilogue kind of sort of not really ties up Odo's character thread by having him choose to have Bashir restore his old shape-shifter face. I guess that, because Odo proved himself useful on this mission, given his insight into Changeling psychology (although again, Worf at least should have seen through Martok immediately), he wants to keep that part of himself that links him (haha) to his people. Or maybe he feels like he deserves to be seen as a Changeling because he's internalising the guilt imposed by his people for “betraying them.” Who knows? The scene is like 20 seconds long.

Episode as Functionary : **, 10%

I find myself more or less in complete agreement with William B here. Dukat is a lot of fun. Some of the Klingon stuff is entertaining (especially Gowron). And the general function of the plot to move the series back on track to deal with the Dominion is appreciated. But the character touches for Odo and Sisko are half-baked, there are numerous plot holes and head-scratchy moments, most of the Klingon stuff is repetitive, Miles is pointless, and the scenes on DS9 are terrible. What this story needed was more compelling characterisation, mostly for Odo, but also for Worf and Sisko. It starts out with an intriguing tease: Odo's gone from a low-key fascist to a depressive substance-abuser and Sisko finds himself with a new challenge with one of his people; Worf is forced to *again* betray the letter of the law with his own people in order to uphold its spirit; and Odo must *once again* get one of his people killed. There's a lot of thematic overlap with these men and their relationships to their respective “people” here, but it's not really developed or explored in meaningful ways, leaving the script full of filler scenes and Klingon belching. Not a terrible opening, but less than unremarkable.

Final Score : **.5
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Chrome
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Elliott

I enjoyed your conversation with Starfleet that put Sisko on this mission (it's as good of an explanation as any, really) and agree generally you have to accept a handful of contrivances to enjoy this episode.

As for the disguises not working, you could say that they did fool basically all the Klingons which made them pretty good on the whole. As I mentioned in another discussion, Changelings seem to be really good observers and are therefor more perceptive when it comes to recognizing impostors. It's a kind of "it takes a spy to catch a spy" type of deal which I'm willing to accept, especially because it was foreshadowed by !ChangelingMartok's uneasiness when he saw Miles early on.
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Peter G.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
I think the premise of this episode should be taken in the same spirit as Dramatis Personae, the alternate universe episodes, Our Man Bashir, and Fascination: it's a chance for the crew to have an adventure under strange circumstances, and mainly for the actors to have some fun they normally wouldn't. I consider them to sort of be corporate bonding seminars, but also between cast and audience, as if saying "hey, we're here to have a good time with the audience, so let's let loose and do that." Maybe it's good to think of these occasions as being a little cast party. I'm not sure it's entirely fair to ask of any of them to realistically justify why these events need to go as they do, although there may still be something to be gleaned from them. The funny thing about the ones I named in particular is that they seem to generate a lot of controversy, and even hostility, from certain fans. A lot of people seem to dislike these, and it's funny, because for me they're among the more fun ones to watch. Maybe it all depends on whether you enjoy watching actors shake it loose a little, versus insisting on the characters to never deviate from their weekly stuff.

In the case of Apocalypse Rising they wanted to do a rough-and tumble adventure of the week to wrap up the Klingon stuff so they could move on to other elements of the Dominion arc. In a meta sense they took a season to introduce Worf to the show, and now that he's an accepted regular we can get back to our regular scheduled program. I'm on board with that, even though it does seem the Changeling problem here gets resolved awfully fast. In terms of the details in the episode, I think they can be better understood under the auspices of "this is a fun adventure" rather than "this is a serious mission." I mean, think about it: we have them going in on Dukat's ship, which is already halfway to Alice and Wonderland in terms of being out there and fantastical, we have O'Brien in the most ridiculous situation, almost certainly for comic relief (and/or to continue the torture O'Brien/Meany festival), Odo getting a fire under his ass to still be his courageous self even though he feels weak now (using an overblown scenario to do that).

I think Elliott is right on the money about Sisko. It really does suit him being a Klingon; the only way in which I differ from Elliott on this is that he takes the position that any human whose instinct is to punch aggravating people in the face is a psychopath, whereas I personally think that our current urban society is bent on suppressing natural human reactions and calling people bad for having them. There's something actually uplifting of Sisko being in an environment where his worse impulses when among humans could actually be seen as a virtue in different circumstances. That doesn't mean I endorse punching people in the face exactly, but I think the energy behind that desire, aggravation, not willing to tolerate people giving you crap, and also suffering from loss, can all be strengths *in the right circumstances* and if channeled in the right way. Sometimes we get the feeling these days that if you ever get riled up or express animosity there's something wrong with you, and I think there's something wrong with that. Someone like Sisko might not be suited for a tea party, but he is suited for being in a situation where it takes a bit of a tougher person to get the job done. This isn't always good, as we see in the case of Captain Maxwell. Captain Jellico is probably a bad Captain in many kinds of situations, assuming he handles them all like he did in Chain of Command (which we actually don't know). Sisko isn't much good, or at least not since the loss of his wife, being a Picard-type Captain. What DS9 seems to be about is that there's a place for the 'losers' in society; those who have lost, or aren't ok, or have failed dreams, or can't get over things. They have help build each other up, as in the specific case of Bajor and their Emissary, who needed help as much as they did. So when we see Sisko in an element like this one, I'm actually happy for him, at least to be able to feel for an hour or two that his temper isn't seen as a blight but can actually be of use to him. Doesn't mean we want him punching everyone in the face normally, but what the Klingons give us at least is the chance to celebrate those more primitive aspects of ourselves that want a chance to bust loose. *How* they should be allowed to do so is another question.
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Jamie Mann
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
This is a surprisingly weak season starter, as is perhaps highlighted by the fact that it's not actually gathered that many comments on here!

