Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Favor the Bold”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 10/27/1997
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

"Sorry? That's what you wanted to tell me? You're sorry? Well, let me tell you something, Odo: We are way, way past 'sorry'." — Kira

Review Text

Nutshell: Whew. Another powerhouse. Talk about covering some serious ground.

"Favor the Bold" is a damn near perfect storytelling assembly of just about every major facet of DS9 that comes to mind right now. There's so, so much going on in this world—so many characters to examine, so many issues to address, so much action to carry, and so many relationships to ponder. It's an incredible feat that "Favor the Bold" manages to cover so much ground in a single hour, moving us through huge storytelling events and relaying a number of very compelling character pieces in the process. Every bit of this episode is utterly engrossing; the culmination resulting from the loss of the station in "Call to Arms" is approaching, and it feels very, very real.

The primary sense conveyed in this week's outing was one of a dizzying situation on the brink of spinning out of control into utter apocalyptic mayhem. I'm not just talking about the obvious confrontation between the Federation and Dominion fleets that is destined to happen next week; I'm talking about characters committing themselves to paths that are either going to pay off in the very near future ... or likely get themselves in real trouble or even killed.

The plot centers around what promises to be a key turning point in the war: Damar's field tests for deactivating the minefield have been successful, and he expects the entire minefield can be brought down within a week. Meanwhile, Starfleet, which "needs a big victory," is slowly persuaded by Sisko to group their remaining strong fleets into one massive effort to retake Deep Space Nine.

The plot is a must-see, but what proves more important as the show unfolds—and is the reason the episode is so engrossing—is the way the events flow so believably and appropriately out of the characters and their motivations. We get so see what they're thinking and feeling as the world around them radically unfolds. If there's one thing this war arc has proven, it's that the creators of the series know that the story is not simply about the war, but about the people involved.

Early in the episode, Kira finds out Rom has been sentenced to execution for his acts of treachery against the Dominion. As if Kira didn't already have enough on her mind—with Odo useless to her efforts as he ventures into his own personal agenda and the potential of her small movement being exposed by Dominion interrogation (I suspect it's the Dominion calling the shots, since if it had been the Cardassians Rom would likely have been tortured into submission by now)—now Kira has to worry about the possibility of another death under her resistance "command," because she misplaced her trust with Odo and allowed Rom to face such risky odds. It makes sense that she would use all her Bajoran influence to attempt reasoning with Weyoun, and her frustration and anger are completely understandable when Weyoun refuses to budge.

For that matter, Weyoun came off very three-dimensional this week. Not only did Jeffrey Combs deliver a wonderful performance—Weyoun's facial expressions are one of the most striking and effective aspects of the character—but the writers gave him some good stuff. Little details about the Vorta having no understanding of art or music, the fact that they have poor eyesight but great hearing, really make a difference. The first Weyoun we met in "To the Death" didn't leave me with much of an impression, but ever since "Ties of Blood and Water," the more they do with this guy, the more interesting he is. His actions in the plot aren't simply at odds with Kira's wishes and her hidden agenda—they're understandable from Weyoun's point of view as well. You simply don't release prisoners with Rom's evident destructive capabilities ... and if you're the Dominion you probably do execute them in order to set an example.

I can only think of one minor complaint for this episode (so I might as well get it out of the way), and that's Leeta's ridiculous whimpering at Rom's scheduled execution. The idea is fine—I would expect an emotional reaction from anyone whose spouse was sentenced to die—but Chase Masterson's performance in this scene makes the character even more unwatchable than even Leeta has previously proven capable of—no small task. Rom, on the other hand (if I dare say), comes off surprisingly well, and I actually liked his attitude as conveyed from within his holding cell. He's willing to martyr himself, and tells his brother that no matter what happens, the minefield must not be deactivated. Rather than breaking him out of his cell, Rom wants his brother to focus on getting back in the conduits and disabling Damar's graviton beam. If that means Quark getting caught in the process and being executed alongside his brother, then so be it. For once, Rom doesn't act like a complete dimwit; he's aware of the stakes and willing to act.

Similarly, watching Quark in action proves extremely gratifying. Maintaining his shield of "the neutral barkeep" has earned him an ear to Damar's boasts, and it seems that Damar is now willing to quietly boast almost anything to Quark, whether drunk or not (an interesting difference when compared to last week's "Behind the Lines"). What Damar doesn't know is just how much he has misjudged Quark's apparent "neutrality." Damar tells Quark that the mines will be down in a week, after which Quark quietly relays the information to a very worried and powerless Major Kira—in a sequence that has become commonplace throughout this arc: characters whispering about topics that can't possibly be discussed louder than a whisper. The irony is that Quark is whispering in his own bar.

The only option ("Warn Starfleet," Quark says with quiet urgency) comes about when Jake reveals that he has found a way to get a message to his father—via Morn, of all people, who is going home for his mother's birthday. I think Jake's self-congratulatory coyness over getting a message out was a little overdone given the grim circumstances (although, Jake has shown himself the cocky sort on more than one occasion), but I thoroughly enjoyed the brief, wordless scene where Kira and Quark "recruit" Morn into their plans—very effective.

