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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61 comments on this review

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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
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!
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.
Brandon Carrauthers
Mon, Apr 19, 2010, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I saw this episode when I was 11 years old.
Jeff O'Connor
Sat, Oct 9, 2010, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
And I was nine. And it was glorious.
Nick M
Wed, Dec 29, 2010, 9:47am (UTC -5)

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!"
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".
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!!!!"
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.
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
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.
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 ;)
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.
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...
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."
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.
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.

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.
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Pretty solid episode through and through. Nothing stand-out but very respectable. 3 stars here too.
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".
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
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!"


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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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!
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.
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 10:33am (UTC -5)

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.
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."


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.
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?

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.
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.
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
well, there is a little piece of trivia I didn't know. Thanks!
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
After losing everything just two episodes ago, Quark's Bar seems to have completely recovered already.
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.
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
You're being unfair to Dukat, Filip. He was completely ruined in the *6th* season.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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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