The idea that the changlings have somehow infiltrated Klingon High command is interesting, but the series of plot-hacks used to bring our main show-leads is somewhat predictable - though it is nice to see Dukat and his captured Bird of Prey making an appearance. Even if the holo-projector failure scene is both overly contrived and far too quickly glossed over; it would have been interesting to see Worf's reaction to the dishonorable killing of an entire ship's crew, especially seeing how badly the death of just a single honorable Klingon warrior affected his brother just a few episodes earlier.

But we can't stop for things like this: we have to continue to the dramatic showdown and equally dramatic plot twist! Where once again, Odo is directly responsible for the death of a changling[*] - and as with Worf, there's no followup on how this may have affected Odo.

But perhaps the biggest issue with this episode (having watched a couple of the following episodes) is that it's yet another zero-sum episode. Gowron may mutter about a ceasefire, but we're essentially back to a full blown war just a few episodes later!

Overall, it's not a particularly classic tale.

[*] Who for some reason decided to shapeshift in front of an entire room, despite the fact that they could have very easily maintained their cover by killing Odo and dismissing the Federation's claims as a clumsy attempt to discredit the Klingon High Command...
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Trent
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
90's Trek had the most awesome, scenery chewing Klingons. You have Gowron with his bulging eyes, the always-cranky Martok, Kor the Dahar Master, Christopher Plumber's Shakespeare quoting General Chang. And now in this episode you have Avery Brooks giving his deliciously angry take on the Klingons. He seems to relish being able to cut loose.

As others have said about, this episode is fun but flawed. It was nice seeing Gul Dukat still in possession of a Bird of Prey. The Klingon planet, and the fleets over it, look great. Some of the Klingon dialogue is excellent. The episode's core idea is also very good.

What hampers things are those ridiculous orb devices which our heroes "covertly" place on statues in order to detect Changelings. It's such a dopey looking action sequence, and such a silly-looking device. Why would a advanced organization like Starfleet use such cumbersome devices for covert operations. And why a ball? Those things keep rolling away whenever you place them down.

The episode's perfunctory ending is also a bit weak - Odo discovers Martok's identity too easily - but I like the (albeit now primitive) CGI effect when Martok lashes out with his tentacle hand. There's something shocking and alien about it. A kind of unexpected, ontological shock to the system.
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Frank Offenhaus
Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I love this episode but the biggest problem which I never see pointed out is the timing of the event that moves into Act III namely when Sisko is discovered by Martok.

The entire setup of the devices is ready to go and Sisko is literally about to activate it which would've caused everyone to see the Martok changeling. But when his fake name is called by Gowron, he just stops and walks up to Gowron to be discovered. It makes no sense at all. It's not like anyone knows what this guy looks like off the top of their head. So a little confusion about where the guy Gowron called ensues just before Martok is exposed.

Why Sisko stops and decides to walk up to Gowron can only be explained by accepting that the plot needed to move forward as written in the script which is a big problem for me. instead, they should've had Sisko's fake name called while Odo was dealing with getting the final device into place. This isn't the first episode in which poorly directed / timed events made me go "uh... what?"

That's a lot of writing to cover what is basically a minor annoyance. 3 stars seems fair.
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Sykosomatik
Wed, Aug 11, 2021, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
I thought this was a fun episode.

Dukat was entertaining, as usual. I loved how he was no-nonsense and just blew up the Klingon ship. His character is always so pragmatic. He saw before anyone else, that there would be no need for him to stay around until the mission was completed.

Sisko made a great Klingon. It seems Avery Brooks was made for that kind of role lol. It would be great to see him make a cameo in one of the new treks as a Klingon.

As for why Sisko was recognized and not Worf... Sisko wasn't recognized by any Klingons.. Martok was a Changeling. He probably recognized the others too, but once he saw Sisko clearly, he was able to put all the pieces together.

And Worf is infamous to the higher circle of Klingon society, but it is probable that the average Klingon might know his name but wouldn't immediately recognize his face, especially if he's not in his Starfleet uniform. I mean, it's not like they would have Worf's portrait in their social studies books for all the Klingon children to learn about him.

Plus, this might be racist but all Klingons look the same anyway... Haha jk... don't kill me lol.

Anyway, I liked the twist at the end and it was good character development to have Odo be the one to figure it out. He was feeling useless now that he is just a solid, but after this he should realize that he is still a valuable member of the team and has much to contribute.

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