Anyway, I say that characterization is even more primary than plot because there's so much of it running through the episode. This can be seen in a number of turns relationships take. Dukat and Ziyal, for instance, remain exceptionally complicated and true to character. When Ziyal asks the favor that her father show mercy to the Bajorans by releasing Rom, he can't do it, again driving up that division between them. Ziyal is furious and scornful of her father, yet remains just as naive as ever. She tells Kira she wants nothing to do with him, but Kira knows better to take such words at face value (especially considering how easily Ziyal forgave him in "Sons and Daughters")—Ziyal is angry right now, but when the anger passes it won't seem so clear cut.

Meanwhile, Dukat is intent on making amends, placing his top priority on having his daughter "at his side" when the moment of victory comes. For Dukat, it's a very appropriate notion, because it would make his actions all the easier. He desperately wants acceptance of his actions by somebody close to him. Kira most certainly will have none of it. So Ziyal might best represent Dukat's hope of having his actions validated and supported by a "third party"—and, further, perhaps by a specifically Bajoran third party. His ordering of Damar to try to convince Ziyal to come talk with him is so very telling at how much it means to Dukat and how desperate he has become to feel fully justified and endorsed about his would-be self-heroic course of action.

Then there was Kira beating the living hell out of Damar—a visceral moment that has been building up for weeks. We know these two don't like each other, and Kira's protection of Ziyal is among the most appropriate ways of both bringing it about and simultaneously allowing Kira to vent some of her obvious frustrations. A welcome, if violent, impulse.

Also, the continuance of Odo's self-search proved every bit as interesting as the setup in "Behind the Lines" let on. His introducing the Female Changeling to "solid" sexuality only deepened the sense that he had put himself in real trouble, either uncaring or oblivious to the gravity of his actions in "Behind the Lines." But his subsequent bewildered realization that three days have passed without his knowledge really worries him—suggesting that "oblivious" describes him better than "uncaring"—as if he has been cut off from the world and, until now, left unaware of the severity of his actions. When he finally goes to apologize to Kira for his betrayal, he seems more like the Odo we know. (But Kira's response—basically that "sorry" doesn't come close to cutting it—is completely justified, and shows that this shattered relationship, thankfully, is not going to be magically fixed.)

But, then, I had the Female Changeling pegged all wrong. I figured she came to Odo partly to undermine his position on the station, but here her motives take a startling direction when she informs Weyoun that she had come to the station intent on bringing Odo home—that returning one of their own to the Link means more to the Founders than the entire Alpha Quadrant itself. On the other hand, her discussion with Odo on how "small" the solids now look—to which Odo merely responds, "It's not their fault"—is quite unsettling. The Founders may claim not to care about "having" the Alpha Quadrant, but they do certainly want to control it. Such control is frightening; the power the Female Founder has over Weyoun is almost eerie. (Weyoun: "I didn't mean any disrespect." Founder: "Of course you didn't. You are what you are." Yikes.) And while Odo may be a little more aware of what's going on in the "solid" universe than he did previously, his perspectives have most assuredly changed.

Then there's Captain Sisko, who, with a statement that is arguably central to the entire arc, had one of the show's best scenes. His speech about coming home to Bajor was a wonderful, sincere emotional highlight. The sense conveyed here is one that looks beyond the war—one man's hope kept alive that Bajor will survive and thrive, and that he intends to live to see that day. His voicing to Admiral Ross of his intention to build a house on Bajor was an extremely moving moment that puts the dialog near the top of all the series' impassioned speeches. It's very reassuring material—for even in the middle of all this action and despair, Sisko (and the writers) still hold the hopes for the future of Bajor in the back of their minds.

Some other subtle touches are certainly welcome, like the consistency of Damar's pride. The line where he says to Dukat, "[Weyoun] should speak to you with more respect," is very like what we've seen of Damar in recent episodes. There's also an amusing scene where Dukat points out to Weyoun the mines outside the station as they're individually deactivated. Looking out the window, Weyoun can't see the glows with those poor Vorta eyes of his. His "I'll take your word for it" was great considering how excited Dukat certainly hoped Weyoun would be to finally know the minefield was being disabled. There are a lot of nice touches like that, and the little dialog exchanges fit in with the large, thematic events to make a very satisfying whole. When Winrich Kolbe is directing (his first DS9 helming since fourth season's "Our Man Bashir"), it's hard to complain.

Running through all the smaller character stories is a consistent core: the sense that large changes are imminent, and that each person must choose his or her path and be ready to fulfill his or her role. Kira's beating of Damar was too overt a move for her to hide her intentions any longer. Quark will have to do something about his brother since he won't be able to do anything about the mines. Ziyal will have to decide where she stands concerning her father. Dukat will bring down the minefield, with or without his daughter's support, and then he'll possibly find his position in the Dominion hierarchy challenged or tested. Odo is going to have to figure out where his loyalties lie, for not being forgiven by Kira certainly woke up at least part of his old self. And Sisko and the fleet are ready to engage in battle.

In the words of Sisko, "Fortune favors the bold." Here's hoping "The Sacrifice of Angels" shall choose to be bold enough to wrap some of this up as skillfully as the setup has prepared it.

Next week: One location. One battle. The Federation's survival depends upon the sacrifice of angels.

Previous episode: Behind the Lines
Next episode: Sacrifice of Angels

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Comment Section

54 comments on this post

    There's an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I'm pretty sure; it may have been Angel) where the character Drusilla, after being chastised, starts whimpering like a whipped dog. The first time I saw it, my initial reaction was a painfully unwelcome reminder of Leeta's scene with Rom in this episode. Almost immediately afterward, though, I realized that somehow or other Juliet Landau made it WORK for the character and didn't make me involuntarily grit my teeth and clench my fists the way Leeta's display invariably does.

    As I've been rewatching the series over the last few months, I've come to the conclusion that Chase Masterson, to be blunt, is far and away the worst thing to happen to the show. She's brought nothing to the (admittedly thin) character either dramatically or comedically, and what physical appeal she might have held when I was in my 20s has long since vanished in the face of how gratingly annoying she is in every other regard.

    And now that I've revealed once and for all that I have nothing more fulfilling in my life than ranting on a stranger's review of a decade-old TV show, I'm going to bed.

    The scene in which the female changling thanks Odo for showing her how solids make love...I couldn't stop laughing.

    Imagine the parts they didn't show: "No, see this shape? You need to make the opposite of that for this to work!"


    If only Odo had heard what the Female Changeling said about his return being more important than the Alpha Quadrant! He could have offered to come home in exchange for the Dominion pulling out! Now THAT'S powerful storytelling.

    ^ She was lying. Otherwise it makes a mockery of the entire final third of the DS9 run.

    Watched this again last night. Great episode. Quark was brilliant in this and more so in the follow up.
    I did actually fast forward through the bit with Leeta whimpering (thank god for DVDs)

    The end with all the starfleet ships shown and then the Dominion fleet was another of those chills up my back moment.

    I am in the very tiny majority here, but when Leeta did that whimper I laughed out loud, and thought it funny. All the serious things going on and then this...NOISE. I also thought her haggling with Quark over how long she'd work for free was a funny moment in an otherwise dark and intense scene, very true to Quark's character, and showing the love Leeta has for Rom.

    Just me though.

    @Nick: No, I'm with you on that, as well. I thought she was completely adorable. It was meant to lighten a very dark scene, and that's how I took it. :)

    Side note: It's 2:36am and I've been watching the show almost continuously since 6pm, ever since Jake tried to get that baseball card. I haven't chain-watched a series like this since... well, Battlestar Galactica. ;D

    For someone who bleats about the solids concept of time being irrelevant, the female Founder sure rants a lot about the war taking longer than it should...

    I have often thought that the show is full of characters with conflicted loyalties, and nowhere do we see that more than here. Characters have principles and goals, but they also have people who usually matter more. We see that with Quark, who chooses his brother over profit; we see that in Odo, who chooses Kira (eventually) over the Great Link. (I used to think that his deciding to help her after linking with the female shapeshifter was inconsistent but now it feels OK. Now I can understand that linking was overwhelming, as he said, especially at first, and he would need some time to recover from it.)

    Even Dukat has mixed loyalties - he won't let Damar lock up Ziyal - and Odo is more important to the changelings than all of Alpha.

    I rather like Rom and Leeta, which will make everyone discount my analysis. But life is full of annoying and silly people - why shouldn't there be some on DS9?

    I have a special affinity for Chase Masterson after having had a nice conversation with her at a Trek convention. Her character may be shallow and dumb, but she is a lovely person and a real sweetheart.

    Trying to give Masterson the benefit of the doubt here, but she reminded me of Mary Tyler Moore when she was still on Dick Van Duke, only crying Rom instead of Rob.

    Kira certainly gives Damar a proper near-fatal beating. Very visceral performance by both actors; her uppercuts ans his facial responses. He actually looked like he had been brain-damaged before he went down.

    Yeah I find it hard to criticise Chase Masterson, I've heard nothing but good reports about how she interacts with her fans (and when she did voiceover work as Leeta for Star Trek Online, an operation that's running on fumes at this point, the staff were absolutely glowing about her). I know, I know, that really shouldn't factor into a critique. And her physical, erm, attributes probably make it hard to take compliments at face value. But anyway, there you go.

    Since the Founders turned Odo into a humanoid, and were not in any way responsible for his subsequent restoration, the entire storyline concocted around the Founders suddenly having no higher priority than to bring Odo home rings ridiculously false to me.

    When I played STO my ship, the USS Tig Ol Bitties, was named for Chase.

    Which writer thought it was a good idea to have Odo and the "female" shapeshifter have an afterglow scene? It made me throw up in my mouth a little. I know she's not supposed to be a certain age but prior to this she's been portrayed as an older motherly figure. Very icky to have them "get it on."

    Luckily the rest of the show was good despite that cringe-worthy moment.

    I hate the female changeling and did not buy Odo turning on his friends so easily. Out of character and stupid. Other than that, good episode.


    This episode certainly reflects the title. This episode is a great example of how a few people making courageous decisions can turn the tide. (Sort of like how all of Western history comes down to man running 26 miles to say the Persians were coming.)

    There are lots of great characterizations in this episode: Dukat not getting the gratification of Weyoun seeing the mines destroyed. Damar rightfully getting his ass beat by Kira after he got rough with Ziyal was great to see. Sisko and Ross attempting to shore up battle plans and meeting with Martok was a credible way to show the Federation is a vast entity stretched to it's limits.

    Odo really pissed me off in this episode: what the hell was he thinking linking with the repulsive female Changeling?! Besides the fact that her personality is repugnant, her voice a quavering irritant, her "look" more a Scream mask, . . . setting aside all that, she leads the army decimating the Alpha Quadrant and threatening his lifelong friends and he can't see the danger in merging his mind and body with this thing?!

    And then he chases Kira down a hallway to say "I'm sorry" after he got himself some Changeling booty and nearly lost his individuality (and the Alpha Quadrant in the process).

    I love the war arc, and I really like Odo (the character and the actor playing him), but this story line is infuriating to watch. She's just so ghastly. I don't know what the writers were thinking with this Afterschool Special diversion into Odo's love life.

    (And I didn't mind the Leeta squeals in the brig, it was a moment of levity that underscored the seriousness of the rest of the episode).

    Side note: the female Changeling says she's a drop from the ocean and not an entity . . . does that mean the Great Link is more like a giant amoeba sending off chunks of itself to collect experiences? Curious.

    Final thoughts: compulsive television. I had to move right on to the next episode.

    Well edited and tightly directed, this episode is filled with wonderful performances from ALL of the cast (including heroic Ferengi), and I'm glad to see another later DS9 episode with a pretty good orchestral score . . . the musical cue for the appearance of the Dominion fleet was especially imposing, suggestive of the stomach-drop moment you hit freefall. Thank God the producers finally stopped using Dennis McCarthy!

    3.5 out of 4 stars

    I see this episode about the same as the last one.

    Cringe worthy when Odo speaks of "solid sex" with the female changeling.

    The same goes for Leeta's "noise" .

    I still want to throat punch Dukat every time he opens his mouth.

    Kira (again) physically dominates a physically superior foe... eesh... she needs to put on her Wonder Woman costume. It seems the only one that can beat her is the female gal in ‘Invasive Procedures’.

    3 stars for me.

    Here here, Yanks! Nothing annoyed me more than Wonder Woman Kira. See, the writers are so dazzled by the need to have a strong female, that they think showing one performing totally unrealistic feats against superior foes does that.

    Instead watching the frailties of the actor try and convince the audience, just falls flat on its face.


    They did the same thing with Tasha Yar in TNG. So glad she got tarred and Worf took over as head of Security.

    At least Tasha was using a phaser most times... Kira does multiple, unbalanced, weak punches, as the writers paralyse her opponents to the spot. It looks so ridiculous too. She also speaks like some mafia type gangster as she is delivering her lines.


    Mafia-type...? You've got to give some examples. I have no idea what you mean here.


    Another strong episode. In fact, 4 out of these first 5 episodes (Sons and Daughters is the weak link) are stronger than about 80% of S4 and 5's episodes. Considering how strong both those seasons are, that's really saying something about how well this storyline is handled. I haven't gotten to S7 yet in my re-watch, but up to this point the only sci-fi story arc that matches up with this one is that 9-part stretch of BSG's first season finale into season 2.0 (before the Babylon 5 jump down my throat - I haven't seen it, but I intend to one day).

    I think Jammer covered pretty much everything that's good about this one.

    One thing that really stuck out to me is Weyoun. Genetically engineered to worship the Changelings, but he still has a great line about wanting to carry a tune. Kira needles him about the Founders making a mistake in his design and it sets him off a bit. Yet he wishes. A really great moment that reveals the Dominion for the poison that it is while making Weyoun sympathetic. Really, there's no reason to hate him. He is what he is.

    3-1/2 stars again. Great stuff. It's awesome seeing the Alpha Quadrant in solidarity like this. Sure it's cool to see Feds, Klingons, Romulans and the like teaming up like we've already seen, but who'd have thought an obnoxious *Ferengi* would be so pivotal to the Alpha Quadrant way back when they were introduced in "The Last Outpost"?

    One question: In the beginning Nov is a cadet. Then towards the end he's an ensign, uniform and all. When did Nog get promoted? Can anyone shed some light on it? Thanks, Star Trek now and forever

    @ Isaac

    Nog got a field promotion to ensign (as an Academy sophomore) cuz war or something.

    If anything this is trying to follow too many plot points - there are a heck of a lot of narrative strands running by this time. And of course none of them reach resolution, so what we looking at is an episode deep in set up.

    That said, it does mean we get an awful lot of good character moments throughout. Quark is perhaps a highlight, and the use of Morn is inventive. On the debit side, Ziyal's wild character swings continue.

    It's all really good stuff, but just not the very best. And we'd better get a big fleet battle in the next episode... 3 stars.

    Oh gotta love that Weyoun.. by this point, he is clearly my favorite character in this series, and getting near the top of my all time favorites in the franchise. Great character, great portrayal, making him both sympathetic and tragic. He steals every scene, only Dukat can match his presence, and these two together are just gold.

    "Every bit of this episode is utterly engrossing; the culmination resulting from the loss of the station in "Call to Arms" is approaching, and it feels very, very real." I'd say that's missing a fundamental about Trek. It's Space Opera with quite a theatrical bent. I mean , there comes a point with the funny faces where a lot of reasonable folk (including I suspect many of the actors) roll their eyes, and think: enough. You are missing out that Trek is ultimately not a straight show at all. It works at its best when it "breaks through" and finds itself in a tripped intensity, something in the sound design, the lighting. DS9 has all of this, it's also quite the most uneven, frustrating Trek.

    On one way level of course you may counter look at the variety of interpretation. I find Weyoun quite unwatchable while above I see many who rate him. Look one thing here to make clear here. It doesn't matter what shades a writer gives to a character if the conception and execution of that character isn't much more than a banal tv cul de sac . Do yourselves a favour, watch something like Henry V. Not especially for Branagh mind, who grates at times but how often a scene is made thanks to the contribution of an almight character actor (check Blessed's "tis wonderful" after the battle. Ok, ok, more to hand, who is McCoy talking to in the bar scene in Search for Spock? "I name not important." Different class to Weyoun. This is a tiny role! I don't care for the Vorta and their damn sight problems if the characters are just weak! At some point you have to square how highly you might be rating aspects of the show and thinking, actually these other folk who deserted the show weren't always missing something. I might add the problematic in DS9 has congealed over time, becoming even more of an issue.

    Indeed another powerhouse episode. "Favor the Bold" has wonderful special effects - the sight of the Federation fleet was really something to behold, possibly the biggest fleet we've seen on Trek thus far - great character work, a wonderful use of a wordless background character, Morn, to help save the day, splendid use of both Quark and Rom and a rather noticeable shift for Odo.

    One thing that really struck me with this viewing, however, was Damar. Here we have a character who is clearly among the villains, but is revealing an awful lot of truly top secret information to Quark even though he has know that Quark's loyalties are at least divided. I used to think that was simply because of his overconfidence, but is it possible that this is the first sign that Damar's conscience is bothering him and he subconsciously told Quark in the hope that the Dominion would be stopped? Or simply to unburden himself with information that deep down he knew was wrong? The writers have, after all, said that they had him have a drinking problem at this point as a prelude to his eventual turn against the Dominion, so it's possible. Or am I just crazy?

    Jammer is right about the scene where Kira and Quark "recruit" Morn into their plans - a real highlight of the episode. This war arc has shown an amazing ability to showcase wordless (or almost wordless) scenes that are both absolutely essential in terms of plot and character development while also being simply magnificent scenes in and of themselves. Yassim's suicide in "Rocks and Shoals", Kira's second going-to-work sequence in that same episode and now this one. My hat goes off to this writers and directors!


    Good episode. Had only one failing. Earlier in the series O'Brien said about Nog "I just realized, when he graduates, I'll have to call him sir."
    When Nog is made an officer and O'Brien congratulates him, it should have been, "Congratulations Nog...Sir" and have the Chief walk into the bridge leaving Nog with a very shocked look on his face. The Chief (who is an enlisted man after all) called him "sir"

    When Kira and Weyoun were speaking early on, it struck me that they have something in common - their faith in their 'gods.' The difference, of course, is that Kira's worship is something she has struggled with, whereas Weyoun's worship has been genetically engineered into him. I suppose it's that freedom to doubt that means everything.

    It's strange that Defiant-class ships weren't more common in the Dominion War. We should have seen them more than any other kind. It was odd to see just the one flying around in all the battles.

    From an episode making perspective, the reason why they didn't do that was probably to avoid confusing the Defiant with other ship(s) in the fleet. It's the same reason why they rarely showed more than one Galaxy class ship at a time on TNG.

    But realistically Starfleet would probably have been churning out Defiant class ships like candy.

    This was another very good episode. The Quark stuff was the best. So many episodes pull him back into comic relief, but his character is so much more than that.

    Quibbles: I find it unbelievable that the holding cell wasn't bugged.

    What bothered me about Leeta's whining was not so much the whining itself, although that was bad. It was that it showed that Rom has grown beyond her. He is fighting for the greater good. She can't see that far.

    I did not feel that Sisko's speech about Bajor was earned. He hasn't spent that much time there. When he is there he is worshipped as the Emissary, which is not a fun way to live. Also, his description about how beautiful it is -- it's a whole planet. I assume it has pretty nature in some places, as he described. Don't most planets?

    Getting the message to Sisko seemed too easy. Why can Morn get to a place where he can carry a message? If he can do it, why can't others?

    The interplay between Weyoun and the female founder was great: "Of course you didn't. You are what you are." Weyoun's simultaneous acceptance and resentment of that statement was perfect.

    The female founder's comment to Odo that only solids need to worry about meetings made no sense. You don't get to control one quadrant and wage a winning war against another without going to meetings.

    With respect to Kira beating up Demar: I guess I can kind of see it as she had the element of surprise. But it's still highly unlikely.

    I think when people talk about DS9 pushing boundaries, the one that gets very unfairly overlooked is how it had its leading man embrace an alien world and culture as his own. I guess I differ from most Trekkers with this, but more I watch Star Trek the more I feel its biggest problem is that it has two main themes: 1. Different cultures and people can come together as equals and create a wonderful future for themselves. 2. Humans are the greatest thing ever and moral paragons of the universe. Hope I'm not the only one seeing the problem with colliding the two. Which is not to say I am against Trek's optimism about humanity but you can do that without obnoxious arrogance and I aplaud DS9 for firmly choosing and sticking with the former theme.

    There's a scene at the end of the episode where Weyoun and Dukat are talking in the prefect's office about the impending battle and there on the desk in the foreground, almost tauntingly as if it's listening, is Sisko's baseball. Great shot, great scene, great episode.

    Great episode with so much going on and it fits together really well -- even the personal stuff between Dukat/Ziyal manages to play a part here. The writers have an outstanding tale going here.

    What is still a bit nebulous is the benefits of the link -- some kind of paradise. So it's more important for the female changeling to get Odo to join the link than it is to take over the Alpha Quadrant... I was pretty surprised the 2 spent 3 days shagging. The scene with Odo trying to apologize to Kira was the most powerful of the episode -- Kira's line about being way late for sorry was perfect.

    Federation morale is low so they figure they need a victory and Sisko has a plan to take back DS9 before the minefield is removed -- makes sense, but without the Klingons, I'm not so sure -- especially when they find out there are 1254 Dominion ships to deal with. Have to wonder just how many ships StarFleet has. I was also curious as to who the high ranking Romulan female is when Sisko was presenting his plan to the Federation admirals.

    As for the tertiary characters, Rom was actually tolerable here -- he isn't so much in "idiot savant" mode. But Leeta's whimpering was annoying -- but that's only a minor knock on this episode. It's good that Quark has a more important role that ties in to the main story arc. Shimerman is a decent actor -- always looking out for his interests but also trying to be of assistance and trying to help his brother.

    Weyoun is pretty amusing and he's clearly irritating Dukat -- was funny with his comment about poor eyesight and not being able to see the mines being detonated but his hearing is good so that he can hear Dukat and Damar discussing Ziyal and Kira.

    Many aspects of the story are finely balanced -- Dukat has a thing for Kira and the Dominion has an agreement with Bajor so the Cardassians (mainly Damar it would seem) can't do things the Cardassian way.

    3.5 stars for "Favor the Bold" -- the continuation of the main story arc is working out wonderfully. All the various sub-stories are moving along nicely. Just the whole link thing and Odo being out of the equation seem slightly less than optimal for story excitement.

    I guess I'm going to have to rewatch this one, because I was completely bored, and I know I'm in the minority.
    I found myself distracted, thinking of other things, letting it play in the background. The whole episode seemed like a checklist of really awesome things that were presented in the dullest fashion.
    I thought Odo was out of character: this is a guy who's disciplined, I really don't think he'd lose track of three days (or even three minutes). As far as Nog goes, when is someone going to flush him out an airlock? At the very least Sisko should tell him to speak only when spoken to.
    I am thrilled to see Jeffrey Combs (and I probably would be thrilled to see him doing infomercials on late night cable TV). I think this is one of the highlights of his acting career. A great actor amongst many great actors.
    On another positive note, I'm really loving major Kira, I just feel like I can relate to her so well. I also thought Leeta's reaction was totally appropriate.

    [Note - edited to avoid spoilers.]

    "Favor the Bold" sets the end of the arc in motion, in a way that's just about perfect. It's thrilling to see all the sub-plots from the previous episodes set in motion. I expected this arc to somewhat disappoint me, but it held up on re-watch. If anything, I liked it even more. This is easily the best stretch of DS9, "Sons and Daughters" excluded.

    4 stars.

    The thing about Leetas noise, when I first watched it I thought that Rom was making it, and I already didn’t think much of Rom. But the second time she makes it, you can see it’s her, and then Rom wants to sacrifice his life for everyone - talk about perceptions changing immediately.

    It’s also notable that in a powerhouse episode like this , we're talking about some irritating noise decades later.

    Gotta run, but wanted to say: Great ep!

    Now, we're cookin' with heat!

    Back in the day, my issues with Sacrifice Of Angels caused me to overlook the greatness of this episode, the Part 1 to its Part 2. But it's a superb piece of work, one of DS9's finest hours. I love Nana Visitor in these episodes and the way the occupation storyline puts Kira through the wringer. (Also, her season 6 hair is her best hair.) Another nice detail is the pragmatic working relationship that has developed between Kira and Quark. It's a good Vorta episode too (we learn a lot about Weyoun), as well as featuring the series's first real Founder-Vorta dialog scenes, which are superb.

    Talking of hearing, do the Jem Hadar really have such poor auditory capacity that they couldn't hear Rom, Quark and Leeta plotting from 12 feet away at full conversational volume, nor think of stepping closer to the huddled, conspiratorial group? And, they deactivated Odo's listening devices too? Yeah, I know, suspension of disbelief. It just always feels harder to do in a sci-fi.

    Great episode, and the ongoing split with Odo is interesting. Kind of hoping Odo is doing some hyper clever undercover thing that he can't even tell Kira about (give the founder the impression he's on their side? I dunno, you would have thought she would sense that in the link). Am also hoping there isn't some super disappointing reset switch. I am guessing he will just come around at the last minute and help the solids, and things will go back to some semblance of normality. But I was veery angery at Odo too. What a spanner.

    Favor the bold

    A (combat trained) 120 pound female (kira) heroically punches out a (combat trained) 180 pound male (damar)? And not for the first time on a star trek show. I don’t care how well trained, mean and determined my sister is she could never do that to me. Especially if i was equally well trained. Have we ever seen a female heroically punched multiple times to near unconsciousness by a male on a star trek show?
    Any show?

    "Favors the Bold" is a tour-de-force. One of DS9's greats. Indeed, one of Star Trek's greats. If I may be so, um, bold, let me say, one of scifi's greats. @ $G, I'd put this one up there with Babylon 5's third season episode "Point of No Return" as one of the most critical episodes of a great scifi saga.

    I see what you're saying, @Luke, this is really where Damar comes alive. And maybe, just maybe, Damar leaking the plans to Quark was not quite the accident we have been led to believe. If you're crazy, @Luke, I'm right there with ya bro!

    @ AeC, Drusilla does some serious whimpering in Season 2 of Angel ("Redefinition") after Angel burns her and Drusilla ( ). You're right, there is so much more to Drusilla's pain than anything Leeta is able to muster, not withstanding Leeta's tig ol bitties @Sintek :-)

    Speaking of Angel, @ D K, Lilah Morgan gets a pretty satisfying beatdown ( ) in season 3, "Billy".

    @DLPB, Damar is only 3 inches taller than Kira. It is more of a fair fight than one would imagine. I like Damar a lot, but let's be honest, he was never really a hand-to-hand kind of a guy. His command presence came from his charisma, and frankly his very awesome voice. He's more like Picard that way. At least before Picard became all action hero-y in the movies.

    My favorite line from "Favors the Bold" has somehow been overlooked in this thread. So here it is, from Quark:

    ROM: The fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant rests in your hands. Billions and billions of people are counting on you.

    QUARK: Boy, are they going to be disappointed.

    ROTFLMFAO! Quark is awesome.

    @ Fortyseven, if you enjoy a good binge of DS9 or nBSG, then please do check out Babylon 5. I'm not sure why @Jammer never got around to it. And now that we're all older, with so much more on our plates, I fear he never will. But hope burns eternal.

    Faith Manages.

    "@DLPB, Damar is only 3 inches taller than Kira. It is more of a fair fight than one would imagine."

    If they were both human it would be pretty ridiculous for Kira to beat down Damar like that no matter how tall she is. But since we have no clue how an average Bajoran female versus Cardassian male would stack up it's basically up in the air.

    Incidentally, given that Vulcans were supposed to have 8 times the strength of humans, T'Pal should have been a beast and easily smacked around Archer or any of the other humans which I was laughing about when Archer threatened to put her on her ass or something. That would have gone as well as Sisko's wrestling match even if Vulcan females are 1/2 as strong as the males.

    But now I'm getting off track. The really crazy thing is watching Sisko beating up Jem'Hadar genetically engineered super soldiers. Like Uncle Ben beating up Captain America in a fist fight.

    Re: Female Bajoran strength
    (aka ; Kira made it in!)
    @D K "A (combat trained) 120 pound female (kira) heroically punches out a (combat trained) 180 pound male (damar)?"

    Yes it's a popular trope of female empowerment & Kira is DS9's darling. No, cardassians aren't X times stronger than bajorans. (Google "daystrom institute physical combat rankings trek") There's a good reddit ranking of the Trek races; placing vulcans at the top, with klingons hardier but not much stronger than humans. Kira is an experienced fighter. So it all comes down to the second punch. It's believable a 3rd & 4th blow to the head/organs could KO even a tough dude. But your first sucker punch would *really* have to ring their bell to get a second one in. The OG Trek fight choreographer, described the infamous hammer punch in an interview, as pulled from pro-wrestling, because its visually easy to follow, i.e. highly telegraphed (to the dismay of UFC fans). Trek combat is for show. If this were realistic combat, Kira would have swung a cargo bay pipe at his head.

    Re: Changeling Sex
    @Nancy "Which writer thought it was a good idea to have Odo and the "female" shapeshifter have an afterglow scene? She's been portrayed as an older motherly figure. It made me throw up in my mouth a little" (para)

    Funny. I had a similar reaction, not because of her matronly vibe, age, or Odo-like face. But because of Odo's reaction afterwards. When he had the fling with the sleeper-agent, their lovescene was *very* well done for Trek. Wistful & sad at the end. Here, they allegedly just shared a psychic sex bond, and they're discussing it neutrally. And Odo leaves with a flimsy "Gotta go to work kbye..." as if she wouldn't be fully aware of an emotional disconnect? No chemistry.

    @ Strejda "DS9 pushing boundaries: unfairly overlooked is how DS9 had its leading man embrace an alien world and culture as his own. Star Trek's biggest problem is that it has two main themes: 1. Different cultures and people can come together as equals and create a wonderful future for themselves. 2. Humans are the greatest thing ever and moral paragons of the universe."

    *Fantastic observation!* This is one of my favourite points in my TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT rewatch. I've carried my techvangelism and social utopism beliefs into my career in psychology+tech, so I live this stuff. But Trek at its core is an American show, built with the same optimism and blindspots. In spreading (space) democracy, we lose sight of the truths of other (alien) cultures that differ with our own virtues and contexts. (Unlike Elliott the infamous anti-roddenberrian here) I'm not here to debate utopism; as I believe in it. But one of the most interesting Trek debates I've seen lately, is whether or not the Federation is a progressive, insidious version of the Borg, brainwashing members away from their own ideals into conformity (esp. Janeway witholding 7of9 from the collective). What made DS9 so powerful & mature and 'dark & gritty', is that Sisko himself, initially questioned Federation ideals in the DMZ maquis subplot (S2E21 "You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. It's easy to be a saint in paradise"). Or Quark's remarks about the Federation brainwashing you into liking the 'bubbly sweetness' of metaphorical human Rootbeer; sabotaging Nog's disgraceful Starfleet aspirations, finally embracing human virtues by this S6 arc. Powerful!

    Re: Leeta
    I liked the squeak. I lol at Ferengi squeals and don't mind Rom's slackjawed resting dumbface.. most of the time. I enjoyed 2/3 of the Ferengi capitalist-commentary episodes. And yawned through the trudge of the unfunny baseball card episode. Usually I'm just like Jammer in that I don't *need* comic relief to enjoy my drama, but a chortle and smirk here and there aint so bad. And honestly, I find Jake's cockiness (scripted), or Nog's robotic chuckles/throatclearing FAR more distracting than Leeta or Rom (RIP Aaron). And I'm blase about the Keiko-Miles family melodrama Jammer loves. To each their own?

    It's interesting that Dukat viewed Ziyal as a vulnerability because she very much is.

    He completely diverted his top lieutenant, Damar, from such matters like THE WAR to fix his relationship with Ziyal.

    The Female Changeling smacking down Weyoun regarding "neutralizing" Odo. Salome Jens really nailed this role.

    I did not like this episode at all, because the whole story made no sense, and no amount of suspension of disbelief was enough to suspend my disbelief.

    First, let's assume that I did believe (and it wasn't easy...) that nobody in Cardassia, or in the entire Dominion, was smart enough to figure out how to dismantle the mine field that Rom invented, and that the Federation was stupid enough to leave the inventor of this technology on the station where he can be interrogated (and the Cardassians were stupid enough not to actually do it, and instead, decided to execute him).

    Anyway, when a random Cardassian on DS9, Damar, came up with a way to dismantle the mine field (with an "anti graviton beam", or something like that), and proved that it works - it is completely crazy that Cardassians and Dominion scientists and engineer all over the alpha and gamma quadrent don't immediately go to work on "anti graviton beam" devices. It makes absolutely zero sense that the only anti graviton beam in the universe must be in Deep Space 9.

    So none of the sense of urgency in this episode makes any sense. Damar invented the anti-mine-field technology. That's a done deal. Are we now supposed to believe that if in this episode or the next one, Sisko or some other deus-ex-machina stops Damar's plan, that tomorrow the dominion won't send 100 ships carrying anti graviton beams?

    I've seen this episode before, but this was the first time I happened to catch what I think was an inside joke:

    When Sisko present his plan for retaking the station, the Vulcan woman calmly tells him his plan is "not without merit" as a prelude to shooting it down.

    If you have never submitted a piece of written work to a publisher (or I'm guessing a script to a studio), you wouldn't know this, but the standard canned rejection letter for decades has gone something like this:

    "Thank-you for your kind submission. While your work is not without merit, it does not meet our needs at this time."

    In the days before self-publication and vanity presses became so common, just about every writer collected enough of those "not without merit" letters to wallpaper their study with them before they got their first acceptance. I'm guessing it gave the writer some perverse satisfaction to give Sisko one.

    An okay ep. but "[e]very bit of this episode is utterly engrossing"? Not by a long shot. I fast-forwarded through everything Dodo+Doda-related, especially their heart-to-heart after their Greco-Roman wresting match on the mattress, where I doubt *everything* was solid... 🤦‍♂️

    Poor Rom...

    Damar is such a painfully tragic, pathetic character, exquisitely played in huffs-are-the-better-part-of-valour and disgruntled sneers by Casey Biggs.

    Imagine how broken you would have to be to know Dukat as well as Damar does and yet still admire (and apparently adore him) so.

    in case you see this, nearly 25 years later, im so glad you explicitly mentioned the Kira/Quark/Morn scene - i went to the kitchen to grab a drink when watching and missed it, VERY glad i got to go back and see, it was a fantastic three shots

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